The Stigma of Role-Playing Must Die!

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

The Stigma of Role-Playing Must Die!

For some reason, playing tabletop role playing games still don't enjoy the cachet that similar hobbies have earned.

Read Full Article

Some way to play these games without actually meeting in person would be a good start. Some sort of webcam-group would be nice.

As you said, a new player can't really be asked to DM a game. So if there are no nearby players, then you can't start playing, and if you don't start, you can't be a DM eventually, therefore there will be no groups, so people can't start... Self repeating cycle!

The location barrier has kept me out of the game so far. I tried some play by post, but it took ~6 months for one battle to play out. Some sort of webcam type setup for people with no nearby groups would help with that.

I'm getting the impression that really this is just you and your friends. I'm hosting a D&D game with my friends, and my dad has been tabletop gaming for 20 years. It is in fact how he met my mother. If your friends aren't supportive of a particular hobby, maybe it isn't society or some grand conspiracy, maybe it is just your friends. I live in Kentucky for crying out loud, and neither me nor any of my friends or relatives have run into this.

I think this is just you.

2nd theory: New Yorkers are pricks (though this comes mostly from personal experience).

The internet is a wonderful thing. You can self teach yourself how to be a DM if you know how to google properly.

Nimbus:
Some way to play these games without actually meeting in person would be a good start. Some sort of webcam-group would be nice.

I think meeting in person to play is largely the point. It's meant to be face-to-face cooperative, rather than online which always has an element of together-but-separate.

I'm thinking of trying the game, mostly at the encouragement of this column. But I run into the same problem, my friends (who are perfectly happy playing TF2, ME2, Oblivion, Dragon Age,etc.) don't want to play D&D because they don't want to be that guy. I don't have any clue who that guy is (well, yea I do - it's our friend Eric who is 25, obsessed with Magic: The Gathering, and has been a giant douche for as long as I've known him - all three facts are coincidental.) I'm not the kind of person that gets caught up in matters of external projections much so being seen as "that guy" doesn't bug me, I just wish my friends would get over it.

Rokar333:
I'm getting the impression that really this is just you and your friends. I'm hosting a D&D game with my friends, and my dad has been tabletop gaming for 20 years. It is in fact how he met my mother. If your friends aren't supportive of a particular hobby, maybe it isn't society or some grand conspiracy, maybe it is just your friends. I live in Kentucky for crying out loud, and neither me nor any of my friends or relatives have run into this.

I think this is just you.

2nd theory: New Yorkers are pricks (though this comes mostly from personal experience).

No, I don't think it's just him. Start asking random people on the street and chances are they'll have a negative perception of D&D. You're just one of the lucky few who have two geeks for parents, a group that will hopefully be increasing as the years go on.

I think that was a good point about needing experienced DM's being the main problem. It's hard to force yourself into a complex culture like geekdom, and its especially hard when the residents don't treat their hobby in a relaxed and casual way

Its not a barrier I have encountered myself. I know people who are encouraging of others starting Roleplaying games and one person who will go out of his way to get people involved.

That said im sure that the barrier exists even if it has not affected me. The extended group of people I play with also seem to be an oddity where almost everyone is interested in GMing some kind of game. This means that should we want to introduce new groups of people there isn't a shortage of people willing to GM the game.

That said I also know of a couple of groups that have started up fairly recently made up of totally new players although they are also people who have other tabletop hobbies (Warhammer) so its not the leap that it is for most people.

Am interested to see other peoples stories about this, I can imagine also it is harder for people in the US where the negative stigma is likely greater than here in the UK (although you would think Glasgow would be a rather Geek unfriendly kind of place but its not).

Kaihlik

I have never played D&D but thats not to say that I wouldn't. I have played alot of games based on D&D rules (Baulders Gate 1&2, Neverwinter Nights, etc..) but the problem I have is that all the people I know would never play D&D.

