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Building A Board Gaming Group #12: Question & Negotiate
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Monday, Mar 2, 2015
Chaz Marler of Pair Of Dice Paradise here, with a special installment in my series on running a game group. This time, I’ll share a tactic I recently accidentally used in order to make an improvement to my game group’s meetings.

As I’ve mentioned before, community centers, places built and run by the city for the express purpose of giving members of the community a place to meet, can offer a lot of potential for game groups. Even though the rates to rent a community center vary greatly.

My town’s community center is where I host my game group. For the past year and a half, we’ve meet there roughly every two weeks for an afternoon of gaming. Part of what’s made this possible is that the rates to rent it are among the most affordable I’ve seen anywhere. At least they were, because as of the new year, the rates to rent my town’s community center quintupled.

Now, while the members of my little game group could afford to chip in to rent the facility at its previous rate, there’s no way we could afford to multiply that by a factor of five. At that price, we wouldn’t be able to gather there anymore.

Fearing that my game group was doomed, a thought occurred to me. Since our group meets there on a regular basis, making us a steady customer, would it be possible to negotiate a rate with the city? I figured that, if I asked, the worst that would happen is that they’d say “no”. So I asked. And they said “no”.

Specifically, they said, “while the bylaws that govern the use of the community center allow the city to negotiate a discounted rate for one-time events, since your event is ongoing, we’re unable to alter the price”. Well, you can’t argue with logic that airtight.

It was a bummer. I was just about to give up on ever renting the community center again. But then, they added, “However, there is a provision in the bylaws that allows citizens to use the facilities up to six times a year… for free.”

...Really?!? But I was happy to pay… I mean I’ve been… okay.

And so, somewhat by accident, my game group discovered an option that was ready and waiting to be used, allowing us to use the facility at no cost. But, we only discovered it by asking questions. So, when looking for a location for your game group to meet, don’t hesitate to ask questions, you never know what opportunities you’ll reveal.
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