While there's a bit of a learning curve with RPGs, it's well worth the effort. Here's what you need to know about being a beginner with tabletop RPGs.
What are RPGs?
RPGs— Role Playing Games— are a combination of "choose your own adventure" story, board game, and theater. In this gaming experience, you enter a storyline as a fictional character and make decisions that ultimately impact the outcome.
RPG tabletop games are an exciting alternative to traditional board games. Rather than just moving pieces around a board, you're strategizing, storytelling, and creating a unique experience every time.
Why Play RPGs?
The main reason to play RPGs is that it's fun to do so. Beyond that, RPGs also help you develop creativity and problem-solving skills. They're a great platform for socializing and getting to know people better and give you the opportunity to explore scenarios you wouldn't in real life.
Playing RPGs can become an engaging hobby that stands the test of time.
Types of RPGs
There are lots of different types of RPGs to explore. While the focus here is on tabletop RPGs, this is also a common theme for video games and even live-action events (LARPing).
Within the tabletop RPG world, some of the genres include:
Choose the Right Game
The first step when starting to play RPGs is to find the right game for you. A beginner-friendly RPG game should be easy to follow while piquing your interest. Fortunately, many of the big players in the tabletop RPG realm have introductory games and starter kits for new players.
Once you've chosen your game, take some time to yourself to understand it before inviting people to play. Read through the game and figure out the nuances that make it interesting. You should feel comfortable explaining the basics of the game before inviting people over to play.
Finally, get everything you need to add to the experience. If you need a variety of dice, you can try D20 Collective to find a set that works for your game. Think of where you'll play, what music you can add to set the tone, and what other elements will create the ideal atmosphere.
Choose the Right People
RPGs aren't for everyone. Choose people who you know will engage in the game and are open to experiencing something new.
If you don't have friends who are interested in playing the same genre of tabletop RPGs as you, reach out to local interest groups. Local game and comic book shops might already have gaming groups in place. Apps like MeetUp can help you connect with like-minded individuals.
Set the Expectations
If getting together for an RPG is going to be a regular occurrence, it's important to set and manage expectations so that everyone stays on the same page. These expectations may be game-specific or could pertain to the gathering itself.
For example, discussing who is bringing snacks, and what will be provided is a non-game expectation that should be set in advance. You might outline a hosting schedule with a group of friends. These are things that you can figure out at your first gaming experience.
You should also set some ground rules for playing. Here are some common examples:
Remember to relax and have a good time. While RPGs can be emotional, they should come to an end with good spirits and camaraderie.
At TantrumCon 2020 we gave a select number of game designers the opportunity to pitch their board game concepts to our live studio audience and we've captured it here for you as well. The board game prototypes we covered include: Holi, Jurrasic Parts, Hedge Hogs, Pet, Tross, Anatolia, Wicked & Wise, Cracked Earth, Small Town, White Elephant, Marvelous Works, Fruit Fingers, Lord of the Things, Color Field, and Imperial Garden.
Will and Sara recap their Essen Spiel 2019 first-timer experience and Will shares one of his most favorite moments of the convention.
The Tantrum House crew got together with Peter Vaughan from Breaking Games to play the new Dwellings of Eldervale board game that's coming to Kickstarter soon. In this video, they chat about their experience playing a prototype version of the game. Note: All shown components are prototype and do not reflect the final production.
Melissa and Sara attended the 2019 Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio and had an opportunity to talk with lots of publishers and check out all kinds of new games!
Melissa and Kevin go to CMON Expo 2019!! They look at Giant Gizmos, Foodies, Sugarblast, and interview Eric Lang and Michael Shinall about Bloodborne the Board Game.
Melissa and Sara travel around to different booths at PAX Unplugged. Check out all the cool games and publishers!
Druid City and Skybound Games with Walking Dead Something to Fear
Soaring Rhino with Pirate Tricks
Pandasaurus Games with Dinosaur Island and more
Thunderworks Games with Dual Powers
CMON with Song of Ice and Fire
Bezier Games with Werewords
Burnt Island Games with Endeavor and In the Hall of the Mtn. King
Grand Gamers Guild with Artemis Project
Smirk and Laughter with And then there were Stars
USAopoly with Harry Potter Codenames
Kevin looks at more than 20 board games launching on Kickstarter the 2nd half of July 2018.
Listen in for the details on our contest which ends July 20, 2018. A winner will be picked randomly from the comments! For 10% Discount Code on our Etsy T-shirts visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TantrumHouse?coupon=SUMMERSALE10
Board games coming to Kickstarter the 2nd half of July 2018:
July 16 Madeira and Zhanguo
July 17 Vanguard of War
July 17 Eldrich Century
July 17 Thunderstone Quest
July 17 Game to pick a game
July 18 Dragon Dice
July 19 Escape Plan
July 23 Game I'm not allowed to talk about yet...
July 23 Knights of Glory
July 24 Artemis project
July 24 War of Supremacy
July 24 Moonshiners of the Apocolypse
July 27 Scavenge
July 30 Build a Cure
July 30 one night ultimate supervillains
July 30 Terminus Breach
July 31 HyGround Tiles
July Trogdor Board Game
Tantrum House interviews Smirk and Dagger, Thunderworks Games, Grey Fox Games, HABA, Alderac Entertainment Group, Daily Magic Games, and Czech Games Edition at Origins Game Fair 2018.
Tantrum House was live on location at Origins Game Fair 2018. In this episode, they get a QuickLook at games coming from Indie Boards and Cards, USAoplopy, White Wizard Games, and Kosmos.
