Trying to get players

Hello all,

I consider myself an old school gamer. I’ve been doing DnD since it was Chainmail. I started gaming board games in the late 70’s as well as micro armour. Whenever I wanted to find a session of whatever I just asked around and it was easy peasy. If I wanted players, I just asked around and I’d have the doors being knocked down asking to join my sessions no problem. Fast forward to now, it seems that I have to bust my butt trying to find ANYONE to come over to my place. My situation is this, I’m disabled from the military, that’s just the way it is, I can’t help it, it’s just that. Also I’m my wife’s caretaker due to various medical issues so when I ask around, I invite them over and I hear nothing or I invite them over and they come but after they leave-nothing—I had a couple of players come over once and I thought we were having a good time until the wife excused herself to go to the restroom; and so I thought that was a good time to go as well…when I came back the husband said there was a family emergency and I said go-families have priorities and all that. Later that night I sent a text asking how everything was since I was legitimately concerned. The husband replied back and left it at that…the day after I was going to send a text but I couldn’t because I had been blocked for some reason. :man_shrugging::man_shrugging: a couple of months ago I had a couple of players show up and I thought, again, that we were doing pretty good. I asked them how the session was and if they thought that I should make any kind of changes. They said, nope and all that and then they promptly vanished on me. I wish people would stop pussy footing around or whatever; if I don’t know what’s wrong, whether it’s me or my sessions [I have been told to my face that I’m a good DM/GM] if I don’t know what wrong I can’t fix it. It’s like it was really really easy getting and finding gamers anywhere and everywhere. Now it’s like it’s the exact opposite. I mean I belong to 6 groups but never so much as a grunt from anyone. Heck, I even tried starting my own groups but nothing my stepson told me that in this day and age of axe murderers and the internet no one wants to go and do anything anymore…sure does seem like that…I’m just trying to find some dedicated gamers who would be willing to give me the chance and come over to my place and enjoy some gaming sessions is all……I guess I need to add this, ‘if this isn’t allowed then delete it.’ Disclaimer.


Hey Jay/Coolbear

I have experienced this as well recently with players in their 20s.

I posted that I was starting a new campaign online with at a specific day and time. I had 12 people respond. 4 players immediately wanted to change the day and time. Then 2 shamed me via private messager when I wouldn’t change it to fit their schedule. I had not even extended an invitation to any of these players to join the campaign yet.

Then we were 11 game sessions into the campaign and one player completely ghosted the group. I sent them a text reminder about the upcoming game session and found out I was blocked. And then the other players tried to contact them and they got no response multiple times before each was blocked.

Then game session 12 one player failed a save and their character got turned to stone. Ingame they asked why I targeted them. I explained I was running a published adventure. This was a trap written into the adventure, any player interacting with this particular fountain had a chance of being turned to stone as the result of a failed save. They got upset and logged off immediately after the game. I tried texting then and calling them to talk about options for that character and the next game session. I got no response for a week. Then I got I’m done gaming, please don’t contact me anymore.

The fallout from game session 12 caused the two players in their 40s to say they quit after the ghosting and the failed save issue. So the group folded.

All of these confused me as a 50 year person and a GM of 20 years as a way of leaving a group or resolving an ingame issue.

My recent interactions and responses from younger players give me the feeling that players are afraid to tell GMs when they no longer want to play in a game or have an issue with the GM or an ingame event to avoid having that honest awkward conversation or a possible momentary conflict. I’ve had plenty of those awkward discussions over the years. Most are bumpy and awkward for part of a game session then everyone gets back into the groove of playing.

I have experienced the same thing at work with younger employees. Discussing issues is a problem that causes stress. Ignoring the problem and quickly moving on to another project or new interest seems to be the new norm. But I also am equating it to a new cultural norm of people avoiding conflict and tough conversations by any means possible. Or the flipside of completely and agressively unloading your emotions on the person or group you feel has wronged you.

I preface this is only my personal observation.



