Greater Buffalo Boardgames Meetup Group Message Board › Gaming in Western New York

Gaming in Western New York

A former member
Post #: 228
I am posting this to the 3 meetup.com groups mentioned as well as my personal blog and boardgamegeek.com, in an effort to make sure everyone sees it.

I was amazed Sunday, November 30th, 2008,while visiting meetup.com when I found a 3rd board gaming meetup in Buffalo, NY. My question is: are there that many gamers in Western New York(WNY) that we can support 3 meetup groups, BACSIM(Buffalo Area Conflict Simulations) and the group just across the river in St. Catherines, ONT? I would like to think there are but I am pretty sure there is not.

This illustrates what I have long seen as one of the greatest problems with WNY. No one wants to work together. Someone new comes along and:
1) has a problem with the way the current group works.
2) has a personal problem with the organizer or member(s) of the current group.
OR just feels they can do it better than the current group. So without even talking to the organizers/members of the current group about working together they go off and form a new group. This is what is currently happening in Buffalo boardgaming.

Just at meetup.com there are 3 boardgame groups. First there was the Buffalo Boardgames meetup, the group has a deciededly Euro ‘Cult of the New’ leaning, as well as an aversion to the ‘What do you want to play now game’. Then along came the Buffalo Card and Boardgames Group! (Ages 30 and up) group this group has a decidedly non-euro leaning, as well as some age bias too. The new kid on the block is the Greater Buffalo Boardgames Meetup Group, this group has a non to light euro leaning. There is also apparently a back story as to why this group was formed that doesn’t belong in what I want to be an ultimately positive article.
I am unsure of the history of BACSIM, its name suggests it was created for wargamers, but I don’t have any other information. Sometime last year the group in St. Catherines was formed, it is currently small but is already hosting an annual games day, so they are a major player in the area. I don’t want to exclude them.

Of all the groups mentioned the only one that I have seen making any real effort to work with the other groups is BACSIMs organizer Grant LaDue. He is a member of at least a couple of the Buffalo meetup groups and posts announcements of upcoming BACSIM events. That effort is returned by the Buffalo Boardgames Meetup by adding the monthly BACSIM event to its calendar and having an active discussion about attendance and games people would like to see get played. This is nice to see, I am not sure which group came first but the cooperation is a welcome change from what I see going on not just in boardgaming but all of WNY in many fields of interest. I have checked this fact and not one of the organizers of the other meetup.com groups contacted the Buffalo Boardgame Meetup group to see if they could help organize events that would suit their tastes in an effort to bring everyone together, rather than further divide what is surely a small number of avid gamers in the area.

The Columbus Area Boardgamers (CABS) is a group of gamers similar to the groups listed here, the key to CABS is they 100+ gamers to their events which occur, with a few execptions, what amounts to every other Friday night. I have attended CABS twice, onetime 3 years ago for a regular meeting, and just this weekend, for their after thanksgiving event, which this year for the first time was a 2 day event. At the CABS meeting I have attended I have seen all types of games played, traditional mainstream games, light euros, meatier euros, wargames, brand new games and older games. I am sure just about every type of game has been played at a CABS meeting. By bringing everyone together under one roof, it enables those who attend to play whatever type of game suits their fancy at that moment, and they can play a different type their next game. They don’t have to belong to a different group and wait for a different night to play a different type of game.

I think that we too could have meetings attended by 100+ people, it won’t happen overnight that takes time, but it will never happen if we don’t start working together. The way it stands now people will start to make choices because they can’t go gaming 4-5 times a week and attendance at all the events will start to suffer. Each group is going to become just a group of diehards with very low numbers of new people showing up regularly.
The process to of working together is going to take some time. I don’t have all the answers but I feel that some of the steps that need to be taken towards the goal of one group are: The organizers need to get together and start talking to each other. There should be is one website with one calendar. There will still be multiple events for each of the groups that are merging but it will make access to information easier. Then we need to start looking at what overlap there is and combining events. Until finally we have 1 event covering all the groups with large turnout. It is not going to be easy or without problems along the way, but if we ALL(organizers and members) work together we can make it work

