My group is having a devil of a time finding new players, and I’m curious if it’s just us, or if lots of groups have the same problem. I’d like to frame that discussion around a quick tongue-in-cheek anecdote.

I moved to Utah two years ago, and met my current group right away. Since then, we’ve only found two players who became friends and long-term members of our group (Jaben and Sam, I’m looking at you!). During the same two years, I met the love of my life, who I’m lucky enough to be marrying this month.

Which one would you expect to be harder: Finding your future spouse, or finding new players?

Outside of a high school or college setting (I never had problems with this back then!), I submit that there’s one primary reason why it’s tough to find new players: The current recruiting options aren’t very good.

Friend of a friend is the best option by far — you like your friend, so there’s a good chance you’ll get along with their friend, too. Unfortunately, if none of your friends know any gamers who are looking for a group, you’re out of luck.

Posting a notice at your local gaming store is the venerable old chestnut of approaches to finding new players. I imagine it must work for some folks, but it’s never once worked for me. It’s also frustratingly unfocused — you never know who might respond (which cuts both ways, I suppose).

Messageboard postings have served me well, relatively speaking. I found my current group through EN World, and the newest addition to our group through the WotC boards. More often, though, I’ve found that these posts don’t tend to garner many responses.

Online services are another option — FindPlay jumps to mind as the best of the best. Despite being down for almost a year, when it came back up and we posted there, we got several responses (none of which worked out, unfortunately). I have yet to find an online player matching service that doesn’t fall down in some regard, though.

Gaming has been around for thirty-odd years. The net has been up and running for over ten years. As a tribe, gaming geeks tend to be pretty focused about our hobbies, and there’s a lot of crossover between RPGs and programming. Given all of these factors, why is there no single, solid way to find new players?

And when your group is looking for a player, how do you go about it?