Recommend
17 
 Thumb up
 Hide
43 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Is your gaming group newbie compatible? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeff Hinrickson
United States
St Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I believe most of us would like to think that it is, but is it really?

My group meets on Tuesday nights 6pm-10pm. There are a few of us that consistently come from week to week (4 or 5). We usually bring a crowd of anywhere from the normal few 4 or 5 to sometimes 10.

Every once in awhile we do have the occasional newbie, and a lot of times this person doesn't show up again or rarely shows up.

This has got me thinking, because not this past Tue. but the prior we had a new guy come in and he seemed to enjoy himself - then this past Tuesday he didn't show up. Now there could be a logical explanation for all of this, but what if he just didn't like our groups demeanor?

There are a couple of us who are sort of aggressive verbally (I am one of them). For example, if someone makes a move before I can make that move I may say something like, "You son of a bitch!!" All in good fun, and the regulars know this. I do try to tone it down a little with newbies around, but sometimes things just slip out.
There is another guy in our group that is similar to me in that regard.

This makes me question if whether our group is newbie friendly or not.

Also, me myself - Sometimes I am put off by newbies because they are usually completely new to the hobby. I realize I can be kind of prickish in this regard, not by being mean to them but just by not being very inviting. I don't, however, tell a new person they can't play I just don't invite them to sit down. This is the job of the more friendly folk in my group, where I am rather stand offish.

All seems to turn out all right if the person continues to come and they get to know our individual personalities, especially mine, so gaining newbies isn't all bad, I guess.

I believe that our group is a little rough around the edges and some newbies may not be able to handle our group, which is why I believe we have a high turnover rate (except for the 4 to 5 regulars).

So I pose this question to all gaming groups.

Think about it, is your group really newbie friendly or not with some of the quirky attitudes some members may have?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hell no! And get off my lawn.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony
United States
Wyoming
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Let's just say that as I look at your avatar & geekbadge, I'm not coming to your place and ask to play with "blue"!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Boudreau
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
My group is in terms of demeanor... but I doubt we are in terms of games we play. We play violent and complex games for the most part. I seriously think the simplest game we play is Haloclix. Other than that we also do Battletech, DnD, Doom, and Warhammer 40k... so the learning curve for our group probably is pretty steep. We also have At-43 on the way, now that I've raided the FFG sale.

Scary part for me is I'm thinking about introducing my cousin to this crazy world of warfare. He loves miniatures and he likes video games and sci-fi & action films. I don't think he's ever thought about combining them into a single setting before...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rick Kimmel
United States
Waconia
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The game group I'm in hasn't scared away any newbies in the 2 years I've been in it despite the best efforts of the more...uhhh...vocal guys in the group. Generally, though, each group is going to have it's own personality and not everyone is going to fit in well.

I might have to come out east sometime and join you guys. I'm always in for a good "Son of a Bitch!" or "What the fuck?!?". devil
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd like to think I've gone out of my way to be welcoming, because I have led my own group.

Boardgaming needs newbies if it's going to continue. We're not in a position to alienate very many of them.

I would recommend that a group choose two regulars to make newbies feel especially at home -- even give them a call the next week to invite them again, or give them rides when necessary.

Sounds like a lot to do, but it beats playing solo games.....
7 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Caleb
United States
Seminole
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In my experience, a good way to "alienate" new people is to avoid chit-chat or some sort of "get to know you" time. If a new person shows up and you (even politely) show them to a table, give quick introductions, and dive into the game, even if they're OK learning something new like that, they might feel left out. Especially if, as the game gets going, your normal interactions with the regulars sort of marginalize the new player socially. he sits there listening to your banter but really unable to join in, and just makes his moves when it's his turn. Not really all that fun.

You can basically go about getting new people into your group in 2 ways:

1. Invite someone who's already a friend. At least he won't feel left out of the conversation, but is he really interested in games?

2. Go out of your way, actually, REALLY out of your way, to make a new person feel welcome. This might actually entail taking 20 minutes or more (maybe after a filler while the main group plays another short game) to talk to the person, find out stuff about them. Where do they work, what are their other hobbies, that sort of thing. The point is, you want to start to get acquainted with them socially, outside of board games, in order for them to feel comfortable.