I'm a bit of and odd sort myself. I'm in my late 20's, I ride a motorcycle everywhere I go, and am a member of a "biker group" and most of my friends are my "biker" friends. These guys are all mid 30's and older and most of them have no idea what a table top game is. I'm already made fun of for being a "biker" that plays WOW, and that is a popular video game, I can imagine how "Hey, you guys want to play some D&D?" would go.

I might get to play one day, if I find the proper people to play with. The few D&D players I do know view me as the outcast. No one takes a guy that looks like a modern day Fonzi, but with more spikes, chains, and crazier hair, as a serious gamer.

tabletop gaming looks kinda cool. Then I look through the windows of Games Workshop & realise why I will never go further then painting the lil figurines.

Let's put it this way:

Roleplayers aren't the bottom of the slide.

Below them are the LRPers, LARPers, Freeformers, Re-enactment, Cosplayers (And don't DARE get these lot mixed up), Furries, Monster Wannabees, Shinty players...

Yes, sports as well. See what your Liberal friends would think of a nice game of Kabbadi instead? Maybe you could stretch it to Dodgeball...but would you still get those looks?

Myself, I just spent a weekend with some freeformers, writing a game. There's 30-40 of us including a biochemist working on cancer cures (female/married), a bank stock investor (male/married), a nuclear physicist (female/single) and many more diverse occupations. Usually it's only the ones with kids that complain about not having a life anymore.

What's the basis of what we do? Sit round writing for a day or two while getting drunk, play boardgames, dress to play the games, get drunk again, chat about the world and head off home.

Not exactly different to any group of friends on a night out. Do we look like we're crazy? Certainly. Do we have a whale of a time? Sure. Do we go back to busy jobs and social lives? Yep.

Put it this way, how's it any less social than sitting in front of a screen, projector or VDU for hours a day?

Oh yeah, we're told it's not. Same as we're told to drink 8 pints of water a day. Personally I try and make my own rules.

Cousin_IT:
tabletop gaming looks kinda cool. Then I look through the windows of Games Workshop & realise why I will never go further then painting the lil figurines.

While I can understand what you mean, would you be put off football just because you saw some drunk fans smashing up the place? Admittedly we do have some ... characters in the hobby, but why do you think we need more "normal" people?

If it's any consolation, I recently started playing DnD with a few friends.
All of them know what the game was about (vaguely) but never played.
And by using RPG video games (or more precisely, the restrictions in them) as a example, they started to share my enthusiasm.

I came in contact with the game through Neverwinter Nights. And always thought it would be cool to play it for real. To really roleplay your character, instead of the 3 pre-selected choices. But I didn't know anyone else.

Until I got into my university where people were not only massive geeks, they were all open and proud.
It still took me a few years to buy myself the core books and dice, but I'm having a blast as newly DM.
The people I play with are also newbies, but I got some great tips from the forums here, and the "senior" geeks.

So, in conclusion: As DnD might still be a hidden hobby to some, there are those rare and wonderful places where the geeks flock and the dice roll.

I have a similar problem myself. When I was younger and growing up an atheist in a heavily Mennonite town, it wasn't easy to find people who were accepting of D&D. If it wasn't considered satanic, it was considered nerdy -- despite the fact that video games had already lost their "for nerds" stigma and board games were perfectly accepted.

Even now, as an adult, it's hard to find a group. I have lots of friends who enjoy board games, but few who might endeavor to try tabletop role playing, and even fewer who would be prepared to DM. Myself, I have little interest in being the DM, mainly because creating stories and worlds isn't my thing (though I'm happy to read the DM guide and study the rules).

Sure, there are local shops that sell D&D stuff, and they have D&D nights, but I don't think I could stand two hours in a room with many of them. The stereotypes still exist partially because it still fits. There are still socially-awkward, insular nerds who lack personal hygiene who are happy to be poster children for their favorite escape. That's not to say they all are like that -- I know at least a few who are normal, every day people -- but there are enough stereotypical dorks that it's hard to find a good group.

