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Clubs?


Mr. White

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In the 'Where Do You Game AoS' thread, many have listed 'clubs'. 

Are these more than just going to a buddy's house or game store? Is there a membership fee or rented location? A vetting process or community participation expectation?

How exactly are these structured and how do they differ from just hanging out at a friend's place?

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+1 to what @Auticus mentioned. 

A number of the club's I attend have very low membership fee, either an annual payment or per visit. This fee goes into insurance and buying terrain and tables which I'm very happy to contribute to.

Another games club I play at is at an RSL... I think it's an Australian establishment. It's like a big pub which is built for war veterans and serving those communities. Anyway, we play at this establishment at no cost to hide the room but we contribute by purchasing food and drink. 

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Near as I can tell, a Club would be a group of like minded gamers who value their community and play-style...maybe above all else. I would assume it's a group who gets on-board and is able to commit to campaigns or encourages one another in the various aspects of the hobby. A group that meets at a chosen time and location with regularity...a place where their interests are the priority (so probably not a game store).

I've been part of a close circle of friends, but nothing actually structured. Well, outside of a tight, closed dinner table Blood Bowl League group...so I guess that counts.

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To me the difference is that a club generally doesn't have "pick up games" in the sense of just deciding to go to the game store and hoping someone else also turns up for a game.  They are more structured than that; maybe a regular day or weekend.  Also, I feel a club is usually not beholden to the whims of a store; e.g. they can be exclusive or not have to worry about being told they don't have tables to game on because of some other event going on at the store.  That to me is the big thing.  If you just have like 6 people you talk to that always go to the game store on Saturday to play, that's not a club, that's an organized play day at the game store; the game store sponsors it, and is "in charge" of it (e..g they can tell you you can't play, make you move your stuff, etc.).  A club is more than that.

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Thinking about this...I believe I'll try to start one in my area (central Texas). Maybe in early September as school and schedules get set. I fear I may try to go too exclusive looking for a specific play-style...but it's worth a shot. Maybe I'll chronicle any success and failures here.

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Our club has 30-ish people paying dues at any time, which for the most part go towards rental of a 3-room former legal practice that's the club physical address.

Over the years we have hoarded several tables worth of fantasy, sci-fi and historical terrain pieces which you can use on your games, and we hold regular tournaments, leagues and campaigns for the different game systems we play.

Back when the club was established we used to game at a FLGS, then to a government-provided room but those have the problem of limited days and hours. Once we moved to our own place we could game 24/7 and do things like the movie paintathlon (you bring minis to paint with a nerdy movie on the background: Conan, Star Wars, 80s action movies, older war films, whatever). It's usually one weekday night a month so you show up after work, splash some paint, have some beer and pizza then go home.

 

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A club is and can be whatever you want it to be. 

You want a handful of people meeting at someone's house to be a club?  Boom.  It's a club.

You want dozens of people paying dues and going through a vetting process?  That can be a club, too.

Right now, I run a club that's a mix of the 2.  We don't have dues, we meet out of my house for the most part, but we do have a vetting process (I'm not just going to invite anyone into my house).

We've picked up a few new members recently, so we may we going the venue route.  Right now we're vetting a new store close to all of us, and if it pans out, we'll likely look to make a deal with the owner (extended hours for a fee... maybe dues to the shop that will result in discounts on product, something).  The logic there is that we would want to the ourselves to the location and have them feel tied to us...in a mutually beneficial way.

If that doesn't work, we may go to a dues format and use those dues to update my terrain (my poor collection takes a beating week after week) and to rent a hall somewhere.

I've known stores that have offered "club nights " in the past to clubs that showed they generated enough business to merit special treatment.  In one shop that I sadly no longer live close enough to attend,  club night was Thursday.  Half the tables were reserved for club members only until 8 PM. After 8 PM, all tables were for dues paying club members in good standing.  The tables then belonged to the club until midnight (the shop closed at 10 normally).

