Why Finding a Gaming Group is like Dating

Why Finding a Gaming Group is like Dating

My husband Mike and I have finally finished the Pathfinder Beginner Box, and I'm ready to venture into the world of Core Rules gaming! The problem is, a decent sized gaming group is usually 5 people (1 Game Master and 4 Players).

Mike's normal gaming group lives in Michigan, which is quite the trek if we want to game regularly. Gaming groups are really tight-knit, and usually are all friends or mutual friends before they start gaming. So now we have to find gamers.

Our first instinct was to ask our friends who live in Illinois. We're pretty geeky, and we know a lot of people who love geeky things. Sadly all the gamers we do know aren't exactly nearby, which means we have to meet........new people!

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to meet new people when you're actually trying to meet new people?

The process of finding a gaming group has made me remember why I hated dating so much. When I was single, I tried everything from online dating, to asking friends if they knew any decent single guys.

Whenever someone showed any interest, I would immediately do a ton of internet research on that person, to find out more about them before I got too invested.

Once you meet that person, you have all these expectations, you hope they're everything that you'd hoped for, and if they are, you hope to see them again soon. This search for Pathfinder gamers has pretty much gone the same route.

I've created a thread on the Paizo message boards, made a profile on MeetUp.com, asked all my friend if they know people looking for a gaming group in our area, and I even posted a flyer in our local gaming store (which is practically a personal ad....but more awesome).


When we went to the gaming store last weekend, I even started just randomly asking strangers in the store if they play Pathfinder. When I found out they didn't play, or weren't looking for a new group, I got that weird sting of rejections you get when a guy you like just wants to be friends.

I really thought finding a Game Master (the person who runs the game for the players) would be the hardest part. The GM has the most important role. They are in control of all the non-playable characters (NPCs), set up the environment that the characters exists in, and they progress the story of the game.

It's a huge responsibility for a player in this style of RPG. Most GMs have players that they already run adventures with. To my surprise, we actually found a GM before we found other players!

We checked out his online presence to see what sort of stuff he posted online. Then we exchanged emails with him, and he seems like a pretty awesome, down to earth guy. We're excited to have him be apart of our group.

The only thing standing between us and an epic bi-monthly RPG adventure is the addition of 2 more players! So I will continue reaching out to strangers, until we find people who want to join us. Waiting for responses is the worst!

I'd love to hear from other gamers out there...Did you have a hard time finding your gaming group?



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  • Ooh! I love Pathfinder. I got linked here by a friend who knows I've played Pathfinder. Depending on what weekends you're thinking of running, and how long the game sessions are going to run, I'm interested. Would you mind emailing me at havocthecat@gmail and we can chat some more?

  • We're actually having our first session tomorrow afternoon. I'll shoot you an email.

  • Im still having trouble finding my fellow Otaku in the City of Chicago. they all either live in the Suburbs or on the far south side in an neighborhood inaccessible to public transit.

  • Im still having problems finding my fellow Anime-loving otaku in the 3rd largest city in America. Other than Anime conventions I never see these people IRL.

  • In reply to ChibiDannimon:

    I'm not too big into the anime scene myself. But when I first started cosplaying, I joined the Chicago Cosplay Club. Lots of local otaku there. And they had meetups all year round pretty much. Not just at conventions.

    The ACen message boards is probably a good place to find out what people are up to.

    I've become real life friends with a lot of people I met at conventions :) you just have to be social.

  • I'm commenting to offer some advice on finding a gaming group. I've been playing RPGs for over twenty years, managed a successful game store for a few of those, and have gone through the difficult process of finding or building a gaming group in a number of different cities.

    1. Don't be shy about being a gamer!
    You don't have to wear a Pathfinder T-Shirt or pile your Shadowrun books on your desk at work, but at least drop a gaming reference into your conversation on occasion. You never know when a casual acquaintance or coworker may be a gamer as well, or be the spouse, lover, friend, or sibling of a gamer. If you keep your gaming in the closet, the connections will never happen.

    2. Visit your local game store.
    Many game stores host in-store gaming of some kind, and that's a great way to meet other gamers and GMs. But, in most cases, you won't want the in-store events to be your only gaming. Instead, treat them like speed dating for gamers! If you play whatever game is available, with whatever gamers are available, you're bound to meet one or two you click with - strike up a conversation by saying, "I really enjoyed playing with you today," exchange email addresses, and you're on the road to having your own home-group.

    3. Be willing to GM.
    GMing isn't for everyone, but you earn a gold star in group-building if you're willing to give it a shot. However, it's sometimes in the category of "It's a dirty job but someone has to do it." Much like attending a dinner party, SOMEBODY has got to cook! If you're not getting invitations, be the host, run a one-shot or short-term game, and see what happens from there. They key is to define the duration of your GMing - a single session is often enough to attract the curious, make some contacts, and spin off into a group with someone else who wants to run a game.

  • In reply to Blueluck:

    Thanks so much for the advice! We actually found out group, and started our campaign a few days after I wrote this blog.

    We got a HUGE response with my awesome flyer I posted in the gaming store. We have 5 players and a GM now.

    My husband was shocked that I got a group together in less than a week! I think we lucked out with everyone's personalities mixing so well too. I can't wait until our next game!

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