How to Find Gamers


This ebook gives you plenty of recruitment options and ideas for finding a new player or .... looking to hook-up with non-D&D gamers, then this is the forum for you. RPG Game ... Gamers from all around the world setup gamers-seeking-gamers Yahoo ... A busy site (run by Rich Burlew, creator of the Order of the Stick comic).

How to Find Gamers Filling the Empty Chair: Player Finder Sites & Tips

How to Find Gamers Filling the Empty Chair: Player Finder Sites & Tips Johnn Four Contributions and editing by Mike Bourke Additional editing by Patrick Irwin, Robert Ferency-Viars, Da' Vane Errors? Omissions? Please let me know Get more game master tips at RoleplayingTips.com ©2014 RoleplayingTips.com – All Rights Reserved

Filling the Empty Chair Table of Contents Brief Word.......................................................................................................................4 The Top Gamer Finder Websites..............................................................................5 28 Ways To Find A Game Group Or Recruit New Players.................................17 The Perfect Online Profile........................................................................................32 Final Thoughts.............................................................................................................37 More GM Books & Resources..................................................................................38

Brief Word Based on frequent feedback I receive from Roleplaying Tips subscribers, many people are not gaming right now and they use the newsletter as a lifeline to their favourite hobby. It connects them in spirit while they are between gaming groups. When I ask these lapsed gamers why they are not currently gaming, about half the time they say they cannot find a group nearby. Finding gamers is difficult, especially if you do not live in a city. I cheated when finding my current excellent gaming group. After moving to Edmonton, Alberta I met three gamers in a short time through the newsletter. I also met people at work who were lapsed or current gamers without a campaign, and before long I had a group and game going. This ebook gives you plenty of recruitment options and ideas for finding a new player or group. The content is based on all the things I’ve tried over the years, plus tips and ideas I’ve published in the newsletter and received from other people. There’s certain to be something in here that’ll work for you. Gaming is an important part of living a balanced, healthy and enjoyable life. Do not let it go by the wayside. It is worth putting in a bit of time to unearth gamers in your area to get your RPG hobby going again. It’s time to play once more!

The Top Gamer Finder Websites Here are the best links I have for finding gamers online. All links have been tested at the time of writing. The sites are ranked in terms of which ones will get you the best results. Plus, I added a bit of extra information to help you decide which sites to visit first. If you find any bad links, please drop me a note so I can update this list. I’ll send you updated versions of this product as listings change. I would also appreciate an email if you find any new sites. Thanks!

How Websites Are Listed The listings all use a stat block to help make skimming easier. Here is a brief description of it: • Title: The name of the website. • URL: A clickable link to take you to the website immediately. • Game types: ◦ Tabletop: in-person, face to face gamer hook-ups. ◦ Play by email (PBeM): category includes other message-based gaming types, such as IRC. ◦ Forum: games are played at an online forum. ◦ Virtual: software that mimics a game table environment and lets you play in real-time online; examples include Roll20, Maptool, or Battlegrounds. • Game systems: Most gamer finder sites cater to all RPG systems, however a few specialize. • Dominant regions: The internet is global, and so are most gamer sites, but a few cater to specific regions. • Format: How the site lets you find other gamers.

◦ Forum: allows you to place a want ad as a forum post; you often have the ability to customise your user profile to help promote yourself better to prospective gamers. ◦ Registry: a Yellow Pages style of listings where you either enter a user profile or an advertisement. ◦ Profile: an online bio of yourself that usually gives you space to talk about your gaming preferences and wants. • Notes: Brief commentary on the website. With that out of the way, let’s get into all the websites where you can quest for players and groups. I’ve listed the websites starting with the best ones. A good gamer finder site has a lot of traffic and a large database of users, a robust system to help gamers connect, and serves multiple game types, systems, regions and formats.

Johnn’s List – Best Gamer Finder Websites Dungeons & Dragons Meetup Groups http://dnd.meetup.com • • • •

Game types: tabletop Game systems: D&D Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

This site is a hub for region-based, D&D-specific Meetup groups. Find a group close to your home and then fill out your profile, join the conversation and place an ad. Note the keyword tags on the front page. Use these to find other topical Meetup groups.