Vic & Coolbear - As a 50+ player/DM, I appreciate your posts/messages considering the difficulty of today’s younger gaming group. I too have experienced these issues (thankfully not of late as our current group is all 50+ (two in late 40s?). At work, I get the ghosting and non-confrontational attitudes all the time. Rather than resolving conflict through dialogue, many younger employees simply won’t reply to email and they completely clam up during any of the face-to-face meetings. None of this is good for D&D, which demands extensive player to DM - player to player - and DM to player(s) communication. I was forced to move our campaign online (using Roll20 & Discord) during COVID, but we moved back to in person as soon as possible. f2f gaming is best in my opinion, but it’s really hard to convince anyone under 40 that’s true. They don’t want to meet in person, talk in person, or leave the comfort of the ‘online’ experience where they can just quit and switch whenever they become uncomfortable with an online experience. Coolbear: Sorry to hear about your struggles finding players for f2f gaming. Keep trying, I have to post (to waiting list and various online forums) for approximately two weeks before I can get appx 2 possible candidates. – Rob’s World! (retired USAF veteran - still working with military) playing since 70s –


Would you be interested in playing via Facebook video chat? I have 2 players already, but need one to 3 more.


Experienced the same thing as a GM and player. Flakiness seems to be the norm. I only play online now so I don’t really lose time and all. Once a player or GM is flaky, we have a chat and I give one chance and then that’s it. Funny, I stress reliability over and over and define it during recruitment.


I started playing in 1978, I ran 2 to 3 games a week for over 30 years. It did seem to get a little harder every decade, but never canceled a game for lack of players. In 2015 I had 2 minor stokes and stopped DMing to reevaluate my life choices. When I tried joining a game then restarting a game after that, it was like D&D had ceased to exist in my area. I reached out via email to some old players that had moved away. I started a new game on a VTT. Then joined another onlline game started by a previous player.Then my wife passed and the game I was running crashed, with the pandemic. I play 4 games on Fantasy Grounds atm. It still seems impossible to find real people to play face to face. The endless parade of younger flakes it took to find 4 stable online games, was extremely tiresome. I’ve resigned myself to online games which seems the only choice. Of all the current online games, only 1 has any players under 40. I also feel your pain.


Assuming you’re not leaving anything out (even unintentionally)…
The first thing that comes to mind is that if a couple tries to join a gaming group, and go over to a stranger’s house to find they’re the only players, that’s going to give a weird vibe. If I were you, I’d phrase it as “looking to put a group together” and then wait until you have 4-5 other people. That’s no guarantee either, as personalities and playstyles have to vibe, so I’d do as much prescreening of players’ expectations as possible.
That said, people are flakey and these days it can be tough to get even groups of friends to manage to meet consistently, so a group of strangers is really going to be a crapshoot.


Hey Coolbear and all the other military members…Thank you for your service! As a retired Air Force desk driver who has had no choice but to attempt playing online just to keep in touch with old military dnd buddies, I will say it is so hard. I agree with mjk that online is more successful. Experiment with the different voice and tabletop options to see which one works best. This website is honestly a great resource to find people. I absolutely dig the folks I have been conversing with on pen and paper. If you need any help testing voice or whatever, let me know.


I am sorry to hear that. I’m 57 and played since 1978/1979 and I have noticed the difference between the young players and us older ones. I was in a game where the Dm was disabled and it was me and 3 other players, they were all young.

Sometimes they wouldn’t show up, the DM would call and the excuse was work related each time. Forgot what they did, but I knew their work schedule was never the same. Problem is, most of the time, they don’t call if they can’t make it.

I also noticed that they like to attack everything and not much into roleplay. Co worker said the same thing, his players like to attack everything and everyone.


Since this is the old timers thread, 50 year old AF vet (not retired) here, I’m glad to see that my observations and reading of these issues isn’t overstated. I am the reverse case where I left an online game because one player made the game unfun and I could tell the others were likely screwing off when it wasn’t their turn. I privately mentioned the one player monopolizing time with the GM, but she didn’t really change anything. Oh well, but I also let her know and didn’t ghost the game.

