Having trouble finding good players? It can often be difficult to meet other gamers once you’re out of school, particularly if you don’t have the wherewithal to get to cons. This post is the third in a series on how to find the right players for your game. The first part covered figuring out what your game was like, so you could communicate that to prospective players; the second covered discovering what type of players you like and dislike. This last and final section will cover how to make a “Players Wanted” ad and where to post it.
Step Four: Create Marketing Materials
You know what your game will be like and you know what you want and don’t want in players. Now its time to market your game. “What?! Marketing? Isn’t that for businesses? I’m just running a game for fun!” True, but anytime you’re trying to convince someone else to try what you have to offer, you’re marketing. That holds whether you’re writing a blog, selling an eBook…or trying to get players for your game.
If you’re lucky, you already know a large number of gamers and you can spread information about your game word-of-mouth. Even in this case, it’s helpful to have an “ad” about your game. Now, it doesn’t need to be full-fledged written flier (though it can be—it’s often useful to have something in writing to hand to prospective players); it can simply be a short description of your game. To help with this, I suggest creating an “elevator pitch.”
An elevator pitch is a short description about why people should try your game. It’s called that because you should be able to say in the span of time of an elevator trip. Try to avoid making it sound like a sales pitch (even though that’s what it is). Go for simplicity and the facts. “I’m planning to run a character-focused Vampire game using 2nd edition rules. It’s going to be heavy on roleplaying and politics. It’s set in New Orleans and the PCs will all be young Camarilla Cainites who get caught up in the religious crusade of an ancient Sabbat Elder” is much better than “I’m running the best Vampire game ever. Dude, this game’s gonna rock,” which tells prospective nothing about whether or not they’ll enjoy the your game.
If you don’t know a lot of other players, you’ll have to create some kind of “Players Wanted” ad you can post in places where gamers hang out. This should be a short flier that you can post somewhere and should contain:
- the title and edition of the system you plan to use
- the game setting, such as where the city or country it takes place in and the relative time period or genre (medieval-style fantasy or an intersteller empire in the far future, for example)
- any age restrictions (such as “over 18 only”)
- your elevator pitch
- a brief description of the type of player you feel is best suited to this game (using your favorite traits list). At the very least, you’ll want to mention how much combat and/or roleplaying players should expect. If your games tend to have very few dice rolls, you should probably point that out
- your contact information and when you plan to begin the game, as well as when the game sessions will take place.
If you’ve got the time and inclination, you could create an actual brochure about your game. Many programs, such as MS Word and Open Office have brochure templates you can download free from the Internet. Or you could buy pre-designed brochures (which are blank except for an artistic design) that you can print out on your own printer.
Step Five: Post Your Ad
Now that you have your flier and/or brochures, you need to find somewhere to post them. Remember to ask permission before you post anything in a public place. Many places have a bulletin board where you can post information about things happening in the community. You’ll want to put these somewhere where gamers are likely to see them. No matter how attractive your flier, you’ll probably have a lot more success if you post them at the local coffee shop than you will at the local bank. Some good places to post information are:
- your local game store
- coffee shops
You can also post them on-line there are several sites devoted to helping players and GMs connect with each other.
Some of these include
- EN World: Gamers seeking gamers forum. You’ll need to be a member to post here, but a basic membership is free.
- RPGnet: Gaming Gatherings. This lists both players seeking games and games seeking players, as well as meet-ups and upcoming conventions. Again, you’ll need to be a member to post, but basic membership is free.
- RPG Gateway: People and Places. Here you can find lists of local gaming groups, as well as player websites, convention listings and more.
- Tabletop Role Playing and Board Games Meet-Up Groups. You can search for meet-up groups in your area.
This is an excerpt from the GM’s Field Guide to Players, the up-coming book from rpgGM.com, due to be released this fall.