On Sunday I played Badminton with Krüger. He forgot to bring his sports clothes and couldn’t buy shorts at the club. So he played in the clothes he came with. After half an hour he said: “I’m all worn down. I don’t know why.“ I said: “Maybe because you're playing Badminton in your winter clothes?“ Well, he won all the matches anyway. The best score I got was 14-20.
Afterwards we went to a Greek tavern. The waiter brought two shot glasses of ouzo. I started to talk to Krüger about the Waltrop campaign. We have already played nine games, so I was interested if he wanted some changes or if he was happy how the campaign was going.
I showed him two maps, a map of the imaginary island Waltrop and our campaign map. Krüger doesn’t like the taste of anise, so I had both shots of ouzo and felt drunk already. Krüger suggested that we should eventually start a second campaign phase, with stories like: the Greek hoplites under the command of Foibos lead an expedition into the jungle to discover an orc village. I thought: “In which way is this different from what we are already doing?“ I suggested to play out special scenarios using a role playing game like GURPS, an idea we had when we started the campaign about a year ago.
I said: “In general, I’m happy with the campaign. I like the theme. Orcs versus Greeks on a Caribbean Island. At first I thought: Why Orcs? But now I like that a lot. We could add some trolls in the mountains. Savage orcs in the jungle. I could also play the Aquarians when the orcs meet small groups of them as random encounters. I just need to add some fantasy elements to my Greek army. Like giant crabs, a water elemental, a sea hag, deep ones, Merman, silverfish …“ Krüger said: “I should finish my Cannibals in Masks HotT army. I just need to paint a couple more miniatures.“ We talked about where we could place the cannibals on the campaign map. I suggested the mountains, Krüger said they could come from the jungle in the West.
“There is one thing I don’t understand“, I said. “One thing that bothers me. Why don’t the people involved in this campaign write background material for it? Or at least comment blog posts like reports of battles they participated in? I mean, I get interesting and friendly comments on my blog from people I don’t even know.“ Krüger started to sweat because what I said bothered him.
“You know, I don’t like social media“, he said. “Ok. You don’t like social media“, I said. “And we talk about the campaign when we meet. Like we do now. But how about Jörg and Sven? I wrote a battle report about a game you played against Jörg. No comment. I mean Jörg has ‘social media‘ written on his business card. I know this is just a hobby. A lonely hobby, my wife says. But still. It’s ridiculous. I talked hours on the phone with Sven to find a name for a blog that was supposed to document our campaign. A place to exchange ideas about it. We ended up calling it Beyond the Pillars of Heracles. The name is a bit pathetic. But what the hell, I thought. And now? Nothing. The blog is dead.“ “Well“, Krüger said, “Sven looses interest easily.“ “You know“, I said, “Sven has a book with notes about the campaign, with maps and names and whatnot. He asked me if I have a notebook like that. 'Just read my blog', I said.“ “Why doesn’t he share his background material with us?“, Krüger wanted to know. “It’s not ready. I asked him to show a picture of his notebook at least.“ “If you want to get him involved again, you need to change key elements of the campaign. Big game companies do that all the time.“ “Yeah. Like I’m a big game company. You know. I don’t care. There is no interesting communication going on here. They say the internet creates echo chambers where like-minded people meet and tell each other how cool, excellent, amazing they are. But this feels more like a funeral home.“
Krüger said: “When I started to play fantasy games, I used to write pages of background material. In those times I would have written a text for every hexagon on our campaign map. But now I think it’s better not to go into such detail. It leaves more space to improvise.“ I said: “It would be cool if you could come up with a name for your general, the orc warlord, at least. Or if you could write short background texts for the hexagons occupied by the orcs. 20. 29. 30. 38. 39. 68. 78.“ “Why are you so angry?“, Krüger asked. “I don’t know“, I said.
We asked for the bill. The waiter brought two more shot glasses of ouzo. I drank one and a half. I said: “Καλό βράδυ!“ The waiter said: “Καληνύχτα!“ (I started to learn Greek because of our campaign.)
On the way home I thought, I should just ask for orc names on google+ and stop bothering Krüger.