Sometimes friends drift apart, or disagreements can dismantle a party. What do you do when you need to find a new group to game with? Though currently difficult due to COVID-19, we've got your back on how you can saddle up and find your new party.
Once convention season opens up again after the pandemic is over - conventions are a great way to meet scores of new people in a short amount of time. While not everyone can afford the expense of attending one of the mega conventions like San Diego ComiCon, the benefit to gaming becoming more mainstream and popular means there are many more small local conventions than ever before! There are often conventions that are purely just about gaming, or even specific types of gaming. The drawback to seeking a new gaming group even at a small local convention is that they might not be local. But the odds are in your favor by sheer numbers and opportunities with different gaming sessions and panels. Even if you don’t find your new gaming group, you can still have a great time playing some fun games with other con goers and potentially make some new friends.
2) Local Game Nights
A better way to increase your odds of encountering local gamers is, after the pandemic, to hit up a local game night at a game store or venue that supports game nights (such as an arcade bar or a family run restaurant). Most game stores have different game nights that are themed to specific days and usually have a freeform game night at least one night per week. This offers the opportunity to find new group members for a particular game you want to play, or to join an existing group that you mesh with. It also takes the guesswork out of choosing a location for your new group’s game nights, since you’re already meeting at a hosting venue. If you don’t find a new game group on the first try, don’t be afraid to try again. While most themed game nights will have the “usual crowd” there may be new gamers that stop by looking for a group just like you.
3) Join A Facebook Group
Scouting new local groups can be tough, and exploring new game shops and game night locales can be intimidating. A great way to find new gaming group members without the social pressure is by searching groups on Facebook. The social media platform has dozens of groups specifically tailored to different games. It’s also a great way to get a feel for the other players in a group via the discussions on the Facebook group pages. It will become clear which groups and gamers are more “hardcore” and which are more “casual” by the types of discussions in the groups. Reading them ahead of time takes the social pressure off so you “know” what kind of gamers you’ll be sitting down to play with. You never know who you might connect with and what local fellow gamers you might find.
4) Search On A Gaming Forum
This can be a bit more intimidating than joining a Facebook group. Gamers that frequent forums are typically more “hardcore” about the games they play than the casual gamers that are more likely to frequent open Facebook groups. If you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, or are up to the challenge, this may be a great way to find an experienced group to play with. There are always clusters of gamers looking to join new groups, and technology can help bridge the distance if local gaming isn’t possible. Utilizing video chat like Skype or Zoom with digital gaming programs like Roll20 can make game night happen no matter where your group members live.
5) Start Your Own Group
This option may be the most intimidating, but it can sometimes be the “best” option. Create your own Facebook Group, or post on a gaming forum that you’re looking to build your own gaming group. Let the world know what kind of group you’re looking to play with, and what you bring to the table. Do you have a venue? Books, maps, figurines? Or maybe you make the best game night snacks? Whatever makes you a key player for your new game group, shout it loud and proud and see what other gamers you might reel in.
Seeking a new game night group is always a challenge, regardless if it’s your first game group, or you’re a seasoned player. Take a chance on these tips and don’t give up! Your best game night group is out there waiting for you.
Alice Liddell is an author, artist, and performer who loves bringing magic and fantasy to all aspects of her working and personal life. Whether it’s DnD with friends, or a round of Fable solo, Alice has always loved gaming of all kinds. You can find her work on her social media handles Facebook, or under littlalice06 on IG and Twitter.
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With the rise of Virtual Table Tops (VTTs), the opportunity to play Dungeons and Dragons (and other TTRPGs) without a local group has become increasingly flexible. While most people may still prefer to play in person, many people have turned to VTTs as the only option in rural areas, or to play with friends across the world. While playing online presents a new set of challenges, following these tips will help ensure it is the best possible experience for everyone in the game.
1) Find The Platform
There are a lot of Virtual Table Tops to choose from, and picking one can become a bit overwhelming.
Roll20 is the best combination of versatility and functionality. Supporting dozens of games from D&D, to Call of Cthulhu, to Pokemon, Roll20 is relatively easy to learn and boasts three million user. This makes it easy to find a group to play with, and you can play for free with no real limitations.
Fantasy Grounds offers less options (a dozen of the most popular), but is more user friendly and purportedly has better customer service. At least one person in your group will have to pay a premium fee to use it, however.
Tabletop Simulator can play just about anything (including chess, checkers, etc.), but the graphics are limited and it’s not as user friendly. It’s a one time fee of $20 on steam, making it a cheaper option that Fantasy Grounds. Leave other suggestions in the comments below!
2) Vet The Group
When you play online, it’s likely you’ll be roleplaying with a bunch of strangers. This has the potential to cause quite a few issues as game expectations, communication, and play styles inevitably clash. To help avoid most of these issues, you can make sure you are very selective about who you play with. Whether you’re the DM or a player, the following are important to know:
How old, in general, is each player (Teen/minor, college kid, young adult, older)?
What are they looking for in the game (a fun time, lots of roleplay, primarily combat, a good story)?
What is their play style (leader, tactician, power gamer, etc.)?
How much experience do they have with this system and with TTRPGs in general?
What class do they plan to play?
What is their personality (you might have to gauge this through casual conversation)?
3) Talk Outside Session Times
I’m a fan of doing text-based roleplay with my group between sessions, but even if you’re not into that, it’s important to check in with your group every couple days. You can talk about what you’re looking forward to in the next session, recap the previous session, strategy, or what’s going on in each other’s lives. The point is to both form a relationship with the people you’re playing with and stay in a mindset of team play and narrative focus.
4) Over Prepare
When you play online there’s fewer traditional responsibilities such as hosting or providing snacks. Since you don’t have to worry about these other things, it is best to over prepare for your session. Know your character sheet and abilities by memory, know some macros or shortcuts for whatever VTT you’re playing on, and know where the narrative has been and where you want it to go. This will speed up session time and shows courtesy to the rest of the group.
Communication in online groups is just as important as in person, but in many ways it’s more difficult. Talk about problems early. Be polite and try to see the other person’s perspective. Basically, just act like adults. Use emoticons to express intent behind your words. If issues really get bad, take the time between sessions to get some space and reassess your desire to be in the sessions. You don’t have to see these people in real life, and in some cases that’s beneficial.
Playing with people online can be difficult at times. But if you follow these five steps, you can have a long-lasting and fun experience playing TTRPGs online.
Ryan Langr is a DM, player, and content creator of Dungeons & Dragons 5e. His passions include epic plot twists, creating exceptionally scary creatures, and finding ways to bring his player’s characters to the brink of death. He also plays Pathfinder/3.5. In his real life, he is a stay at home dad, husband, and blogger of many other interests.
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All blog materials created and developed by the staff here at High Level Games