Tantrum House was live on location at Origins Game Fair 2018. In this episode, they get a QuickLook at games coming from Brain Games Publishing and Deep Water Games.
Melissa interviews Shawn at CMON Expo 2018 about Blue Moon City. A reprint with new art work and minis of the popular game - Blue Moon City by Reiner Knizia.
While at Origins we got in a SUPER quick interview with Ross Tompson from IDW Games and he gave us a glimpse at several of their newest board games. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Orphan Black, Outpost Siberia and Planet of the Apes are all available or coming soon!
While at Origins we had a chance to check out a couple of IDW's games, including the new Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty's Trail. Here's a real quick look at what the game is about.
While at Origins 2017 we had an opportunity to interview Sarah Erickson from Renegade Game Studios and get a Quick Look at a new board game coming to the market soon: Flipships
(Sorry the volume is bad - we had mic issues).
Melody from Smirk & Dagger drops it like it's hot when she gives the rundown on their entire lineup of board games in under 3 minutes! It's a feat to be witnessed.
While at Origins we had an opportunity to interview the designers behind the brand new Spoils of War game from Arcane Wonders. Here's a Quick Look at everything inside the box and some of the thought behind it!
While at the Origins Game Fair we got a Quick Look at a game that will be coming out next year. It's called Tower of Madness, and it's being published by Smirk and Dagger. It's a cthulhu themed kerplunk style game with lots of cool dice and cards to fill it out. Looks like its going to be a blast!
At Origins we got a Quick Look at a new game from Smirk & Dagger called Biotix. It's a quick and fun take-that game for the whole family.
Will and Ryan interview Brandon Parson from Brain Games and get a Quick Look at one of their newest games: King Frog.
Last weekend we got to hang out at SC Comicon and demo games for Boardwalk, our favorite FLGS. We had a blast playing our game Steam Court, meeting lots of cool people, and taking in all of the sights and sounds of one of Greenville, South Carolina's fastest growing conventions.
Seth Williams is a hard working, brand-new-daddy, podcast consuming, textbook definition "board game geek." After sticking him in a dark room, and shining a bright light in his face, this is what we were able to get out of him:
TH: Seth, tell us all about yourself in 10 words or less.
Seth: Okay... wait, does that count? Oh my. I like games.
TH: What drew you to working with us? And tell everyone what you do here at Tantrum House?
Seth: I’ve been into board games for a long time, so when I stumbled across Tantrum House, I was thoroughly impressed with the high production value and content quality. Then I found out they were in my hometown, and I nearly fell out of my seat! I started attending game nights and started chatting with Will about opportunities to get involved. Technically, I have an internship that is officially titled “Social Media Marketing Internship”, but that was just a way for me to get my foot in the door. Now they can’t get rid of me. Soon, my wife, Megan, and I will be joining the Tantrum House family with an audio podcast. That’ll get my whole leg in the door.
TH: Tell us more about this podcast?
Seth: My wife and I will be doing a podcast that hobby gamers and casual gamers alike should be able to enjoy. It will be a concise (+-30 minutes) look at games we’ve played, news in the industry, upcoming releases, and then most interestingly, we are going to use my wife’s amazing hostess skills to help you plan board gaming nights/events.
TH: Interesting, but sell everyone on why they should look to you guys as board gaming authorities.
Seth: I have been an avid board gamer since college. I worked in a board gaming store and spent most of the time I should’ve been studying text books, digging into rulebooks instead. While I enjoy most board games, I am a huge fan of Amerit(h)rash games, and have been digging into various RPGs recently. I look for rocking miniatures, lots of action, and strong narrative. My wife is my Newton’s third law. She is a Eurogamer who is content playing a game with wood blocks as long as the game has solid mechanics, not a lot of luck, and no storyline at all (the last one is just how I feel about some of her game choices). I dig into the news in the community abroad, and Megan jumps into setting up game nights with friends and planning how to make each game night we host a memorable event. Between the two of us, we will bring a lot of different things to the table, and coming in under the Tantrum House umbrella means that we will produce shows with top-notch quality.
TH: Wow, that was long. Since we're now running out of time let’s have you answer some rapid-fire questions. How does that sound?
Seth: Let’s do it.
TH: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Seth: Teleportation. It would make days off of work so much more interesting. I want to have breakfast in Ireland, take off to Thailand for lunch, and for dinner, have tapas throughout a few more countries. Teleportation seems like the only way to make that happen. If you see any chance for turning into a mutant, let me know.
TH: Do you have a favorite game piece color?
Seth: Not really, but I think I’m going to start trying to snag blue or yellow just to mess with Will, Ryan, and Kevin.
TH: Do you play to win?
Seth: I used to much more than I do now. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy winning, but it’s not as important as it used to be…unless I’m playing against Megan. We are ultra-competitive with each other sometimes.
TH: Favorite gaming snack?
Seth: I don’t usually snack while I play games. If I do, it’s something like pretzels, or another salty, game-safe food. I do like to have a drink on hand though, and that drink is usually iced coffee. We are absolute fiends when it comes to iced coffee. We don’t have a caffeine addiction. Probably.
TH: Favorite theme in board games?
Seth: It isn’t so much that I have a favorite theme as much as it is that I love playing a game with a theme that hasn’t been done before.
TH: Top three games right now?
1.) Deception: Murder In Hong Kong
2.) The End of The World RPG series
3.) The Grizzled
TH: Cool. Now go get me some coffee.
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Tantrum House is a board game media group that seeks to provide the best reviews, kickstarter previews, and family-friendly hobby-hype possible!