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Author Topic: So, I fired my gaming group...  (Read 3962 times)

Master of the Game

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So, I fired my gaming group...
« on: January 22, 2010, 10:20:12 AM »
After the last in a long line of bad games I decided to email my players after our game Wednesday that I wouldn't be running our weekly Wednesday night game any more.  Since they're friends I've tried to remain fairly positive about it, and when asked I take the wimpy way out and say it's probably temporary, but the fact is, the farther I am removed from the situation, the more sure I am that I don't feel that way.

This is a long-term group, or at least it was.  Most of us had been playing together for years, but over the last six months or so we've had one shake up after another.  Fighting between players cost us two player who started issuing ultimatums about who could and couldn't play, so they were asked to leave.

We replaced them with a new guy, causing one more to leave, when we found out the new guy was having an affair with one of the girl's in the group who was married.  We asked both of them to leave because we didn't want to be a part of their lie, but a couple months later I got talked into letting them back in by the other players after they found out she had left her husband.

And of course right away they split up, breaking up the group again.

To make a long a sordid tale somewhat shorter, as of a couple weeks ago we were down to two players.  One who complains about everything, and one who takes nothing seriously.

Throughout all of this I've been struggling to stay interested in the game.  I haven't been putting any work into it, and basically just lost all interest with all the drama.  Once we were down to the two I decided to redouble my effort.  I started looking for new players and spent hours on prep trying to get us back on track.

Wednesday we tried to start the new campaign, and as a bit of a surprise one of our old players that had to leave last year decided to rejoin us.  He's married to one of the other players (she who complains), heard her talking about it, and got really excited.

So, a solid start, a great gamer returned, offering some solid leadership and another warm body, and an intriguing new system we all wanted to try (WHFRP 3e).  Seemed like things were going well.

Then we got started and the complainer spent the whole game sulking and not paying attention, and the goof off spent the session trying to convince the other players to kill their patron and take his gold.

By the time they left I was frustrated enough, but before I went to bed I got an IM from the returning player saying his wife forbid him from rejoining since she finds his personality and leadership too intimidating.

This is a common complaint of hers, and has caused friction before.  She basically feels like anyone who takes charge or speaks up forces her to withdraw.  This time though, it was her husband, who felt obliged to leave when she asked him to.

So yeah, I gave up.

I sent them an email that night telling them I was dropping out, which basically kills any chance the group has, since I'm the only GM.

Now, for my part I actually have two more games that I run on Skype, which isn't the same as table-top, but will hold me over until I rebuild, but I'm not entirely sure what to do about the other two players.  I'd feel guilty excluding them, and they're really not bad with a full group to take the edge off, but I'm not sure if there's any salvaging it right now.

Anywho, not really sure what I hoped to get out of this thread, but I needed to get it off my chest, and they've all been friends for a long time, so we have the same network of friend, same twitter contacts, same facebook....  There's no way to talk about it without pissing them off or hurting feelings, so I came here to vent :)
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Appollyon

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 11:35:36 AM »
I know this was said on a gaming podcast I listen to, and it's good advice.  This is a hobby.  If I'm spending hours on a hobby that I am not enjoying, changes have to be made.  Sure sounds like you did the right thing.  If they are your friends, I'm sure there are things that can be done with them (Wii bowling, DDO night, poker, etc) so as to make them feel less like this is a personal attack on them, and more of a choice about how you spend time with them.

Hang in there.
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Luke

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 01:46:55 PM »
Breaking up with a gaming group is hard, but like Appollyon said, this is supposed to be fun. If all you're getting out of gaming is frustration then it's time for a change.

You got out of a situation where you weren't having fun and it looks like you managed to not hurt anyone's feelings.  I'd count that as a win.  Just a matter of time until you find another group.
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paul.

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 02:38:39 PM »
I definitely agree with both Appollyon and Luke. And to a decent degree, it sounds like you just had a crumby group. Marriages repeatedly breaking up a group sounds maddening.

However, I'm going to go out on an icy, unstable limb:
Did you consider being firmer with your group? When you pitch a campaign to them, also pitch table rules/tone that you're seeking. I know this can be an uncomfortable path that leads to confrontation with stubborn people, so I can see why you'd skip this, but I thought I'd mention it.

Regarding the player who never takes anything seriously: Are you sure this is really what's happening? If I were playing a game in which the group is in constant flux and the only remaining co-pc was someone who complained all the time and the GM wasn't having fun, I'd be first in line to dismantle the game for a laugh. Maybe that makes me a dick, but that also makes me someone who is aware that he's playing a game, and doing it for fun.

However, it's possible this player would respond better to a different type of game. If you're playing a very linear and serious campaign, maybe something that's more sandboxy would do the trick. That could also be what your whiny player needs. If you put it on them to make the story, choose sides, and so forth; then they have control over fixing what they're complaining about or the tone that's too serious, etc.

That's just one of a hojillion options.

You know your players better than anybody here does. So I'm just throwing stuff out there. Escaping a group that's a headache is a respectable thing. But you might be able to keep the group and avoid the headache by game mastering for your players instead of building a campaign you think is awesome in a vacuum. It's obvious that Goof Off is going to screw around. And while if a player wants to break a game, there's little to do to stop it, there's a lot you can do to help that player have fun instead of just hoping he won't act out.

Things like that can also invest the players in a way that they'll share the experience instead of just being selfish by complaining or dismantling. And it can invest them in a way that they might become interested in GMing, too. There are definite lost causes, but sometimes it's the game or style that's the cure.

StingRay

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 03:51:02 PM »
Did you consider being firmer with your group? When you pitch a campaign to them, also pitch table rules/tone that you're seeking. I know this can be an uncomfortable path that leads to confrontation with stubborn people, so I can see why you'd skip this, but I thought I'd mention it.

