Monday, May 20, 2013

Why it pays to be out of the (gamer) closet

Yesterday I was attending a graduation party for a person I know through work.  Her son was graduating from the University of Kansas, and she was holding a party for him and his friends and had invited, well, everyone on the planet to attend.  At the party the host introduced to me to her nephew, whom she identified as a gamer like me.  Now my place of work had organized a fundraiser in which local youth could come and play boardgames with unlimited concessions, the proceeds of which support a local food pantry (my place of work is cool like that).  So the host was basically trying to get her nephew involved with the fundraiser the next time we do one.

We, however, began talking gaming, and I told him that while I love board games, I'm more of a roleplaying gamer and a wargamer.  As might be expected we frequented the same local gaming stores, etc. and he said that he and his wife would love to find a roleplaying group to be a part of.

Right now I've got a pretty full group of six regular players but I told him I was thinking of starting up another group and would let him know when that began.  I got his contact information and filed it away.  The gentleman and his wife now join a fair number of people whom I've had to turn away from my group because of size issues, but now that group is almost big enough to constitute a group of its own.  This actually dovetails nicely with my thoughts about a a single world/multiple group sandbox campaign notion I've been percolating for a while.  I could have the "old group" of six players, and a "new group" of however many I round up.  I could then alternate between the two groups weekly, with empty spots each week filled in by members of the other group, if possible.  During particularly crazy times schedule-wise (like the summer) we could just see who can show up each session and go with that.

What's the moral of this story?  First, no one cares that you are into RPG's.  Or rather, no one will judge you for it.  It's so tame in comparison to some hobbies, and the fantasy/sci-fi genre has become mainstreamed to the point that it dominates movies, TV, etc.  Second, if you're someone with his own basement who can express to people that you can run an interesting game and not give off the impression that you make ties out of human skin in your spare time, you can find players.

In the back of my head, I'm really thinking about some kind of "out yourself as a gamer" movement combined with a "recruit someone new today" thing.


  1. Yeah, to me, there's nothing wrong with being a gamer and/or a geek. Good post, by the way, too.

    Have an oogie boogie day.

    1. Well, I wouldn't think that you'd think that, what with your being married to the guy who does Gothridge Manor.

      But underlying all of this is my real question of why the RPG hobby is in the tank these days. RPG's are being squeezed out of the three gaming stores in my area, and I don't understand why. First, are there fewer people gaming, or are we just playing games we got for free online?

      And if there are fewer gamers, why? Are we just not cool? Are we too low-tech? Are we all smelly jerks? If fondue pots can become hip again, why not tabletop RPG's?

      Again, I'm thinking about trying to come up with some sort of movement to get people to invite new people to the table, rather than continue to play with the diminishing crowd of veterans.