Alan and myself are wont to discuss the idea of developing Schild & Vriend into a real gaming club. For those of you that thought we were a club, have a look at our about page for a glimpse of our somewhat convoluted history. To sum things up, these days we are more of a diasporan collective of gamers that play at each other’s homes. We (and that’s back to Alan and me) want to change this.
The immediate reason for this post is the email I got from a lady from Leuven, whose 12 year old son is looking for a place to play Warhammer at. She had found our website and came knocking for information. I explained our current situation to her and pointed her in the direction of Gaming Lords Leuven, but I fear that she might not find a good place for her son to game at. And that is not good.
It seems that Leuven, and generally the bit of Vlaams-Brabant between Mechelen, Brussel and Leuven is lacking a focus for miniature wargaming, or gaming in general. There’s De Witte Ridder in Limburg, TSA in Antwerp, The Brassman (icky IP only URL) in Oostende and I’m probably forgetting a club or two in East Flanders. However, in Vlaams Brabant, there’s just a big post apocalyptic void, with individual groups doing their own thing, but no big (or small) club to provide gamers with a regular meeting place and schedule (unless I’m mistaken, of course, in which case you are free to correct me ).
Let’s try and change this. If only because we cannot afford to lose young players for such a silly reason as there not being a place for them to game at. The problem, of course, is getting enough of a momentum going to actually start a club. As Phil is right to say, you need an added value to convince players to come out of the woodwork (there’s that rustling in the bushes again) and play at a club, and finding that added value is not easy. Setting aside this issue and concentrating on numbers alone, I’d say that financially, you need about ten people to break even on a forthnightly or monthly rent of a small hall somewhere, and you need a lot more people than that to be a healthy club.
Any ideas from the peanut gallery out there on how to achieve this? One I have is to not limit ourselves to miniature wargamers, but extend to boardgamers and role players as well (although that last genre is less suited for a club, being eminently suitable for the play at players’ houses format). Any others?