What sort of setting prep do you do for the physical space where you play?

What sort of setting prep do you do for the physical space where you play?

What sort of setting prep do you do for the physical space where you play? I mean beyond making sure it’s clean enough for your friends and having some snacks on hand. Mood lighting? Background music? Focal points of a rusted hubcap, a string of child’s beads, and an ancient can of yams?

11 thoughts on “What sort of setting prep do you do for the physical space where you play?”

  1. Hmmm… You know, I can’t remember the last time I played in my own physical space, so I guess what I usually do to prepare is to unpack my stuff.

    Thinking back to when I did play in my own house, I didn’t really do much then either. Back in high school I was big on the background music though! Used to pick elaborate soundtracks with themes for different characters and plot elements and burn them all to CD so I could play them during the game. I suppose setting up the stereo would be space preparation.

  2. I try to avoid distractions, and set up the space so that people can get around and aren’t too uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it’s been years since I had a table big enough to seat a game normally.

  3. When I played AW in person, I mostly just made sure to have lots of blank paper and lots of writing implements for sketching things and so forth.

    I really wanted a few of those desk zen gardens–basically sand in a tray–so that players sketch in dirt just like their characters. But buying them just for a game, and figuring out where to store them even during the game when not in use, kept me from doing so.

    I’ve found that music is usually distracting more than helpful in gaming. I had OK luck using the NIN album Ghosts for mood music when playing GHOST / ECHO and had an entire UA campaign where the music interacted with the mechanics (all skills were song titles or lyrics, and got bonuses if used while the song was on).

    All in all, I like my play space functional.

  4. Normally I don’t have the chance to do much, but last year I was inspired and had access to a conference room which I turned into an Apocalypse bunker for a one-shot game. I turned down the lights, covered the table and walls in photographs of apocalyptic-looking people, and placed a pile of tin cans in the centre of the room while playing metal and droning alt-rock in the background. Also, I mixed up an apocalyptic-looking alcoholic drink and served it from containers marked “APOCALYPSE FUEL”.

    It was probably one of the best games I’ve ever run, and I really want to have the opportunity to do it again.

  5. I’m writing “Welcome to Apocalyptics Anonymous” on the whiteboard, getting some dried snacks, put on a playlist made from Vincent’s inspirations and cooking a nice stew for tonight’s game.

  6. I’m currently a bit too poor to make anything more than a soundtrack. I’d love to set up neat things in my gaming room, but as a student, I live in a bachelor pad with my fiancée and my two cats. I dream of it though!

  7. I noticed I sent the comment in the wrong thread. Sorry, Meg!

    I don’t think I do anything special for my guest players, except maybe taking notes about what to have for dinner… usually it’s pizza, and I like to have everything set up before starting the game session… I like to have everyone informed of the timings and about who’s taking take of the food. ^_^

  8. This is something very much on my mind. Since I mainly play online, I am concentrating on how to enhance that virtual and ritual gaming space. Pictures, video and audio are on the list and finding that balance will be the key.

    New tools at my disposal is giving me a chance to up my game.

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