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San Antonio Board Gamers Message Board › Advice on Starting a Gaming Group

Advice on Starting a Gaming Group

Scott O.
MTKnife
Dumfries, VA
Post #: 7
Hello, everyone. How are things back in Texas?

I've been talking with a game store manager in Northern Virginia who'd like to start a game night at his store. I've been a member of gaming groups before, but never helped run one, let alone started one. Does anyone have any advice on things like recruiting new gamers, scheduling meetings, and so on?

One thing I'm concerned about is that the store manager wants to charge the gamers (or group) for renting his space, right off the bat. Do you guys think this might work?


Scott O.
Adam M.
user 57657382
San Antonio, TX
Post #: 9
I don't have much experience with starting a group, but I do know that creating a new Meetup (which does cost money) will automatically alert those in the region who MIGHT be interested due to similar tastes. I don't know about you, but I'm constantly getting emails from meetup.com about some new group.

Also, advertising directly in the store is probably a better way if they have a calendar available; the one by the door at Dragon's Lair is very nice in this regard. You're targeting your audience directly this way.

As far as renting out the space: speaking as a former niche shop owner, this seems like a bad idea. It's tough enough today to get people into brick and mortar stores when so much is available online at better prices, and having a game night gets people in the door. It's not all roses though. If the store is relatively new, then I might suggest to the owner that he look at some resources. There are a number of books and blogs on the subject that talk about how to make gaming profitable.

Here is one in particular, speaking specifically about pros and cons of having a gaming space: http://www.rpg.net/co...­

Here's a thread I saw a while back on BGG about the gaming business, it might have some additional helpful hints: http://boardgamegeek....­
A former member
Post #: 6
Does the owner (assuming he has the room/tables already in the store) allow (unorganized) playing in their store??

I would say that charging a game group anything is a bad idea. Getting a few people to show up is plenty hard enough as it is. I think the caveat would be if you already have a set team of people who are committed to coming and willing to chip in a dollar a night (more again would be completely out of the question). On the other side of the thing is that if the owner doesn't see hosting a game group as a good marketing opportunity, I think they already have a problem.. I think, at the very least, they should be talked into hosting for free just to see if it would not also create additional sales.
stoneart69
user 10798616
San Antonio, TX
Post #: 313
I would try to find a free space. it doesn't have to be in a store, it could be a library, it could be a conference room, it could be a club house, it could be in a pizza hut, it could be at a school, it could be on a college campus, all you need is one sympathetic ear on a college campus as a sponsor, sometimes you don't need that much, I would check in with the NTSO (non traditional students organization) at the nearest college or university (somebody in the organization knows about games or someone who games.) I would advertise on BGG (boardgamegeek), I know this group started out as 2 or 3, it had a blog somewhere out in the net, I used to read it, talk it up at the local store, if you are lucky, word will gradually spread, one can become 4 pretty quick, 4 grows to 8, but you have to keep at it, and Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

Check and see if there are meetup groups already established in the area. Find out where all the stores in and around town are, any place that deals in magic, or games, introduce yourself to the owners ask about groups, that may exist.
Scott O.
MTKnife
Dumfries, VA
Post #: 8
As far as marketing, I was already planning on Meetup and BGG--and the store manager was already aware of both venues, and had taken looks at them. (I didn't realize I'd have to pay for Meetup, though.)

The deal with renting space is that he's not normally open that late, and therefore has to pay someone to cover the shift. He does get rent from the current game groups, both of which play once a week: a Warhammer group and an MtG group. But I think those players have very different behavior and expectations from board gamers.
Scott O.
MTKnife
Dumfries, VA
Post #: 9
Oh, I should add: it's a well-established store, but I'm not sure if they allow unorganized gaming. That's something to ask about. Thanks.
Scott O.
MTKnife
Dumfries, VA
Post #: 10
My first meeting with the game store manager went well. One question he has is what games they should stock. I would assume they would want a mix of old standards and games good for beginners, and maybe to take a look at the top 10 or 20 on BGG.

Any ideas?

Scott
stoneart69
user 10798616
San Antonio, TX
Post #: 314
I have done this with a store owner in the past and it didn't work out so well. If I had it to do again I would tell him the things you would absolutely personally buy in store if they were there. That said, classics sell because they are classics. settlers, carcasone, tigris and euphrates, acquire, power grid, and for my own personal taste x-wing. One of the biggest things is stuff you are willing to demo in store to drum up interest.
If you're a big fan of netrunner, then drumming up a local following could be pretty easy considering many Magic players are familiar with Netrunner from it's early days.
Impulse buys, like Love Letter at the register would fly off the shelf given a demo or two. Coup and resistance/avalon follow under this as well. I remember when Nightmare Chess was at the register at Alien Worlds (ingram) it sold case after case, because it was cheap and people already knew the basics of how to play. the hobbit (trick taking)card game, and Hey that's my Fish would also fit the bill nicely.
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