I expect this will be a short one (cue inevitable rambling), in answer to the question: Where would you host a first game?
Somewhere quiet, with a table.
Over the years I’ve typically gamed (played and run) in people’s houses. So there’s been a lot of ’round the kitchen table’ stuff. Once upon a time I was part of a weekly RPG thing at the Dragonslayers gaming group at QUB in Belfast…but that was way-back-when and these days I prefer something a bit more…if not private then at least less actively loud and busy. A library would seem ideal if they have the room(s).
Which is not to say I don’t like running games at cons – and I’ve done that many times, with varying degrees of success over the years. It’s just that for a stable, ongoing gaming night, and especially for a first time game, tables to set all your stuff on are great. Essential even.
And, again, it’s not like I haven’t played or run games when everyone has been sitting around a room in comfortable chairs. But it’s not the same. I think you need the demarcation, the creation of a ‘space for gaming’.
Also, if the ‘new gamer’ is someone the group already knows, then I guess we could just stick with bringing them into the group at whatever location we normally play, otherwise, maybe go back to a gaming group for the initial sessions, while everyone gets to know each other. Even if that does involve someone shouting their way through Tomb of Horrors two tables over.
There’s a whole other aspect to this question and I did muse for a bit on the idea of maybe running a first game in a castle, or a haunted house, or perhaps an abandoned fairground on a pier. On reflection though I suspect that might be trying too hard, and in danger of overwhelming the point of the gaming session. It is tempting though. Maybe one day…