Easy Access, Deep Worlds

Bringing things back to roleplaying games, I have been thinking a lot about what my specific flavour of game might be. The short version is that I think I am (at least right now) all about easy access and deep worlds.

Easy Access

Easy access games, as a concept, came to me through the excellent “Open Table Manifesto” from The Alexandrian:

An open table needs a system that’s easy to access. This does not, it should be noted, necessarily mean a simple system. Rather, an easy access system is one which allows players to start playing quickly.

thealexandrian.net: open-table-manifesto-part-2-what-an-open-table-needs

Through all the years of gaming, I have focused a very great deal on introducing new people to this wonderful hobby. While there are many great games I have enjoyed over the years, only a small subset of those are really easy for new players to access.

At the most basic level, easy access is something a new player can easily grok. What it boils down to is a game with few dissociated mechanisms, quick character creation, and the ability to get a new player involved inside 30 minutes. Thus, increasingly, I am contemplating how best to get players involved using the principles of Open Table play.

Deep Worlds

Longer term play is my preference, even though I have a great deal of trouble on a personal level maintaining a long-term focus as a GM. Recent evidence points towards my so-called “grasshopper brain” actually being ADHD… and it has been a revelation to see just how much of my behaviour has been influenced by biology. But…

The greatest joys I have at the gaming table are in the worlds where I experience deeper levels of imaginative immersion both in character and within the fantasy realm itself. My primary drive is to explore, to discover, and to see what happens when these particular characters get involved in whatever stuff is going on.

Thus, I am trying to bring together my desire for depth and my drive for easy access. I believe that these two elements are compatible and my mission is to work out how best to marry them. Utilising methodological tricks from the classic dungeon crawl, hex crawl, and mystery game structures is proving fruitful. I’m finding techniques from the solo side of the hobby are also very useful.

As I go forward, I hope to share my struggles and discoveries with those of you who are similarly looking for deep worlds but easy access to them. Perhaps, along the way, you’ll be able to show me a few tricks from your own experiences too. The main thing is that we move further into creating the kind of game we can all feel pride in sharing and joy in playing.

Game on!


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