RPG Meetup Groups http://roleplayers.meetup.com http://roleplaying-games-rpgs.meetup.com • • • •

Game types: tabletop Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

Meetup groups for all types of RPGs. Find a group near to your home and fill out your profile. Then join the conversation and place an ad. Note the keyword tags on the front page. Use these to find other topical Meetup groups. In general, Meetup is one of the best ways to find other people in your community who have similar interests.

Nearby Gamers http://nearbygamers.com/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: registry, profile

This excellent site lets you zoom into your region on a map to see who has registered nearby. You can also find local gamers by game system. Be sure to add your profile.

Reddit Looking For Games http://www.reddit.com/r/roll20LFG/ http://www.reddit.com/r/lfg/ http://www.reddit.com/r/FindAGame/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum

These two sub-Reddits are a classified ad for gamers looking for games or players. The first one is specifically for people wanting to play on Roll20, while the second one is for other methods, although still mostly online gaming. The third link is a good mix of people looking to play online and offline.

Wizards RPG Gamer Classifieds http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75850/135138/RPG_Ga mer_Classifieds • • • •

Game types: tabletop Game systems: D&D Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

The official community for Dungeons & Dragons hosted by Wizards of the Coast. Lots of community tools here to promote yourself and what you’re looking for, plus a large audience.

RPG.net Gaming Gatherings http://forum.rpg.net/forumdisplay.php?f=21 • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum

Dungeons & Dragons is the 800 pound gorilla of the gaming industry, so it dominates gamer registries. However, RPG.net has long served gamers of all systems, and one might say it even leans away from D&D. If you are looking to hook-up with non-D&D gamers, then this is the forum for you.

RPG Game Find http://rpggamefind.com • • • •

Game types: tabletop, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: registry

Offers zip and postal code search, and filtering by game system. Email verification is required, and you will be sent a link for editing your post if you want to make changes later. Your listing will auto-expire after five months, so set a calendar reminder to repost after expiry.

Steve Jackson Games Gamer Finder http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=41 • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: GURPS Dominant regions: North America Format: forum, registry, profile

A forum catering mostly to gamers of Steve Jackson products. The page defaults to display just the last 30 days of posts, so to see more gamer ads, go to the page bottom and change the settings to a longer time period.

Steve Jackson Games Gamer Database http://www.sjgames.com/gamerfinder/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: GURPS Dominant regions: global Format: registry

A searchable database of gamers and game stores. Has many entries, depending on your region.

Yahoo Groups http://groups.yahoo.com/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

Gamers from all around the world setup gamers-seeking-gamers Yahoo Groups based on region or game system. Use the search function to find groups near you. Here are a few groups I’ve found. Note that many are for online only games. Bostongamers http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bostongamers/ DnDcontact http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DnDcontact/

GreatRPGs http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/GreatRPGs/ PbeM_Network http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/PBeM_Network/ Roleplaying-Yellowpages http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Roleplaying-Yellowpages/ RPG_Classified_ads http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/RPG_Classified_ads/ RPG_Finder http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/RPG_Finder/ rpg_online http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/rpg_online/ RPG_Player_Sanctuary http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/RPG_Player_Sanctuary/ RPGwantads http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/rpgwantads/ The_Roleplayers_Guild_of_Melbourne http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/The_Roleplayers_Guild_of_Mel bourne/ TheRPGAdvertPage http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/TheRPGAdvertPage/

Giant in the Playground – Recruitment http://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=51 • • • •

Game types: PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum

A busy site (run by Rich Burlew, creator of the Order of the Stick comic) with a lot of people looking to game online.

PenAndPaperGames.com http://www.penandpapergames.com/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

A website dedicated to finding fellow gamers. The free user registration will automatically enter you into the player registry. Browse through the geographically based groups and forums to see if there are any regional communities.

The Tangled Web http://thetangledweb.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=13 • • • •

Game types: PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: North America Format: forum

An active community and board that recruits for online games of all types.

Dragonsfoot – Looking For Games/Gamers http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=44 • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various, but mostly old school Dominant regions: global Format: forum

Dragonsfoot is a great site dedicated to older versions of D&D. The Looking For Games forum is somewhat active and a good place to find people who play OSRIC, Castles & Crusades and other old school-centric games.

Palladium Megaverse Gamers Looking for Other Gamers http://forums.palladium-megaverse.com/viewforum.php?f=29 • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: Palladium games and worlds Dominant regions: global Format: forum

An active forum serving up gamer ads for all Palladium games.

