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Subject: How to start a gaming group? rss

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Greg Denysenko

Rochester
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All right- here it goes....

I want to start a gaming group- but I don't want any WEIRDOs coming over. Has anyone felt like this? And did you succeed in finding someone? How?

Let me start from the beginning. I love games- but apart from my 9 year old son- I have no gaming friends. In fact, everyone I speak to about it sort of gives me that "look". No, I can't get them to game at all.
Ideally, I would like to game at home or someone else's house. There is a game club that meets on Saturdays at a FLGS, but that doesn't work for me.So I would rather find people who would prefer to game on other days- and a less smelly venue (I'm sorry but the place stinks).

But on the other hand, I have a family and I wouldn't want anyone coming over that is questionable. I imagine I could go back to the local gaming club, look to see if anyone is intrested in outside gaming, but is there some other way to find gamers?
 
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John Gravitt
United States
Northglenn
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Have you tried your local Craigslist? I tried that once and found a couple of people but learned to screen them on the phone because sometimes they were weird. One couple answered the game ad but just wanted to go to the movies. Post in Activities if you are holding an event, Groups if you are trying to start one, and even strictly platonic if you are looking for a gamer friend or couple.

Someone told me about couplets.com recently. It's like a Myspace for couples but it is very sparsely populated right now. You put in your interest of games and hope for someone near you who has the same. You can also put in the age of your kid to hope for a match in that area too. It's free for now, but don't get your hopes up on a lot of takers.

Don't forget trying to start a game group at your work, church, or synagogue as well. Have you looked through the gamer database here? You might find a lot of gamers in your zipcode.

http://boardgames.meetup.com/cities/us/ny/rochester/ has 23 folks near Rochester who would like to hear about board game groups when one is started. Even if you don't start one, you could add your name to the list and get informed when someone takes the plunge and starts a Rochester Boardgames Meetup.

Good luck,
John
 
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Greg Denysenko

Rochester
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Thanks for suggestions. That's exactly what I am looking for! How many people find BGG a good source for finding individuals to game with?
 
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Jason Lutes
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My game group is comprised almost entirely of people I've "met" online. Mostly it's people from a particular messageboard I frequent, so I already
had some idea what they were like before inviting them over to my house. But I did find one person on BGG in my area, and he's a great guy. The way I found him was by going through BGG profiles of people in my area and reading their GeekQuestion answers. His were the only ones I could really relate to, and he responded positively to the invite, so it worked out well.
 
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Graham Smallwood
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Santa Ana
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I started with a group I found on meetup.com. I went to a fairly large group regularly for a few months, started talking to a few regulars that I really got along with, and then eventually invited those few people over to my house.

I totally see what you are saying about not wanting to risk weirdos coming over to your house. I wish I could be all noble and say that all people are good people. With this plan, you start with good people, and then when those people introduce new people, it happens that good people tend to be friends with good people. I'm up to like 11 people I wouldn't hesitate to invite over at any time, and only 4 of them are people that I started with myself.

Once you find the group of people that are just like you, it totally takes the pressure off of trying to "convert" coworkers and the like. Good luck.
 
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Justin Redd
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Portland
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gregd wrote:
How many people find BGG a good source for finding individuals to game with?


I've met and gamed with about 20 BGGers in real life and I'd have any of them over. Many of these I met through a local meetup.com group. One of them I "cold geekmailed" here on the geek based on his game comments. He invited me to a game night where I met some great people.

As for avoiding "weirdos", when bringing people together, phone or email with them before you have them over. Be up front about what sort of games you want to play and when you want your game night to begin and when you want it to end. And if you have any other strong feelings about your game night (e.g. no profanity, no booze, no politics, etc.) be sure and tell everybody you invite before they come. You should be able to tell by their responses to your requests if they're going to be too weird for you or not.

Oh, and do it. I've been to game nights at houses, game stores, pubs and pizza places. Houses are by far my favorite venues.
 
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Bruce
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South Carolina
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Start out at a neutral location: Local gaming store, college, restaurant, books-a-million, etc. It puts a little less pressure on both sides....For all they know, you could be the 'weirdo'.

Post notices on BGG, at the local gaming stores and on the local college campus (you're likely going to score the most hits on a college campus) and hold regular meetings at a good location. Having your own website helps too. If you can hold your meetings somewhere where there's lots of foot-traffic you'll likely pick up a few that way too.

After meeting them a few times, figure out who you like and invite them over to your place.
 
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Ashfield
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Just meet them at a bar or cafe first, then if they're normal enough for you, let them enter your home.
 
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C.K. Au
Malaysia
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I run regular gaming groups and I've a few FLGS plus cafe where we can organize those meetups so I kinda rotate among the venues except for one or two key venues that I've a fixed monthly meeting.

