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Game Night

Crothian

First Post
Game Night

How do gods spent there time? It is an interesting question and one that I am sure this is not exactly the answer to. But it is ia fascinating tales of some gods who sit down to role playing in the Allfather’s world. It is a creative way to have an alternative view on player characters and the game master. The book hooked me from the beginning with the characters on their world and the start of their adventure. The book slips between the narrative of the characters and the ones in the gods realm very seamlessly. This is the best work of gaming fiction I have ever read.

The book is written by Jonny Nexus and yes that a pseudonym. I also think it would serve as a great action hero name from some 1980’s movie. He is the writer behind Critical Miss. He also has a blog somewhere that is mentioned in the preface of the book though I’ve not read that. His Critical Miss stuff is good and should be read. But Game Night is his best work to date.

The novel follows the works of a mismatched adventuring group. The characters are clichés but after a few chapters the reader sees true depth to the characters. Well, except the Warrior who is an evil Paladin of some dark god. He’s pretty much what one expects for the whole book and it is nice to see the character not change. Most gamers know this type of gamer and even I have one of these guys in my own group. I thought about letting him read the book to see what he is like but I think it would just serve to give him more ideas.

As I said above the novel goes between the adventurers in their world and the gods in the over realm. This is a very cool way of showing how the two places differ and what the gods say the characters do. There is no meta game aspect from the point of the characters and I found this really neat as the author explains from their point of view what is happening even if it is a little weird for them. The characters will just know or get a feeling they have to do something without being able to explain and then we see it from the gods point of view where they are just trying to get the game moving along.

There is not a lot about the setting at the start. I assume it is more of a typical fantasy world but as the story goes on and secrets get revealed it is a lot different. It is a very creative world that has cool imagery attached to it. It really shows this is more then just a novel but ideas from someone who has come up with a setting for a RPGgame that is a lot more then it at first seems.

I am not going to put any spoilers about the book here. There are many points that are very funny and really ring true but they will be stronger if the reader comes across them in the context of the story first. I have seen on the net that some people were disappointed with the ended. I personally found it to be perfect and better then anything I was expecting. It is a familiar place for many Game Masters and it was just awesome way to end the book.

Game Night is defiantly a different kind of book. It is about gamer to an extent. Not all types are included here but I think most gamers will either see themselves or someone they know in this book. More then likely, as I did, many people will resemble the characters portrayed here. This is a well written book that made me laugh out loud more then a few times. It makes a great story and one that is easy to read and very entertaining.
 

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Deuce Traveler

Adventurer
I purchased this a few weeks ago, and finished it last Wednesday. I very much enjoyed it, although I would have liked it even more if the other male character who liked to overdo it on roleplaying was as dysfunctional as the Lady, the Sleeper, the Jester, or the Warrior. He actually wasn't all that bad of a player in my opinion. Otherwise, I felt it was really well done. Especially with the constant frustration of the DM. :)
 

Jonny Nexus

First Post
Deuce Traveler said:
I purchased this a few weeks ago, and finished it last Wednesday. I very much enjoyed it, although I would have liked it even more if the other male character who liked to overdo it on roleplaying was as dysfunctional as the Lady, the Sleeper, the Jester, or the Warrior. He actually wasn't all that bad of a player in my opinion. Otherwise, I felt it was really well done. Especially with the constant frustration of the DM. :)

Well firstly, it's really good to hear that you enjoyed it. It's what makes it all worthwhile - especially for this fragile-ego author! :)

As to the characters, it's always interesting to hear what people think of them. I didn't set out to make any better or worse than any others as such. Instead each represents a typical gaming archetype - with the possible exception of the Lady, who is more representative of the fact that women are underepresented in gaming, and thus tend to be identified (by the men) in terms of their gender.

But broadly what I was going for was:

* The Warrior: Power-crazed munchkin who wants to use the game to dominate the other players.

* The Jester: Guy who will never pass up the chance to make a joke, no matter how disruptive it might be to the game's reality and flow.

* The Dealer: Method roleplayer who puts faithfully roleplaying his character above everthing - including some "minor details" as the game's plot actually working.