Fear The Boot - Local Gaming Connections http://www.feartheboot.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=17 • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum

A forum hosted by the great gaming podcast, Fear The Boot. It’s somewhat inactive, but your post is likely to get a few dozen views, so it’s worth posting an ad.

Hero Games Forums – Player Finder http://www.herogames.com/forums/forumdisplay.php/17-Player-Finder • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: Champions and other HERO games. Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

An active forum at Hero Games’s official website for people looking to find HERO and Champions gamers.

RPTools – Looking For Group http://forums.rptools.net/viewforum.php?f=11 • • • •

Game types: virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum

The RPTools company produces MapTools, free virtual gaming software that lets people in a tabletop-like setting over the internet. An active forum catering mostly to MapTools users.

Craigslist http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites • • • •

Game types: tabletop Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum

There are no gamers-seeking-gamers ads on Craigslist, so look for people selling RPGs in your area. You might stumble onto some great deals at the same time.

Twitter http://twitter.com/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

Tweet your gamer want ad and ask for retweets. Use hash tags based on your location and game system, such as #rpg #dnd #pfrpg. Because messages scroll off quickly, you should tweet your ad regularly. For example, in Edmonton for my Pathfinder RPG campaign, I’d use #rpg #pfrpg #yeg at the end of my tweets (#yeg is what locals use to tag tweets as Edmonton related, based on the three letter international code of our airport).

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ • • • •

Game types: tabletop, PBeM, forum, virtual Game systems: various Dominant regions: global Format: forum, registry, profile

North Coast Gamers http://www.facebook.com/groups/NorthCoastGamers/ Matro Detroit Gamers http://www.facebook.com/groups/MetroDetroitGamers/ Southern Lakes Area Gamers http://www.facebook.com/groups/157878820926280/

Southern Californa Gamers http://www.facebook.com/groups/Socalgamers/ Quad City Gamers http://www.facebook.com/groups/126755614073032/

28 Ways To Find A Game Group Or Recruit New Players There are many ways to find fellow gamers, especially if you get creative with how and where you advertise. Here is a list of ideas for your consideration. Many have appeared in the Roleplaying Tips ezine over the years, but I’ve updated or re-written them since a lot has changed in the past decade, especially in the online world. Skim through the tips and ideas below. Note the ones you think would work for your situation or that feel the most comfortable. After checking out each idea, decide which one you want to do first. Then do it! Try to get through your list of preferred tactics in the next week or so. Perhaps do one each day. It’s easier to do several in a short period of time as you build a bit of momentum. Plus, you’ll get results sooner if you act now.

Get a Business Card I can hear a few of you chuckling out there about this tip. But, I put it at the top of the list because it’s a nice and easy tool that can be used along with many of the other tips in this section. I went to Staples, a large stationery store, to get a quote for a RoleplayingTips.com business card. To my surprise, I found out I could get 250 plain text cards for just $14CAN/$10US. I thought the cards were so cheap they would be a great way to spread the word that you’re looking for new players. You can also get business card stationery for printers and print up your own for about $10. So, please consider this tool seriously.

I would get cards printed with: • Your first name • An anonymous email address (e.g. GMail) • A declaration that you’re looking for new players or a gaming group. If you plan on GMing, you might mention that people new to the hobby are welcome and you are happy to answer questions. • 1-2 line description whether you GM or play, what games you prefer, and your preferred game style. • Perhaps an interesting quote you feel captures your style or the spirit of roleplaying. You can find good quotes from Gary Gygax, Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine, rule books, movies, and favourite fiction books. Carry a few cards with you wherever you go. If you meet someone who’s interested, give them your card so they know how to contact you.

Advertise in Stores Use the list of websites in this ebook to search for local game shops. Also search Google for game, toy and comic stores in your area. Your Yellow Pages is a great source, too. Make a list and plan a travel day. If stores are nearby then pay them a visit first to see if they have a place for gamers to advertise. Look near the cash register, at the back of the store, and around any locations where gamers can pull up a chair and play. Many stores do not offer a space for ads. If none in your area do, then there is no point spending time creating printed-out advertisements. While you’re at the store, check to see if any games are in progress. Pick a time when it seems safe to interrupt, and ask those gamers if they need another player or if they’re aware of any opportunities to play in a different game.

