Reading vs Playing? "Lonely Fun" and Limited Time in the Hobby. (+)

Do you have time to play all the games and TTRPG products in your library?

  • I don't buy a gaming product unless I have time to fully use it

    Votes: 5 14.3%
  • Even gaming products I don't fully use are helpful as sources of inspiration for my game

    Votes: 18 51.4%
  • I would like to play and use more of the games on my shelf, but sadly don't have the time

    Votes: 17 48.6%
  • I buy TTRPGs just to read them

    Votes: 9 25.7%
  • I *mostly* engage with the hobby through other means, like watching actual plays or making OCs

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Other (specify in comments)

    Votes: 3 8.6%

I love TTRPGs, but I am able to play, at most, two or three times per month, with online sessions lasting two hours. But I keep buying new games, which means I have a growing list of games, adventures, settings, zines, etc that are gathering literal or figurative dust.

This is of course not a new development in the TTRPG hobby, which is relatively time-intensive, and requires a stable, interested group of friends who can work out scheduling issues, balancing game night with other "important" activities like having a job or raising children. Further, some people like buying games just to read them, perhaps to use as inspiration for a game they do end up playing in, or maybe just out of interest.

So the question of this thread is, do you have time to use the gaming products you purchase? If not, do you keep buying games even if you have no time to play them? Why or why not?

(+): This is a (+) thread because I'm not judging any particular mode of engagement, I'm just curious. For example, perhaps you enjoy buying and reading setting books as works of fiction, even if you don't play in those worlds; that's great!

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Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I've bought some games and books that I don't intend to use directly, but can utilize otherwise. I have a lot of GURPS Supers, V&V, SAS and other just to convert or steal ideas for the Champions game I was running.

Now I buy every game using the Cypher system, just in case setting ideas grab me or mechanical bits I can steal are in there, but I tend to also love to read them.
 

MGibster

Legend
These days, I don't purchase a game book unless I think I'm likely to use it for gaming. Sometimes I make a miscalculation and don't end up playing it though. I bought Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing 2nd edition and a few splatbooks more than a decade ago and I'm never going to play it. I own Rogue Trader and won't ever try to play it again because it's a terrible game.

Back in the 1990s, it seemed to me like a lot of games were produced with the primary purposes of being read for entertainment rather than used for gaming. I think the metaplots which were prevalent at the time lent themselves to reading for entertainment. Like a soap opera.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
There is also the creation of options, settings, adventures, characters, entire games, supporting fiction, and probably other stuff, that don't actually get used or seen much by others.

There is also also actually solo tabletop gaming.

I love TTRPGs, but I am able to play, at most, two or three times per month, with online sessions lasting two hours. But I keep buying new games, which means I have a growing list of games, adventures, settings, zines, etc that are gathering literal or figurative dust.

This is of course not a new development in the TTRPG hobby, which is relatively time-intensive, and requires a stable, interested group of friends who can work out scheduling issues, balancing game night with other "important" activities like having a job or raising children. Further, some people like buying games just to read them, perhaps to use as inspiration for a game they do end up playing in, or maybe just out of interest.

Two to three times per month is fine. And people do have different preferences, sometimes we like doing this stuff.

Games do play different then they read, and home-brew content even more so. Fortunately its easier to play than ever before.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I voted other...
I buy a lot more than I can run.
The biggest problem isn't the time, but...
  • willing players with the time
  • adequate brainpower to learn and teach an new game
  • ideas that work with the game's setting.
I buy games for several reasons
  • Setting information as a recreational read
  • comparative game design analysis. (I used to write reviews back when Social Media meant MySpace... and MySpace allowed hosting one's blog...)
  • Intent to play a setting I'm interested in
  • (Rarely) to be the source for a port
  • Sometimes, I buy PDF to reward authors of things I bought used...

I bought several bundles just for reading...
  • The WOIN Judge Dredd I got because the price was good, and I was curious to see WOIN mechanics, and I'm a Dredd Fan. I don't plan on running it, but if my established players want me to, I'll run it. It has, however, improved my image of WOIN ... the limited previews prior released free didn't do much to get me interested.
  • The Warhammer FRP 2E bundle I bought for one PDF... the 1E PDF. Annoyingly, it's not through DTRPG...
  • I got the Palladium FRP 1E bundle for reading... I'm likely to port the setting to one of the universals I've got - either Genesys or EABA.
  • I got the EABA bundle because I was curious to see what survived playtest... (I dropped from that playtest because I didn't have time.) It also said "CORPS 3E" - and I was hoping CORPS would have been an update of the 2E mechanics... nope. CORPS 3E is the 1E setting redone for EABA. (Sigh.)
Bought for play...
  • I got in on the Vaesen KS because it sounded like something I wanted to run. My players too too murderhobo an approach. And work schedule changes resulted in a campaign close. (Not my work.)
  • I got in on Alien - love it. Ran it from the previews, am running it now for a buddy and his group, using the gorgeous dead tree.
  • I got in on TOR 2E because I've not previously been dissapointed by Free League's games... I ran it from the playtest, and didn't like the direction they went... but I'm still waiting for the dead tree to arrive.
  • Sentinel Comics I got the preview pack, ran it... loved it, got in on the (year late) kickstarter... have run a campaign of it. Great game.

Too many good games.

Can't run them all. But damnit, I'm going to try!
 
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I primarily buy games in PDF, and some of them I purchase just because they look interesting; while there are some I'd like to try out that may never happen, there are others I'd never expect to run (and, well, honestly, I'm old enough it'd be impossible to get a campaign in of even a majority in the time I've got left).
 

payn

Legend
I like setting books physical for reading, but prefer rules in PDFs. I buy things I intend to run, but often dont know when that will happen. Sometimes its years from purchase. How often I do this varies and sometimes I dont buy much at all, and sometimes I buy frequently.
 

I suppose I'm also wondering if these different modes of engagement affect how rpg products are written. That is, perhaps some products (adventure paths, for examples) are written expecting that many of the readers might never play through the adventure.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I suppose I'm also wondering if these different modes of engagement affect how rpg products are written. That is, perhaps some products (adventure paths, for examples) are written expecting that many of the readers might never play through the adventure.
There's no doubt - several authors have noted that effect. What sells best isn't usually what plays best.

Just looking at Monte Cook's offerings - the system's pretty light, and the books are more setting than game.
Or the layout of D&D 5E campaigns - they're full of prose descriptions rather than terse statements of the AD&D era.
 

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