Ok, so let’s start with the basics. If you are a non-procrastinator, useful and contributing member of society you can skip this post and past onto the next one. If you are like me (that being the opposite of what I just mentioned) you need to be briefed about this simple, yet tricky, rules on how to affront a game session.
Ok so the first one is pretty straight forward. You will need some details if you want to prepare anything at all in order to make this session memorable. Whether you are going to serve food and drinks or just plan to play one of those 5 hour long please-don’t-talk-to-me-while-I’m-planning-my-next-move sessions, you need to know a few things. Basically it all comes to who is going to attend, what game(s) will you play and if you are serving food and beverages. This way you have time to prepare things as trivial as the number of chairs at your game table, cook (I’ll post recipes, don’t worry) or order take out, or put in the freezer a couple more beers (note that beer is the universal word we’ll use to express beverage, but on future posts you’ll see that it is not the only option). If you are going to play a game with a long setup you might want to do so before your guests arrive or if you are the GM on your usual RPG party, you might want to use the terrain to your advantage to immerse players into scene the moment they arrive. That’s a cool thing to do.
This might take some thought, especially if you are not familiarized with your guest’s pet peeves. Usually there might be friction concerning smoking, allergies or fears. As the host, your main role is that everyone leaves thinking they want to repeat the experience, so the more comfortable they are the happier they’ll leave. Beware of food allergies, it can always be something we usually don’t think about, but is a great deal for those who have them. Same goes with pets, you might think they are a delight, but some people have real problems dealing with them, especially those with allergies. If they want to smoke but you have a strict no indoors smoking policy that’s perfectly fine, in fact you make it easier for those guests that are uneasy alongside smokers (myself, as an asthmatic, for example). Nevertheless, there is no reason for the smoker to feel like a renegade. Offering an ashtray (having one to begin with) and pointing the nearest smoking area is the gentlegeek way (see what I did there? I used the blog’s title on a sentence. I’m awesome).
After planning ahead and having prepared for any circumstance you will find that nothing goes according to plan and you can’t prepare for everything. So don’t lose your nerve and be creative at problem solving. You know how to do it; you’ve played a lot of games and they’ve prepared you to evaluate the situation and act according to a strategy. Don’t be rude at your guests just because they are not following the plan. Sometimes people change their minds or don’t feel like doing something, respect that. Remember the basics: Stop. Breathe. Think. Act. It’s all about having a good time, and that begins with you.