Gaming Clubs vs. Gaming Networks: Growing more gamers

edited April 2006 in Stuff to Watch
Over at The Raven's Mutterings (http://raven.phoenyx.net/mutterings/20060218.html) I read about an interesting idea: Networking for Gamers. Getting together socially with other people that play games and getting to know them outside of the 'playing a game together' context.

Now, our local gaming scene has two games clubs (both associated with a local college/university), one very small games store (owned by myself and a business partner), and at least one very active 'organizer' who is all about getting people to try new games and get to know each other. So, from the "Are people gaming?" standpoint, I think that I can say, "Yes, people are gaming." but at the same time I don't feel that our gaming population has grown.

The upshot: I'm wondering whether networking works, whether it would work in our area, and whether it would bring new people to the hobby.

Of course, I'm also interesting in what other gamers think about the idea. If someone started a Gamers Network in your area would you go? Why?

Comments

  • This is the NerdNYC model, and I am totally on board with this. The gaming scene in NYC is hopping, and their online boards are a great place to get to know people. Since I am an enthusiastic participant, even though I live in New Jersey and can't make most of the events, I advocate trying this out wherever you can.
  • My college gaming group had a lot of socialization/networking time. Often a card or board game would spring up, but there were plenty of folks who just showed up in the student union to hang out.

    Here in Portland Oregon, there has been an occaisional gathering at a local eatery. I have yet to make one of those, but would definitely like to. In these days of non-club based gaming, it would increase the interractions between gamers, and I think make it easier for folks to find new groups.

    We also had a GM "support" group for a while, but that sort of broke down, in part because the guy who started it had a specific agenda (help HIM), mostly though, I think the problem was the focus on solving gaming problems, and not on socializing. The fact that such a meeting would only be able to address 1-3 people's needs means that anyone else above that number is doing a lot of giving and not much receiving.

    Frank
  • Where are you, JADettman?
  • I think he's in Ithaca, N.Y., if its the Jason Dettman I know in the university town that I live in.
  • I thought Ithaca was a town founded and solely populated by networked gamers?
  • Hi Judd!

    Yup, Ithaca. It's not solely populated by networked gamers, I can assure you. I'd say that I meet a new gamer at least every month.
  • 'We also had a GM "support" group for a while, but that sort of broke down, in part because the guy who started it had a specific agenda (help HIM), mostly though, I think the problem was the focus on solving gaming problems, and not on socializing.'

    Was this me? Hehehehe.

  • That's the trick, I think that a Networking group has to be solely focused on socializing and arranging to play games with like-minded folks at another time.

    I've been talking to my wife about this and she loves the idea. She says that it's the opposite of high school. Our gaming time is so limited as 'responsible adults' that it's important that we game with people that are on the same wavelength that we are. Trying to run a serious diceless game with someone that is constantly complaining about the lack of dice is not a fun experience (for example).
  • JIGG here in J-land is much less a club and much much more of a network. We use our email list almost entirely for arranging stuff, finding people, and setting up meet 'n greets. It's all gaming related but there are occasional shout outs from people job hunting and whatnot.

    This works for Japan based gamers all over the country. We're mostly in the Kanto region but I know there are guys in Osaka and Hiroshima getting the hook up thru JIGG.

    The best part is, when JIGG members (Andy) go back to their home countries, they often maintain ties to JIGG, thus giving access to whatever networks they have going back home.

    I'm the owner of the JIGG list and one of the founders, so if you wanna tie JIGG into your network, I'd be happy to see it happen. I know gamers often come to Japan and don't know JIGG exists, and maybe miss out on making some more friends and getting some good gaming going.
  • Joe - nope, not you (Nate was the guy). Did you come to any of those?

    That's the trick, I think that a Networking group has to be solely focused on socializing and arranging to play games with like-minded folks at another time.


    Of course the only downside to this is the need to carve yet another time slot out for the socializing... But yea, I think that's the ticket.

    Actually, a game night where people played board games, or pick up RPGs (either RPGs that can actually be picked up and played in one evening, or someone showing up with a con type scenario) might work also.

    A bad way to go about it would be the NC State's club that I was involved in for a while. They had a bunch of games going on. Trouble was they were all full. And they were all absolutely regularly scheduled. So basically the players in those games might as well have been on Pluto. The result was that the portion of the club that was available for potential new games and such was not sufficient to gain critical mass for any game. I spent a lot of time watching other games, and occaisionally playing board or minis games.

    So whatever the structure is, it has to encourage intermingling between any groups that form. MIT's game club back in the late 70s and early 80s had this. There were a lot of games, but rather than a strict schedule, people showed up, and then decided what game to play, though some games were almost regular, but even then, players would rotate in and out (so while Richard might run EVERY weekend, Dave might occaisionally decide to play something else).

    Frank
  • edited April 2006
    Of course the only downside to this is the need to carve yet another time slot out for the socializing... But yea, I think that's the ticket.

    That's true enough, Frank. Finding time is the biggest reason for a network and its biggest drawback. However, if you schedule the network to meet once or twice a month, this becomes less of a time commitment. That and the informal nature of a network meetup also means that you can drop in for a half-hour or so to hang out and then move on. If the meetup is for a few hours, you don't have to be there the entire time.


    Actually, a game night where people played board games, or pick up RPGs (either RPGs that can actually be picked up and played in one evening, or someone showing up with a con type scenario) might work also.

    We've got that. The Cornell Games Club (and to a lesser extent, the Ithaca College GC) both have this kind of feel. Lots of board games, card games, and rpgs being played, nearly all with room available for folks to jump in if they have the inclination.

    Don't get me wrong, those clubs are great but they aren't as attractive to many newcomers for some reason. A network might work better for those that have a problem getting involved with an existing games club. That's the idea anyway.
  • Mike,

    JIGG sounds good. We've got a email-list for the Cornell Games Club but mostly folks just use it to see if anyone is interested in playing a specific game that week.

    It's the Meet'n'Greet aspect that I want to emphasize with a network. People getting together to socialize and get to know each other.

    If a local network gets off the ground, I'll definitely point people in JIGG's direction.
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