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The Long and the Short of it


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#1 BigJackBrass

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 08:56 AM

Hi, my name's Jon and I listen to far too much gaming audio :D

There's a monstrous amount of audio on this site, lots of lengthy campaigns, numerous one-offs and short runs. I've been wondering where people's preferences lie. Not regarding the length of individual recordings - I think that we all just record an actual session and then treat that as a single file, in most cases - but in terms of the ongoing campaign compared to the shorter arc or the individual games.

Whartson Hall games tend to be shorter, a function of having several GMs and an occasionally fractured schedule. This gives a broader range of games played, but inevitably only a very short time in which to get to know and explore the characters and situations. To a listener does this mean that such games are easier to dip into, or does it make them less worthy of an investment of time? Do characters really matter if you only hear them for three episodes? or do you look for other things in the game?

The BAGgies and Hal's group have tended to invest in the longer - often the epic - campaign. Characters can grow, the world is more developed, life and death have more of an impact. On the other hand, if you've joined the site recently, do you find yourself looking at dozens of previous episodes and just thinking "Bugger that for a game of soldiers."?

And of course we all have one-offs and so forth. I'm not at all interested in a "group A is better than group B" argument, by the way: I only split three of the groups up like this because we tend to fall into those broad patterns (and I've not mentioned the several other groups represented on the site); but I certainly am interested in knowing how listeners react to the games we play and what sorts of things "tick the right boxes."

It's not market research, just my own idle curiosity :D (No salesman will call, etc.)
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#2 dkohaut

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:07 AM

I like the longer story arcs. I'm always sad when they are over.
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#3 BigJackBrass

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:12 AM

I like the longer story arcs. I'm always sad when they are over.

Hmm, so longer stories make you sad.... *scribbles notes* :wink:
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#4 Ieqo

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 10:32 AM

Hi, my name's Jon and I listen to far too much gaming audio :D

[in unison] Hi, Jon!

"Bugger that for a game of soldiers."?


I so need to invest in a British-to-English dictonary one of these days...*

I certainly am interested in knowing how listeners react to the games we play and what sorts of things "tick the right boxes."


For my own opinion, I love the short series for the more obscure games; listening to, as a random example, the Dogs in the Vineyard story enabled me to hear about a game of which I would otherwise have remained ignorant.

Also, its great to hear Martin GM for a few episodes, then Jon, then Ross, etc. You're all quite talented on both sides of the screen and I enjoy the rotation.

So having firmly pitched my tent in the Short Camp, let me say that its time for some more Traveller... :)


*yes I was able to parse the meaning without too much trouble, but with all the free shots y'all take at American English I have to take mine wherever I can. 8)
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#5 Bazorkin

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 10:41 AM

Short arcs, for me. Its enough to give me a flavor and to tell a story.
But, and here's where it gets thorny, I have to like the players and the GM. You can convince me to listen to forty nine episodes of a campaign if I like the players and the GM is a talented storyteller.
That said, I am willing to forgive on that condition a bit if its a new or beloved game that I want to hear.
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#6 MelkiorWhiteblade

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 11:16 AM

I tend to listen more for the humor and other interaction rather than crunchy game mechanics. So, there are certain things that transcend the type of game, short vs epic, that make it more interesting for me.

The Warlords of the Accordlands recordings are the ones I like the most though. I think that has to do with the player/character interactions.

However, I did just listen to the Paranoia recording from 20 Weeks and thought that was hilarious, and quite good. (I'll have to listen to Fin's game now)

So, character development, even in a short game, is important in my opinion.

I hope that helps you research, I mean idle curiosity. :wink:
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#7 Isis

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 02:34 PM

Either. Both. Depends. :)
Sorry, that's not very useful but it really does rely on which adventure I'm listening to.
The short one-offs (or two, three-offs) are great for running through a game I might never have heard of, and sometimes these are the sort of games which would probably only run well in short amounts ("So, episode 32 of the Secret Lives of the Gingerbread Men, and you're all looking really mouldy now...").
On the other hand the long campaigns can grow into complicated and involved adventures where you feel like you should have kept notes even though you're only listening to the audio. :D

So, Jon, tell us about this game you must be writing? ;)

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#8 Daniel

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 03:11 PM

For me I'm similar to miss Isis when it comes to comedy games. I would rather listen to one, or two games rather than entire campaigns.

