Social Media, Game Night & You
Social Media and Game Night Getting Your Game Night Organized
A Rant by Eric Booth
We've all been there. You show up to game night and you're a couple minutes early . After all the greetings and catching up on the past week you take count of how many players have showed up so far. You spend precious time now trying to figure out the break down of the groups. Once this is done, through much discussion, you now spend the next 25 minutes deciding on what game to play. Do we do the new hotness? Bring out an old standard that hasn't been played in a while? Or ask the inevitable questions such as: Do you feel comfortable teaching said game? Does it play well with the player count we have in this group? So know you've “wasted” about 30 minutes and have yet to get any gaming in. And once you've decided on a game there's always that one person who decides this is not the game for them and they leave the group. Now you have one person not playing anything and a group short a person for the game. So now you try to shuffle the groups again to fit the lone player into another group or swap with another player. This is where Social Media comes in for me.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Meetup and the like can be a great way to alleviate this wasting of precious gaming time. We have a pretty big group of gamers here in the Cary area and a lot of us use Twitter to coordinate game nights. And this brings me to one of the things that can really cause some conflict when using this approach. The few people who don't use Social Media to get organized usually give those of us who do a hard time about setting up games this way. They call it the “Prearranged Game” like it's a bad thing. They say it leaves other people out. I say, BS. These sites are open to everyone and just because, for some reason, you don't want to take advantage of these services doesn't make us bad people because we do.
Now I understand some people find sites like Twitter to be a wall of noise that they just can't understand or follow. This is why you don't follow every yahoo who wants to friend you or follow you on these sites. You have to be very selective and only follow those people you know you might want to game with or have the same interests in. Take the time to learn how to set up “Lists” in Twitter so you can add your local gamers to it and use that to set up game times and games to play. If used correctly and smartly, Twitter can be an invaluable tool for alleviating game night stress and a lot of wasted time. There's no reason you need to spend every waking minute on these sites. Just jump on a day or two before game night and ask around on who's going to be at game night and what games everyone might want to play. So now you can show up to game night, hit the ground running and make the most of the limited time you have to play games with some amazing people. Being proactive is not evil. It's just a smart use of ones' time.
I will confess that the “Prearranged Game” crap is part of the reason I've not been at the open game nights as frequently as I used to do. I'm just tired of having to answer to the few people who think it's a crime to set up games ahead of time and for the the rest of the night there's bad feelings hanging out there.
Now don't get me wrong. This is not a perfect solution. There will be times when you will have to make some changes to the group or someone from the group can't make it or some new people might show up and you really want to fit them into the group and make them feel welcome. You will need to be a little flexible sometimes but overall this system has really worked out for those of us who take advantage of using the tools provided for us. If anything, just use this system to set up that first game of the night. Then you can all break off into other groups and decide what else to play after that.
If you're not going to take advantage of the tools given to you do not make those who do feel like crap. Well, that's all I have to say about that. Thank you.