Also, as an aside, I've gone to some game nights of groups I don't know. And let me tell you, a messy house is a real turn-off when you walk in. Take some time to vacuum and straighten the place up a little first, if a new person is coming. Your regulars are all used to it and won't care, but if the newbie has to step over shoes and game boxes and stuff, or can't sit on the couch because of a stack of magazines, or (worse) has his socks turn brown because your floor is filthy, he's not coming back. Trust me.
21 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Cote
United States
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't mind teaching someone a new game, especialy if it's an investment for the future. But the worst thing that can happen is to have a non-gamer show up at game night who is probably never going to come back. In fact, I'd prefer to simply stay home.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I don't mind teaching someone a new game, especialy if it's an investment for the future. But the worst thing that can happen is to have a non-gamer show up at game night who is probably never going to come back. In fact, I'd prefer to simply stay home.


Jim, I understand the tedium and seeming pointlessness of investing time with a low probability of payback. I sometimes feel the same way.

But I'm afraid such an attitude might contribute to the problem if you walk into a situation thinking a newbie "is probably never going to come back." If your behavior reflects that, then the newbie probably will sense a bit of tension or reservedness and indeed never come back.

Same applies to dating and sales.
They're both numbers games.
You may miss several before you win one.
But in the end, it's usually worth it.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bradley Burcar
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ekted wrote:
I don't mind teaching someone a new game, especialy if it's an investment for the future. But the worst thing that can happen is to have a non-gamer show up at game night who is probably never going to come back. In fact, I'd prefer to simply stay home.


I must say that I agree with your opinion on this subject as well. There's a big difference between teaching a potential gamer a new game to introduce them to the hobby and in trying to get non-gamers and gamers to enjoy themselves at the same game. Non-gamers just don't play overly complex games - not because they're new to the hobby, but because the game is too "thinky" or involved for them. If I am specifically going to a group to game, I want to play those more complex games. I have no problem getting the lighter games (and the party games) to the table, but if I'm attending a group it's to specifically play the heavier games that are harder to get to the table.

If there is a non-gamer newbie in the group it changes the entire atmosphere. Now you have to be accomodating instead of excluding them, and you have to scale down the levels of games that you play to the very light stuff. I have no problem playing these games in the right situation at the right time, but I get annoyed when non-gamers are invited to the "gamerly" groups I'm in. To me that destroys the entire reason I go to that group and I would rather stay home as well.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex
United States
St. Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fair enough.

If you're a weekly gamer, you might want to include newbies only once or twice a month -- whatever suits you. Or have someone schedule an extra night or two for newbs with lighter stuff.

Either way, you get in your hard-core gaming, and the newbie gets eased into the hobby. Meanwhile, you can see whether he or she is interested in delving further.

Kinda like dating. Don't bring your date to your guys' night out, and don't necessarily take her out for a full-blown meal if you really don't know her.

Take her first to coffee, a drink or lunch to test it out first.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
Zendo fan, Columbus Blue Jackets fan, Dominion Fan.
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cannoneer wrote:
2. Go out of your way, actually, REALLY out of your way, to make a new person feel welcome. This might actually entail taking 20 minutes or more (maybe after a filler while the main group plays another short game) to talk to the person, find out stuff about them. Where do they work, what are their other hobbies, that sort of thing. The point is, you want to start to get acquainted with them socially, outside of board games, in order for them to feel comfortable.


If I went somewhere to play games, and the group took away 20 minutes of my gaming time to interrogate me, I probably wouldn't go back. I'm fairly reserved, and I don't like to talk about myself. I'd rather Games Night be about the games. The rest can come out during the course of the evening. Or the next evening, if the first one is enjoyable enough.

Instead, I would look to find out what kind of games the newbie likes. Or, if they don't have gaming experience, lead with a gateway game (to the extent that you can do so and maintain the nature of the group). Briefly explain some of the choices and let them decide (but don't force it if they deflect the choice back to you). If they have a good time, they're more likely to come back, so try to make sure they have a good time.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
I am very accepting and welcoming. Most of the people I play with are very accepting and welcoming. We are very newbie compatible...

Except perhaps our game culture won't suit everyone. We are loud and raucous a lot. We swear enough to make sailors blush. This sort of behavior is not to everyone's taste. And I don't think we will really change to accomodate new people who are put off by that.