I would try to introduce my boardgame-playing friends to D&D, but there's a major hurdle in the way. When I want to get a group together to try out a new board game, all I have to do is pickup the game, explain it to them for 10 minutes, and we can start to play. Even people who aren't normally into board games are willing to give me 10 minutes to explain it and an hour to play. But D&D takes a huge effort to get started. Just to understand the rules takes at least an hour of reading the players handbook, and it's far too much to take in one sitting. People also aren't really used to role playing, so it can be awkward to ease the group into the action. To make matters worse, you need a DM. If you aren't a DM (or don't want to have to take on that role), you're stuck. Perhaps you could bring in a friend, but now you need to bring in somebody outside your social circle, which makes things even more difficult. But probably the biggest hurdle of all is the time: you can't really appreciate what D&D is about until you are a few hours into a session. Even just organizing that big of a block of time can be difficult, but getting skeptics to dedicate that time to something they know little about is nearly impossible.

I know several people who have played tabletop RPGs, and they all did (and still) love them, but finding people to play with is hard and getting others interested is even harder. Some of it is the stigma that still surrounds the game (IMO, largely brought upon gamers by themselves), but a lot of it is the shear difficulty of getting into the game.

What role playing games need is a "gateway game". Boardgames struggled for years to figure out how to get people past Scrabble and Monopoly and into more interesting boardgames. Games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride have been successful at doing this: they are simple enough to learn and play, but have enough depth and complexity to make players more comfortable with these sorts of games. If there was a roleplaying game simple enough to learn and get started at, without any experienced players involved, then people could try it out with having to jump the huge hurdle of dedication. Think something like "casual games" or the Nintendo Wii, but for roleplaying.

Unfortunately, I think RPGs have one final hurdle to overcome: playing pretend. We all know how to roleplay, because we all did it as kids: we pretended to be adults, playing house, or doctor, or school. Roleplaying was our biggest tool for exploring social interactions as we grew up. And a large part of that is pretending and imagining ourselves as somebody else. But as we grow up, society tells us that's no longer acceptable. But there are exceptions. Reading books, watching movies, and playing video games allow us to sort of live life as somebody else, even if only very abstractly and temporarily. We don't outwardly display it, but inside we consider what it would be like to be the protagonist and what we would do, and that's allowed. Actors are allowed to go one step further and be the ones pretending, but ask any actor what it was like growing up, and you'll hear about how people think actors are silly. Acting is only accepted when you're really good at it (I find the same thing as a singer).

In order to make RPGs socially acceptable, we have to make "playing pretend" acceptable. I think part of that is drawing the distinction between RPGs and LARP -- a lot of people have seen LARP (it's hard to miss when you see it) and associate it with RPGs, but there's obviously some middle-ground between taking on a role and wearing costumes and makeup (N.B.: I'm not saying there's anything wrong with LARP, but it's a big step from what people are used to and what's socially accepted). I think video games have helped with this: the idea of playing as a character isn't so far-fetched anymore. But acting it out in real life still is, and that's the biggest thing I find turns people off from RPGs. Most of the hurdles I mentioned before were technical, but this one is societal, and those are always the hardest to overcome.

Until that happens, even nerds like myself will have trouble getting a group together, leaving it almost impossible to obtain a wider audience.

We have a group of four couples ranging in age from early 20s to late 40s who play D&D together twice a month. All of the guys (and me) also play videogames, but the other women wouldn't be caught dead with WoW or Mass Effect or the like. One couple are evangelical Christians. The campaign has had a waiting list a couple of times over the five years my husband has been running it. On the occasions when we get the "You actually do that?" eye roll we point the doubters at a web site with the short story recaps of major events over the years. It has a small readership now of people who don't even play but like to follow what's going on.

In my experience, presentation is everything when confronted with mockery. Don't hunch your shoulders or apologize, educate. A good D&D campaign is as gripping as a good book or movie, but you get to do it with other people. That's worked for us every time. And gotten us some fun new players.

