How the heck do you actually PLAY more!

I spend more time thinking about gaming, reading about gaming, thinking about designing games than I do actually playing.

Does anyone else have this issue?

I think part of it is location, I'm here in Montana now and I had similar problem in New Mexico. But it seems like its been a problem since adult life in general.

I feel like part of the issue is that I don't feel like playing D&D or pathfinder and that's all that's going on around me right now. And I don't really game over internet except for old friends, and that is exceedingly rare.

I tell a lot of people about what I'm reading and finding, but no one who doesn't already game isn't exactly jumping to play. And the people who already game just want to play pathfinder 2 0.o

I might be just venting here (feel free to do the same), but if you do have advice throw it at me.


  • edited August 2018
    For a decade-plus, I was frustrated because my gaming friends only wanted to play really crunchy systems — mostly Exalted and whatever mode of D&D was prevalent at the time. There's nothing wrong with those games (I'm in two Exalted campaigns right now), but I was going to cons and playing little narrative games and indie games that excited and intrigued me, and then coming home and running them for people who found them frustrating and unsatisfying because there wasn't enough structure.

    I eventually solved the problem by converting non-gamers to story-gamers. I got involved in local creative scenes (a speed-writing competition, a 24-hour theater series where plays are written overnight and performed the next night) and spent a lot of time at my local board-gaming night, where I focused on storytelling board and card games like Arabian Nights and Once Upon a Time, and then talked to people who were good at those games. In all cases, I was seeking out people I liked, who were creative and experimental and nerdy.

    Then I started a game of Lady Blackbird with a bunch of them — two people who'd never role-played before, two with very limited experience with RPGs and a lot of interest in story, and a friend who just likes kick-ass characters. One of them lost interest after the first session. The other four… it's been more than two years now, and I'm still running Lady Blackbird for them as a campaign, and they're terrific. I really recommend that game as a starting system for new gamers — if they know Firefly and Star Wars, they know the genre and the setting. The rules are easy to understand, and very biased toward dramatic and interesting successes. It's easy both to access, and to play a really cool character with a lot of options, and with no preparation at all.

    At this point, I have a little core group of gamers who are inventive storytellers and character-builders first and foremost, and don't care much about what system they're playing in. Most of them are people I met through theater, and they like acting and making up their own roles and marveling at other people's inventiveness. I introduced them to Fall of Magic last month. We're in a running game of that which is one of the most exciting campaign experiences I've ever had. It took years to form this group, but it's worked out so much better for me than looking for people with a lot of gaming experience and set ideas of what they want to play. And now they're seeking out weird little storytelling games of their own and bringing them back to the group, and I couldn't be prouder.
  • What you need to do is to start playing online. Solves all your problems in one fell swoop.
  • What you need to do is to start playing online. Solves all your problems in one fell swoop.
    Second that. In 3 years I literally tried out more than 100 different games online.
  • I've had that problem from time to time, more often as a teenager than as an adult, really. That might have to do with my being a socially awkward teenager and having worked quite a lot on developing my social skills as an adult, I believe.
    I recommend investing time, energy and even money thrusting yourself into situations you're exposed to the most potential fellow players - depending on taste, really.
    If playing with habitual gamers feels most appealing, touring conventions and play meet-ups should do it for you - or playing online, I guess, as the cheaper substitute to that for those who somehow can't afford to travel. Players interested in niche games are harder to come by than, say, dedicated D&D players, but when they do meet they are more likely to be of a similar mind about their play (whereas "D&D" could mean anything to all sorts of people).
    If you have a thing for introducing "new blood" into RPGs, though, it might be worth developing some sort of community presence beforehand and bound with people over different activities. Most people are more likely to be willing to try out a weird new pastime with you if that isn't the first and last they hear from you! To make this work at all, though, you have to genuinely care about all those other things besides gaming
  • What you need to do is to start playing online. Solves all your problems in one fell swoop.
    I wish... I live in Oregon, and have start time constraints due to family (weekday evenings only, 8:30 PM is earliest reliable start time). Unfortunately this makes it hard to game with the Eastern US (where Central and Eastern time zones make up 70% or so of the population) and essentially completely knocks out Europe. And to the West, there's almost no population for a long while (I have had SOME gaming with Australia and New Zealand, but it depends on those folks being able to game in their afternoon, and Daylight Savings Time shift mucks everything up.