I read a story on Reddit where it seemed that the group disliked 1 player but didn’t tell him. They ghosted him and gave excuses about being too busy to play. Later he discovered they basically just started a new game without him. It’s essentially the same difference, but they should have had the balls to just tell the guy he didn’t fit in the group and ask him to leave.

The avoidance of conflict has also resulted in a shift from the DM/GM being the mediator of disputes to keep the game and group running smoothly. The idea now seems to be if you have an issue that you have to directly talk to the offending player, as I mentioned above. If it’s a personal matter then sure, but if it’s related to playing the game then it seems like the DM/GM should be involved.

The main problem is that people don’t take games seriously anymore. That sounds like an oxymoron, but I mean that it should be viewed like any other social commitment. Instead it’s seen as the same thing as just going to play miniature golf, go bowling, or whatever where it’s not important enough to keep your word. It’s also not viewed as a human connection with the need to communicate and help it grow. Instead it’s a checklist that must be met or the game isn’t worthy.

Back to the original poster and others above, I would concur that online gaming has some of the same pitfalls but less risk of loss of time and effort on your part. If you’re daunted by the technology, you really just need a headset with a microphone and a browser. You can run a voice-only game, which is has mostly been my experience along with a virtual tabletop to show a map or just a basic graph grid if you want.

It’s too bad I live up the Dallas area, otherwise I’d come play with you. My family does live in Round Rock though, so I’ll have to get in touch the next time I come down that way.



Sounds like a common thread for those of us who grew up in the 80’s (or earlier) gaming. I’ve learned in my area that I have to put in any advertisement for gamers, that I don’t allow evil characters, we don’t min/max, here to RP, etc etc. This helps to set up player expectations early.
We did do virtual games for about 15 months during covid, but have been back at the table since this time last year. I’m lucky that my group stuck together to play again.
We are me (50), one player turns 59 this month, one is mid 40’s, one late 30’s one early thirties and one mid 20’s.
My second group is me, two in mid-late 30’s, three in mid 20’s.

We only play 2nd ed, which makes finding players harder, but they tend to stick around (maybe they think the time invested learning the system makes it worth it?).

Good luck, I hope you find more F2F players soon.



Hello Vic/SilverBeetle,

Have to apologize for a delayed reply​:man_facepalming::man_facepalming:. I’m 59 and the only time I’ve been able to experience anyone under the age of 30 were some GI’s stationed at Fort Hood near to where I live. Until they all got reassigned or redeployed there were no disillusions or any kind of disagreements at all. I ‘belong’ to six groups but nothing ever happens with them :man_shrugging::man_shrugging: I’m surprised they still exist but it’s not my money I guess. After the group all left I was lucky to get another group of 4 people. 2 were military related and two were civilians. Everything was actually going very good and all until the first combat session happened and one of the civilian players was going to commit seppaku or Hari-Kari on his character. He was complaining in front of everyone that I was targeting his character and that I didn’t know how to do combat sessions. I guess he forgot I was in the military. Well after that session was over for the day; I never saw the civilian players again. The two military players had no problems and came back until they moved out of the area. The worst that happened to me were three people that came over to my place and for whatever reason, left suddenly and blocked me and never got back in touch with me :man_shrugging:. I’ve had discussions with people about my gaming style and such and I’ve been asked why do you do so much ROLE playing instead of ROLL playing? (The emphasis’ is mine) they said if you can’t have combat and get treasure what’s the point? I show the words— ROLE PLAYING GAME-and they usually get quiet but I never see them again. Sometimes I get called a relic because I don’t do online gaming at all. Since I’ve gotten more experienced and all I included an after action session for all my gaming sessions and I ask the players what they thought of the session and if I needed to make any changes or what not. I’m agreeing with you on your last comment about the younger players, they seem to agree with you and all but if it isn’t online or they don’t know you in person they don’t want to have anything to do with you. I even had a few people over at one of our local Dennys to get to meet everyone and all that. We ALL agreed to get together after the holidays—this was like a week before Thanksgiving—and we broke up and went home… zzzzzzzzzzz I heard nothing but tumbleweeds no one ever got back in touch with me :man_shrugging::man_shrugging:. I don’t get upset if you can’t make it and tell me you can’t make it. I get upset if you lead me on and then vanish…well I do have a few people coming over tomorrow to discuss restarting my campaign…wish me luck :+1::+1:


