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Subject: Looking for help to grow our group! rss

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William Baldwin
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Springfield
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I am a part of the Bookery Board Game Club that meets in Fairborn, Ohio, and we are trying to grow and diversify our group. We have a thread we communicate at here on the geek: BBC...Bookery Boardgaming Club...Fairborn, Ohio

As far as the people that show up, we are normal people. I can quote a recent lady that was in the store with her husband and child assessing the situation to her husband, "well, there are some (geeks, I presume), but they're not that bad." Granted, she had not seem me yet and maybe I blew the bell curve. Haha!

While the Bookery staff are nice people and have a decent mix of board games, the play area is in the basement and not that great. There are many tables, but there are generally other games going on at the sane time (RPG and Heroclix).

Some of us have get-togethers as well when schedules align. Also, we sometimes will carpool to CABS in Columbus.

While we have had a great quantity of different people show up at one time or another, we do not get a bunch of regular attendees. Many times, there will be a group that will show up with 1 or 2 ladies in attendance.

From the conversations I have been able to have with females about this, I think that ladies would love a situation where there were 3 or 4 females in attendance. It just seems that they never show up on the same week to help create that more inviting experience.

I am basically looking for advice how to convert "lurkers" and 1-timers into more regulars or semi-regulars.

I hope that the ladies of the geek can offer some help in this regard. If you have shown up to our sessions and have anything regarding feedback, please don't hesitate to respond here or message me. My purpose is to change whatever I can to grow the group into something that anyone 10+ can attend and have a good time.

Thanks!
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Craig Somerton
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Our local BGG based group was small and fluctuated wildly, one meeting we'd get 9-10, the next 3-4. We somehow managed to attract a few people from Meetup, which has grown and grown.

We've gone form meeting fortnightly to meeting weekly and the combination of BGG'ers and Meetup'ers means we are attracting around 24-26 people consistently each week.
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Mark Gage
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I'm not sure I have good advice. I run a monthly game night at our Public Library in Bend, Oregon. Generally around 45 attendees. Many of my favorite first-timers who appear smart, interested, engaged, and seem to have a good time on their first night, never return. I don't really get it, and have given up trying to predict who will be back for more.


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Nathalie
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Let's revive this thread...

Calgary has a decently healthy gaming community partially managed via a meetup.com group. From what I can see, it lacks in girls. which is really no surprise.

I'm a volunteer with FallCon (the local annual game convention) and approached the organizers to host a monthly girls only gaming night. Thinking that maybe it would draw some of the girls who are a bit more intimidated participating in a new hobby in mixed company.

Here's my little write up on the meetup site.

Quote:
I have always been a big fan of some kind of gaming (cards, board games, video games, etc.). In recent years, as I've become more involved in the Calgary gaming Community (FallCon specifically), I have occasionally found myself counting people at events to figure out the girl:guy ratio. I don’t keep statistics (but one doesn't need to) to know that this is generally a guy dominated hobby. Gaming with guys is great, but I've wanted to start a female gaming group for a little while and when I started hearing about other girls being interested, I decided that the time was right to get this going!

This is a regularly schedule meetup within the Calgary Boardgame Meetup Group for women gamers of all levels (beginners especially welcome)! If you've been curious about non-traditional board games (also called Euros), or simply want to meet new people, join us!

I will host at my house and I am focused on providing a non-judgemental social environment to bring girls together for gaming and friendship.

You can see the list of games that are available on our shelves by going to my board game geek user collection page.

If you're still curious about these non-traditional board games - check out this series of videos on YouTube called "board games 101". It covers everything from an overview called "Intro to Euros" down to introductions to different types of games. (the videos are hosted by a girl at a game store in Chicago)

If you have any questions or concerns before attending a meetup, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail at [address redacted]

(PS. when you RSVP, you'll be asked a couple questions regarding your gaming level. Answering these questions is 100% optional and only I will see the answers)


It's not working. I'm constantly getting questions like:
* Can it be any board game or does it have to be strategy? (reply: It'll probably be a consensus depending on what group is present and what people feel like playing. I however would not expect to be playing any of the standard mass market "party games". (scattegories, cranium...))

