We like to think of London on Board as a friendly place. This guide is to let you know what to expect at your first meet-up.
Mark, Paul and Lizzie enjoying a game of Agricola in the Red Herring.
We have a rotating selection of central London venues where we game, all pubs. Our spiritual home, The Red Herring, is now closed but we have built up a pool of regular venues to play in.
These include: the Theodore Bullfrog, Mad Hatter, Sir Christopher Hatton, Inn of Court, Bavarian Beerhouse. Each event clearly states the venue and gives the location.
We're constantly trying other venues around town, so LoB can pop up at other places too. Check your meeting for details.When?
We have meetings pretty much every day of the week, with all-day gaming at weekends. There's the occasional hiccup or shift in schedule due to holidays or the venue having other bookings. Again, check your meeting for details.
Weeknights start about 5:30pm and run to about 10:30pm.
Sunday sessions start at 11:00 am and run until 8:00 p.m., and Saturday sessions run from 11:00 till 7:00 p.m.
Note: it's not necessary to arrive at the very beginning of the event, but as many meetings are over-subscribed try not to come too late out of courtesy of those missing out (a couple of hours is fine).What (games do we play)?
All kinds of tabletop and boardgames: card games, war games, dexterity games, trading games, family games, cooperative games, simulation games. See here
for some examples. There are also a few games we explicitly don't play - see below. If you don't know any of these games or haven't played many games before - don't worry! See below.How (do I attend a meeting)?
Any rules I should be aware of?Very few
- Check the meeting is on. Occasionally the schedule does change for reasons beyond our control. Always confirm with the calendar.
- RSVP for a meeting. This is important as there is a limited amount of space and we've occasionally exceeded that, resulting in a crowded and stuffy room. If you change your mind, change your RSVP so someone else can take your place. If a meeting is already full, you can put yourself on a waiting list for any spaces that might turn up. (Please note that due to limitations with the Meetup software, if there's a waiting list, you shouldn't RSVP with a '+1' but instead as individuals, as other individuals will jump the queue if single vacancies appear.)
- Show up. Weeknights, some eager people start playing games at 5.30pm but as long as you arrive before 6.30, it should be easy enough to find a game to jump into. Weekends have a more relaxed start at 11 a.m. Arrive much later and you may have to wait a while for a game. An alternative is to pre-arrange to start a game for whatever time you arrive.
- Introduce yourself to the host. Most meetings have a host, a kindly soul who will make sure newcomers get into a game. Look towards the top of the meetup attendance list for their name. But it's all too easy to miss people in a crowded room. If possible, identify yourself as a newbie in your RSVP or the comments below a meetup so we know to expect you. When you get there, ask for the host and they'll take care of you.
(We love to have hosts at all our meetings but there's just too many. If it's your first meeting, maybe you'd prefer to avoid those "host-less" meetings. Or be ready to look out for yourself, ask around for spaces in a game, or see if you could start one yourself.)
- Play games. Have fun.
. We're easy going. But we ask you:
Other questionsWhere do all these games come from?
- RSVP for club events. Cancel if you can't show up. We have a limited amount of space and therefore have to control attendance numbers.
- Take care of games while you're playing them, and pack them up games after you're finished. Watch out for food or drink spills. Make sure all pieces are returned to the box and they are sorted or arranged as they were before you played it.
- Don't bring outside food or drink to the club. We get to use pubs as a venue for free because they rely upon the food and drink people will buy there. If you bring food in, you are cheating the pub, cheating the club and endangering our use of the venue. No exceptions. In fact, we expect you to buy something at the bar.
- Be kind. Be a good sport. Win and lose graciously, be patient with other players, don't shout, don't argue. It's just a game. Also, sometimes events can be very crowded, so watch how much noise you make and how much space you take up. Don't use more table space than you have to.
- Look out for your valuables. There has been a very small number of thefts, but our meetings are at public places in central London. There is an obvious risk.
- Have fun. This is mandatory.
Club members. Everyone is welcome to bring along games they think others will enjoy, but don't worry if you can't as there are always more than enough to go round. The games that people have brought usually get piled up on a table in the middle, and anyone's welcome to pick from that stack and start up a game. How do I get in a game?
Most games are organised on the spot (someone picks up a box and calls out "who wants to play...?"). Even you could do this: "Could someone teach me how to play...?" Some games get organised in the comments for a particular meetup (especially on the weekend, where more complicated games tend to be played), but you don't have to do this. Just get out there and ask. If you get lost or can't get started, ask the host for assistance.
Across a meeting, groups will play a game, then split up and regroup to play a different game. Most likely, you'll get to play several games. Towards the end of the meeting, people tend to play "fillers" - shorter, lighter games.But I don't know how to play game X?
Don't worry if you don't know any of the games or haven't played many games before! Someone who knows the rules will always be happy to explain. Even regulars will often have to be taught or reminded of rules. If you're not sure whether you want to join a particular game, ask for some more information. It's fine to say if you'd rather play several shorter, simpler games than one epic that will take the whole meeting.When does it finish?
Week-nights, the bar staff usually start clearing up around 10pm, which is a sign that we should be finishing up too. Weekend sessions wind up around 7 to 8pm. Of course, you can leave earlier if you want.When does it cost?
: The membership fees are currently in abeyance thanks to our kind sponsor BoardGameGuru.co.uk. Show your appreciation by shopping there. You should also show your appreciation to the pub: we get the space for free on the expectation of us buying food and drink there. Please do so. This is still very daunting.
Don't worry, we're all about having fun. If you'd still like a gentle introduction, we occasionally have "newbie sessions" to ease newcomers into boardgaming. See this thread
on our message boards or check the calendar, though new players will be made welcome at any of our events.What are these theme nights?
Sometimes we suggest a theme for the meetup: Wild West
, Games Published in 1996
, Ghosts and Horror
, etc. This is just a suggestion, to mix things up. You don't have to stick to the theme.I'm really into game X. Can I come and play it?
Generally, yes. But because there are only a few clubs like us dedicated to boardgaming and there is a limited amount of space, there are some games we don't
play:Roleplaying games, CCGs (collectible card games), Magic the Gathering, etc.:
While many club members play these sort of games, we've chosen to rule them out. There are many other clubs dedicated entirely to those sort of games which would be more suitable venues as would private game sessions. See this thread
for a longer explanation.Scrabble / Mah-jong / Monopoly / Bridge / chess / poker / etc.:
You might not get a lot of interest in these, as most members use London-on-Board as a place to play games they wouldn't otherwise get to play. As there are also plenty of other places to play them, we've chosen to rule them out. Computer and online games:
Many club members play these, especially online versions of boardgames. But it's not something we do at
meetings.Two player games:
These do get played at meetings, but we ask that you don't play them when the club is crowded (which is most meetings), so we can make best use of the space and get the most people in.
As a rule, if there are other clubs dedicated to this game (e.g. Scrabble), if it's a game that can easily get played somewhere else (e.g. Monopoly), if it's one that's played mainly by people that play it exclusively (e.g. chess), you don't need us as a venue. Nothing personal, just being practical and catering to our strengths.Too much gaming is barely enough. What other clubs are there?
for a non-exhaustive list of clubs in London that may satisfy your needs.
Games in progress while indecisive gamers circle the pile of possible games.
Above all, have fun, and if you have any problems grab the night's host.