How are you testing?In the least scientific manner possible. I shun science! I put myself in your shoes, I want to find a game. I want to find an AD&D/D&D/D&D&DA&D&D&D game and a free game (Jags, Fudge, Icar). I will also search by location. As the internet still orbits the USA, I will pretend I am in Reading UK and in 90210, which is the only Zip code I know off the top of my head. Why? I'll let you figure that shame truth out. I generally found that searching by location was more useful than searching by game.
Access DeniedInappropriately named and long in the tooth, Access Denied is part of the old guard of player databases. It has been online since 1997 and I can believe that as I found myself on there using a nickname I haven't used in at least a decade! You can search by city or by game. There are 2500 people listed as AD&D and I am not sure how many of those players are still active. I couldn't contact myself, for example. Icar is in there because, well, I probably put it in 10 years ago. I could find gamers in Reading but could not search by Zip code.
Board Game GeekBoard Game Geek is a superb website that concentrates on board games. There is an RPG version, Geekdo but I can't find the game finder on that site, so I used the BGG one. I tried to search for a game in blighty but it only accepted Zip Code. However, when I used my assumed 90210 zip, it did show a lovely load of gamers nearby. They might be board gamers, though and I know a few of them. From a distance. Through binoculars. I liked the Google Maps output, though.
Nearby GamersNearby Gamers is designed purely for the purpose of finding your gamers. It uses Google maps and to get the most, you need to register an account. So I did. I managed to find some gamers both in Reading and in 90210. Gamers and games are categorised by tags, so it was very easy to find free RPGs (under the Indie heading). The level of granularity is just right, you can browse into the tags to find something new or head straight to an old favourite. The design could do with a bit of sprucing up but then so could this blog. I like Nearby Gamers, it works a treat.
Pen and Paper GamesPen and Paper Games is a forum haunt that I like to drop in on once in a while. It has a registry search, which uses Google maps, of course. There are 9000 users in the database, I can't say how many of those actually appear on the map. I know I don't. Still, if you like having a community around the search facility then PaPG is definitely good for you. The site also lists people as either player or GM, which is a cool idea but what if you do both?
RPG Game FindNew on the block RPG Game Find is a text based tool that once you scroll past the huge header and adverts is a good game finder. Sadly failed to find anything in Reading without hopping on a plane. 90210 did turn up some results but the categorisation of roleplaying games is too coarse for me to locate a free or indie game.
Meetup.comMeetup is a social networking site that is general purpose and I didn't manage to find too many gamers on there. If you are organising a regular get together, it might be worth a look. I prefer those aimed at Gamers, though.
RPG.Net Gaming Gatherings ForumIf you're not afraid of your post sinking without a trace then the ever active big purple might be for you. It's not really a searchable thing but games are regularly added and you can't fault big purple for the huge number of people on there. I also made good use of their list of player finders thread to compile this.
ConclusionsMy favourite? Still Nearby Gamers fits my bill. It does the one job and very well. And I like maps. With Google.
A final thank you to Derek (Little Sherpherd), without whom I would have never ventured to write this post!