Followed by

* what about games like boggle/scrabble? (reply: I'll say that's unlikely but not altogether impossible.)

I need help! Any advice to my approach? Should I change my wording!? The girls RSVP and then seem to chicken out and give excuses. Or just plain don't show up.
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Kathy Sheets
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Maybe you should say, we can start with something familiar like Scrabble, Dominoes or Boggle and then see what happens. Then you can bring out Ticket to Ride or Lords of Waterdeep etc. If you have room to already have one of these games set up, it might pique some interest.

This really is a tough one and I wish you good luck!
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Gamer Mom
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Willi B wrote:
I am a part of the Bookery Board Game Club that meets in Fairborn, Ohio, and we are trying to grow and diversify our group. We have a thread we communicate at here on the geek: BBC...Bookery Boardgaming Club...Fairborn, Ohio

From the conversations I have been able to have with females about this, I think that ladies would love a situation where there were 3 or 4 females in attendance. It just seems that they never show up on the same week to help create that more inviting experience.

I am basically looking for advice how to convert "lurkers" and 1-timers into more regulars or semi-regulars.

I hope that the ladies of the geek can offer some help in this regard. If you have shown up to our sessions and have anything regarding feedback, please don't hesitate to respond here or message me. My purpose is to change whatever I can to grow the group into something that anyone 10+ can attend and have a good time.

Thanks!


William I am going to follow this thread because my fledgling board game group is facing the same issue. When I started it, it was my hope that families (gaming families, you know... "normal families that happen to play board games" Haha) would participate. Knowing that people are rather skittish about people they don't know, our first few meetings were held in conjunction with a local puzzle and game store called Diversions in Portsmouth, NH.

It was my observation that women and men automatically segregated themselves in the room. Now... I am a complete geek and that need to be with one's own gender is not a trait I share, but it is real in the general public nonetheless.

But I will say this... I created a Facebook page for the Seacoast Gamers and in just two months we are up to 15 fans. But women participate in packs, so if I want to get more women involved I will need to put up flyers in places where people tend to congregate - Starbucks and Panera Bread Company (both places with free WiFi), possibly even school clubs.

My strategy for getting more people (age 12 and up, families, singles, etc) is the following:

1) continue to work with the owner of Diversions Puzzles and Games to promote each other and find ways of reaching out to the community
2) community outreach - eventually the organization will be involved with volunteering at community events like First Lego League competition, Children's Museum of NH in Dover, having a booth at summer festivals
3) schedule meetings at the local public library (meeting rooms are free) and put up a flyer on the door letting the public know they are welcome to come in and participate/observe, or at a local bowling alley

To my mind, it's less about game selection and more about the people with whom one is about to spend 3+ hours with.

Bottom line is - electronic social media is not good enough. People need to see you in action (lots of folks have the Hollywood picture of Big Bang Theory and think gamers are all like Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Rajesh). Make yourself visible and accessible "If you build it, they will come." We'll see how my strategy works!
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Lynette
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MelodramaBabs wrote:


It's not working. I'm constantly getting questions like:
* Can it be any board game or does it have to be strategy? (reply: It'll probably be a consensus depending on what group is present and what people feel like playing. I however would not expect to be playing any of the standard mass market "party games". (scattegories, cranium...))

Followed by

* what about games like boggle/scrabble? (reply: I'll say that's unlikely but not altogether impossible.)

I need help! Any advice to my approach? Should I change my wording!? The girls RSVP and then seem to chicken out and give excuses. Or just plain don't show up.


Hummm.... Well I reply to similar questions the same way you do...but I am not looking to grow our group any longer, even though we still invite new people all the time just because.

However if I was looking to seriously grow our group again I would answer differently. I would say, sure if you bring it and enough people show up who want to play one of those games that will be fine. If not I have some new games similar to those you might like to try out.

