1. Have Fun. Let’s be honest. We are doing this because we want to play. Even if there were only two of you, play board games! It’s the perfect time to bring out games like Eclipse or Kemet.
We bring two types of games. We bring a set of medium to heavy strategy games and a set of gateway games. The heavy games are for your core group, especially for those rainy days when people can’t make it to your meet-up. The gateway games are for people passing by that got interested or for people who are fairly new to the hobby, perhaps they brought their friends along who still only know the simple games like Monopoly and Cluedo.
2. Don’t dis on Monopoly. When people ask you, is this like monopoly? I always say, it is in a way, but it does something interesting. Explain the crux of the game in a sentence. We want to welcome people to the hobby. Not alienate them by being snooty. Show them games like Splendor, Ticket-to-Ride or Catan so that they can see how games have advanced in the decades since those games were designed.
3. Carry games for different player counts. As your club grows you want to be flexible with the randomness of the crowd. In our playgroup, we have a guy who dedicated a part of his collection covering and finding really fun 8 and above player count games!
4. Post regular and unique invites. Social Media is a powerful tool; however, it can be noisy. You can come up with a social banner using a few apps on your phone and a good photo. Define your target market. Who do you want to play with? Build your content around them.
5. Be consistent. Rain or shine, the meet-up must push through. Avoid moving locations if possible at the start. We made a mistake moving our location a few times when we started, and lost a few gamers in the process. The location and time are anchors for your gamers. If it’s every second Saturday of the month at 5pm onwards then push to keep that schedule.
6. Location is important. We are formalizing a new group in the south, and gosh the area is so big; it is challenging to find the area that has the best reach. Ask the owner of the establishment and be transparent what you want to do. Ask for their slow days of the week to make it worthwhile for them to accommodate you and your group. The establishment has to make money so you are welcome to enjoy their facilities and their services. Endorse supporting the local business.
7. Ask for help. Ask for regulars to bring in their friends. Have a system to recognize newbies, setup a table for them quickly. Dividing tables to maximize playtime coverage should be a higher priority. Set up an FB chat for your core group and an FB group for the rest. This is to facilitate fast communication between the gamers.
8. Be Open. There is a possibility of not playing. Hosting and facilitating is another different kind of fun. There are many nights, my group and I didn’t get to play a single game. We were busy running games for everyone else, turns out, it was those nights we treasure the most.
9. Be ready for all kinds of people. While our hobby seems to attract a particular demographic, there will be people that will try to skew part of your group into their agenda. Be kind, but firm with your purpose. When I see a person requesting to join our group on FB, a quick look at their FB history can give you an idea if they are there really to play or something else.
10. Make friends. Playgroups and meet-ups are an awesome way to make good friends. Our game group has gone through ups and downs but regardless the friends I’ve made will always be there. In the end, that’s what truly matters.
I know it’s been a while, was just really busy. Hopefully, I can get back to a regular schedule with this site as well. Until next time, this is Ron reminding you to make your games count.