I still don't have a system for the game I'm running next semester (or even much of a concept, beyond a lot of possibilities) but that's okay. What worries me more is that I don't have any clear idea where I'm going to play. There's dorm rooms, lounges, and library break out rooms, but none of those are exactly ideal. I'm used to a particular kind of play space, and I suspect (as I mentioned when I manically discussed how to get into the hobby) the inadequacy of the one we were using threw off the game I tried to run last year.
Play spaces are important. I know it's possible to run a game in any old place, but I prefer my gaming environment to have certain qualities. I like a large table, especially when running a game that needs a battlemat, but even without one I like having space to spread out all my books and notes, and space for players to do the same. Ideally, I'll have a little table of my own that I can have at my side, for reference materials and so forth. Light is important, too. It has to be bright enough to read by, but too bright light (a category that mostly applies to fluorescents) will put me to sleep. The chairs should be good, and an assortment of mismatched ones ads flavor to the affair, though that's far from necessary.
I'm not as big on snacks as some people, though I recognize that they're an important feature of the social rituals surrounding any gathering, and I like to be able to provide whatever food and drink the players prefer. (At home, that means Doritos and Cherry Coke, by ancient tradition.) Myself, I've mostly given up eating junk food while gaming -- takes the edge off, mentally -- so when I do have snacks it's mostly cherries and carrots and the like. What does matter to me is water. I tend to drink a lot of water when I GM, both because of the damage even mild dehydration does to my alertness and because I talk so dang much.
I also like being able to keep stuff where I game. Mostly I just don't like having to move all my books around, but it's also nice to be able to do prep in the same spot that I GM. And it's a major convenience when running a battlemat game, in case we have to break in the middle of a fight.
At home I just play in someone's dining room (or basement) but none of the spaces I have available at college quite fulfill these requirements. My dorm room doesn't have a table or much in the way of chairs. The one actual residence I have regular access to tends to get sort of crazy on game night, and doesn't have a good table anyway. The study rooms at the library have these huge glass windows so anyone can look in, lousy lighting, too small tables and not enough chairs for the group size I'd like to have. I'm probably going to end up running it in my hall's lounge, but the table there has this picnic bench thing going on, and I'd have to pack up my stuff.
I figure I'm not unique in having preferences for my gaming environment, those my specific preferences might be. Anyone else given this any thought?