I recognize that at RPGamer, tabletops simply do not get the attention they deserve. It is shameful that this is the case, but truth be told, it is always hard to find someone who would constantly love to discuss tabletops each month. With our lack of Saving Throw columnist, it has gotten me thinking about where tabletops have gone over the last few years.
It's no surprise that you can find podcasts for just about anything. Amazingly enough, there is an insane number of podcasts devoted to tabletop gaming. While console gaming is more out in the open, tabletop gaming is back in the closet when it use to be something years ago that reflected our geek-cred. It is far more difficult to find people who play tabletop games than it is to find someone who is into console gaming.
Years ago I was a hardcore player of tabletop games. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was my drug. That was until I got my first D&D stalker, which then caused me to stop playing tabletops all together. It was not until my second year of university that I would encounter tabletops again. It was my boyfriend, now of three years and then just a freshman, who introduced me back into a world that I had long forgotten. I was immersed back into a world I use to know, only everything I once knew about AD&D 2nd Edition was replaced with 3.5 rules. I had been gone long enough to realize that what I use to know about Dungeons and Dragons was suddenly different. I had to relearn rules, and even now I still find myself getting completely confused with the amount of things I need to add into every roll. Thankfully, I still haven't touched 4th Edition, because I know the confusion would be even greater than what I already suffer.
I had the recent opportunity to participate in a Savage Worlds game, and to my surprise, I fell in love with the simplicity of the combat system. Although we played with some ready-made characters, many of the participants found themselves wanting to keep the character sheets at the end of the games. New friends were made, and new games were tested. It allowed me to understand tabletop gamers a lot better, and I realized that in order to achieve good harmony in a game, you have to allow people to contribute to the ongoing story. This is what I love most about tabletop games: every player gets to contribute his or her own piece to the campaign. Whether it is character quirks, or new and inventive ways to handle a tough situations, players shape the story. You cannot get more interactive than that!
Still, it is a shame to see that tabletop games struggle to compete with console RPGs. However, trying to co-ordinate a group session also proves difficult, and having multiple sessions where nothing happens tends to be problematic. But, with some love and good organization, I believe anything is possible. For those who have never played a tabletop game, do yourself a favor, and try them out. Even if it's playing through a forum, or looking into games being hosted in your area – try them. You may find yourself entering a world where possibilities are endless – unless the GM says otherwise.