Be sure to chat up the store owner and employees, as well. They might know of others looking for the same thing and point you in the right direction. The next step is to create your ad. Make it direct and simple, similar to the business cards: • Your first name • An anonymous email address (e.g. GMail) • A declaration that you’re looking for new players or a gaming group. If you plan on GMing, you might mention that people new to the hobby are welcome and you are happy to answer questions. • 1-2 line description whether you GM or play, what games you prefer and preferred game style. If you have the inclination, instead of listing the game names, you can paste in game logos as a better way to catch gamers’ eyes. • Perhaps an interesting quote you feel captures your style or the spirit of roleplaying. Try to inject a bit of personality or humour into your ad. This will help make you feel more approachable to people who are unsure about responding to strangers. Going to game stores and posting player wanted notices is an old tip (and still effective!). If you have tried this without success then consider these new twists. • Ask the owner if you could place a few of your business cards beside their cash register or under their counter glass. Use a highlighter on the “new players welcome” part to catch attention. • Some game stores allow you to display painted figures for fun. If your local store does, bring some in and ask that your business card be put beside them (or perhaps glue your figs to the cards). If you don’t have cards, just put a note on a coloured slip of paper “painted by: Johnn

Four 2001. Looking for new players immediately: [email protected]” • If you have RPG items to sell, and your local store buys used items or offers consignment, write your first name, email address and “players wanted” request on a Post-it® note pasted inside each product’s cover, or just slip your card inside. • Consider alternative types of stores that gamers might go to in your neighbourhood: ◦ Book stores, new and used ◦ Comic stores ◦ Traditional game stores ◦ Hobby stores ◦ Any newsstand that carries gaming magazines

Go to the Library Libraries often have community notice boards. Pin up your Players Wanted notice or gamer business card. Go to the games section and put your gamer business card or a small note in RPG books, DVDs, and CDs (if your library carries them). Likewise, put notes in fantasy and sci-fi books.

Plant Post-it Notes Think like a guerrilla game master and use Post-it notes as your silent weapon. These suckers stick to all books and most walls without damaging anything. Use them to spread the word.

Ask Friends, Family, Co-workers to Recruit for You Tap into your network of friends, family members, and co-workers. First, make a list of everyone you know. Don’t worry about whether you think they would know anyone who plays, just write the name down and move to the next one.

Then, go through your list and circle all the names of people who you would feel comfortable approaching. Email or call those people and ask them if they know of any potential candidates. Also ask if they know anyone who plays World of Warcraft or board games. This method is powerful because it gets the word out. contact will probably not be able to think of any gamers you’ve planted the seed. They might suddenly recall forgotten about, notice someone in their day’s travels overhear a conversation.

The people you at the time. But, someone they’d with a book, or

You never know. And by contacting a few people and spreading the word, luck starts to work in your favour. If you are up to it, look at all the names on your list that you didn’t contact. Now that you have contacted a few people, would you be willing to call or email any of the people you first didn’t want to? If not, no big deal. But, the more people who know you’re searching for roleplaying hobbyists, the better your odds of finding a new player.

Invite Spouses and Family to Watch or Play As per Markus’s tip in Roleplaying Tips Issue #65, perhaps there is someone in your life who might love to play RPG but has never done so. Sometimes this is just a case of those people never being invited to a game. So, ask. Option one is to have them play. Option two is to invite them to watch. After the game, ask them what they thought. Try to pick a game or game session that’s likely to have a style the person is most interested in. If the person reads a lot of fiction, then they should experience the story side of RPG. If the person loves to play Risk, have them see combat.

If a watcher starts making positive or helpful comments, and seems to be attentive to gameplay, that’s a sign they might be interested in joining in. In that case, give them a minor NPC to try out during the game. Be sure to clear things with your group before inviting watchers, just to prepare your players and get their permission.

