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Games Club Revitalisation
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Mashugenah
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1239
Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Games Club Revitalisation Reply with quote

So, KapCon was really great. Awesome fun, and yeah, just what people have been saying. Now it's time to start to think about next year, and the reason it has to be now and we can't bask much longer is because the Vic Games Club is starting up soon, and it needs some help.

Let me begin with a brief anecdote. When I went to Christchurch, I went along and signed up for the (then) Fantasy Gaming Society. I went to a couple of meetings, and not much was happening, and so I flagged that and recruited people to roleplay with from the masses. By the close of the year I had 6 players and a couple wanting in, but just not easily accomodated. In 1999 I divided my game into two games, gave one to another GM and we had 10 players between us and things were good. When I finished university, all of those people went back to ordinary society because I hadn't integrated them into the wider gaming community. I had convinced a couple to come along to Buckets '2000, but it was so totally lame that none have ever gone back to a convention. Of the 14 or so people who played in one of my CHCH games... I am the only one still active anywhere in NZ.

In contrast, during the same period at the VUW Games Club, Zak and Dan ran the epic Ulkarnis game, hooking in new players who are largely still about on the Wellington Scene. The difference between these two stories is pretty obviously one of wistful possibilities compared to actual success. Dan and Zak hooked people into a wider community so that when they went, those people had ties to the hobby and are still around.

There's been a bit of discussion about how to get more GMs at KapCon and how to generally improve things, but I think Paul was onto a winner when he said that in the years where KapCon boomed, the Games Club at Vic was strong. And so, with my limited experience of the Games Club I've got a few suggestions, and a request for some input.

Firstly, we get the bulk of new members at Clubs Day. This was a shambles last year, if I hadn't co-incidentally been in the area, Cat would have had the sole responsibility of exhorting potential gamers to come and play. There were no signs, no product to demonstrate and no future games to sell. I understand that this year we've already organised our table at Clubs Day and some fliers. I am free all day to pimp various forms of gaming. The Games Club owns a variety of Board Games, RPGs and the like, so we have some product to sell. What we still need are a reason to turn up to the club.

This year, I would like to have some actual roleplaying games to pimp. Games that will be run at the Games Club for newbies, which are entry-level and not too swamped with players. One significant difficulty this year was that we had 2 games being run, and so for the 20 or so roleplaying members that works out at 10 players per game. Too many. We also had little idea of what was going to be run; I knew Al Qadim, and so pimped that to a few people. It's a big committment to run or even to play in a campaign at Games Club. What I was hoping was to be able to offer a series of one or two session games to give potential new members a taste of the differing gaming experiences. Having just had KapCon, everyone who GMed already has a pre-prepared 3 hour scenario of high quality which could be run for a group of relatively inexperienced new players. If we convince one kind GM to turn up each week and run for whomever is around, and if I can set up that in advance, I think we may be able to generate some interest. I think this will avoid the other problem, that showing up after the 2nd week of Games Club is pointless if you aren't already in a game - all the games will be full and there will be nothing for you to do.

As part of this "welcome to the hobby" aspect, I want to push CONfusion and the May LARP as two major cool events to which we'll build up over the year. None of the new Games Club members came to KapCon partly because it's over the summer, when people are working or back in their native habitat or whatever. The May LARP and CONfusion should avoid this difficulty. Pushing these events would mean having some definite thing to tell the punters. I see that a whole gaggle of GMs have already volunteered for CONfusion, and so I think we could put together a provisional list of games being offered. Even if that changes between now and August, it's attention-grabbing information. If we can push these at Clubs Day, we may even catch some people who don't want to integrate fully, but are keen enough to turn up to a low-pressure CON - just as I did to BOD. Of course, CONfusion is the oppposite of Lame, and so they'll be hooked and presto: new members into the hobby.

I'm going to suggest pushing WARGS, NZRAG and Diatribe as well, as these are crucial entry points into the outside games-club scene. Squee had posts for NZRaG, and a few of those would be handy for clubs day.

In terms of just the club itself, I have two major suggestions. The first would be that we introduce membership cards. It will cost some money, and I'm not particularly thinking of something fancy here, just cardboard. But what it does is creates a physical reminder for people that the club exists. The second would be a mailing list. It would be very easy to send an e-mail a couple of days before each club meeting just saying what Boardgames will be being showcased, what one-off game is being run, and just reminding people that the club exists and inviting them to come along. I almost signed up for DebSOC, but couldn't make their meeting times due to sport.. but even though I wasn't a member their constant invitations to special events (etc) were very tempting, and it was only logistics that prevented me becoming a member during the course of the year.

