Thursday, 17 October 2013

Growing the Dice Pool

So a few weeks ago I wrote up my post on Clubs, Societies and Community.

My comrade in gaming goodness +Morgan Davie and I have a similar thought process about how gaming is made good in a club environment.  To explore that a bit further I thought I'd pick on some of the more difficult elements when it comes to a club, society or community.

As a club grows in size it needs to be able to work within the confines of the space it utilises and it also has to retain the things that make it a club.

Space wise there are different kinds of requirements depending on the format of the games played.  e.g. a predominantly wargames club may have storage space in the venue that it uses.
Number of tables and chairs available for players may be a restriction, particularly in a public space where there may be no dedicated set of tables/chairs that are used by the club.

By "retain the things that make it a club" I'm focussing on elements such as cliques and the club potentially turning into an assortment of smaller clubs that co-habit the same space.  Attaining and retaining that status of being a single club is difficult particularly if the growth is strong as the sense of identity will change in parallel with the growth of the club itself.
e.g. the club that I attend on a Friday has traditionally been a predominantly wargames club and more specifically a Warhammer Fantasy wargames club.  Yes it's had a RPG element and other wargames have been played but the dominant game has always been Warhammer Fantasy.
In recent times (last year or 2) the club identity has shifted slightly with a lot of younger members joining and a lot of Warhammer 40,000 players in particular playing games.  Flames Of War, Warmachine and other wargames have there moments at the club as do CCGs like Magic have player bases but the dominant games are now 2 fold with Warhammer 40,000 being played more than ever before (that I'm aware of at least).  Protecting and managing that identity of being "one club" is necessary to ensure that the clique doesn't form and also helps to manage any situations of conflict or similar at the club.

In any environment where you get a varied group of people in age and interest there is always a potential for conflict.  The challenge for any club, particularly if it has a "leadership", is how to manage conflict.  It's not something I've witnessed as my Friday night club but I have experienced it in the past where players just can't/won't get on.

I tend to deal with conflicts like this in 2 ways - Monitor and Address.
Monitoring provides the opportunity for the parties in conflict to resolve it themselves or with the help of 1 or 2 others.  This is the best way all round to protect relationships within the club.
Addressing essentially involves another member of the club intervening in on the situation.  Not a case of taking sides, unless of course there's been a real breach of civility, more a case of stepping between both parties and forcing them to resolve it between them.

Getting the word out about a club and enabling it to grow is best achieved through word of mouth.
Other ways that a club can develop it's reputation which in turn promotes itself include -
Attendance at tournaments as club members - This happens a lot in relation to wargames in particular but I've also seen it with CCG tournaments.
Hosting events such as tournaments and inviting other clubs to attend those events.
More direct promotion can also exist through social media by having Facebook Groups and forums etc etc.
These each add to the profile of the club and help to promote it as a whole.

There are other factors to consider here when it comes to the natural development of any club.  What have I not covered that goes on at your club?