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Sunday, September 6, 2020

We Need More Above Average Gamers

We Need More Above Average Gamers
I'm back from my last business trip and decided to hit up my local game store and pick up more miniatures that I definitely don't need, mostly because I can and because I'm gearing up for my winter shut-in project(s), which will be setting up my painting station and working on my bazillion minis.

As a side note, I somehow effed up my back on this trip, enough to warrant an ambulance ride to the ER and missing a couple days of the trip writhing in near-constant pain. Not mentioning this for sympathy (multiple shots and pills helped immensely), but to put into context some things I was thinking with regards to gaming.

Might be a stretch here, but please bear with me.......so I'm pretty much laid-out on the floor unable to do much more than roll around and moan. While I wasn't straight-up frightened, the feelings of helplessness reminded me of the last time this happened in much worse conditions (situational and severity) and I remember thinking...."Whelp, this....this is how I die."

A few hops, skips, and jumps in thinking and I'm imagining my folks going through my stuff and thinking, "Holy fuck Chris has a shit-ton of these little unpainted plastic miniatures. What the hell was he planning on doing with all this stuff?!" I guess it's better than it might have been had I been in my 20's and they could wonder on just how much I spent on all this porn.....

......I kid. In my 20's my military buddies and I had a mutual agreement to scrub our porn collections before the military sealed and packed off your personal possessions, so that wouldn't be a problem.....

Longs story short, I realize that I'm the only gamer in my family, so all my gaming stuff is....well, just "stuff". There's nobody to relish getting my books and minis to use in their own game, and I've come to the conclusion that I/We need more gamers, and not just "average gamers", but "Above Average" gamers.

What's an Above Average gamer? Well odds are you would qualify as in my experience the average gamer plays one RPG, probably with the same group of friends they've been playing with since high school. They don't go to conventions, they don't try other games, and they generally don't do "other" gaming stuff......

...which is a bit of a shame because these days being a dork/geek/nerd is somewhat cool and a lot of people are into what I would think of as "ancillary" gaming stuff. Movies are a great example. How many people love Lord of the Rings, but would never even think to play MERPs (Ok, that one I get...) but with the mainstream popularity of the Marvel movies and the popular Marvel based video games (the Lego games come immediately to mind, but the AAA Title Marvel Avengers just came out this last week), but have these fans been exposed to the classic Marvel Super Heroes RPG?

In my family my mother just loves pretty much any TSR paperback that has been printed. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Icewind Dale.....you name it, she's probably read it, but never once has she picked up and slung dice, much to my chagrin.

Now as far as my family goes, all my fault. I've picked up some D&D starter sets before, but maybe I should've started with the Dungeon board game, or even some other board games to whet their appetite. I missed the boat, pure plain and simple.....

.....but these days we have a golden opportunity with all this COVID-19 stay at home mentality. With kids/families spending more time at home indoors, we have a captive audience. Playing RPGs can be a family-friendly cost effective form of entertainment and depending on the game even educational!

Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG
One game I HIGHLY recommend for trying out with younger kids is Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG from Blue Boxer Rebellion. Honestly I'd just buy/download everything that Blue Boxer Rebellion has for Dungeonteller, but I'm biased. All you'll need for dice is a butt-load of d6's and the mechanics are kid friendly, quick & easy to boot. Make sure you download the free extra character classes.

This is one way we can help start growing new gamers, but that's just a start for average gamers. For Above Average gamers we need to take the basic/average gamers and start exposing them to the larger gamer culture. Get them playing one game and then try out some other games, try different genres. Introduce them to Zines....bring them to conventions. Hell, even just making some tweaks to your normal game is a good start! If you have a mini-heavy game, try playing more "Theater of the Mind" or vice-versa.

I'm just spit-balling here, but the basic idea is that I think we need to not only grow the fan base for RPGs in general, but we need to "close the loop" and bring RPGs not only more into the mainstream on a personal level, but to broaden our shared experiences. Most of us play because we really enjoy it and getting to share that with friends and family, now and even after we're gone, is important. I think we should all be looking for opportunities to create some Above Average gamers.

Now excuse me as I look online for D&D plushies for my Great Nephew (1st of his generation in my family).







Last Second Idea Edit!
Actually I've an idea........comment to this post the name and relation (something along the lines of "Titus my Great Nephew", don't need to be too specific) of someone you'd love to introduce to RPGs and I'll pick one at random to hook up with a fair bit of Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG kit. I'll make a selection next Sunday, which will give me a week to reach out to Doug Anderson and make sure he gets paid and figure out the logistics. Worst case I'll just send a gift card for DTRPG you can use to pick it up.

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