We play:

Settlers of Catan - Puerto Rico - Agricola - Condottiere - Ticket to Ride - Citadels - Torres - Shadows over Camelot - Race for the Galaxy - Formula De - Seven Wonders .. that kind of thing.

The club owns lots of games, and our members bring even more.

We meet:

Every Thursday - 8pm - The Stables Bar, Newbold Comyn Arms, Leamington Spa

We welcome:


We charge:

50p each week, which is spent on games for the club.

First-timers pay nothing!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

So you want your own board gaming club?

This post isn't really for our regulars. Nor for anyone living within striking distance of Leamington -- keep coming to Board Silly; or if you're not already doing so, start.

No, it's for passers-by who might see what we're doing and want to do something similar. Board Silly is pretty successful right now -- my success criterion being that I can just turn up at an agreed place once a week and get to play games I like with people it's pleasant to be with. So I thought I'd write down what we do.

You don't need much:

You need to start with at least three people who you can rely on to come most weeks, at first -- simply so you're not sat on your own in a pub hoping for someone to turn up and recognise you as a gamer. Well, maybe two. But three is better, and more is better still. If you already know enough people who are up for it,  fine. Otherwise, lure friends, family and colleagues. When Board Silly started off, we made an effort to be very inclusive, promising casual games (Trivial Pursuit! Cranium!) as well as the stuff nobody had heard of. That side of things has withered away organically, but it got us started.

Find somewhere that's free. There is no reason to pay. Pubs are good. If pubs aren't your thing, then sorry. Some pubs will let you use a function room for free. Be prepared to skip a week now and then, if someone else pays to use the room. Some pubs are suitable places to play games in the main space -- this is the case at our current venue, the Newbold Comyn Arms. Do buy drinks. The pub needs to remain in business.

I'm sure you can imagine the problems you'd get if you used the wrong kind of pub. Little wooden pieces scattered across the floor, victims of an errant drunken stumble... Choose somewhere civilised.

We've chosen not to host evenings at people's houses -- it sidesteps an opportunity for things to get complicated. That said, members to sometimes set up games at their own houses.

We found that running a kitty works well. 50p per week is so small a sum that people barely notice it. Yet it quickly mounts up -- we buy games faster than we can play them!

This is the only area in which it seems wise to get a bit formal: nominate a treasurer. Keep records of the kitty income/outgoings (we found Google Docs to be great for doing this transparently).

You need a few games to get started. It's likely that you already own some, and you'll attract people with more. The classics (Carcassonne, Catan, Puerto Rico, ...) are enough to get started.

Once you start spending kitty money, you have games belonging to the club. Keep a record of which games these are (we found that creating a guild at BoardGameGeek.com, and adding games to the guild's "collection" is a good way to do this).

Club-owned games need to physically reside somewhere. We found that one person became the de-facto keeper of most of the collection, simply because he had space and showed willing. But the collection is still spread out among regulars. You may wish to track this formally. We haven't found a need to yet.

To get more people, you need to get the word out.

We setup this blog, and a Facebook page -- simply so that anyone Googling "board games club leamington" finds us. We also put posters in our local games shops. We have a Twitter account that posts using the #leamlive hashtag, which means some Leamington people might see it. This seems to be enough.

We looked at Meetup.com which is intended for exactly this kind of thing. But it costs money. Don't spend money, except on games!

And that's about it
There's really nothing else to it. There's no need to overcomplicate things. Meet. Play games. Take money. Spend money on games. Easy.

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