How to find an open game table?

Do you want to run a pick-up game but can’t find an open table?  We have noticed that this is a common problem, especially at those events with limited or no open gaming space.  We realize that with all our scheduled games as well as all the demos we have that table space is hard to find. Here are a few rules and suggestions to follow to find an open table.


General/Open Play Event – These are primarily scheduled games – RPGs or other tabletop games (board, minis or card).  These are scheduled games that any paid attendee can sign up to play – online or onsite.  In most cases, these have limited seating and once they are full, they are closed.  As a policy, we do not allow for Alternate Players or Overflow Players to sign up online prior to the con for these games.  However, we do allow for them onsite.

Organized Play Event – These are scheduled events, mostly RPGs, that are organized by a specific group, like Pathfinder Society, D&D Adventurers League, and others.  These are limited seating but allow for Alternate Players in case the coordinator finds a new Game Master.  Each organized play area is managed by a specific coordinator and they usually handle mustering and table allocation on-site.   Open tables in this room are NOT open to use by anyone else unless the coordinator approves.   Traditionally, Organized Play is divided out on the printed schedules and posters as it has special requirements for the players (like existing characters, specific character levels, etc).

Player’s Choice/Personal Game Library (formerly Player’s Choice/Open Demos) – If this appears on the schedule, this is a scheduled event of a small selection of games that the host has chosen to bring. It is a limited pick-up game event that is hosted by a specific GM.  The table is not open to any games and the table is reserved for that particular Host during the defined time slot.

Open, Official, or Unofficial Demos – Many small companies, publishers, and kickstarting companies come to our events to run demos of their games but they don’t want to stick to a specific session schedule.  We accommodate that by blocking off time for when they are going to be there and denote in the entry somewhere just how long a traditional demo of their game takes.  Again, these are not open gaming tables, they are open demos of a specific game.

Open Gaming – These are tables allocated specifically for pick up games of whatever kinds that can fit on that table.  If you need to bring tables together to create a larger space, please ask for approval before doing so.  These tables DO NOT appear on the schedule (online, posters, PDF or printed) and usually have a colored tablecloth of some kind.

Want an open table to play a game?

Open gaming tables are intended for games to be played on, not open demo tables for last minute publishers or pre-kickstarter promotions.  If you want a table for the latter, then you need to talk to the gaming coordinator to see if there is any appropriate tables available for those purposes.

If you have a game, have found some interested players, and want to find an open table to play said game, the best way to find a table is as follows:

  1. Find any tables marked with a colored tablecloth open.  These are tables in a designated area, usually, and marked on event maps. Availability may vary throughout the weekend, however.
  2. If no open gaming tables are available, you can check the table tents on each of the tables allocated to scheduled games.  Each table tent has a schedule on it for what is supposed to be there and when.  If your pick-up game can be played and finished before the next scheduled event on that table, you are welcome to that table. But you must be finished and off the table before the next scheduled game arrives.
  3. If none of the above are available, check tables where games did not make.  Some games just don’t get any players and those tables can become free until the next game is scheduled. I ask all GMs to wait to up to 15 minutes before freeing up the table, however.   Once that table is freed up, step #2 still applies.
  4. If none of the above work, check the hotel lobby (if applicable) or other locations where there might be free tables available.

If you still can not find a table, unfortunately that means all our tables are full.  We do apologize and work very hard to provide as much opportunity to game at our events as the space allows, but we only have so much space.  Typically,  we have dozens of small publishers and kickstarters, hundreds of GMs and usually a couple of large events to schedule.  Open gaming is difficult to allocate when we have so much to schedule and give space to.  When we can, we do.  In most of our events, Saturday afternoon is the worst time to seek out an open table.  That’s what we call our peak time and all tables are more than likely either allocated or taken.  Plan ahead, if you can.  Muster your players ahead of time. Work with the coordinators and we will work with you.