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Ravenous
28-03-2011, 14:40
Recently our local one man GW store has had to enforce its hours and actually close shop at 7pm, the awesome manager there used to stay past closing and let the vets play until 9 or later, but then the area manager stepped in and boshed that.

So that leaves a lot of us with no reasonable times to play since weekends are when the kids flood the shop and make the place completely unbearable. We opened up a facebook group and started dicussing what and where we can go and there isnt anything locally that can accessed.

Thats when I had an idea, get a retail space and fill it with tables and rent them out, sell drinks and snacks, and random gaming stuff. Really the only question that remains is how much is a table worth to rent out for a game?

Obviously you can set up a monthly membership plan and save money over a period of time.

yabbadabba
28-03-2011, 14:59
Recently our local one man GW store has had to enforce its hours and actually close shop at 7pm, the awesome manager there used to stay past closing and let the vets play until 9 or later, but then the area manager stepped in and boshed that. I am not sure what it is like in Canada mate, but here in the UK having customers in the store after official closing time is asking for a lawsuit at the first problem. Shame, but thats modern times for you.


So that leaves a lot of us with no reasonable times to play since weekends are when the kids flood the shop and make the place completely unbearable. We opened up a facebook group and started dicussing what and where we can go and there isnt anything locally that can accessed.

Thats when I had an idea, get a retail space and fill it with tables and rent them out, sell drinks and snacks, and random gaming stuff. Really the only question that remains is how much is a table worth to rent out for a game?

Obviously you can set up a monthly membership plan and save money over a period of time. I would strongly advise against this unless someone is willing to take the financial hit at running the place at a loss for at least a year. I'd start a club which has the ethos of paying for table space, and then expand it. Less risk, less financial problems, less legal problems. When its big enough, and if the US/Canadian trade conditions allow it, you can then branch out into sales or a sales channel for manufacturers. As the club grows, it will become easier to make it a business and you can have a dual charge system, with reductions for members/bookings and standard cost for walk in customers.

Ravenous
28-03-2011, 15:18
Thats the thing I could take the hit, but someone just brought up a good point of the facebook group, why pay for a table when they have tables for free at GW? Which is turning this idea more and more into another LGS for me.

I already work at one as is helping the owner out when he wants some off time and running the gaming nights. So I know my way around GWs and Diamond sales reps, but it seems like a little much to keep the gaming community alive.


I am not sure what it is like in Canada mate, but here in the UK having customers in the store after official closing time is asking for a lawsuit at the first problem. Shame, but thats modern times for you.

Thats what we were told, its basically a liability problem for their insurance.

AndrewGPaul
28-03-2011, 15:25
Well, the advantages of your own club over playing in GW are:

1) you can play whatever games you like. This may or may not be important you your local gamers.

2) As you already mentioned, no kids; you can control the membership however you like.

3) GWs I've been in tend to have rather ... ropey scenery collections - a couple of scraggy Cities of Death buildings on some grey-painted hardboard. if you have your own venue, you can make something better, I'm sure.

If no-one else agrees those are benefits worth paying for, that's a bit unfortunate. If you end up with just four or five like-minded souls, have you considered gaming at each others' houses? Or do you have insufficient space for a game table at home?

yabbadabba
28-03-2011, 15:31
Thats the thing I could take the hit, but someone just brought up a good point of the facebook group, why pay for a table when they have tables for free at GW? Which is turning this idea more and more into another LGS for me.There is a huge difference between playing at a GW and playing at a club. There is a reason why thousands of Brits do it - GW stores are poor community gaming environments. At a GW they choose to spend their money on what they want on their gaming tables and you have to accept that. In a club it becomes far more democratic and relevent. In a GW you pay for the priviledge not to have a choice, in a club you pay for that choice. For me that is not a good point, but a poorly thought out one and if that is a general feel of the community you are definitely on a hiding to nothing with this idea. In addition I would question the mental fortitude of anyone who prefers laziness over effort for their hobby. It means they value it less and those people are fine to have in your community when it has a strong core, but not as founders.


Thats what we were told, its basically a liability problem for their insurance. As I said, a sad sign of the times mate.

Ravenous
28-03-2011, 15:32
I already run a tuesday game night at my house and the friday game night at my LGS, my basement and the store are a little small for 30 or so gamers.

I already found a space for it 5 minutes down the road from the GW and can fit 12 6x4 tables in it with room to spare for $1500ish + utilities a month. Now the question is whether or not to make it a LGS or just make it a rent-a-table store.

EDIT:
I agree Yabba, I mentioned on the group that $20 ($10 per person) a table with no time limit with the option for $10 ($5 per person) a table as a member and the more vocal ones that that was expensive. The idea of a day pass came up but Im still running the numbers.

Olith
28-03-2011, 16:30
I think you are far better off going the more traditional (at least here in the UK) route of finding a space you can rent for a one or two nights a week and starting from there. It will help build a community too if you have regularly scheduled nights.

Easy E
28-03-2011, 16:47
Seriously, look into the Liability coverage you would need as well. That stuff plus rent plus utilities can add up fast. That's just for the club idea.

What percentage of your player base are actually willing to shell out cash for a game? What added value is your club goign to bring to a member?

Brother Loki
28-03-2011, 17:26
Retail space is way too expensive for a simple clubhouse, and you end up paying for time its not being used. Most games clubs don't own or lease the space where they meet, in my experience. They just hire it on an hourly or daily basis when they need it.

