Building a Community – Ep 135

Building a Community

Building a Community – The Bad Dice Guide

I wanted to give some tips on building a community for gaming in your local area.

I’ve seen a lot of talk online recently about people not being able to find local players in their area.  I believe that anyone can build a community for regular games night and an awesome Age of Sigmar gaming group

In this podcast episode I give you some easy to follow guides for building a community locally and talk about the exact process that I used to go from 2 of us playing Age of Sigmar to last month (May 2016) having the biggest AoS gaming night that I have heard of in the world. (I would love to be wrong about this, let me know if you had more than 13 tables of Age of Sigmar in 1 club night)

Below you will find some really simple tips that can help you find games, build a games club and promote that club and start building a community in your area.

Tip number 1.

This is the easiest but also the most important thing you can do for building a community.


Like I said, easy.

Tell everyone you know that you have started a gaming night (not will be, HAVE) Let them know the time and date and how regular it will be.  If you don’t know any of these details it doesn’t matter, just make them up you can always change the details at any time.

Arrange a night to play. Venue doesn’t matter. It could be a store, games club, someones house, wherever. Tell everyone you know and try to get at least 1 other player.

2. Book a Night

OK, so after you tell everyone you have booked a night you had better get it done!

The details here are not important.  What you are aiming for is to arrange something that is going to be regular.  How regular is also not important.

We decided on monthly meetings.  This worked for our group for a number of reasons, the most important reason is that we are all very busy and struggle to find time for gaming.  This has made it very easy for us to skip meet ups and not commit to games.  Setting 1 night a month enabled everyone to book ahead and make sure we had plenty of notice to make sure we are available for games night.

An additional bonus with monthly meetings is that it makes players feel that if they miss a night then because the next one is a long time away they are more likely to want to make it to this club night rather than go 2 months without gaming.

3. Rince and Repeat, and repeat and repeat.

This is important.  keep telling everyone you know that you have a  regular gaming night and stick to those nights.

After after each night book the next one right away.  Tell everyone you know how awesome your last game was (if it was rubbish don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!!!) and see if you can get at least 1 more player. You can easily play a 3 player game.

You and your opponent should post photos of your last game on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and local forums. Also post work in progress army pics for your next games night. Keep plugging your next night and telling people they are welcome to come along (this is where once a month was good for us, plenty of notice) offer to lend people an army if they just want to try AoS out.

Age of Sigmar is really easy to play with teams and un even numbers so don’t fall into the trap of having to pair off.

Here are a few good 3 player battle plans from the Realmgate Wars books.

Convergence of Fate has been given out with Games Workshop webstore orders.

This one can be found in the Balance of Power realm gate wars book.

4. Promote, Promote, Promote.

Contact all the podcasts/bloggers/you tubers and ask them to plug your gaming group.

Fill in the blanks and send this to people on the list below to get started.


I’ve just started a new gaming club and would love it if you could help me get the word out and find some local players.

My club is called ______, we are based in ________ and meet up every ________

It would be amazing if you could mention this on your show and tell people they can find us at _______

Thanks for your help!

P.S. Ben Curry from Bad Dice Podcast said you would be happy to help!

And at less than 140 characters for easy tweeting.

Can you RT to help me find players for my new Gaming club <insert club name> in<Insert club location>, We meet every <insert day/time> at<Insert location> thanks!

We have a What’s App group and invited in anyone who expressed even the slightest interest in attending. This way you can chat any time about general Warhammer not just club nights. We called the group name by the date of the next meet so it’s an easy reminder. We also bully all the members into turning up!

The Most Important thing.

Don’t give up on this even if it’s just you and a mate for a few months. Eventually you will get interest.

If you are available on a night other than your next booked date then consider a road trip to visit someone else’s club in another city/town. If you finish work at 5 and drive to another club you could go 2 hours away for a 7pm start play a game and leave at 10 and still be home for midnight. It might sound crazy but if people see you doing this for their club then they might do the same for yours.

Use a simple maps search to see where you could get to with a 2 hour drive and you might be surprised.

50 miles around Derby
50 miles around Derby

Not having a car is not an excuse either. Contact the club you are aiming to go to and ask if anyone can collect and drop you off at the train station. You will find that games clubs are happy to help new members come to them.

Enthusiasm and commitment to making an awesome local meet up will result in exactly that.

