chromatophoria
 member, 682 posts
 Be excellent
 to each other.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 01:39
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
Simply put... I love rpol. But my time is limited. I can't sink my teeth into characters & worlds like I used to.

But I need to scratch my itch... I want something satisfying... that doesn't require hours upon hours per week...

Are there any games, systems, or styles of play that pack a punch for the time poor?

EDIT:
For clarity - not asking for GMs to advertise to my needs. I'm asking about "light" systems that are easy to pick up & run with, or game/setting designs that make for a smooth "casual" game.

This message was last edited by the user at 05:08, Wed 04 Sept.

Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 40 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 02:16
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
I think, for the most part, finding a good group of players is not hard.

Accounting of course for the standard flake rate that is known to affect most PbP sites.  Need 4-5 players?  Better recruit six ... and I bet that one of the players will make a character and then never post IC.

It's made slightly more difficult on RPoL due to never really knowing who you are playing with.  Not a gripe, just an observation ... on smaller PbP sites one gets a good sense of who meshes and who doesn't rather quickly.  That gets a little trickier when you aren't really sure with whom you'll be playing.  Maybe I'm just grumpy and old, but I've steered clear of games before based on the players that were at the table.

Finding a good game too, is not necessarily hard (but I suppose on how picky one chooses to be).

But finding a good game, with good players, that are all happy with the same tempo ... that's the tricky bit.

I've withdrawn from awesome games that were setting speed records and left me in the dust.  Just as I have grown impatient with games that while probably were going to be good were far too glacially-slow for my liking.

A steady crawl is just about right for me two, perhaps three posts a week but another tempo-related game-killer I have found is the dreaded hiatus.  I travel a lot for work and sometimes have to leave civilization (read: internet access) behind for weeks at a time.

Any game that I am in creeps on without me.  Sometimes I can work back into the groove ... sometimes not.   And any game that I am running, often suffers from hiccups and sputters after I return.

tl;dr

So yeah ... long rambling way of saying that it's important being on the same page with regard to tempo.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 41 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 02:24
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
To answer the question though, system-wise you probably stand a good chance with Fate (Fate Core or FAE ... I'm a Core guy myself, but FAE does the trick nicely).

It's clean, simple, elegant.  If I had five minutes and a cocktail napkin ... you'd walk away knowing everything you needed to know how to play.  So for the time-crushed, there wouldn't be a need for checking this table or that, or not having the right sourcebook.  It's free too (or at least ... pay what you want), so that's a bonus as it's easier to get in everyone's hands.

A word of caution though, it's definitely one of those systems that is easy to misunderstand.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a Fate game recruiting, only to find out that many of the players or perhaps even the GM have a less-than-adequate understanding of the mechanics and structure of the game.
belovedshadows
 member, 93 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 02:27
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
In some cases the best thing for someone who has a slow posting rate is to find just that. A group with a low posting rate.

Barring that you could look for a freeform game or seek a solo adventure where your the only player this way no guilt for going at your own pace.
chromatophoria
 member, 683 posts
 Be excellent
 to each other.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 02:44
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
In reply to belovedshadows (msg # 4):

Solid advice.

I wonder if there's an RPOL community/game for parents/time-poor/slow-lo players? Maybe I should start one...
chromatophoria
 member, 684 posts
 Be excellent
 to each other.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 02:44
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
In reply to Ski-Bird (msg # 2):

I very much relate to this :)
facemaker329
 member, 7118 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 04:59
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
There are games out there for pretty much any taste in gaming...but it's a violation of the rules of this forum for people to point them out here.  The only places where people are allowed, in any way, to advertise specific games on RPOL are in the Wanted: Players, and Wanted: GMs forums (there may be one or two others that allow reference to specific games...I haven't been on any of them...but advertising games is strictly regulated on RPOL due to past RPOL'ers abusing the option and spamming people with stuff about their game.)

I would strongly recommend posting an ad in the Wanted: GMs forum, stating that you're looking for a game with a slow posting rate because you have very limited availability.  They're out there.  You may also wanted to browse the Wanted: Players forum and see if anyone who's running a slow game is looking for players.  But I'm in three games right now that I consider active...one, the GM updates a couple of times a week (if players want to post between themselves more than that, no problem, but the game only advances when the GM posts, everything else is just chatter between characters.  The second, the GM may update once a week, sometimes once a month...sometimes, he's really busy for weeks on end and the game doesn't do much for a couple of months at a time...but he's been moving the game forward slowly since 2012 or so, so those of us who've stuck with it jump in when updates happen.  The third game?  Depends on the day...there've been days where there's been maybe five posts total, in the game...and days where there may be close to a hundred posts in a day.  Not everyone can be there for all of it, the GM is retired so he's got plenty of time and will indulge players with plenty of individual moments (that game also just passed 90K posts, and I think we're coming up on our ninth year...)  But it's not a big deal if you only have time to make one post a day...or even if you only make a post every other day, as long as the GM knows you're there and still as involved as life lets you be (it's when people fall off the face of the earth for weeks at a time with no advance notice that he gets testy about it.)

Odds are good there are plenty of options out there for you.  We just can't steer you directly in their direction here.
chromatophoria
 member, 685 posts
 Be excellent
 to each other.
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 05:04
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
In reply to facemaker329 (msg # 7):

Thanks, I hear you. Wasn't looking for specific games on RPOL. For clarification - I'm wondering if there are any game systems or approaches that work better for slower/time poor/etc.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 298 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 06:09
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
Really most systems will work if you're familiar enough with them.  I played a Numenera (Cypher System) game for about a year where sometimes the GM and I went weeks or months between posts; as long as I remembered what we were doing (easy to read back and see) and what to roll, it was fine.  You might prefer less rules-crunchy games for slow play so you only have to concentrate on the story.  Or if you don't have time to really sink your teeth into a story, perhaps you would like a very crunchy system so you only need to do your actions and roll when you get around to posting!

