My 8 year anniversary at the Denver RPG meetup is on March 1, 2015 and so I’ve been reflecting on how joining up has impacted my (gaming) life. Since convention season is starting soon, it seems like an opportune time to post. I am currently gaming regularly twice a week in 4 every other week games and have been playing in all 4 for about a year and a half. Here is my story about how I found my game groups….
I discovered the Denver RPG group while I was in the midst of a gaming dry spell. My significant other (now husband) is not a table top gamer and the RP group I had been playing with had dissolved due to life getting in the way. I had joined a board gaming meetup but that wasn’t scratching the itch, I just don’t find most board games as satisfying as RPGs. I needed more and I needed reliability.
What it came down to was that I really just had to put myself out there. Finding the right gaming group is a lot like dating, there has to be chemistry among the players, the style of the game play has to be a good fit (rp vs. combat, table talk vs. serious, rules heavy vs. lite), and the scheduling has to work out. I lucked out on my first try and found a group that was the right fit for me. In fact 3 of 4 groups are derived from the group I went to meet on March 2, 2007–I still play in two games run by the GM I met that day (yes, the one in the plaid shorts with the original Jurassic park t-shirt that was more than a decade old when we met). I also play in a game run by one of the players that I met in my original group, though that group has split off and I’m the only one who regularly attends both groups. In fact, that original group contained all three of us Organizers/co-Organizers that still run the meetup to this day, so it was a great way to get connected to the gaming scene in the Denver metro area.
I met my fourth group because, yet again, I put myself out there and started role playing at the local gaming conventions. I’ve been role playing for decades, but doing so at the conventions was both intrguing and intimidating. It’s a great, no commitment, way to try out new systems and break out of my normal group dynamics (rut). I know the meetup is a mixed bag young and older, experienced players and neophytes, rules lawyers and players sipping beers and making Monty Python jokes—but the conventions are all that turned up to eleven. There might be an 8 year old kid with a parent showing up to play a night game that was advertised as edgy horror. Then there is the person who is extremely sleep deprived and slap happy sitting with their head rested on the table for the whole game and yet makes that into the perfect character. There might be a GM who is so stoked about the setting they spend half the game gushing over the book plot. All this and then you get players and GMs of every regular flavor put in an unfamiliar location in less than ideal conditions with the goal of having fun with complete strangers for 4 hours. That is a tough mandate for those GMs and the majority of them exceed my expectations and in 4 hours leave me with a game experience I’ll remember for years.
Conventions are a gauntlet of gaming that, if you can handle the crowds and the uncertainty—the risk can bring a great reward. My fourth group I met through the gaming conventions. I had played with a certain GM over several years and always tried to get a seat at one of his tables, but in a round about way I ended up being the catalyst for him to meet his best friend, then when they set up a weeknight group I was called to join in. (Additionally, there are also a few every-so-often games I hop into with convention friends either at their homes or special game day events–they’re lots of fun and I love seeing the convention friends more than twice a year. )
Through the meetup and the local conventions I have been able to connect with much of the gaming scene here in Denver and I totally feel the love, from having great friends to building a strongly interconnected community. I take great pride in the Denver RPG meetup and I hope our members get as much out of it as I have, but the moral of the story is in order to “get the experience” you have to put yourself out there.
How did you find your gaming group? What was your best or most unexpected “win” in finding a great convention GM or group you had gaming chemistry with?