This might be true for D&D, but D&D is only one role-playing game. It's also the only one in the public eye, so almost all of the dorky stereotypes surrounding tabletop RPGs only really apply to D&D and similar games. If someone who isn't familiar with role-playing games is asked what they know, D&D is likely to be not just the first but the only things that comes to mind. Going into a dungeon to fight orcs or, as you yourself said, "pretend to be an elf", is a D&D stereotype. What I think this means is that it's entirely possible for people who play other games to only get hit by a little of the stigma that is reflected off D&D. You can just say: "Yeah, it's a tabletop RPG, but you don't fight orcs or wizards or anything".

I think a lot of the insularity you mention once again applies mainly to D&D. I am an occasional gamer, but I have never played D&D and know very little about it. Even as a gamer, a lot of the standard role-player jokes leave me out in the cold. I've never thrown a fireball and an "I roll twenties" shirt wouldn't do much for me, given that in my favourite game a 20 would be a critical failure that would probably result in my head exploding.

I admit that for most games there are probably a ton of people willing to play and not enough GMs to run all those. But again, it depends on the game. My introduction to tabletop role-playing was, in fact, GMing a game of Paranoia. In that case, I was perfectly happy to run the game because it gave me the opportunity to torture my friends and orchestrate a great deal of slaughter, explosions and flaming bears (seriously) without having to take it too seriously. Maybe how easy it is to get into things depends on the game? Paranoia seemed good because it was relaxed and flexible. Maybe D&D is just less inviting.

Psydney:
web site with the short story recaps of major events over the years. It has a small readership now of people who don't even play but like to follow what's going on

That actually sounds interesting. Could you post that link?

Man, I'd love to play tabletop RPGs, but it just never seems to happen. For one thing I work evenings and have Sundays and Mondays off, and I've never found an group online that doesn't meet while I'm at work. And I don't think I could get any of my friends to try it out, and even if I could it would be nearly impossible to get us all together regularly, and even if I could do that we have no experience. I personally would be a terrible GM. I'd be good at the world building and judging aspects, but my descriptions are always short, dry and abstract. I would have an extremely hard time drawing people into the game. A group of experienced role-players that could fill in those kind of details might have fun in a game where I was the GM, but I don't know any experienced role-players, and if I did I could just join as a player, so that doesn't really help.

Ah well. I suppose video games will have to do.

There is definitely a stigma where I life about tabletop games, DnD in particular, but I don't think its because of something that happened in the 80s in America.

Personally, I think it's because people here aren't naturally interested, and they're prevented from exploiting even a tiny amount of interest because they'll be, as you said, "that guy".

The people who play tabletop games are, lets say, already social pariahs. If you even consider doing something that they do you are lowered one step on the staircase of society.

Note: I know I used a couple of references from your topic. They're worth using.

You should have mentioned Vin Diesel who claims to have played D&D as a child. He's turned from nerdy kid to ridiculously manly, no doubt due to that hobby alone.

I bought the game Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits about a week ago under the recommendation of the original Check for Traps and it looks fun. I had a go creating a character. But I think you're right, there is a stigma about it. I'm already thinking about which friends I can ask to play with me even though I'm a Bona Fide Nerd, quoting Monty Python and Star Wars 'til the cows come home and everybody knows I am. It's like that is an acceptable level of nerdiness, the kind that is popular now, but Role Playing hasn't quite made it in yet. Very Strange.

I find myself in a weird position. I would enjoy playing D&D, various hurdles notwithstanding, and yet it's hard for me to look at a LARP'er and not feel judgmental. I'm sure its participants are fine enough people, but the activity just seems so wrong. So in a way I can empathize with people who look upon fantasy roleplay with disdain. No other hobby that I know of does that.

