Ever felt a little empty the day after a game or convention? Perhaps it is to be expected. You’ve had an intense creative experience with people who love the hobby as much as you do. The next day, however, life goes on. This kind of let-down isn’t unique to our hobby: many athletes experience it even after winning Olympic medals and championship games.
In this column, we’ll look at some possible reasons for the post-game blues, and, more importantly, strategies for coping.
An old friend of mine once said most of our days are C+ days. They are not horrible, but not spectacular. There’s garbage to be taken out, people to deal with at work, etc.. That’s one reason for the post-game blues, the daily grind. Now, I’m not knocking reality: it’s where our loved ones live, where we can find purpose in our work and pleasure in our talents. However, sometimes we miss the excitement of the game. We just do.
Also, after a good session, you just want to share it with everyone. However, unless our family and friends are as geeky as we are, they may not “get it.” It’s not that people are trying to be mean. They just have their own wavelengths and interests. This can lead to feelings of isolation. Even our fellow gamers may be too busy to relive recent glories. (If it’s any consolation, it’s true for other hobbies as well. I don’t have many people who understand what it means when I’ve had a great day with my watercolors).
Finally, if we’ve had a great (or even pretty good) session, we may be just a little worried whether we can pull it off again. The pressure of planning our next session may contribute to our anxiety. What if we’ve run out of ideas and enthusiasm?
All is not lost, not by a long shot. There are plenty of ways to cope with those blues and anxieties.
One possibility is to write a campaign journal. We’re all busy people, but consider writing just a paragraph or two about each session as a blog post or Meetup description. It not only helps us relive the past, it can serve as a recap paragraph for the opening of the next session. This is one method I use to help organize my own campaign.
Also, send your players a thank-you email. Thank you notes are good form in general, and it may spark some between session conversations between you and your players. Admittedly, it is unrealistic to expect frequent contact with all of your players. However, even an occasional message can go a long way towards alleviating the blues.
Putting some energy into planning the next session is a great mood lifter too. Don’t worry about scaling the same heights again. See if you can link your next game to one of your PC’s background stories. Create a new NPC or a way to challenge them beyond combat. These can help lift you out of the doldrums, and will make your next game that much better.
Lastly, consider doing something else. Take a walk, paint a picture, do some volunteer work. These may be trite suggestions, but they do work. Enjoy the rest of life a little. While you are giving the gaming portion of your brain a rest, you might find it is still cooking on the backburner. I’ve had some real light bulb moments about my game while doing something else. Bet you have too.
Some post-game let-down may be inevitable. However, unlike athletes, our careers don’t have to end at a certain age or milestone. There’s always another session to look forward to, which can be a great comfort indeed.
Do you ever get the post-game blues? What are your strategies for coping? Let us know below.