When it comes to spralling adventures, like mister Whiteblade, I would rather "listen more for ... other interaction rather than crunchy game mechanics." If a recording was just the players realing off numbers to the GM with the occasional section of interaction I'd end u switching off. On the other hand if it was a game of moving, original and indepth characters interacting in a moving and dramatic way, with a descriptive GM -- Well I would never stop listening, even if the campaign was long finished.

Just my two-pence, but I am quite interested in why the questioning BigJack? I suppose while we're on the subject how would one go about applying to have a recording placed upon this site; I tend to record a lot of my games for referencing during aftergame hours so *shrugs*.

Danny
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#9 cursedimmortal

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 08:53 PM

For me it the long epic campaigns. In terms of coming in half way through it really doesn't bother me going back to the beginning of the campaign and listening from there, just means more content to listen to :P
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#10 BigJackBrass

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 02:47 AM

Why the questions? Genuinely, just interested. Although I have been tinkering on and off (off, mostly) with a game design this is nothing to do with that; nor do I intend to try to change the games we play based on the responses here.

I suppose what prompted the thread was realising just what a huge undertaking Warlords... has become. Nearly fifty episodes is pretty impressive! Speaking as someone who can't keep the plot straight for more than a session or two I'm surprised that it still works not just as a campaign for those involved but as something worth listening to, and I do listen to every episode. The various Whartson Hall games come about largely because we all have so many things we want to run, I think, and there's no set person to GM every game, although Martin and Weasel do the bulk of it.

So no, no ulterior motives here. Having a variety of different game types on the site is probably beneficial, since it does allow folks a good amount of choice without an inevitable investment of time, and I was simply wondering what games the wider listening public (i.e. not me) prefer.
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#11 Daniel

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 04:28 AM

Having a variety of different game types on the site is probably beneficial, since it does allow folks a good amount of choice without an inevitable investment of time


Aye and it allows us to listen to games in play without going out to buy them. Take WFRP for instance; I had always heard it to be lacking in areas but after listening to the recorded game last night I thoroughly enjoyed it and will no doubt go now to buy a copy to run it myself.

Danny
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#12 Hafwit

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 06:53 AM

I find that the shorter games are easier to get into, and I find it fun to listen to games run by GMs with different styles.
The variation in systems and settings is positive too. It showcases game I've not tried (like Tekumel), as well as how system influences the players' styles.

With the people over at yog-sothoth.com, I think it was different for me. The long campaigns become less audio game and more radio drama. The in-character stuff and plot take center stage. Another reson for this may be that CoC was my 'gateway drug', and thus hold few surprises for me, whereas I find it very interesting to see how Dogs in the Vineyard works.

Sorry about the big scramble of observations. I hope that I didn't came off sounding too dismissive of Hal's groups or the BAGgies. They're great too. :)
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#13 smithmeg

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 08:09 AM

I enjoy almost anything, as long as the players and DM also seem to be enjoying it. 8)

I really like the variety that the sorter seasons from Whartson Hall add - and it also seems to move the focus a little more onto the story rather than the characters. (It's a lot harder for characters in a short season to spend a whole session shopping :wink: ).

But I also really like getting to know and care about ongoing characters in the longer campaigns. And, a longer campaign tends to have more consequences for the actions of the characters, which can be a good thing.

It takes me a few episodes of any group to get to know the voices and have an idea of the people, but after that, if a group goes missing for a few weeks I really notice the absense (which seems to indicate that I'm so addicted it probably doesn't matter what I'm listening too :wink:). :D
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#14 Fox

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 01:24 AM

I personally like audio that has story arcs. Or something where characters can be developed and you can get to know them over time. I don't mind shorter arcs. I think the Whartson Hall gang have found what they are comfortable with and excel at doing it. I think you compliment the other audio series here and provide a really good look into different game systems.

You have always been a unique voice bringing visibility to the more niche games or genres that are out there. Case in point I loved the Traveller episodes you've done and I was thrilled when you revisited them for a second season. The superhero episodes of Truth and Justice are terrific. I think that exposure that you all collectively bring to the table is well, awesome. It's needed, not to wax or overly romanticize things, but almost a little necessary in a sort of perverse gaming-ecological sense. Which is why I think the Whartson Hall crew compliment the games run by Hal and by the BAG folks so incredibly well. :)

You give equal air time to indie games. You also spend time on forgotten favorites (Traveller) and also give some attention to not as "mainstream" genres in gaming like Pirates of The Spanish Maine. The only other time we get that diversity is when Hal or the BAG crew does a one-off. Having a consistant source of diversity is awesome. :)
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