Having a public venue is very useful as that allows newcomers to come, take a look and if they like what they see, sit down for a game, otherwise they can just observe and leave at their own convenience.

I do also organize private meetups which are held at one of our homes but those are usually by-invitation and therefore everyone knows each other.

Check out our meetup pics here
www.boardgamecafe.net/community/photos
 
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Richard Pakpreo
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What's wrong with Weirdos? You never know, the weirdo might actually turn into a really good friend.
 
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Loren P
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I started a humble gaming group in my hometown. I started by using BGG to find local gamers and then just geekmailing them. I also checked other internet resources like meetup.com. I held the game nights at my house, and to be honest I was quite nervous. But I was very fortunate that every single person who has ever come over has been interesting, polite, fun, and well-versed in the art of hygiene. I would imagine that many of them were also equally as hesitant when coming over for the first time.

But I think the best thing I did was actually to go to someone else's game night. There I clicked up with gamers who were into the same types of games that I was into and were normal enough that I had no qualms about them coming over to my house.

So I would recommend you going to your FLGS and meeting people there. Go there a few nights and develop some relationships. It might be difficult to fit into your schedule, but think of it as an investment.
 
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Frank Hussey
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Olympia
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I run a very large gaming group that meets monthly in the banquet room of a downtown restaurant. It wasn't that hard to set up. You post flyers and ask people to bring games. As you get to know folks, you choose which ones you most want to play with. In my case, they don't charge us for the room because we use it during a lower demand day and time. The bonus is you are in a restaurant so grub is readily available and you don't have to clean up.

Another option that I've recently done for the first time is to have your local library sponsor a game event. This was really fun! With library events you tend to get families with kids, so this could be great for you and your son. This type of event self-selects for sharp kids from good families. The one trick is to get a few other people to help run games. Hopefully, the local game store would be happy to help with this as it is good promotion for their store. If you click pretty well with some of the other parents and kids, then you can invite them over for more gaming at your house.

Hope this helps!
 
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Tim K.
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Seattle
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A good podcast on the subject from BoardgamesToGo:

http://boardgamestogo.com/2005_08_01_boardgamestogo_archive....
 
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Andrew Prizzi
United States
West Newton
Pennsylvania
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laugh

I'm going to have to tell my wife that I'm:

Quote:
interesting, polite, fun, and well-versed in the art of hygiene


Talk about a compliment!



I understand the original poster's concerns (My wife's question was "how do you know these people aren't going to be axe murderers?" At least wierdo are safer than axe murderers).

Dittos for what other people have said- look through bgg and other online sources (yahoo groups, meetups, etc) for people who play games in your area. Meet them over at their place or a "neutral site" before inviting them over to your place. Of course it's not always polite to invite yourself over someone else's house, so you may need to take the risk and put in the effort of hosting the first time. You can always not invite someone back.

If you go to the "misc" tab at the top of the page on BGG and then click on "find users" there is a tool that lets you look up bggers within a certain distance of your zip code.
 
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Jacco Versteeg
United Kingdom
Crewe
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As other people have already mentioned, I started my group with Meetup.com as well. When I saw how many people had signed up as 'waiting for a boardgame group to be organised', I just took the initiative. As for location: I went for a pub, booked myself a room there, and have been going on ever since. The only snag is that I can't get the room on a regular basis yet, but maybe I can make a change in that next year, considering that we've proved ourselves to be a steady crowd that doesn't cause trouble and leaves the room behind neatly.

I'm advertising on Craigslist as well, and I'm thinking about making some flyers for the gameshops, since they have various other groups advertising at the moment. But for that I want a nice design first.
 
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Matthew Bond
United Kingdom
Norwich
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Our game club the Norwich Board Gamers came about through BBG. Luke (ilovekatusha) e-mailed me about a year ago asking if I knew of or belonged to any games groups in Norwich. After a few e-mails we met up in a pub (both of us weary of the other's collection of gleaming axes). Both of us turned out to be relatively normal. We then took it from there. We found a regular pub to play in on a Tuesday night, invited mutual friends and advertised in our FLGS, in the local paper and on BBG.

We had a slow start, just 2 or 3 of us for a few weeks, but we've since had up to 18 people turn up on a single night and now have a regular group. In that time I've met a lot of new people, some of which I now meet up with outside the club and have regular game sessions at each others houses.

The Norwich Board Gamers has now been running for just over one year, we still meet up every Tuesday evening (downstairs in the Compleat Angler - 7.30pm) and always welcome new members.
 
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Ken Boone
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prizziap wrote:

If you go to the "misc" tab at the top of the page on BGG and then click on "find users" there is a tool that lets you look up bggers within a certain distance of your zip code.


