How did you convince your group to try something different?


I know plenty of players who devour systems like candy. But for psychographic profiles that glom onto Big-Tent Systems, the effort isn’t worth the reward. They’d rather play the game they know and love than risk their precious leisure time learning a new system.

The trouble comes up when these two player types sit down at the same table. One wants to try out Amber Diceless or Mouse Guard or whatever. The other wants yet another game of D&D.

“Look, the rules are really simple. Here’s a cheat sheet.”

“That’s great and all, but I don’t want to put in a bunch of effort to learn a new system that’s only going to last three sessions.”

“Won’t you even give it a chance?”

“Why don’t we just play the system we all know we like?”

And so the argument goes round and round. So how do you convince your group to try something different? Should you? Or are you better off finding different groups?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

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I think that if you can get players to play the game you want with a bit of arm twisting with the understanding that if they don’t like it you’ll go back to what we know all well and good.

But I think if people want to play and someone wants to DM but never the twain shall meet the group probably doesn’t have the common ground for a game to work.

I’ll play anything but some on my table have hard lines about hat to play i.e. high fantasy D&D.


So our group (in-person, all 30s-50s) has two regular DMs, me and my buddy. My buddy tends to run B/X (OSE) exclusively, for 6- to 12-month campaign stints. Between stints, I usually run shorter 3-6 month games. I like to experiment. My group knows that, and never says 'no'. That being said, we all also know that my choices are always hit-or-miss. I've had games get 'noped' after 1 session, and I've run a 6-month campaign where we reached the conclusion and the group didn't want to stop.

I think the key is the group understanding that the 'new' game is a short campaign, and they can veto it if it isn't working out. That way they can try to enjoy it without forgoing their game of choice for too long.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I usually forget any established group that isn't very interested. Instead, I plan a few one shots and advertise looking for folks. Once I find a crew that groks the game and loves it as much as I do, then I look at campaigns.


Staff member
Quoting myself from elsewhere:

…(O)ne thing I found pretty cool was a system a group I was in in Austin worked out. Everyone in the group had to pick one or more RPGs and design a campaign for it- even if it was just using published adventures- and everyone had to have a PC for each campaign. Every game night, two players had to show up ready to run their campaign, with one designated as the primary and the other as the designated backup, with everyone else bringing the appropriate PCs and whatever else they felt they needed. Who was picked to run was voted on unless someone volunteered. And if someone needed a break from GMing, all they had to do was ask.

For 3.5 years, we almost never had a game night without gaming, and we got to try a bunch of different RPGs, genres, and so forth. Some of the campaigns lasted years, some only a few sessions. All told, I probably played 70+ different systems in that time, including a couple of playtests.*
That said, i can tell you from experience that some players really do not want to learn new systems, and will sit out sessions when the new RPG is played.

In one group, I worked out a lot of how to run a M:tG RPG campaign, the idea of which was very popular. When they found out I was using HERO, interest dropped to near zero. A similar pattern emerged almost every time someone floated a new campaign. In 20+ years, only RIFTS, Mutants & Masterminds 2Ed, and Monster of the Week got enough interest to run games, and those, only briefly. Essentially, that group was D&D only, the polar opposite of my group in Austin.
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I've got a pretty good group of people I meet with regularly who are willing to try new games. But even then, I still have to work with them to find games they're willing to play. I have one player who is more interested in combat than he is in anything else. So it's difficult to play games that are heavy on investigation and role playing because that's just not his bag. He'll actually play some of those games, but you can tell he's not having the best time. I had another player who just refused to give Vampire the Masquerade a try. He just wasn't interested in the least bit. So I think to be happy, you've got to accept the limitations of your group. There will be some people who will not budge and play another system.

That said, the best way is to find something you know will interest them and try to get them to play a game that's similar. This is especially easy with licensed products like Star Trek, Dresden Files, or Dune, but if he's into post apocalyptic settings then maybe Mutant Zero might interest him. Zombie fan? Maybe All Flesh Must Be Eaten.


What is this other game you speak of?

Seriously, the only new game my group has tried in the last year is DC Heroes card game my brother brought. He and my son play in a monthly night with a couple cousins and they play several other games, but my father and I only seem to play D&D- and golf, which I picture like D&D but with some exercise.

We are ending a campaign soon and the topic of 'what's next' has come up. One player wants to play ANYTHING but 5e. It is wearing a bit thin. One player hates playing anything that isn't D&D but, mostly, he dislikes one-shots. He'd rather invest in a character and see it through.

So, with that in mind, we are playing a new system and we are going to see how long it goes. The guy who only wants to play D&D either has to play or sit out. He'll play because he can invest the time into it and develop a story.

Side note: We're playing Blood & Doom which looks pretty awesome.

I simply state what I'm running. Take it or leave it.

Although I do not change systems often. The last two campaigns I ran (together, 96 weekly sessions) were the same system (Zwei/FoF), just different settings. I did switch to a different system for the current campaign, because Zwei/FoF doesn't do modern.


Loves Your Favorite Game
Fortunately, I generally just have to ask my friends if anyone is interested in the core concept. Hopefully I can get at least three people, but if there's only one or two, I can usually find folks amenable to being convinced. If no one is on board, I'll just pocket it to try again later, potentially with new friends.

Or I ask for it as a birthday gift. Might need to do that for UVG :p


When I start a new campaign, (usually )all players from the last campaign are invited. If less than four players are up for it, I'll go looking for additional players again.

Nothing they can do to make me run a game I don't want to do anymore. :p

I offered to run a one shot DCC funnel to some players that I knew.* If we liked it, then we could expand it into a campaign. I was willing to find new players at the FLGS if they didn't want to play. Lucky for me things went well and we're still playing.

*I actually dropped one of the players because he was flaky. Checked in with the group to be sure they were ok with this. I didn't say anything to him.... Just didn't invite him to the next session.


“Why don’t we just play the system we all know we like?”

I don't like it and I'm the one making the effort to run the game.

To be honest I've never experienced this problem, I offer to run a game with whatever system I like and my group plays it, be it for a one-shot or a mini-campaign. My group would much rather the GM runs something they are interested in and passionate about than try and force them to run a system they don't want to.

I also run more obscure games at conventions and never have an issue getting players.

So not sure if this a real problem, at least I've never experienced in 40 years of playing RPGs. Maybe it's a US or modern thing or maybe I've been really lucky?
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My current group was explicitly formed to play non-D&D games. I'm the primary GM, and run 90% of our games. My crew is used to me switching up systems for short runs, and we've played probably a dozen systems since we started 3.5 years ago, with our longest run being 6 months (Blades in the Dark). I'm not a 5E fan at all, so they know there won't be any 5E played on our game nights. Some of them play 5E with other groups, but this group is for trying out lots of Non-D&D RPGs.

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