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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 91 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Sky pie in the form of gaming clubs and community centers  (Read 9659 times)
Joshua A.C. Newman
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the glyphpress


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« on: December 14, 2005, 11:52:41 AM »

There's been a lot of talk lately about gaming stores. Some people go so far as to say that we're killing them by selling off our websites. Piffle, I say. Piffle and twaddle. If game stores are dying, it's for a lot of reasons that we don't have to do with. But I have an idea.

What if the indie world went so far as to leave the living rooms of their constituents and set up a game dojo, where people play, design together, play, talk theory, and play? Here in New England, there are lots of old mill buildings from the time when things were manufactured here and most cities that have them are desperate to have them filled with interesting people and things. Rent in one such location here is $200 a month for a huge floor.

This could be run as a tax-exempt organization, like an industry association, a community center, or a dojo. From what Bankuei told me, there are apparently such clubs all over Asia for things like Go, so we might want to look at those models and see what works and doesn't.

But, really, what I'm thinking is that these are Forge "cells": independently operated organizations that support what the Forge supports. People can get together group orders of indie games, talk with each other about making them, and have a community that will playtest them.

As for membership, cuz this is a membership thing, I think we should probably look at gyms for their guest/matt fee/becoming a member rules.

I don't know if this makes any sense. I've never done anything like this at all. I'm not even sure what's involved in renting a space like this (uh, heat and lights, I guess...) so if anyone's run a store, dojo, or any such thing, I'd love to know what you think.
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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.
JarrodHenry
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Posts: 26


« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2005, 11:59:37 AM »

My friend, Karl, ran a game store. (Yep.. he's shutting down.) 

His utility bills were about four times what they are for personal use.  So.. if you're talking about 2000 sq feet, I'd wager you're spending about $400 - $500 on Electric/heat, and $100-$200 on phone.

I like the idea otherwise, though I do have to wonder if it'd pay for itself/the time to use it.

You might be better off finding a good community center and meeting once a week.
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Keith Senkowski
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On A Downward Spiral...


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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2005, 12:01:30 PM »

Joshua,

You are basically describing NERD NYC or Ithaca Gamers only without the need for membership fees, a set space or any sort of Forge games only sort of thing.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Judd
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2005, 12:05:34 PM »

The Get Your Geek On-a-thon is a quarterly event that has been going on for a year now.  We get by on a community space that a local book store rents out.  The game shop, Odyssey Games, pays for the bill and we take up a donation hat during the gaming and pay what we can.  Last time we had it, we paid for the space and then some.  It was pretty awesome.

This doesn't have to be instead of the game store but along with it.

I'd suggest looking towards your community spaces.  VFW halls, public libraries and community centers for support and thoughts.  Go talk to the facility managers and program directors and tell them your thoughts.

There is also the Game Loft in Maine, http://www.thegameloft.org/, well worth looking into and asking questions about how they came to be.  They seem to be fairly close to your model idea.

Good luck, I'm eagerly watching to see how this discussion pans out.
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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the glyphpress


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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2005, 12:07:06 PM »

You are basically describing NERD NYC or Ithaca Gamers only without the need for membership fees, a set space or any sort of Forge games only sort of thing.

So I understand. How do they pay for their two well-lit studios in Manhattan? Do they have a patron or something? Is it in Luke's house?

I also forgot to link to The Game Loft, which is a community center that serves kids by playing RPGs, CCGs, and the like. They're really decent guys. Make a donation if you can. (Oop, Judd posted it while I was writing this.)
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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.
Keith Senkowski
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Posts: 725

On A Downward Spiral...


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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2005, 12:11:44 PM »

Joshua,

If I recall correctly they pay a fee at the door or some such.  Thor would have better knowledge of this shit since he is a part of it and lives in NYC while I am half a continent away.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Josh Roby
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Category Three Forgite


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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2005, 12:15:42 PM »

While I have been carefully crafting my response, roughly three hundred people have already posted lots of what I was going to say.  Nevertheless, I actually have been mulling over a similar prospect, and I think I've got a nice 'transitional' step that can get us from where we are to the permanent locations you envision.  I was inspired by the Stealth Gamers thread that can be found with a simple search.

I'm thinking of something like a "Whittier Area Open Gaming Day."  Rent out a community center's multipurpose room (stupidly cheap and more common than you'd think -- a local park probably has one available and underused) for a weekend day.  Set out tables.  Invite people to come and bring the games they want to play.  Do it regularly on a monthly/biweekly/weekly basis.

I was thinking that participants can pay a slight entry fee to cover rental expenses (or skip the fee for the first few to generate some regular attendees), but I think that can be easily combined with a membership dealie.  If you got really adventurous, you could even run a little snack shack deal (what's gaming without caffeine?).