    My biggest success has been play by post (forum vs. snail mail) where time zones don't make as much of a difference (they can still lead to longer delays between responses if I post after all the other players have gone to bed or whatever).

    I'm sure online gaming is much easier if weekends are available (if you can choose to play at almost any time other than your definition of most protected sleep time, you can probably find a reasonable over lap time with almost any other time zone. For weekday evening players, Europe and Eastern US time zones probably have the most success since there will be a reasonable number of players in your time zone and you can have overlap with reasonable times for plenty of other time zones.

    I've struggled to keep enough players, and when I tried to play, the GM decided to start at 7:00 PM (almost impossible for me, so I was almost always late, which made it hard to fully engage).

  • Well, other than your time issue, everyone's advice has been great. Here's another idea. Go to your local bar or coffee shop and volunteer to host a game night.
  • That does sound tricky, online-wise. I would expect that the US west coast, taken as a whole, would have plenty of player base right there in the same time zone. I mean, Oregon alone is essentially the size of Finland, and the pool of Finnish players to negotiate with for online play is in the low hundreds. Even assuming that there are ten times as many Finnish roleplayers online per capita as there are Americans (we seem to have either a higher percentage of the population or more visibility here), you still should have what, tens of thousands of people to choose from - California has crazy many people. Surely they aren't all Pathfinder-only.

    Of course, if things don't play out quite like that in practice, then the online route is back to the same situation the face-to-face gaming is: a need to build contacts and maintain a club/scene where you can make artistic connections. It is work, no way around that. Up to taste if you'll invest in local connections of spend your time starting up some online initiatives to discover online players in the right time-zone.

    One observation I'd like to make is that if all you've got is Pathfinder players, then you might consider building off that. Civilizing your own gaming group is definitely part of the work that long-term gaming requires in practice; anybody active on a forum like SG or other hardcore locations in the 'net is by definition going to be the most informed and ambitious gamer in their group, so naturally it's up to you to uplift them towards whatever direction you want your gaming to take. Just find the most interesting Pathfinderists and show them the magical worlds of roleplaying you're capable of, and you'll find that they'll grow to match challenge over time.
  • Yea, I would have thought that the West Coast was big enough, but my experience is that it isn't working out that way... I am finding players, but it's slow. In the meantime, I am having fun, though I almost lost hope on my current RuneQuest game when there were no players for a few weeks.

    It would be interesting to find a good online community that could be more like a club house with lots of different games going on with some level of pick up from session to session. I don't have the patience to join a Pathfinder or 5E game (nor the financial resources to buy into such a game) to hope to maybe get a few of the players interested in what I want to play.

  • edited August 2018
    I actually run a story games meetup group in my city and have had very poor turnout so far. Despite there being forty people signed up.

    I have formed groups in the past but people move, heck I moved and they don't last.

    As for going to places gamers are, I attend two weekly tabletop gaming nights. Most of my friends here now I know from those events. I have talked to a lot of those folks about RPG/story games but so far no serious interest. I am not sure how i feel about just offering to host something at a cafe or bar, as i would most likely just be sitting waiting for nothing hoping to what, convince some passerby?

    I will have try more online gaming for sure.

    Thanks everyone for weighing in.
  • edited August 2018
    I spend more time thinking about gaming, reading about gaming, thinking about designing games than I do actually playing.

    Does anyone else have this issue?
    I have the exact opposite issue. I have multiple groups and have to play three sessions every week, so I hardly ever get time to work on my game.

    You should start playing online like others have suggested. I think it’s pretty easy to find games online these days. I have an online group made up of people from these Story Games’ could probably just start asking the people on these forums that you speak to frequently if they want to have a session and you’d be set. I’d play with you and I’m sure a couple of other members would too.

    There are also online games you can sign up for elsewhere...for example, Eric Vulgaris has a YouTube channel called Once Upon a Game and people sign up to play story games with him.