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In my area, we don't have clubs.  There are two local gaming stores with bad blood between them, and a line in the sand drawn as to which games are played in each store (except for MtG and board games, that's prevalent in both stores).

In the first and older store, that I now actively boycott and avoid after being criticized at the register for purchasing a GW product from them, that is where to go to play Warmahordes and Flames of War.  The second store, which I would actually qualify as a "friendly" local gaming store, has all the GW games (40K, AoS, Fantasy legacy play, Bloodbowl, etc), Dark Age, Dropzone/Dropfleet commander, and others.  These are two shop options for gaming for many people, with an hour or two drive to any other store with decent gaming space.  Anecdotes aside, there was some drama at the older store years back that lead to a division of games and players in our local area.  As such, we don't have any clubs, but rather cliques (yes, like in high-school-drama-us-versus-them).

You have the WAAC/Powergaming/Meta-chasers/ultra-competitive players for 40K who treat every game as practice for the next national tournament.  Next, you have the Narrative Players for 40K who have poor hygiene, but always have something going on each week.  Also, the group of 40K players who play anything for 40K, so long as it's something.  Then there is the group that I call the "Old Guard" who keeps Fantasy alive and tries out all kinds of new games all the time, including designing and playtesting some of their own as well.

And then there is our small AoS group, that is lucky to have a game getting played and representing at our FLGS in anyway.  GW games are strongly discouraged at the older store (at least when I was last there a year ago) so we stick with the newer store that actually appreciates our business.

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40 minutes ago, Auticus said:

Thats how it is here as well my friend.  Gamer-politics runs white-hot here, and its kind of like gangs with turf.  You don't ever get caught on some other gang's turf.  The clique-war is very deep in my area.

That's why I started my own club, friends.

The gaming scene from Cape Coral up through Tampa and Clearwater is toxic as hell.

Completely unnecessary store rivalries.  Omega gamers* who think they are Alpha gamers. Gamers who give others a hard time for even stepping foot into another game store.  Owners who are dismissive of long time players (bro, just because I roll into your shop with a full bag, don't roll your eyes at me thinking I'm a non-buyer...I have an addiction.  I could send my son to any college in the world just by selling off the contents of my game room...I'm not done buying).

It's bad. Much like every other facet of civilization, Florida has failed gaming.  Even the cosmopolitan areas like Orlando where there are big shops are bullied by Omegas who don't know the rules (sorry bro, the rules absolutely do forbid you from moving a unit, moving 3 more units, then going back and running with the first unit...the packet is 4 pages, bro...read it).

*For thoss of you who saw the *, I present Criti's Completely Subjective and Made Up Gamer Tier System:

Alpha Gamer: extremely welcoming and knowledgeable player.  Not necessarily the best player or a "leader," but someone who other people tend to gravitate their hobby around and whom they view as a fount of knowledge and experience

Bets Gamer: tend to be very strong players with strong rules knowledge, but have a hard time developing a core of players.  Generally, a Beta will be a group's leader while a nearby Alpha fosters the hobby and good sportsmanship

Gamma: the majority of gamers.  They're not top tier tournament goers, nor do others flock around them naturally.  They are content to be part of a group and just play the game

Omega: Generally a combination of unknowledgable, poorly skilled, and just general douchebags.  Often will bully their way into control of a weaker club, leading to one of two outcomes: the dissolution of the club, or the club isolating itself from those around it.

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The local club that I think is still fairly legit.. okay we have two.

 

One the AoS guys seemed to have taken over these days from what was a catch-all when GW got stupid and shut down gaming hours.  These days it is an hour of driving outside downtown through the worst traffic which is now in the process of an overpass being bulit part way.   I would quit gaming instead of go.

 

The other is a the local university where for ~30 years old men have played a huge mix of games from GW, to Mantic to Battlefront, napolionics, anything really to 15 mm sci-fi home brew stuff.  No AoS there cause the KoW losers who bash GW all day have their little "we are better cause we are holding onto out-dated rules and gaming systems no one cares about.