I know organizing events of this size and scope are hard, I did it for 2 years. There are always going to be people with hurt feelings, people that don’t like the way something is going, or just don’t get along with someone. You do what you can to correct any problems and move on.
A former member
Post #: 4
I was surprised to sign on today and see your lengthy critique of the boardgaming meetups in Buffalo. I can assure you that our motivation for forming a new group was not due to an unwillingness to work with others. Why don't you come to one of our meetups and find out who we are and how we are different from the other groups ? Actually, several of our members belong to more than one group and I don't see a problem with that. Bigger isn't always better. In this age of busy schedules and online gaming people just won't attend a meetup if it's an unpleasant experience.

I hope to meet you someday ! Sue
Alberto V.
user 2931186
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 43
Yes what she said. :) I think she answered the way I would have, if I had half a brain. I would only add that many people are not "avid gamers" and just want to meet new people and have a good time. Like me! :)
A former member
Post #: 16
I’d like to address several of your points if I may:

>>> ..This illustrates what I have long seen as one of the greatest problems with WNY. No one wants to work together. Someone new comes along and:
1) has a problem with the way the current group works.
2) has a personal problem with the organizer or member(s) of the current group…

Without going into details, several of us found ourselves without a group in which to play non-euro games, not by our choice. We set up this group to give us a chance to play whatever we decide to play. A majority of us belong to one or more of the other groups.


>>> Sometime last year the group in St. Catherines was formed, it is currently small but is already hosting an annual games day, so they are a major player in the area. I don’t want to exclude them.

I have no knowledge of a group in St. Catherines (or Columbus as you mention down further) but I can’t imagine many of this group being able to travel those distances just for casual gaming. We have people with home/transportation/work schedule issues that would make this virtually impossible on a regular basis. I know I like to get out for a few hours at night, play a few games, do some socializing and get something to eat, without making a large time/cost commitment.


>>>Of all the groups mentioned the only one that I have seen making any real effort to work with the other groups is BACSIMs organizer Grant LaDue. He is a member of at least a couple of the Buffalo meetup groups and posts announcements of upcoming BACSIM events. That effort is returned by the Buffalo Boardgames Meetup by adding the monthly BACSIM event to its calendar…

We have offered Grant also a place on our calendar. We support Grant's group. We are trying to iron out details to get this month’s meeting on our board and if we can’t manage that for this week’s meeting, it will be there for sure next month. Although we have scheduled a game night for the same night as BACSIM, I believe that any member that would be interested in BACSIM would go there rather than with us so I do not believe that we are in any way impacting on Grant’s group’s attendance. If Grant does have a concern with this, I hope he would contact me on it.


>>> and having an active discussion about attendance and games people would like to see get played. This is nice to see, I am not sure which group came first but the cooperation is a welcome change from what I see going on not just in boardgaming but all of WNY in many fields of interest.

I think you are seeing the gaming groups as mutually exclusive and that just isn’t correct. This is the only group in this area where a number of our members can comfortably play non euro-games, but any type of game is welcomed. If you can find someone to sit down with you to play a game, then it’s fine with me, whether it’s Catan or Go Fish.


>>>I have checked this fact and not one of the organizers of the other meetup.com groups contacted the Buffalo Boardgame Meetup group to see if they could help organize events that would suit their tastes in an effort to bring everyone together, rather than further divide what is surely a small number of avid gamers in the area.

We had discussions about whether to ask what we affectionately call the Wednesday Group (WG) if we could add this group’s meetings to the schedule. Several of our members are regular members and attendees of WG. But there are a large population of people who truly do not want to play eurogames, some of which tried the WG’s meetings and were turned off by them. I could have added myself to that list at one time. We were afraid that we would not be able to reach those people with information on this group, which I think fits an entirely different niche of interest.


>>>I know organizing events of this size and scope are hard, I did it for 2 years. There are always going to be people with hurt feelings, people that don’t like the way something is going, or just don’t get along with someone. You do what you can to correct any problems and move on.