  • Yes I would definitely not mind playing with some of the awesome folks I talk to here! I guess i should do a follow up post asking about how to do more online gaming. I know I saw posts in the past about getting on G+ but I have not had much luck on there, I kind of hate the interface and don't really enjoy using it enough to 'discover' more friends on there.

    By the way I appreciate everyone's suggestions and discussion points so far.
  • @Kenny_J where in Montana are you? A close friend of mine is probably moving to near Missoula in about a year. He runs homebrew games in a very OSR style...
  • edited August 2018

    What games are you interested in playing?
  • @David_Berg I am in Billings, about 3.5 hours from Missoula. Also I'm less interested in OSR than other types of gaming, though I'm trying not to be picky :)

    @Jeff_B_Slater I'm interested in more of the story side of the story games spectrum. My breadth of gaming experience is more limited than I'd like to admit.
  • D'oh! Well, if I learn anything about gaming in Billings, I will let you know, but it seems unlikely. :(
  • All the major cities in Montana are at least 3 hours from each other, short enough for a big event or convention, but not for a weekly game night.

    I appreciate the thought though!
  • @ffilz Let's talk! We played Burning Blackmoor together years ago. Your constraints work for me (8:30 start time weekdays, as long as you're able to play for, say, 3 hours!).
  • In my experience a 2-hour-long online session is enough for a quick Sw/oM, Fiasco etc game, or for a score in BitD, or for a new situation in a trad campaign if properly prepared. IMHO playing for 2 hours every (other) week is better than playing once every (other) month.
  • edited November 2018
    Just as an update to folks (since people are still talking on this thread). I have joined a couple of Discord Servers and have participated in three or four pbp games (some still ongoing) And one game of Monsterhearts over voice. One of the servers was started by a member of this very forum.

    I know I said here that I wasn't really interested in pbp and while I still have less fun with that type of game I have warmed up to it, especially in the less formal Discord setting.

    I also played a game on the gauntlet communities. It was fun and I hope to join another game soon. The only downside is that the games fill up very quickly, but frankly is a great sign of an active community.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for those suggestions.
  • Luck and determination.
  • Lemme do my standard service in plugging The Gauntlet which plays a ton of story games (and some OSR) over google hangouts--I mean, I'm facilitating @Simon_Pettersson 's Nerves of Steel there tonight :smile: The times are a smidge East Coast centric but there's probably at least a few things in your range.
  • @Aviatrix: I didn't know about this, and it's (probably obviously) right up my alley. Thank you.

    Also, I realized that I assumed for some reason that Hangouts was intricately bound up with G+ and would die when it dies. I'm glad that's not the case.
  • Cool, glad to let you know! I've found the Patreon is worth a kick if only to hang out on the slack with folks but YMMV. I'll note in passing that they were very cool about letting me playtest my game without even joining the patreon, and the play culture is really top notch.

    (Full disclosure: I'm writing stretch goal #5 for the recent Codex kickstarter they did.)
  • There are solo game communities for role players on Discord, Reddit, MeWe, and G+. Currently #SGAM2018 is running, this is an annual event for solo gamers to get together share stories and tools and play specific themes or contribute to community projects.
  • @Aviatrix Bummer that the "priority" slots for scheduling seem to be sold out, in perpetuity, though I recognize that as a function of the system; not everyone who can pay $7/month can have priority. It has to be limited. I'll back at $6 for a month or so and see how it goes! I imagine it'll be just fine. Thanks again!
  • I don't game as much as I'd like, but mainly due to lack of time. I barely play once every two weeks, and don't have time to read and try new games constantly as when I was younger. Finding time to design and test projects seems almost impossible.

    What I'd need to play more:
    1) Socialist Revolution triumphs in my country.
    2) the 30 or 35 hours workweek is adopted.
    3) Profit
  • @ffilz Let's talk! We played Burning Blackmoor together years ago. Your constraints work for me (8:30 start time weekdays, as long as you're able to play for, say, 3 hours!).
    Hans, hi! Sadly I also can only do 2 hours. Currently I’m alternating playing The Fantasy Trip anc running RuneQuest 1 on Wednesdays. I can only do one night a week.


  • Thanks Frank! Maybe we'll be able to make it work sometime.
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