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3 hours ago, Auticus said:

Thats how it is here as well my friend.  Gamer-politics runs white-hot here, and its kind of like gangs with turf.  You don't ever get caught on some other gang's turf.  The clique-war is very deep in my area.

I see this across stores.  I've been in this area over 20 years. I've seen some half a dozen or more stores live and die.  The one constant, even now, is that stores treat "their" area like gang turf.  Cliques form that outright disparage other game stores, and anyone who goes to another game store is a dirty traitor, god forbid spread the word of an event at another store which is seen as the utmost of sins.  I've seen people get called out by the owner of a game store for no other reason than casually mentioning in conversation an event that another store was running, with it being cited as "disrespectful" to the game store he was in to talk about another store.  I've seen accusations of "stealing players" between stores, because 40k was dwindling at one store and someone from another store told everyone they should go to that store instead to play.

It's ridiculous, and another reason I really hate "game store mentality".

@Criti is absolutely right with his assessment.  Which reminds me, I really should take you up on your offer... 

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3 hours ago, Criti said:

*For thoss of you who saw the *, I present Criti's Completely Subjective and Made Up Gamer Tier System:

Alpha Gamer: extremely welcoming and knowledgeable player.  Not necessarily the best player or a "leader," but someone who other people tend to gravitate their hobby around and whom they view as a fount of knowledge and experience

Bets Gamer: tend to be very strong players with strong rules knowledge, but have a hard time developing a core of players.  Generally, a Beta will be a group's leader while a nearby Alpha fosters the hobby and good sportsmanship

Gamma: the majority of gamers.  They're not top tier tournament goers, nor do others flock around them naturally.  They are content to be part of a group and just play the game

Omega: Generally a combination of unknowledgable, poorly skilled, and just general douchebags.  Often will bully their way into control of a weaker club, leading to one of two outcomes: the dissolution of the club, or the club isolating itself from those around it.

Lol, I like it.  But what about those that are a mix of Alpha and Omegas?  Or rather, how would you classify an Alpha Gamer who has poor sportsmanship, is not welcoming, and is actually openly and actively critical of players who bring "sub-optimal lists"?  There are a couple of those in my area who I refuse to play anymore.

Wait a second, I just realized that it's subjective.  So by my subjecting, I'll classify those players as Deltas.  (Good golly, now I feel like we're lumping players into different fraternities.)

31 minutes ago, wayniac said:

I see this across stores.  I've been in this area over 20 years. I've seen some half a dozen or more stores live and die.  The one constant, even now, is that stores treat "their" area like gang turf.  Cliques form that outright disparage other game stores, and anyone who goes to another game store is a dirty traitor, god forbid spread the word of an event at another store which is seen as the utmost of sins.  I've seen people get called out by the owner of a game store for no other reason than casually mentioning in conversation an event that another store was running, with it being cited as "disrespectful" to the game store he was in to talk about another store.  I've seen accusations of "stealing players" between stores, because 40k was dwindling at one store and someone from another store told everyone they should go to that store instead to play.

It's ridiculous, and another reason I really hate "game store mentality".

It's a form of factionism, and is what causes so many of today's real world problems: it's us versus them, if you aren't with us, then you are against us.  While I personally cannot stand the WAAC/Meta-chasing/Powergamers that dominate our local gaming scene, I am aware that my way is not the only way to play, and will never criticize others for enjoying a game of toy soldiers the way they want (I will critique and challenge it when necessary, but not because they enjoy that aspect of the hobby).

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1 hour ago, BunkhouseBuster said:

 

Wait a second, I just realized that it's subjective.  So by my subjecting, I'll classify those players as Deltas.  (Good golly, now I feel like we're lumping players into different fraternities.)

Plenty of letters left in the alphabet.

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I live in amazon, brasil. 