Finding a Venue

If you have a regular meeting set-up but need to get a local venue I have a tip that can help you find somewhere

Groups like Slimming World and Weight Watchers have venues in every town and village.  In my area I can do a postcode search on the Slimmingworld website and find 20+ locations inside a 10 minute drive.

Use these tools to find venues that you can contact to talk to about room hire.

British Legions are an excellent location as they are crying out for more customers.  They almost always have a function room that you should be able to hire for cheap.  Convince the manager that you can bring him customers and put money over his bar on nights where he would otherwise be closed.

Go to slimming and use the ‘find a group’ postcode search to find likely venues near to you.

This is a very UK tip but covers the USA and most of the world.  Use similar services in your own country to take advantage of these tools.


Case Studies

I sent a few questions to some of the gaming clubs I follow on twitter and wanted to know how they went about building a community for their clubs.

Here are their replies.

The Cheltenham Warchiefs


Start of by telling us a bit about yourself and your games club )or store if thats where you game)
John Harrison – Gaffa at the Warchiefs ,and one of the original members. I’ve personally played Warhammer from 4th edition.
Cheltenham Warchiefs
20years of Warchiefs this year!
The club was set up as a fantasy battles club all those years ago. But we play anything that peaks our interest. You’ll find GW and non GW games being played. But the bulk of our gamers are AoS players.
We play out of the Hatherley and Reddings Cricket Club, Cheltenham. On Monday nights from 7pm until about 10.30pm. Only £2.50 per night and no membership fee. You can’t miss us at events with our purple tops
1. You club seems to be going really well while a lot of people online are complaining of struggling to find a game of Age of Sigmar.  How do you attract such a great turn out
When AoS hit the shelves the Warchiefs didn’t rush to make emotional judgements. Some guys started with the box set (getting it at midnight!) and played the scenarios to get to know the rules. Other players had a little break from playing fantasy and spent a few months in other games like 40k, Bloodbowl etc.
Once the dust had settled people started to have games of AoS. The Warchiefs do collectively agree that you really need 10 games of AoS to get into it. The only big concern that came around early on was the lack of points. Everyone agreed that was the dumbest part of the game. Thankfully Mo stepped up very quickly and got a comp pack out. Followed by others.
The game grew in popularity from that point as more people played. We had a lot of players who stopped playing WHFB from 6/7th edition come back into the fold. Once we told them about the army building comp packs they soon started getting into the game.
2. If you moved to a new city tomorrow and didn’t know anyone locally who played how would you find local gamers? 
Personally if I had to move I’d look at social media – twitter, FACEBOOK, YouTube, gaming forums etc – and visit the local Games Workshop and/or independent gaming store. Try to find like minded people. Even if it’s just playing around someone’s house on the kitchen table. From that you can get quite a collective going which could end up a gaming club.
3. Do you have any advice for players trying to find games of Age of Sigmar.  
I’d tell them:-
“Don’t look at all the negativity online. It comes from people on the whole that have never played AoS”
“Go and find a few people who play or want to play, and grow the game”
“Get to events” as you never know who you might meet.
4. Where can people check out info about your club.  
Twitter @CheltWarchiefs
Facebook – Cheltenham Warchiefs
Website (coming soon)
Hope this helps. The Warchiefs on the whole rate this as the best edition of Warhammer. We are really proud of the community and our part in it. The event scene is starting to really build up, and the general attitude/behaviour of AoS gamers is far friendlier than previous editions.
The North West (USA) AoS group

 About me: 

I’m 40, married with kids and I live near Seattle, Washington, USA. I played WHFB when I was a kid (early 90’s) and 40k until 2000 when I dumped the hobby. GW was off my radar entirely until 2015. While passing through a gaming shop, my 7 year old noticed the Age of Sigmar starter set miniatures so we played a demo game. It had just come out and I had never heard of it before. This was in July of 2015. I was hooked.

I got the starter set, painted it up and tried to find games, but the so-called “Warhammer night” at the various shops ended up being full of super-salty ex WHFB players who wanted nothing to do with AOS. The WHFB and WH40k communities are really strong here.

As rosy as I was seeing things, even I recognized how clumsy the sunset of Fantasy Battle was, and how awkward the AOS launch was. I had no tools to connect with other players. No forums, no G+ groups, no Facebook, nothing.

