We’ve talked here before about the worst game sessions we’ve ever presided over as GM. I don’t think this one was my worst ever but it was certainly my worst in recent memory — my worst ever playing Dungeon World, for sure — and it was at a big table of eager players during a primetime slot of a grand gaming venue, Games On Demand, on of the four best days in gaming, at Gen Con 2013. I’m so embarrassed.
For context, Gen Con marked my fourth straight week of traveling, appearances, readings, and conventions. I was real tired. This is no excuse for providing eager gamers with a weak-sauce experience, if that’s what it indeed was, but I mention it so we’ll all understand that I was not at my best.
Beyond that, Saturday night at Games On Demand is like playing a game in a thunderstorm — swells of noise made it all but impossible for me to hear more than one of my players at a time. When I would lean in to hear from one player, the others would understandably make talk amongst themselves and decide on a course of action on their own. Add that to the diverse and sometimes incompatible interests of the various players and their characters, and we had a table in need of a GM who could hear everyone, who could wrangle creative agendas, who could inspire common goals.