Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oh GODS, Oh GODS... Oh NO!

Hi Folks,
As of today, I'm sending the GODS gaming group off to boarding school in a land, far, far away. It's goodbye for now. Maybe we'll see you again some day in the promising future when you're all grown up.
The PROBLEM: Numbers and Scheduling  
Despite my recent efforts to relaunch the GODS gaming group, things just haven't worked out as I had hoped. There are 2 pretty big problems preventing the GODS from becoming a viable gaming group:
1) There are currently only 5 people who are highly interested in regular tabletop gaming. They are: Kevin Sarnowski, Wally Wenklar, Mayer Foner, David Schlankser, and Steve Severino.
Geoff Kyper is a special case. He's very interested in playing miniature wargames (being a member of the SOS playtest/design team), but unfortunately doesn't have any additional free time to join in for multi-player non-wargames.
While several other folks have expressed an interest in this type of face-to-face gaming, the simple fact is that they haven't done much to prove it. Whenever I've requested email responses to questions about the gaming group, or have scheduled gaming sessions, it's only the 5 core people that respond and/or show up for the occasional board game. I expected more, so that's been very disappointing.
While I'm certainly very happy at least a small group of gamers exists, the simple fact is that if you want 4-6 people to show up and participate in a regular "Game Night", then you really need to have about 10-15 gamers in your pool of people to play games with.
We don't have that critical mass of numbers, thus most Multi-Player gaming sessions I've tried to schedule just didn't pan out.
2) Scheduling group sessions has been a nightmare. Everyone has varying days and times when they can play. Finding the perfect match when everyone can attend one big game session has been an insurmountable hurdle. What's supposed to be a fun thing, has turned into a headache for me from the scheduling end of things.
The SOLUTION: Off-the-Cuff Gaming
After several failed attempts at organizing a large gaming group, I have finally resigned myself to the fact that the "formal approach" to face-to-face gaming (i.e. having people vote on various "club issues/topics", setting up a bi-weekly games schedule ahead of time, posting "club news" via email), just isn't going to work right now. Mobilizing a large group of people to action has been a real struggle; one which I've been frustrated by and don't feel is worth wasting any more energy on. All I ever wanted to do is play some fun games and get to see my friends on a more frequent basis. I never intended to get caught up in administrative and organizational duties. This was always supposed to be FUN, not WORK. 
Since there's still a small group of people eager to play an assortment of tabletop games, I'm not about to abandon them. Instead of the formal, highly organized approach, I'm going OLD SCHOOL. I'm going to arrange "Off the Cuff" game sessions at my house. 
Simply put, when I have the free time to play a game during a given week, I will simply contact a friend or two via email/phone and say something along the lines of "hey Kev, what are you doing on Wednesday Night? Do you want to come over and play Battlelore?" And I will either get someone to play a 1-on-1 game with me, or if I'm real lucky, I'll have 2 or 3 people come over for a multi-player game.
For now, the only people on my Gamer Contacts list will be Kev, Wally, Geoff, Mayer, and David. If anyone else is truly interested in having me contact them for some face-to-face gaming, then feel free to email me or call me. Otherwise, I won't be bothering you about gaming stuff anymore.
Last but not least... I'm also going to explore the CPA Games Club, and perhaps play games there some weekends. They hold gaming sessions every weekend (on the West Shore on odd numbered Sundays, and the East Shore on even numbered Saturdays). There's no membership fee to become part of the club, and they welcome all comers. They play a lot of eurogames and train games, but also some wargames and adventure games as well. If you have a particular game you really want to play, you're allowed to bring it and ask people to play it with you. A bunch of them also travel to Origins and other game conventions in Maryland each year. 
So that's the scoop. GODS, it was nice knowing you. Rest in peace. Hopefully, Off-the-Cuff gaming will work and I'll get to play more games with my friends. Maybe some day, the number of interested gamers will grow large enough to organize an honest-to-goodness game club. Or maybe, someone else will pickup the ball and run with it, and have better success than I did in getting it going. Or perhaps we'll all be assimilated into the CPA? Who knows. 

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