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Gaming away from homes

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 7 months ago

It may be that it's not convenient at anyone's home. Here are some other options for places to game.

University common areas & lounges. If a lot of the players are at university, this will be the most logical place to game. In fact, there may be a whole gaming club, and several other groups meeting in the same place. Advantages are that it's already set up for you with chairs and so on, that you only have to clean up your rubbish and not do other cleaning like vacuuming, that there are no housemates to consider, and so on. Disadvantages are that it's a public place, so that the more shy players may feel embarassed at curious passers-by, and that players will have to be more careful of their behaviour than they might be at home – no loud swearing, drinking lots of alcohol and the like. The hours the university's open may or may not be a hindrance to the gaming.

Cafes. Most cafes expect to get you in, put some drinks and food into you, and get you out as quickly as possible, but most towns have a couple of places where it's expected that some people will come and sit down and lounge about for hours on end without spending a lot of money. If you see lounge chairs, newspapers and a guy in the corner frowning over a novel manuscript as he has his sixth coffee of the morning, that's a good sign of a gamer-friendly place. Even so, it pays to speak to the manager if you want to go there regularly. Explain the sorts of people you have in your group, how long they'll be there for, and impress on your group the importance of remembering that in all cafes and restaurants, legally it's not a public place, but you are guests in their property. It'll be difficult to run a game which has a lot of books and figurines involved. The advantages and disadvantages otherwise are pretty much the same as university common areas.

Parks. In the right place and season, you can game in a park. Again it's a public place so there are limits on your behaviour and the amount of books and other gear you can have lying about.

Libraries often have discussion areas, or discussion rooms. Some you just go and use, others require a booking and a nominal fee of a few bucks. The general discussion areas at universities tend to be full of students studying or pretending to study as they catch up on gossip, so aren't always so great. The libraries with dedicated discussion rooms, with a door you can close, those are probably the best. They'll have table, chairs, probably a whiteboard too.

Church & town halls will sometimes rent or lend out their spaces. These are much the same as libraries in terms of comfort, etc, but it's well to remember that churches and town councils will tend be of more conservative nature, and so the players will need to be even more careful than usual of profanity and the events of the game session – you mightn't want a Reverend or elderly council employee wandering past and hearing you talk about what you'll do with the bodies in the trunk of your car. "But it's just my character!"

Game stores. Some game stores have a room dedicated to open games. This requires a very understanding and generous store owner, because really their dream is that all these gamers sitting around gaming for hours will become inspired to buy something from the store – but usually they won't, they'll just leave a mess. The disadvantage of the game store as a gaming space is that you're usually limited to business hours for gaming, which most people can only manage if they're unemployed (so game at home!) or students (so game at uni!) Commonly younger gamers - high school age – and collectable card game players are found in game store gaming rooms. If you're one of these two, that's a great bonus for you, if you're not, then remember that it's a shared space.

In all public gaming spaces, the Minimum Standards apply even more than normal, and added to those will be "public decency" things. This sounds obvious, but you probably don't realise just how much it stands out if you're in public, roll dice, get a critical failure and call out "oh fuck!" It doesn't help the general image of gamers, nor does it help make your group welcome with whoever runs the public space (the university administration, the store manager, etc). Basically the rule of common courtesy is to behave in such a way that they'll be happy to see you again.

You'll get curious passers-by and onlookers, particularly in game stores. If you're not willing to be friendly to curious strangers, don't game in a public place. This is particularly so in a game store, or university game club. From time to time someone who gamed once years ago, or a teenaged kid curious about gaming, will come into the game store, look around at all the books and dice and posters, and think, "wow, I wish I had a group, this could be such fun." Then they see a group playing at a table, in a public place. Great! They approach the table, see people rolling dice and laughing, screw up their courage, say, "hello," and... some gamer stares at them blankly. So the curious person feels miserable and rejected, wanders off and doesn't come back to the store or the club again. Three months later that game group breaks up, and the gamer who stared blankly at the new person saying "hello," posts to a web forum, "roleplaying is dying! There are no new gamers anymore!" I wonder why, mate? Just say "hi" back, and welcome them.

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