One of the biggest problems I have faced recently is having the massive urge to play a tabletop game, but not having anyone to play with. It’s an issue that I find myself having quite often and finding an outlet for all of that energy has been a long and rough process. Work, school, and life always seem to get in the way of just sitting down with friends for a night and enjoying one another’s company. But what are we, the players, to do in these situations? How can we solve this problem? I’m going to give you a few tips on what you can do to stave of that ache for the game while also feeling your creative fire! Let’s get started.
1) Get to know yourself
So the first tip I can give you, and probably the most important, is to know what kind of person you are. Do you like shorter games (2-3 hours) or longer games (8-9 hours)? Are you a war monger or a role player? Can you take failure with grace or do you get easily frustrated? All of these questions will shape exactly what kind of experience you’re going to have based on the players that you can eventually gather. By knowing the answer to these questions you can also whittle down what kind of game or campaign you want to play. Should it be an easier or more challenging campaign? What system should it be? Any kind of homebrew? These are all questions that will naturally be answered throughout the course of you getting to know exactly what kind of player/GM you are.
2) Be everyone’s second best friend
So, I have to be honest about something…I stole this phrase from DnD 5E’s description of human relationships with other races. I’m also not a very social person. To put it in perspective, I’m the guy that always likes to be invited to stuff but doesn’t really like going unless the “stuff” is something very specific. In spite of that, however, I think most people I know would describe me as their friend and don’t have any qualms about hanging out every now and again. This is the sort of relationship that you want to call upon when you’re trying to get a game together. Someone who you get along with, but don’t hang out with that often. It gives both of you an excuse to hang out and it scratches the perverbeal itch to play a game. It’s a win-win!! With someone who is a really close friend sometimes the freedom isn’t there. You know each other a little too well and maybe their not in the mood to play. Then you’re in that awkward place where you really want to play but they’re upset because they really don’t want to play and it’s not a pleasant experience for anyone. If someone is not your friend…well I think that one explains itself.
3) Always create
My personal favorite way to satisfy my cravings to play is to create something pertaining to my particular craving. For example, character building is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve published multiple articles about why and how I go about the process. So I use that as a go-to outlet whenever I can’t get a group together right away. I have so many back up character sheets lying around my house and a million more floating around in my head for all different systems and styles of play. Most recently, I got my hands on The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game and have been absolutely obsessed with that game. I’ve already made three characters and I’ve had the game as many days!! If character creation is not your cup of tea though, map making and worldbuilding work just as well. Start with your basic map, and whenever you need to release some creative tension populate it with something. That can be a landmark with some dark history, or a city with a few NPCs to give it life. There is never nothing to do when you put your mind to it.
4) Learn how to lead
So this one can be kind of tough, and it is something I’m working on as well. Learn to be a Game Master. Finding a GM is one of the hardest parts of planning a quick game because it takes a lot of time and effort to create a compelling campaign. Most people aren’t up for that given only short notice, and even fewer can just fly by the seat of their pants for a full game. Being the go-to source of leadership and creativity will make it exponentially easier to plan a game because you don’t really need to rely on someone else to create the world in time. You will already have the drive and the hunger. If you follow step 3 of this article you’ll have the resources at your disposal as well (with a few minor tweaks of course). From then on its smooth sailing.
5) Take that leap of faith
What I mean by this is go out and meet some new people. Find a local game shop and see when they’re having an open game that you can hop into. This is the toughest one for me (partly because I don’t like going out a lot, and partly because I only have one game store in town) and I know it can be pretty tough for a lot of you guys. But I will give you the best advice I can from my personal experience. There is nothing more gratifying than facing impossible odds with someone you don’t know, and coming out alive on the other side with a new found friend. I seriously encourage you to find or start a community group that anyone can join so that you can spread your passion and always have that awesome creative outlet!
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