Finding Gamers in a New City
So after moving to St. Paul, one of the first things I wanted to do was get in touch with a gaming group. It seemed to me that the best place to start was the Friendly Local Gaming Store, which I managed on accident the first time I was up in St. Paul after taking a wrong turn. Source Comics and Games happens to be the fourth largest gaming store in the world (Fairborn’s Bookery being the largest), but they had way more stock than Bookery or even YottaQuest! (However, it seems that the size of a gaming store is inversely correlated with the quality of its website…)
During my first foray to Source, I found a copy of an All for One: Régime Diabolique supplement that a friend of mine couldn’t find anywhere else. Even more encouraging was the vast number of Savage Worlds books. With so many diverse RPGs, I figured it would be easy to find a gaming group for whatever game I was interested in.
I asked employees at Source if there were any Savage Worlds campaigns they knew about or if they had one-shot demos for any other systems. To my surprise, the only thing that ever gets run at the gaming store is Dungeons & Dragons 4e and Pathfinder. Only those two? But there are probably close to 100 different systems being sold on the shelves, including relatively popular ones like Savage Worlds, Warhammer 40k, and White Wolf. I realize that there is a great disparity in popularity, but why do only those two ever make an appearance?
Unfortunately, it seems that my time in the Wittenberg Role-playing Guild has spoiled me. There we regularly ran campaigns from a variety of systems and even had Friday Night One-shots where we ran many obscure systems.
So I decided to not be part of the problem and instead be part of the solution. I told the employees that I’d be interested in running a few Savage Worlds one shots at the store and perhaps one-shots for other systems I enjoy like Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space. I also asked if I could put up a flier looking for a Savage Worlds gaming group to play in a Deadlands: Last Sons campaign and they said I could. It’s my hope that I can get some interest in these systems. Just like how a lot of roleplaying game fans are those who don’t know they are ones yet, I imagine that many fans of these lesser known systems are D&D/Pathfinder fans who don’t know they are yet.
You might be asking why I don’t just play Dungeons & Dragons. Frankly, I’m still too burnt out from it. Although D&D Next does look promising, I really have no interest in anything being offered right now. I think that it’s the lack of really innovative settings (although Dark Sun was cool) more than the mechanics themselves (although their complexity seems more stifling to me these days) that fails to keep me inspired.
I’ll be sure to keep others posted on how my search for gaming in a new city goes. If anybody has any good suggestions, please share them!