Over the last few years, Dungeons and Dragons has exploded in popularity. It makes sense, there are podcasts, shows, and even a new movie coming out based on the game. If you’re interested in getting into D&D, this really seems to be the right time to do so. However, there are some challenges new players inevitably face when trying to get into the game.
One of the biggest challenges might be finding people to play with as well as a place to play. Whether you’re looking for a group, or just need a venue big enough to host a good number of your friends, you’re in luck! Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes D&D, has programs designed to help new players be able to play at local stores near them. There are also plenty of local game stores that have their own Dungeons and Dragons events that you can attend.
Whether you’re going alone or with one or more friends, here are some ways you can go about locating where to play D&D in your area.
Wizards of The Coast Store Locator
Wizards of the Coast has an online store locator which you can use to find official events near you. You’ll want to make sure when you are entering your location to toggle over to “D&D Events” above the search bar, otherwise, you’ll get other events put on by Wizards as well. Since Wizards owns Magic: The Gathering as well as Dungeons and Dragons, you’ll likely have to sift through a bunch of Magic events just to find the D&D ones you’re looking for if you don’t make the switch.
One important thing to note is that not all D&D events at a given store will be listed on this locator, only official events sponsored by Wizards of the Coast. If you aren’t seeing anything under “D&D events,” it’s worth also just searching under the “Stores Near Me” tab. This will show you any stores that are a part of the Wizards Play Network (WPN). While there’s not guarantee these stores have D&D events, as many might be part of WPN for Magic, it’s still worth checking the store’s website or social media page for any mention of Dungeons and Dragons or just giving them a call.
A common type of in-person D&D group is the official Adventurers League. Adventurers League games can be played at WPN stores or at some conventions. These groups have rotating campaigns that players can join with their Adventurers League character. Some stores even have multiple groups going at once, ensuring that there is room for a lot of players, and allowing for players of all levels to fit into one of the campaigns.
When you play Adventurers League, you will be required to bring some of the official paperwork, including character sheets and sheets to fill out your progress toward leveling up which will be signed off on by your Dungeon Master (DM). Some DMs or stores may have paperwork available to you at the store, but it’s worth calling ahead to make sure so you don’t show up unprepared. You can play with your Adventurers League character at any Adventurers League event, so as long as you are a high enough level for a given campaign you can hop around to different locations as well.
Unofficial Store Groups
Some local game stores will host D&D events that aren’t connected to Adventurers League, but you shouldn’t be discouraged from checking these out. Some stores may not be connected to WPN, or they may just prefer the flexibility to run their own campaigns. These store events can still be a lot of fun, and can sometimes feel more intimate than Adventurers League since you’ll get to know your group and DM better. This can allow for an experience that is more tailored to your character and group’s playstyle.
While the WPN store locator can help get you started finding local game stores near you, it’s also worth just running a quick google search to see if there are any game stores not connected to Wizards in your area. Stores will often post about events they host on their website, and some even have specific groups on social dedicated to their D&D games. These groups can give you insight into what campaign is being run and how many spots are available for players. It’s always good to check that there will be enough room for you and anyone you plan to play with.
Open Play Time
If you already have a group of people who you’d like to play D&D with, but you don’t have a great place to play, it’s worth looking for stores that have open play time available. Many stores have at least one night a week where players can come to use their tables to play whatever game they’d like. This is a great option for groups that want to meet at a central location or are not comfortable meeting at a member’s home for whatever reason. This can also be a good way to meet people who play games at the store since open play time is usually a more casual setting.