At the end of the day, I can do some of this, but largely I'm appealing to the altruistic nature of you all, and, obviously, hoping to cash in on the warm post-KapCon glow about roleplaying in general. The specific games-club details would obviously need to be actually sorted by the committee.

P.S. I have posted this on NZRAG, my blog, the wellingtonrpg LJ community, and e-mailing it to some people who won't see it in those places so I apologise if you read this more than once.

--
Alasdair Sinclair

There is no fate but that which fate gives us.
- Zhakharan Proverb
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Debz



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some excellent suggestions here, and a palpable enthusiasm to do the Wellington RPing community a service. Fantastic.

It might be good to target the GMs who are students to run one-offs first, as they are likely to still be on holiday now, and be free on Friday afternoon.

This is all most excellent Mash. I may even send you some Kapcon 16 fliers if the clubs day isn't too close Very Happy
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Glock-9mm
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Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In terms of just the club itself, I have two major suggestions. The first would be that we introduce membership cards. It will cost some money, and I'm not particularly thinking of something fancy here, just cardboard.


I have access to two very important things... A Middle ground digital commercial colour printer, By "Middle End" I mean its worth only about 300k and by access I mean its in my office space and I use it all day every day. (I am a print-monkey by trade now-a-days)

I also have access to Top end Laminators... So what does this get you?

Printed cards that are laminated and should last folks the whole year... If you talk to the local watering hole up there you may even get a games club drink discount! (This has been done in the past for games club.)

How much would it cost? Nothing, I'd sort out the costs for the games club because I am nice and I think Mash loves me...

Regards
Glock-9mm (I have a cookie.. Muah hah hah)
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Adrexia



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 2117
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One-offs are a great idea. I showed up a few times... but unless there were others who wanted to play boardgames, there was really nothing to do. One-offs could solve this.



P.S. don't diss Buckets so much... BoD is the reason I'm a roleplayer. Every time I have gone it rocked.

Everyone has bad years.
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Paul



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 855

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all mos these have eben motted in the past

there are issues that come up with them.

1- discounts, no where related to the clubs that we have ever tried to give us discounts have. it may be that luke was just better at it than me but I have no idea how he got the discounts for wargs sorted.

2- cards a great idea and it works well

3- mailing list i have done this in the past for the first few weeks but it petered out due the no one reading it.


What games club really needs is a diligent exec.


I hope we have a good bunch this year.
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morgue



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 556
Location: Lower Hutt

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice post Mash. Will try and think through a more coherent response soon.
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Mashugenah
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1239
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, Adrexia has rightly castigated me for my vituperation over Buckets. Sorry everyone.
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Mashugenah
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What games club really needs is a diligent exec.


I think I've just put my hand up for a bigger role this year than last. Smile
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robroy



Joined: 22 Jan 2006
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In general, you've set out some fantastics ideas. Ideas on getting and keeping people in roleplaying have been rolling around for some time in my head.

Mashugenah wrote:
What I was hoping was to be able to offer a series of one or two session games to give potential new members a taste of the differing gaming experiences. Having just had KapCon, everyone who GMed already has a pre-prepared 3 hour scenario of high quality which could be run for a group of relatively inexperienced new players. If we convince one kind GM to turn up each week and run for whomever is around, and if I can set up that in advance, I think we may be able to generate some interest. I think this will avoid the other problem, that showing up after the 2nd week of Games Club is pointless if you aren't already in a game - all the games will be full and there will be nothing for you to do.


In terms of practical concrete support that a non-university person could give; I would be happy to put my hand up for this one.

Cheers

Andymac
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Mashugenah
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's incumbent upon me to reply to the many messages. Smile Some here, some on the LJ community. But first, a disclaimer:

I have no power to enact my suggestions. I am not on the Games Club committee (though I don't especially feel the need to be elected before trying to do stuff). I don't have a cummerbund full of excellent GMs and one-off scenarios. I can't get KapCon or CONfusion fliers made early. The list goes on. Nor am I attempting to Usurp the powers and perogatives of said people, just doing what can to help out.

Archangel
Quote:
It's interesting that the Wellington community is trying to move back to the University, while SAGA is trying to expand out


Nah, it's just me: the lone voice in the wilderness, craked out of my mind looking for a totem spirit to guide me to personal enlightenment. Generally my position would be that you need some convenient entrypoint into the wider community. When the group you "always played with" breaks up, there has to be somewhere to move on to. Games Club sems like a better place to arrange that than WARGS because it can be a more regular part of your balancing gaming diet.

Quote:
What is a high pressure con? In a new zealand context. I can see how it could be high pressure if it was some sort of massive RPGA event, but short of the organisers, who is under pressure at an NZ con?


