Saturday, December 11, 2010

Attracting New People to Gaming?

In yesterday's post I wondered about how people who've never played a RPG before, or any of the other games for that matter; could get some good information on how to start, and if there were any such resources.  The comments were good and I would like to address a couple of them...

Greg Christopher said...
I actually think the only way the hobby will survive long term is to have more GMs. Adding new players is treating symptoms, not the cause, IMHO.
I have a blog post that is percolating to the top on this subject as I wrap up Errant and start thinking about my projects as a whole.
I should have been more clear.  When I mentioned new players, I actually meant "players" in a generic way, as in people involved in the gaming hobby.  Sure some might always stay players, but eventually some will become GMs as well.  The only thing I would add is that there needs to be more GOOD GMs.  Nothing drives off a newbie player faster than a lousy GM.  I think all potential GMs should play a few games before trying to run games, but that's just me.  Some people make great GMs, but lousy players, and some people would make lousy GMs, but are great players.  It's up to the person to find their niche.

I will try to clarify a bit about what I was trying to say in my last post.  Imagine you are someone who has never played a RPG before, and are interested in playing.  None of your friends play, so you head to the bookstore, and find the RPG books.  Hhhhhmmm... which one to buy?  WotC has tons of books out, and the bookstores are going to try and sell backstock of the "old 4E" books.  There's also the new stuff out.  As well as books by other publsihers.  Pathfinder, World of Darkness, all big, thick, expensive books.  What to buy?  It can be overwhelming, and confusing if you don't know anything about the games.  Plus it can be expensive, and people are likely to give up rather than spend money on something they might not need.

I just feel that there should be some sort of online resource for people new to the hobby.  It should give them advice about how to get started, if they actually need to buy anything to get started, and tips for finding a gaming group.  I feel that you should try something out before you spend a ton of money on something you might not enjoy.

Trey said...
Good idea. Though a do wonder what the longevity of that sort of approach might be. GM-types want various sorts of "inside baseball" discussion that blogs are good for. How much of that do players need? Even if it was totally a "how-to" thing new players would learn that and move on. I don't know how steady a stream of new folks there are to a rather niche hobby.
Yeah, it's all about learn what you need to know and then move on to more meaty subject matters.  I think a blog or blogs for new players would be a good thing.  I think new players should get a good start in the hobby rather than stumble and fall, and then give up.

I think many hobbies are "niche" hobbies, but RPGs, etc. are more intimidating to someone unfamiliar with the idea of role playing as recreation.

I would think that people would want new people in the hobby.  Some people leave, take breaks, etc, and I think a steady stream of new players would be a good thing.  How to accomplish that?  Pffffttt... I dunno, but I'm putting on my thinking helmet, and adjusting the frequency.  *bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt*  Ouch, I need a fuse I think...

Anyway, I plan on doing some more thinking on the subject, because I NEED a gaming group.  At one point I was involved in at least three different groups.  All enjoyed different types of games, and it was great to have so many choices.  Man, those were the days.


  1. I think you're right that RPGs are more intimidating, than wargaming certainly. It may be that roleplaying is generally less tactile and lacks the visible learning curve of gradually building up the number of models on the table. Wargaming definitely offers a closely related approach that could provide plenty of new inductees, and one route is clear - in the past three years three RPGs set in the 40K universe have appeared (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch) the last involving space marines. This has to help. I have my thinking cap on too and if minds are bent to it, events will follow.

  2. My reply is up on Errant.

  3. Porky, yeah I've seen the WH40k RPG books. The one thing I like about Games Workshop webpage is that if you are new to the hobby, they give some fairly good advice on how to get started. It's been a while since I looked at WotC site, but I don't think it's nearly as informative. I guess I should check...