Are you interested in roleplaying games (RPGs), but don’t know anyone who plays and don’t know where to start? Or your old group fell apart, and you’re looking for a new group? Or perhaps your group is stable but wants to branch out, and you want to test-drive new game systems before buying the materials. Whatever your gaming situation, you’re in luck! Chicago has lots of gaming resources to aid your quest.
In the city
- Edgewater—Chicagoland Games (Dice Dojo) carries RPG supplies and hosts weekly Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition games. New and experienced players welcome. 5550 N. Broadway. 773.728.3656.
- Lincoln Park—Wanderers Refuge, an all-inclusive safe game store and gaming space, runs various RPGs multiple times a week. 4546 N. Western. 773.661.4440.
- Hyde Park—First Aid Comics offers D&D for kids, ages 10-12. Spots are limited; email for availability. (Also has all-ages D&D, but this is currently paused; check back for availability.) First Aid Comics, 1617 East 55th St.. 773.75.COMIC /773.752. 6642. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wicker Park—Geek Bar runs weekly D&D games – and has liquor and food! Talk about meeting at the tavern. 1941 W. North Avenue. 773.687.9824.
- Multiple locations—MeetUp has a hodgepodge of gaming groups. There are very large, general groups like Game Lovers that include all kinds of tabletop games, and also more specific groups like RPG Chicago. Meetup groups often evolve—change focus, merge, end, etc.—so try a variety of searches.
In the suburbs
- Mt. Prospect—Games Plus is a full-service game shop offering an extensive range of RPG, wargames, and card game products, including books, miniatures, terrain, paints, and more. Hosts RPGs several nights a week. Also runs the Chicago Gameday event three times a year. 101 W. Prospect Ave. Mt. Prospect. 847.577.9656.
- Tinley Park—Alliance LARP (“Be All That You Can’t Be”) operates live-action roleplaying events nationwide with the goal of “trying to recreate the Days of Legend as we would like them to be and not how they actually were.” LARPing involves various real-world settings and props like foam weapons and beanbags. The Chicago area chapter is based in Tinley Park, but the events are held in Yorkville, IL.
- GenCon is a massive 4-day games convention held in the summer. Last year they had over 60,000 attendees. The convention includes game companies, authors and artists, and lots of costumes. Among the more than 15,000 events, you can find many RPG games. It’s a lot of fun but can be overwhelming.
- Garycon, a 4-day convention held each March in Lake Geneva. Named in honor of D&D creator Gary Gygax, it’s much smaller, cheaper, and closer to Chicago than GenCon, as well as more narrowly focused on RPGs. They have a *ton* of scheduled RPG events, and there are also pickup games. Many different genres and game systems are available.
- Capricon, a science fiction/fantasy convention held each February, focuses on SF&F literature, art, movies, and TV, but typically includes a few panels on gaming and runs a game room with some RPG materials and game demos.
Don’t have time to game at the moment but still want a gaming fix? Completely new to gaming and want to learn more? Check out these fun podcasts:
- One Shot Podcasts is a collection of different podcast series about gaming. Campaign features a group of improv actors playing a long-running Star Wars campaign. One Shot takes different groups of players through one-shot (not ongoing) adventures, trying out different game systems. Backstory, Modifier, and Talking Table Top interview game designers about their work. Critical Success is specifically aimed at game masters.
- Nerd Poker with Brian Posehn. Friends of comedian Brian Posehn play D&D.
- Happy Jacks features both podcasts that discuss various aspects of gaming as well as actual play.
Whether you’re looking to game or just listen in, there are many resources available. Game on!