We had a good sized turn out on Thursday, which meant that were able to get three games going at once. Sometimes, especially during the winter months, we only get 4 - 6 people, which is kind of lame. If there are only enough people to play one game, and most of them are hot to play Turnips and Taxis or Cleopatra and the Society of Accountants , it's pretty much the bone. Either play or leave.
Notre Damned was tossed out as a suggestion. My heart leaped with joy when among the chorus of eager I'll plays, I heard a couple of emphatic Noes. Red had brought Top Race, which he had just received in the mail and was eager to play. I was dubious at first, as I tend to find most racing games tedious. However, the cars were cute, you got paid in Ass Dollars, and Red assured me that there was no downshifting, so I decided to give it a try.
Top Race turned out to be good fun. There was much blocking and moaning. I'm now tempted to get a copy of Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, which Red tells me is essentially the same game. I think this is one the band boys would like and it is easy enough for a drummer to learn.
RoboRally was next. We had two newbies and one veteran RR lover. My house rule with RR newbies is that if they decide they hate the game, or feel that it has gone on too long, or they are getting frustrated, they can quit. No questions asked. That's the beauty of games with player elimination. Typically someone can quit without significantly impacting the game. A lot of people don't know what they are getting into with RR, and having someone be miserable for an hour or more is not the point of gaming. The RR veteran pointed out that RoboRally was the kind of game that if you liked it, you could happily play some arcane course for 5 hours, but if you don't like it, the game can't end soon enough.
The RR veteran set up the perfect course of his own design. The course was challenging enough, without being frustrating. There was some strategy involved in making decisions regarding when to archive. There were plenty of opportunities for power ups, which makes the game fun. And finally it lasted exactly the right length of time. Although one of the newbies caught some bad breaks, and was rather frustrated, he didn't quit or moan about the game. The other newbie totally got into the game, adding sound effects when moving and shooting. It was such a pleasure to play RR with folks who really like it.
That's the real key to a good game session. Playing with people who are enjoying themselves.