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I do it for the Toys

by
 

I do it for the Toys

With all the ranting and raving I do about gaming, some people have begun to question why I game at all. Well, there are actually a number of reasons. One is that despite the flaws in systems, games, GMs, and players, etc. I find gaming to be really fun. Another reason I game? I do it for the toys.

Where else but gaming can you play with toys and not be laughed at by your friends? ...Well, at least not laughed at by your gamer friends. That's really what role-playing as we know it started as. What is wargaming except a sophisticated way of playing with toys, with rules and realism added in to fool the general populace - and sometimes, ourselves. Combine wargaming (toys) with the imagination of childrens games, like Cowboys & Indians, and you have the basis for Role-Playing Games.

And of course, where there are toys... er, miniatures, there has to be terrain. Terrain, indeed, what we're really talking about here are playsets! You know what playsets are right? They're bases you buy for your action figures, they're the Malibu Barbie Beachhouse, they're what we buy or create for our *ahem* wargaming. ...And ultimately for our miniature-based Role-Playing as well.

Of course, most gaming nowadays have strayed from using miniatures, except for high-combat situations. Not that that stops us from buying our toys. To claim we're bringing "dimension" to our games we buy "props". Props, indeed. For espionage/covert-ops games we buy things like toy cell-phones, toy handcuffs, and other toys that come suited towards the game. Of course we don't stop at just buying the toys for a laugh, we actually use them while gaming! If you ask me, that's playing with toys. We even try to dress like our characters on occasions, because we have money and we can afford the cool toys that we couldn't get as kids, the life-size toys.

Live-action gaming is the quintessential cool-toy game. It's all about "props" and dressing up "in character". It's Cowboys & Indians taken to the maximum level within legal restrictions!

There are more toys in gaming than simply character markers (miniatures) and props. For the games and characters we love we purchase "models". The models can be pretty much anything that resembles the game. Toys resembling characters, or that can be modified to resemble characters, playsets that resemble locations we snatch those off the shelves! If nothing resembles the game, we can simply craft something out of Legos, Construx, Zoids, or from scratch. And of course, we can't simply let those things rest, we have to test them out, in other words play with them.

Okay, so I've stressed that point. Gamers play with toys - what of it? Well, first, let me ask you what you said you wanted for the holidays when queried. A lot of gamers are embarrassed by the fact they play with toys, and wouldn't dare asking anyone outside of other gamers for toys if they're over the age 16. But gaming is more than playing a character, or escapism. Gaming is a way of retaining our youth, when creativity and imagination were strongest. We should relish in the fact that we can retain the most important part of childhood. We've got something better than the fountain of youth, because as adults we can buy the cool toys.

*****

Nope, no ranting this time! Think of it as my gift to you... that way I don't have to buy you any presents. Of course, if you're looking for something to get me those Cowboy Lego sets are are a good bet. :)

Happy Holidays!

-Roll saving throw versus Bad Gaming!
Erich S. Arendall
Shadow Sprite


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