There are three different ways that I’ve found people to play tabletop RPGs with, and while they could be used for anyone at any age, they tend to correlate with different periods in my life. So while it’s easiest to find other gamers by joining (or starting) a local club in college, our group also allowed in older and community members who found us via meetup.
The best kinds of gaming groups, for me, have been made of the people I like to spend time with anyway outside of game. Although I imagine this was the case for most gamers in high school, for me it was useful when I took a break from school and lived in my hometown for a year and a half before going back.
It started by talking up D&D to a couple of different people who either knew people who had heard of the game before and wanted to play, or who were willing to give it a try themselves. Video gamers are a good target, as are MtG players, but really anyone who’s an avid book fan is ripe for recruiting for a game. I’ve also had success with inviting people to just watch and do their own thing (crocheting, drawing, playing DS, whatever), and by the end of it they were demurely asking for help in making a character. Between siblings of group members and friends of friends, I sometimes had twelve people at my table for a session.
I refused to turn anyone away who wanted to genuinely give it a shot. Looking back, I should have split it into two groups, but with my retail job scheduling time was near-impossible, and by then it was primarily a social hangout with some D&D in the middle anyway. It was crazy, but a lot of fun.
Though I didn’t realize it when I applied, Wittenberg University had a vibrant guild of role-players, board gamers, and card players, and even organized their own annual convention. It took a friend to get me to get over the perceived stigma and go, but I ended up making some of my best friends in college there. Most college organizations featuring gaming are easily find-able on the school’s website, and if you’re tentative about joining, I’d recommend emailing the president or contact person first to ask for more information.
I think that word of mouth and checking the bulletin boards at your local FLGS falls into this same category. You can also check your local library calendar for events. And if you don’t see anything to join, I highly encourage you to post a flyer and try to start organizing your own. If you’re at a college, there’s invariable information on starting your own student organization, so grab a buddy and gain some valuable experience navigating bureaucracy.
I’ve had recent and good success using such sites as Meetup.com to find local gamers for a Legend of the Five Rings campaign. Some have events specifically for GMs and players looking for more for their games, but almost all of them have discussion boards where you can post a thread with the details of your game. And with the recent updates to Obsidian Portal, you’re able to set a location and check off “looking for gamers” to be added to a database where players can find you. You may want to frontload your game at first since people invariably cancel, drop out, or don’t show up at all.
And if you’re really out in the boonies or have no car to get to where the games are, there’s a healthy population using Roll20 or Infrno to play games online. You can frequently find participants or existing games on the official company forums for the game you want to play, or on major gaming forums like RPG.net and ENworld.org.
Whatever combination of options you choose, it seems that once you get a group together, if you’re gaming in a public place you’re bound to get people coming up to you and asking if you have any more seats open at the table.
How do you find players? Link your answers in the comments below! You can find the rest of the 30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge prompts here. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on using pre-published adventures versus writing your own.