* The Sleeper: Guy who has no interest in the game, and is only there to spend time with his friends.

* The Lady: Put upon lone woman who ends up reacting to the other players' attitudes towards her.

Now two questions I'm often asked are: "Are they based on people you know?" and "Which one is you?", the answers to which are no and neither, for the same reason. They're not based on anyone (including me) that I know. Instead, they're based on behaviours that people I know (and me) have exhibited.

I'm often the jester. I once said that if you're wanting to GM a game of Star Trek and you make the mistake of letting me play, you need to be aware that I will inevitably turn it into GalaxyQuest. (To be fair, if you're playing your captain very much in the James T Kirk as played by William Shatner mold, this is almost inevitable).

I'm sometimes the Sleeper, especially if it's a genre or story that doesn't grab me. I've had many, "Huh? What? Do you want me to roll?" moments.

And I'm very often the Dealer. I once bought what was supposed to be a dungeon, cash and magic heavy campaign to a grinding halt by creating a hippy ranger whose only motivation was to protect the forests. (Yes. Yes I was asking what my motivation was for going down a hole in the ground and slaughtering monsters.)

Which gets back to the theme of your post. All of the archetypes can be very distructive to play. In many ways there's nothing worse than a method roleplayer looking for a motivation, for whilst the jokester can just hold his tongue for a moment, and the munchkin can just go for a draw this once, a method roleplaying portrayal, once compromised, is compromised forever.

Of my characters, I think that the Dealer is the best roleplayer, but the Lady is the best player. By that, I mean that the Dealer's character is the best portrayed, but that the Lady is the player who's producing the happiest and most harmonious game for all participants.

But I wouldn't expect everyone to agree with me, and if they did, I'd consider that a failure on my part. There aren't supposed to be good and bad guys. They're supposed to be different, and different people should judge them differently according to their opinions of good and bad play. A friend of mine said he sympathised with the Warrior, on the grounds that he's just trying to play the game in the way that he enjoys, and the others keep on picking on him.

I'm not quite sure I'd agree personally, but as the writer I'm very glad that he saw that in the character. :)
 


Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
Well I finally got around to getting a copy of Game Night (it’s available on the Book Depository for a very reasonable price for international readers) and just finished it off today.

Overall I found it an ok read. Not great, but not bad either.

I found reading it pretty slow going at first and the writing style overall didn’t do a lot for me unfortunately. On a number of occasions I found it hard to figure out who was saying what (mainly in the OverRealm bits when 3-4 people are talking at once and their quotes aren’t attributed as “the Lady said” or something similar), which definitely was a drawback. There were a number of other times that I had to re-read certain passages to fully understand what was going on.

It also wasn’t until about three quarters of the way through the book that I actually realised that the gods weren’t just playing PC’s in a game, they were actually playing real people that existed in the AllFather’s world and that they were directly changing these peoples’ existence. Maybe it wasn’t clear enough or maybe I’m just a little slow. :D

However, despite all that, I enjoyed the story more as I got through the book. A couple of comments of Hill / the Jester had me literally laughing out loud towards the end of the book (a couple of the comments he made just after he was blinded). The Warrior/Draag just came across as a dick and I really wondered why the rest of the people were still playing with him. He really didn’t mesh with any of the others in the group at all. If I had a guy in my group that played like that he would be spoken to and asked to change his ways or shown the door. For an AllFather he sure did have a pretty poor control of the game (which I’m sure was intentional).

To be honest the ending left me a little cold. I can understand how it ended the way it did. However, even with the way the in-game adventure ended, I felt that there should have been a bit more “epilogue”, either from the Weshen perspective or from the Gods’ perspectives as to what happened after that. As it was the ending seemed a bit abrupt, like there were still another 20 or so pages that could have been written. It also left me wondering just exactly where the PC’s were meant to put the magical salve (or whatever it was they were supposed to administer). The “monkey” also felt underused to me and could have had a much bigger part in the story, especially towards the end.

As a whole I’d give the book 3 out of 5 stars.

Olaf the Stout
 



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