Read an RPG Book in Public Week

WJ Walton from the Escapist sez, "the new project I've launched is called Read an RPG Book in Public Week. The idea is to encourage gamers to take their favorite RPG books with them when they leave the house and 'get caught' reading them in a public place (on the bus, waiting for the train, at the park or coffeehouse, etc.) The goal is to increase the visibility and understanding of the hobby, and possibly even bring in some new players (or bring back some old ones). The first event this year is this upcoming week - Feb. 28th to March 6th."


  1. Interesting idea! When I was sixteen, I moved to a new town and a new high school. As a way of finding like-minded friends, I carried my Monster Manual around for a few days. Eventually fellow D&D players noticed and I made friends that lasted throughout my high school years.

  2. However, if you fit the nerdy stereotype of a roleplayer, *don’t* do this. Instead, pay a hipster friend to cart around a book of yours, making sure to display it next to his (or preferably her) MacBook while in trendy indie coffeehouses in edgy, early gentrification bohemian neighborhoods.

  3. The first thing I tried to do when I moved to NYC 6 years ago was to find fellow gamers. I hit up all of the company forums, the 1-2 gaming stores (now down to none) and I ended up giving up. Oddly enough NYC doesn’t seem to be interested in RPG. Some bands of Magic card games here and there but pen and paper? Zip and Zilch. I’m looking forward to being back in the Midwest where people still game and GenCon is a yearly local event.

    1. @Anon #4: I sympathize with your issue—I’m having the same problem here in San Francisco. However, if you want to hook up with gamer geeks in NYC, I highly recommend checking out NerdNYC. Besides the forums, they also hold regular (and inexpensive) events around the city.

  4. And make sure, if asked, always reply “Why yes, I am a gamer.” Then make that scary hannibal-lector-silence-of-the-lambs noise through your teeth.

  5. I’m already doing this, but unfortunately, the RPG manual that I’ve been lugging around isn’t especially eye-catching. It’s the “Black Missions” edition of Paranoia: Troubleshooters—which means that it’s an all-black hardcover with PARANOIA emblazoned on the front. Maybe time for me to start lugging around my copy of Unknown Armies.

    1. @Chris H: Arguably still better than the impression you might give carrying one of the regular Paranoia covers around…

      @Jonathan Badger: Fitting the nerdy stereotype never stopped me carrying RPG books around in public even when I was a teenager.

      But I’ll award a bonus LOL to the best suggestion for which game is “best RPG to place next to a MacBook in a trendy indie coffeehouse”.

      1. > But I’ll award a bonus LOL to the best suggestion for which game is “best RPG to place next to a MacBook in a trendy indie coffeehouse”.

        Unknown Armies, natch. The urban fantasy/horror vibe, plus the sadomasochistic nature of most of the magickal systems makes it essential. Of course, if your intention is strictly to be a poseur, I recommend one of the World of Darkness games, especially if you’re hanging out at Wicked Grounds, the local BDSM café here in SF. Putting that one out might lead to some…. different kind of roleplaying.

      2. Kult, Ex Machina, and Eclipse Phase are all appropriately obscure and elitist for that purpose, I think.

        But seriously, I think the 1st Ed. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons are ideal. My dog-eared copies of the DM’s Guide and Monster Manual even have embarrassingly bad, hand-colored illustrations in them.

  6. @Anon #4: The Compleat Strategist is still in NYC. They even have a non-digital bulletin board near the door where gamers post ads looking for other gamers.

  7. I’ve been schlepping around my copy of Spirit of the Century and reading it in public for the last couple of days. Problems with this:

    1) Most of my public-time is walking to and from work, which is half an hour each way, and it’s currently a bit too cold to read while walking

    2) My weekend public time was spent in Galway, at the NUI, where reading _Spirit_ in public wouldn’t so much have cause passers-by to wonder “Oooh, what is that shiny book with a gorilla piloting a biplane this charming man is reading?” as it would have gotten me into conversations on the merits of trad vs indie rpg systems, and how Spirit straddles the line. Yes, it was Itzacon weekend, and it was glorious. (The Team Fortress 2 Spirit session on Friday night had me choking with laughter; invoking my Heavy’s “Cry some more” aspect to taunt Left 4 Dead’s Witch was priceless.)

  8. Huh. I used to do this in high school. It didn’t work, and it definitely made me “that guy.” Trust me, the only people who are going to take a shine to you are the ones that would *already* be carrying an RPG book around with them.

  9. I’ve been doing this for 30+ years. I regularly read RPG books at the laundry. I don’t think I have ever made a ‘contact’ by doing so however.

    I do regular reviews of RPG books on my YouTube channel.

  10. I met one of my best friends this way, only a few years ago. I had stepped out of a bookstore to answer a phone call and he walked past me with a Call of Cthulhu supplement in his hand. I flagged him down and a conversation about HPL and gaming ensued. We’ve been gaming buddies for years now.

  11. This is a cool idea. Every friend I made in middle school I made by carrying around D&D books. Now that I think of it, the friend I have had the longest became my friend when he saw me with a D&D book on my desk and said, “Oh no, not another one of those books!” (I don’t know why he chose these words, because he was a fan of the game.)

    1. @ #18 @ “Oh no, not another one of those books!”

      Perhaps your friend was dreading the purchase of yet another D&D book. =Þ

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