And yet, we can clean up our act if the situation calls for it. And I dearly love to have new people come to visit us and have a good time with us. So I always encourage anyone;

If you are in Milwaukee, WI on a Tuesday night, stop by Adventures In Gaming and have a good time with us.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Hinrickson
United States
St Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
cosine wrote:
I am very accepting and welcoming. Most of the people I play with are very accepting and welcoming. We are very newbie compatible...

Except perhaps our game culture won't suit everyone. We are loud and raucous a lot. We swear enough to make sailors blush. This sort of behavior is not to everyone's taste. And I don't think we will really change to accomodate new people who are put off by that.

And yet, we can clean up our act if the situation calls for it. And I dearly love to have new people come to visit us and have a good time with us. So I always encourage anyone;

If you are in Milwaukee, WI on a Tuesday night, stop by Adventures In Gaming and have a good time with us.


This sounds similar to our group. I do find myself in Milwaukee on occasion I may have to look you up at Adventures in Gaming.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Sandall
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My opinion is that it's up to the host to set the tone for the group. If you're the host and you're standoffish, then perhaps trying to grow the group shouldn't be your goal. Having people in the group who are more friendly is a good thing, but the host must make someone new feel welcome. If you want to grow the group you host, you have to be welcoming and accomodating. The rest of the group will follow your example. If you want to attract a more elite cadre of gamers like yourselves, you need to select your new invitees with more care. Otherwise, you need introduce the new gamers, accomodate them, keep them interested in coming back for more, and watch them grow and appreciate what you've got.

And yes cleaning up your place is a must! Food helps too.
6 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Clason
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cannoneer wrote:
...
2. Go out of your way, actually, REALLY out of your way, to make a new person feel welcome. This might actually entail taking 20 minutes or more (maybe after a filler while the main group plays another short game) to talk to the person, find out stuff about them. Where do they work, what are their other hobbies, that sort of thing. The point is, you want to start to get acquainted with them socially, outside of board games, in order for them to feel comfortable.
...

I don't think this is necessary. I remember when I started going to a gameday a few years ago. I saw a post for the gameday on the BGG forums. I sent geekmail and received the host's address. On the 45 minute drive there, I felt apprehensive, as I didn't know anyone who was going to be there. The host met me at the door, introduced himself, was very freindly, and sat me down at a game that was about to begin. From that point forward it was bliss.

Like a lot of gamers, I'm a bit of an introvert. When I'm with a group of people I don't know, I am much more comfortable if we are doing something, like playing a game. If I'm just socializing with a group of strangers, I often feel awkward.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jae
United States
Bryan
TX
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cavedog_pdx wrote:
And yes cleaning up your place is a must! Food helps too.


After having one of my games chip dusted and another dipped in sauce, I'm very anti-food right now.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jeffwolfe wrote:
If I went somewhere to play games, and the group took away 20 minutes of my gaming time to interrogate me, I probably wouldn't go back. I'm fairly reserved, and I don't like to talk about myself. I'd rather Games Night be about the games. The rest can come out during the course of the evening. Or the next evening, if the first one is enjoyable enough.


Right on! I'm in one group where the start time is a half-hour range; people show up anytime during that half-hour and have some time to socialize, then it's time to start the gaming. But the social conversation is general, and a new person could join in as much or as little as they wanted--it's not putting the spotlight on them. They could also show up 5 minutes before the real start time and miss the schmoozing entirely.

The thing to remember is that it's a GAME group. Socializing comes second. If I've come to your game night, it's in the hope of getting to play games, not just find some people to hang out with. If you have newbies who don't care about playing games so much and are really just there to meet people and make friends, those people are the kiss of death to a game group anyway.

