Game Design

Comedy As Genre - by Gregory Pellechi Blogs - 23 July 2018 - 9:09am
Comedy is often considered a genre, but comedy only implies that it'll make you laugh. Problem is, it doesn't guarantee that. Which is why comedy should never be considered your game's genre.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Releases, Pre-orders Available From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 July 2018 - 9:00am
I feel this post could be titled, “Warlord Games Releases Everything” and it wouldn’t be that far off. They’ve got new releases for Konflikt ’47 and Bolt Action, as well as extending their Strontium Dog line with new pre-orders. So let’s get to them. It’s not a short list. The arms race develops further and […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Hotdogs are Sandwiches - by Caleb Compton Blogs - 23 July 2018 - 9:00am
What is a game? It's a question that has been debated for centuries, and everybody has their own idea. Today, in response to a podcast by Mark Rosewater, I give my thoughts on the question.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Building Novigrad - by Justin Reeve Blogs - 23 July 2018 - 8:59am
The Witcher 3's Novigrad feels like a living, breathing city. Part of this has to do with its level design. This article shows how some of the principles of real-world urban planning were applied to this virtual city.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Paizo Previews Running Games In Pathfinder 2.0

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 July 2018 - 8:00am
With the release of Pathfinder 2.0, Paizo is hoping a lot of gamers that maybe have never tried the system will make their way over. So, with those new players and GMs, they figured it’d be a good idea to give you a taste of what running a game using the system is like (and […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

CMON Announces Wacky Races Board Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 July 2018 - 7:00am
On your mark! Get set! Go! The green flag is flying, and it’s a race to the finish line. Just make sure that you actually make it there. CMON is teaming up with Warner Brothers to bring the classic Hanna Barberra cartoon, Wacky Races, to tabletops in board game form. Players are looking to make […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Games Workshop Taking Orders For Kill Team

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 July 2018 - 6:00am
A lot of this could theoretically go in today’s Terrain Corner as well, but we’ll get to that. Games Workshop has started taking orders for Kill Team. What is Kill Team? Basically skirmish-sized 40k. Don’t want to get your huge-ass army out every time? Grab an elite core of minis and go at it in […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Adding a New Gamer to an Existing Group

Gnome Stew - 23 July 2018 - 5:00am

For those of us who have gamed for a long time (I just hit 35 years of RPG experience myself), it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not everyone is a gamer, or that “gamer” is really a spectrum. There are those folks that only like Yahtzee and Spades. There are folks that prefer chess, backgammon, and a rare game of Risk. Some people like cards only, or dice only, or just board games, or just family games. There are folks (like me) that enjoy any assortment of tiles, cards, dice, minis, books, playmats, or whatever hilarity hitting the tabletop. We live in blessed times that there are too many quality games to choose from. A side effect of this is that we have a wide variety of gamers to choose from, and I love them all.

Preparation Before Invitation

Let’s focus in on role-playing games for a bit, though. If you have a friend who is interested in joining your RPG group, there are some steps to take in preparation for extending the firm invite to the group.

  • If you’re not the host, get the homeowner’s permission to invite the new person into their home. This might involve the host meeting the prospective player in a neutral location, depending on how closely the host guards their privacy and home.
  • Talk to the group as a whole about the new player. At a minimum, get the GM’s permission. Preferably, everyone should be accepting of the new player, if not outright approving of it.
  • Talk to the prospective player about group expectations, including your social contract. If you’re not sure what a social contract is, I recommend these articles:
  • Talk to the new player about table conduct. This includes what kind of jokes to expect, if alcohol is allowed during the game, general age ranges of the other players, if any children are in the group (or present in the area of the game area), etc.
  • Talk to the new player about game style. This includes system, themes, existing characters, events leading up to the game’s “present day,” and what kind of GM the person running the game is. This article by Wendelyn will be useful in this area.
Newb to Veteran

Once everyone is on board with the new player (including the new player), then you have a new gamer in your group! Make sure the new player will stay long enough to become a “grizzled veteran” of your campaign. There are some ways to tackle this.

If you are the GM, try to get some one-on-one time with the new player and work with her to create a character that will fit in. If your gaming style/system needs another player or two present during character creation (such as Fate Core), you can either sub in for the missing players or invite the more laid back or experienced players to join in for the character creation process. I’d also recommend running a one-hour solo game with the new player to get them into the rhythm of playing the character, running in the system, and getting used to acting in character without the pressure of doing so in front of a group of strangers.

If you’re not the GM, then still arrange some one-on-one time with the newcomer. Show up with a pre-generated character and a one-hour solo game in mind. Try to run the one-shot in the same style as the existing GM, so the new player can get accustomed to the styles, themes, ideas, and so on of the game system your group is using. Let the new player know that the actual GM will be the final say in rules, assisting with character creation, and will be running the game to avoid any confusion.

Before the new player shows up, make sure they know the exact days, time, and location of the game. If it’s a person’s house, make sure the new player knows not to show up too early (no more than 10 minutes early, or whatever the host likes), and not to show up too late (usually no more than 10-15 minutes late). If you can, be early to the game, so the friend isn’t hanging out in a stranger’s house without a familiar face around. Even better, arrange to carpool to the game, so you arrive together. Also, let the player know (though this should be covered in the social contract) about splitting food costs or showing up with snacks/drinks or showing with food already in the belly or however your group works these logistics.

