I can answer these in any order I want! And I want to do WISH 93 right now.
Does joining a game with a lot of background thrill or intimidate you? What do you do to try to learn the background, or to compensate for not having it? If you GM, how do you help newcomers to a background-heavy game? What has worked for you as a player/GM, and what hasn’t?
I kind of like it as an opportunity to play supporting character. I always feel a bit of pressure, when starting a new game, to help establish group dynamics and character. As a newbie to a big game, I can play a supporting role and feel satisfied — I can be there to support someone else’s characterization happily. That’s a lot of fun for me.
It’s also convenient as a method of getting real newbie characterization. The other PCs know things which mine do not, which means I can play wide-eyed or naive effectively. “Look, there can’t possibly be UFOs.” That sort of thing. It’s a dynamic that’s hard to get in a new campaign because everyone’s on equal ground.
I guess in general I’m saying that it’s fun to leverage unequal OOC ground to provide good unequal ground roleplaying in character.