First off, apologies if this seems to ramble a bit. I have been contemplating gaming and the social contract lately and these are some thoughts on that subject.
The act of gathering to play your role should be a great mental excercise; a cooperative, immersive, and interactive story building process. I think though that above all, and hopefully all would agree, gaming should be fun. We all have different ideas about what is fun however.
One of the reasons I love RPGs is the friendships that develop from it, but a gaming group is like any other organization and with that comes a certain degree of drama. As much as I strive to eliminate needless drama from my life I have to recognize that sometimes it is unavoidable. The drama comes in when people at the game table have different ideas of fun and assume that everyone should agree with their ideas. A game can appeal to many different ideas of fun as long as the players can compromise with each other. For instance I game for immersion and escapism, personally I like to feel like a part of the setting. I can do this without stepping on anyone else’s fun.
There are some players who you can have a great one shot with, or who would make excellent players at a convention table. You may find their beliefs/personality/attitude disagreeable, but that hardly matters if you only see them every so often.
Then you have “Gaming Buddies” players who show up regularly, you know a bit of their personal stuff from pre-game kibbitzing. They get along with everyone fairly well, but have a completely seperate life away from the table. Different friends etc.
The third type is a friend who is also games with you. These folks have stayed with the group through thick and thin. You may have been in their wedding or had movie nights together. They call or email you outside of the game to talk about game stuff and real life stuff. You build a rapport with these people that cannot be broken by time and distance.
These are loose groups and someone, through the course of knowing them, could change categories. I have met some players who try to force themselves straight into the third type. There is room at one “table” for a wide variety of fun and almost everyone can have a good time as long as everyone is willing to make room for each other.
Anyway, these are some of my thoughts, if you have anything to add please do.