Thursday, February 25, 2010

Growing Your Gaming Group

When I moved to this area a few years ago, I much lamented the fact that there was no gaming store in the area. The nearest was in Glendale, about an hour and a half away, through L.A. traffic. The next nearest was the Battle Bunker, about two hours through L.A. traffic. So, it was just me and my friend who was stationed at the Air Force base. I have another friend who lives about two hours away as well, but for the longest time I'd only get to play one game per month.

Then one day I heard that a gaming store had opened up in town. I went by and though they mostly specialized in Magic and RPGs (they didn't sell Warhammer at all), the owner was setting up a list of Warhammer players. Later, one of them contacted me and we started playing small games. The game store (Battle Grounds) then moved to a larger store across the street and we then could play on full sized tables, though there were only three players. We then discovered more players through my friend at the Air Force base, though because of the distance they can't come regularly.

Tuesday night, we had seven players show up. Three of them are getting into the game, and one is getting back into the game after a long hiatus. We've gone from just two players to a growing group, and now the game store is going to start carrying Warhammer.

I attribute two factors to our growth, the first and most important being a supportive FLGS. They don't really have terrain (we have to supply our own) but they have tables and they let us play. This sounds pretty basic, but an unsupportive LGS can kill any Warhammer community. When I was younger, there was a store in the area that would kick players out if they didn't have painted models. Now they're an overpriced empty shell of a game store with absolutely no Warhammer patrons and a massive stock of ancient metal models that they will never sell (the good ones have all been picked clean). They only sell board games and kids toys now. Anyone from the Utah Valley area will know exactly which store I'm talking about.

The second factor is keeping a regular gaming night. With a few exceptions, we've had a game going once a week for the past year and a half. Knowing that there's a regular group helps attract new players, and keep the veterans coming.

What factors do you think help a gaming group grow, and what can hinder its growth?


  1. I think the way to grow the community is to make sure that everyone is supportive.

    Once you turn your back on a potential gamer, that's it, that guy/girl, will never come back as they might think your group are a bunch of smugs.

    On the other hand, supporting, guiding and nurturing new players are the best way to grow a hobby group, especially warhammer. You will get guys that can't wait to show you their newly painted figs even though it may not be nice, but everyone approves of it.

  2. I'm going to be looking into setting up a club this year, unfortunately I don't have any sort of store to support the project.

    So this is going to get a bit interesting to say the least.

  3. Alvin, you're exactly right. I was talking to the owner today and he said the biggest thing we can do is to take time out of our regular games to teach new players, which is exactly what we did last week and we're doing it again next week.

    Corbane, perhaps there's a local college gaming club? Some are strict on who can play but perhaps that's a good place to springboard. Otherwise, someone with a table and a basement would be a good start.

  4. Corbane, if you can get together a good group to start with, you might also be able to find a space to rent. I think a lot of cities have tons of opportunities for good spaces to rent for gaming, the trick is just to find them. Both a club I help run in Philadelphia and a nearby 40k club in Delaware meet in basically random spaces that someone found somewhere along the line.

  5. Problem is gents, I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere. I'm out of luck on the college front but there's a few council places we could rent, once I get some bods together.


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