One of my hobbies is a good old table-top RPG, both as a player and as a GM. Recently I’ve mostly been running games. In the past month I got the opportunity to run the same basic adventure with two different parties.
Now, I’ll admit to having a few go-to story structures and game elements that I can use in a pinch if I need to run something with very little prep time, but this was my first time doing something so similar in so short a time.
It really brought home how player dynamic and character can change a game. One group really focused on NPCs socially and charged ahead during the fight scenes. The other really enjoyed forming a tight squad of player characters and playfully bickered together. Then, when scenes of danger presented themselves, they were more cautious.
One group wanted to brainstorm and discuss anything resembling a clue. They bother just wanted to smash ahead.
Basically, even though it was the same basic game scenario, how it played out and evolved was incredibly different.
Not only did that remind me of how much players shape the game, but it also brought home the point that the collaborative storytelling that is table-top can still offer a great many features that even great video games just can’t.
Not to pit one against the other, mind you. I’m just glad I get the opportunity to roll some dice with friends every now and then.