Dec 302010

Resolutions or not, here’s your mission in 2011:

Play More. Run More. Share More.

Sounds simple, and it is simple, but just because something is simple does not mean it’s easy.

Play More because playing more makes you happy, and your happiness is important. Own that, make time for it, make it a priority, and engage the people who are a part of your life in this mission. Be honest that it’s about your happiness, and ask them how you can help them with THEIR happiness by finding ways so that they can Play More too.

Run More because the biggest enemy of Play More is inertia, and everyone is looking for the guy to run the game they want to play as the way to beat that inertia. If you’re looking for that guy too and nobody’s stepping up, you’re that guy. And other people will be that guy, too, but you’ve gotta get the ball rolling. Do it.

Share More because our hobby is social, and is only improved by putting more energy into the social side of it. If you love a game, show other people why. Organize an event at your local game store. And importantly, play with people you don’t play with right now.

That last bit, in a lot of ways, has been the lynchpin in my recent revitalization of my own gaming. It might be in yours. It was a big block: I had a lot of time going on where gaming wasn’t happening and, yes, some of it was because I was “busy” (I had to make time for it), and some of it was because I was waiting for that guy to run it (I was that guy), but more than anything I was wanting gaming to happen with the same people that it’s always happened with … and the reality was that within that small circle our schedules were just not working out. Breaking past that sacred-cow barrier in my thinking about my own gaming is what limbered up the rest.

Your situation might be different. You might have a different sacred-cow barrier. Be merciless in identifying that cow and shipping it off to the meat plant. It’s standing between you and your happiness, your deeper satisfaction with your hobby, and through you it’s shaving off just a little of the vitality of your hobby itself. The solution is simple, but that simple solution is going to take a little work. Identify that work. Comment below and tell me what that work will be for you.

Then get off the damn computer and do the damn work.

Your year will look all the brighter for it.

Feb 122010

What it all comes down to is what Russell Crowe as John Nash was on about in A Beautiful Mind.  Watch this clip — it’ll only take a few minutes — then come back:

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Feb 102010

This is nominally the next part in my rambling about the elements of community building.  This time I’d like to talk about the value of the personal connection.

The good news here is that I’m not suggesting that you, the community “organizer”, are obligated to make a personal and direct connection with each and every member of your community.  In fact, if your community is active and thriving, you can’t.  (Not strictly true — in some circumstances, you could, but it would be a full-time activity and that’s all you’d be doing. So for our discussion’s purposes, we’ll call that close enough to “can’t” for the assertion to stand.)

The trick, inasmuch as there’s a trick, is to engage in behaviors that makes it seem like you’re making that personal connection anyway.

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Feb 082010

I’ve seen a few people ask me how I build communities. Most of what I do relative to communities that I’ve been in a nominal leadership role with just seems to proceed from natural instinct.  I’ve tried to deconstruct this in the more distant past, but it’s a topic worth revisiting, even if I’m not completely convinced that I’m actually doing that much in the way of direct building.  A big part of this has been good timing combined with grabbing onto something big and powerful and hanging on (ala Jim Butcher’s career in its earlier stages, or the preexisting Fudge community when we started running our yaps about Fate).

But that doesn’t mean I can’t dig into it at least a little.  Today, I’m going to talk about managing your critical mass and using it to power your community.

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