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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Sky pie in the form of gaming clubs and community centers  (Read 2788 times)
Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2005, 05:13:14 AM »

I'm a member of the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society, which operates much like this.  It's a non-profit organization, embership dues are reasonable and pay for rent and so on.  We also organize a mini-convention every year, and participate in Origins.  It's been running for almost ten years, and has around 100 members.

Obviously, the model can work, and I bet an RPG version would do just as well.  The older members might even be able to give some suggestions on how to go about setting something like this up, especially in this area.
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Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2005, 07:37:07 AM »

I'm trying real hard to do this here in North Carolina, starting with a Meetup list. When I lived in Seattle, Alan Barclay and I started what was, for a time, the best damn game club I've ever seen. We weren't giant, but we had 10-20 people come out every Monday night to play RPGs.

Replicating that elsewhere's been difficult, but I think this one's going to take off. I'm having our first Monthly Game Day Sunday, where we'll be playing Otherkind and Burning Wheel.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Iskander
Member

Posts: 226

Alexander Newman


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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2005, 07:48:03 AM »

I think Thor is right: one of the cohesive factors of nerdNYC is that it's not just a gaming club. RPGs are what bring many people to forum, and keep some people coming back, but it's all the other stuff that has created a genuine community. There's a friendly (if basically implicit) acknowledgement that the community enjoys a lot of different play: from boardgaming through classic illusion to bleeding edge playtesting, and that some of the nerds just aren't gaming nerds: There's room for the punk vegan chefs as much as the Polaris junkies (not that the two groups are necessarily disjunct).

If you're trying to set up a local gaming community, leaven the gaming with the yeasty goodness of social events, movie trips, music discussion and politics.
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Winning gives birth to hostility.
Losing, one lies down in pain.
The calmed lie down with ease,
having set winning & losing aside.

- Samyutta Nikaya III, 14
jenskot
Member

Posts: 54


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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2005, 09:12:48 AM »

Hi all,

I'm not sure what specific information would be most valuable to you so I will throw out as much as I can now and answer any specific questions as they come up.

Nerdnyc started as a venture with for profit goals of opening a nerd bar centered around gaming. But there are better ways to make money with less effort. Similar ventures I've observed focus on RPGs to start but quickly switch the focus elsewhere as monetary issues pile up. And most of the gamers in our community do not drink alcohol :) So the nerd bar concept died. But the community that nerdnyc's founders started to build kept growing. Myself and a few others jumped in to help organize, converted nerdnyc into a not for profit organization, and turned the focus completely onto the needs of the community first.

At the moment, nerdnyc offers:

Gotham Gaming Guild.
http://www.nerdnyc.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=20
3 seasons a year.
7 four hour sessions a season.
8+ RPGs changing every season
45 members.
6 who haven't played RPGs for 10+ years.
2-3 who never played RPGs before.
All GMs are hand picked and interviewed.
GGG3 Games: Burning Wheel (2), With Great Power, Unkown Armies, Shadowrun, D&D, WoD variant
GGG4 Games: DiV, Kill Puppies, MLwM, PTA, HeroQuest, Buffy, Cyberpunk, Over The Edge, Cthulhu
$50 per season (roughly $7 a session, GMs play for free).
The majority of the collected admission goes to renting 2 rooms from: http://www.440studios.com/
A small portion is saved for company expenses and future ventures (small cons, a more semi-permanent space)
No one is paid salary; everything is on a volunteer basis.

Recess
http://www.nerdnyc.com/recess/
4 times a year.
10 hours of gaming (soon to be 12).
70-100 members.
Many first time gamers and several children.
$12-15 admission (GMs who run 8hrs of games play for free).
The majority of the collected admission goes to renting a 2,000+ square foot room from:
http://www.brooklynx.org/bricstudio/ or http://www.gaycenter.org/
A small portion is saved for company expenses and future ventures (small cons, a more semi-permanent space)
No one is paid salary; everything is on a volunteer basis.

We sell T-Shirts through Indie Press Revolution:
http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/products.php?publisherLink=sloeBrownWolf

And on occasion we organize board & card game nights:
http://www.nerdnyc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19433

Eventually we would like to collect quarterly admission to rent an apartment or commercial space with room for 3-4 tables. But there are many obstacles and issues with this. Many martial arts schools are having similar issues. It makes more sense for them to rent studio space on an hour basis than to shell out for monthly rent. Ultimately, as long as we have volunteers, we are going to do whatever the majority of our member base wants. There is more information on the issues with renting space on a monthly basis here:
http://www.nerdnyc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11273
http://www.nerdnyc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19121

How we got here:

We didn't focus on gaming. We focused on getting people together any way possible. We started by finding 3 already established small groups of gamers. Then we exchanged players and GMs. All of a sudden you have a member base of 18 people. Just by merging 3 groups. Then we focused on the social aspects. Celebrated birthdays together. Went to the movies together. Started converting member's significant others into gamers. Have parties. Spend new years together. Picnics. Paintball. And much more. We created T-Shirts and business cards so we could spread the word. We went to local cons and had nerdnyc sponsored games as well as booths selling indy games. We started Recess. Then we started the Gotham Gaming Guild. We are starting to partner up with the local gaming stores. I'm over simplifying. But we focused on hanging out and being social. Gaming is itself social and was easy to integrate into all this. We have 600 registered users on our message boards. Realistically, probably only 200 actually read the website. And only 30-40 are active on a daily basis, closer to 80 on a monthly basis. We're striving for a real community. I've met my future wife through nerdnyc. For me, gaming has always been about friends. We're trying to stay focused on that.

