In the beginning of this great hobby, you couldn’t be choosy about players–not if you wanted to play at all. Fellow gamers were few and far between and you took whomever was willing to sit down at your table and was willing to give this “roleplaying thing” a try. In some places in world, that’s still true today.
For most of us, however, things have changed for the better. Not only are there a wider variety of games available, there are also a far greater number of gamers. This means that, as GMs, we’re better able to select players who match our play style and, therefore, are more likely to enjoy our games. The question these days is often “How do I find the right players for my game?”
Step One: Define your game
What are the qualities of your game? Is it story-focused and tightly scripted, like a movie, or is it a character-focused sandbox game? Do you favor mechanics over story? How much combat are your players likely to see? These are all questions that can help you match players to your game.
If, for example, you know that players in your games usually spend most of the time investigating and talking to NPCs, bringing in a player who lives for combat could be a recipe for disaster. Either you’ll have to change your play style to accommodate more fighting, or you run the risk of having a bored player who, since he can’t find a fight, is likely to go off and start one on his own. Now, if you want to bring more combat in your game, this could be a great way to do, since you’d have the Combat Monger’s experience to draw from.
In any case, because you know your what your own game will be like, you can convey that information to your prospective players and see if they like the kind of game you’re offering before they officially join.
This is turning into a much longer post than I expected, so I’m going to break it up into several parts. Next time, I’ll cover steps two and three–figuring out what traits you do and don’t want to have in your game. 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.
- Grow The Hobby With Great Game Mastering (campaignmastery.com)
- Project Mimicry Takes Being a “Sandbox” Game Very Seriously (escapistmagazine.com)