The History of a Game Group (13th Tribe) Hints & Tips
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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The game group I host will be 5 years old in January 2010, I wanted to chronicle the history of the group and throw out any tips that I've learned over the years. I'd appreciate any suggestions or feedback as well.

Hosting the group has been absolutely great and hope to continue for years to come.

Quick Blurb About Us:
We get together every 2nd Saturday of the months to play the games in Indianapolis, IN. We start at 1pm and usually play until 11pm or so. If you are interested in joining us one Saturday, please send me a geekmail and I can give you directions. If you would like to find out more about us, you can go to our Facebook group at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=20247198116
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1. Board Game: Championship Drag Racing: 2005 Funny Car Edition [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Adam Daulton
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Year One - 2005 - The Narrative
In the fall of 2004, as I was starting my senior year of college in Iowa, I moved into an apartment with a couple of those roommates on of which was Ed. I'd known Ed for a few years and though we'd played some chess while both of us lived in the dorm, that is about as far as our gaming got. However, once we moved in together, we discovered that both of us had a healthy interest in board games. So much so that we both had tinkered with designing a game and had really enjoyed playing Axis and Allies as teenagers.

As the fall progressed I helped Ed play test his game - Politics As Usual - which I still can't get him to publish even though I think it is a solid game for what it is. We also had several epic wars of Axis and Allies one on one at the small kitchen table in the apartment. However, we wanted more gaming opportunities, so we asked one of our neighbors named Derrick if he would like to meet regularly to game. He was an avid computer game, just not many board games. He did and so over Christmas break I brought back some games from my parents house that I had played while in high school, so that we could get started in January.



We decided to meet in our apartment whenever we wanted to game, we didn't really set particular day of the week or anything, since we figured we lived so close together we could just do it. Things started off somewhat slow with mostly just Ed, Derrick, and I coming to play. We played Axis and Allies, Risk, Settlers of Catan, and others. As the year progressed Krista (my then fiance and now wife) and Renee (Derrick's wife) also began playing with us.

At this time we also came up with the name 13th Tribe. Most of the group attended a Christian college and one night while I was studying the 12 tribes of Israel, I thought of naming the group the 13th Tribe. Names, I've discovered, don't tend to matter as much as other things in the group though.

Since Ed and I in particular are pretty competitive, we decided to keep track of the results of our games. This allowed us to come up with a scoring system, that though isn't anywhere near perfect, has been fun over the years. In it each player gets a point for each person that they beat in a game, their total points are then divided by the total number of games they played, which results in their rating.

The summer time of 2005, with my wedding, Ed's and my graduation, Ed moving to Milwaukee, and the business of summer break our group began to fade, but in the fall of 2005 we began meeting in earnest. We also decided on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, which was the best decision ever in keeping the group going. I made an order of games from www.thoughthammer.com which included Puerto Rico, which really opened me and others up to the world of gaming without dice. More so than games such as Tikal and Acquire had done previously.
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:16]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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Things Learned, Stats, and Miscellaneous things about 2005

Things Learned: Consistency is extremely important. Moving our game night to a specific night of the week on a regular basis really helped out the group. That way people could plan and know when the game night was going to be. There were quite a few more people in our immediate circle of friends, who given the chance, really enjoyed board gaming.

Top 5 Gamers - 2005
Krista Daulton - 2.12 Rating
Adam Daulton - 2.05 Rating
Mike McPherson - 2.00 Rating
John Bowers - 2.00 Rating
Kim Hoch - 1.80 Rating

Best New Game to the 13th Tribe: Puerto Rico, Acquire, or Risk. We didn't vote in 2005, I'm just going off of what I remember being really popular.
Number of Gamers who came at least one time: 25
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3. Board Game: Second Lebanon War: 2006 [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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With the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, the 13th Tribe was going pretty strong. We were getting 4 or 5 people each Thursday to come to my wife's and my small apartment and all crowd around the small kitchen table to play Risk: Lord of the Rings, Puerto Rico, Acquire, or whatever the game of the night may be. But despite the variety of people that came, even if we wanted to, we couldn't have handled more than 7 or 8 people. So I talked with Derrick and Krista and we decided to try meeting at the newly opened coffee shop in town. They had a excellent meeting room with nice glass doors, lots of tables, and on top of it all they let us use it for free! They made their money of course on all the lattes and meals that were bought while gaming was going on.

