I think I'm getting old.
The closer that I get to 40, the more I notice a nagging indicator reminding me that middle age is just around the corner. It's not random joint pain, nor is it my newfound difficulty in keeping off the pounds. It's not my thinning hair, or the scraggly gray whiskers that poke out from the sides of my head.
It's my preferred gaming schedule.
Back in my prime, that glorious time between my late twenties and early thirties when I was still young enough to maintain a sturdy constitution but old enough to have a solid career with steady, game-purchasing income, I loved to end my day with a great role-playing game session. We'd kick things off at 8pm or 8:30, play until midnight, and often I'd still have the endurance to craft our post-game write up afterwards. Then, around 2am I'd finally settle in front of my PlayStation and crank out a couple hours of Final Fantasy VIII.
Those were some good times!
But as I worked my way up into my mid-thirties, I noticed that those long evenings started to shorten. First it was the late night computer or console gaming that disappeared. No worries there. I've had my fair share of accidentally playing a game like Master of Orion or Civilization until my alarm went off and I somberly realized that I would either need to drink a gallon of coffee or try to call off work for the day.
Next went the late night adventure recaps. Even prior to my blog, I used to do adventure write ups after each and every gaming session. But instead of writing them after midnight, I started waiting until the next morning.
The last thing to go was the 11pm to 12am hour of gaming. I'm just no good after 11pm, no matter how much coffee I've had beforehand. Gaming in person after 11pm isn't too bad, but gaming online knocks me right out, even if I'm the GM. Don't even ask me to play in an online game that'll run after 11pm.
My new favorite time to game? Afternoons.
My 2pm to 6pm schedule over at The Games Keep in West Chester, PA, is absolutely perfect. Just after lunch, so I've got a full belly, but safely before dinner so that I don't have to worry about spending money on take out. Sundays are especially great for this schedule, as I don't have to get up to early and I still have adequate time to prep in the morning while slurping down one or two cups of coffee.
Running games isn't too bad in the morning, but my "pre-10am haven't had enough coffee grumpiness" is best suited for electronic gaming where I don't actually have to interact with any real people. We used to run some Dunkin and Dragons gaming with the kiddos, but those games didn't start until way later in the morning. Like 11am. Heck, that's practically afternoon.
I've still got a couple games a month that run later into the evening, most notably my Purple Planet campaign beginning at 8:30pm, and typically ending a little after 11. All I can think about after those games is "damn, that sure was a late night!" I truly wish that I could still stay up super late, as I don't feel like I have enough gaming in my schedule right now. But with my new work schedule eating up most of my weekdays, and kids activities jacking many of our evenings.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be making an attempt at setting up a regular, long-term, biweekly (or is it semi-weekly?) Sunday afternoon game during that most special time slot of 2pm to 6pm. Here's hoping that I can find a few players who share in my delight of an AARP-approved, early bird special schedule RPG session.
Wish me luck!
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Sundays from 2 to 6 may work great for me and my schedule now, but I'd love to hear about your perfect game time. When running for your home groups, do you prefer a late night gaming schedule, or something way earlier in the day?
(PS: I was falling asleep writing the end of this. Ugh!)