Ben, while I love your lofty ambitions, I really don’t believe that what your suggesting if possible. I wish there were easy answers. I would love to put down the burden of running a group.

Before we formed this group, we talked long and hard about not starting a formal meetup group, just having casual get-togethers. We felt we were serving more gamers in the community by making a formal group with formal announcements and a formal calendar.
Rodney
Candyman
Elma, NY
Post #: 819
As a member of 4 of these groups, and having attended events held by all of them, I thought I would throw in my 2 cents on this subject.

Each group is unique in its own way. One group is more of a social group that plays games that are well known with simple rules. (Scrabble, Monopoly, card games etc.) I believe they enjoy socializing and enjoying each other’s company as much as they do playing these more well known games.

The other group is similar to the first but are more open to the idea of playing gateway type games that may be unknown to them.

Another group is more of what I consider to be a Euro gaming group that is always open to play new and different games. This group seems to spend a lot more time gaming that do people in the other two groups.

The last group is more of what you call your hardcore gamers or war gamers. They tend to play games that are really involved and or take a long time to play. Although depending on who is attending they are also open to playing Euro games. There is not as much socializing and chances are you won’t see scrabble or monopoly being played at these events.

Really it’s a matter of preference when deciding what gaming group is right or best for you. I belong to all these groups because I enjoy playing all different types of games. In one week it’s possible (depending on each groups schedules) to play different types of games 4 days a week if you belong to all these groups. I only wish I didn’t own my own business so I could make all these events on a regular basis smile

As far as combining these groups into one goes, while that’s a possibility, I’m not really sure if it would bring the gaming community any closer together. Because of the differences within each group, if we all met under one roof I believe people would have a tendency to split into groups of people they are comfortable playing with because not everyone has the same interests in games. Maybe I’m completely wrong here, that’s just a guess on my part.

The other problem you have is picking one night and going with it. It simply doesn’t work for everyone and attendance will always suffer because of those members that can’t make a certain night due to work or family issues.

It would be great if we could find a venue that would hold 100 of us and we could all meet together on the same day every week, but I don’t think that it’s realistic. Although I wish someone could prove me wrong smile
Grant L.
ladue
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 440

We have offered Grant also a place on our calendar. We support Grant's group. We are trying to iron out details to get this month’s meeting on our board and if we can’t manage that for this week’s meeting, it will be there for sure next month. Although we have scheduled a game night for the same night as BACSIM, I believe that any member that would be interested in BACSIM would go there rather than with us so I do not believe that we are in any way impacting on Grant’s group’s attendance. If Grant does have a concern with this, I hope he would contact me on it.



For what it's worth, I've always intended BACSIM to be all-inclusive. I'd be more than happy to have you actually meet *at* BACSIM if you'd like. I don't want to restrict any kind of gaming at BACSIM. Many of us go to longer and more complex games there because it provides the time to do so that other meets do not, but I like to see as much gaming as possible. Quite frankly, I'd be hard pressed to stay out of a good competitive game of Euchre myself. I like to think that exposure to all types of gaming is good.
A former member
Post #: 64
Thanks for posting such a passionate and thought provoking post. I'll be as concise (yeah right... tough for me lol) as possible and focus briefly on the idea of a large game group meeting versus a smaller one.

First, I don't believe either is better when one examines a large game night versus a small game night. Through my casual game blog I have organized a couple game nights where game companies donated a couple copies of games for people to try and then give away some of the games to those that came. I have had a large game night of almost 60 people to a smaller game night of 20 people with RSVP. The first was held at a local Barnes and Noble and the second was at a smaller hobby and toy store. I also used to do the gaming convention circuit and saw large and small gaming groups and the dynamics they both have. There are pros and cons to each, one or two are :

Larger game nights have the ability to have more diverse gaming tastes with people and the opportunity to meet one another. They also tend to give more credibility to gaming in general to any "outsiders" or media. It's a great feeling to know that there are so many others that enjoy games. However, finding accommodating locations can be difficult without renting out space.

