I’m cheating again, so I can get caught up with the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge. I wrote this when I was in Austin, back in 2011. The dates/places have changed up, but I’m still hosting these kinds of meetups. And I face the same challenges regarding inclusiveness in gaming/game events. I will miss my Board Game/Beer Geeks Meetup here in the San Diego area once I’m back in Seattle next month.
I already know I failed my mission just a bit in regards to my recent claim. I promised to write a blog post each day of the week for Speak Out With Your Geek Out, but I failed. But I swear, I have a great reason! Why? I was hosting the Girl Geeks Of Austin Monday Board Games & Brews event! Each Monday night, we have a group of women who drop by the Black Star Co-Op. So, it’s actually combining numerous geek things. Board games, craft beer and sustainable/local foods. And it is a co-op! One of my birthday prezzies to myself will be to buy a membership there. Such fantastic people.
I’ve posted before about why I started the game night. I’m all about supporting ALL people playing games; I believe everyone can find the right games and great people to play with. The difficult part – If you don’t already play games with people, how do you meet people for games? How do you find games? Board games can get pretty expensive; it is hard to justify buying a game if you don’t know anyone who plays them.
I’m an organizer geek; a nexxus. I LOVE bringing people together to do amazing things. I love meeting new people when I host an event and watching people discovering new people. It cheers me to see people make friends, share their info and talk about planning exciting games, dinners or whatever with each other. I like turning people on to new games and new beers. I like to encourage women & girls to play games.
Back to my Board Game & Brews night. Many of the women who come to the game night have never played board games. Or they’ve done family games like Monopoly, Sorry, Scrabble. There is nothing wrong with these games; for many people it is the first taste of gaming & socialization. Yes, even with family!
But many want more. They’re interested in games they see around. They want to not be talked down to or ignored in a game store. They want to do something creative and they want to socialize with other like-minded geeky people. No matter your geeky bent, while you’re doing a geeky activity, you get to learn more about people. You get to meet others who grok (look it up) you.
I’m not great at teaching people to play games. I yawn when reading rules. I am best learning as I play, so I usually stick to pretty easy to explain games that I’ve played a lot. Or some casual card games. Fluxx, Poo, Apples to Apples & Guillotine and many others are easy to teach and easy to learn. Then there are some dice games like Zombie Dice, Cthulhu Dice and some board games like Tsuro and Dixit.
How do you get started with your own group? Meetup.com is fantastic to start in finding a group. Volunteer to host a meetup. Most meetup group owners are DELIGHTED to find more people to host events. I know I am; I can’t do everything and be everyone. As example, we have people who do fiber arts and I do not. So I encourage our fiber arts geeks to host their own meetup event on our same group page.
- Pick a place you want to host an event. A shop, a pub, coffee shop. Get to know the people working there so they know to expect you.
- Choose how often and what day you want to do your event. It doesn’t have to be weekly like mine.
- Get yourself into Social Media so you can advertise your event. Good thing about Meetup.com? You can do so much in it.
- Show up. Even if no one does, show up. When I first started doing the Monday Steampunk Meetups at the Wayward Coffeehouse in Seattle, I was there at a small reserved table every week. Eventually, one or two would show. And as the word got out, more people showed. I kept up with advertising it on the local steampunk mailing list. Having our small group talk to others at the other local events & conventions, brought more people out. After a few months, there was anywhere from 10-20 people ever Monday. Stick to it and it will succeed.
- Greet everyone. No matter what else is going on, remember you are doing this for a reason. Make sure everyone is welcome. When you have regular people, you can dub others to be greeters. No one should ever feel unwanted for a social geek event.
- Have fun. If you’re not, no one else will. You may try and try again, but eventually you’ll get the hang out of it. Sure, epople will “Why don’t we meet on X side of town?” “Why can’t we ever do Y together?”. I always say, “GREAT IDEA! You can put something together and I’ll promote it. Unfortunately, I can’t take on another event, but I want to help you succeed.”. AND MEAN IT.
Hello, I’m Donna and I’m a Geeky Organizer.