How to break into Tabletop Role Play Gaming


Curious about tabletop gaming? Struggling to figure out how to find a RPG Group to join?

Yeah, we’ve been there too. In fact, it wasn’t until we were in our mid thirties that we were able to join a group and really get into gaming. Even then, it took me a bit to figure out how to do it well. So what’s a person who is RPG-curious to do to explore the question of whether or not you’ll like tabletop roleplay gaming?

Let’s talk about that:


First, it’s tough to get into tabletop role playing if you haven’t really watched it and gotten a sense of the rhythm of the game. If you aren’t already watching some of the popular online shows, now’s a great time to find one you like. Don’t know where to start? Two of our favorites are Critical Role and Acquisitions Incorporated. Which one should you try watching?

Acquisitions Inc started as a game filmed and podcasted in a basement, and moved into one being filmed while it was played live at the PAX Conferences (also still filmed in a basement when not doing the conferences). While role-played by skilled players and DMed by one of the greats, the storyline doesn’t take itself very seriously and neither do the characters. Lighthearted, hilarious, these guys have kept me company during many laundry fold-a-thons.


Critical Role is a more intense, long-arching storyline that is very compelling and emotionally engaging. It also has a TON of content. Seriously. They do 3-4 hour sessions weekly and post them. So plenty of episodes to watch. The downside is you kinda need to know who is who, so starting at the beginning, while not a must, is definitely recommended. Start with season two. New characters and geared towards their new following of thousands of fans…season two is a great place to start a new hobby. Pro tip? Listen to this on road trips.

So here you can pause and reflect how all this makes you feel.

From here you’re going to be even MORE in on trying RPGing yourself, or even LESS enthusiastic to put yourself out there like that. May we encourage you to stay really curious because imaginative gaming like this is one of the best things you can do for your brain as an adult?

Ok so you want to try Role Play Gaming. Wow! That’s awesome!

Now what? You’ve watched a few of these and think to yourself “I want to do this!”

Start hanging out at game stores. Seriously. Support a local store by purchasing a D&D players handbook. This is going to set you back a little bit – but you’re going to need to get one anyways to finish answering the question about whether or not you want to role play, and purchasing one from your local game store is a great conversation starter to see if there’s anyone interested in starting a game or needing players.


Now? Read the parts of the book that interest you. Its not all going to make a lot of sense. That’s Ok – just start familiarizing yourself with the content and start matching up what you’re hearing the players talk about in the games you’re watching with some of the terms you’re coming across in the book.


Google and see if there’s any gaming conventions in your area or close enough that you could attend. Jay and I are in Denver and I used Valentines day as my excuse to sign us up for a full weekend of playing various games with others at the convention. It’s called GenghisCon and they really do a wonderful job.

Check with local game stores if theres anything similar in your area.

Also? Mention that you’re interested in joining a game. In particular? You can mention you’re interested in a ONE OFF game someone needs players for. Mention you’re new but will be there on time and will bring chips and dessert or drinks.

Why would you say this? What does this mean?

Yep – valid. Lets talk: A one-off game is a game that lasts anywhere from 3 (ha! It never lasts only 3) to 8 hours where you play out the majority or all of a chapter of an adventure.


These are a great starter for a few reasons. First, there are always people curious to try their hand at DMing who want to host a game where they can test out some ideas, but most gamers will already have a pretty full commitment plate. Having one or two players you can pull in, even if strangers, can provide some meat to the game. 2)This is going to give you some great experience trying games in a low-cost environment. You can try multiple characters out and different personas. 3) Everyone likes food. Everyone likes kind players who are consistent. Offering food kind of signals that you’re that person and you want to work with a group (also – be the kind of person who wants to work with a group)

Try social media. It could work. We’ve had people who posted on Nextdoor that we brought into a game and became fast friends with, so social media of various kinds can ALSO be a great place to ask about any local one off games.

And from there? You can decide if you want to join a longer term game. We’ll talk about that in a future blog post – but for now – wanted to throw out these tips if you’ve been RPG-curious but aren’t sure where to start!