You'd either need to start off with a largish group of people you know would be interested (half a LARP community, for instance) or do some advertising in game stores, maybe online rah-rah threads on RPGnet, hit up FindPlay for some direct-mail advertising.  The best way to go about doing this would be to start up a centralized website that had listing for the different regular events being run in different cities.  People have already mentioned a couple; an umbrella site might increase traffic to all of them.

I'm in Los Angeles, and I'm thinking this would work best in cities with a large enough population.  Location of the event would also be rather important (near multiple colleges would be best).

Note that your largest population would be (a) college students if near a college, and then (b) high schoolers.  Do you remember gaming in high school, trying to find a place to game and not be interrupted?  Yeah.  This could be billed as providing just that.

In any case, it's more than feasible that, if the model worked and you got a regular membership, you could eventually move into 'permanent' digs.  I worked for a company that ran youth recreation leagues, and did just this with their karate program.
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2005, 12:16:57 PM »

So I understand. How do they pay for their two well-lit studios in Manhattan? Do they have a patron or something? Is it in Luke's house?

We've incorporated as a non-profit, which makes the studio rates cheaper. And we charge dues from people who participate in our GGG roleplaying program and boardgame nights. We charge separately for our Recess game days, which are held four times a year at a different location, as the attendance tends to be higher.

The roleplaying is going for about $50 per person, which covers 7 sessions (about $7 per night). You also get a discount card that entitles you to 10% off a purchase at The Compleat Strategist after you've made 10 purchases. This has been making a profit, which is being put into paying for hosting/maintenance of the site and putting away money toward a more permanent location.

Board game nights are about $6 or $7 per night. Recess is generally about $12.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2005, 12:28:53 PM »

You also get a discount card that entitles you to 10% off a purchase at The Compleat Strategist after you've made 10 purchases.

Is the Compleat Strategist a local game store?
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2005, 12:30:32 PM »

Is the Compleat Strategist a local game store?

Yes.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2005, 12:35:26 PM »

That discount card is a sweet idea -- I'm assuming that Compleat Strategist advertises for you, or at least has flyers posted?  It would be a relatively simple thing to do this sort of tie-in with a lot of game stores, which are dying for more traffic.  "Let us leave these flyers lying about, and we can give you a reference to our membership -- your logo on the back of our membership card if you want to offer a little discount to people who show it."

The principle I'm working under goes thusly: I'm in freaking Los Angeles.  There are people all around me.  Enough of those people have to be gamers (or financially invested in gaming, as the game stores) to get them together somehow.
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Iskander
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Alexander Newman


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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2005, 12:36:29 PM »

Board game nights are about $6 or $7 per night. Recess is generally about $12.
One-shots are also $6-$7, and GMs don't pay (in general). Sessions are billed as four hours, sometimes run short, more often run to the limit and frequently have preliminary chargen/setup or make-up games at the participants leisure/expense.

It helps that there is a lot of relatively inexpensive rehearsal space in Manhattan... even if some of it's a bit skanky; the space is inevitably not ideal: there's a lot of noise overlap from four concurrent games in one studio, and there are usually either martial artists upstairs making room-shaking thuds, or actors outside shushing people or yelling.

Nevertheless, it's been the best gaming of my life, and means cons have a lot to live up to if they're to justify the expense.
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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
Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2005, 12:45:21 PM »

That discount card is a sweet idea -- I'm assuming that Compleat Strategist advertises for you, or at least has flyers posted?  It would be a relatively simple thing to do this sort of tie-in with a lot of game stores, which are dying for more traffic.  "Let us leave these flyers lying about, and we can give you a reference to our membership -- your logo on the back of our membership card if you want to offer a little discount to people who show it."

I think the Strat has some of our flyers and whatnot. I'm not exactly sure what the deal is. Much of our exposure has to do with going out and meeting people at local cons, and letting them know about it.

In 2002, I was pretty sure that there were almost zero gamers in New York City. They just weren't anywhere to be found. Since the establishment of nerdnyc, they're crawling out of the woodwork. They've always been here, but it was much harder to find each other.

Another especially important note: nerdnyc is a community FIRST. It's not about the gaming. The gaming is a happy thing that happens between friends. But the important thing is that we know and like each other, go out to movies together, catch dinner and lunch together, celebrate our birthdays together, etc. I think this is the reason it works so exceptionally well. I've recommended to some of the founders that they put together a con panel about building communities like this. I'll have to mention it to them again.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2005, 01:45:32 PM »

I hear you about the community thing.  Who are the founders, exactly?  Do they have a nice, public email address or other means of contacting them that I can get ahold of (dunno if webmaster@nerdnyc.com goes to a person or gets dumped in a mailbox bin)?
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jenskot
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2005, 02:24:00 PM »

My email is john@nerdnyc.com. Although I'm happy to discuss any details publicly on this thread. Work is a bit insane at the moment but I will try to post more in the next 2-3 days. This topic is very dear to me and it would greatly please me to see you all succeed in similar efforts.

Rock,
John
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