Organize an Introduction-to-RPGs Workshop Another great tip from Issue #65: put together a test drive evening to give curious people a risk-free taste of RPG. Here is the original tip, submitted by Maarten van B. I GM’ed for several years in high school, but stopped when I went to study abroad. A year or two after I came back, I wanted to get started again, but I wasn’t acquainted with any roleplayers at that time. I knew a few friends who played RPGs on the computer, or who had read Lord of the Rings, but none of them had ever heard of roleplaying games such as we discuss here. So what I did was actually quite simple: I designed a nice flyer, with a small but varied selection of fantasy pictures (battle, magic, elves, etc.), added a few hopefully inspiring lines of text in the spirit of, “Ever wanted to know what it would be like to...” ( fill in the blank: live the life of an elf, beat a powerful dragon, save a captured princess from an evil sorcerer etc.) and announced that I would be holding a Roleplaying Game Day two weeks from then. The programme for that day was quite simple:

• 10:00-11:00 - Welcome drinks and a chance to ask preliminary questions • 11:00-11:30 - Introduction to RPG by the GM (that would be me) • 11:30-13:30 - Workshop 1: Creating a fantasy character (simplified system) • 14:00-16:00 - Workshop 2: Living in a fantasy world (a short introductory adventure) • 16:00- 18:00 - Movie (which in my case, we never got around to)

Seven people showed up – a few of my friends, and a few of their friends as well. They enjoyed making characters and they enjoyed the adventure even more. (Tip: it’s also important to gear your flyer and workshops towards the type of campaign you intend to run.)

Update Your Online Status with Your Quest Put your social media networks to work for you. Consider changing your status message to a player wanted ad: • Describe briefly what you are looking for (i.e. players, game master, systems). • Add your region. If you are in a populated area, then just list your town or city. If the chances of gamers being nearby are low, then cast your net wider and list your province, state or country.

Talk with Strangers Another tip from Roleplaying Tips Issue #65: chat about your hobby. You never know who is a rabid gamer. The person in that suit in the desk beside you could very well be a 14th level barbarian every Wednesday night. Or the person at the bus stop might just be a Netrunner who’s doing a mental checklist for his upcoming mission. If you find yourself talking to someone you don’t know very well, try these ways to discover if they roleplay: • Chat about movies. Bring up the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Have they seen them? What did they think? Have they ever played D&D? • Talk about books. Mention the new Jim Butcher or Game of Thrones books. Do they really get into scifi or fantasy novels? Have they ever tried gaming? • Mention you like to write. You write interactive stories that are used for games. Have they ever tried a game like that?

• Talk about TV. Have they ever watched “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” Mention you are into improv games.

Host a Board Game or Card Game Night Try getting a bunch of people over for a six person Monopoly, Risk, or new modern game. Or get some card playing friends of yours together. During the games look for opportunities to bring up your roleplaying hobby. Have a stack of other card and board games nearby. If you do play Monopoly, use D&D minis instead of the Monopoly pawns. Leave your RPG books out for people to notice and let them bring up the subject. Or, ask the players if they know of anyone who would like to try a new game some night...

Host a Murder Mystery This type of game is close to an RPG and is popular in many areas. If someone enjoys the evening a lot, approach them afterwards and ask if they would like to try a similar game. This tip first appeared in Roleplaying Tips Issue #71. Since that time, murder mystery type games have become available on DVD. These games require even less to coordinate and setup.

Carry an RPG Book Around with You This worked for me once, believe it or not. Someone noticed my D&D Player’s Handbook sitting outside and we started chatting about roleplaying. He turned out to be an enthusiastic roleplayer looking for a group. Leave a gaming book in the back seat of your car or in your bag at work.

If this tip doesn’t work, it at least has the added benefit of giving you the opportunity to read your game books more often (i.e. while standing in lines, while commuting, at the coffee shop).

Post Ads in Online Discussion Groups and Lists The listing of websites in this ebook focuses on RPG. However, you might have other hobbies and interests, and there is guaranteed to be an online community serving those interests. These places are great to let others know you are involved with RPGs and that you are looking for players. First, create a signature line in your email program or online profile that always gets appended to the end of your messages. In this signature line tell people that:    

You enjoy RPG You are looking for people to game with The city/town where you live People are invited to email you for more details (i.e. what is RPG, how to play RPG, games you play)

Answer Questions for RPG Newbies You never know who in your area might be hopping online to learn more about RPG. They will likely never have played before, are unsure how to join a game, and are a bit tentative. You can make yourself known and approachable by answering questions for newbies online. One such site is Yahoo Answers. Go there and search for RPG. There will be a lot of video game questions being asked, but you will also find pen & paper questions too. Answer these to not only possibly find gamers in your area, but to help the RPG community as a whole. http://wiki.answers.com is another such site.