I found BoD very laissez-faire and insouciant. Smile I mean, only 4 games, smaller. Heck, some people were running adventures straight out of Dungeon magazines the year I went, talk about minimal effort... *shrug*

CONfusion too was much lower key. 3 rounds, ad-hoc game entries, boardgaming consuming a fair amount of space and time...

Don't get me wrong, CONfusion rocked; but it was also much less pressure to GM at than KapCon.

Debz
Quote:
It might be good to target the GMs who are students to run one-offs first, as they are likely to still be on holiday now, and be free on Friday afternoon.


Games Club shuts down entirely over summer. After term starts the pattern for the last couple of years has been misc boardgaming in the afternoon and roleplaying after dinner. I'd envisaged that arrangement would continue. If I can convince just one KapCon GM each week to turn up, there will be something to showcase and promote as a reason to come and try Games Club. Of course, since those GMs won't always be there, a cadre of GMs from within the club does have to pick it up after the initiation.

Glock 9-mm
Quote:
How much would it cost? Nothing, I'd sort out the costs for the games club because I am nice and I think Mash loves me...


Yeah, you know it baby. Smile

Seriously: if you can arrange any part of that, that would be fantastic. We need some kind of logo or design. Nick Cole's in the next room so I'll try and strong-arm him before he goes home. Smile Otherwise I'm open to suggestions for logos/designs/whatever or people to strong-arm into helping. Smile

Adrexia
Quote:
I showed up a few times... but unless there were others who wanted to play boardgames, there was really nothing to do.


Absolutely. I had that problem in previous years before I was running al Qadim. I'm happy to hold up my end of the once-offs. I imagine I could probably turn out an adequate scenario every 3ish weeks. I could also then run the same scenarios at WARGS during the year, so everyone benefits. Smile As part of this whole thing I'm hoping I'll be able to sit down with James*, Mike and Paul and see what they're planning to run, if anything. I really think that if I have specific games to promote at Clubs day that it will be easier to convince people to come. Both in terms of a list of planned one-offs and campaigns.

Paul
Quote:
I hope we have a good bunch this year.


I have no idea about the workings of the exec. It seems like there have been some folk prepared to be cogs in the machine, which is great, but not an overall strategy or plan.

Andy
Quote:
In terms of practical concrete support that a non-university person could give; I would be happy to put my hand up for this one.


You're my hero (and Glock, obviously. Because he's so sexy). Which of your CON games would you be running?

*James' ghost is also in the next room. I am consulting my yellow pages for a priest of the right sort; but assuming he cannot be send back to the ether, he might as well make himself useful. Wink
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housemonkey



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 246
Location: time-space continuum

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no specific campaign ideas that I had planned to pitch at Games Club this year, but I do have a stack of one-offs that I'd be happy to offer up.
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Glock-9mm
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be able to confirm in the next week or so about running a full time game at Uni for 2006, I need to think about it carefully as my weeks are about to become "very" busy with sport and I need to debate the whole "How do I get home every week from Games club" question.

Glock-9mm
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squee



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 85
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to use the VUWGC as a venue for playtesting my 2007 SDC entry, which should be nearing "completion" (at least enough to run it) by the start of university term.

The only problem I envisage is the traditional VUWGC problem - those that are playing games tend to be playing campaigns and won't take time off them for one-offs, and those that are playing board games are generally uninterested in one-offs - having already been absorbed into their game.

Unless of course things have changed over the last couple years? Smile
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Adrexia



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 2117
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the one-offs start at the very begining of term, they should get people, and that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Also, if people know they are happening they may turn up when they usually wouldn't....

I guess it's a matter of trying it to see if it works.
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Mashugenah
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What seems like a good plan is for the first two meetings to be the same as last year:

An informal gaming-lite meet-and-greet
A series of three or four 45min to 1 hour games just to give people a feel for the thing.

After that I imagine there will be a couple of campaigns, and one stream of once-off games. More campaign and/or once-offs could potentially be added depending on demand and GM availability.

I've got Andy Mac, Myself and House Monkey signed up for the once-offs. I'll hopefully be able to bribe at least Conan too and that'll take us to the first holidays, after which we can examine how things are going. If you want to be added to that list Squee, that would be fantastic. My hope is that some weeks we will have enough demand for 2 once-offs.

For the campaigns side of things;my guess is that Paul has some dastardly scheme or other to enact. Glock is still mulling over it. Ian may or may not be running something (he was planning to run something last year). Nigel and James P were both running games last year, but no word on their plans for this year.

Ideally I think there should be a pre-term meeting of the VUWGC exec and meddlers to get everyone on board with some version of a plan.

The lynch-pin for this whole endeavour is getting some new members at Clubs Day. If that's a failure, we'll be in the same place as this year. Any ideas or suggestions for recruiting at Clubs Day will be appreciated.
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