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Subject: How do you Start or Run a Games Group? rss

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Grant Thomas
New Zealand
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Just How do you start a Games Group, Or even Run one?
I moved down to Oamaru and Have Lots of games stored away.
Don't know if there is any Groups here. But would be nice to start one here.
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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One way is to see if you can find a game store. Some game stores are big enough to have a play area and host game groups. But even the smaller ones may have a bulletin board or web forum where you can post to start organizing a group.

Another way is to introduce your friends to games, perhaps starting with simpler ones.

A third way is to use a website like MeetUp to tell local users about your game group and where it meets.

One of the game groups I play with most often meets at my church. A couple of us decided to start it several years ago and advertise in the church newsletter. Now I think we have about 8 to 20 people on a typical monthly game night.
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Mo
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I would add to the other suggestions every month post a message in this forum saying that you're looking for gamers in your area. That's what i did and eventually somebody answered and now we have game nights. It may take a while but it could pay off.
 
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Caroline Swinburne
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+1 for Meetup.com. That's how I got into games, It's been a year and I've only just signed up on this site but Meetup will get all kinds of people.
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Captain Nemo
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secoffnz wrote:
Just How do you start a Games Group, Or even Run one?
I moved down to Oamaru and Have Lots of games stored away.
Don't know if there is any Groups here. But would be nice to start one here.

d10-1Check for NZ posters at BGG;write a geekmail to anyone within reasonable distance.
d10-2Post a message in the NZ forum as you have done; repeat periodically.
d10-3Find a suitable venue with regular day and time fixture.
d10-4Be willing to spend time waiting.
d10-5Have a range of shorter (time) games of various types to get people involved.
d10-6Keep promoting the opportunity for 12 months plus.
d10-7Ensure refreshments and facilities are adequate.

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Matt Robertson
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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Perhaps some of the information here could help:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blog/148/thoughts-on-creating-a...

Good luck and happy gaming!
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John Pickering
New Zealand
Rolleston
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I'd probably start with the library. Just checked the Waitaki District Libraries site and they are offering boardgames this school hols (they start next week if you don't already know!). Probably not your ideal demographic, but it could be a start to find like minded people. You could even suggest to run a more adult session there.

Other than that you may have to prise people away from the bridge and whist clubs if they exist down there.

Perhaps try a post in the general boardgaming christchurch facebook page, you might get a reply there.

Other than that think about your 'ideal' gamer and what he/she would also do in their leisure time and target those places/venues with posters etc.

Good luck.
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Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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hammurabi70 wrote:
secoffnz wrote:
Just How do you start a Games Group, Or even Run one?
I moved down to Oamaru and Have Lots of games stored away.
Don't know if there is any Groups here. But would be nice to start one here.

d10-1Check for NZ posters at BGG;write a geekmail to anyone within reasonable distance.
d10-2Post a message in the NZ forum as you have done; repeat periodically.
d10-3Find a suitable venue with regular day and time fixture.
d10-4Be willing to spend time waiting.
d10-5Have a range of shorter (time) games of various types to get people involved.
d10-6Keep promoting the opportunity for 12 months plus.
d10-7Ensure refreshments and facilities are adequate.



What this guy said. Except you don't need refreshments. Our group almost never has refreshments. I started a group in Hamilton about 4 years ago, mostly from people I found through BGG. It's still going, although still small.

Also you can check out the community page at SeriouslyBoard:
http://seriouslyboard.co.nz/about/community/

David Hunt
New Zealand
Hamilton
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David is very involved with the NZ boardgaming community and has lots of contacts.
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Scott
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JP NZ wrote:
I'd probably start with the library. Just checked the Waitaki District Libraries site and they are offering boardgames this school hols (they start next week if you don't already know!). Probably not your ideal demographic, but it could be a start to find like minded people. You could even suggest to run a more adult session there.


Dear Nathan runs (or ran) one at an Auckland library on Fridays. I cancelled my game night one week to attend. He's lovely but a couple of the preteens, whose parents seemed to use the library as a free baby-sitting service (eight year old girl taking the bus home alone at 9 pm when it's pitch dark seems a bit rough; we finished a game then split into two groups as more people arrived, I went to get one of my simple games from my car and this kid went at the same time to get Macdonald's and I was scared she wouldn't come back and then the police would come looking for me), left me with a strong aversion to the event and a sense of guilt for abandoning my own regulars.

I've usually either played with friends or workmates and branched out from there once they're hooked.