Our biggest problem is organization. In our age group (early 20s to early 40s) people are getting busier and busier. Getting married, starting carriers, having children. You can't rely on certain people too long. You have to spread the work. That's our next step. Becoming better at delegating responsibility. I feel we are really only doing 10% of what is possible. I'm very excited to see what the other 90% looks like :)
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Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2005, 09:28:19 AM »

John, I don't see much apparent moderation on your bulliten boards.  Is your membership really that well-behaved -- a side effect, perhaps, of many or most of them knowing each other?
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Thor Olavsrud
Member

Posts: 349


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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2005, 09:35:30 AM »

John, I don't see much apparent moderation on your bulliten boards.  Is your membership really that well-behaved -- a side effect, perhaps, of many or most of them knowing each other?

Most of us are very well-behaved. Although the politics boards get out of hand every once in a while. I believe that this is because most of us know each other on a face to face basis. It's a lot harder to be an asshole to someone when they're more than just a screen name.
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jenskot
Member

Posts: 54


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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2005, 09:42:19 AM »

John, I don't see much apparent moderation on your bulliten boards.  Is your membership really that well-behaved -- a side effect, perhaps, of many or most of them knowing each other?

Most of us are very well-behaved. Although the politics boards get out of hand every once in a while. I believe that this is because most of us know each other on a face to face basis. It's a lot harder to be an asshole to someone when they're more than just a screen name.

What Thor said (you will probably see me say that a lot, hahaha). Sometimes things get out of hand but we try to keep moderation to a minimum. We also self moderate in a way. If someone comes in who isn't part of the community and starts trouble, no moderation is needed, the community often takes care of it. Things could definitely be better. And more friendly for newcomers.
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Joshua A.C. Newman
Member

Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2005, 09:53:05 AM »

This is very encouraging. Now, New York City has a population some 200 times the local area here, but because of the five colleges here (Hampshire, UMASS, Mt. Holyoke, Smith, and Amherst), there are a lot of graduates who stay around, which is a gamerful and mature group.

This is a lot to digest. Thanks.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


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« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2005, 10:17:55 AM »

Yeah, and we have the same sized population, just spread out over four times the area out here.  I'm trying to figure how to make such a thing work for LA/SoCal.
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Chris Geisel
Member

Posts: 55


« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2005, 11:32:55 AM »

It's a lot harder to be an asshole to someone when they're more than just a screen name.

LOL! I think what Thor means is it's a lot harder to be an asshole to someone for very long, if they're more than just a screen name. But it's easy to be a dick for a couple of posts or so. :)

Incidentally, I moved to Vancouver from NY last year and was all about trying to start the first nerd.franchise out here. I spoke to a bunch of the folks I game with in Vancouver and the idea never really got any traction. I haven't given up, but one of the main reasons it works in NY so very, very well (besides the herculean efforts of Jenskot and Co, that is) is that in NY, people live in shoebox sized apartments, where having a group of 4-8 people over is a big deal.

Here in Vancouver, apartments are bigger, plenty of people live in actual houses. For the NY crowd, houses are like several connected apartments, but inhabited by one person or family. I know, I didn't believe it until I saw it either. :) So anyway, people don't feel the burning desire to pay for a large space to game in, because they already have one.

Also, and this I don't know why, but when I told people that GGG is about $50 for 8 sessions, they looked at me like I had two heads. Which might have something to do with the fact that the cost of living is much lower here, and also might be because there are about five local game stores, all of which run regular game days for free. However, I will say this, of the few game days I've been to, none of them have 1/10th of the energy of GGG. There are also three local cons per year, and those do have the energy of a GGG.

So what am I getting at? It might not work if you live somewhere that people have basements and such for gaming. I still haven't given up though. I would love to get a vibrant community of nerds together. And the thought of some kind of old skool social club, replete with pub food, beers and gaming... wow. That would rock.
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Chris Geisel
nerdnyc
Member

Posts: 23


WWW
« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2005, 02:02:45 PM »

Yeah, we should do a workshop at cons about this topic. I'll grab John and we'll set something up. Maybe for ICON.

John said it all. I sent this in an email to Joshua, but I figured I'd post it here too:

So, I feel like I'm restating what John said, but:

1. Make a site w/ a message board. One of the other founders is a programmer and he set-up our phpBB. I'm a web designer and I got a great illustrator (Jordan Worley) to make our flaming d20 logo. I think having a professional-looking site really help establish our credibility.

2. Get your friends on-board. Alot of the early NerdNYC people weren't big gamers, but were nerdy and my friends. Make some areas that are more accessable to everyone (TV, Movies, Food). We even have some hidden areas on the site that social circles use to organize their games and have conversations that others don't need to know about. John was totally right that we started as 3 gaming groups; his, mine and Luke Crane's. THe group of friends is really important for setting the tone. As you can see nerdnyc is a pretty chill environ. We have little fighting and even less moderation. Make sure you keep up the community theme or it will turn into a regional rpgnet. I can't stress how important this is.

3. Print up some biz cards or postcards and hit up the cons. I made up some real simple biz cards that had out logo, web address and a catch phrase(get your nerd on, mint-quality nerds, etc) and got them printed at 4over4.com. These were great. I'd work the table and sell shirts, but also I'd get into conversations with gamers and gave them our card. Some of the most active people on nerdnyc came from the area cons(Uber, ICON, Dexcon, etc).

4. Find some cheap rental space and host events. Make sure you make a little more than enough to cover costs. This will pay for hosting and the couple times that no-one shows up or you forget to cancel the space.

5. Start looking inside the community for people who are willing to help. You're going to have to do everyhting at first, but it wears thin after a while. I would have totally dropped the ball if John and Tim hadn't gotten more involved and made some of my dreams a reality.

6. We'll see.
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Aaron Brown
Nerd Herder
http://www.nerdnyc.com
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