RPG Evolution: When Gamers Retire

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

pensioners-3347948_1280.jpg

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

Richards

Legend
I've already retired once in 2007, but it's probably not what you thought: it was after a 20-year career in the Air Force. However, they converted my billet to civilian as I left and then hired me to replace myself. (It was win-win: I got to stay in the job I enjoy and they got the benefit of all of my experience in the position.) I've been an Air Force civilian since then, so in 2027 I'll have followed my 20-year military career with 20 years as a Department of Defense civilian. I'll be 63 at that point, and the symmetry is tempting...but as long as I'm still in good health and enjoying the job, I could see myself staying on until 70 or so.

But retired or not, my gaming will likely continue much as it is today, as we game with another family, and they intend to stay in the area even if they retire in 2028 as planned, so my gamers (family members from his family and mine) should all still be around.

Johnathan
 

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PJ Coffey

PJ Coffey (they/them)
Not among the retirees I know. Exhibit a) my dad. 85 and still goes to protests on the corner every Friday night to protest nuclear power and to protest on behalf of peace. Exhibit b) I am peripherally associated with a group at my church called "Earth Advocates". A group of mostly retired folks who are all passionate about mitigating, and hopefully someday reversing anthropogenic climate change. Those folks know they don't have a lot of time left and are SUPER motivated.

Sound like great people to me. :)
 

HorusZA

Explorer
When I was a teenager back in the 80's I was wondering if I'd still be gaming when I'm an adult. The thought of doing this 20 or 30 years from then seemed really odd.
Well, I'm now in my mid-50s and going strong. Most of my gaming buddies are around my age and while we don't have as much time as we did in school or 'varsity we still have our regular sessions. In a way, retirement might be a lot like it was back in the days :)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
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.

I think maybe there's a big question as to whether either of these groups will have the same economic solidity late in life to stop working, such that "retirement" may be much later, if ever.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I think maybe there's a big question as to whether either of these groups will have the same economic solidity late in life to stop working, such that "retirement" may be much later, if ever.
Many of my current players can't find a stable job... they're mostly just barely drinking age... but due to a glut of workers, and low profit margins, they're not able to keep a job, because the available jobs are mostly fast food, and zero tolerance for any impediments to timeliness, especially not of the "My bus was late" variety, despite a basically "one every half hour" schedule during the OSU school year.
 

talien

Community Supporter
I think maybe there's a big question as to whether either of these groups will have the same economic solidity late in life to stop working, such that "retirement" may be much later, if ever.
It's true. There are calculators online, but just because one can retire doesn't mean they have the economic means to do so, and the age to receive maximum Social Security benefits in the U.S. keeps creeping up (67 for me now according to this: Benefits Planner: Retirement | Born in 1960 | SSA). At the rate we're going it will hit 70 soon enough.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
It's true. There are calculators online, but just because one can retire doesn't mean they have the economic means to do so, and the age to receive maximum Social Security benefits in the U.S. keeps creeping up (67 for me now according to this: Benefits Planner: Retirement | Born in 1960 | SSA). At the rate we're going it will hit 70 soon enough.
I dont' care as much about my Social Security as my Medicare (health care benefits provided by govm't here in the US)
 

Lots retired climate activists clogging up UK roads
One person in our group has retired, the rest are d8+4 years away ( including myself). I really hope we can game a couple times a week in retirement and have some epic campaigns like when we were teens and gamed loads
 

DammitVictor

Trust the Fungus
Supporter
I'm 43 and permanently disabled-- it's a laundry list-- so my efforts for the past 15-20 years or so have been directed more at starting a career (in the gaming industry) than getting ready to end one. Some of my regular players are also disabled and/or retired, but they also have busy family and/or social lives that I don't-- a long laundry list-- so the extra free time isn't all it's cracked up to be.
 

GuyBoy

Hero
Lots retired climate activists clogging up UK roads
One person in our group has retired, the rest are d8+4 years away ( including myself). I really hope we can game a couple times a week in retirement and have some epic campaigns like when we were teens and gamed loads
I think you could rephrase as lots of retired climate activists campaigning for a future for all who live on this planet.

All the best for great gaming for your group in the future.
 

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