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Subject: Why would you form a boardgame club? rss

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Danny Stevens
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Every fortnight we played at my home. Five of us would gather around, eat nibblies and play some board games from our collections. Home is comfortable, controlled, has all the amenities and there is no hassle about costs or venue.

So why did we form a board game club?

The first thing is that within a few sessions the number of players went from five to nine and growing.

More players means more social opportunities and also more options about what game to play. You are less likely to be in a minority that can't get the numbers to play some less popular game.

Workload is shared with set up and put away and the responsibility no longer falls on the host at home. Further more the game group no longer intrudes on the home environment, useful when not everyone at home wants to play.

AND you can still have private sessions at home with a wider pool of people to invite.

What about the marathon games you ask? No problem, we just book in a few marathon game days each year, with extended hours at the venue.

If you don't have a game club nearby but have a few friends you play with I recommend putting in the effort to form a club. You need a venue that you can book in advance, a reasonable membership and door fee to cover costs, and some simple PR to gather new players.

That's how we formed The BoardGamers
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Warren Adams
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Just over two years ago a few of us started WABA http://waboardgaming.org/

We pretty much met on BGG, decided to find a venue, agreed to underwrite the room hire cost - and launched.

We have a guild on BGG http://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/308.

Now each month we get between 30 and 60 people that turn up to play (costs $5 - your first time is free).

At 30 June we had 59 paid up members ($5 annual fee if you are considering joining).

We have built the WABA Games Collection which has 30+ games in it http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/36513

We have given away 30+ games as raffle prizes (you get a free raffle ticket at the monthly meet) http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/38220

So, now I look back and think why wouldn't you form a boardgame club!
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Craig Hargraves
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As one of the other geeks who helped form The Boardgamers with Danny, I'll throw my two cents in.

The biggest hurdle in starting a club in a public venue can be the costs involved. Sadly in our area not even libraries are offering free space. We've been lucky in that we were able to get a cheap venue ($5/hour). Had we not found this one I don't see that we could have afforded any of the others we investigated without weekly fees that would have seriously limited early growth.

And the other big hurdle we encountered was that massive bugbear of modern society: Public Liability Insurance zombie Having to shell out money for insurance before you even get started can require a fair financial commitment from the club founders. There have certainly been times along this process that I've just wanted to scream at someone "We just want to sit in a room and play some freaking board games!!!" Anyone would think we were playing with matches in a straw hut! But I suppose the games are flammable...shake

Other than that though I think forming a club with a public face would have to be the best way to promote the hobby and meet (create?) new gamers in your local area.

Good luck to any others who take this path.
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Philip Thomas
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To play board games. Next!

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Paul DeStefano
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The only reason I would form a club is to eventually sway all members to a like minded sociopolical position and train them in simple but effective combat solutions so that we may one day overthrow the established order and rule the world under a new enlightened regime.

But that's just me.
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Jon Beckett Schreiber
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I've nearly done it a few times, but my FLGS had provides a gaming space that is available from store open until we left. It's hard to beat that when the only cost is patronage.

And that patronage is very important since we've nearly lost the store twice! surprise
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JonnyRotten
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Has anyone ever had any experience setting up a proper board gaming club in a small town, thats not near any decent sized cities?
My "FLGS" (which is both non-local and non-friendly) is an hour away. I would really like to set something like this up locally. I've considered doing it at the library, and having two meets a month, one for the adult gamers, and one for the kids, possibly more during the summer. The only thing that sucks, is my libraries hours. On saturday, they are only open from 10AM to 3, which isn't very long.
But any tips on setting something like this up in a really small community? Any other places then the library to look for meeting space?
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Bill Eldard
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Craig_H wrote:
. . . The biggest hurdle in starting a club in a public venue can be the costs involved.


I agree. Having an adequate regular meeting location available on the same day/time each week/month is critical to club growth.

Our group has been very fortunate in that for the better part of nine years, we've met in a retail store -- for the past 3 years that's been NOVA Comics & Games. For one year, we didn't have such a location, and one of the members graciously hosted the group at his home. However, the group was manageable then, being about 5-7 active members.

Craig_H wrote:
. . . Sadly in our area not even libraries are offering free space. We've been lucky in that we were able to get a cheap venue ($5/hour). Had we not found this one I don't see that we could have afforded any of the others we investigated without weekly fees that would have seriously limited early growth.


Our group has been very lucky in that we've never had to pay any fees to use the retail store locations. Our current location has 3 big gaming tables, plus 2 card tables if we need them, and 20+ regular and folding chairs. The store also sells soft drinks/water for $.50 cents, and chips/cookies for $.25.

