Reflective Writing

Beach Weekend the Fifth

I recently returned from Delaware where I spent a long weekend with old friends playing games and drinking beer. As the title indicates this is the fifth such trip, having kicked off this tradition in 2012.

I have plenty to write about the games, and will go into them in more detail once my brain is more awake/recovered/caffeinated. In summary, though:

  1. Age of Rebellion, a continuation session
  2. Cyberpunk 2020, a one-shot
  3. Interface Zero 2.0, conclusion of a long-running campaign
  4. Dark Heresy, introduction to a long-running campaign
  5. Paranoia, a one-shot
  6. Force and Destiny, introduction to a long-running campaign
  7. Dungeon World, a one-shot

Yeah, seven games in six systems (Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny have the same mechanical underpinnings). We’re a little nuts like that.

Beach Weekend has helped show me a lot about adult friendship, through keeping my connections with a group of friends alive over a long period of time while at the same time slowly injecting new blood as well. I haven’t written about it at length, but this gaming group has been a bit of a crazy ride, one which I mulled over recently when we tried to list all the games we’ve run over the years.

The first core of our gaming group met my freshman year of college when the college’s chapter of White Wolf’s Camarilla Society threw a D&D one-shot as an introductory social. We all came for the D&D and none of us stayed with the group after that first meeting. As a result, a group of six of us decided not to return and instead form their own group. We started playing D&D, and had one additional member join us early that semester. The next semester we switched to GURPS and had another member join. The core group wasn’t complete until we had a third join in sophomore year which brought us up to 9, and we had three other members come in intermittently over the next three years.

What’s crazy to me, though, is the genesis of the current iteration of the group. Among the craziness of all the other things that happened in college, I had forgotten about my experience in senior year, where I almost left the group for good. Towards the end of junior year, I had broken up with my girlfriend who happened to be a member of the gaming group. When I returned to school the next year, I was burned out for multiple reasons and declined to join the next several games. I took the entirety of the fall semester off and joined the game being played in spring semester half-heartedly. It was only thanks to a play-by-post that was started that summer that I stayed in the loop and finally remembered that I missed gaming.

In January of 2010, I posted to our internal forum about using VoIP for gaming. We first played on February 27th. At the time no standalone software could actually support 6 of us talking at once, so the first campaign took place on a TeamSpeak channel hanging off of a server belonging to one of the player’s World of Warcraft guilds. We switched to Skype in the second half of the first campaign.

Through online, we have brought in three new regulars, bringing the total number of people who have been involved in this group in a consistent way at some point up to 15. Of those 15, 13 have either played a game online with us or come down to Delaware with us. That’s pretty extraordinary. We’ve been gaming together nearly 11 years, and playing online for over six.

We’re going to see how the group holds up, now that marriages and children are starting to get mixed in. But after over ten years of gaming and five years of a new tradition, I think we have a very strong foundation.

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3 thoughts on “Beach Weekend the Fifth

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