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  1. #1

    Games that didn't make attendance requirements - Player request poll?

    Hi Forum,

    So I noticed that a few games didn't get the applicants they were looking for (me included ) and it got me to thinking.

    I try to host a game at every event, but a couple of times the games I have chosen to run haven't filled out. This is understandable as players will want to play games that appeal to them, and there are so many differing tastes out there that it can get pretty hit and miss. I'm sure that many GM's here feel the same as me, that they simply enjoy hosting games and spreading the word and love of Fantasy Grounds and Tabletop Role-Playing to the world.

    So how would people feel about a request poll? Between events, players can put up posts (in individual threads, or in one dedicated thread) games that they would be interested in playing in. This way GM's can observe what is popular and pick these games up at each event. Assign themselves to host one of these games, giving the players what they want.

    How would players, and other GM's feel about this?
    ..... now where is my hat?

  2. #2
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
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    Well, I suppose it will depend on a lot of factors. There are dangers, for example only so many players will contribute and many others won't, which might very well skew the result. The FGDaze and FGCons have at their heart the aim of drawing people into either FG itself or letting them see the mechanics of a ruleset that they haven't seen before. In FGDaze just passed most of the players in my group had only a little experience with either 5e or with FG. One player only joined the forums 2 days before the session ran. A poll wouldn't actually reach those players.

    Furthermore, and speaking only for myself, I am only familiar with D&D and have only actually played 5e via FG. So I might well be put off running a game at all if all the requests were for another ruleset and that might prevent some players who wanted to join a 5e game, but didn't take part in the poll, because I and others like me perhaps decided there was no call for a 5e game.

    It's worth thinking about, but remember also that there are many and varied reasons why games might not have filled up or people didn't show.

  3. #3
    Good point. Some newer players would get missed by this.

    Perhaps something a little more high level? By way of a suggestions thread, one could post an interest in an adventure module, or game concept. A GM could then take that on board, suggest a system they are comfortable with and discuss from there?

    I'm really just spitballing here though.

    Note: This is just how I'm used to running games locally. When my GM slot rolls around, I ask the table:
    "What do you want to play"
    And go from there.
    ..... now where is my hat?

  4. #4
    Mask_of_winter's Avatar
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    All good points Fizban. I've posted a poll in the past where I gave a choice of games they'd like to see me run for FGCon. Like you, I usually run games that are part of the less popular game systems (Savage Worlds and GUMSHOE variants). While a fair amount of players during FG Con and FG Daze come to try out the most popular games on Fantasy Grounds for the first time like D&D and Pathfinder, many also want to try out new games. FG Con and FG Daze caters to both.

    A lot of new comers to FG are also new to RPGs in general and they've probably only heard of the most popular games like D&D and Pathfinder.

    Here's a blog I wrote earlier this year. I'm gonna post it here hoping this might be helpful to some.

    A guide to recruiting for Fantasy Grounds
    Getting a group together for an online role-playing game may come with its challenges. If you are the Game Master, and have a group of loyal players, starting a new campaign will mostly likely consist of pitching an idea to the group. If you are the new “player” in the world of online role-playing and don’t have a group yet, this blog is for you.

    I have been running online games for over six years now, both campaigns and one-shots of the convention format variety. While the way a GM prepares for each —and how they unfold— differs, how you recruit doesn’t have to be. I’d like to share how I do things and explain why. I hope you can use some of these tricks to fill up the game YOU want to run.

    The easy way to find many players for a game is to say the magic words: D&D 5e or Pathfinder. You’ll soon find a horde of bloodthirsty and dice wielding nerds knocking at your virtual doorstep. At this point you probably don’t need any more help. Good luck!

    What if you dare not say the magic words. You may be passionate about a different game, less popular, obscure or brand new. It may even be a homebrew setting. Passion is contagious and as a GM you owe it to yourself and your players to run what YOU want to run. Don’t settle for less for the sake of being popular. It’s not going to work out for you in the end.

    Be Clear

    Potential players looking for a game want to know a couple of very important things right off the bat. First, they want to know when, how often, for how long and what timezone you’re in. Give it to them. Every other Wednesday 7pm PDT (UTC-7) until 11pm is a good start. If it’s a one-shot, what’s the date? If it’s for a campaign when do you want the first session to be?

