Don, one of the other GMs in my regular gaming group, is onto something in his latest post, Right Games, Wrong GM:

In taking stock of the games that I am currently (or will be) playing and/or running, a fairly obvious disconnect that I hadn’t realized before struck me: we tend to play the right games but they’re run by the wrong people. That is to say, we run games as a surrogate for playing them.

Wow — I’ve never thought about this, but it’s true. I’ve done this plenty of times, most recently in 2005, when I ran an Eberron campaign in part because I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to play in the setting — GMing a campaign that was set there was the next best thing.

As a GM, I know I find it difficult to run an RPG that I’m not jazzed about. There are times when my players have asked me to run something that I have no interest in, and I think it’s for the best when I say “No” in those cases. I’d rather disappoint them once up front than several times later on down the line, when the game doesn’t live up to their expectations due to my lack of interest.

But what about the middle ground, the games I’m not jazzed about but am also not opposed to GMing? I can see a lot of value in saying, “Sure, let’s give it a shot” in those cases. Food for thought, and something to consider when my group picks our next game.

What do you think of the “Right Game, Wrong GM” phenomenon? Have you experienced it? Has your group ever addressed it explicitly when you’re deciding what to play next?