Then have on hand Qwirkle, Ingenious, Wits & Wagers, Ticket to Ride, a word game of some sort etc or other games of similar weight and feel to traditional ones, with simple rules, but which are a little different.

Transitioning a traditional board gamer into a Eurogamer is usually a lot easier than getting a non-gamer to jump on in. So once you get them there, you are more than half way home. Personally I would happily play a game or two of scrabble or Sorry! or dominoes if that was what was needed to break the ice and grow my group.

I think for many people the idea of going to a game night were they aren't going to know ANY of the games can be what makes it daunting.

In one of my groups (I have a couple of them) the rule is only 1 new game per game night. They like Euros just fine, they don't like learning a bunch of new games all at once though.

In my largest group it is a gaming free for all for the most part, so a person might get to play all old games or all new games or any combination in between based on who shows up and who is willing to teach. But everybody gets included in the decision making process. That group runs about 60/40 men/women on average. And our mix of married/single/younger/older etc is very diverse.



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Gamer Mom
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I agree and second the following:

Meerkat wrote:


However if I was looking to seriously grow our group again I would answer differently. I would say, sure if you bring it and enough people show up who want to play one of those games that will be fine. If not I have some new games similar to those you might like to try out.

Then have on hand Qwirkle, Ingenious: Travel Edition, Wits & Wagers, Ticket to Ride, a word game of some sort etc or other games of similar weight and feel to traditional ones, with simple rules, but which are a little different.

Transitioning a traditional board gamer into a Eurogamer is usually a lot easier than getting a non-gamer to jump on in. So once you get them there, you are more than half way home. Personally I would happily play a game or two of scrabble or Sorry! or dominoes if that was what was needed to break the ice and grow my group.

I think for many people the idea of going to a game night were they aren't going to know ANY of the games can be what makes it daunting.


It's all true, I've seen it in my area of New England. The weather here is very similar to Calgary's and "game night" is a perfect diversion for people. Women participate in pairs (or packs). It is quite daunting to show up at a group activity and know no one. So, definitely having a game she is already familiar with HELPS immensely. Would it hurt to have a table of Scrabble and another of Monopoly?

Last pieces of advice:
1) eliminate the questionnaire. I tried it. People either want to participate, or not. Let them get to know you before "shoving a questionnaire in their face". (Not suggesting that's what you were doing, but that's how it often feels to the recipient.)

2) Keep it simple and be SPECIFIC: "There will be several tables with games already set up. Pick a chair and join in. Scrabble, Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride and (insert Euro game here). Snacks will be served, and feel free to watch us play and join in the conversation."

3) eliminate directing people to sites where they can "learn" about board games. The atmosphere at the event is already one that helps novices learn a new game. No one should feel there is homework to do before participating.

Hope this helps! Keep posting here, and let us know how it works out!

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Sara Grace
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mrudis65 wrote:
I agree and second the following:

Meerkat wrote:


However if I was looking to seriously grow our group again I would answer differently. I would say, sure if you bring it and enough people show up who want to play one of those games that will be fine. If not I have some new games similar to those you might like to try out.

Then have on hand Qwirkle, Ingenious: Travel Edition, Wits & Wagers, Ticket to Ride, a word game of some sort etc or other games of similar weight and feel to traditional ones, with simple rules, but which are a little different.

Transitioning a traditional board gamer into a Eurogamer is usually a lot easier than getting a non-gamer to jump on in. So once you get them there, you are more than half way home. Personally I would happily play a game or two of scrabble or Sorry! or dominoes if that was what was needed to break the ice and grow my group.

I think for many people the idea of going to a game night were they aren't going to know ANY of the games can be what makes it daunting.


It's all true, I've seen it in my area of New England. The weather here is very similar to Calgary's and "game night" is a perfect diversion for people. Women participate in pairs (or packs). It is quite daunting to show up at a group activity and know no one. So, definitely having a game she is already familiar with HELPS immensely. Would it hurt to have a table of Scrabble and another of Monopoly?