The CAB may be able to help you find a venue. Talk to a local cafe owner if they mind you taking up a table if there's a time when they're not busy. Unless you're planning on playing at home a regular venue is critical. Also figure out transport solutions for your games.

Turn up at the bridge club and ask if people want to play a real card game that's actually fun and doesn't involve telling your partner what cards you have. I see, on rereading, that John's suggested much the same. It goes down a treat.

Start talking to random people in the music section of a store. Assure them quickly that you are not recruiting for the Central Church of Christ. (For international readers, that's the name of a pernicious cult in this country.)

Print a few exciting full colour pics of some of the games you have with a brief description and details of where and when you'll be playing. Be prepared that no one will turn up for a few weeks or will stick their head in, see no one else and disappear again.

Don't expect to play for a while. Expect to only teach people until they can play alone and teach others.

Accept that other people don't love your stuff as much as you do and they're going to touch it with their unloving hands. Have an understanding spouse who won't mind you sobbing yourself to sleep every night because someone ate your meeple.
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Simon Woodward
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I have always had a venue (church halls mostly) but the cost (typically $30) is not always offset by the $3-$4 I charge per person. After 4 years I'm down about $50 (at one point it was $150!), so it's not too bad. So you have to consider that. People's homes are good, but you sorta need to know people first (our club now includes casual meetings in members' homes from time to time).

Edit: Yeah and you need to "play host", which means organising the venue, advertising (mostly letting people know the time and place), collecting fees, welcoming newcomers, teaching newcomers, playing games with newcomers. People like someone to be in charge. Sometimes you'll wish it wasn't you.
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zoran
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How do you start and then run a game group? Improvise, adapt to the environment, Darwin, shit happens, I Ching, whatever man, you gotta roll with it.
 
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Paul Oakes
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I don't disagree with anything said so far, all useful points. On the basis you have to start from scratch, so don't have a local games shop to work with, your 2 problems are obviously getting people to play with and somewhere to play.

My group in Liverpool uses yahoogroups, has a BGG Guild and thread in the England forum, Facebook and meetup pages. All have generated new players this year, it astonishes me how narrow a search some people do when looking for local board games groups, so you want as many ways as possible to be seen. We're building our own website as well. Local publicity in magazines, being seen playing games in the pub for 6 years and flyers in useful shops have never generated a single visit (the same applies to other clubs I've played at or know about).

Getting friends to play - suspect you may have tried that - is of limited use as they're obviously not as keen as you and won't want to go to every session. They'll soon resent being press-ganged into going, so let them know you'd appreciate support at the start then an occasional appearance and leave it there.

The venue can ruin everything if you get it wrong. First priority is access - you need car parking and public transport to be good, and preferably a central location rather than rural or suburbs so you have a better catchment area. If you can organise a venue first it gives you something more to put on the sites.

Next thing is often overlooked, what are the tables like? Are they big enough for a game, or can you move some together to create the required area? Beware small round tables used in many pubs and cafés, and if the tables are all different they might also be different heights so not good for big games requiring a few tables.

Lighting in a lot of pubs and cafés is often on the dim side for games. Great for atmosphere / concealing the shabbiness / saving electricity, no use with small print on cards.

Private rooms are nice but not essential, as long as you're not in the busiest place in town. Avoid sports bars. You must have reserved tables or be somewhere there's no need due to size. It's amazing how 8 people can sit at 6 tables in a pub and leave you playing Love Letter on the bar for 2 hours. Arrange everything with the owner or manager, not just the person who is there when you visit. Explain your requirements, especially that you need a lot of table space and don't want any meetings cancelled by other bookings. You ll probably start with one game at a time, but if you keep going you will soon need space for more, especially if some 2-player games like Netrunner or Twilight Struggle are popular.

For many people beer is a big plus, and food is also good, especially for those coming straight from work. Not everyone wants them, but you will gain more players than you lose. The idea of no refreshments sounds a pretty grim night to me - 4 hours of games without even a coffee isn't something I will ever want to try.

Make sure the opening hours are suitable, some people will want to stay late even if you don't, places that close at 10.00 will restrict what you can play and the number of games in an evening - an important thing if people are making an effort to be there.

Once you start you will have to turn up every meeting for a long time, without fail. If there's a meeting with just 2 or 3 players there's a chance they won't come back, and new players will expect the organiser to be there to talk to them. This might mean not meeting every week at first unless you know you can always be there. Less frequent meets might also be better attended as some people will only have the interest to attend occasionally, so instead of these players being there different weeks you get them all at once. You can increase the frequency once you have enough regulars to be sure of a good turnout every time.

