This past Saturday was International Tabletop Day and I helped to host an ITD event at my FLGS and the turnout was great! I was impressed with the amount of gaming that happened throughout the late morning and all afternoon. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the interest in RPGs. I had planned to run both The Extraordinary Adventures of the Baron Munchausen and Fiasco; another attendee was geared up to run either The Strange or Numenera. The end result was NO RPGs were run while I was there. I know this day typically focuses on boardgames, but RPGs have been featured on Tabletop and with the new RPG-centric webcast coming out, I am really shocked at the zero interest level. I do feel that several factors influenced the outcome.
First, the FLGS did very little to promote ITD in any capacity. They only promoted it days out from the event and it wasn’t until I provided them the “text” and image to use. Bad on them! Second, in my promotion efforts I had to capitalize on what would draw gamers to the store, so RPGs did have to take somewhat of a backseat, but they were promoted. Third, local gamers are so fragmented into smallish groups that even with promoting it in a variety of Facebook groups, I am confident that I was still unable to reach the majority of local gamers. Case in point, another local store was running an ITD event that day and few folks in the local area were even aware of their event.
I really want to help bolster and grow the local RPG community, but I am at a loss as to what more I can do. I really believe that the fragmentation of the groups, is and will continue to be detrimental to the local RPG community. The biggest of the local game stores, does ZERO to outwardly promote RPGs (mainstream and/or indie) at their store. Their philosophy seems to be that “we have been here for 30+ years, people will game here no matter what. So, why waste the time and energy?” There is some fact in their perceived philosophy, but some promoting wouldn’t hurt!
I have commented before that Charleston, SC is really an RPG wasteland, meaning that there is very little interest in RPGs outside of the mainstream systems. This year’s ITD helped to solidify my earlier opinion and helps to keep me motivated to game online versus locally. I know this does not help grow the local community, but when you feel as if all you ever do is spin your wheels, why continue to try? Admittedly, there are other factors involved that impacted the turnout for RPGs on Saturday.
Okay, I am done venting, I promise! Now to formulate some new ideas to help bolster, connect and diversify the local RPG community. Have an idea? I am all ears!