Over the past 12 years I’ve had lots of experience running clubs in evenings or after school. It’s very rewarding but it can take a lot of effort to maintain them. Hopefully this post can help you figure out if it’s something you want to commit to and if you already have hopefully I can give some tips to run it smoothly. So here it goes.
My top 5 tips:
- My first piece of advice is to make it relatively niche. If you try and do too much and meet too many needs at once it can all fall apart. For instance, don’t try to run boardgames, video games and wargaming all on the same night. (Although this can work if you have a large enough venue that they all have their own distinct areas)
- Don’t run it for yourself. You may get a chance to play games during a night – and if so hooray! But that’s not what you are there for. You are there to facilitate others playing – ensuring things are going smoothly and that no one is left out. Also, this means that when you do get to play it is often not going to be your choice of game.
- Learn your games. Regardless of whether you pitch your games for newcomers or veterans you need to know how your games work. You will be showing people how to play after all. Usually the best method to teach with is show what the end of the game should look like and talk through what can be done in a round. To help this with my groups I have kindles on every table loaded with video tutorials of every game in our collection. It’s not ideal but it means if my team is held up elsewhere at least they have something that can assist.
- Build a team. As your club grows it becomes harder to run things by yourself, try and get a team together from your regulars. Identify those who are always willing to try out new games and who don’t mind joining new groups. They are the mortar that can hold your group together. Ask them if they’d be willing to play the games they like with newcomers, showing them the ropes. But DON’T FORCE THEM if you put them under pressure you risk losing them.
- No preaching. This is especially for religious groups but it can be true for all settings. Don’t use your club as a soapbox. People are there to play and make new friends, not for play to be interrupted whilst you give a speech. I’ll be writing another post on this shortly, but if you do want a message to come across then allow it to naturally come up in conversation rather than forcing it out. People talk and share loads whilst gaming you’d be surprised.
I hope these 5 tips are useful for you, check back soon for my post on No preaching.