I run a 700+ member Meetup group called DFW Roleplayers. I hear from many gamers who are like me and are returning to the hobby after being absent from tabletop gaming from many years. How do you find players? What books do you buy? What supplies do you need? All common questions. Here’s my answer to one player on this topic:
Great to hear from you! I was absent from the game from 1986 to 2006 or so, so I made a similar trek.
First off, who you game with is the most important thing in my book, over what you play. My tips on finding a group: http://dfwroleplayers.com/find-a-game-group/
What gaming systems you like is another big consideration though. I find Pathfinder/3.5 too crunchy for my taste. 4e has a following in the area but 5e/D&D Next will be out late next year. Other games, notably Fate, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and Savage Worlds, also have a strong following. 1e and Basic D&D and Castles & Crusades also has a following in the DFW area. Those are probably the top systems you’d want to check out. You can catch some Con games to play different systems, find what you like, and maybe make some gaming friends (which could lead to a group!). Organized play for Pathfinder and 4e/5e are great ways to game and connect as well. I’d say NTRPGCon is the best of them all for tabletop RPGs (local) and Owlcon is great and actually bigger (but in Houston).
2014 Texas Con Schedule
- Owlcon (Houston) Feb. 21-24, 2014 http://owlcon.com
- GamerNationCon.com (Plano) Mar. 14-16, 2014 http://GamerNationCon.com
- North Texas RPG Con (DFW) Jun. 5-8, 2014 http://ntrpgcon.com/
- Texicon (Ft. Worth) June 27-29, 2014 http://texicon.net/
- WaCon (Waco) Oct. 24-26, 2014 (Tentative) http://wacogamecon.com/
- There is AggieCon (College Station, http://cephvar.tamu.edu/aggiecon) and also ChimaeraCon (San Antonio http://chimaeracon.com/) but neither have announced their 2014 dates just yet
If you have a standard set of polyhedral dice and a pencil and paper you’re set for most any game (Fate and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire use weird dice, but any GM will have loner dice).
Find a group you like, they can loan you polyhedral dice, and then you can get the game books if you like, or borrow what you need from a friend. Some systems you don’t even need the book.
If you’re like me and most returning-to-gaming guys, you’ll spend a year or two trying different games at Cons, playing online and playing organized play, make some connections, then finally find a group you like which plays a system (or types of systems) which fit your style of gaming.
Also, if you’re open to it, gaming on Google+ via Hangouts and/or Roll20 is actually a great experience, and a great way to get exposure to different systems and players. I have two Friday night game groups (one OD&D on alternating Fridays, another D&D Next on the off-Fridays, and a D&D Next game via Roll20+Google+ Hangouts on Thursdays) so I’m pretty booked, and loving it.
Tabletop RPGs are great — you meet new folks, play a very social game, roll dice, use imagination, and make memories together. I tried video games and MMOs — never could compare in my opinion. 🙂