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No Games For You!! - Head In The Clouds #83
Head in the Clouds
Updated: Friday, Oct 30, 2015

Hello, I’m Chaz Marler, and my previously scheduled segment - games to play while waiting for a microwave burrito to cook - will have to wait, because I received a question! (It’s Zooleretto, by the way.) A viewer asks, “what percentage of my time should I be able to devote to gaming when hosting a public board gaming event?”

Excellent question, and you came to the right place. I’ve developed a simple algorithm that can extrapolate the exact number of minutes one should expect to play when hosting a board game event. First, we take the number of hours necessary to complete a typical heavy Euro, divide by the number attendees, adjust for potential light filler games, and there we have it! The answer is: zero! When hosting a public gaming event, you should go in expecting to play nothing!

Sure, you may get lucky and get in a game or two, but a host needs to understand that they have other obligations. Otherwise, here’s what can happen:

Recently, I attended an open gaming event in my town. There were about a dozen people in attendance, and soon everyone, including the host, was participating in one of the four different games that were in full swing. And then, about an hour into the event, a stranger walked in. A newcomer! The gamers at my table greeted them, made a little small talk, and the newcomer milled around the room, looking to see what others were playing, and awkwardly spectating.

Eventually, a game finished, and someone invited them to play a filler until more people became available. But, by then, it was too late. The newcomer was feeling pretty awkward and unwelcome. They discreetly excused themselves, never to return.

What did the host do during this entire time? Nothing.

Here’s the point: If you’re hosting a gaming event, realize that it will take substantial work to generate a welcoming environment. The guy that walks in late to find the room filled with people who are already engaged in games isn’t going to feel like they’re interrupting, but like they’re invading a social clique.

That’s why, when you’re hosting, prepare yourself for the possibility of not playing any games that day. And if you do, be prepared to drop out at any time to assist someone who walks in late, or even someone who gets eliminated early and feels displaced. Be conscientious of it. You may not always succeed, but simply making the effort can make the difference between someone who discovers a new hobby and new friends, and one who simply disappears.
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