Turning up unprepared to a game session is the adult version of saying, “The dog ate my homework.”
Have you ever turned up to a gaming session unprepared? Whether you are a player or the GM, being unprepared can impact everyone’s enjoyment of the game (including your own).
For example, I once had a GM who’d repeatedly utter the immortal phrase, “I’ve had no time to prepare” at the start of every gaming session. In another campaign, a certain player would perpetually turn up late and blame his wife for delaying him or moving his gaming stuff. Neither behaviour was particularly conducive to a fun night.
Being prepared is good. Being unprepared is bad.
Advantages of Being Prepared
There are several advantages to being prepared for the game:
- You get more fun, productive game time.
- You don’t waste time.
- You don’t become the object of your friends’ ire.
- You don’t look like an idiot.
Being a Prepared Player
As a player, being prepared means being able to answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do you have your character?
- Do you understand your character? (This is particularly relevant if you have just gained access to new spells or abilities).
- Do you have your rulebooks?
- Do you have dice, pen, pencil and scrap paper?
- Do you have a character figure?
- Have you got snacks and drinks?
- Have you completed any adjustments to your character required for play? (Have you levelled up, purchased relevant equipment and so on?)
- Have you read any handouts or session summaries prepared by the GM?
Being a Prepared GM
An unprepared GM is even more devastating to a session than an unprepared player. A prepared GM should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do you have dice, pen, paper, pencil and scrap paper?
- Do you have mapping paper, a battle mat (and a way to clean it) and the relevant pens?
- Do you have your rulebooks, campaign supplements and so on?
- Do you have supplemental information handy in case the party does something unpredictable?
- Do you have the adventure?
- Have you sufficiently prepared the adventure?
- Have you sorted out any required monster figures?
If you have problems making sure you are prepared for gaming sessions, consider putting together a gaming kit containing everything you need in a handy bag or box. Just pick it up, and go!
Help Your Fellow Gamers
Do you have any more handy hints or tips to help your fellow gamers prepared for the game? If you do, share them in the comments below and help us all get more out of gaming.