Theres no way in hell id play aos without a club. I had a starter set laying around for like 6 months. I gave the bloodbound half to my cousin and we started playing. Another dude that plays mtg with us saw us playing one day and ordered a slaves of darkness start collecting. Another one liked and bought some death...

Long story short, soon there were 8 guys playing and there was no space in my house for nore than 2 tabkes.

my cousing had a pool room outside his house, we build 4 tables, moved there and we gather twice a month and got like 16 players.

We call it our club.

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11 hours ago, Popisdead said:

 No AoS there cause the KoW losers who bash GW all day have their little "we are better cause we are holding onto out-dated rules and gaming systems no one cares about.

I'm sure the KoW losers have similarly funny sounding monikers for your group.

 

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It's interesting to hear how many toxic communities are in America.

I've been fortunate enough to play across Australia's largest cities, and frequently within Sydney. We have cliques that are based on the local GW stores, however; we all come together monthly in friendly rivalry. 

We had a critical moment last year which really brought our community together. A few players took the lead in creating a Facebook page and started a Season of War type campaign. 

This 12 weeks campaign got communities mixing and we are dealing the rewards now. We travel interstate to tournaments, we chat about all parts of the game, and please try hang out outside of Warhammer. 

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6 hours ago, karch said:

I'm sure the KoW losers have similarly funny sounding monikers for your group.

 

Probably loads.  AoS took a huge pounding.  That's why.  IF you want to play a game?  go ahead!  if you want to spend your time slamming a game you don't even play every day?  well then..

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17 hours ago, wayniac said:

It's ridiculous, and another reason I really hate "game store mentality".

I've seen this across a number of hobbies. So, I'm not sure "game store mentality" is the right term, perhaps tribalism would be a better term? I've seen it crop up in airsoft and paintball communities and it is so bad in the surfing community that it often leads to violence.

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Just now, Auticus said:

Indeed I would use the word tribalism.

What is it? Human condition? Western mentality? coping mechanism? Does this happen across all cultures?

 

Not that I think you know the answer, I'm just inviting discussion.

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I been told it was pretty bad here when AoS came out, but its been less than a year since I startet myself and by that time i kinda cooled down and to some degree people just don't interact. Seems like most of the old turnament scene now play 9'th age. Not sure how many people they actually are compared to AoS players, I never meet them in real life, but they are all over the more local forum I use.

About clubs. Most around here seem to be either at someones home or if bigger have a weekly play day where they use a classroom at a school. There is also some playing at shops, but not sure how much.

Myself I got lucky when looking for a local club when I wanted to start AoS. Close to where I live there is a club that has its own room, tables and terrain. Its more expensive, having to pay rent and stuff. But every day is a option for going there. Both gaming and painting tables and there are people there almost daily, even if no game going on.

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I live in a rural area of southwest Michigan but centered within 20 minutes of 6 towns and 40 minutes from big cities of Kalamazoo and South Bend, Indiana.

It was rough finding players for any models game. If it wasn't rpg, consoles, or card games, it was a super small niche here.

So, three years ago I decided to do something about it and created 'LoreMaster's War Game Club' of Michigan. The purpose was to bring St. Joseph and Kalamazoo counties players together who love to play table top war games (of any and all kinds) and create a productive, active, and fun community of local like-minded people. This was done (and still actively using) with Facebook club group.

Since then, I have branched out to create our club's own website and currently designing a newsletter and club gear. We just got our 98th local member today.

Games played are Warhammer AoS, 40K, X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, Infinity, Malifaux, Frostgrave, Flames of War, and a bunch of board models games and random other TT games.

Its a lot of work organizing and keeping up with it all... but it is more rewarding for me and I enjoy it.

I just finished creating an AoS campaign this spring that incorporates Escalation, Narrative, Matched Play and Path to Glory all in one and was successful. I also put on AoS demos and other events as well as X-Wing tournies and events too.

So, long story short, like they say in 'Field of Dreams'.. if you build it, they will come. And this all stemmed from me just wanting a larger group of people to play like -games.

- Cedric

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

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