Dealing with burnout

It is not uncommon when you are playing a lot of games to hit a wall.  I have many times in my gaming career.  In fact I have hit one recently and am going through a major patch of burnout right now.  How do we deal with this?  If you are a player it is not too bad, you can walk away for a while.  But if you are running games you will most likely have people relying on you for their fun.

Picture of Mark Knights

Be honest with yourself

I find that I struggle to be honest to myself in these circumstances.  I tell myself that I just have to get into the game and the fun will come.  I run a game online with people I have been playing years with.  I don’t enjoy the game at the moment – but I do enjoy catching up with them.  It is important to find the things you are enjoying around the hobby and ensuring that you focus on that.  It has been easy at this point because it is Christmas.  I always take a break at this time as myself and my players all struggle to make games at this time of year.  If I had hit this wall a couple of months ago, maybe I would have taken time out but still had catch ups with the players.  That would soon revitalize my need to game.

I am also having a super rough time professionally at the moment.  This is impacting across my whole life.  My work does not want to lose me but I am ready for the next chapter and work is putting barricades in front of me to stop me going.  This has made me super depressed, and I am certain that this is the source of my burnout.  I am tired all the time and nothing is making me happy – not just gaming.

Be honest with your players

If you are running the game just be upfront.  Tell your players that you are not enjoying yourself and take a break.  Maybe one of the players will step up and run a game in the interim and you could play instead of run.  Maybe they are OK just to take a break as well.  My players, both in person and online, are great like this.  I have really had a run of great players in my time running games.  Last time I hit a patch of burnout my players were super supportive and I appreciate having them.

I would even go as far as to suggest letting one of the players take over the current campaign.  If your players are into the game and want to keep it going then give them the option.  If you can, play in it too!  You will see what they enjoy in the game by the way they run it and change is always a good thing.

Personally speaking…

There are other issues surrounding my burnout.  All the new games I look at are just so alike.  Little innovation is happening in the world of Role Playing Games at the moment.  I used to love reading new games to see the innovation, but now everything is going backwards.  It is not about the narrative any more – it is all about stopping the game to talk about mechanics.  I have actually stopped buying games now (I used to buy about one a fortnight) because there is no innovation.

So I am walking away for a month at least, possibly two and refreshing myself.  I will focus a bit on writing and a little on making games.  I will also spend this time trying to relieve the other issues that are impacting on my burnout.  Hopefully 2021 will be a breath of fresh air for my gaming and I will find the love again.  Until next year keep on rolling…

1 Comment

  1. I hear you. I had a major burnout during lockdown in Melbourne, where all my games had switched to online and I lost the face to face energy I used to thrive on. Self care is a good idea, and I hope you get back in the saddle soon!


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