This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is sponsored by Mad Brew Labs, and is concerned with growing the hobby.  As Mr. Madbrew (yes, I know that’s not really his name) himself notes, it is a fairly broad topic.  I’ve decided to focus on what individual gamers, bloggers or no, can do to advance the hobby through game time and new players.

For my part, I do not game as often as I should or want to.  I think that regular gaming is a major part of growing the hobby, but it is also time-consuming.  It’s a good way to spend time, of course, but I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I have seen posts or discussions of how to keep playing while remaining: (1) employed, (2) married, or (3) both.

It can be hard to play, but finding the time and recruiting new players is a key part of growing the hobby.  I make it a point to recruit a new player or two for summer campaign every year (this year I got five).  Even running a one-shot at your FLGS or at the public library can help (and I do each of these a few times a year).  I have more one-shots and easy-to-learn games than you can shake a stick at, and they have proven their worth many times over.

I have found that many of my friends who are interested in gaming are afraid that as new players they will be “behind” or scorned by more experienced players.  It’s a perfectly natural sentiment to have, of course.  Most of my players this summer are new, and they now enjoy our weekly games a great deal.  Obviously, sometimes you want more experienced players, and that’s all right too, but making new players feel welcome is both polite and important.  If you have more experienced players who scorn your new ones or make them feel silly, why are you playing with them?  There should be no entry requirement to enjoying RPGs.

So, those are my thoughts on a few easy ways to attract new gamers and grow the hobby.  A quick recommendation – if you want to try out a simple game for new players, throw together a Shambles or 3:16 scenario, or try D&D 4E or Swords & Wizardry for more traditional fantasy gaming.  It’ll work like a charm, guaranteed.  Got thoughts?  Opinions?  Share ’em!

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