It seemed like almost immediately, as we went to the coffee house, the group grew. Instead of having 3-5 people each night, we began pulling in 10-12 people from around the town. Many were former classmates of mine, some professors, a few locals that worked in the town, etc. Then something else interesting began to happen. Other people, other than me began purchasing games. Citadels is one of those games, but Samurai, Mexica, San Juan and others were purchased.

2006 was a great year for gaming with the 13th Tribe. We really grew, quite a few new games were purchased (I did my fair share of this), and the location just made for a really fun evening on Thursday night.
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4. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:29]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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Things learned, stats, and miscellaneous things about 2006.

Things learned: If you want your group to reach it's full potential, gaming in a clean public area with food readily available is the way to go. I was amazed how fast the group grew and the variety of people that began to come, since many of them weren't people I knew very well at the beginning of the year.

Top 5 Gamers 2006:
Dana H. - 2.83 Rating
Daniel W. - 2. 44 Rating
Adam D. - 2.05 Rating
Daniel G. - 1.92 Rating
Krista D. - 1.87 Rating

Awards Given:
Best New Game: Power Grid
Best Winning Percentage: Daniel W.
Rookie of the Year (1st Year Player): Jacob C.
Golden Gamer (Best Rating for Older Players): Erik H.
Mortal Enemy (Person Everyone Wants to Beat): Adam D.
Ed O'Connor (Slowest Player): Krista D.
13th Tribe (Enjoyable to game with): Jacob C. and Dana H.

Number of gamers who came at least one time: 72 (This number is slightly inflated, because what was considered an official game night changed throughout the year)


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5. Board Game: Axis of Evil 2007 [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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With Krista graduating in December of 2006, we moved back to Indiana from Iowa to live on the North Side of Indianapolis. I knew, now that we both were caught up into board games, that we wanted to continue hosting a game group once we got settled in Indiana. Once we moved here, we got involved with the Indy Boardgamers, who had several members that began coming to our apartment on a monthly basis for games starting in May of 2007.

With a good starting base of some old high school friends, the Indy Boardgamers, and my family who we now lived close to, the group began to do pretty well. Most of the players that we gained were through people who my wife met and work and some new friends we were making at church. It was interesting mixing the two groups of gamers. On one hand we had the Indy Boardgamers, who had played many more games than Krista or I had. On the other hand we had these new gamers, similar to the ones that were part of the group in Iowa, that were just learning of all the games that were out there.

Krista and I discussed moving the game day from our apartment, but since we were doing only one day a month for 10 hours it didn't seem as easy to find just the right place to move it to. Before, while in Iowa, our game night lasted at the most 3.5 hours, which didn't seem to be a problem for the small town coffee shop. In Indianapolis, for some reason, it just seemed different.

The Iowa chapter of the 13th Tribe continued for 4 or 5 months into 2007, but by the time May rolled around, many of the regulars including Derrick and Renee has graduated and moved away. With the main leadership gone, there didn't seem to be enough interest to keep it going.
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6. Board Game: The Pillars of the Earth [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:230]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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Things learned, stats, and other miscellaneous things.

Things learned: I relearned that people as a whole enjoy games if given a chance. Several of the new "members" of the group had never played anything more than Monopoly. I also learned, even though I knew this already, that there are others out there with a bigger addiction of games than me! BGG is a great resource for finding a game group (which is how I found the Indy Boardgamers, by meeting them via BGG at GenCon the year before). Evite.com is an excellent way of organizing and running your gaming events.