If the focus is on the gaming, I don't need to share your politics or religion or other hobbies or socioeconomic class or anything else in order for us to be able to enjoy gaming together. And I don't actually need to know where you work or any other personal details. Let people get to know each other organically, over games.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
kevin long
United States
Portland
OR
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Are you and or your group too competitive for newbies? When you teach a game are you still looking for the kill and for them to make mistakes to take advantage of? Non-gamers (normal people ) would look down on this as being low social graces. Are you player centered or win centered? Some groups or players are better at grooming newbies to enjoy the sport than others. Your question is always a good one for all and for groups to always asses. thanks for your post!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Petersen
United States
St. Louis Park
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Jeff, one thing that's different about your group than a lot of the other ones I attend is that it's public and doesn't have a standard way to communicate outside the weekly events. Other groups I attend have a way to "sign up" (email, RSVP on meetup) that I think helps foster repeat attendance. That said, I'm not sure setting up something like that would work for your group.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Hinrickson
United States
St Paul
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
scottredracecar wrote:
Jeff, one thing that's different about your group than a lot of the other ones I attend is that it's public and doesn't have a standard way to communicate outside the weekly events. Other groups I attend have a way to "sign up" (email, RSVP on meetup) that I think helps foster repeat attendance. That said, I'm not sure setting up something like that would work for your group.


I would agree.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Marley
United States
Moreno Valley
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
We started a facebook meetup group to coordinate this amongst our friends. I know some successful groups use meetup.com but facebook is free!
We are very newbie friendly and have grown because of this. This is mainly because we play a lot of gateway games and medium weight games. We tend to stay away from games that take over an 1 and a half so if people aren't having fun...it ends fairly quickly. I usually get together with a much smaller group to play heavier games. I don't know if that helps anything or not!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My main gaming group is very newbie-friendly, with 1-2 new faces among the 35 of us most nights. From 7-7:15 p.m. there's some milling about and chating while setting up tables and games, but after that it's about 95% gaming. Everything from Die Macher to Last Night on Earth to Espana 1936 to Bohnanza makes an appearance so the type of games fit the gamers, and newbies are free to pull up a chair at whatever table they think they'll fit in.

What's really interesting to me is that when a few of us meet for a game away from the group, the profanities fly. It seems we all to a great job of reeling in our "Monkeyfucker!"s out of respect for the church that lends us our group's gamespace.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Jackson
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Having seen both sides of the coin at my gaming group I would have to say that I don't think we're especially newbie friendly, although it is improving.

When I first came along I hadn't really played too many games, mostly just lighter fare like Carcassonne and a few Cheapass games. I ended up in a 6 player game of Power Grid with two other newbies that first night and I loved it, but on subsequent weeks it just seemed as though everything was a little bit cliquey. Having played a bit of Magic I would have been reasonably happy to play that but the card players at the club all played Shadowfist. Having said that they were much more welcoming and friendly than the boardgamers seemed to be so I ended up playing Shadowfist for a few months.

After a holiday away where I played a few more boardgames I decided that I wanted to try to play more of them at the club and kind of forced my way into a few games. Even then there seemed to be a bit of a split in the group between the guys who played some of the heavier games and the guys who played Formula De and some of the medium weight stuff.

Now I'm happy to play whatever with whoever but when I see newbies turn up there is often a similar stand-off-ish-ness and nobody seems to be particularly welcoming. I think a big part of that is down to the fact that many of the members are quiet and shy around people they don't know, combined with the fact that they just want to get on and play a game they like without having to teach it to someone new.

Things have improved lately with a few members that are more welcoming and a bit more of an effort to break the schizm between the heavier gamers and the rest of the group.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It depends. My primary game group is in the evenings and held at work in an engineering company with employees and partners. This means there's immediately a larger fraction of people willing to play games and who are relatively comfortable with more mathy and thinky games.

Within that group there's a smaller core of people who are generally up for Age of Steam, or 18xx, or other heavier games. There are other folks who would by default play lighter games, Dominion, Zing and so forth. Most of the players of the heavier games are happy to evangelise so in the last few weeks we've played Power Grid and Age of Steam with several people on their first time.

Except by prior arrangement, there's usually some lighter games played while we wait for everyone to turn up, then games are chosen to suit the groups that form.

Any completely new people turning up are asked about their game experience and preferences (new 18xxers welcome!) invited to play, and frequently end up in a lighter game. One slightly odd feature is that since most people moved here to work, we regularly get questions from people looking for gift suggestions or store recommendations.

We regularly have new games, so not having played a game before is completely standard. On the other hand, if someone shows up late and looks with interest at a long five-player game that's already 40 minutes in, they're probably going to get largely ignored. That's what the fillers are (usually) for. Sometimes people come along with a partner and choose to play something light in the corner rather than interacting with the group

Overall, the core composition is pretty stable, but new folks appear periodically.

B>
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.