I've had problem groups before, and I've tried laying down the law on a few occasions in them.  It never worked.  If I was taken seriously at all, it was only for the one session where I said, "This needs to change."  By the next session, it was back to business as usual.

I eventually had to stop inviting the goof-off.  I actually had two different versions, and they would derail every game and every idea, no matter how I tried to engage them.  Once they weren't coming, my games ran a smoothly and everyone had more fun.

I'm not a fan of kicking people out of groups, or intentionally not inviting someone, but it's hard to argue with the results. 
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Master of the Game

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2010, 02:35:44 PM »
Thanks all, for both listening to my pointless rant, and helpful responses.

Did you consider being firmer with your group? When you pitch a campaign to them, also pitch table rules/tone that you're seeking. I know this can be an uncomfortable path that leads to confrontation with stubborn people, so I can see why you'd skip this, but I thought I'd mention it.

Your absolutely right here, and I'm terrible about pushing it.  I'm really bad about letting myself get talked into game choices that I don't want to make, and that clearly has a negative effect on our group.

Quote
Regarding the player who never takes anything seriously: Are you sure this is really what's happening? If I were playing a game in which the group is in constant flux and the only remaining co-pc was someone who complained all the time and the GM wasn't having fun, I'd be first in line to dismantle the game for a laugh. Maybe that makes me a dick, but that also makes me someone who is aware that he's playing a game, and doing it for fun.

Oh, that's probably the case, but the net effect on the game is really the same.  I'm pretty sure he could be salvageable with the right group.

Thanks for talking it through with me.  Venting about it really helps the frustration level, which really needed to come down before I could think about rebuilding at all.
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Luke

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2010, 09:56:22 PM »
Thanks all, for both listening to my pointless rant, and helpful responses.


Pointless? Hardly.  Besides the relief of venting, you gave us this week's topic!
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Appollyon

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 11:43:08 AM »
We also touched on it in this week's KitDB.
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Master of the Game

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 07:49:28 AM »
Always glad to be of assistance :)
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Yog Sothothery

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 10:08:45 AM »
i was in your almost in your shoes about three or four years ago. replace wife with girlfirends and that was my old group. the only big diffrance was they had more then one DM.

everyone already give some good advice.

i'd add if you want to stay friends try to down play it all. i'm sure after awhile someone else in the group will get the bug to game and try there hand at dming. don't lie to them but also be firm with them if they ask you to run for them again. the group i was with still has yet to change. they still run the same game they still have the same drama going on and not a one are having fun gaming.  

how i handled it was i told them i was having no fun, there is too much crap and high school bs drama. needless to say i was the one that got kicked out of the group. i also got booted from the group of friends but thats another story. i pointed out the the rest of the group that two people where making the games almost unplayable at best. everyone agreed with me but as it turned out after 12 years of friendship and gaming with them, some girl having only been gaming with us for a year had more influance. but this girl also got one of the guys to leave his pregnant fiance a week before the wedding.

all in all it was hard at first leaving. but looking back at it all i am with a amazing group now and having a blast. i also have a new group of stable friends that i can really count on.

i'm there for you if you need any moral support or just need to talk to someone in private.

on another note did you like the 3ed edition of warhammer fantasy?  

 

Master of the Game

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2010, 08:13:38 AM »
I appreciate it, I broke down yesterday and posted some adds looking for new players.  I'm not quite ready to get started yet, but I thought it might be a good idea to put some feelers out.

Really I don't regret doing it, I just hate the position it has put me in, and I REALLY hate recruiting new players.

As for Warhammer, I really enjoyed it, or what of it we played before the breakup.  There are some really good ideas in there, and it does a lot of the same things D&D 4e tried to do, only better.  It lacks the tactical depth, but is soooo much easier and faster in play.
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Eichlos

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 11:46:36 AM »
While I've never actually fired my group, I have watched a gaming group dissolve and reform every two to three months.  The reason would be me.  I am my groups only GM and when I hit burn out I go find something else to do.  Without me the group dies on the table.  When I feel like putting the GM pants back on the group reforms, sometimes with more or less people than before. 

Overall I'm going to have to agree with Appollyon and sundry, if you weren't having fun gaming then don't do it.  As for the down playing the situation with your old group, be honest with them.  If they were your friends outside of gaming nights they should understand, and if they weren't then I have to ask, why were you gaming with them?

chris_eats_brains

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Re: So, I fired my gaming group...
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2010, 09:46:09 AM »
 Well I fired my old GM which is the reverse of your topic. He was arrogant, selfish, argumentative and loud and thought of nothing but the game and  barely considered his player's feelings or thoughts outside of gaming. When my son was born he didn't congraulate me and when I showed a picture of my girlfrien at the table to everyone who asked to see it he looked at it and handed it back with any comment save a shrug.  He would say I want you to tell me when I am being an obnoxious douche because he respected honestly and then when I told him he was disrespecting me or others to the side he would blow up. I walked away from him when I had  too much. He commited suicide last year in October after he walked away from the group for nearly two years before so I supposed in hindsight it was a mutual firing or parting of ways. I never realized undernaeth the anger and resentment just how unhappy with his life that he actually was as I thought about it. It made me think that it is better to retain good friendships than game if it comes to a chocie between the two. And that effective communication is key in all relationships whether it be arounfd or outside the table. Toxicity builds if it isn't addressed and can result in huge blowouts that see the demise of  groups.
You will find a new group eventually. The key is to that when you do to be open in your communication with them
and to cultivate a mutual respect with each other so that you build good currency for a lasting gaming relationship.