After exchanging a few emails with Peter Harkins, who runs NearbyGamers, I created a new page called Ways to Find RPG Players. It collects a range of player-finding tools and resources in one spot, with NearbyGamers front and center.
This is an evergreen topic for gamers in general, and for GMs in particular. Everyone has had to find a new group after they moved, or lost a player or two to work or school and needed to bring new folks into their existing group.
I highlighted NearbyGamers as the featured resource because I think that with enough members (and over 450 have signed up in the past week) this site could become the destination for finding players — and that would benefit the whole gaming community.
If you know of any player-finding resources that I missed, I hope you’ll share them with me in the comments.
I see you included FindPlay on your site and that is usually my first stop since moving to a rural area north of Chicago (it was so much easier finding players in the city obviously). I have already received an email from someone thanks to NearbyGamers, unfortunately it was for a GM whose game I left because it was bad. Yet that I’m sure is just the first of many emails to come. I think with these two sites it will be a lot easier to find people.
I’ve had moderate success with business cards left at comic shops and FLGS. Over time I have learned to keep any postings, flyers, or cards system neutral. You get better results if you just talk about your group and schedule. If you mention a system sometimes the result is that potential players think “I don’t play that game.” and never bother to contact you. If it is a system neutral solicitation they are more likely to contact you thinking “Maybe they play my game?”. Since I encourage rotating GMs and multiple game systems I offer new players the opportunity to bring their favorite system with them. So we end up with a new player and a new game.
I love the idea of FindPlay, and I signed up as soon as I learned about it. The problem I’ve run into is that it seems to be down as often as it’s up. If memory serves, it was down for several months last year, and that just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Your point about system-neutral postings is a good one — wondering if “We play D&D” on a notice means “We only play D&D” lowers the chances that I’ll respond.
The biggest reason I added forums was so that you could talk to someone and maybe they’d be near enough that y’all should find a common game.
There are wide-open tags like “story games” floating around now, and the profile section exists just so you can say “Hey, I’m up for anything involving dice”, so hopefully everybody finds a good game.
Thanks for the kind words, Martin. I’m hoping NearbyGamers is not only good for gamers, it grows gaming. I know I haven’t played for years because I haven’t had anyone to play with, and I figure there must plenty of other folks in the same situation.
Forums and group/lists.
Yahoo and Google groups are great places for finding existing groups, or even individual gamers. Search for RPG and your town, and check out the groups you get.
Also, a number of forums have “find a game” sections (ENWorld, WotC, etc), divided by state and/or city.