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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Birth of a new game group

I’ve been playing in a group in Swindon since September 2006. We play every Tuesday at the home of one of the group, although at one stage we played twice a week. The group works well: nobody is up their own a*se (important), we generally like the same sort of games, everyone is open to new games and we all win roughly the same percentage of games. How did I come to join the group? Via Boardgamegeek – I found a Swindon-based gamer and asked him if there was a group in Swindon.

Roll forward, and there are occasional enquiries on BGG about gaming in the area. I must admit that, as a natural miserable git, if I have spotted them, I usually just ignore them. However a forum post this year by James Mullard called ‘Swindon?’ seemed to generate some traction and it appeared a new group in Swindon was a distinct possibility. Several local-ish gamers chipped in and there seemed to be a genuine interest in getting something started. The two drivers of the forum post were Tony (fellonmyhead), long-standing Tuesday night gamer, and Jess (castaway). Somehow I volunteered (not like me!) to check out a couple of potential venues.

I ended up visiting a couple of local hostelries – the Sandgate (my pub of choice back in 1976, aged 16) and the Check Inn at Wroughton. To cut a long story short, the Sandgate is a sh*thole, and the Check Inn is the total opposite. As a Fullers pub, the Check Inn not only boasts a superb range of real ales (London Pride, Eldridge Pope etc), but also does excellent food as well. Tony the landlord lets us use the dining room for free each Monday and seems very happy with the arrangement. The extra food and drink sales on a quiet Monday means that it is a win-win all round.

We held our first meeting on Monday, March 21st, advertised entirely through the Geek and word of mouth (as it still is today), and 11 people turned up. We have now met 13 times including on 3 bank holiday Mondays. The highest turnout thus far is 14, the lowest 5 (on a bank holiday). We average around 9 a session, most weeks being 8-10. Already a nucleus of attendees has formed who tend to come along each week.

The group tends to play Euros, usually light-medium weight, although we have also played Power Grid and some Wallace titles. Games played recently include Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Fresco, Dixit, Keltis, Forbidden Island, Kingsburg, Ingenious, London, Power Grid, Seven Wonders, Braggart and Alien Frontiers, to name just a small selection.

A good feature of the group is that we try to mix it up so we play with different people and everyone seems to enjoy the sessions. The group is very informal which I think works well. There is no ‘leader’ or ‘organiser’ – it’s just a case of turning up and playing. I’m sure the group will continue to thrive – if you’re reading this and fancy joining us, we meet at the Check Inn, Wroughton every Monday from 7pm-ish to around 10.45pm.

1 comment:

  1. I am so pleased you took the helm on this one, Ian; it's allowed me to drag the Missus and her friend out to games sessions they would normally have ignored.