Day 8: #RPGaDay 2018 – “More Players”

Week 2: ‘How’ Questions         Prompt: How can we get more people playing?

If this event were a train, #RPGaDay 2018, could be said to have a real head of steam now. Things are in motion and for those walking along the tracks as it approaches, the idea of getting on board at this point can seem an unlikely proposition at best. Even though those curious pedestrians are headed in the same direction, the speed, height, and power of the train can dissuade as much as it entices. Some may be able to board by virtue of a natural courage and athleticism, others with perspicacious noting of a useful handhold or ladder, but many will need a hand up from someone already aboard.

Today is thin metaphor day here at Casting Shadows.

With another question linking to the previous, we can roll on down the tracks our earlier responses have laid for us, and collect even more steam as we head on to glory. Yee haw!

On Monday we looked at enriching the game experience from the player side so that the moments we spend playing our chosen games can be more engaging. On Tuesday we started up the steeper grade of risk and reward that relates to the states that engaging play will be about. A world that seems just a gentle push away from reality, marked by things which come to matter to the players as much as to the characters might very well be the thing which gets people running alongside the juggernaut of a train that is modern roleplaying gaming, but for all those who start to run, more will fall behind as make the leap – unless we reach out a hand and invite them to jump.

To be clear, I have chosen this metaphor, thin as it is, on purpose. I see the opportunity to game as a matter of proximity. At some point, gaming must draw near to a person or a person must go to where the gaming is. At some point they might look at the onrushing collection of steel, momentum, and steam and wonder… what now?

In order to board, they must start to run alongside, looking for a way in. No one can wrestle a person onto a moving train without some help and interest on their part. At that point, they are ready to board, but are looking for the means to become a part of something that is now larger and more varied than even long-term gamers can really grasp without pause and careful reflection. If they do try, it is suddenly on us to help them.

A helping hand

As gamers, it can seem like we are an immense global community all united by our love of roleplaying games. There is truth in that, but that truth is more granular than that statement tends to reveal. We are a global community made up of small and, by necessity, insular groups who have a hobby in common, but who – even in mass conventions – do not participate in it together, rather, small groups of us participate in it near each other, at the same time. Standard practice, however, sees us gaming in our own private circles, in our own individual lives.

This makes the problem simultaneously easier and harder to solve. It is easier because we do not have to encourage a person to join in on some massive global event. They just need to come to visit our tables. It is harder because we do not have the draw or the resources of some global event, so finding the people who are looking can be a challenge.

Still, the answer that has rung true for me in whatever type of community, club, or group that I have tried to build is to not view people as recruits and to not treat them as new or different. Instead, I put my energy into seeing my hobbies as worthwhile and being available to answer questions and offer invitations whenever the opportunity arises.

Egg Shen and the hole in the ceiling

When we are trapped in the burning hell of wanting to play but not knowing how, it would be great if a hero like Egg Shen could appear with a rope to hoist us to the heaven of finally getting to game, but even for him – were you to ask – being in that right place at the right time ‘isn’t easy‘.

It can be hard to extend an invitation, and even harder to be welcoming. It can be hard to let new players explore first and ask questions later. It can be hard to overcome the social maneuvering and positioning that some people seem to need in order to feel comfortable in a new group. As we know, however, it is worth the effort.

If we want the hobby to grow and develop, ultimately, we have two choices, invite people to play, and to raise the next generation to play.


The #RPGaDay prompt for August 9th is a fun one about times you were surprised in play, but from this week’s theme of how! This could be about actions from players, interesting or unusual interactions of rules, a new approach to writing or design that you did not expect… or something I cannot predict~

We have entered into the week governed by HOW, and our fourth questions is, “How has a game surprised you?”


This is the second week of the fifth iteration of the monthly roleplaying gaming celebration launched by Autocratik for all forms of social media. Share your responses however you prefer to share. If you want to get involved, grab and share the infographic with the prompts and jump right in!

RPG-a-Day 2018 High Contrast@willbrooks1989

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