Time Required: Varies
- It's easiest to join a club that's already active, so check for existing clubs in your area. Searching the Internet and asking at a local game store are the best ways to find local gaming groups. Visit the existing clubs, if there are any, to see if the players' personalities and taste in games match your own.
- If you can't find a club in your area that matches your gaming needs, or you really want to form your own, you need to decide who you'll invite. Do you play games with friends pretty regularly, or even a few times a year? Perhaps all you need to do is make those meetings a little more structured: e.g. Meet on the first and third Thursday nights of every month.
- If you need or want to find new gamers, try testing the waters among your co-workers by bringing in short games that can be completed over your lunch break. If you go to church, ask your pastor if you can set up an after-church game time on Sunday afternoons.
- Consider inviting your neighbors over for dinner and some games. If it works out, you've got the start of a great local game group.
- Post a note on the Internet letting people know you're looking for gamers, like finding a discussion forum such as BoardGameGeek.com is great places to start.
- Post notices in libraries, community centers, and/or senior centers. The notice should ask for potential gamers to call or email you to schedule a gaming night or invite them to attend a scheduled game event. Some groups have a trial period, designed to make it easier to un-invite someone if they aren't a match for the other gamers in your group.
- Consider trying to teach a games course at your local community college. Many community colleges are eager to offer new and interesting continuing education courses, and some gamers have had success teaching such courses.
- Play games in public whenever possible. You'll be surprised how many people stop to watch and ask questions. A few may want to join your group. One way to do this is to coordinate a game night at a local bookstore, coffee shop, or library.
- Once you have a game night set up, be sure to have a good variety of games to match people's interests. Don't push your favorites too hard; let the group decide on its own.
- It might help to start with familiar or simple games, then introduce new ones to the group as they get more comfortable with each other. Again, let the group decide as much as possible.
- Keep things casual. Provide soda, lemonade, and munchies. (I recommend that drinks and munchies be kept away from the game table, as they can damage games.) Play some mutually acceptable, low-volume background music.
- Make sure you know the rules to any game you want to teach. It's never a good thing to say, "Uh... just a minute while I check the rules on that... it's in here somewhere." Even worse is having to say halfway through the game, "Oh. There's just one more rule you need to know about."
- Don't be afraid to abandon a game partway through if it's not working for your group. You don't want people to leave with a bad taste in their mouths -- you want them to come back for more games.
- Have fun! Don't ever forget that the goal of a game group is to enjoy the night. If things get too serious, make your next game something offbeat game to lighten the mood.
- When recruiting players, make it clear what kind of games you'll be playing (designer, party, collectible card games, etc.). There's no point in having a hardcore wargamer show up when you're only interested in party games.
- Encourage other players to bring their own games. They'll feel more comfortable because they already know the rules, and you might even discover a new favorite for yourself.
- Set a regular meeting day and stick to it. A group will work much better if it gathers every Tuesday, for example, rather than "We'll email each other and set something up."
- After every event, write a brief summary and email it to everyone who attended. Don't make anyone look bad, and don't include any potentially embarrassing details. But do make sure you include information about your next gathering!
What You Need
- Energy and a friendly attitude.
- A location to meet.
- One or more tables that seat at least six.
- Beverages and snacks.
- Games, games, games.