And yet even with D&D's moderate roleplay I feel a twinge of embarrassment. A few weeks ago my immediate family and I visited my older brother, and D&D was one of the main activities. Because it involved spending time together, my mom opted to join in, even though she had no prior experience.

tl;dr, I roleplayed with my mom. And something in the pit of my soul tells me I can never live that down.

ReverseEngineered is right when it comes to playing pretend. I don't know if we associate it with acting like something you're not or misguided wish-fulfillment, but regardless of context there's something about pretend play that feels childish and repulsive at my age, and I'm not exactly sure why.

You make good points. Whenever I mention to my friends I'd love to play the Serenity Role Playing game they mock me.

Um hello...guys... We play video and board games. Including the Battlestar Galactica board game. How much more nerdy can we get?

ReverseEngineered:
What role playing games need is a "gateway game". Boardgames struggled for years to figure out how to get people past Scrabble and Monopoly and into more interesting boardgames. Games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride have been successful at doing this: they are simple enough to learn and play, but have enough depth and complexity to make players more comfortable with these sorts of games. If there was a roleplaying game simple enough to learn and get started at, without any experienced players involved, then people could try it out with having to jump the huge hurdle of dedication. Think something like "casual games" or the Nintendo Wii, but for roleplaying.

Of the hundreds of role-playing systems out, I'm sure there must be a few "gateway games". I think the problem is more likely that the pastime is so dominated, both in the popular consciousness and in gamer circles, by the really popular games like D&D and . . . well, that's pretty much it . . . that less known games hardly get a look in.

I think I might know of such a "gateway game" - Paranoia, which I mentioned in my earlier post. It was the first tabletop RPG I played and it seems pretty well-suited as an introduction. For all its unpleasant subject matter, it's a fairly light-hearted game. You're not supposed to take it too seriously. It's supposed to be fast, daft, funny and action-packed. If your character gets blown up, you simply laugh and send out the next clone. It's meant mainly for one-shots. The mechanics are designed to be quick and simple rather than particularly balanced or accurate. Even better, not only do the players not have to know the rules, they're not even supposed to - knowing the rules is a punishable offence. It seems like it could easily open the door for heavier stuff.

Daveman:
You should have mentioned Vin Diesel who claims to have played D&D as a child. He's turned from nerdy kid to ridiculously manly, no doubt due to that hobby alone.

Haha hell yeah. It's silly, but I still get a kick out of the idea that a Hollywood action-hero like Vin Diesel is a bigger D&D-geek fan than I am.

Well there's your problem. Drop your liberal friends and get some libertarian friends (i.e. smart people). People act as if the moniker "liberal" immediately means open-minded when the reality is it's just closed-mindedness in a different way than "conservatives."

I would like to see the games marketed a bit better. Here in Aus, there's hardly anywhere for me to buy the books and materials, and the places that do exist are the stereotypical loft/basement style places, usually with very little to distinguish them as being a shop at all.

One place is upstairs, in a loft, the entrance to which is at the back of an employee carpark for a Dimmeys (cheap stuff) store.

We also need to get people into it at a younger age, though I recall WotC starting that recently with a kids version of DnD.

Yeah, I have some friends (mostly girls) who stigmatize D&D, still I have other friends who are curious about it. I sometimes run one-shots for them (Sadly I am too busy with my ongoing campaign to get another one running.). Playing D&D with new players is great and I would love too show the hobby to my more judgemental friends. A lot of them already do some things that come close to RPG-ing, but the step to D&D is too big for them to take. Pity.

ReverseEngineered:

I would try to introduce my boardgame-playing friends to D&D, but there's a major hurdle in the way. When I want to get a group together to try out a new board game, all I have to do is pickup the game, explain it to them for 10 minutes, and we can start to play. Even people who aren't normally into board games are willing to give me 10 minutes to explain it and an hour to play. But D&D takes a huge effort to get started. Just to understand the rules takes at least an hour of reading the players handbook, and it's far too much to take in one sitting.

