How to Start a Board Game Group
I love board games, and if you’re reading this, I’m sure you will too. And if you’re anything like me, you’re the most enthusiastic board player in your circle of friends. In fact, I would say that most of my friends just play games as a social distraction. I on the other hand are specifically looking for opportunities to experience new rule sets, mechanics, and themes. So it can be frustrating when my friends’ enthusiasm for gaming doesn’t match mine.
Luckily, there are plenty of people outside of my social circle who are as passionate about board games as I am. So I scratch my game itch by frequenting this gathering of enthusiastic board players. In this article, I’m going to share my observations of what has worked well, and what problems I ran into, so you too can find people who are as passionate about playing the latest deck builder as you are. I live in a small town, so all of these tips apply to you, no matter where you live.
1) Don’t push it :
My first attempt at starting a board game group was in my office. I work for a software company, so in general, my coworkers have just the right geeky qualities to enjoy board games. At first this was good, but over time I felt like a farmer herding cattle for slaughter. This is basically a case of a player who is slightly interested in the game, but lacks the intrinsic motivation to be on time to play it.
After a while I gave up, because I realized that it wasn’t worth the exhaustion. If you find yourself having to constantly nag people to come play games, stop now! All it does is annoy your friends, and tire you out. I promise, there are people who want to play board games as much as you do, so the key is to find them.
2) Find enthusiastic gamers :
Before you spend time building a game group from scratch, you should start by seeing if a suitable group already exists. Apart from saving you work, it also has the added benefit of not dividing your gaming community. There are a few places you should check to see if there are any established groups.
Meetup.com is a place that helps people with similar interests get together and do what they love. This is probably the first place you should check.
Boardgamegeek.com is a community site full of enthusiastic gamers. The problem is that they are scattered all over the world. It’s hit or miss, but dropping a forum post on this site asking about gaming groups in your area can provide some good results.
3) Go solo :
If you don’t have the luck finding an existing group, you should start your own. It’s worth spending money to join Meetup.com as an organizer and post groups there. Then you’ll want to promote the group on Boardgamegeek.com, and in other local online publications. I think you’d be surprised at the number of players waiting for such a group to have in their community, but don’t know where to start.
As for the place, your home will be fine, but it’s probably best to find a non-threatening public area. My group made a deal with a local coffee shop that has a meeting room. Our players are committed to always buying at least something small from the store. In return, if no paying customers book a meeting room, our group can use it, free of charge. It never hurts to ask some of your local businesses if they would be open to a similar arrangement.
4) Set some ground rules :
Not every gamer is going to hang out all the time, so establishing a code of conduct can help ensure everyone is playing by the same rules, so to speak. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it can save you a lot of frustration when “that guy” joins your group.
5) Be consistent :
One of the best ways to keep gamers coming back for more is to make meetings a part of their routine. So just set a repeating schedule that everyone can rely on, and keep playing the game.
I hope these tips help you find new gamers, and even new friends!