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Chicago Boardgame group

A former member
Post #: 33
I've been contacted by the man who runs the Chicago Boardgames Meetup group. He sent me the mission statement that he wrote for his group at the end of 2008. I read it over and found some things I thought wouldn't work here locally but also some interesting ideas and suggestions that might work. I thought I would share his mission statement with everyone here. I'd like your thoughts/feelings on his ideas / suggestions / mission statement. I think his goals for his group and our goals for this group are similar in many ways.

However, I must add, that if any of these meetup ideas sound interesting to you, I'd suggest that you take over as the acting-organizer of the event; i.e. select a time, date, venue and we will be more than happy to support you and help you promote it in any way possible. I have people contact me all the time with ideas but when I ask their help to implement it, they lose interest. I'd love to do it all but I just can't.

Please let me know what you think!!



--------------------------------------­-------------------------
From: Nate Scheidler
Organizer of Chicago Boardgames Meetup group.

I hope you have had a terrific 2008, and are planning on a terrific 2009. I know that I have, and I thought I'd take a moment to share what's been developing up here in Chicago. While "boardgames" have been making a comeback for a long time now, we are at an essential point in the growth of our hobby. With the economy failing and people uncertain about their futures, our favorite pastime provides a means of bringing people together and connecting neighbors with neighbors.

In 2008 I took over as organizer of the Chicago Boardgames Meetup group. I had just attended an event where we had 45 people in the same room playing games, and all I could think about is "Wow... we could be doing so much more with this." Presently we have over 700 members and a goal of 2009 members in 2009.

The things I've done in 2008 that worked:

-- Separated out the event types. A person that plays Classic Games (i.e. Monopoly) may not necessarily like Euro Games. So I have set up 5 categories of events so players know what to expect when they come: Classic, Euro, Open (all types), Party and Word.

-- Added assistant organizers to help cover different areas of the city. I can't be everywhere all the time, and Chicago is pretty darn big (or so I hear). Adding on assistant organizers helps more people get in the game.

-- Tied in other venues and organized play groups as assistant organizers. This tackles the same functions as above, but also serves to help both their groups and mine. They post to my calendar to access my user group, and my members know where to go to get in a game.

-- Reached out to other Meetup groups with specifically targeted games (for instance, Cineplexity for the Movie Lovers group and Fetch for an active dogs Meetup), designed to encourage gameplay in their groups and help direct them back to mine.

-- Toured venues in the city that claim to have boardgame play available, or could support it adequately.

-- Placed games in select venues tagged with my group information as advertisement.


Along the way, I became tied in with the Chicago Toy and Game group (www.chitag.com) as well as various game manufacturers. I've also recently become a columnist for gamesforeducators.com.

That's 2008; 2009 is about taking the group and doing some great things.

-- Establishing a focus group with some game-players with motion limitations (some more severe than others) to start reviewing games in terms of playability. Identify what motions are needed to play, how essential these motions are to playing the game, and how one may be able to work around them.

-- Working with venues to co-market boardgame events. They advertise to their customers, I advertise to my members, and we pack the business with game players. I have several venues lined up for this, with a hope to gain some press coverage. The intent here is not only to build connections with the venues we play at, but to encourage other businesses to consider boardgames as a possible booster for revenues.

-- Taking boardgames to the park in the summer; life-size games with human pieces, beanbag tosses, and other outdoor games. Most people want to take advantage of the outdoors, so I'm going to run outdoor events that coincide with other city events to keep my group engaged and help attract members.

-- In the fall, I'll be looking for more press as we run Halloween-oriented events... scary games, and some unique role-play type events based around ghost stories and murder mysteries to encourage non-RPers to consider stretching their sense of play.

-- The capstone for us will be helping to develop the Chicago Toy and Game Fair into a genuine event for our city. ChiTag has been running for several years, but has always needed a lot of "feet on the street" to help it reach its full potential. Our Meetup group can provide the volunteers it needs, and the Chicago gaming community can finally start growing collectively.

There's even more to be said than this!

By now, some of you may be interested to hear where this is all leading up to, and others may be wanting me to get to the point. Well, here it is.

Through Meetup, we are possessed with a great ability to attract, motivate and mobilize groups of people. The more people we are able to move as organizers, the more we represent to other organizations. What can you do with this?

-- You have a fantastic environment to learn and practice business management skills, on the small and large scale.

-- You become an outlet for other businesses to reach a large number of people. This is a valuable thing, and it becomes more valuable with each member you add. I am receiving support directly from manufacturers because they understand I am promoting their bottom line. There are additional marketing and consulting revenue potentials when the group reaches a large enough size.

-- You become an outlet for other businesses to reach a large number of people. This is a valuable thing, and it becomes more valuable with each member you add.

-- It is a resume builder for entry to the game industry. Consider how difficult it is to get anything significant on a resume related to gaming.

And let's not forget that you can play more games, more times, in more places.

I'm mailing this to you because it does us well, as organizers, to share ideas with each other. Join forces, and perhaps start doing things with our favorite pastime on the national level that haven't been done before.

Thanks for reading. While I don't expect a response from everyone that I am sending this message to, I'm committed to working with those who do. I hope that this message is what you needed to hear, and maybe gives you some ideas and inspiration for your own groups. Regardless, I wish you a wonderful and fun 2009.
bobbie8153
bobbie8153
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 976
If Ben and Grant had a baby -- it would be him!!!!
bobbie8153
bobbie8153
Buffalo, NY
Post #: 977
Does he sell AVON too ? Sorry, I couldn't resist........

I didn't get that at all from his comments. I got the Gaming Utopia Idea.
A former member
Post #: 81
Some great ideas. I think the different gaming groups help provide some of his ideas. Something for everyone. My opinion is always... more gaming and gaming group options the better. Many game companies feel like the summer is a bad time to have game nights but the Buffalo gaming activity shows that is not necessarily true. I've even seen more game night interest around the nation. I think this is a great time for games. Games had a great resurgence during the last economic downturn too.

-Tim
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