I've been playing games at houses, pubs, halls and similar for 35 years, with lots of meetings in London, Manchester and Liverpool as well as visits to loads of clubs around Britain. I've seen a lot of good meetings, and a lot where I wonder why they bother. The story is usually the same, you need an effective organiser who keeps things going and doesn't let problems drift. Getting people to turn up takes work, so pay attention to what they want to keep them coming back. Keep it democratic, although if your venue doesn't charge you shouldn't need a formal structure (money requires admin).

In Britain it's a boom period for games clubs, with new ones starting all the time in places that barely exist, while many established clubs are getting record turnouts. There's no reason to think this is a UK effect, so you might have picked the right time to start something.

Final idea; fill out your BGG profile with a more accurate location, some personal details and name some games you like. People look at these, so not being just an unknown person somewhere in NZ can create more contacts. Good luck.
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David Hebart-Coleman
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For such a small town, Oamaru has a pretty strong local steampunk society. They are probably are the local demographic to which playing boardgames might appeal - especially steampunk/victorian themed ones, recent or older Legacy: Gears of Time, Gear & Piston, Mars Needs Mechanics, Mission: Red Planet, Wiraqocha.

There is a website: http://steampunkoamaru.co.nz/ with contact details.

You might also want to contact groups at Otago University as the summer holidays are coming up.
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Grant Thomas
New Zealand
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Wow. Some good ideas Here. Thanks. Its given me a Few things to Think about.

I've just moved here from Christchurch, So dont know the Scene very well.
I have a lot of General Games (Monopoly Trivial pursuit etc..). But have just brought a copy of Ticket to Ride. Which I need to get around to playing soon.

Yes Oamaru has a Large Steampunk venue here We seem to be the Steampunk HQ of New Zealand . Which I may or may not get involved. But also a Large Victorian interest as well.

I'll have to investigate further on Venues etc. and Just may Advertise for a games Nite/Day and see what sparks any interest and go from there. Since i've never done anything like this before. I had a Few friends over to play games when i lived in Christchurch.

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Dan
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I started my group about a year ago. I just advertised it on the NZ thread on boardgamegeek and also got it added to the community section of www.seriouslyboard.co.nz. I also invited workmates.

The first night, we had 13 people, which was great! But then the next few months we only had 3 or 4.

Someone introduced me to meetup.com, and after advertising it there, too, we started getting a lot more people.

We now have about 4-12 a month. I only do it once a month, as that is all I can commit to. As the leader, you have to be committed to it and show up on time every time. If you do it on a regular basis at the same venue, you eventually build momentum. (I also am fortunate to be able to host it at my church, and the church doesn't charge me anything for the venue).
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Mark Hodge
New Zealand
Dunedin
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Easy.

Ask to join a group I set up for a friend when she couldn't find a game group in Oamaru:

https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!forum/euro-boardgaming-o...

You can contact me here if you would like me to add you or have further questions:

http://nextgengames.twilightparadox.com/

Cheers,
Mark

Sleeve Master
NextGen Games Dunedin

Sleeve your precious cards!
http://nextgengames.twilightparadox.com/sleeveguide.html
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Grant Thomas
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markhodgeNZ wrote:
Easy.

Ask to join a group I set up for a friend when she couldn't find a game group in Oamaru:

https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!forum/euro-boardgaming-o...

You can contact me here if you would like me to add you or have further questions.

http://nextgengames.endoftheinternet.org

Cheers,
Mark


This is Brillant There Mark. Its giving me lots of think about.
Thanks, I'll get in contact with you soon.
 
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Ian Anderson
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There is lots of good advice in this thread, especially on how to find people.

There are a couple of points to think about that have perhaps been indirectly mentioned elsewhere, but are pretty obvious.

A) Do you want to create a public games group or a private games group?

A private group is one where people come by invitation and are typically hosted at the organiser's home. So the gamers tend to be friends and acquaintances, which is obviously harder to do when you are new in town. Attracting people is usually word-of-mouth. Running out of space can be an issue. On the plus side you don't have to find a venue or cart your games around.

A public group is advertised widely and you have little control over who comes. Usually organised at a public venue, which you might have to pay for or at least be responsible for.

B) How frequently do you want to meet?
Once a week is the easiest for people to remember, but you do have to make provision for when you go on holiday etc. Once a fortnight or month are other options but you have to have ways to remind people, especially if you have a complicated formula such as "the third Thursday after the first Sunday in the month".

Most importantly is that as organiser you have to have the enthusiasm to recruit players, keep them interested, always be there, provide a lot of the games and make things happen. Good luck.

