n this episode, we sit down for a bit of "group therapy", a discussion about the fun and challenge of starting and maintaining a gaming group. We also have lots of listener e-mails, news, and general gaming goodness to share. And in Buy Try or Deny, we take a look at Campaign Manager 2008. What? No Ron Paul?!
Link to the episode:
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Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God
I enjoyed the segment on starting your gaming group. I started a group of my own over a year ago, and I had many of the same questions as you both mention in this episode. Allow me to share what I've learned in my first year.
I run a gaming group just north of Phoenix Arizona (www.NorthValleyGaming.com). I have 49 members, of which about 30 are active. We meet at my home every Saturday from 1:00 to 10:00pm to play board games. Usually about a half dozen people attend my events, but I've had as many as 16.
I started and run my group through Meetup.com. I absolutely love Meetup.com, and could not have organized my group without it. Most of the people who have joined my group have discovered it though this site.
I can schedule events that people RSVP for, and I can limit the number of attendees depending on what type of game we're playing, if needed. It completely solves the problem of how to communicate events to group members, as well as how to obtain RSVPs.
In the early days of my group I made the mistake of inviting too many people to my events, and I wasn't specific about what types of games I wanted to play. I ended up with people who brought their spouses and kids, and wanted to play party games. It was fun for awhile, but not what I was looking for in a gaming group.
I then went to the opposite extreme and picked specific games to play at each event. This caused many people to stop attending. Eventually I settled on a middle ground, where I'd schedule an event to play a specific TYPE of game.
Currently I'm using four basic themes for my events. Eurogames, Train Games, Amerigames and Wargames. This helps to give people an idea of what to expect when they show up to game, . I also schedule Magic: the Gathering events on Friday nights twice a month, as well as the occasional Twilight Imperium game.
Because I schedule such long game days, I find it's important to have plenty of food and drink on hand. I always have a wide variety of sodas, as well as tea and coffee. I also keep out some sort of chips or nuts as snacks, and serve dinner to everyone half way through the evening.
The first year contained many ups and downs, but so far the second year has been a much more enjoyable experience. I'm really happy with the current mix of players that attend my events, and I only see the group growing and getting stronger in the future.
The group I'm in meets regularly (once a week). We usually have about 8-12 people show up. (2 and 24 are the aprox extremes)
Probably about 2/3 of the time, there is no predetermined game.
But sometimes somebody just got a new game or is itching to play a certain game. If so, they email the group "Hey, I want to play this game, any takers?" - sometimes the slots are filled and sometimes there are openings (It is rare that there aren't enough takers)
The people who aren't in that game will just pick something else when they show up.
If there is time for a second game that night, the usual rule is the winner of the previous game picks the next game.