    Second, they want to know what rule system you will use and which setting it is.

    There are many other details a potential player will want to know. Those are things like which voip you use or maybe you want to use text only, minimum and maximum number of players, combat/rp ratio, what experience/familiarity level you expect, character creation guidelines, etc. You can share those at the end of your ad or wait for them to ask. Those details usually are important to an extent but they are not what will pique someone’s interest in your game. I find most players very flexible with those details.
    Be brief

    Nobody wants to read a wall of text. The next article, cat video or shortcut to someone’s favorite video game is only a click away. If you can’t grab their attention within the first few lines of your ad, you’re toast. Have you ever heard of the elevator pitch? Mindtools.com describes it as such:
    “An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use them to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.
    They should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organization, product, or idea – unique.”

    Needless to say, this applies to the ad for your role-playing game session or campaign. You should be able to convey what your idea is and what the players can expect in a short paragraph. It should capture it’s essence and entice. If you aren’t a writer and you’re using an existing campaign setting, look for the text at the back of the book.

    Put on your salesman suit

    You can’t expect to fill out your roster if you don’t get out there and let others know you are recruiting. Gaming forums, social media at large and especially groups or communities for that particular game you’re going to run are good places to put your ad. You don’t have to spam. A well timed ad placement is usually enough. Week day evenings are usually best. I place my ads at odd times but that’s because I’m a cheeky vampire living at night. It works for me but it’s not the smartest move. Use at your own risks. If your game still isn’t full, give it another week and then post again.

    Use artwork and pictures

    Never underestimate the power of an evocative image. Make it the first thing they see. What this will do is make a potential player dream about playing in that universe. If you’re good with other media, a short trailer on youtube is also great.

    Be reliable

    Be there on time. If you have to cancel or reschedule your event let the players know as soon as possible. It takes time to build a reputation. Word of mouth is very powerful, don’t underestimate it. If you have a reputation for cancelling many games or being a no-show the word will spread and it will become difficult for you recruit. On the other hand, if the community knows their Saturday night is in good hands when they enroll for your game they are likely to come back. Does that make sense?

    Use pop and geek culture references

    The game you want to run just blew your mind. Pat yourself on the back, you’re awesome. However, potential players still need to wrap their head around what is supposed to make your game so awesome. Let’s say I want to run this gritty sci-fi game with a political corruption theme. It’s definitely clear but if I say it’s like The Matrix meets Daredevil it automatically resonate with the reader. Chances are they know what The Matrix and Daredevil are and they get the idea. They know what to expect. You’ve used tropes everybody can identify with. It’s as possible as saying the magic words. Everybody knows what to expect from a Dungeons & Dragons game. This name is powerful because it’s been part of pop/geek culture for a long time.

    Be patient

    It takes time to build a strong and reliable player base. Don’t be afraid to run a few one-shots to get your feet wet and let the potential players try you out. They are auditioning for a GM too. Joining a campaign is a big commitment and not everybody wants to commit to an unknown GM, a total stranger. Slowly but surely the word will spread around that you’re a good GM who provides a fun experience and it will become easier to fill up your games.

    Put on your steel-toe boots

    Did you think it was going to be easy? Work on your presentation. In face-to-face games GM will build terrains, paint miniatures and prepare props like scrolls or custom chits, tokens and beads. Go to a convention and watch people hover around these tables. Just because you use Fantasy Grounds doesn’t mean you can’t work on these. You can share props in-game on Fantasy Grounds. Develop other skills like writing letters, making maps or a custom skin for your FG table. Players will notice.

    Be visible

    So you advertised your game but did it actually run? Best way to prove it is to post a screenshot of your game or write a short report of what happened. The community will take notice. “Hey, that looks cool, I want to get in on that!”

    Well that’s about it folks. That’s all I got! I hope you can use some of these tips for your own recruiting purposes. Remember to always be courteous and helpful.

