RPG Evolution: When Gamers Retire

Adults gamers are always pining for more time to play. What happens when they retire?

Adults gamers are always pining for more time to play. What happens when they retire?

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Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Retirement Is Coming​

We've discussed previously how difficult it is for tabletop game designers to retire. But for the bulk of gamers who play as a hobby, retirement is a new stage of life that changes gaming opportunities.

The 76 million boomer generation in the U.S. have already retired of course, so they're finding out just what it means to be retired gamers. But the next generation of Gen X (my generation) is right behind them at 55 million in the U.S. alone, entering their 50s now with retirement looming large. The Millennials (62 million strong in the U.S.) are an even larger cohort. More important, people are living longer, with adults in their 60s having a roughly 50 percent chance of reaching 90. For many, they have around 20 years before their minds enter decline.

All this adds up to more retirees and more potential gamers.

What You Do in Retirement​

Being able to retire at all is a privilege. Not everyone can afford to do it, and the social safety nets in many countries have withered over time. But for those that can, retirement is a new phase in life, as lifestyles shift from working to what happens after the workforce.

Unfortunately, there are few guideposts as what retirees are supposed to do with their free time (besides keep working). Many turn to community efforts, giving back in some way. Still others pursue their hobbies -- the image of retirees golfing exists for good reason. So what do gamers do when they retire?

Game of course. Or they would, assuming they still want to.

Do You Want to Play a Game?​

Retirement often comes with adult children and grandchildren who put demands on the retirees time. And giving back to the community is a powerful pull, finding meaning in sharing experience with others. For those who can afford it, many seniors travel too.

But with the potential for a very large senior gamer cohort, the possibility of large groups of gamers finding each other over the Internet and playing more often is a real possibility. One of the players in my group is about to retire, and we're looking forward to her being able to play into the evening without worrying about going to work the next day.

We know that tabletop gaming is good for you: it establishes lifelong friendships through share experience, it helps players work through their emotions and frustrations, and--critically for retirees--it stimulates the mind. Many retirees try to keep busy to keep their minds sharp, and gaming requires full use of mental faculties.

Will we play RPGs after we retire with our newfound free time? If DndGrandma is any indication, most of us certainly will be.

Your Turn: Do you play with retirees? Do you plan to game when you are one?
 

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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

Thomas Shey

Legend
I'm, in practice, already retired (it was more my work having slowly trailed off to nothing, but since my wife brings in plenty of money, its not a major problem). The only issue I have is some of my gaming friends have drifted away, and I'm a little picky, in both the people I want to game with and the systems I'm interested in playing.
 

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pogre

Legend
Interesting article and it ties gaming in with the much wider issues of ageing populations, social policy changes and many other issues.
Speaking personally, I was lucky enough to be in a position to retire a couple of years ago at 58 and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve never played golf and playing good standard rugby is in the past sadly, but I’ve coached rugby to kids, worked in a food bank ( and how awful is it that these are necessary; there’s enough money to feed need, but not enough to feed greed!) and I’m actually working part time on a vineyard, just because it’s so totally different from anything I’ve ever done.
But regards gaming: the extra time has been a huge bonus. I have more time to prep for my monthly face to face group, where I DM, and I’m also part of two fantastic online games, run by @TheSword and @Steampunkette respectively.
And I get to spend more time with my wife and my grandkids.
And I’ve just got involved in coaching a local American Football team ( this is UK, so nothing like US level of excellence, but fun).

Overall though, the wonder of the gaming is that it’s stayed with me, as a big part of my life, since I first played a white box game when I was 14, and is still a massive part of my life still as a retiree. I sometimes muse that I was 14 when I rolled up Aelric the fighter, and I guess I saw him a around 22 in my imagination; he’d be 68 now......if he hadn’t been killed in an orc ambush when he was level3!
If you ever get stateside and want to talk gaming and/or American football let me know! I have been coaching football for over 30 years.

I have a retiree in my current gaming group and he plays in at least three other groups and DMs in another. I am a little jealous as retirement is a few years out for me.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
As a 43 year old, without a good pension I have resigned myself to the fact that I will most likely be working until I’m 75 if I make it that far.

I’m being very zen about it and living in the moment!
Im not sure how to react to this...
 

Von Ether

Legend
Perhaps the biggest challenge for retiree gamers is they often move to a cheaper town to make their now fixed income stretch further. If they move into a gaming wasteland, their options become limited or they'll have to go online.

Our FLGS is in South Florida, which keeps increasing over the years, so I have lost count of how many gamers brag they are going to live at the game store and then end up moving away in under a year.

Fortunately for them, Orlando is still cheap and it's a gaming mecca at the moment.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
Perhaps the biggest challenge for retiree gamers is they often move to a cheaper town to make their now fixed income stretch further. If they move into a gaming wasteland, their options become limited or they'll have to go online.

Of course the latter is a lot more common these days than it used to be. Its why I figure I can probably replace the one of my two groups I've walked away from if I'm actually willing to get off my behind and do the work.
 

dbm

Savage!
Supporter
One of my friends has a half-brained idea of starting a retirement home specifically for gamers. It could have rooms with dedicated war game tables, others with dedicated tables for RPGs. Encourage gamers to come live there and the gaming community will keep itself going!
 

GuyBoy

Hero
If you ever get stateside and want to talk gaming and/or American football let me know! I have been coaching football for over 30 years.

I have a retiree in my current gaming group and he plays in at least three other groups and DMs in another. I am a little jealous as retirement is a few years out for me.
Thanks. I'll take you up on that offer, for both gaming and football.
I get stateside fairly often (I've been lucky enough to visit all 50 states over the years) and try to get to both NFL and College games whenever I can. I'm a Giants fan, so a bit of a glutton for punishment over the last decade, but i just adore the game.
Whereabouts are you?

PS the offer applies in reverse if you're ever in UK and fancy a rugby game (my team is Harlequins, hence the avatar). I'm just outside London.
 

Osgood

Hero
I recently turned 50, and most of my gaming group are around the same age. We've started to talk seriously about retirement, and how few of us are terribly interested in remaining in our home state. If we can coordinate it, we've talked about moving to the same town, perhaps the same neighborhood. Ideally, we can turn our twice monthly gaming campaign into a twice weekly one.
 
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