I stuck with it, buying whole armies for cheap from people leaving the hobby. I was a returning player, so I didn’t understand why people could be so toxic to each other over a game, particularly to new players. I painted a ton of minis! Tired of being snubbed, I reached out to the GW stores.
The GW stores also didn’t have a good solution for me. Posting to their FB wall didn’t get replies and the handful of games that I did get in were either with the store manager or short games with my son. This is also when I realized that GW didn’t have forums to post in, which baffled me. I discovered BoLS (yikes!) and a few other websites, some good and some bad, but none connecting me with other players.
About 6 months in, I joined a wargaming group on facebook (again, more AOS hate all over the place) but then a new group started up: “Northwest Age of Sigmar” – an AOS specific FB group for my area.
Turns out, this group was started by Trent Barton, the shop owner of “Man Overboard Games” (he used  to work on fishing boats) – he even invited other shop owners to join in and by now, all three GW stores and even competing shops all use the same group to organize games.
Sorry for the biopic…
Here’s my answers to your questions!
1. You club seems to be going really well while a lot of people online are complaining of struggling to find a game of Age of Sigmar.  How do you attract such a great turn out
Every game shop needs a “Hobby Champion” someone who will advocate for a game and evangelize it, and spends a lot of time at the store. This is usually one of the regulars – in the case of the shop I play at, it’s the owner, Trent. He got people playing it. A lot of his regular AOS players are folks who also play 40k. The age group is all over the place. Trent has fostered such a good community for AOS that I literally drive an hour once a week just to play at his shop, in spite of other shops being much closer to my house. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.
2. If you moved to a new city tomorrow and didn’t know anyone locally who played how would you find local gamers? 
I would check in at the local game shops if there are any, find one to make my “home” then start advocating to play with people. I would go there on a regular day (for me it’s Sunday) and consistently offer people a test drive of AOS. I have multiple armies, so I am fortunate enough to be in a good spot to try to provide a good experience for a first timer with painted models. It seems like half of the attraction to this hobby is the aesthetic and the models. If I didn’t have my collection, I would paint up a starter set and begin there. For my demo, I would play a scenario like “The Watchtower” and emphasize the narrative. That’s what makes AOS shine.
3. Do you have any advice for players trying to find games of Age of Sigmar.  
Try social media. Search for groups. Tweet about it using your city’s hashtag. If you strike out or have no wargaming community in your area, get a second army, (Start Collecting set is perfect) then start inviting your friends to come play with you. It will be slow going but at least you will get some games in, and who knows? Maybe a pal will start collecting.
4. Where can people check out info about your club.  
Trent’s store: 

Il try & keep the history brief, but what I will say is that you personally were incidentally key to our club night happening in the first place! – il explain:
I always wanted to set up a gaming group to enjoy the hobby with, & when I moved to Winchester 5 years ago I met an amazing group of lads at our local GW. After playing regularly in the store on Thursday vets’ nights we bought a realm of battle board & had tons of games, campaigns and mini-tourneys at mine. Originally there were 8 of us.
Some of the lads went to Uni, some relocated, so we kept In touch using a Facebook group – now the Hampshire Hammerers.
Wherever any of us were in the uk, we met people who struggled to get games or find clubs to enjoy the hobby at, so I really wanted to get a club together where people had the opportunity to meet once a month, play some games & hopefully arrange to meet and play each other in their own time between club nights. – Eventually getting together as a group to attend GW/ Indy events. The original ‘members’ of the Hammerers are key to finding new players & bringing us all together.
For a long while I never got round to actually setting anything up – always putting it off for something important in the real world – until you sent out a tweet that prompted me into actually doing something about it. (Attached)
It wasn’t what you said as much as I had a fantastic opportunity to actually create a club for game that was forming a brand new community after its initial release, & there was no better time to try to reach out to people.
3 months later, we host monthly game nights at the Railway Inn, Winchester on every third Wednesday & have x20 players on the Facebook group regularly arranging games & sharing their hobby. GW Winchester have also been a fantastic support donating boards & terrain to the club, as well as regularly attending club nights.
The format of the TGA community is actually my dream done x1000 better, & I’m able to invite new players from around the county & advertise a place for AoS gamers to meet & join our group. I often use the new members welcome forum page & map to reach out to new players in our area.
If I moved to a new city tomorrow – I could easily find a new club in the TGA forum in my area & make contact. It really has made a massive impact on finding new people to play against.
My advice for new AoS gamers- Join the TGA. It’s the best way to find people in your area. GW stores are a must too & they seem (and should!) be making a great effort to connect their players, particularly at Thursdays’ vets night. – This is the best place to go for those first games.
Best way to contact us is on Twitter: @HantsHammerers



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