Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Recruiting

Our group has been looking to add some new blood and meet some new gamers for our fall session, and we've already had 4 serious responses to our efforts. Our town was generally thought to be largely bereft of a gaming scene, but like most little to mid-size midwestern towns, I think it's there, it's just waiting for the right sort of outreach. To this end, we've tried several different approaches:

-Basic word of mouth. Told friends to tell their friends...

-Fliers. Seems old-fashioned, but I think they help. We've put them or are putting them in RPG books at bookstores, in cafes, the library...

-Adverts for new players at places like RPGnet and ENWorld (which, however you may feel about those two sites, they still get a lot of traffic)

-Hitting up the local Indy Gamer and D&D Meetup groups at meetup.com.

Really, I think it's the mix that's helped. I think we've had one response from each thing we've done, and we just started our push this past weekend! Not too shabby!

I think it helps that the setup for our Castles & Crusades campaign is going to be a sandbox game that's a bit easier on attendance. I believe we're going to try for initial meetings/meet n' greet over the next two weeks, and start our campaign by next month's end. Should be a good time for all.

I think one of the big things I had to do personally was adjust my expectations. Many of us have kids now; we aren't going to be able to do a marathon session every Saturday. It just isn't going to happen. But we can do a biweekly game (occasionally more frequently), late on Fridays, where it doesn't interfere with most schedules. And I think in the end, that's more rewarding than trying and failing to do something more frequently intense. If you're struggling through the same sort of decision, you're not alone. The quality of your gaming doesn't have to suffer just because you're older, with more responsibilities; we just need to adapt and overcome (that just sounds wrong, coming from an Air Force alum).

Like in many things, managing expectations and ensuring everyone is on the same page before starting out are vitally important.


Jason Richards said...

Recruiting is tough. A big problem that I'd had here in Dallas is finding a place to play. Since I will basically be building a group from scratch, opening my home to strangers isn't my first option. Besides, my wife doesn't play, so me hogging the living room to host a game doesn't lend itself to peaceful cohabitation.

We might have found a place to play at a local Community College. A potential player has connections there and may be able to reserve us a room on Thursday evenings once or twice a month.

One thing that I've started trying to do is recruit players without RPG backgrounds. I think we all have little communities where we spend our time, where we have friends and acquaintances that might be willing to give it a go. The plan is to not utilize a hard and fast system of mechanics, but to go loose and easy with the "rules" to try and get the newbies into the idea of role-playing.

Best of luck to y'all, bud. And if anybody is looking to game in Dallas, look me up. :)

Zachary The First said...

@Jason: Just so. I think we’re going to have some gamers of both relatively little experience, as well as gamers with a lot of years under their belt, but coming from different versions of D&D and other games. I think C&C affords a nice, easy-to-learn common meeting ground.

We’ve also had some play location issues. There’s a clubhouse where I live, but I need to make sure they are on board completely this time around—there were issues in the past.

Ryan said...

Recruiting is tough, and is actually one of my least favorite aspects of The Hobby. Generally, I think about one in five gamers I meet are viable, and by viable, I mean people that I would invite to my house to meet my wife, or people who I would do something other than gaming with if presented with the opportunity. For the most part, I've used various online resources to recruit. Perhaps next time I'm looking I'll try the fliers-in-a-library approach.

Dane of War said...

My fast group are fellow teachers - so there are 8 of us who get together once a week for a session. We haven't really needed to do much recruiting at all unless we get a new staff member.

However, I also run sessions with students (in hopes that they'll discover just how fun gaming is) - and have found out that with the younger generation that fliers and just word of mouth seems to work.

If one of the "alpha" students posts something on his Facebook account about the group, we get a lot of new faces to check out what it is we're doing.