(No surprise that I run a weekly private group)
 
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Paul Oakes
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secoffnz wrote:

I have a lot of General Games (Monopoly Trivial pursuit etc..). But have just brought a copy of Ticket to Ride. Which I need to get around to playing soon.


My reply assumed you could provide a selection of current games to play, and I think most of the others here have thought the same. Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit etc. might still be enough to get some people to turn up, but I doubt it. I think you need more than a copy of Ticket to Ride to start things off unless you are hoping to be the major Ticket to Ride club in South New Zealand.
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David B
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The best way to start a new game group is to offer free beer and food.
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Zigi Hogan
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I asked a LGS who already hosted a boardgame night (that was on a night I can't attend) if I could start one on Sundays. They more than happily agreed to give me 2 tables each Sunday.

I then went around to my friends and the rather large gaming community I am involved in and just told anyone who would listen. Then I started a game group page on Facebook and invited all of my friends and fellow gamers. Then came the actual work; I printed up fliers with the FB page and an e-mail address and all pertinent information and began to ask anyone and everyone if I could hang them on the public board in local stores.

The next thing was to be RELIABLE; show up each scheduled game night/day (Sunday for me) and bring games. Now I am a bit of an extroverted personality and am VERY enthusiastic about boardgames in general
so it comes easy for me. If people don't think you are excited they have no reason to be excited or any reason to be there at all!

On what to bring, I bring games I want to play! But I also carry a range of games for different numbers of players e.g. Memoir '44 or Claustrophobia for days only one person shows up, a Euro or two, a wargame (because I like a few), a very light game Carcassonne, card games, for a heavier game I like Dungeon Petz and whatever else will cover any number of other people e.g. Rex: Final Days of an Empire, Letters from Whitechapel. (don't forget a solo game just in case you are a sad lonely gamer sometimes!)

The most important thing to remember is that people are reluctant to just jump into a group of strangers, you must be welcoming and as I said before if you aren't excited and happy to be there neither will anyone else.








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Flabbergasted Rhino
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I started ours about 6-7 months ago and while the first few peeps came from here on the geek most of the people got the word through flyers at game stores, word of mouth and our Facebook group page (I also advertise our Monthly Game Days on other local FB Groups pages), with FB being the largest generator of new folks. Early on I shouted out to the large game groups in our two nearby cities and they helped spread the word as well. We now show 92 people on the FB Group page though many of those, while interested in the group, are spread around and can't make it to our events. We've had a fairly good turnout from the start though, with I think 16 being our slowest game day and 26 or so being our biggest. Many people that joined have told me they had no idea other gamers were about and some had a few friends they would game with semi regularly. Now we are all one big group and everyone seems to invite anyone they may know who is interested in gaming to come along. We also have our events at a school so they are kid friendly and some folks who wouldn't be able to get away for a game just bring their partners and kids who play games or play around on the playground. I think having reliable monthly events is key as is regular promotion. While I've looked at the meetups thing I find Facebook, which is free and almost everyone has anyway, does the trick just fine. Good luck!
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Clem Fandango
New Zealand
WELLINGTON
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I found the best way to start a games group is just do it.
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David Hunt
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Our group started because a local gamer contacted us through our Facebook page and asked if we knew of any groups in our area. We didn't, so we agreed to get together and start one up.

We usually host it at our place and we only advertise through our community page that was mentioned earlier: http://seriouslyboard.co.nz/about/community/

We find this effective as a basic screening method so that people don't just randomly turn up at our house unannounced.

We usually have about a dozen people. Our quietest nights would have half that, and our busiest nights would have 18-20 people.

I still remember the excitement of outgrowing our dining table and rushing off the The Warehouse during game night to buy an extra table and chairs!

I agree that Meetup is a good tool, but so is word of mouth. Just talking to your neighbours/work colleagues/club members etc is one way we've found people who enjoy board games (classic or modern) and have brought them in to share our awesome hobby.

If you set up a group, touch base with us, as we can help promote it and also provide benefits for you and your group. (And if you join the group Mark has recommended, get them to touch base with us for the very same reason!) thumbsup

Good luck!
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Alistair Stafford
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seriouslyboard wrote:

community page that was mentioned earlier: http://seriouslyboard.co.nz/about/community/


Speaking of this could you update the NorthShore group?

We are now officially EVERY Wednesday except the 1st on of the month although 1st Wednesdays can be arranged via the Facebook group.
Weekend gaming also tends to happen between members who organise things during Wednesday nights.
 
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