The store's size has accommodated our growth, and we now get about 14 gamers on any given night, though we've had as many 22 on a single night. This is out of a pool of roughly 30 gamers.

Because the location and the meetings (every Saturday, 6:00pm to as late as 3:00am) are known by all, we never have a problem with reminding members of where and when to play. I believe this is key to the continued success of the group.

We realize that we've been very fortunate in that we've never had to worry about paying fees for play. Having to find a new location could put us in a real bind.

Craig_H wrote:
. . . Other than that though I think forming a club with a public face would have to be the best way to promote the hobby and meet (create?) new gamers in your local area.


I totally agree.

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Magister Ludi
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I quite like your idea of a theme for each meet ( trading games, Sci Fi games etc...).

 
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Eldard wrote:

I agree. Having an adequate regular meeting location available on the same day/time each week/month is critical to club growth.



+1 on this, continuity is crucial and often ignored.
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Paul DeStefano
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Paul Q wrote:
Eldard wrote:

I agree. Having an adequate regular meeting location available on the same day/time each week/month is critical to club growth.



+1 on this, continuity is crucial and often ignored.


I don't know, it doesn't seem to have hurt Star Trek.
 
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Geosphere wrote:
Paul Q wrote:
Eldard wrote:

I agree. Having an adequate regular meeting location available on the same day/time each week/month is critical to club growth.



+1 on this, continuity is crucial and often ignored.


I don't know, it doesn't seem to have hurt Star Trek.



All the Star Treks I paid attention to met on the Enterprise, continuity for me at least.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Paul Q wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
Paul Q wrote:
Eldard wrote:

I agree. Having an adequate regular meeting location available on the same day/time each week/month is critical to club growth.



+1 on this, continuity is crucial and often ignored.


I don't know, it doesn't seem to have hurt Star Trek.



All the Star Treks I paid attention to met on the Enterprise, continuity for me at least.


I'm talking about episode to episode.
 
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J Weintraub
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Geosphere wrote:
The only reason I would form a club is to eventually sway all members to a like minded sociopolical position and train them in simple but effective combat solutions so that we may one day overthrow the established order and rule the world under a new enlightened regime.

But that's just me.


I for one welcome our new gamer overlords.
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Jeff Hinrickson
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jgilmour wrote:
Has anyone ever had any experience setting up a proper board gaming club in a small town, thats not near any decent sized cities?
My "FLGS" (which is both non-local and non-friendly) is an hour away. I would really like to set something like this up locally. I've considered doing it at the library, and having two meets a month, one for the adult gamers, and one for the kids, possibly more during the summer. The only thing that sucks, is my libraries hours. On saturday, they are only open from 10AM to 3, which isn't very long.
But any tips on setting something like this up in a really small community? Any other places then the library to look for meeting space?


Most small towns that I have been in have some sort of legion hall, try there. If I were you I would maybe post something on the legion hall bulletin board, or even run a small ad in you local paper to gather enough players.
 
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Jeremy Shelton
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jgilmour wrote:
Any other places then the library to look for meeting space?


You might try a local church. Some of them may have space you could rent on the cheap.
 
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Doctor X

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jgilmour wrote:
Has anyone ever had any experience setting up a proper board gaming club in a small town, thats not near any decent sized cities?
My "FLGS" (which is both non-local and non-friendly) is an hour away. I would really like to set something like this up locally. I've considered doing it at the library, and having two meets a month, one for the adult gamers, and one for the kids, possibly more during the summer. The only thing that sucks, is my libraries hours. On saturday, they are only open from 10AM to 3, which isn't very long.
But any tips on setting something like this up in a really small community? Any other places then the library to look for meeting space?


If your small town is like mine, one thing you don't lack is empty manufacturing or office space. There's a game club here that rents a small space in a former GE building that's been apportioned out for rentals. I don't know what they pay but their "budget" is non-existent so it must be fairly reasonable. The caveat is that the place is a dump, but it's a cozy dump, a bit of a "gamer cave" if you will.

 
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JonnyRotten
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I think, as long as I can find someplace free to host it (considering the library to start with even though its hours suck) then I won't have any kind of membership fee.
But I really like the idea of a club held library (maybe allow people who have been to X amount of meetings borrow games between meets) and raffles for new games (though I think it would be best to do it elimination style, so eventually everyone will win a game). Both of those things would require money though, so therefore require membership fees.
But I think starting small and free would work well, and then decide by committee on things like that after we start to get a few people interested.
 
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