I’m a firm believer in that where you play, is as important as what you play, when you are looking to have a good time. I’ll be the first to admit that in the case of our gaming group, we have probably the worst playing environment ever.
We play in my dining room, and off the top,the lighting is really bad. Really, really bad. Also, people usually start trickling in around 7:30-ish, which is fairly close to the time I get home from work. In it of itself, that’s not a bad thing, but I have two little ones (5, and 2) and they get pretty hyperactive when daddy gets home. This, combined with the arrival of “the nerds” as my kid calls my friends, along with my kids’ fascination with dice and minis make for a rowdy start to the session.
My wife, bless he heart, tries her hardest to give me my space, but I know it isn’t easy. So sometimes in the middle of a narration or a PC’s turn at combat, I get called to help with something usually dealing with the kids. That’s fine, I get it, parenting doesn’t stop for D&D, nor does it happen in a vacuum, so I have little choice but to stop the game for a bit and go help.
Are you asking yourself why we only play here? Well, most of the group is probably in the same spot as I am in life, while the other few that aren’t don’t really have the space to accommodate our larger group. Plus, for me it’s easier to be home than to travel with the maps, minis, and tiles that I use.
Is there a solution? Not likely. I’m in a situation that involves a hectic work schedule, a busy family life, and gaming somewhere in between. At this point, I take what I can get when it comes to D&D. If it involves playing in a less than ideal environment, so be it. I can only imagine that as my kids get older, my schedule will free up a bit, and perhaps alternatives will open up.
So what do you say? How’s your gaming environment? Are you like me, or have you found gaming nirvana?