This feature would be much more useful if you could filter by "interesting", "polite", "fun", and "well-versed in the art of hygiene".
 
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Tom Hancock
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The problem with that is the fact that the hygiene-challenged typically don't realize they are hygiene-challenged.

My problem with getting a group together is I don't have time to actually meet with them.
 
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Allen Reeves
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Once you find one normal person to game with, usually they also have normal friends that are open to gaming. The friend of a friend route has worked the best for me.

Also, I've met various people through BGG, both at my home and at the con, and would game with any of them again.

I've only had one gamer show up at my house who I wouldn't let in again. I was told after the fact by the person who brought him that he apparently refused to take his medication. He weirded my wife out to the point where she asked me to keep him in the game room and not let him roam the house unattended. Really.

Anybody who knows my wife and me knows that she doesn't scare easily. devil
 
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Jeremy Shelton
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I had the same problem you did getting a game group started. One day I just took the plunge and checked out some people on the Geek who lived close by. I found one guy who turned out to be really cool and have met other gamers through him. I just geekmailed him and explained who I was and invited him to my place for gaming. Turned out via scheduling issues I ended up going to his place for our first game session. After I had known him for a while he confided that his wife (and he) were wondering before that first game session, "Who is this guy coming to our house? He could be an axe murderer! --- yes they did use that term).

Anyway, I have found one way to screen out any wierdos is to just check their profile here on BGG. There were several people who lived close by but had some really strange things to say on their profile. I realize strange is a subjective term but these were things that just left you scratching your head wondering, what in the hell is that and what does it have to do with anything? Obviously I didn't email those people. The other suggestions made here are also good ideas. It just takes time and determination, so don't give up.

Good luck!
 
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John Goewert
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gregd wrote:
Ideally, I would like to game at home or someone else's house. There is a game club that meets on Saturdays at a FLGS,


Why not ask your FLGS to get a group going on at an alternate time as well? Take responsibility to start one. I would hope that they have some free slots available for your group.

Just because there is one special time devoted, doesn't mean there can't be more.

 
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leftfield
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I think you have a perfectly legitimate concern. Gaming on a regular basis with someone with whom you are not compatible enough can completely destroy the experience for you.

I like the idea of using craigslist or meetup.com to get something going in a neutral venue like a restaurant on a monday (slow business day) or a bookstore coffee shop. When you find some folks with whom you are compatible, invite them individually to start a group that meets at your house.

I see three (well, four) possible outcomes (all good):

1. You get to play some games with some strangers and walk away.
2. You start a game group that you like and stick with it and make some new friends
3. You start two game groups, one private and one public and you have options.
4. Everyone in your community finds out you're the weirdo but allows you to play with them anyway. laugh

Now, brush up on the rules and get out there!

"It's a very exciting time! Got a lot of work to do!" -Tank
 
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David McLeod
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I had no gaming friends when I moved back home a year and half ago and with a little encouragement I've managed to convince 15 of my friends that playing games is fun! It took me as long as I've lived here to get them going but we had our first games night in November with 15 people and well... now all my friends love games (maybe not gamers yet). Not sure what your pool of people is like but don't lose faith!

 
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Matthew Fisk
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Ellowen-Deeowen wrote:
Start out at a neutral location: Local gaming store, college, restaurant, books-a-million, etc. It puts a little less pressure on both sides....For all they know, you could be the 'weirdo'.

Post notices on BGG, at the local gaming stores and on the local college campus (you're likely going to score the most hits on a college campus) and hold regular meetings at a good location. Having your own website helps too. If you can hold your meetings somewhere where there's lots of foot-traffic you'll likely pick up a few that way too.

After meeting them a few times, figure out who you like and invite them over to your place.


This is what I did. We had a local store and I started a group at the store. Once I had learned those I did and did not feel comfortable with I started inviting them over and quit using the store.
 
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Court
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I had a rough time initially after moving away from San Diego where I had converted a number of good friends to the hobby. We used to meet a couple times a month, usually at least one Sunday afternoon for all day gaming sessions and dinner.


But, when we moved, we met another couple for games precisely because they posted a shout-out here on the geek and I responded. The night my wife and I showed up, there was another fellow they had culled from craigslist - and that fellow was nice enough, but a bit odd, and not really into games. Not sure why he responded; must have mistaken the term "games" to mean something else.

Now my wife and I regularly meet up with this other couple (and often some of their friends) for games, food, nights on the town, etc.

Still, I am on the lookout for some more folks to have over at my place and I am also wondering how to go about finding people. The games we play with this other group tend towards the shorter, euro style games, and while those are fun, I also like to play games that are longer and with more conflict (Warrior Knights, BattleLore, Battlestations!).

Thankfully, my wife (who is in grad school) is on the lookout and it turns out there might be some good prospects there!
 
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