Practically everyone who’s witnessed the gaming fun on TableTop and Super Fun Awesome Party Game Time has thought, I want to go to there. But if you don’t have friends who are interested in regularly rolling dice with you, finding a new group to play games with can be daunting. Don’t give up hope! It’s not impossible.
Here are a few suggestions for finding fellow board game enthusiasts to get your Catan on in a welcoming environment.
Head to the game store
This is an obvious suggestion, but your local game store often hosts events to bring interested board game players together. Many stores host events for beginners looking to learn how to play games like Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, and a variety of other tabletop games. If you’re not sure what you want to play or are feeling shy and just want to hang back and watch, may we humbly suggest a Geek & Sundry Game Night as the ideal starting point?
If you do connect with players at a game night event, don’t forget to exchange email addresses! This could be the start of a beautiful gaming group.
Find a group looking for more players at Meetup.com
Meetup.com is a fast and simple way to search for a gaming group near your zip code. Search for “board games” or click the Games category and any gathering of players nearby who are looking for more will be listed.
Most Meetup groups will have “what we’re about” details, past events, and even group reviews so you can get an idea of what you might getting into. If you don’t live in a major city with a game store, you might have more luck on Meetup.com.
Browse the regional forums on your favorite gaming site
If nothing at Meetup.com catches your eye, gaming web sites often have regional forums for fans looking for kindred spirits. Both Geek & Sundry and BoardGameGeek include forums with community members looking for others to play with.
While these group listings might not be as frequently updated as the ones you’ll find on Meetup, if you do find a group through a specific web site, you’ll know that you already have something in common that can be used as a conversation starting point. (I’m talking about your mutual love of TableTop, of course.)
Check your local library for game night events
If your library is awesome (all of them are, honestly, but I mean extra-awesome), your local branch may host free game nights for patrons in the area. The library conference room is easily turned into a gaming hangout, usually on a regular basis.
Make sure you’re in the correct age range of the event before you attend. Many branches specifically reach out to high schoolers and families with their game nights, so double-check before you roll in with your copy of Telestrations: After Dark tucked under your arm.
Host your own
This is the option that requires the most time and commitment, but if you’re truly interested in a regular game night, why not organize one yourself? Contact the public library if they aren’t already hosting an event and offer to host one there.
You can also start small by putting up flyers at school or work or by inviting acquaintances to your house. Be prepared to teach newcomers about your favorite games and make sure you’re very familiar with the rules if you’d like to introduce players to board games beyond Monopoly and Risk.
If hosting your first game night doesn’t go as you hoped, don’t give up! Give it another shot or two so that different players have a chance to add their own energy and enthusiasm. You just might find the right mix.
Make plans now for International TableTop Day.
If you’re looking for an excuse to show your friends just how fun tabletop games are, use International TableTop Day as the perfect reason to host game night. Throw the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel on the screen and set out your favorite games to play (or encourage your friends to bring theirs).
You can also use International TableTop Day to head to the game store, where there’s sure to be a large crowd. You can browse to find yourself a new game to entice friends over on a future game night, participate in special events, or hop into a game.
Do you have advice for finding a gaming group? Share your wisdom in the comments below!
Top image courtesy Dragon’s Lair Austin (Photo by Sarah Keller)
Other photos: Kelly Knox and Geek & Sundry