I did a poll on my Twitter and had quite a few responses. The question was Do you find it hard to try a new RPG system? If yes what do you think is the biggest obstacle for you? The results were pretty close to even. 49% said yes and 51% said no with over 150 people polled.
So what do I think are the biggest obstacles in trying a new system? Well there are many variables that go into getting a group to play a game in general such as scheduling, group agreements on a system, and style of game. You also have to know of different systems and many systems aren’t as readily available as the bigger ones. For instance when I go to my FLGS there aren’t any Supers Tabletop RPGs right now.
The group is made up of a few individuals and if everyone doesn’t want to try a new system you tend not to play a new game. The learning curve is steep with a Tabletop RPG typically. You can just play and learn as you go but many don’t want to try this. A lot of people worry about messing up a system and ruining the experience for the group. I know this is something I struggle with personally. It is the reason I don’t like playing in established settings too. I worry I might not know the lore and will mess it up for others.
Awhile back I used to see Hero System there. While there are some good supers RPGs out there I haven’t seen them in any stores. I am thinking of games like Mutants and Masterminds, Savage Worlds, Heroes Unlimited, and any of the newer ones I have seen online. I bring up Supers because that was always what I wanted to play growing up. That is why TMNT and Heroes Unlimited by Palladium Books was my go to system for so long. They were just what I was introduced to and was comfortable with.
As I get older and my kids are growing into the ages where they are interested in gaming I find myself more and more curious about other systems. I am even open to trying out and reviewing systems that 10 years ago I probably wouldn’t have considered due to time, and effort in convincing a group to play. I had a hard enough time trying to find a group for the games I did play and most of my games were online in chat rooms.
Finding the time to learn a new system until you are comfortable running it can be a big obstacle for people too. Having a wife and 3 children doesn’t leave a lot of time for this. Especially when I have other obligations and hobbies as well. This is something that I have heard is the reason they won’t even try playing in a new system. While some people are open to trying a system that they barely know I think more people want to at least know that there is someone at the table who understands the rules.
In conversations I have had with other gamers over the years most people pitch a new game by telling me about the setting I have noticed. I am not sure if they are more interested in the setting or the system that runs it. Now they do mention the mechanics a little bit but rarely too much about it. As someone who appreciates interesting mechanics discussions I probably can be convinced by pitching how easy or awesome the mechanics are. Maybe people just aren’t as interested in mechanics as I am I don’t know. When I heard about Fantasy Age and how the mechanics actually worked that was what had me most interested in picking up the main book. Speaking of which maybe I should play in an online Fantasy Age game? Here is a Facebook group for Fantasy Age and Dragon Age.
With so many great games out there I wish there were fewer obstacles for people to get into them. The internet and streaming as a whole has helped get rid of some obstacles for sure. I think that is the biggest reason for the resurgence of the Tabletop RPG industry. I can only imagine how much more accessible RPGs are going to be in the future.
What are your biggest obstacles to trying new RPG systems? Let us know in the comments below.
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