My first thought is: “I’m glad I’m not that guy.”

And then a certain song from my childhood comes to mind…

It sounds mean, and it is. But I’ve been there.

Its hard not to feel a little sad.

Yet in retrospect, when my players didn’t show, I could have done a little more to attract them to the my games.

So let’s figure out why Ernie is singing to the birds.

  1. Did Ernie notify his players beforehand there was game that day? Or did he assume his players knew about it.
  2. Did he get confirmations from said players?
  3. Is his group of potential players actual friends, or vague acquaintances he met at Mr. Hooper’s Store  who said they “might make it.”
  4. Did he assume close friends, like Burt, would show up, even though they made no indication they would? (Because they don’t like gaming).
  5. Is his gaming group reliable? Or does it include Elmo, who’s often in his own little world? Or worse: Gonzo.
  6. Does Ernie need to rethink the premise of his games? Even Grover can get tired of finding a monster at the end of a book.
  7. Did the group fall apart because of bad players? It only takes one or two creepers like the Cookie Monster or Oscar the Grouch, to make Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy have other plans…

Ernie also may have run up against circumstances beyond his control. Maybe all of his players had “real life” emergencies. It can be psychologically traumatizing to have letters and numbers mysterious appear and disappear above your head.


Sometimes, however, you’re pitching your favorite game to the wrong crowd. For example, it can be hard running Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG with a crowd who loves D&D 5e.

So Ernie could be trying to run his own game when everybody on Seasame Street is into The Count’s vampire LARP…