Saturday, February 7, 2015

Game Clubs

So, you have a problem. You love to play games, but you don't have many people with whom to play. Maybe all your friends are too busy, or their schedules conflict with yours. Perhaps the people with whom you used to play have moved away, or no longer have a lot of interest in playing games. Maybe you've just arrived in a new city and don't know anyone yet. But whatever the reason, you're stuck at home wishing you could play games, but not having anyone to sit down at the table with you.

What do you do?

Well, your friendly neighbourhood Game Dork is here with a solution for you. The answer to your dilemma is simple: join a game club.

There are ridiculous numbers of game clubs. They're all over the place. I've learned of many in places I wouldn't have ever expected to find one. But I think you'll find that once you've joined a club, you'll make new friends, discover new games, and have the opportunity to scratch that gaming itch that's been bothering you for so long.

About a year ago, I learned through Facebook about the existence of a game club in the next town over (about a ten-mile drive) that meets every Tuesday, as well as once a month on a Saturday, to play whatever tabletop games the members feel like playing. I started going, and I am so glad I did! I've made some awesome new friends, and played some amazing new games, and found some people to play my favourite games with me! In fact, it was through this club that I discovered the game I recently reviewed: The Resistance: Avalon.

I've introduced some games to the players there as well. Several members of that club are now devoted fans of Fiasco because I brought it to some meetings. I also introduced them to Reiner Knizia's co-operative Lord of the Rings board game. Every Tuesday night (unless I have something unusual going on), I'm there with the others playing Firefly: The Game or Puerto Rico or Ghost Stories or Star Trek Catan or some other awesome game.

Several of the members use the club to indulge their particular preferences; several people play Fantasy Flight's X-Wing miniatures game at every meeting, and there are some members who bring out the Warhammer 40K sets every chance they get. Most members play board games or miniatures-based war games, but I've also seen them play long-form roleplaying games like Pathfinder on occasion. I'm trying to drum up enough interest to start a GURPS: Firefly campaign.

If the club is worth anything, it will be open, welcome, and inviting. Members will welcome people who like just about any kind of game there is (there may be some humourous exceptions to this; when I lived in York, for example, I knew of a game club called 'Beyond Monopoly' which stated that they played absolutely every kind of board game there was, except Monopoly). I'm sure there are elitist, snobby clubs that enjoy excluding people whose tastes don't match their own, but there's no reason to try and get involved in such a club when it should be fairly easy to find a different group that is much more friendly.

How can you find such a club, you may ask?

There are a lot of channels to explore. As previously mentioned, I heard about my group through Facebook. Despite the concerns that many may have with FB, it serves as a great way not only to advertise but also to communicate with other members. My group often has posts asking who's going to be at the next meeting and what games people are interested in playing.

Another option is meetup.com. If nothing else, you can always google 'board game club' with the name of your city or state, and chances will be good that something will pop up.

And if all else fails, you can always start your own. There's an excellent article over at about.com that provides some great suggestions on how to start a club in your hometown.

As one final suggestion, just remember that even if you already have a great, reliable, fun-filled group of friends with whom you play your favourite games regularly, joining a club is still a great way to meet new friends, discover new games, and best of all, play more games. So with that advice, I bid you:

Game on!

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