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To say I have been gaming a long time is an understatement. Not as long as the some of the original Game Masters and Players, but I count myself in that group of people that learned to play in the 1980's. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons by TSR was the King of the Fantasy and I dare say Traveller was the King of Science Fiction. One of things I do remember at that time was the number of different games I played. It's sad to say but my current collection is but a mere fraction of the all the games I've own, played, lost, sold, borrowed, lent, or otherwise passed through my hands. Even into the 90's, I've played a lot of games, some good and some bad. Flash forward to now and It seems like I'm stuck with just one or two games that I play at all.

Now, it's not my fault completely that I can't seem to play the games I'd like to play. Partly it is my fault because I want to play those games and not run them. Most Game Master I know seem to do it because there is no one else willing. For some of the older games I want to play, I rather do just that play not run. While I like game mastering, it's nice to not have to do that all the time. On the flip side of the coin most of the players I meet, just have no interest in playing something new. Sort of reminds me about how I was in the 6th grade when a friend suggested that we play Traveller instead of Dungeons and Dragons. Back then I wasn't quite ready to do Traveller. Years later, I have quite a collection of Traveller based materials. It also reminds me that many modern players don't really want to have much to do with older systems.

So what can we do to change their minds? I'm not sure exactly, but I think one-shot episodes as break might be a good way. One of the nice things about most older games is that usually the mechanics are simple. Something I think Old School Gamers have shouted at the top of their lungs for a long time. Now this is not universally true, but it is true in many cases. For the most part this means for a single one-shot game most players will not have to remember a ton of rules. Which will be a boon to convincing players to play.

Of course for me, since I have a lot of older game material, it's not hard to have simple adventures to play on short notice. I could likely play both Classic Traveller, and the 2nd edition of Gamma World with almost no notice for a one shot. In both cases I have at least 2 or 3 adventures available and in the case of Gamma World, I actually still now the adventures pretty well since I have run them several times. Not to mention all most all the adventures I've seen for the older Gamma World adventures seem to be based off the assumption that the players are new explorers, which is perfect for one-shot game.

Even if you don't have a lot of old gaming material, I suspect that you can find a lot of usable material out there online. Many older games have a small following of dedicated fans. Some of them very rabid of course, so take everything with a grain of salt.

My own desire to play some of my older games comes from return value I get. Older games that are not played have no value. If I play one of my older games then I get a return on the investment I made when I purchased the game. I guess that's why I sometimes don't see the point in purchasing newer versions of a game that I already own. This I really true when the newer version doesn't seem to be better than old in someway. Let's face it, sometimes new versions just don't make sense. I may offend some people but that's the way I feel about 2e Dungeons and Dragons, it seemed to not be better than 1e Dungeons and Dragons. As a matter of fact the only reason I even have copies of the Players Handbook and Dungeon Master Guide is because It was played by the only group of players I could find at one point. Which was rather sad. Luckily , I found a Rolemaster Group, memebers of which are still my friends today even thought we don't do Rolemaster anymore.

Like many of my rants, I'm sure I had a reason or concept when I started. I think I will close simply with this. Do you play older games? if so, why and how do you find players to play those games?

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Random Dungeon Master's picture

No school like the old school (RPGs)


Completely agree with you there!
I had a yearning to play through a classic module for a nice relaxing one off a few years ago, and ended up running Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh with next to no preparation (you do need to sketch out a quick hamlet and name the important NPC's, but that never takes too long :D )

It was certainly a very different experience to the weekly 3.5 campaign, certainly more free form and light hearted, I never really found out if the players were just embracing the old school mentality or if (god forbid) I actually managed to run a good session for a change :D


Alex Schroeder's picture

New players


I find that in order to get new players for my old school D&D game (Labyrinth Lord rules) I had to recruit new players that had never tamed before, I had to start playing in a group that is interested in playing many different systems, and I had to end my old D&D 3.5 campaign. Every one of these steps gave me one or two players. Together, I finally had a group big enough to run it. Finding others to run the old school games for me has been even harder.

About bonemaster

bonemaster's picture


Bonemaster (aka Jeff Uurtamo) is a long time RPG gamer. He started playing back in early 1980s. The Bone Scroll is his latest attempt to give something back to the gaming community.


Should I try to revive this site?:


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