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Subject: Guidelines for Creating a Game Group rss

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Duo Maxwell
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I should say, that this is a list of my observations and what I consider good practices. ***Perhaps the community can chime in and also provide some guidelines or best practices. Full disclosure, I have been in 2 game groups in one year and both have dissolved (one offensive behavior and the other due to waning interest/difference of philosophy. The 2nd one dissolved more organically. That being said, take my guidelines with a grain of salt.

(1) Play some games with people at local game stores or meet-ups. Using this as an interview process to gauge whether the person would be a good "fit" into your game group from a personality perspective.

(2) Make sure they have the time commitment. If you want to play TI 4th Edition (a very lengthy game) and they only have one hour every other week then maybe that is not a good fit. Responsibilities and life in general may make it difficult to meet at a regular time so try to be flexible/accommodating with people's time.

(3) Ensure group members have similar taste in games. If you love Amerithrash and you form a group with people who love Euros exclusively then it may be a problem especially if you have a back-log of Amerithrashy goodness or Euro-y goodness.

(4) Make your assessment base on several meet-ups with people. I know this is difficult but I have found that people tend to be more accommodating, generous, courteous in the beginning. But for a long term group you want to see them warts all all, with their hair down. You want to see their true personality. The initial personality that you meet is often a facade, a personable mask that people wear to conform to social norms. For my recent group, we had played dozens of games, and finally after several weeks of playing games, one game group mentioned that they hated several of the games. Which gets me to my next point.....

(5) Be honest. If you do not like something, be open and forthcoming about it. No need to subject yourself to torment. Many times we play a game before we realize we do not like it. But if you know in advance you will not like a game because of x,y,z then you should probably state it in advance.

(6) Ensure group members are "like" minded and "open" minded. By "like" minded, I do not mean that you have to 100% aligned on every subject, besides I think that would be somewhat boring if you agreed completely on everything.
Someone else having a different view could provoke thought.
I personally, think it is helpful if there are areas in the game groups lives that overlap besides just board games. I pride myself on finding common ground with almost everyone but I have found that this can only be done up to a point. Board gaming is a social experience (unless your solo gaming) so having other points of interest that are in common is beneficial. My last two groups, I have had different views on certain topics than my game group and I think it may have contributed to a rift. Now, I am *not* advocating shutting down discussion or hiding away from opinions/beliefs that you do not agree with. Sometimes, your beliefs need to be challenged in the market place of ideas. I'm sure some gamers will find that their love of board games may override their disagreements. I have found that certain philosophical disagreements are catalysts for strife in the group.

(7) Try to figure out what people opinion about game philosophies. King Making, Rules Lawyering, Analysis Paralysis, Luck, Randomness.

(8) Do not be afraid to dissolve the group if things are not working out. Aaah, the Nuclear option. This is not to be taken lightly. Like any relationship, if you feel it's not "working out", then it might be time to go your separate ways. Be careful, because you do not want a bad break-up. Hopefully, you come to a mutual understanding. Life is too short to be unhappy and games are supposed to be jovial (imo). I want to end by saying I'm not saying dissolve a group because of a squabble, petty disagreement or even a major disagreement. You will have to be the judge of the severity of the disagreement.

(9) Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Don't be afraid to go to meet-ups and start a game group. Remember "Fear in the mind killer".



Lol....it's funny because, as I'm writing this it seems like all the points can be adapted to finding a friend/significant other. I guess it all falls under the umbrella of relationship advice. I guess. I dunno.

Feel free to add to my list, make addendums, amendments, disagree, agree with what I have wrote.
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Jeremy Gray
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West Chester
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I've attended meetups from about a half dozen different game groups. The most successful ones seem to have a few things in common:

1. An active, organized, and welcoming "leader." On meetup.com these are called "organizers" and I've seen ones that have varying levels of involvement. Some might hardly ever be at the meetups, while others are greeting each and every person the attends, sending welcome emails when people join, and ensuring that everyone is in on a game during the meetups themselves. A great and personable organizer goes a long way towards ensuring a group's success.

2. While not necessary, having some kind of identity really helps a group thrive. It may be tempting to want to be all things to all gamers, but (in my opinion) the most active and successful groups have some kind of core identity, mostly in terms of the games played there. It could be heavy euros, light party games, 18xx, etc. That's not to say that other kinds of games would never be played there. But having that core identity keeps me from bringing Arkwright and finding no one to play it.

3. Games. It may sound silly, but an organizer should be willing to shoulder the burden (at least initially) of bringing several games to a meetup. Over time, as more people join in, several people will naturally emerge as the "mules" bringing in the vast majority of game selection for the group. But a game group without games to play won't survive.

4. Be welcoming. This dovetails off of #1 above, but being welcoming should always be emphasized. If a group isn't a great fit for an individual, then things usually develop for a natural parting of ways. But don't make that decision for them. There have always been gamers that irritate me with behavior, hygiene, etc. But I will never say no to them if they want to play. This may be an individual's only chance to "get out" and seek people that they could bond with. Don't take that away from them.

Now these points were written with regards to having/running a larger game group. For smaller groups, such as finding a core group of people to come to your house or something like that, then I believe that people have to find their own level of comfort. I think that for larger, more communal groups, though, the above are good starting points.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Florence
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I usually go with "Hey wanna play a game?" and if that goes well then I'd be up for gaming with them again. You're overthinking it.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Thunkd wrote:
I usually go with "Hey wanna play a game?" and if that goes well then I'd be up for gaming with them again. You're overthinking it.


Eh, it depends. I've seen highly organized and ritualized game groups work well, and I've seen very loose "hey we're gaming at about 11, come on by if you are interested" style game groups work well. It's really about finding what level of codification works for you and the people you are inviting.
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Duo Maxwell
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Thunkd wrote:
I usually go with "Hey wanna play a game?" and if that goes well then I'd be up for gaming with them again. You're overthinking it.


Perhaps. Possibly, you are over simplifying things. Maybe the correct answer is somewhere in between.
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This is related to a conversation I had with the other organizers of our local boardgame MeetUp. Long story short, most of us don't bother with formal groups (myself included). The larger events are an opportunity to network with other gamers. Whoever feels like hosting outside the MeetUp sends out an invite to whomever they met through the MeetUp that they think would be good for it. At this point, most of my gaming is at more private games, whereas I still go to the main events now and again to have my pulse on the community and keep my network fresh. I probably game less than when I was a more active member of the MeetUp, but I'm playing more of the games that I like.

The truth is, our main MeetUp is kind of a mess. One of the members got a little inappropriate/stalkery with one of the other members, has been ostracized, and now kinda trolls the group from time to time. There are a few other people who come to the main events who are just a nightmare to game with or some are inappropriate in other (usually social) ways. So it goes with geek culture. Truth is, having the MeetUp as a public space for very casual gaming serves as a pretty good screening tool. But outside of the meetup, there really are no formal groups. Just people who know each other and game from time to time.
 
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Chris
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I didnt realize I was being so intensely watched and judged
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Michael Korson
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Perrin2017 wrote:
I didnt realize I was being so intensely watched and judged


Such is the meta-game
 
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