San Marcos Board Gamers More fun than you can shake a meeple at

29May/150

200 Members! What’s Next?

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As I mentioned in my last blog post, I've been traveling around and doing some consulting for the last few months. I didn't have a lot of time to write blogs or manage the group, but it seemed to get along just fine without me. We're now at 200 members and growing, so the question is, "What's next?"

There's a strong argument for just going along the way we have gone, whether we have 200 members or more. Right now, our minimal organization is low stress for everyone. We get together every couple of weeks, we play some games. Since the whole point of games is to relax and have fun, that's a pretty good mission.

It's also worth noting that we're not exactly living in a gaming desert. Austin has had a lively scene since before our group started, and it remains busy with several groups and a board game cafe. Since we got rolling, other groups like the New Braunfels Board Gamers have helped us fill the local play niche, and gamer-driven businesses like Childs' Play and the Hungry Gamer have popped up. We've got it pretty good.

King of Tokyo atour January library meetup.

King of Tokyo at our January library meetup.

Good Enough?

That said, I remain a little concerned about sustainability and longevity. 200 members is a great milestone, but in practice less than 10% of the people who signed up for the group turn up at meetups.

Some of that is the nature of the Meetup beast, as well as the reality that we're busy people with limited windows for gaming. But it makes the group a little fragile. A few people moving out of town could easily drop turnout to the point where it's hard to get together at all.

There's also the matter of outreach. 200 members on the Meetup group means that we've done a great job of attracting interest through the Internet, but we're not so good at bringing new people in off the street. A few people have checked us out, and some of them have sat down and tried a game, but very few of them have turned up for a second meeting. I'd like to see more happening there.

In the end, I'm not sure what the next step is. There are a few things I'd like to see: more specialized events like a Day of Diplomacy or a living card game get-together, more outreach events that bring in new or younger players, maybe even an all-day event or mini-convention. But I don't know what the route from here to there is yet, and I would be very excited to hear some suggestions.

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Posted by Chris Aylott

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