"Players" Discovered Defusing Edition War Riots

July 7, 2014

We had several pieces ready to run this week, detailing the factions participating in the Edition War Riots in and around Seattle. As our reporters gathered more and more interviews, we noticed a curious trend. People arrived at the various camps, asking only to play. To learn a new game system. To enjoy the experience and the company of fellow gamers.

Remember Thursday?
Some of these people stopped in several different camps, asking to play a game in each one. They had no agenda, no central organization, and no name. In most cases they weren't even aware of each other.

We started calling them simply "Players."

When a Player arrived at a camp, he or she magnetically pulled the militant gamers to the nearest table to share a game. Their passion for play tapped into the passion that converted the System Faithful in the first place, and everyone focused on enjoying the game together. The more everyone played, the less important the camps became.

But who are these Players? Every single one we interviewed said the same two things: "I'm just here to play games. I don't care which game, as long as we're having a good time." And all of them thanked their hosts for a great game, no matter how it actually went.

Like AD&D Rangers, they rarely congregate in groups, preferring to explore each game system, and indeed each game experience, with those most passionate about the game. They instinctually scattered among the camps, precipitating games like rock candy crystals on a string.

The more people played, the less important their system evangelism seemed. We saw different camps coming together and playing the same game with each other, with restraint and maturity. During the long weekend, Seattle turned into an RPG Mecca, and everyone had a great time. Incidentally, that includes some of our reporters who requested more time on location in Seattle.

By Sunday, the barricades had vanished. The Space Needle had been reassembled by then, and some locals claim it has never looked so good. Thursday's violence and destruction faded from memory, and donations have poured in to offset the property damage incurred. Life in Seattle has normalized.

It's now Monday morning. The camps have largely dissolved as gamers of all stripes started getting back to the business of living their lives. After the fear and anger of Thursday's violence, the Riot Games now carry a positive connotation in almost everyone's memories. Everyone took home a d4 from the battle-worn streets to remember the occasion.

We have the Players to thank for this positive and peaceful ending.

I think we all know at least one Player. If you do, take the time to thank them. Thank them for their passion, and for their focus on the central experience of the game rather than the game's rules around that experience. Thank them for continually reminding us about the main purpose of RPGs: having fun with other people.

Now let's all be Players, and play something.


  1. System doesn't matter, but the attitudes and trustworthiness of GM and players does. And there is some connection between system and the attitude and trustworthiness of the GMs and players who use that system. And when I say trustworthiness, I mean the degree to which they can be trusted not to waste a person's time.

    1. Point. I think using rules as a substitute for trust is a poor trade, though I think that's what designers have felt they needed to do in the past.