Over the many years and campaigns of gaming, ranging from Warhammer 40K, Battletech, D&D, and other role playing & board games I have had the honor to be a part of many gaming clubs.
Some of them still exist, other faded away, and a few just exploded one night…
All of them, when they were successful and packed with members, and those still going strong followed a simple formula to power the club, those that drifted from the formula stalled out and died.
If you are thinking of starting your own gaming club here is that formula: Collect, Paint, Battle, Socialize.
As a group of hobbyists and players all four of these points must be happening all the time- pushing the group onto greater glory.
Collect: If you are a wargaming club collecting miniatures, war bands, ships or whatever is vital. Encouraging players to add to their collection means new miniatures and the tactics that follow ensure that there is always excitement on the table. Who in buying a new unit or ship is itching to try it out on the table?
Members should be encouraged to grow and add to their armies as time, ability, and finances dictate. Keep them in the cycle of building up the collection.
Can you make a deal with a local gaming store for a club-member discount if members shop there?
Can you use some of the club’s money from the treasury and once a month buy a unit or model and randomly give it away to a club member?
Paint: Painting models adds intensity to the club- adding additional value to the battle and socialize aspect of the formula. Painting models also has members investing time, pride, and ownership in them. Encourage painted models for each member as best they can with regards to time and ability. Any progress no matter how slow is good progress.
Can you hold a paint night at the club where all the members get together and paint as a group? veteran hobby members can help out the new members.
Can you show off club member’s models and armies on your club’s Facebook page or website?
Battle: The heart of any club and why one is there with miniatures in the first place. Create the best “battle” atmosphere you can- with terrain, missions, and how the group plays as a group. As the club grows one could start running both comparative play and more narrative games.
Socialize: The only thing better about playing games is talking about them- encourage some after table time to talk and hang out. Are there gaming events relating to the systems the club plays that you can attend as a group?
Use this formula and your gaming club will dominate.