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Subject: Constructive help and advice for my first game night please. rss

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darren williams
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I've been asked to run a game night for my work based sport and social club, it will be held in a local pub in a private room with hopefully about 15 guests and I'd like to hope if a success this would become a semi regular event.
Any definite do's or dont's please? Have a look at my collection and I would expect to take along Lost Cities, Saboteur, Carcassonne, Settlers, Diamant, Aqua Romana, Ticket to Ride (Europe).
I will be helped out either by my better half who has plyed all these game or by a fellow geek. So any further advice would be appreciated.
Any replies from myself may be a bit delayed as my access is a bit limited at the moment.
Thanks, Darren
 
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James Ludlow
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
Know the rules for every game that you bring cold. If possible, make sure that at least 1/4 of the people there can teach something. Plan to be a teacher rather than a participant.

Don't bring to a bar games that you're worried about destroying.

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Karl Deckard
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
Ticket to Ride: Europe to play with people who are scared of games
Catan to play with people who are not scared of games
Carcassonne, maybe with expansions, to teach quickly to a group and leave them on their own
Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie in case you have gamers there that want to shoot stuff
The Red Dragon Inn to play using real beer

As another poster mentioned, plan on teaching games the whole night, but sneak one in if you can.

 
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Gabe Alvaro
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
jdludlow wrote:
Know the rules for every game that you bring cold. If possible, make sure that at least 1/4 of the people there can teach something. Plan to be a teacher rather than a participant.

Don't bring to a bar games that you're worried about destroying.

Can't say it any better than this. Just like subjects in school, how you are taught makes all the difference.

I would only add that since you would like everyone to come back in the future, their enjoyment should come first over your own. After you get 'em hooked will be the time to taste the sweet rewards of a regular game night.
 
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Dave Kudzma
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
I think it might have been Veristiko that told me:

Bring whatever games you love the most. Complexity isn't the issue.

Your passion for the games you love will come through when you teach them, and people will enjoy those games more than "perfect" choices.

Other than that, take your time and be patient.
 
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Mike Bourgeois
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Since it's a bar you're going to and drinks will be had... check your games for fiddly bits as well... the less people have to manipulate the easier it is for them.

And I agree... games it's not hard for you to replace just in case someone gets clutzy is a great idea. No one means to drop a pitcher of brew on your game but when it's done... it's done.

Have fun, I'll be looking forward to hearing how it went for ya.
 
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T. Nomad
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If you know how to play Werewolf, it'd make a great icebreaker.
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Jackson Chan
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Award prizes. I like to award points to the winner's and 2nd place players for each round of games (and I increase the points each subsequent game). Then the person who gets the most points at the end of the night, gets a prize (movie tickets or something). Tie break if needed.

The next game night I run, I plan on giving one raffle ticket per participant. Then I will award additional raffle tickets to game winners / 2nd place. Then I will have a raffle for prizes at the end.

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Marshall Miller
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
Since it is for work, where do you work? Could you do something themed around work?

I'd suggest looking for a copy of Wits and Wagers and coming up with some questions based on your work (or out of the employee manual).
 
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Jason Leveille
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
I'd echo the recommendation that you be prepared to *teach* the games. However, I think that it also helps to lead by example, and so playing is also a good idea.

I'd try to limit the total number of people to 10 for the initial night, so that way you can focus on one table and your wife on the other table. If that's not feasible, I'd teach one group Diamant/Incan Gold. It's so simple that people will quickly get it and then you won't need to nurture the table along. Also, another idea is to be on a "team" with one person and tell them what to do - your closest friend(s) would be the best candidates here.

I would NOT give out prizes, but play just for the fun of it. Trying to win should be competition enough. Keep your explanations short and to the point, and start playing as soon as possible; it's rare to find people that like to hear out the entire explanation. Mention that you'll point some rules as the game goes along, especially anything that is complex. Read some threads here on the geek about good explanation - that is more important than just about everything.

The one thing it's not more important than is your enthusiasm for the games. Let people know how much you love playing games through your excitement and general energy level. They will have a better time and give you more of a chance if they see how much you genuinely enjoy the games.

Don't get discouraged if you find a few people don't like it - not everyone is enlightened enough to like playing boardgames.

Also, I would bring San Marco and Formula De. For Formula De, just play a single lap so that it doesn't drag out too long.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you'll be able to start a regular gaming night!
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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Whatever winds up being played at a table requires that one person at the table knows how to play. It is critical. This is more difficult than it sounds when you're hosting a games night for a lot of newbies, since there is a temptation to teach a game to a group and then abandon them, assuming that they've understood the game. However, it is important to remember that in everybody's first game there are a hundred little questions that require answering, and having somebody at the table who can answer those questions immediately is worlds different than trying to read the rules yourself, or wait until the host is free to answer a question, etc.

