Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Back in Business!

Never forgive, never forget, never surrender!!

The York Garrison has risen from the ashes of ignominious defeat to new life!

Well, almost. We're back. But we're smaller. Perhaps that was our mistake from the start. We thought we could be the Cadian 8th when in fact we were better suited to being the Tanith First. Small clubs are agile and responsive, able to take venue changes in their stride. They rely upon free or very cheap venues, low membership costs and a small but dedicated group of friends who can be relied upon to be regular attenders.

As we expanded before, we made the mistake of assuming that all of our members were as dedicated as we were and that they'd follow us loyally to a new venue and a new night. But we were wrong. And as our original membership slipped away, we failed to attract new members and gradually the club imploded.

Our new venue is small, simple and free. But it has the huge advantage that it is within easy striking distance of at least half of our first gang of members. And we've also moved our meeting night back to what it was before: Tuesday.

Here's a thing: Tuesdays are best. I don't know why, but they are. I think it's the mid-week effect. Wednesdays ought to be good, too, but with Heroes dominating the viewing schedule of geeks nationwide, that just isn't going to work right now. But having the meeting on a Tuesday gives people something to look forward to, even on dull and dreary Mondays.

We're still looking for a new venue. But at least now we can take our time and find one that suits us at a price we can afford. In the mean time, we can enjoy the hospitality of St Mary the Virgin, Strensall. Come along: Tuesdays, 7pm-10pm.

Friday, October 05, 2007

And it all goes horribly wrong...

Where does a wargaming club lose its way? The fact is that people who start these clubs don't start them because they like running clubs. They start them because they like playing wargames. But when running the club starts to get in the way of enjoying playing wargames, something has gone wrong.

I like playing wargames. I'd play wargames every day if I could. But I also love spending time with my family. My wife has no interest in wargames. My children are too young (yet!). And some nights, whilst I wanted to play wargames, what I really wanted was to spend time with my family. But I couldn't. Because I had the key to the hall and people would be waiting and I was obliged to show my face etc etc...

That, of course, is what a committe is for, God love them. So I handed over they keys, stepped down from the post of President and became the Secretary instead and all as once more well with the world.

But all was not well, for there was an obligation to make haste from our venue for a new one. And no new venue was to be found! We thought we'd got one and then we didn't and then we did and then we didn't. It was three months of stress as the pressure to shift our terrain-laden backsides to a new home grew and grew.

Finally, we found a new home and very grateful we were too. But it wasn't very convenient. And it was a bit pokey. And the new President decided that we should change nights to Mondays.

Whether any of those factors made the difference, I really don't know. Personally, I don't think it was any of them. I think the club had failed to sustain its early momentum mostly due to a half-hearted President (me) and bad timing (our change in venue came at the end of an academic year). Anyway, attendance began to drop dramatically and, by early September, we were down to barely half a dozen people on a good night. Our new venue had offered us free occupation on the basis of bar sales (it had a bar!) which just weren't materializing and we were invited to pack our boxes and make haste once more.

It was the death knell for YGWC.

But I will NOT go quietly into the night, I will rage - rage against the dying of the light!

Or rather, I will take stock and re-build. Because I know that at least six members of the old club are all within a short drive of my own house and a new potential venue. It's tiny and it's due to be knocked down... but it's also due to rebuilt three times the size with extra storage space! And the vicar (it's a church hall) happens to be a friend of mine.

So whilst our funds and terrain have been dispersed and our membership depleted, this is not the end. Small clubs are more nimble and responsive, able to shift nights and venues to suit their small membership. So YGWC is not dead. It is only sleeping. It will return...