It’s often asked when I tell someone about one of our Game Days, just “What is Game Day?”.  So let me see if I can explain it a bit.

The Group

First I should explain a little about the group.  The origins of our group are explained in our history, so I won’t reiterate them.  But why we do Game Day is rooted in that group.  Many groups of gamers are 4-6 friends gathering in one of their houses to play a few games.  This is a group, but not what I’d call an organized group.  We chose to become an organized group because even though we were meeting in our homes a typical get together was 12-20 people.  Without some sort of structure and guidance  this kind of gathering would soon fall apart.

How Often and How Long

Before we were this organized group we would meet up 2-3 times a week.  We had a store available to us, so no one was put out by having to host repeatedly.  We mostly followed the store hours, but as the owner was one of us that was flexible.  This often is not sustainable for group cohesion.  Some people can’t make it every time which leads to people not showing up at all.

We were also only meeting up for a few hours at a time.  This usually entailed only enough time for one or two average games.  While some is better than nothing, not many people want to travel 45 minutes to an hour to play one game, then turn around and go home.

Regardless of these facts as long as we had the store we held on to this schedule.  It was when the store was no longer available to us that we had to shift to reality.  In order to keep everyone together and make it a viable schedule we shifted to a once a month format.  To get the most out of the day we decided to do “12 hours”.  Our length is more defined by when people are done.  But most hosts agreed to not kick out people till at least midnight.  The length also encouraged more remote people to join us as they could get a good amount of gaming in for their travel time.

Growth

Without growth any group will stagnate and die.  Many a small group of friends has died when one or two had to move away for family/job reasons. Too much growth though and you no longer have the same “family” that you’re used to.

TAGS has struggled with growth on both directions.  When we were meeting in peoples houses growth was hesitant.  Hosts wouldn’t want to invite total strangers into their homes, so Game Day was determined to be a private event for members and their guests.  Shorter public events were held so that new people could come and introduce themselves, and then come to Game Days.

This worked out well enough that we had to abandon people’s homes and move to a rented facility.  With this new location though we didn’t change our methods.  While we continued on as a group stagnation started to settle in.  We lost people to moves, deployments, and general burn-out.  Thankfully we came to recognize this and Game Days are now a public event.

The Games

The games are what it’s really about right?  The benefits of being part of a group mean not having to own all the games.  If there’s a game you’d like to try chances are someone in the group owns it.

The Games 300x225 What is Game DayWhen you come to Game Day one of the things you’ll notice is, along one wall we have tables that are covered in games.  The group does not own any of these, they are all owned by our members.  This provides the attendees with a wide variety of games to choose from.  Likely more than most people outside of the hobby even know that exist.  I’m pretty positive that there will be something there for you to enjoy.  If you want to try a specific game however, make sure you ask in our forums.  If there isn’t a topic about this coming game day feel free to start it.

Knowing the rules to a game is never mandatory, there’s just too many of them.  In other words, if someone asks if you want to play a game, don’t feel like you need to know the rules to play.  It’s generally customary though if you have brought the game and are the one who wants to play that you have a good feel for the rules and are willing to teach.  Just because you’ve asked someone to bring a game don’t count on them playing it so try and have an understanding on things you are interested in.  All is not lost though if no one know the rules, many a game has started at Game Day where the plastic was cracked and one person read the rules while others started basic setup.

The Food

Twelve hours is a long time to game, it’d be even longer with out any food.  Many people won’t want to go anywhere in the thoughts of maximizing their time playing games.  Our reason for bringing food probably has as much to do with our origin as anything else.  When we were playing in homes some people weren’t happy with just ordering pizza every time so pot luck was the rule.  This extended on to Game Days in our public venue.  Casseroles, Crock Pots, roasted chickens, and some decadent deserts have all graced out table but your usual snack foods and sodas are never absent.  Many restaurants are also close by if nothing tickles your fancy.  Plates, bowls, eating utensils, and napkins are supplied by the club, so bring on the grub.

The People

The People 300x225 What is Game DayBoard gaming is an interesting hobby to be in right now.  A large percentage of the American population sees playing board games as a kids activity.  The large percentage of games however could not be understood well by the same kids they think the hobby is for.

That being said we are adults playing board games.  Most of us are married with kids of our own, some of us even attend as couples, but for the most part we leave the kiddies at home.  That doesn’t mean that kids aren’t welcome, but we do have some rules:

  • No children under the age of 12.  This may seem harsh or arbitrary, but a large percentage of games are for 12+, and we’ve had experience of disruption with younger children.
  • No one under the age of 18 without an adult both present and willing to be responsible for minor.  We’re not an R rated movie, but we’re not a kid sitting service either.

Neither of those rules are set in stone never to be changed, but this is what we adhere to for the time being.  Our members are OK with this because it doesn’t impact them.  They either have kids too young or they have no problems reigning in their older children.  Children are not thrown out the door either, a quick stop in while dropping off/picking up Dad/Mom for the day is not unheard of.

What to Bring

When you join us for the first time we only ask that you bring three things:

  1. Yourself
  2. An enthusiasm to play games
  3. A respect for location you are playing at, the games you are playing, and the people you are playing with

When you choose to rejoin us, and we hope you will, we do ask that you bring money for the event fee or to become a member.  The facility isn’t free and we do provide some supplies for the event as well.

The Cake 300x235 What is Game DayWe also ask, but not require, that you bring some food or drink to help out.  Don’t feel however that you have to feed everyone.  Brink a 12 pack of your favorite soda and a bag of chips, hit a restaurant or grocery store and pickup a bucket of Chicken, or show off your culinary expertise and wow us with a stew, a roast, or a delicious and moist cake.

Last, but not least, bring some games, if you have them of course.  You’ve had a chance to see what others are bringing, so bring something similar or completely different.  If it’s something that you own and want to play please bring it.  Just because it was there this month doesn’t mean it will be so next time.  Many of our members have 100+ game collections and can’t bring everything every time, or maybe they are sick this month and just can’t make it.  Likewise just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean someone does not have it, so feel free to ask.

We hope you’ll join us at Game Day, and we hope you enjoy yourself enough to come back.  We try to provide a comfortable environment to play in, and good people to play with.  If you ever feel these are lacking please let someone on the Board know.