Hey there, Cassie here, if you haven’t come across me before, I’m mostly in charge of the event side of things here at Vault. Coming up with ideas on how to make our events exciting and fun is one of my jobs, however I think the main part is making sure everything runs smoothly. Today I’m going to run through how you can make your next board gaming event as easy to organise and run as possible.
The Plan: Knowing What You Want
The first step in organising your event is knowing what type of event you’d like to run. The first thing that comes to mind is generally “I want a fun night of gaming with all my friends”. Ok, awesome! Who doesn’t want that? Hmm, but are you going to invite everyone? What if that is like 20 people? Let’s go through the run down of different types of gaming parties from small to big.
- You and one other: this could be your partner, your best friend, or your roommate. Pick a night that suits and off you go. There’s only one other person you have to worry about here so organising this one is pretty easy.
- Players totalling 3-5: This one is a bit trickier. A group of 3-5 players is generally the ideal amount of gamers for most board games, so keep this in mind when you are planning. I like to categorise my friends a little though (sorry friends). I have several groups of friends that all like different styles of games. This means you can host lots of gaming nights for each of these groups! Have one group that you want to relax and just play party games. One that you want to spend 5 hours playing one game with, or one in the middle that loves a Euro as well as something a little less intense like Colt Express. I never want to exclude people, but scheduling time with only a few means you can socialise with each group and your time is more about quality rather than quantity.
- A large group, 7 or more: This one isn’t too much different than the previous category, however when you have a large group, you’re going to have to split the party. I would suggest, however, a game like The Resistance to start off the event, get everyone in the spirit, then pick and choose how you want to split up and what games each group wants to play.
- Let’s get crazy, 25+: If you’re able to regularly going to get this many people coming to an event of yours then maybe you should start a regular meet-up or club! If you aren’t part of a club already, like the League of Extraordinary Gamers (LXG), for example, approach libraries or universities to see if you can hire a room for you to play your games in. You could even start an event similar to ours, Board Games & Burgers, if you can secure some advertising and support from a restaurant or games club.
Now What?: The Games
Ok, you know how people you want to invite, but what games are you going to play? Often times in the past, I have made plans to play with people, but when it gets to the day, everyone spends the first 30 minutes deciding what games to play. Discuss with your other attendees what you want to play before the day, not only is it easier when it comes to deciding, it also makes it more exciting as there is a bit of build up. Let’s go through the players again to make it a bit easier.
- 2 player: These games are many, for this one, I’d suggest checking out my previous article on 2-player games.
3-5 Players: Well, there are too many to choose from, so this is where you can do a number of things to give some direction to your evening.
- Pick one game. Go in heavy; choose a game you know may take more than a few hours. Even if you only play it once or twice a year, you’ve got it, so you want to play it. I’m thinking games like Twilight Imperium, Civilization, or Arkham Horror.
- Pick a theme. How about all science fiction type games. Or all euro-style. Japanese is a fun theme at the moment. Even an event that only focused on party games can be a winner.
- Choose games that are yet to have seen the outside of the box except for when you punched out the pieces. Let everyone know that you want to learn a few games. Learning games can be fun, but also time-consuming. See if at least one person can read through the rules before you start your event.
- Know your audience. If you have a mix of beginners and experienced gamers, pick things that are good for both, like Mysterium, Tsuro, Splendor, Dominion or Ticket to Ride.
- 7 or more: As mentioned earlier, you can split people up into groups, or try and accommodate for the larger group with games like Coup, Ultimate Werewolf, 7 Wonders, Flick Em Up!, Lost Legacy and Spyfall.
- 25+: You’re going to need a whole library of games for this one! Check out Vault’s library for an example, or pool all of the people in the group’s games for maximum effect with little effort.
Make the Space Comfortable: Atmosphere and Food
It’s important to have the right tools for your game event! Probably the most important thing is a suitable table and chairs. Especially if it’s going to be a long game, you want to make sure you have enough space for your game pieces. Don’t have a big enough table? Improvise! I’ve seen someone use an old door they placed on top of their table to fit the game on. Also handy: organisers. Available for pre-order now is the Firefly Crate. I’ve been looking forward to this one as Firefly takes up so much space when it is set up with all expansions! Organisers also make set up and pack away so much easier, which means more games make it to the table!
Set the mood: if you are playing an epic space game, why not set the star trek sound track up on the speakers to give some good atmosphere. More of a party games night? Then make the music relaxed but not too mellow or loud, some pop or the latest hits will do the trick. Make sure your music isn’t too loud; your focus is socialising, so you want to be able to talk to each other! If you need some more music inspiration, check out Dylan’s article on audio tools for RPG games.
In terms of food, if you get takeaway, or have made a nice dinner/lunch for everyone, then I’d suggest either eating before you play, or pause play for food, and away from the gaming space, so you don’t get any food on your playing pieces (and if you're still worried about your games, check out Pedro's article on how to protect them). Also appropriate: plenty of snacks! Get people to either bring some food themselves, or bring cash to chip in for take out.
- When you invite your guests, especially if you want 3-5 people, don’t be afraid to invite more that 5. Some people cancel, or don’t show up on the day, so its ok to invite too many people at first. That way if some can’t go, you’re not scrambling to fill spots last minute.
- Have a back up plan if something comes up. Got 6 players? Have a stack of games handy for that many, or make sure at least one of the games you planned to play is 6-player or expands up to that many. Check out games like Alhambra, Battlestar Galactica, or Sushi Go.
- Be spontaneous! Ok, so I know I just gave you a super long list about how to perfectly set up an awesome evening, but if you already know all of this, or you done it enough times to know what you’re doing, then one Saturday when you’re home on the couch playing Mass Effect that you have started for the 5th time, message a bunch of friends to see what they’re up to! They may be doing the same as you and are up for anything! When in doubt, just wing it!
So have you got all of that? Thanks for reading, I hope I have covered everything in terms of gaming events and what to do. Do you have any other tips? Make sure to leave a comment on our Facebook page.
We here at Vault strive to make the best events possible for our attendees. We have hosted a Tabletop & Tacos event at the Bloodhound Bar for over 6 months, and we have loved every second! Unfortunately, we have had to prioritise our time and we will no longer be hosting Tabletop & Tacos from the end of June. We have some exciting things coming up at towards the end of the year, and we want to focus on them to make sure they are the best they can be, which means unfortunately we have had to cancel the Tuesday event. We thank all the staff at Bloodhound, however, and of course all the people that came along and enjoyed the tacos and other Peruvian delights Bloodhound has to offer. You may yet see us back there again soon! We will still be hosting Board Games & Burgers at the Fortitude Valley Grill’d, so if you want to get your gaming fix, be sure to come and say hello to us there! For all up to date event information, please refer to our Facebook events page.