Last pieces of advice:
1) eliminate the questionnaire. I tried it. People either want to participate, or not. Let them get to know you before "shoving a questionnaire in their face". (Not suggesting that's what you were doing, but that's how it often feels to the recipient.)

2) Keep it simple and be SPECIFIC: "There will be several tables with games already set up. Pick a chair and join in. Scrabble, Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride and (insert Euro game here). Snacks will be served, and feel free to watch us play and join in the conversation."

3) eliminate directing people to sites where they can "learn" about board games. The atmosphere at the event is already one that helps novices learn a new game. No one should feel there is homework to do before participating.

Hope this helps! Keep posting here, and let us know how it works out!


I agree with Gamer Mom that the questionnaire and video seem a little like homework (or a pop quiz) and probably only increase the intimidation factor for new people. Just stop by and talk to new people. Maybe you can get them to sign up with an email address? Then you could send them an email thanking them for coming by, asking if anything could be done to make the experience better, and inviting them back.

You can go with games people recognize like Boggle, but I would also start people on games like Zombie Dice - easy, press-your-luck - or the classic Can't Stop. You can move on King of Tokyo or Quarriors! or Elder Sign once people seem comfortable.

Maybe some good dexterity games like Pitchcar or Loopin' Louie or the more recent FlowerFall or Riff Raff. The joy of a good dexterity game is how much it attracts attention and fun.

I think you want to surprise people a bit. Good surprise though. :-) Show them how many fun games there are out there rather than a lot of games they already recognize.
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Amy
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Something else I'd like to stress when trying to get a group of strangers together to game would be to hold the gaming sessions in public, neutral, comfortable places. On top of engaging in an activity that may be new, going to a stranger's house can add to the already existing hurdles. Plus, as others have mentioned, holding gaming sessions in public places will give more publicity to the events and may gather in people that wouldn't have known about it otherwise.
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Lynette
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Renwmn wrote:
Something else I'd like to stress when trying to get a group of strangers together to game would be to hold the gaming sessions in public, neutral, comfortable places. On top of engaging in an activity that may be new, going to a stranger's house can add to the already existing hurdles. Plus, as others have mentioned, holding gaming sessions in public places will give more publicity to the events and may gather in people that wouldn't have known about it otherwise.


Yes having a least occasional public ones helps grow a group as well.

Our group does 2 nights a month in a private residence but we also do a public one at a diner that is gamer friendly after work once a month as well.

We have picked up several people via that conduit over the years.
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jes m
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You might try and find some married gaming couples who could come together. It might not add to the male/female ratio, but that way the new gaming girls who show up will have another female around.
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Nathalie
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I have a couple theories.
* The new write up I created thanks to suggestions from this thread has worked in enticing interest for my girls only meetups
* The new year is working in my favour with people resolving to "be more social", or "make new friends", or "do more"

I currently have 12 girls scheduled to attend. This is more than I've had in the past and none of them are the ones that flaked out last couple times.

I'll wait and see what Thursday brings! Keeping my fingers crossed.
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Wendy Reischl

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Hi all,

I agree with Gamer Mom about the need to be specific when mentioning a handfull of games that will be played.

I help run an RPG Meetup.com group with nearly 700 members and I have hosted a few board games days. I think it really helps if you mention a specific game, that game may perk a woman's interest and get her to show up versus "look at my list of 100 games any of which we may or may not play."

I also agree that hosting the game day at a public place with food and drinks is a good idea, and not just pre-packaged cheetos and cans of soda. I would also recommend a place with good climate controls and clean facilities--some game stores neglect this aspact of gaming comfort.

Finally, I would suggest making a "Ladies Night Out" game event that is INFREQUENT. Make it special by spacing it out with "no obligation" to return week after week. I have an every Monday night board game group blocks from my house and I never go. It just happens too often and I think, well I can't make it tonight, maybe next week. Plus I play RPGs on Sundays and so I've had my fix for a few days. I'd say try once a quarter or once a month invite at most. If they love it, they will come back to the typical event.

Good Luck all!
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