Smaller game nights have a more intimate feel and are not as intimidating to new people. I have seen many people over the years walk into a game room with 50-100 people and walk back out. Smaller game nights are also easier to find places to meet and can focus more on the game types that people like to play while slowly introducing new games and game types.

At the larger game gatherings I have seen many times that small groups of people that have close gaming tastes and get along well tend to then invite each other to their houses or whatever to have smaller game nights with new friends. But all along, I have always told people that the more game nights and game groups the better. I don't see it as fracturing the gaming community, but rather growing it. There are friends of friends and people in different areas of Buffalo that want to meet at places close to them with people they know. I know that at my second game night over half the people were new and never were at the first game night because I had the game night in a different area. One was in the northtowns and one was in the southtowns.

Over the past couple years I have seen a huge rise in casual game nights as people want to try something different and, especially in these economic times, something to do at night that is not expensive. I have spoken with game stores across the nation that have started doing game nights and there are many cafes, stores and restaurants having small game nights. With more casual people and families becoming interested in going out or staying at home and inviting friends to play games the gaming community is growing. I remember a time when I could only game at conventions and large groups. Now gaming is more mainstream.

The internet has also gone more mainstream so you have more people than just us former die hard players online and more people are online and looking for others to meet and games are one of those avenues to meet and have fun. So I have been seeing alot more gaming groups and communities using the internet to coordinate and communicate and Meetup is one of those ways.

A benefit to more people buying and playing board games is we are now seeing more of a blur between casual players and Euro players. There are games that are trying to bridge the gap as well as offer fun and different gameplay beyond the classics.

So I don't see any problem with multiple meetup gaming groups. I myself play games with different groups of friends that are not on Meetup but we play games regularly. Meetup is just an easier way for some people and friends to coordinate. I've been seeing more small groups pop up on the internet that have been meeting for months and years as more people use social network sites to coordinate. So there have been multiple game groups meeting at book stores and cafes and homes already, even in the buffalo are, it's just that they are now using the internet to coordinate so more of us other gamers are finding out about them. It's fun to have a large game night and it's fun to have a small game night. A little for everyone.

Like I've said before... I just wanna play games... games and brownies :)

I'll stop my rambling :)
seafsee
seafsee
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 17
Hi Ben,

There is little I can add to what those before me in this thread have already said.

There are schedule conflicts galore, varying levels of interest, time and financial considerations and other issues, like communication! confused

My interests for example are extremely casual. This is not too say what you propose wouldn't interest me. For this group on it's own, we've had a difficult enough time finding a venue where we could meet and have a good time for a few hours. If we had deep pockets, this would be a non-issue!

I've seen some of the negative comments others have posted elsewhere. I hope you can come up with a plan to make the idea fly.
There is nothing wrong with "lofty". Keep us informed.

Charles
_______________

A former member
Post #: 19
I just wanted to let everyone know..

As I promised Grant I would do, I changed the schedule of our meetup group (Greater Buffalo Boardgames) so that we would not conflict with BACSIM the first Saturday of each month and the Rochester's group meeting the third Saturday of each month.

I went to see Grant yesterday at BACSIM and was quite impressed with the group. The turnout was good despite some weather alerts and the environment was excellent for a variety of game types. I just wish I could have stayed for a round or two of games.

It seems that there is enough fun to go around for everyone so we can support each other's groups.

--Peggy
Lana
puddlediving
East Aurora, NY
Post #: 61
I also am a member of several of these groups. They each have a different "vibe" but are all fun to attend. I understand what Ben is saying regarding one centralized group used for organizing. It didn't seem to me he meant there should only be one type of gaming night. All gaming could be included on one calendar. Right now it seems the easiest way is to have multiple meetup groups.

I like to play games that push my brain to it's limits (usually at the Wednesday group) and I also like casual gaming with a bagel break between rounds. (Panera!). I have yet to make it to BACSIM, but may do so one day. As Peggy said, these groups are not mutually exclusive.

What I love is that every week I ought to be able to game somewhere, despite my awkward work schedule.

Lana
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