Hello Mike,

How far do you live from Keene? Reason is I have a player who lives there and drives to my place in Jarrell. I could ask if you guys could carpool?. I even have a few players who live in around Rock as well​:grin::grin::+1::+1:


Hi Jay,
Wow, that’s dedication if they’re driving from Keene. I’m afraid it’s not realistic for me to come from NE DFW for an ongoing game. That’s close to 3 hours each way for me. My family lives in Round Rock, so that’s why I mentioned it if there was a time where things coincided at some point when I come down to visit. Unless you decide to jump online, then I’d of course be good with that.

I believe the expectation of rollplaying versus roleplaying has been set by the last 2 iterations of D&D. I’m not sure if you have heard the term they came up for this called “murder hobo”, but there’s a reason. It’s a lame way to play except maybe for a 1 shot game or two. The only defense of this type of gaming that I’ve heard is that it’s easier to play (and essentially a video game) and people like to “de-stress”. It’s interesting because this style of play is so prevalent in spite of the massive changes with different games like Powered by the Apocalypse and the like that emphasize actual roleplaying. Even D&D has been incorporating inclusiveness stuff, but yet their main player base prefers to kill and loot anything they see.


Well he said it was like a straight shot to -35 then down to Jarrell, since I live off of -35. I heard that when Wizards bought TSR they tried to make ‘younger’ friendly and try and streamline it. When they released WoW right before 4th edition they made DnD into a cookie cutter game so instead of having the atmosphere and stuff from the 1st and 2nd editions they made it to where it’s just assumed you have everything. Also if you play 4th and 5th editions it’s like you’re playing a video game. The only thing that the system focuses on is combat and treasure just like a video game. The DM may put some snippets in no one cares anymore about the “WHY” are you there doing this…I’m really surprised that they HAVENT called it a ROLL playing game yet since that’s all you’re doing. :man_shrugging:


It’s not that the route is a hard one, but rather the time it takes unfortunately. I hope your re-campaign meeting goes well tomorrow.

You hit the nail on the head. They incorporated video game ideas into it. I’ve had ebb and flow with playing rpg’s over the years which causes me to have to evaluate the games of the time when I come back. I had played 3 and 3.5 and came back when 4e and Pathfinder were out. I tried a game of 4e and it was as you said. I remember that it felt like everyone had unlimited abilities and our party literally did not take 1 point of damage with all the bs abilities and bonuses. So I went with PF.

When I came back a few years ago and again evaluated 5e vs PF2 since both were supposed to be way different. The general gripes for 5e sounded close to the same with the addition of “combat sucks because it takes forever”. PF2e had cool improvements so I went with that. I played in 1 online group game before leaving as I said above. At around that time I got into solo rpg gaming. It’s fun but I still like group games from time to time. I think with the generational differences and thoughts on what’s “fun” that I prefer a grognard group. Or at least a group where that’s the style of play.

Hi. Where are you located?
I’m in New York City.

Central texas

It didn’t. Got together at 2pm like we said, and spent the next 2 hrs talking and asking questions and all that. We agreed to next Sunday to actually start the campaign. Not more than 5-10 minutes after they left they sent a text message and changed their minds and aren’t coming. :man_shrugging::man_shrugging::man_shrugging: my opinion? I think the son talked his Dad into dropping me since he, the son, never played in person games before and I think was slightly autistic. But that’s just my opinion.

Bummer. Another aspect of modern gaming is that it seems a lot of people have social anxiety now.