3 min read

What's the Point in Gaming?

“What’s the point?”
What's the Point in Gaming?

At the end of a recent game session, we sat around chatting for a bit as you do. Talk inevitably turned to character concepts and what people were planning on playing next (if/when they die or fancy a change).

One of the players was enthusiastically telling us all about his next character. He’d decided to drink deeply from the multi-classing well and was planning a—wait for it—fighter/cleric/monk/rogue/sorcerer (at 5th-level!) One of the other chaps blurted out—rather harshly, I thought—, “What’s the point?” This rather took the wind out of the first player’s sails.

But luckily, I had the answer, and even more luckily, the answer was tremendously simple. (Which is good, because I like to Keep it Simple as you may know).

The answer is: to have fun.

And Gary Gyax Agrees With Me!

It’s pretty much that simple. Sure, gaming can be challenging. Sometimes it can be frustrating. Sometimes you want to crush your dice into dust, load them into a cannon and fire them into the heart of the sun. But the objective is—or should always be—to have fun.

I think sometimes we forget that. In our rush to optimise or to complete the quest, crush the villain or sack the dungeon we sometimes forget we are there to have fun.

  • Who cares if the plot isn’t moving along as fast as it could be if everyone is having fun?
  • Who cares if the players are having more fun roleplaying in the town than delving in the dungeon if everyone is having fun?
  • Who cares if the GM got a rule wrong if everyone is having fun (and no one died as a result)?

The point of the game is to have fun. But more than that, the point of the game is for everyone to have fun. Fun can sometimes be hard work (like anything that’s worthwhile), but superior players (and GMs) keep this in mind above all other things.

It’s your responsibility to have fun and to make sure everyone else has fun.

Of course, characters will have different personalities and often they’ll argue between themselves (normally when it’s time to divide up the treasure and everyone wants a certain item). But these are relatively minor issues in the grand scheme of things.

However, sometimes larger problems develop. For example, here are some things that are absolutely not fun. If you are doing any of these, please stop:

  • You argue over a rule that ultimately has so little bearing on the game it’s not even funny. Eventually, you win the argument because no one else cares and you get to move a whole extra 5 ft. This is an excellent way to spend 20 minutes.
  • You berate other players for their actions because they stop you doing what you want to do. (Not that you ever bother to tell them what it is you want to do). Clearly your fun is more important than their’s and they should get out of your way. Even better than this is when you think you are in charge and you get annoyed when no one follows your commands.
  • You deliberately create a character that hates members of a certain race or culture. There is a member of that race or culture already in the party. Because it’s what "your character would do", you withhold healing or other important assistance from the character you hate.

As I hurtle to the end of this post (or possibly rant) I realise I’ve used almost 600 words to talk about something so basic and foundational to the hobby that everyone should just get it.

But, just in case, you still aren’t 100% certain what the point of gaming is I’ll say it again:

The purpose of gaming is for EVERYONE at the table to have fun. Everything else is of secondary importance.

What Do You Think?

Am I fool? Should fun be subsumed in the relentless pursuit of shiny, shiny treasure and lovely, lovely XP? Sign up for a full Gameatory account, join our exclusive Slack channel and let me know.