Monday, April 27, 2015

Introducing New Players To The Hobby

I talk about this here from time to time, but with the discussion on Friday I figured it might be a good time to bring it up again. Introducing new players to the hobby is both easier and harder than ever. In general, some of the stigma around RPGs seems to be gone as the concept of people of all ages playing games becomes more and more accepted. However, there are also new challenges in the age of videogames and past the age of MMOs.

Keep The Books Out Of It
I've spoken to a lot of people about getting into gaming over the years. In that time I've spoken to a bunch of folks who almost never got into the hobby because their first introduction was intimidating. How so? The person who was trying to introduce them got over excited, rushed to the other room, and brought back a lot of books to stack up and show them.

Now for us gamers, that doesn't seem too bad. I mean, the books are part of the fun. However, think about it from a new person's perspective. They want in the game, and now they have several thousand pages of books to read. Now, we know that's not true. They need very little information. But that doesn't change the impression. This can be a huge turn off.

With that in mind, if you need a book just grab one (a base book is probably best.) Or, even better, grab one of those quick $5 games of RPG Drive Thru that has a very small book, very simple rules, and use that.

You're trying to introduce this person to the hobby. The first step is to make it as unthreatening as possible. Trying new things is scary enough as is. Don't let the game threaten them away.

Warn Your Group And Ask Them For Help
So your new blood is showing up to game and the books haven't scared them away. That's great. The next thing to do is make sure your group both knows that there is a new player coming, and that you would like their help with bringing him in. Ask the table to help him. Warn the table that you might focus on their character a bit more to get them into the game (or that you might pair them up to help the new person out.)

Most players are more than happy to do this. A new face at the table means a new adventuring buddy and another person to keep the game going. Use your players. Let them help the new blood. Everyone benefits.

Embrace Creativity
The big strength that a table top RPG has over any other game is its ability to allow the players to make whatever choices they want. There is no videogame out there that will give the players the freedom an RPG has. Even the vaunted sandbox titles like GTA and Saint's Row don't hold a candle to the freedom an RPG gives you. You want to embrace that. Work with the new person and show them what an RPG can offer. Make it fun, and show them how their imagination and mind is the best thing they have going for them when it comes to having a good time around the table.

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