How Not to Fan

Know how to support your favorite game creator? Great! But be careful not to overdo it.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Superfans are everywhere these days, fueling the rise of fan-created spaces both online and in-person. But for every awesome fan-based community, there's tales of toxic fandom ruining it for everybody. Many of these fans are well-intentioned, passionate defenders of the objects of their adoration, but things go off the rails when non-fans or even community members who simply have different points of view enter the fan space. Here's some guidelines on how to engage.

Write Reviews ... But Keep it Positive​

It's one thing to write a review in support of your favorite creator, it's another to put down anyone who doesn't like the product. This happens a lot with editions of games, with fans denigrating other fans of previous (or more recent) editions. Try to explain why a product is good instead of bolstering it by putting down another product.

Share Your Love ... But Not Too Much​

It's one thing to show your support on social media. It's another to spam someone else's social media about the product. Be respectful of the community's rules when you're sharing your love of a product and remember not to post too often. If a bunch of community members suddenly make an account to boost a product, that's going to raise some eyebrows.

Welcome New Fans ... But Don't Bully Them​

Fans come from all walks of life to a game. Not all of them are fully versed in how the game works. This is how you get new gamers and (hopefully) lifelong fans. Those fans may ask questions that seem foolish to you, but are perfectly sensible to them. When a new player asks a question about converting their favorite genre to a game, responding with "you should play the game I like" or "don't do this with this game" is not going to convince them. Better to lead by example ("here's how the game I like handles it") and point to a freely available quickstart or actual play.

Show If You Can, Tell If You Can't​

Because game communities are communities of potential fellow players, it's even more important to remember that if you want someone to play with, the best way to create a lifelong fan is to play the game with them. This is far more feasible online than it once was, thanks to Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds.

But failing that, video streams and let's play videos are an easy way for future fans to learn about the game. Start there first, and then fans will follow to online gaming and, if circumstances permit, in-person gaming. Not every gaming format is for everyone though; some may like to watch how a game is played, others may want to read a quickstart, and still others may simply want to play in-person. The more you can flex to this range of interest, the more successful you'll be in welcoming new fans.

Although it may not seem like it on the Internet, people are complex and can like multiple games, appreciate different play styles, or otherwise aren't all they appear from a single opinion online. Remembering that goes a long way to creating a welcoming community.

Your Turn: How do you share your support of a game designer's work in a positive way?

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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca


Doing the best imitation of myself
Most of the games I'm excited about these days are smaller, and have creators who engage directly with the fans. I support them by engaging on social media and backing their projects to get them paid.

I am lucky enough to have friends to game with that will trust me on trying something new, so I can get a group together to play different systems. Most of the time they end up buying the product to support the game as well. I think that's about the best thing I can do for them.


Elder Thing
I think the most obvious way to support any creator is to purchase their products. If they have merch, you can purchase that, too, and often the non-game merch has a higher profit margin, too!

But past that, actually playing their game and using their material is key. Especially if you can do it in a publicly available space, whether online, in a game store, or other area of your choosing. Some publishers, like Goodman Games, even have programs to encourage folks to play their games - they'll send you bits of cool swag if you run their games in public.

They don't require that you also provide a good example for others in doing so, but I like to think that part is implied.


If you are a fan of a game or a designer - when you meet a new fan remember that the new fan is economically worth more to the game or a designer, at that moment, than you are. You have already bought everything. Sure, you are buying everything that comes out, but the new fan could be throwing a lot more money on the table for the game or designer buying pieces of the back catalogue.

Any gatekeeping (OC's 'Welcome New Fans ... But Don't Bully Them') may cost the designer or the game money.


Baronet of Gaming
How to be a fan: Do the exact opposite of the "Fandom Menace" within the Star Wars fan community.

I only wish I was joking.

But truly, putting your money where your mouth is and buying a creator's products is the best thing, with evangelizing (in a positive manner) the creator's products being a close second.


One of the BEST ways to show support, that I think almost any developer or writer to BUY THE PRODUCT.

If you like it. Pay for it in some way. If you really like it, encourage other to buy it as well.

Just my thoughts.
Particularly if said writer is despite his best seller status is banned from being mentioned on popular TTRPG sites.


Baronet of Gaming
I've been getting really into KoTOR and SW5E lately, and boy oh boy is navigating Star Wars fan content fraught.
Not to derail the thread, but as a life long Star Wars fan, who reads he books and comics alongside consuming the movies and TV shows, you are unfortunately correct.


Final Form (they/them)
Not to derail the thread, but as a life long Star Wars fan, who reads he books and comics alongside consuming the movies and TV shows, you are unfortunately correct.
Literally happened the other day, watching a 20 minute video essay on why Kotor 2 is awesome
*15 minutes of perfectly normal video, totally normal
*shocking swerve out of nowhere into anti-feminist screed about sequel trilogy for no reason

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