Yeah, the rules. How to handle it? Simple. Don't give them rules. Start playing directly. Slowly introduce things as attack rolls, saves, skill checks (you might even eliminate skills and saves, making them ability checks instead) during play. Don't use terms, just ask to roll that funny die. They will grasp the concept of throwing a d20 to succeed in something fairly quick.
Probably, at a certain moment, a person will ask why that fighter hits that monster on a lower roll than the wizard. At that moment give that person a simplified character sheet. While before that moment you were doing the math of adding and subtracting, now that new player can see what was influencing his rolls. Other players will not want to be left behind and start asking about their sheets. Once given, they will compare stats, they will see the mechanics. Ofcourse, this may or may not work or incite the spark of rpg-ing. You also need a DM who is comfortable with dealing with a lot of information at the same time.

Just three things:
-Simplified character sheets. Just the bare bones.
-Teach them that rolling high on a d20 means you're more likely to succeed in a task, it's the only thing they need to know.
-Only give them information on the rules when they ask for it, or when it's relevant ( Don't give it all in one overflow of information in the beginning, slowly layer it throughout the game. Combat starts, explain about initiative. When someone wants to hit something, explain about attack and damage rolls. Etc.)

This works (at least in my cases) for introductory one-shots. After this you can show them the rules so they can create characters on their own.

I never really had this problem. Whether that's because I care little for people's perception of my hobby or because my group has only had eight member changes in six years, the stigma against tabletop gaming didn't affect me. I certainly don't advertise that I pretend to be Eliras Dawnstrider, Cleric of Pelor on the weekends, but I don't hide it.

The 'stigma' is really self-perpetuating, as has already been said. People who play tabletop games treat it like some kind of social sin, and so it's accepted as such. I'll tell anyone who asks that I play DnD, and if they think that's a problem, well, whatever. Hell, I played an adventure in the cafeteria yesterday in between classes. We didn't get any flack, we actually had a few people ask if they could teach us how to play.

I think that this problem is fading.

Rokar333:
I'm getting the impression that really this is just you and your friends. I'm hosting a D&D game with my friends, and my dad has been tabletop gaming for 20 years. It is in fact how he met my mother. If your friends aren't supportive of a particular hobby, maybe it isn't society or some grand conspiracy, maybe it is just your friends. I live in Kentucky for crying out loud, and neither me nor any of my friends or relatives have run into this.

I think this is just you.

2nd theory: New Yorkers are pricks (though this comes mostly from personal experience).

It's not just him. I live in Australia, and to openly play D&D here... Well you'd take more shit for that than you would for being gay. Seriously, how often have you seen it portrayed positively in the mainstream media?

Interesting article. On the point of a barrier being raised between gamers and non-gamers, I have a bit of a theory on why this happens. Bear with me on this.

I don't table top. I would like to. Some day. But nobody around me is interested, and I don't know anybody who I would trust being a DM. I live in a small rural town, and can't drive(the nearest city is 40 minutes by car).

I do play a lot of video games though. And I spend a lot of time on the internet, reaserching into various topics that interest me, all of them considerably 'nerdy'.

But now that you see where I am coming from, back to my point: why do we, as gamers, put up a barrier to protect us from non gamers? I think it is simple: We were here first.

To put that in perspective:

I started playing video games when I was six(I'm in Highschool now) or something like that. I was damn young. My first consol was an N64, so back in the 90's. Back when gaming wasn't exactly mainstream.

Now, before something is mainstream, people get make fun of for enjoying it. Take, for example, your wife, who called you out on wanting to play D&D. It's other people who raise the barrier first, making gamers outcasts. But then once something becomes popular, all these people who used to call you out for it suddenly want a slice of the pie, and all you can really say is "fuck off, I was here before it was 'cool'."

For example, I know a bunch of "cool" kids who sit and talk about COD every morning. And I can really say is "Really? Really? You assholes chirp people for this shit like what? Five years ago? Go fuck yourself". Of course, I never really say that, because I don't want to get my ass kicked.