Contact Former Players Make a list of all the people with whom you have gamed in the past. You never know where some of these people live today – they might be your neighbours! Also, through six degrees of separation, former gamers might know somebody in your area who plays RPG or would be interested in learning about RPG. For each person, list their contact information. Sometimes old players are hard to get a hold of, but you can track many of them down by using Google or Facebook. You might also have luck contacting friends of friends. The advantage of contacting former roleplayers is you both know about roleplaying so you can bring the topic up without hesitation. And chances are they will have friends with similar interests or who are more inclined to try out RPGs.

Find Regional Clubs Look for area clubs that will attract gamers. Some clubs are more organised than others and will have scheduled events. Attend these events to meet others who play RPGs. While participating in organised events is its own fun, you are most interested in the club’s member list. The majority of club members will not attend events, so you likely will not ever meet them. To reach these lurkers you must be proactive and contact them yourself. Ask the president of the club if they have a newsletter or mailing list. If so, ask if you can place an ad. They may charge you for it, but if finding fellow gamers is at stake, a few dollars might be worth it. The club might also have a regular meeting location, often at a store, rented space, library, school or hall. With permission, place a small stack of your business cards near the entrance, and your gamers-wanted poster.

Even if this is just for a single event, it is worth it for the awareness you create. Example clubs to look for: Sci-fi and fantasy book clubs Sci-fi and anime viewing clubs The Society for Creative Anachronism Miniatures and wargaming gaming clubs (i.e. Warhammer, historical) • Board game clubs • Writer’s groups • Acting and improv clubs • • • •

Enlist Fellow Players If you have a gaming group, enlist them with all these tactics. Ask them to go forth and multiply! You have my permission to copy this ebook and send it to all the members of your gaming group. Alternatively, print out the sections of this book your friends would find most useful and ask them to help out in finding new group members.

Get a T-Shirt It’s easier than ever to advertise your hobby with gaming-related T-shirt, thanks to sites like SnorgTees.com and OffWorldDesigns.com. And sites like cafepress.com and redbubble.com let you design your own clothing. You can be direct and put your gamers-wanted ad on a shirt. You can be indirect and just put gamer geek or RPG references on clothing to help you strike up conversations with people. Either way, use your gamerenabled garb to spark interest and conversation. (Do not use copyrighted or trademarked material. Most services will refuse the order anyway.)

Create a Profile Web Page Using wordpress.com or another easy web page service, create a quick About Me page that lists your various hobbies and interests, general location and contact information (an anonymous email address is usually best). Also put your gamers-wanted request on this page. Link to this page at every opportunity. Put it in your email and forum signatures. Link to it from any other profile pages you might have. Put it on your business card. Add it to your gamer registry profiles. Google will soon index your page and people will be able find you if they search for various terms. For example, if you live in a small town then anyone searching for that town’s name plus a gaming-related keyword should find your page fairly quickly in the search engine results. In addition, a page like this is under your control. You can update it as often as you like with whatever you like. As gamer registry sites close down, change designs or have data loss issues, your site serves like a home base, safe and secure.

Create a Gaming Blog If you like to write then consider starting a blog about your favourite aspects of gaming and RPG. Not only will this help you scratch the gaming itch if you are not gaming regularly, but it will help attract others with similar interests who may either live in your area or can help spread the word that you are looking for players. Go to wordpress.com and start a blog today.

Go to Gaming Conventions – or Start Your Own Conventions are wonderful events to meet new people, make friends and catch-up with old friends. They are often excellent for gaming, too.

There are two types of conventions: small and big. The small cons will get you a higher percentage of local gamers, so you’re more likely to bump into a candidate for your regular gaming. Big cons can be regional, national or international. These will draw huge crowds, but the chances of meeting a gamer who lives near you are smaller. Attend all the local cons you can. Bring your cards and gamers-wanted posters and spread them around. For either type of con, check into whether they have a website and mailing list. If so, see if you can place an ad or contribute to their community to generate awareness that you’re on the hunt for gamers. Do not restrict yourself to gaming conventions, either. Anime, sci-fi, book and comic cons also attract a lot of gamers. If there are no local conventions, consider starting one of your own. Many cons start as a small gathering in a basement for a few hours. As the gathering happens each year, words spreads and more people start to attend.

