This is a difficult subject for some people but is an important first step if you want to play a role-playing game and use any interesting characters you have thought of in an adventure.
It can be said that each of us embodies a unique mix of ideas and attitudes that makes us individuals. Some people are introverts. Others are extroverts. And a few are a combination of the two. Some are more friendly or more sarcastic than others. We could go on forever.
Groups of such unique individuals are no different. Each is dynamic and changes as people are added or drop out. Some people will react positively or negatively as those changes take place. Some may even change their own opinions based on who is in or out.
Getting into or making a new gaming group is like creating a new organism – it is a weird method of creating a new life. It starts with an idea which is the nucleus and grows if it is fed well. And the core idea comes down to the types of games the group wants to play.
What kind of game and genre interest you?
Though Dungeons & Dragons may hold the lion’s share of the public persona of role-playing, there are many, many more types of role-playing games to be found such as Star Wars (Space Opera), Top Secret S.I. (Spy vs. Spy), Call of Cthulhu (Horror), GURPS (every genre), ICONS (Super heroes), and more. And as many newer games as are gaining traction, the older games are making a comeback with the “Old School Renaissance” (OSR) movement that’s afoot – including the upcoming Mazes & Perils Deluxe release from Moebius Adventures which brings back the feel of original D&D from the 1970s… (See this amazing post for a huge list of other popular games that are out in the world…)
There are so many different genres that I could devote many articles to this subject alone to help you find what kind of game it is you want to play. It really comes down to you asking what genre do you prefer to play? You also need to ask yourself what kind of game do you want to play? You might not know right away either but you can learn as you go.
But first, before I get ahead of myself on that part – how do you find an existing group or start a new group?
For purposes of this article, we are going to go with D&D 5E as the default because more likely than not that is the game you will start with these days – but this information does apply to any game.
Where to look for a group?
The easiest way to find a group is if you know someone who is already a gamer, because then you just need to see if you can join in. Becoming a part of a group that you have an “in” with also makes it easier to fit into the group dynamic.
Here are some other ideas to try…
- Ask a friend – you never know if they’re a gamer sometimes unless you ask. You can never judge a book by its cover!
- Visit your Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS for short from here on). They probably have people running games at the store already. There is usually a board for people looking to start new games or join in an existing group. There are groups that run homebrew campaigns and organized play groups like the Adventurer’s League. Or you could just run into someone looking for a game that is at the store and just like that, you are in a new group.
- Check out your local libraries, colleges, universities, and bookstores to see if they have a similar board for people looking for games and gaming groups. There maybe hobby groups in those places that might be able to help you out in your area.
- Look at your local paper. There might be people posting in a newspaper or some sort of community or college flyer. That said, I believe that many people will be going to gaming stores or using digital options myself.
- Explore the digital realm. Online options such as Facebook and G+ have many groups and forums devoted to many different game systems.
- Here are the two main groups for Facebook: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (the “official” page) and D&D 5E the “Next” Edition (the leading “unofficial” page).
- Here is the official page on Google+ and here is a group dedicated to D&D in general.
- There are pages devoted to the world of Mystara like the following: Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition – Mystara and Mystara Reborn.
- The World of Calidar is a newer project that can be found here and here on Facebook.
- Meetup can be a good way to find a group.
- Reddit has a subreddit forum for all games called LFG – short for Looking For Game. Whatever game you are interested in should have links to finding groups and dedicated forums as well.
- As noted above, you can find organized play games at your FLGS. But you can find the Adventurer’s League here on Facebook and here on G+.
- Other forums for games include sites like ENWorld and the Piazza.
- Beyond the options for playing in person above, you have one more route available – playing online! You can play games online via more structured virtual tabletop setups like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20 as well as less structured online tools like Google Hangouts and Skype that you can use.
Long story short, there are a lot of resources for you to start your gaming career or find a new gaming group for yourself!
What do you do next??
Sometimes it will take a bit of patience to find a group. It might take a few posts on the boards at the store, on Facebook, G+, or wherever you decide to look. People are busy and do not always look at the times that are convenient for you. Have a bit of faith and don’t be afraid to watch or try to get involved if an opening presents itself.
My only caveat is that you should be aware of your surroundings and choose public places and neutral grounds for meetings when they arise. This is especially true in case you are someone who is concerned over such issues.
In the end, whatever game you choose – have fun!
Keith R. Byers, A.Sc.T., Esq.