Lately, folks have been updating their GM Merit Badges, which made me think that it was about time for me to put together the merit badges that most accurately represent who I am, DM-wise. I was going through the list and mentally checking off each appropriate badge when I came to the last one: Beer & Pretzels. Given that my home DCC game is actually played in a bar, I expected that I'd want to add this badge to my repertoire, but then I started to think that, for other folks, that moniker might not be accurate. Are my games fun? Well, I'd hope so. Folks seem to be having fun. Are my games social? Oh god yes. So I seem to be satisfying Stuart's first two qualifications, but there's something else that seems to be implied by Beer & Pretzels that I'm not quite sure I fulfill: the lightheartedness.
It seems like there's a lightheartedness incumbent in games that call themselves Beer & Pretzels that precludes several of the other GM Merit Badges I'd award myself (and, I'd say, rightfully award myself). My games feature regular PC death (I do play DCC, after all), the players should know how to run, players definitely benefit from the use of tactics, I often use shared GMing (ahem, +Edgar Johnson , cough, cough) and my games can run a little disturbing. From a certain point of view, all of these things prevent my games from ever being Beer & Pretzels games.
The thing is, the disturbing/gonzo/horror content of a lot of my games *IS* the beer. The player death/public rolling/tactical content *IS* the pretzels.
From a certain point of view.
In short, I wanted to call my games Beer & Pretzels because we have a blast every week. The weird shit alongside the tactical character death and doom mixes with the right players and the right aesthetic and ends up producing a crazy perfect storm of superfun. To me, that's what Beer & Pretzels means, but apparently not for everyone else. My beer is the fun, my pretzels are game.