Depends on what you like in a game more: the chess moves of action, or story decisions?
facemaker329
 member, 7119 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 06:30
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
In my experience, the system doesn't matter so much as the way it's applied.  Even something as potentially time-intensive as GURPS can be done on a very casual basis, as long as everyone involved is in agreement on it.

Someone mentioned freeform earlier...since you specifically mention writers in the subject, I assume you've got some interest there, and if you're in the right group, freeform is a great way to develop your writing, as there aren't any dice and very few rules to help guide the story...it's all in the hands of the players and how well they convey the story.  It is also, unfortunately, easily prone to abuse unless you have a GM who's willing to ride herd on people who are trying to redefine the game to fit what they had in mind (that long-running game I mentioned has had that happen several times through the years, where players took the lack of posted guidelines strictly delineating what is and isn't applicable in the game, and tried to re-write what the game was going to be based on their ideas...a couple of guys still try it every now and then and the GM has developed a lot of experience with saying "Nope.")

Any game, regardless of system, can choose to focus on story development...but in my admittedly limited experience, a lot of dice-based-system games get caught in the trap of 'you'll have to roll for that'.  While I enjoy a certain degree of randomness in my games (because I'm one of those weird gamers who doesn't like to assume that my character's success is always a foregone conclusion), there comes a point where the dice, while technically applicable, are taking away from the story...and the story is my favorite part of gaming, whether I'm playing freeform sci-fi or Shadowrun or Star Wars or Burning Wheel or whatever other system you want to put out there.

Which kind of drifts off my point, but in a way also underscores it.  The important thing is how the game is being played, not so much what rules you're using to play it.  I've been in tabletop groups where the rules were hardly referenced, I've been in groups where almost everyone had their own copy of the rules so we could look up how to do the attack we had in mind and explain it to the GM to try and keep things flowing smoothly.  I've been in groups that played multiple times a week (in college, for a few years, I shared a house with several people...we were all gamers, and there was something being played almost every night) and I've been in groups where we met maybe once every other month and played for a few hours (a couple, really, once we got through all the 'what have you been doing lately?' conversations).  They were almost all fun, even the GURPS game where we were all wizards' familiars and the GM got a basic concept from each player and built our characters for us...the game itself was wrapped up in maybe three or four sessions.  In none of those cases was it the rules that made it fun (although there were a few times that the rules made it not-fun...my old tabletop Star Wars group died, in part, because we changed from the D6 system to the D20 Saga Edition rules, and they so totally bogged down play that after a couple of sessions, nobody had much enthusiasm for keeping the game running...that was a group that played, in various incarnations, for almost 20 years...)

Look for games that have a slow posting rate expected, and a setting that really appeals to you.  Then, worry about whether or not it's a system you know (or are willing to learn.)  That's how I would do and have done it.
horus
 member, 873 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 07:30
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
There are lots of rules-light systems out there, if that's what you're hoping for.  Things like Lasers & Feelings and its various hacks (one of my favorites of these is Tactical Waifu... a single page of mirth and mayhem).

Then there's Roll for Shoes (just search on that phrase...)

If you're looking for some real silliness, try QAGS (Quick A__ Game System).  Silliness aside, it is geared for fast pace play.

Into steampunk?  Look at the Magpie Codex.

More into traditional dungeon crawls?  The Black Hack.

For some truly heart-warming role play in rural Japan, look at Golden Sky Stories.

I find collaborative storytelling works better with a more free-form sort of environment - less limiting of possibilities.
Yaztromo
 supporter, 287 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 12:33
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
For me the answer is easy: if you can't ensure posting reliability, go for solo games. There you won't impact anybody, forcing them to wait for your contribution before moving on with the story.
icosahedron152
 member, 981 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 16:22
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
I think it all boils down to everyone being on the same page. If you're in the right group, all with the same mindset, almost anything you play will work.

Having said that, the fewer rules you have, the less time you need to spend looking up how many minor actions are permitted for each major action, etc, etc.

However, I wouldn't advocate rules-free freeform, unless you know the group very well. As someone suggested above, you then start to waste precious time arguing over whether Action X should have succeeded or failed.

Semi-freeform is definitely the way to go, IMO.

All the games I play in or run are semi-freeform and all have really simple rule sets. (They also have players with the same mindset).

I have a rule of thumb that if I can't count the pages of the rule book on my fingers, it's too complicated. My go-to rule-set at present is called 1PG (because the core rules fit on 1 PaGe.)

You also need a game setup that doesn't hook the story onto specific players, yet somehow keeps them involved. If the game is to involve 'casual players', they need to be able to drop in and out without wrecking the plot.
locojedi
 member, 181 posts
Wed 4 Sep 2019
at 23:25
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
I would suggest picking a system you like and then requesting a game built around it. Many folks here will say that any system will run any genre, but I find that the system really does affect the FEEL of the game. One of the best examples is Lord of the Rings, which can be played with a system like Pathfinder to great success, but when using The One Ring it FEELS more like Middle-Earth...

From that perspective, take a look at Risus or The Window, which are both light and make good use of writing and narrative and let the system fade into the background.
Sithraider
 member, 169 posts
Thu 5 Sep 2019
at 00:04
What games for time-poor, casual gamers & writers on rpol?
I really like the Powered by the Apocalypse engine games. You can find the SRD Rules for Dungeon World on the web; that's the fantasy version of the PbtA game engine.

If you are not familiar with it, it is a narrative style of game with an easily adaptable core rule system. There are many hacks of the game out there.