In the previous post, I talked about my first gaming meetup. In these next two posts I want to talk to you about your first gaming meetup and give you some ideas about what to expect and some advice on how to make it the best experience possible.
One of the most important things about going to a meetup is to know the environment you’re going to. Is the meetup at someone’s house? Is it at a gaming store? The location of the meetup is actually pretty important, because a meetup at someone’s house will be very different from a meetup at an gaming store.
In this post, I’m going to talk about Meetups at Someone’s House.
In the next post, I talk about Meetups at a Gaming Store.
Before your first meetup, you’ll want to get ready in more ways than one.
1.Think About Hygiene
Probably the most important thing here. Take a shower, put on deodorant or antiperspirant, and brush your teeth. Bringing a pack of gum or breathmints is not a bad idea either. No one wants to play games with someone who stinks, especially if they’re meeting you for the first time. There’s no excuse for this one.
2.Find Out How Many People Are Going
A smaller crowd means less games are getting played. If there’s only 4-5 people going, then it’s likely that everyone will be playing one game together. And this is where the next part is very important.
3.Find Out What Games Are Being Played
Or at least find out what types of games are being played. If your only experience with gaming is Munchkin and Fluxx, and these guys are geared up to play Twilight Imperium III, this might not be the best meetup for you. Likewise, if your favorite game is Terra Mystica and they’re planning a big Cards Against Humanity game, that meetup might not be for you.
Contact some of the people going to the meetup, and find out what games they normally play. If you’re nor familiar with these games, look up reviews on YouTube and find information about them on http://boardgamegeek.com. If you find out that these aren’t the types of games you’re into, skip this meetup and find one that fits your playstyle more.
If you’re looking to try new things, let the host know that you’re not familiar with the games they play, but that you’re willing to learn.
If you’re brand new to gaming, definitely let the host and guests know this before you get to the meetup, and maybe ask if they’ll play something lighter, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.
4. Pack Some Games
Bring 1 or 2 games that you like to play and that you’re prepared to teach to new players. It’s likely that your games won’t get played, but if the other players are trying to decide on a game, let them know what you brought and that you’re willing to teach.
5.Find Out If Alcohol/Pets Will Be Involved
A lot of people like to drink while they play games. Personally, I’m not comfortable being around people who are buzzed/drunk, so I don’t want to go to a meetup where people are drinking. If you’re the same, find out if alcohol will be involved beforehand. If you’re okay being around people who are doing these things, consider bringing some beer or some other kind of liquor yourself.
Likewise, if you have allergies to pets, or just don’t feel comfortable around certain animals, you’ll want to know if they’ll be present during the meetup. Find out beforehand rather than being surprised when you get there.
6.Actually Go/Bring a Friend
I know it can be an intimidating thing to go to a place with people you’ve never met before. It can be tough to make friends with, or even talk to people, you don’t know. But go. Despite the possible anxiety, you will likely get over it when you’re having fun playing games. And you’ll likely meet some great people. Try not to be scared, stay calm, and have fun.
If it makes it easier or more comfortable, bring a friend along. That way you’ll always have someone to play with and talk to, and the whole experience will be a lot more calm. But DON’T USE YOUR FRIEND AS A CRUTCH! Don’t let your friend being there be an excuse not to talk to other people or play games with other people.
7.Bring Some Money
Bring some money just in case they want to order pizza or go out to eat.
1.Show Up On Time
If you get there late, you’ll likely be waiting around for a game to finish, and if it’s a long game, then you’ll be waiting a long time! Getting there on time not only shows respect for your host, but it also means you’ll probably get into a game sooner. If the meetup is only a few hours long, showing up late could mean you don’t get to play anything.
If you have a lot of questions you want to ask the host, or if you just want to get a feel for the place, arrive a little bit early (I would say no more than 30 minutes early, but it’s up to you). Leaving early also makes it more likely that you’ll arrive on time. This can be especially helpful if you’re not familiar with the location.
If you’re not sure about something, ask the host. Where’s the bathroom? Is it okay if I have a can of soda on the table? Should I use a coaster? Should I put it on a separate table? Do you mind if I take a picture? Anything you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask.
3.Be a Good Guest/Be Respectful
Thank the host for letting you come to their home, apologize if you make a mistake, just generally be respectful and polite. Don’t be a sort loser or a poor winner. Don’t get overly involved in the game (unless you see other people doing so).
What You Might Not Expect
Not everyone thinks about games and gaming the same way you do. You’ll find this to be true any time you step out of your own close-knit gaming group or family game nights. Here are a few things you should be aware of that you might not have expected.
1.Some People Take Games Very Seriously
What I mean is, some people really get into games to the point where they’ll act like it’s the only thing in the world. This could mean if they get attacked once, they’ll be out for revenge, and might be vocal about it (“You’re next! Ha ha ha”). What’s important to understand with these people is that, they aren’t doing this to be mean or to hurt your feelings, they’re just having fun within the context of the game. YOU CAN’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY, because it’s not personal.
2.Some People Don’t Want Food or Drinks on the Table
I know, crazy right? But some people like to keep food and drinks away from their game. They want to avoid spills ruining their board/components, maybe prevent grease or other food-residue from getting on their cards. If you’re not sure about eating snacks or putting your drink on the table, just ask the host.
3.You Won’t Be Playing Games The Whole Time
This one varies, depending on the meetup and its length, but you have to take into account that rules take time to explain. If you order pizza or go out to eat, that will also cut into game-playing time. Some people like to eat and socialize before playing games.