Once the new player shows up at the first game with the full group, make sure they have a seat immediately next to the GM. This will make it easier for them to ask questions about rules, the world, her character, and so on without having to shout down the length of the table or feeling isolated. If the group is large enough, the GM may not have the time or ability to give that much focus to the newcomer. In this case, ask for a volunteer to “mentor” the newcomer and have an experienced player assist the new player.

One thing I love to do for people who are brand new to role playing is to give them some dice with a dice bag. I kind of go overboard with it, and you certainly don’t have to go this far if you don’t have the finances to do so. I always arrive at games with my “regular dice” and my “loaner dice.” If someone consistently needs to use the loaner dice, I just give them the bag. I usually do this on the third time in a row someone needs to borrow dice. It’s a nice gift. I don’t make it seem onerous or overbearing. I make it a funny and happy moment to “christen” them into gamer culture. My loaner dice bag is always a Chessex “Pound o’ Dice” and a large dice bag to fit them all in. This can run me anywhere between $25 and $35 dollars depending on if I can find the dice on sale. If you can’t afford this, then maybe prepare a set of loaner dice that constitute “retired” dice or a couple of the less expensive sets of dice found at your FLGS.

In addition to the dice, I always make sure I have spare paper, pencils, graph paper, and other sundry tools to ensure the newcomer has the proper tools. I’ve seen plenty of people who were hardcore board gamers think that RPGs contained “everything you need to play” and show up empty handed. Loaning them stuff is a clear way of showing them how to be prepared for future sessions.

Phil has a great article about using safety tools. While I usually game with people that I’ve known for years (if not decades), I don’t need those tools at my table. However, introducing these tools for the first few sessions is an excellent idea as everyone gets to know everyone else. Just make sure your existing group is aware of the change at the table beforehand, so it’s not a surprise to anyone.

Encourage everyone (if you aren’t already doing this) to build on the new player’s ideas with the “Yes, And” approach of gaming. This will make the player’s ideas inclusive into the overall story and give them some valuable spotlight time early on.


I’ve used these techniques to good effect over the years. It’s usually worked, but not always. Sometimes the folks try out RPGs for a month or three and then discover they prefer to spend their Friday nights playing bridge or horseshoes or the latest MMORPG. That’s perfectly fine, so don’t judge or belittle someone if your hobby is not right for her.

What are your tips for inviting new players to the group? Have anything to add to what I laid out here? I’d love to hear from you.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Randomness: Friend or Foe? - by Nicholas Kinstler Blogs - 23 July 2018 - 3:49am
So, is randomness a force of good or a force of evil? In this article, Nick Kinstler claims that it's neither...and both.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Book Excerpt: One game dev's quest for fight-free fashion agency

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 23 July 2018 - 1:10am

In this chapter of 'Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins,' dev Vanessa Paugh writes about how she joined the industry because she couldn't find her 'perfect game' -- so she set out to make it. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Gaming Truism #9

RPGNet - 23 July 2018 - 12:00am
That fuzzy that does not try.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Go, Go, No Man's Pokemon

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 July 2018 - 8:51pm

This week's longform game writing/video highlights include a report on the latest Pokemon Go Fest, the return of Sean Murray & No Man's Sky, and lots more besides. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Go, Go, No Man's Pokemon - by Simon Carless Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 8:40am
This week's highlights include a report on the latest Pokemon Go Fest, the return of Sean Murray & No Man's Sky, and lots more besides.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Importing 3D Characters from Reallusion’s iClone 7 into Unreal: A Tutorial - by MD McCallum Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 6:43am
The first part of a two-part tutorial from Reallusion that demonstrates how to export scenes and characters from iClone then import into Unity. FBX export & drop-down menus tailored for various game engines including Unreal simplifies the process.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Games and the Importance of Challenging Yourself - by Andrew Heikkila Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 6:42am
When I sit down to play video games, especially on the harder settings, I am pushing myself to do something I’ve yet to do. I am disputing the truth that I am who I think I am, and in accomplishing my feats, I walk away with the knowledge that I’m not.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Five Probable Futures of PC Gaming Before 2028 - by Philip Piletic Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 6:42am
In the years of old, PC was a go-to system if you were serious about video gaming. In the recent years, it's throne seems to be slipping away, as more and more platforms and gadgets fight for their piece of the pie.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Is Anything More Important Than a Game's Consistency? - by Richard Atlas Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 6:41am
In this post, I'd like to hypothesize that consistency, in terms of marketing, genre, and the game itself, is one of the best predictors for a game's success.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Breath of the Wild’s Montessori Method - by Justin Reeve Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 6:41am
Ever wondered what makes Breath of the Wild so special? This article examines how the game takes a relatively unusual approach to instructing players about its mechanics.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Solo Indie Developers after Steam Direct - by Hassan Dib Blogs - 22 July 2018 - 6:41am
Moving into the "Post Steam Greenlight" era where do solo indie developers go? Is this a dying breed destined to fade away into the ocean of games that Steam has become?
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 21 July 2018 - 11:00am
Saturdaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Woo! My favorite day of the week, as I can just sit back, relax, and do some gaming. Nevermind that this week I’m vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning countertops in the den. That’s important, too. So, while I try and figure out just how much dust a single lamp can acquire, let’s get you those […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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