Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I love it when a plan comes together...

Well, if you've been following this 'blog - and I know a few people have - I need to warn you that we're nearly at its end.

I've still got a few hiccoughs to sort out - the storage thing is one, as is the quest for an alternative venue - but my quest is almost complete. Club membership has now exceeded 20 people, with an average weekly turn-out exceeding 12. We even managed something approaching an AGM (it involved me shouting at people while they tried to ignore me and get on with playing their games, but I'm assured that that is in the best tradition of wargaming all over the world).

Oh sure, my committee mostly let me do all the work (we'll see how long that lasts!) and there're still jobs to do but the club is there, established. We've crossed the sort of member threshold, with a great cross-section of older and younger gamers, that means that we won't be crippled at the start of the university academic year.

So what've I learnt along the way? What advice can I offer to anyone who wants to do what I've done? Here're a few suggestions:

1. Find a venue. Ultimately, the YGWC grew out of me deciding that, come what may, I would be at Hurst Hall, every Tuesday, from 7.30-10.30PM every week and if anyone wanted to join me, they were very welcome.

2. Join the GCN. When it comes to advertising, there's no better outlet than your local GW and the GW Community Forums.

3. Never give up! There were a fair few weeks when it was just me. Then it was just me and one friend. Then me and three friends. Then all of a sudden I found myself collecting the club subs and asking "who're you again?"

If you're trying to start a club of your own, feel free to drop me a line. At the very least I'll send you encouragement.

Happy gaming and may all your dice roll 6s (except when you need 1s)!

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Battle is Almost Won!

It's been a while since my last post (almost 2 months! sorry about that), but a great deal has happened in that time.

The York Garrison Wargaming Club has established itself with a regular clientele and we now have a membership approaching 20, with about 12 players regularly attending every Tuesday. I've started collecting subs to fund improvements and investment in the club infrastructure, the club Yahoo! group is being effectively used to manage lifts, games, campaigns and role-play and we've even set up a Discussion Forum (which is, as yet, unused).

We've completed our application process for GCN affiliation. This was slowed by one of my club councillors getting a job down South, so I had to get the paperwork re-signed, but Lawrie Stewart, Secretary of the GCN, is a hero and got our club approved in principle following sight of the club rules. Hopefully, I will soon receive the membership pack that will include the CRB forms for our councillors.

Our main shortfalls now are - as implied - infrastructure.

We have a few boards, donated by a key member (thanks, Postie!) and a good number of tables. But we really need more tables and more scenery. But before we can get those, we need MORE SPACE!

Storage is becoming the crunch issue. The managed of the Hurst Hall Community Centre has been more than helpful - he's acquired a couple of old wooden football dugouts that could be converted to be storage - but they'd still have to be outside, potentially exposed to some pretty Yorkshire weather. There is a fabulous storage space inside the Hall, but it's almost entirely occupied by the Rainbows and the Little Fishes toddler group.

So what are my options?

1) Weather-proof the dugouts -
Advantages: cheap(ish) and uses existing resources
Disadvantages: at least a day's work

2) Move venue -
Advantages: more space, more storage
Disadvantages: more money, may lose members

3) Assassinate the Rainbows -
Advantages: more space within existing resources
Disadvantages: illegal and not in keeping with a "children friendly" policy

*sigh* I guess I'd better dig out the DIY handbook, eh?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Big, Unexpected Victories!

Phew! Just when you think it might all implode and end in a disappointing mess of non-attendance and failure, things take off unexpectedly!

Having missed a couple of meetings due to work commitments, I was very disheartened on my return to discover from my partner-in-crime that there had been no-shows for two weeks running. But just as I was wondering whether it was time to call it a day, one of the other local wargamers, whom I had been badgering to attend with no luck (the timings were too late for him), suddenly appeared along with a car-load of eager followers. Not only that, but he had brought no fewer than three gaming tables with him!

All of a sudden, I'm struggling to accommodate this many people! It's great to report that they seemed to enjoy themselves, even though not everyone got to have a game, and they all agreed that they would come again as and when they could. The main sticking point was a combination of location (a little out of their way, being out of the city) and transport (one car between the lot of them). But I hope they've been sufficiently impressed with what they saw to return as they are able. Frankly, I'm happier to see turnout fluctuate from one week to another, because it gives me time to work on the terrain question.

This is my major sticking point, now. Originally, I was confident that I could find the storage space for whatever we needed, but I beginning to worry that I was optimistic in that respect. We desperately need more terrain and playing boards, but have we got room to keep it?

I must find my way down to the Community Hall tomorrow morning to negotiate with the manager. I'm lucky enough to have good contacts with most of the major users of the hall, but it simply comes down to the question: do we have the room to do what we want?

Now, there are storerooms in the Hall. At least one of these is perfect, but has been claimed by the joint chaos of the Brownies and the Toddler Club. The other, I've not been able to peek into, so I am hopeful. Worst case, there are two sheds outside. One of which is sufficient but far from ideal. The other may be better, but is the manager personal storeroom, so I don't know if he'd share it. The last option is to arrange our own storage by providing a shed or garden storage chest type thing of our own, but there's a limit to how many of these can be attached to one Community Hall...

We'll see how things go tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I've finished the latest draft of the club rules to distribute tomorrow night and I will try to get two other over-18s to agree to take the interim jobs of "Committee Member" so that we can get ourselves sorted for full GCN affiliation. God willing, that will mark our chance to really push ourselves forward as the only affiliated club in 40+ miles.

Let's hope that my latest victory doesn't turn out to be Pyrrhic.