Whether it be at a home, church, or a local game shop (often abbreviated LGS), gaming events are a big part of board gaming culture. Having a designated meeting place for people to get together to play games is a great way to…well always have people to play with, haha. However, sometimes it can be difficult to get a game night up and going. How do I let people know what I am planning? How do I entice people to come down and meet other new people? What kinds of games do I bring?!?! Okay, everyone calm down. Breath in and breath out. If only there was an article you were currently reading where someone was about to delve into how to help create a good game night… Well weirdly enough there is because is the topic today on this weeks Boxed Culture!
When we started out game nights at Collectormania, it was a group effort. The owners, my friends and I all wanted to have more board gaming at the shop and so it was far smoother than a lot of other attempts I have witnessed or heard about. This leads me to my first point, it is always good to have a group of people who want to game. First off, you will need games and unless you are me and you are buying to many games, your friend group will assist in having a lot of interesting fun games to play. This group of people will be the core of your game night. No matter where you all choose to game they will be there to to play, to show that people are interested in playing games, and to show that you are not the only person that is interested in the hobby. Having a group of people interested in gaming is the best place to start and expand a game night. Coming to a new venue (church, library,LGS, etc.) with a group of can be a very motivating factor for the venue owner. All new people coming through means more people also know about the venue it self! Also the people in your group all have friends they can invite, they all have places of employment where they can spread the word, and they hopefully they are as passionate as you are about growing our fun culture! Okay now we have some people, so next we need to find a place to play.
What were gonna be talking about hat next!! how amazing! As mentioned before, I found my self in a good spot because my LGS wanted to run a night anyway. All they needed were people to play. What if you do not know where to play or you do not know the people at your LGS as well as I did. Well then you have to be social. This is a lot easier than most people think. Most times simply asking can lead to a LOT of information. If you would like to play somewhere, ask a person who looks like they work there. Most times this will lead you to the answers you seek. They may already have a game night which can be a really good thing as it can save you the trouble of having to put one together. if you do not have any good palces to meet up in your area or the owners do not want to run a game night you need to expand your search. Try to think of non-traditional gaming places or meet up places that normally wouldn’t have games. A non-traditional gaming venue would be somewhere like a bar or cafe that does not have games already. Typically those places love extra foot traffic and do not charge for table space as long as you get a drink. Plus with you providing the games it it no expense to them! A non-traditional meeting place would be somewhere where people usually don’t think to meet up to do board games. One I can think of off the top of my head is a mall food court. There is a meet-up that meets in the our local mall’s food court some Tuesdays.What is a meetup you ask?
Well that is a grand ol’ question and it leads me to my final step in making a good game night. How the heck to you get new people to come? Well one way is by using meetups. Usually meet ups are found on at, believe it or not, Meetups.com! Meetups link up groups of people who have similar interests. Do you like fishing? Well I am sure there is a meetup for that but I cannot help you with that here. Anther to fine new people and get the word out is to use Facebook. There are tons of groups on Facebook to facilitate you spreading the word about your new game night. The first important part is making sure to let as many people know as possible that you are running a game night, whether it be starting or in its prime. Flyers, cards, stickers, etc. work great if you have the money to spend. If you do not, use what you already have. Your groups of friends, and not just the ones you started the night with; ask everyone! The second important part is making sure you show up. If you ask a ton of people to come to a game night and you are not there, then the people showing up will feel very uncomfortable. Make sure you (and you core starting group) show up for at least the first 6 months of a weekyl game night. You need to establish the group before bailing out on it. Yes it takes time and devotion, but all good things do!
If you would like to learn more about starting your own game night the Start Space Podcast does a segment called Operation FLGS where they are discussing themselves starting a local game night. I would definitely suggest checking it out as it is very informative with regard to the steps we discussed above. One of my favorite casts of regarding Operation FLGS is here, but click the link (their name above) to check out their other casts. Thank you for reading and I will see you next week!