Monday, June 13, 2011

Looking for Group: Collegiate Misadventures

August last year, I was lovingly packing my dice and tomes into the back of my Corolla, excited with a little trepidation as I prepared to move my entire life to the strange and magical land of San Francisco. I had said farewell to the friends and groups I had seen every Sunday for the past year, taking comfort in the fact that a place as 'colorful' as San Francisco must have gamers galore. Somewhere in the city there would be strange esoteric game stores and crowded dorm rooms full of people just waiting to roll those dice!
I arrived in my new local and began to ask around officially 'LFG'. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and still I had not found anyone who knew/admitted to playing in a consistent game. By this point I had coerced all my new friends into learning the ways of the dice, was running some games here and there, but the gamers seemed to be hiding in some place I could not find.
Growing desperate, I frantically searched the college's online list of clubs and was met with success: a board gaming group that met every friday night from 5-midnight! This was the best lead I had found in months. My delicatele explanation to my friends that I would be unable to engage in the usual friday revelry, to instead play board games with strangers was met with laughter and puzzlement. But really I was desperate for people who dreamed of dragons as often as I did.
Bearing my bag of dice (just in case) and my box of 'Dominion' cards to use as a peace offering I strode boldly into the gaming club meeting room.
There were about twenty people all standing around in cluster, my eyes immediately went to the row of glowing laptop screens which displayed running World of Warcraft avatars. It took a couple seconds for the room to realize there was an intruder. Heads turned my way and I was met with the stunned stares of nineteen or so guys. The room was quiet for a small eternity before the talk of MMRPG's resumed. Feeling like an outsider I made my one to the only other girl in the entire room. Slightly awkward getting to know you conversation was made, as I was pointedly ignored by most people in the room.
I honestly couldn't believe how prevalent the 'oh my god there's girl in the gaming store' stereotype was being enforced.
She granted me access to a couple board games, where my questions about the rules were met with heavy sighs and eye rolls.
After about an hour of this the majority of the group left for a pizza run; frustrated and disappointed by this point, I hung around pretending to text as the people left stood around talking to each other. Suddenly clear as a bell I heard the words 'yeah 4thE clerics are so rigged'. I POUNCED.
Sweeping in suddenly with my knowledge of daily spell allotments and healing surge capacity: they were stunned. When I told them I was a DM they officially accepted me as one of there own. Talk of DC's and B.A.B's flew, the conversation turned to WOrld of Warcraft where my three years of dedication and name dropping of my level 80 hunter won me further respect.
I was relieved, I still had a place in this culture. Now that I could speak the native language, I quickly learned that a group of them had a game that they ran weekly, on top of that I learned that several of them were DM's as well.
My excitement diminished however as I began to speak more to these DM's. All of them were supporters of 4th Edition and relatively new to the scene. I dropped questions about 2nd edition, AD&D, and even 3.5, but I was met with blank stares.
The final blow came when one of the DM's was talking about the combat he was planning for next session, "They're totally not going to survive this time," he said with unbridled glee.
Call me picky, but I knew in my heart that I would not be happy with a place at this table. I love the story, the interactions, the politics, and fighting the good fight alright. But a killjoy DM? Players who were in love with finding the best ways to exploit the combat system? I was in a room of next generation gamers, and though I was probably the youngest person in the room, I suddenly felt very old.
The night drew to a close, I thanked everyone for the games, and walked out. Not sure if I would ever return.
Needless to say I gained a few insights that night, some pleasant, some not so. But I'm still on the quest for that rare and wonderful perfect group of gamers. Or if not, someone who gets excited when they see my tattered 2nd edition DM screen.



  1. Wow. I'm continually baffled by the weird currents of sexism that run through this hobby. ::sigh::

    I went through an experience similar to yours when I moved to SF in 2005. Before the move, I gleefully pored over the many game stores in the Bay Area, but after visiting them many left me cold. I too had the hardest time putting together a game group out there, only managing to do so just in time to move away.

    I've forwarded this entry to two dear friends whom I gamed with in SF; both would be a great fit for the style of gaming you're looking for. One of them is a newcomer to D&D after going through 20 years of being told by male gamers that she couldn't play because she was a gurrrrrl by male gamers. Not sure if they're in the market for forming a group at the moment, but I wish you the best of luck no matter what! I recommend checking out the cork board (if it's still there) in the back of Gamescape on Divisidero--you occasionally see some interesting flyers for gamers seeking groups. And hey, you never know what you'll run across while walking down Market St.

  2. Ouch. Are you getting the band back together?

  3. Best of luck with the search.

  4. "One of them is a newcomer to D&D after going through 20 years of being told by male gamers that she couldn't play because she was a gurrrrrl by male gamers."

    Ergh. What is it with some people? The last game I played, 4/6ths of the players were female. It didn't make the game implode, explode, or suck. Why don't they get that?

    Capcha: Brings. Hopefully, it's a sign that your persistent searching brings people in or something similar.

  5. Sucks to hear you're having problems finding a group.

    Have you considered any of the following options:

    Good luck!

  6. Sounds familiar, unfortunately.

  7. Ugh. So many things wrong in one post.

    Um...wrong with the situation, that is, not wrong with YOU.

    What city/school are you attending?

  8. Your best bet might be to introduce new people to the game rather than find existing players.

    Even within the fandom of a single edition of a game, I've learned that it's often hard to find a group of like-minded players who appreciate the same aspects of a game. I was lucky in junior high and high school. Not quite as lucky after that. Don't give up, though!

  9. Check out my 2e PBP, join up!

  10. Are you still looking for a group?

  11. I'm sure you'll find a great group of people to play with. This group is just the people who all want the same things as each other and glommed together because of it. No reason why there aren't plenty of other groups around with your style of play!

    Like other people said, you might want to start a group rather than try to join one.

    Good luck with school and gaming!

  12. Hi. I guess I subscribed to your blog before my life took a set back, back in 2011. Today was the first time I even looked at blogspot and it's been more than 3 years.

    But since then there have been a lot more reliable LFG sites have come along since. I mean, aside from the WotC locator ( )
    Reddit LFG ( )
    or ENWorld's "Find A Game" ( )
    There are sites like MeetUp, ( ) which is for more than D&D but has plenty of people looking for D&D players,
    Warhorn, which I've actually had little luck with, personally ( )
    and GeekTransit which which is free and global but, frankly, is still in beta and doesn't seem to see much use :( ( )