The following are good types of venues to look at:


Pubs/bars/cafes - many have a back room which is available, especially on weeknights - you may not even have to pay as long as people buy drinks and/or snacks.
Community centres/church halls/libraries etc - often quite cheap to rent as they are non-profit.
Several clubs I know meet at their local branch of the Royal British Legion (veterans association) - presumably Canada has something similar.
Universities/colleges - if any of the club regulars are students you may be able to blag it as a students union club, which are usually open to non-students as well - at least in the UK. Such societies can usually book university rooms for free.

Erik_Morkai
28-03-2011, 20:56
We do not have a suitable gaming store here or a GW shop. So we have our own gaming club. We rent a community center one night a week and each member pays $2 a week. Tables/Chairs are supplied by the community center.

But yes, someone has to sign for it and probably pay the first month in advance but it's not that bad. Also in order to get more people, we expended to include Board Games. If people want to play boardgames, they pay their $2 grab some tables and enjoy their evening. It's real nice. We officialized last winter by having a batch of shirts made...
Yes we are that geeky but hey it's for the kicks. :P

AndrewGPaul
28-03-2011, 23:48
I already run a tuesday game night at my house and the friday game night at my LGS, my basement and the store are a little small for 30 or so gamers.

I already found a space for it 5 minutes down the road from the GW and can fit 12 6x4 tables in it with room to spare for $1500ish + utilities a month. Now the question is whether or not to make it a LGS or just make it a rent-a-table store.

Assuming you run this weekly and get 30 people every clubnight, that's twelve bucks a head - about eight quid. That's a bit rich for my blood. :) You'd probably end up doubling that cost for all the bills. The only way I'd pay fifteen quid for a club night is if there were bunny girls to roll the dice for me. :)

Ravenous
29-03-2011, 00:36
Yeah the idea has pretty much flopped on the facebook group they'd rather play in their basements....

Well thanks anyway guys, cheap people win out again.

yabbadabba
29-03-2011, 00:43
Yeah the idea has pretty much flopped on the facebook group they'd rather play in their basements....
Well thanks anyway guys, cheap people win out again. Not necessarily, by the looks of it your costs were too high. Clubs really do need to be as low a cost as you can manage.

Another avenue to try is to organise a tournament. Use that as a springboard for both scenery and members. It has the added benefit that if it kicks off ok it shouldn't cost you a penny.

weeble1000
29-03-2011, 01:12
Loki's got the right idea in my opinion. What you need is space that's already being rented out to clubs/groups of various sorts since all you want is some weekly space. Alternatively, as Loki said, you can look for places that happen to have extra space and don't mind others using it for some extra cash.

You might want to try looking into any place that has the kind of space you need. There's plenty of business that are craft/hobby oriented that have spaces for crafts, classes, etc. Quilt shops, for example, might be something to look into. They usually have plenty of table space for quilters and the atmosphere is typically not very different from a local gaming store. Like gaming stores, the business can also run pretty close to the margin, so you might find someone willing to rent space after hours in order to help with the rent.

You could try searching for various clubs and organizations in your area (like Scouting organizations, Mahjong clubs, or anything really) and asking them what space they use for meetings or game nights. I wouldn't be surprised if there's something suitable in your area that'll just take some searching to find.

sigur
29-03-2011, 04:20
The most important things worth mentioning have been written over and over again above. What struck me as really unfortunate is the "just 5 minutes down the road from the GW store" (if I got that right). Sadly, a GW store will always win in that direct next-door-competition thing, even if you have a football stadium of space. ;)

yabbadabba
29-03-2011, 08:55
What struck me as really unfortunate is the "just 5 minutes down the road from the GW store" (if I got that right). Sadly, a GW store will always win in that direct next-door-competition thing, even if you have a football stadium of space. ;) Not if you do it right, most GW store managers would love a local club that they don't have to worry about taking their excess, mature gamers. However trying to compete with them will end in tears ;)

Castiel
29-03-2011, 13:29
I am involved in one club that uses a local community centre as its venue - luckily because it is based in a garrison town we have no costs as we provide a service to the families stationed there (the army welfare services were very helpful is helping us sort this out). We charge 1 per person and use that to cover the costs of replacing terrain, buying new boards etc.

Prior to that we had been using a village hall but had seen the cost of renting it rise from 10 to 25 - we never had a logical explanation as to why they increased it by so much.

The other club I go to is located on the same street as the GW shop - the local manager lets people know that the club exists and where it is located. I believe they are in the process of GCN application. The room they use is above retail premises (unneeded storage space) and they charge 1 per person - some of which goes to the club the majority going to the owner of the premises. So it is possible to have a club near a store if you maintain a good relationship with the store manager as he will send potential new members your way.

LonelyPath
30-03-2011, 00:16
If there is a local space you can rent out a couple of evenings a week and you and some others have the boards and scenery you can set up a local club in a community center or whatever. They can prove to be pretty popular.

Needless to say, my local club reopened last night and it made a lot of use older gamers very happy again.

enyoss
31-03-2011, 19:35
I would consider looking into using a function room in a pub.

Often they serve food, which is handy if you are playing straight after work, and if they make enough from sales they might not charge you (this doesn't really work if people just buy one orange cordial though).

Also, if people don't have to drive, and it's later on in the week, chilling out over a game and a few pints is bliss.