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who's your unteacher

Started by Paul Czege, April 06, 2006, 02:22:52 PM

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joshua neff

This is going to sound something like a broken record, but...

Reading Ron's posts on Gaming Outpost and exchanging emails with him really started me on the path of unlearning a lot of unsatisfactory behaviors and assumptions about gaming. it was a slow process, with lots of starts and stops, hiccups and sudden breakthroughs, but that was how it started.

More recently, it was reading Vincent's posts and comments on Anyway. And Chris Chinn's posts on his gaming blog. Both of those people have written things that were like zen smacks to the head, further shaking me up and breaking off the accumulated crust.

Most recently, it's been my daughter Morgan. She's the same age I was when shared imaginative "Let's Pretend" play became massively important to me (8 and 9). I had been doing it all my life, but when I think back to when it really defined my view of the world and who I was, it was that age that keeps coming back to me. Trying to get back to that simple "Let's Pretend" play is really helping me shake off more of that accumulated crust and unlearn gaming.

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes

Bryan Hansel

This name will probably mean nothing to most of everyone here:

Alex Lowe for teaching me that the impossible is possible.  He was tragically taken from us by an avalanche.

A location with a personality of its own:

Appalachian Trail for teaching me that everything I thought didn't mater and that the world is a much different place than I thought and that you make your own reality and that you can live pretty high and mighty on $2000 for six months.  And that travel is cheap, so you should do it.

And a gamer:

Red Rahm. He made the games that I wanted to play and put them in a magazine that he owned, so high quality games ran only $5 and less if you subscribed.

Doug Ruff

I'm still feeling a bit cruft-y, myself. But I credit this place with showing me that I can be something else.
'Come and see the violence inherent in the System.'

Andrew Cooper

Jeez...  I'm still needing to be untaught but at least the process has started.

Ron gets a lot of credit with me.  His essays really challenged some of my basic assumptions and then his dialogue here at the Forge helped continue the process.

Tony did a huge amount of work on me (mostly unintentional, I'm sure) through one trip to GenCon.  Capes was the game I knew I'd hate and that I also knew just couldn't work as written with people who weren't involved in the Indie scene.  I was wrong.

Vincent has a way of chipping away at my brain damage without even meaning to.

Mike Holmes does the same thing.

Thanks, guys.

Gordon C. Landis

My unteachers . . .  well, I'll put the first unlearning on the game group I met (back in '94ish) and played with (still do, occasionally) out here in California.  Which I met through almost-friends, and through which I made real-friends, including Jenny (who's somehow seen fit to live with me for, oh, a lot of years now).  I was a big gamer in the late 70's-early 80's, but in the mid-80's-early-90's I nearly became convinced that whatever fun I'd found in the activity must have been possible only when young.  Because from '83-'93 or so, EVERY attempt I made to find folks to play with was a disaster.  I needed to be untaught the conclusion that it wasn't possible for functional adults to include RPGs as part of their social activities, and those folks did it.  I thank them often for that.

Next I had to unlearn the notion that RPGs, while fun, were in the end a trivial and unimportant social activity.  GO and the Forge unlearnt me of that idea, mostly through the vehicle of GNS and Actual Play reports.  Over-intellectualized claptrap or not (mostly, I'll go with NOT), it was - and is - important for me to be able to actually look at this activity, um, seriously.  Not un-fun serious, but worthy-of-thought serious.  Ron, Clinton, Paul, Ralph, Mike, (I'll even include Jared!) and many others down the years helped me do just that, and I try and remember to thank them for it from time to time.  Like now.  Thanks, all.

One thing I'm unlearning right now, and I'm not yet sure I've got great unteachers for 'it: the "20 mins of fun in 4 hours" cruft.  That oft-used and oft-debated phrase may be (is, in my experience) over-stated, but there is truth there.  We (groups I play with) spend more time doing not-fun things on our way to the fun things than I'd like.  And while pacing is a reality, I'm convinced there's cruft here in addition to that.  As I've no (un)teachers around me right now who are as bothered by that particular cruft as I am, unlearning is a bit slow.  And somehow I think that same cruft stands in the way of taking play all the way from a valid social activity, worthy of some serious thought, through to becoming an acknowledged, meaningful interpersonal experience.  That RAWKS.

So I plan to unlearn some more, and I'll take my unteachers as I find 'em.  Good call on that, Paul,

Gordon (under construction)

Ron Edwards


I think a lot of people who participate at the Forge ought to recognize Mike Holmes' unteacher contributions, for years at Indie Design and more recently among the HeroQuest crowd.



Mike taught me how to make the pointy stick! (Though, to be fair I should note that Ron tried a time or two back in the day. But when I flung poo at him and bit his toe off, he kind of gave up for a bit.)

One of the big things that Mike did for me, actually, wasn't even untrain me. His posts on the HQ forum here often helped me convert my game groups. I'd be struggling with my monkey language to try to explain things like kickers and bangs and do such a lousy job that I'd turn them right off the whole idea. But when I could give them on of Mike's posts to read it would flip them right round and make them say, "OH! Why didn't you say that! That sounds cool!"
- Brand Robins