In this Episode: Sam from Lakewood asks about the difference between SciFi and Fantasy games. EricaOdd writes in about become her own GM horror story! Rufus writes in about converting an 8-year-old Murder Hobo.
Lots to comment on here, but first thoughts. I think there is a difference between space games and other SF, and space games are different from fantasy. One of the challenges/opportunities of space games is the infinite sandbox. In dungeons and dragons, shadowrun, L5R you know exactly what you are doing (though what you do in each game is different). In Traveller or other space games you can do literally anything ... some groups respond to that by saying “let’s play a space western” or “alien”, but others suffer a sort of analysis paralysis.
@EricaOdd The hosts have you lots of advice about learning to love STA. I must say I just got to play two sessions of that with two GMs in the space of a week. The 2d20 system has its complexity and is by no means flawless, though it works a LOT better for STA than Conan. But the approaches of the two GMs was telling. One, my old friend and co-host Dave is very experienced. He likes Star Trek a lot, but not enough. His frustrations with the system showed in the running of it, he ignored extended tasks for example, which I think is a core mechanic of the Star Trek genre.
The other GM is a relative newbie. But he is immersed in Star Trek culture. (His parents met at a Star Trek con). His game, a published adventure was the best session of the two, because he got how Star Trek is meant to feel.
Don’t really know where I am going with this. BUT my advice to you, and your gamer attention span: Turn it into an opportunity. Simply never promise a campaign. There are lot of games out there And our lives are short. Offer to do one-shots, or maybe three session (max) runs of interesting games. You alternate sessions in your group. So your players can get their campaign fix from other GMs -you can be the quirky GM, offering different systems and palate cleansers: The Warren, Tales From the Loop etc.
Finally, playing with 8 year olds. I found Fate ACCELERATED and Lego the perfect system for getting kids to flex their imaginations. Combat is their but not front ended over other solutions to problems, BUT it does not constrain the child’s choices. He can put Imperial Stormtroopers against Daleks and smash them both with a giant robot if he so chooses.