Running a game for non-gamers!

edited January 2006 in Meetups / Conventions
....the noob leading the noobs, if you will.

So I've just managed to talk 4 friends, now in their early-mid 30s, into playing their first rpg/story-game with me. Which I feel pretty pleased about: my hard-sell was pretty effusive. Yay wine!

The game is Prime Time Adventures. There will be 6 of us in all, including my girlfriend (another non-gamer). ETA about a month. I haven't played it before, and my current gaming rises phoenix-like from long-cold ashes.

How can I fuck this up?
Genuine question.


  • Frexample, scheduling may force this to a weeknight, which ends up being some time brainstorming (when we eat) and then not much more than 3 hours solid play. Unwise?
  • First time game, suggestions?

    My Pattern

    There are two threads.

    I think PTA is a wonderful choice. When I introduce my parents to gaming, that is the game I will use.

    If you have any further questions after reading those fairly short threads, let me know.
  • I ran the brainstorming and two episodes at a con, it was my finest game ever and we came in under time, just under 4 hours. I think that will be plenty of time.
  • Thanks a lot Judd. Those were useful, and I've saved tracts of it to look over when I reread the book through. Time sounds reassuring. Quick question: would you play the first episode (pilot?) first off, or skip to a later one that seems punchier? My worry about skipping about is that it might confuse people. Dunno.

    There was feedback on the above threads on problems that experienced gamers might find with the game. I wonder if anyone (Judd, others) has experience introducing it to non-gamers, where issues might be a little different. Initial thoughts:

    The thing that seemed to make them slightly apprehensive was the idea of having a character, rather than just making story, and I had to reassure them that they wouldn't be stuck out there with great expectations and sole responsibilities. Quite an inversion of, uh, the mainstream.

    Also, the whole imagined stuff. They weren't sure that they got it; I'm confident that when they play they'll realise there's nothing to get, and they can just do it like that. If they stutter, I figure Fan Mail and general social feedback should start that virtuous cycle.

    I'm also wondering about whether to discuss NGH/IWNAY stuff before play, as a couple of the girls became animated by the idea of a dark series, and I'm not sure where that could take us.

    I'll stress that I'm not actually, uh, stressed by this - actually I'm elated, as this was the dream group for me to try this game with. (plus, you know, wine.) This is me ticking through stuff while it's fresh to stir up any thoughts.
  • I wouldn't get technical with theory on 'em. If the series that the table comes up with is dark, let everyone know that if the story goes anywhere that is uncomfortable or effed up, they should just say so and the table will talk it over. Don't go in there discussing NGH/IWNAY.

    I think you might have an easier time playing this game with non-gamers than with gamers who bring decades of habits that might not be so useful at the PTA table.

    Keep those fan mail chips in easy reach of everyone.

    Good luck and please let us know how it turns out.

    When do you play?
  • Hmmm, not confirmed. Definitely February but I need to talk to my girl (who's in the states currently) to figure out when - maybe last week of February. Time enough to finish up my Dogs game, reread the PTA rules and so on. I'll definitely fill you in, maybe Actual Play if there's enough to say, if not some descriptions of player expressions and a limerick.

  • My only concern is the size of your group - that seems like a lot of people, particularly if the game is new to you, too. PTA is, of course, the perfect blunt instrument.

    I ran the Roach for three non-gamers and it went great - and I think the concepts and demands are a little greater/more intense than what's expected in PTA. I did a brief overview of the mechanisms,then I just demonstrated and they picked it right up - scene framing, narration, the whole deal. I'd say know PTA well and be ready to assist if they get stuck, but don't over-prepare.
  • OK. The size of the group was kind of deliberate/inevitable, in that this is a group of friends that have been meeting up together (me+girlfriend + 2X married couple) almost exclusively for the last 18 month. We'd been doing a book club ting casually and I vouched for this as a change of pace. I think that the dynamic/comfort zone we have from getting together and arguing over books should be a good foundation.
    Hmm, maybe I'll try a one-off with my other group (3 players) first...
  • You guys are awesome. Good luck with the game!
  • Ta muchly. Hey, thanks for writing it!
  • I think you will find the larger group will foster the Fan Mail Economy better than the 3 person group.

    I played PTA with a Producer and two players once and it didn't quite sing like it has with 5 or more players and a Producer.

    Again, good luck.
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