I guess what I'm saying is that when it is a fringe hobby, the barrier is put in place. When it is mainstream, the grudge holds, and the barrier (trys) to stay up.

Then the other half of it is that it is not fair. I know this guy, who on the surface, seems like a "popular" person. He dates the hot girls, he acts dumb, ect. Then I come to find out, last semester that is, that he collects the Games Workshop LotR minatures. Or he used to. This kind of pissed me off. I get constantly shot down by girls, so I come to terms with it by taking up nerdy hobbies. But if all these people getting laid start taking up the hobbies, and still get the girls, then where am I?

Btw, people say I'm funny, and I try to do the right thing, and I shower everyday. I'm not a loser is the point I'm making.

Also, part of it is fear mongering. You always hear the stories of people killing themselves over dieing in WoW, or quitting school to play more CoC. This in tern gives more people a negative image of the games, which leads to more fear mongering.

This article hit the 'it's so True!' mark like an arrow.

An arrow fired by a 20th level fighter with master specialisation and a +5 bow.

Cousin_IT:
tabletop gaming looks kinda cool. Then I look through the windows of Games Workshop & realise why I will never go further then painting the lil figurines.

sports looks kinda cool. Then I saw a game of football on T.V. and realised why I never play a game where the goal is to grab a huge sweaty dude and through him to the ground

see what I did there?

I think it must just be your area, most colleges have sponsored groups which play dnd and they are usually quite popular.

Yes, I certainly remember the D&D fear from the 1980s. Rational people were absolutely convinced that it was the Devil's tool. What sort of chemicals were on the food back then?

I totally agree with the point that the Dungeon Master is the bottleneck for the hobby. I used to work myself ragged trying to DM the games that I was hosting. The information required to do it right is overwhelming, and I can see why computers have largely taken over the task in modern gaming.

Well I think RPGs suffer because most gamers don't reach out to non-gamers to get them to play. Sure, not everyone will take you up on it, but some will. And I've never introduced anyone to the hobby who didn't love it. Mention it at work, mention it when you and your friends are hanging out, take your books into public places, such as libraries, game stores (you'd be surprised how many CCGers and wargamers have never tried an RPG or even really know what they are), and talk about what the game is about in simple terms.

But turn to the internet and what do you see? Gamers reveling in the status games have. Gamers who HATE games that appeal to larger audiences, almost as much as they hate the members of that larger audience themselves. New editions of games with streamlined rules being "dumbed down." Someone mentions they're thinking about starting a group of... I dunno, 7th edition Wizards and Warbeasts and gamers scoff that 7th edition is for children, WoW-tards, and people missing their frontal lobes, as has been every edition since the third. You get articles about how to play "the right way" filtered through dozens of years of experience and shaded by personal favorite systems.

Often, I've found the best way to get someone started is to let them see it as basically a complex board game. Don't talk about anything that may be difficult for them to grasp, and let them slowly slip into the game. Over time, they'll inject little flourishes into their characters, and they're hooked. Plus, it's all about finding the right game that appeals to them. Maybe D&D has no appeal at all, but Star Wars might, or a western, or a pirate game, or a modern game, or... well you get the idea.

"Fuck off, I was here first" is the exact opposite reaction of how you should react to new gamers. Some of the other posters here are saying that they haven't encountered these problems, but if you travel outside of your gamer social circle, you will. But most people aren't openly hostile unless they totally don't understand (in which case a basic explanation can go a long way to clearing up BS preconceptions).

Or my other personal favorite is when you find someone who tried it once who had a total dickhole of a GM. Miserable, power-tripper GMs are another black hole in the hobby.

tl;dr version: Gamers are oftentimes just as or more hostile to non-gamers than the reverse. Be open, be friendly, be compassionate, and stay simple to start. Remember, you had to learn once too.

Simply put, it's more work to set up and play.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here