Sunday, July 1, 2012

How does your gaming group communicate?

Our gaming group is communication challenged. We announce the date and time of our meets via email but typically, only one or two members respond to the request for a headcount.  Consequently, we have no idea who'll show up until the day of the event.  The lack of feedback hamstrings our ability to plan. One members recently volunteered to run a special event in August but only two people confirmed so that special event is likely off.  I asked the guys via email if there's another format they'd rather use for communicating club business but ironically,  I received no response.  Communication FAIL! That's the setup for today's poll:

How does your gaming group communicate?


  1. Mostly we communicate through a Yahoo group to set up games. For larger games/events, someone may set up a smaller list of just those who have expressed an interest in that particular game.

  2. The club I'm at is just difficult to get a game in the type of games I want so I've began to throw my net wider and have now added some gamers from outside my club and have success and so I'll continue to do so. Sometimes it's better to form a network of players rather then just a club, but it helps that I have my own hobby room to do this.


  3. There's only 11 of us, so its best to do it by phone, then at least you know that members are aware of the game.

  4. We've used both Yahoo and Google groups (connected to our e-mail accounts) in the past for various different wargames and campaigns. The campaigns were always supported by a website as well. Like your experiences, this doesn't always guarantee timely responses from some when planning bigger games.

    Although a few of the Google groups are still used from time to time, there has been a recent migration to Google+ and it's ability to organize people into circles (One benefit over Facebook I guess). The main reason for the recent change is that it's easier to share hobby projects as few in the Twin Cities seem to do the blog thing, and the ability to set up interactive webcam "hangouts." while we hobby. I think it also helps that most of the guys see each other at least every other week at the local shop (Tower Games).

    Like most things in our hobby, we are creatures of habit. The challenge is creating that habit. At age 40, I'm at the older end of my group, so they are mostly up with the latest way to say hello. Older gamers, however might not be used to checking their e-mail more than once a week. :)

    Anyway, good luck!

  5. The Napoleonics group within the club communicate by email, but there is a club Facebook page where other non-Napoleonic communication takes place. Me and the other Napoleonic members seem to be Facebook-phobic, though, as none of us have a Facebook account!

  6. We use the website. Games are generally pre-arranged. There's nothing stopping people from just showing up, but without a pre-confirmed opponent, there's no guarantee of a game, either.

  7. There’s such a diversity of approaches here! I really appreciate the comments and I’ll try to incorporate these ideas myself.

    I really like the idea of forming a network of players as gaming outside a club opens up more opportunities. And I’ll admit I’ve been dismissive of the idea of picking up the phone. As you point out, Ray, there’s a place for that as well. Google+ is an intriguing option but I’m pretty sure only Mark and I have Google accounts. It never occurred to me to do interactive webcams while hobbying. The closest we come to that is frequent texts with Work in Progress pics. I started this blog as a club blog but after it seemed to have been underutilized, I moved club business off to a tab and then when I took it off entirely. A dedicated club website to keep schedules has its place as well.

    Keep up the comments and suggestions as I'll consider them as well.

  8. Just by eMail and Phone (not just cellphone but also landlines... yes they still exist ;-)). OK and on a personal basis when we meet :-P!

  9. Being an old-fart (BO-OFM) it was once by telephone (Very effective, and gives a true feel for who is coming. But a time commitment.).

    Now it is by email. The most successful recent group, Monday Night Fights (MNF), used a wiki site to promote group projects, games, and interest; and to publish the upcoming schedule. Email was used to make announcements.

    I now pretty much rely on email for my home games, as do the St. Paul Irregulars (SPI).

    I'd like to make two points to you. First, when MNF was going great guns we had perhaps 20 members. Many would come infrequently, but we were playing lots of different games, having a lot of fun, and always had 6 to 10 present. As we narrowed the number of different games and the number of guys running games, the group got less fun and smaller.

    Second, in my experience there are always a few leaders and a bunch of followers. But successful groups make use of the different members strengths. Organization is typically the role a small portion of the group. Others should contribute in other ways.

    1. I second the notion that more gaming options is a good thing. Brent, this is a good road map for any group to consider. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Monty!

    People get too many emails. Emails are as exciting as old junk snail mail. Most of it is ignored, and that which is of interest might be put off to reply to later in favor of more pressing mail. Which means -it may not be responded to. Some people just don't like saying, "no I am not interested," so will not respond hoping that their lack of response alleviate the need to say no.

    Not everyone follows web based groups or checks facebook often (or even has it.)

    In my experience phone calls, and perhaps text messages, are the only way to guarantee a response. It sounds like you have a couple of "key people" who respond well. I would suggest what I do for my soccer or hockey pickup games, where we need a minimum of a dozen to do anything.

    Telephone tree:
    Everyone has a couple of people to call. You call your key guys with game details, they call 2-3 guys each etc etc, and all of a sudden you have the numbers you are looking at contacted, and you'll have a good idea of who is available for the game day event. Calling a couple of people is not that much work.

    I try and organize the "tree" by peer group when possible. If I know some guys actually hang out together, or know each other outside of the game, they are responsible for calling their buddies.

    As an organizer/leader, the events you want to get going are more important to you than the others. The guys who respond first, their game enthusiasm, or politeness, is high too.

    The games/events are not quite as important to the tardy responders, and they will need a direct contact to get a solid answer. And oddly there's a last group in my experience, the people who "need to be convinced." They want people to want them to participate, and a general email to a group is not enough. Use sayings like, "it will be awesome," or "we need you" and that will pull them out of their shell ...sometimes.

    It's painful...but I would say phones are the best bet.

    David S.
    Minnesota, USA

  11. Phenomenal suggestion Dale-I love it. Email is a fail in our group and it was Einstein who once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So time for a change.

    Your feedback is always substantial and very thought provoking. Some day, I'd like to meet you in person. By chance, are you going to ReCon in August? I'm going to be with a group doing Impetus and Maurice. I'll have to click over to your blog to see what you've been up to lately. THANKS!