Start a Club at School If you are a student or teacher, consider starting an RPG club at school. There’s no better way to get like-minded gamers together in the learning setting. Katrina Middelburg-Creswell submitted an excellent pair of articles to Roleplaying Tips about starting RPG clubs at school: • Starting and Running a Role-Playing Games Club • Role-Playing Games and Kids

Place a Classified Ad in Your Local Newspaper I recently learned that a classified ad in my local paper is less than $20. This is a perfect and inexpensive way to reach out to nearby folks who might be interested in gaming or learning more about RPG. Create a short ad with a compelling headline. List an anonymous email address for interested readers to respond to. Here’s an example: Do you play RPG? I live in town and am looking to get a friendly regular game night together. People new to tabletop RPG are welcome. Email for details and to introduce yourself: [email protected]

Post Ads at a College or University Younger people are often the most open to learning new games, if they are not already rabid RPGers. Visit all the nearby post-secondary education schools you can and put up your business cards and posters on bulletin boards and notice boards.

Post Ads at the Supermarket In the small towns where I’ve lived, the grocery stores and shopping malls offered community bulletin boards. These are great places to put up your players-wanted notice or gamer business card. In fact, any place you find a community bulletin board can help you advertise.

Connect with Your Interests Search for Yahoo or Google groups, forums and blogs dedicated to something relevant to your desired campaign, such as Japanese history or spelunking. Sign up for the group, and post a notice in such places if it seems acceptable, or participate and leverage your signature.

Even if the locals you get in contact with aren’t gamers at the moment, their interest in a topic at the heart of the game can make them curious about getting into it.

Comment on Blogs and Forums With the explosion of RPG blogs, forums, and communities, get online and start participating in discussions. If you have something valuable, funny or interesting to say, most people won’t mind a brief bio line plus “currently looking for (Game System) players in (City)” appended at the end of your comments.

Check Dating Sites Many dating sites offer the facility to look for friends (as opposed to romantic partners). If the people you go looking for list gaming as a hobby (or even something closely related), reach out and introduce yourself. And be sure to list gaming prominently in your profile so that others can reach out to you.

The Perfect Online Profile Finding a website with gamers in your region is the first hurdle. Motivating gamers to click on your listing and send you an email is the next challenge. Text listings and online profiles make it hard for a person to get to know you. Roleplaying games attract a lot of different types of people and allow many different playing styles. Some gamer matches end up being like oil and water. Some like fire and gasoline. It turns out there’s a secret to the perfect online profile. While it might seem obvious, people rarely employ it to connect with a gaming group for some great gaming. Once you know and use this secret, your chances of being contacted improve: The perfect online profile is not about you. It’s about them. This turns the notion of a profile or listing on its head. It’s backwards. How can a profile not be about you? It’s got all your information in it, right? While your profile does contain your information, its purpose is to attract like-minded gamers. Everybody online sees things through the lens of their wants and needs. People surfing for gamer friends read everything from their own perspective. They are looking for the games they want to play, people they’d get along with, RPG styles they prefer. It’s all about them, not you! For example, I see on some profiles long listings of games the people play. Two dozen or more game names, in some cases. The person placing the ad probably thinks they’re just casting a wide net. By mentioning a lot of games, they’re advertising they’ll play anything. When I read these profiles, though, I see someone who might not have the patience or interest in a long campaign with one game system. That’s my Modus Operandi. I prefer multi-year campaigns with a single game system and a stable group of

players. I’d prefer not to find gamers who get bored with a game system after a few months and quit playing. Perhaps I’m reading too much information into these profiles. I do know if I want to find a player or group who shares the same passion for long campaigns that I do, I better communicate that so I get contacted by likeminded gamers, and have greater chances of finding a perfect match. Instead of listing all the games I’ve ever played, I’m better off listing a couple and saying I’m eager and willing to learn a new game system so I can play in a long-term campaign. That tells seekers two things: I am willing to play their game, and I’m questing for campaign-style play. This is much better than trying to list every game under the sun in the hopes that I’ll appeal to more gamers. Instead, I’ll be giving off the completely wrong vibe. Fortunately, as an RPG fan, you will be good at what’s needed to create the perfect online profile. First, figure out who your ideal gamer or group would be. What are their traits and interests? Who do you want to spend all that gaming time with? When are they available to play? What kind of gaming do you want to do? Note all this down on a piece of paper. Second, pretend you’re building and playing NPCs. Seriously. When running NPCs, you need to view things from their perspective. You roleplay their motives and interests. You look at the world through their eyes. If you don’t have experience with NPCs, then pretend you’re running one of your characters. This person is different from you and when you roleplay them you use your imagination to see the game from their perspective. Use this PC and NPC roleplaying to view your profile through your future player or group’s perspective. What information would they want to see on a profile or in an ad? What details would make them eagerly click your email link? What bad things would make them take a pass and move onto the next profile?