Top 5 Gamers:
Adam D. - 2.12 Rating
Todd M. - 1.80 Rating
Ross G. - 1.70 Rating
Derrick S. - 1.59 Rating
Krista D. - 1.59 Rating

Awards Given:
Game of the Year: Pillars of the Earth
Ed O'Connor: Mike P.
The Cabbit (aka 13th Tribe): Adam D.
Rookie of the Year: Logan M.
Golden Gamer: Todd M.
Victory and Honor (Best Winning %): Derrick S.

Total number of gamers: 47
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7. Board Game: Campaign Manager 2008 [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1223]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
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2008 saw a solid growth of new gamers in the group. Our personal collection grew by quite a bit and as well did the different gamers we played with. In the past few years I had been advertising on BGG before each game day, trying to pick up a few extra gamers, but beginning in 2008 I quit doing that. I continued putting up the monthly geeklists and with that and word of mouth several new gamers came into the group.

This actually came as somewhat of a surprise to me, since I know it can be quite intimidating coming into someone's basement that you've never met before - only exchanging a couple emails. The dynamics of the groups also changed quite a bit. This was the first year that I didn't feel the responsibility of teaching every game. With our regulars being very consistent, for the most part all of them true gamers, the group felt really right and permanent.

Some of this permanence came from my wife and I purchasing a house with a large enough basement for 2 or 3 tables to go at once. Even though it isn't the great coffee shop environment that we had in Iowa, it still is much better than a small apartment and a folding table.
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8. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:220]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
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Things learned, stats, and other miscellaneous things.

Things learned: Even though public meeting places are the best, meeting at your house won't deter the most serious gamers. Great people can be met on BGG! Not only is a regular meeting place and time important in a group, but regular gamers are also very important.

Top 5 Gamers 2008:
Andrew B. - 2.00 Rating
Ross G. - 1.84 Rating
Brian B. - 1.79 Rating
Todd M. - 1.77 Rating
Adam D. - 1.60 Rating

Awards Given:
Game of the Year: In the Year of the Dragon
Mortal Enemy: Ross G.
The Cabbit: David D.
Victory and Honor: Andrew B.
Golden Gamer: Brian B.

Total Gamers: 43
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9. Board Game: Harpoon Naval Review 2009 [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
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The 5th year of our group again has seen changes. My wife and I had our
1st child, who isn't quite a gamer yet, but I'm hoping she will be! So
where as before we didn't encourage kids to come, now it seems unavoidable that kids will be a part of our game day in the future since we have our own and others should be allowed to bring theirs. We've taken to rotating throughout the day watching the baby while games are going on in the basement.

The group as a whole stayed relatively the same, with not a ton of new
members, even tapering off some. I'm considering posting in the Midwest
forums here on BGG again to try and get some new blood in and ensure
that we always have 6-10 people at any given time for game day.
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10. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Adam Daulton
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Indianapolis
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Things learned, stats, etc.

Things Learned: The biggest thing I learned this year is that having a kid at game day just means you play less games, but if you make it a family affair with your spouse and you rotating babysitting duties, you can still play games. Also, I learned that people get jobs, go to school, and generally lifestyles change, thus your cornerstone attendees might not always be there so having several "cornerstones" is good.

Top 5 Gamers:
Adam D - 1.83 rating
Andrew B - 1.76 rating
Ross G - 1.72 rating
Mike R - 1.70 rating
Brian P - 1.62 rating

Awards Given:
Game of the Year: Dominion
Mortal Enemy: Adam D
The Cabbit: Brian B
4 Leaf Clover: Krista D
Victory & Honor: Ross G
Golden Gamer: Brian P
Rookie of the Year: Mike R

Total Gamers: 39

The new year has begun and I'm looking forward to another 5 years of the 13th Tribe and the friends I've made. Here are some more interesting/useless stats. In the past 5 years we've had 141 unique gamers, playing 4162 times (each player not each game), having an average winning 28% of the time, with a rating of 1.53.
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