So, for the first night, two tables of 5 with one person at each table who knows how to play is easy enough to do. On the other hand, more than that becomes a bit of a pain. If you think you'll have 15 people, try to split it into 3 groups and have a gamer at each table to guide the first game.

Make sure that every game has the best player aids printed off from here on BGG in the box, with multiple copies ready to be handed out to the players. Player aids are an invaluable resource for newbies, and help to tie things together. It ties in a whole different type of learning/memory processing, and aids the entire first-game process. Simply relying on everybody remembering the rules just doesn't compare to having them remember *and* read at the same time.

Make sure that no single game has an estimated playtime of more than 90 minutes, because remember that newbies will take a new game and add 50 percent to the original playtime estimate. Suddenly your 3 hour game night is mostly eaten up by the first game, with a strange 35 minute leftover period where people are drained from a long game, know they should still stay awhile longer, but don't have enough time to start anything they can finish.

Pick games with simple rules, simple sequences, and simple explanations, because sure-as-shootin' somebody at the table is going to have a mental block over something, and that isn't anybody's fault. Ticket to Ride might only have 3 possible actions to choose from each turn, but it is amazing how many people will have difficulty remembering their 3 options when their turn comes around.

Have clocks clearly visible in the room, so people can see what time it is, and also to remind them to keep things flowing. Time can play tricks on you when you're gaming, and a clock keeps things nice and centered. Even a wind-up alarm clock at the table helps people keep a feel for how the game is going when they know that the game should last 90 minutes and they see that an hour has passed.

Know your games, and the sweet spot for players. Just because you have a bunch of people wanting to play something doesn't mean you should cram them all into a single game that theoretically can handle it. Carcassonne is terribly boring with more than 4 players, but I've seen people turn their friends permanently off it by introducing it to them at a dinner party with 6 people, which is like watching paint dry! So it is better to bring more games and tables than to try to cram more gamers into a game that has already hit its premium. Remember, you want people to walk away having a good first experience -- you don't want to have to explain to them how "in normal circumstances" it would've gone differently ...

Be enthusiastic, answer all questions with a smile, and remember there really are no dumb questions. You're not there to "sell" gaming. Gaming is cool on its own, but people just need a peek in the window, so you're there to do a little translating and provide a peek behind the curtain. Once they see how things are done, gaming sells itself! So, so long as you're enthusiastic, informative, and helpful, they'll come to their own conclusions naturally.

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darren williams
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Well thanks for all the advice and I just hope it works out! Just to answer a few of the comments;

I work in a large government/benefit based call centre so anything related to work-no no no and no.

Prizes have already been offered but I'll wait and see if it gets off the ground as a regular thing first.

Werewolf I've only played with kids (they loved it) and will take some cards along just in case.

I'd love to take Formula De but I don't think the tables are big enough and they are round.

Red Dragon Inn with real beer YES but I'm not sure about everyone else as I am a bit of a professional with the waistline to prove it in lager/cider consumption.

Thanks for all your advice and I will take feedback from all involved and run up some sort of session report or list when done.
Cheers.
 
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Melissa
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
If you can, try to set up games that will sustain themselves - that is, games that people will learn through watching and then play several times.

Many dexterity games are ideal for this. Of the games you suggest, Diamant is probably another.

Good luck!
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Dr Evil's Advocate
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Re: Constructive help and advice for my first game night ple
Second the suggestion to start with Werewolves. You can play with all 15 people and get everyone "into the groove".

You probably can't play Formula De, but you might be able to fit PitchCar somewhere - that's easy to explain, supports a bunch of people and will sustain itself.

Go to Amazon UK and order Loupin Louie. Trust me. Just do it. Have you done it yet? What are you waiting for? Just buy 2 copies, and bring spare batteries.

Apples to Apples also works well with a large group, and once you've got some people playing that you can get 8 people playing Diamant.

Then you can work your way to the 4/5 player games after that.

I recommend starting with a 15p game (Werewolves), then 2 8p games, then the smaller number games after that.

Good luck!
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darren williams
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Just to update everyone...it floppped, only myself and 3 guests but I did manage to introduce Kingdoms and Diamant which did grab their interest as they were so far from what they knew as boardgames and they will spread the word for my next attempt in March. As a bonus I was awarded £20 in expenses to buy games for my own and possible further event use so it will be For Sale and something else to be confirmed...Oh for Tanga in the UK.
 
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