    Writer for Just Insert Imagination and co-host of the Wild Die Podcast.
    Find me on G+ to get in on one-shots, check out my YouTube and Twitch channel and follow me on Twitter @Mask_of_Winter

  5. #5
    damned's Avatar
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    Hey Fizban - I was really surprised (and disappointed) that your game didnt get the numbers.

    There are a few things that can impact a game running in my experience -

    1. The ruleset - 5e and Pathfinder fill up pretty easily in most cases. Especially 5e at the moment. Other rulesets can take more work.
    2. The description. You gotta sell your story. Make it sound like fun. Make it sound interesting.
    3. The time of day it runs. Sometimes its a poorly attended time of day, sometimes it clashes with too many other games, sometimes it just doesnt work for the most likely players. And post a time - dont post choices of times - just pick your time and advertise that. Once people know when it IS running they can plan to attend.

    I have seen some games posted that have great descriptions and look like a helluva lot of fun and run by great GMs and they just get no interest. It just happens sometimes. Generally if you have little or no interest 5 days out it wont change - I say generally because ShadowRun was in that position - just 2 bookings - me and a new player - and we didnt want to cancel on the new player so we pushed it out to all our circles and filled it up (and of course the new player didnt show up). If its not showing interest 5 days out - run something else or try running it 4/6/8 hours earlier/later and see if that works.

    I wish I knew the answer. It is generally the less popular rulesets that this happens to which is a shame. Cons are awesome for trying out new stuff. My last 3 Con Sessions as GM have been Dungeon World, Maelstrom and Castles & Crusades. My last three that I played in have been ShadowRun, Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds.

    MoreCore - Generic Ruleset
    --- Projects ---
    Extensions | Tutorials | MoreCore | MoreCore Themes | Call of Cthulhu | Maelstrom | FG Con

  6. #6
    For me from a players perspective I try to find games running systems other than D&D or Pathfinder. I put priority on game systems I've never or seldom get to play. Damned usually runs something different so I set the alarm to make his 6am (my time) games! I'm afraid most people would just vote for more of the same PF and 5E.

    You could try advertising your games over at roll20 and other popular PNP RPG sites if you haven't already.

  7. #7
    damned's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werd View Post
    Damned usually runs something different so I set the alarm to make his 6am (my time) games!
    I stayed up till 4am to run it!

    MoreCore - Generic Ruleset
    --- Projects ---
    Extensions | Tutorials | MoreCore | MoreCore Themes | Call of Cthulhu | Maelstrom | FG Con

  8. #8
    Ellspeth's Avatar
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    And it was very much appreciated Damned, like Werd, I look for the less played rulesets when signing up for the FGCons and FGDaze. (Had to add that so you wouldn't suspect we are stalking you Damned). However one point to add. Most of us have little trouble getting the time right for a single game, but the games are listed in no particular order, requiring one to check and compare times by going into each game posted. I played 2 games in last weekends event, but without a calendar that lists the date, time of the games where they are easily checked and compared so we can sign up for multiple games without the risk of overlapping.

  9. #9
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werd View Post
    You could try advertising your games over at roll20...
    Please don't advertise your FG game on the roll20 website. That's for a different (competitive) VTT and could be seen as trying to poach players. We don't like people advertising roll20 games in the FG forums, so please don't do the reverse in the roll20 forums. Thanks.
    FG Con 16 Fantasy Grounds Online RPG Convention - Postponed New date To Be Confirmed.
    Register at www.fg-con.com for all the latest info.

    Private Messages: My inbox is forever filling up with PMs. Please don't send me PMs unless they are actually private/personal messages. General FG questions should be asked in the forums - don't be afraid, the FG community don't bite and you're giving everyone the chance to respond and learn!

  10. #10
    Just going to throw in what I did,

    Ran my first game on Fantasy Grounds during the most recent FGDaze. I asked some people I knew out of my online guild, real life friends, and advertised all over. I sent messages out to people a few days beforehand, said I would be on to answer any questions and help them get set up, and even walked multiple people through the process of coming onto Fantasy Grounds. I had 10 people signed up for a 7 person table, and only 1 didn't show up (unfortunately, had to tell two they couldn't play).

    Of course, I may have been the anomaly, but make sure you advertise your game as much as possible!
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