Using your roleplaying skills, pretend you are the ideal gamer you want to hook up with, and see things from their perspective. Use this perspective to create a great online profile. Pretend you are them, see things through their eyes, and create an honest and compelling profile.

Top Profile Sins • Bad spelling or grammar: You might be horrible with English or writing, and you might not care if your fellow gamers write well or not, but the universal reaction to glaring errors is negative. Do not let a simple mistake that could have been caught by a spell checker create a bad first impression. • No profile picture: When a user’s profile has the default picture, it sends a signal you’re not serious about finding fellow gamers. And it’s just a small mental leap from thinking you’re not trying hard to find a great group to thinking you do not try hard to play a good game. A tasteful picture of you generates an instinctive interest in surfers. It hooks them into reading more about you. Post your pic. • Come across as flaky: “I do not know what to put here.” “hi everybodies im looking for sum great gaming i’ll play anything.” “I hate D&D 4E. They destroyed the game. Do not contact me if you want to play that crap system.” “Johnn Four loves long campaigns. Johnn Four likes D&D, GURPS, WFRPG and similar games. Johnn Four likes to talk about himself in third person.” At this point, people are getting to know you only by the text you write and your profile picture, so put together a few good sentences and details about yourself (from their perspective though, remember). • Immediately list the number of years you’ve been playing: The length of time you’ve been gaming does not mean you are a great or poor gamer. Other people know this, and when you tell folks you’ve been playing RPG for 10, 15 or 35 years, it often comes across as negative or elitist. Instead, just let people know

whether you are a new, inexperienced or experienced gamer. Length of tenure is not required.

Top Profile Wins • Include a picture of yourself if the profile permits one: This adds humanity and instant interest in your profile. Expect more views because of it. • Be positive: Unless you are a curmudgeon looking for fellow pessimists, cynics and grouches, then always state things from a positive viewpoint. This is much more attractive than negativity. • Provide your availability: Offer the days and times you can play. • Talk about favourite gaming moments: Tell a short story – a paragraph or two – about a great gaming moment you’d like to experience again. • List your region: If the system does not let you input where you want to game, then mention it in your profile. • Provide your (anonymous) email address: Do not rely on the site or system to automatically provide your public-safe email information. Add it as back-up to your profile. If fleshing out your profile is difficult for you, then one trick is to write it as an ad and talk about who your ideal group or player is: “Hi, I’m looking for a group/player to regularly game with. My ideal is a group/player who enjoys [preferred interest or trait] and [preferred interest or trait]. You can game in [region] [days/times]. You enjoy [game styles] and [play styles].” Hi, my name is Johnn. I’m looking for a group to game with, hopefully every other week. My ideal group enjoys longer campaigns and a friendly atmosphere. You like getting into character, but also getting together with friends and having fun. You would game in the Edmonton region on a weeknight. You enjoy a good mix of roleplaying, action and combat, and games like D&D or Warhammer RPG.

Always end your profile or ad with a friendly invitation to contact you. Sometimes people get into zombie surfing mode, and you need to tell them outright to click the email link to snap them out of it and take action. “If this type of game sounds great to you, please email me with any questions you might have or to introduce yourself. [email protected]

Final Thoughts I hope the links and tips in this guide help you find gamers nearby. If you're having trouble finding a group, cast a wider net. Over time, somebody will know somebody who knows somebody you can connect with. Don't give up! Online gaming has come a long way since the first edition of this guide, as well. With cams, good apps, and an online world, you can have great games from your home with people spread across your country and the globe. The tech used to be a showstopper, but in most cases it just works in the background and gets out of the way. Worst case scenario, like I saw happen when I played in a Roll20 campaign recently, players connect with just audio when there's camera or bandwidth issues. What I'm saying is, where there's a dice roller, there's a way. You can make it happen if you want to game. If you have any questions, feel free to email me anytime at [email protected] And if you are not a subscriber to my Game Master Tips newsletter, with weekly unique advice, tips, and inspiration, I invite you to subscribe for free here. Have more fun at every game! Johnn

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