As game masters we get a burning desire to tell stories, run games. Often it hits us like inspiration hits writers. We could be browsing through the latest at Drive Thru RPG. Or we might have finished a great book we bought off Amazon. Sometimes a simple article might set us off. Whatever the case when we get the urge, we want to game. The first and foremost problem game masters have is recruitment. How the heck do you find someone willing to play a table-top game with you? First you need to decide where you want to run the game. If you want to run it live, then below I have several suggestions for you. If you want to do it online, I can give you some tips on where to go and how to run your game.
Recruiting live players can be difficult. A bit of extroverted charm along with a likeable smile can go a long way. But to find fresh blood for your next game requires the proper location, timing and social skills. Your current job, transportation and living location will determine who you can recruit. Availability for gaming is crucial and often it can be difficult to coordinate a schedule with like-minded players. You can learn social skills. Several techniques exists you can use to become more extroverted. and get the players you desire for your next game.
Being in the right location for gaming is critical to ensure success in finding a group of live Table-Top gamers. Sometimes you can find someone nearby using a website like Nearby Gamers. If this first stipulation cannot be met, consider looking online for a game. Living in a great location for gamers helps a whole lot. Seattle, Washington is a mecca for people who love table-top game in the United States. Las Vegas, Portland, Atlanta, Sacramento, Minnesota, Boston and Miami are great cities filled with geeks. If you live outside of the US, Germany has a TON of board gamers who are eager to play table-top RPGS. You can attend Spiel and check out all of the games for yourself. London has many shops catering to table-top gaming as well. Brazil has many table-top gamers if you find yourself in South America. If you work in the military, you have the best chances of finding a group of players within your company. Personally, I ran some of my best games within the ranks of my unit. Local comic shops and hobby stores are great places to find other players if you do not live in one of the geek cities. Classmates and colleges have many players just itching to get their game on. Living close to a local library, you might want to check out what transpires on the weekend. Another great place to recruit players is local comic conventions. Sometimes the small ones with a few hundred people will have those few gamers looking for a game master.
Timing is everything and this must be factored in for live player recruitment. In today’s society we work longer, odd hours which factor in to our gaming experience. Some people might not be able to game during the weekend. If you have such odd schedules, you should wait to set up a gaming event until you can clear a weekend. The best time to game is the weekend and this has not changed. Thursday night to Sunday afternoon remains the prime time to run a table-top game in North America. Only on holidays or during the summer months will you find games being ran at odd hours. This timing schedule applies for online and some international gamers. If you need help scheduling games I would recommend using Warhorn or better yet just set up a google calendar invite. Facebook groups also serve as an excellent way to schedule games for multiple players.
Gaining and using socials skills is critical to finding and recruiting live players. Here you will find an excellent article pertaining to training your social skills.In my humble opinion, you need to be a social animal in order to be an effective game master. The wonderful thing about table-top games is it gives you chances to practice skills you normally would not try. Game masters should have a good grasp of several skills: empathy, non-verbal communication skills, spoken communication and assertiveness. As a player you get to work on all these skills while playing the game. If you do not feel ready for the mantel of game master, you probably are not. That is OK. But take time to study what everyone else is doing at your next session. Take time to study your current game master. If you need some online examples, there are plenty of group sessions found on You-Tube.
Running an online game is similar to a live session with several pros and a few cons connected with the activity. The fastest growing and most popular online table-top gaming platform is Roll 20 and Fantasy Grounds I recommend both. Fantasy Grounds has more content for paying users. Roll 20 is free to play and you can create a game quickly. It is super easy to get a roll 20 game going for just about any type of table-top game out there. The pros for running a game online is the flexibility of hours so you can find odd hour games and location is not a factor. The biggest con is not being there live. Players and game masters miss out on lots of non-verbal communication cues. Cheaper alternatives for people with established groups consists of Google Hangouts and Skype.
Finding a great group to belong to and game with is essential to a proper gaming life. Creating a great social network with many friends enriches our lives and enhances who we are. Take care on who you invite into your social circle. Make sure if you are a narrative styled GM, you keep pure mechanical gamers away from your table. If you enjoy simulations or pure gaming, make sure to recruit to your style of game.