Should I join a gaming group, or run independently?
Posted by terraspaz

This will be my first time running games at gencon - looking to run some board games that I enjoy teaching, sharing, and (if there's an open seat,) playing.  Currently thinking sheriff of nottingham, letters from whitechapel, and/or shogun.

From everyone else's experience, should I just post events and get set to run them, or should I try to coordinate with another gaming group?  I'm not looking to run enough for any type of badge compensation, (40 player hours would be the absolute most), so I'm not worried about that.  Just looking to have a good time.

Any advice?

Posted by derekguder

It really depends, honestly.

If you're not concerned about a badge or other reimbursement and just want to run a couple board games to play, it doesn't really matter a ton. If you join a group, you might be able to borrow a game from their library (if they have one) instead of bringing it yourself, and you might have a central location to store whatever supplies you do bring.

I would say you might want to talk to one or two - or if you remember particularly enjoying a group's games in the past, I would just reach out to them and let them know you'd like to join up. Chances are you'll make some new friends and have some more folks to hang out with during the con.

Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by grtbrt

If you are interested in running games ,we (19& One ) would be interested in having you run them under our umbrella . Whiel primarily a miniatures group we have put on a significant number of boardgames .  
I think it is easier to run games for a group for a number of reasons -some of which Derek mentioned .(even if for some odd reason it's not us -lol)
players will have an easier time finding your game
the social aspect
the group may have the games already so you don't need to bring them (we are local to Indianapolis )
potential storage for your stuff .
Cool GM badge - even if you , as you said , that is a primary concern . A group can redistribute hours to get you one .

If you are interested please feel free to contact me .
[email protected]


Posted by parody

One advantage to running independently is having everything mailed to you or available at Will Call.  Unless things have changed, badges received through a group are picked up in a packet from GM HQ and you'll have to find whoever picked them up and get your badge from them.  That was an issue for me one year. :(

Other things to consider:
Whether the group runs events similar to yours, so you don't get put into the wrong type of event space or group thinking space.
Whether or not you want to answer to a group of people you may have never met who are recruiting on a forum. :)

My personal recommendations: if you've run before but not at Gen Con, run independently one year so you can get used to the system before jumping in with a group.  You can also spend a bit of time that year evaluating some groups by playing in some of their events, getting to know how they operate and meeting some of the members.  If you haven't run at a convention or store open game night at all before, consider doing something local to get the feel of teaching to folks you don't necessarily know.

Hope this helps!

Mike Miller
Long Time Independent GM

Posted by biffindy

I was a new, independent GM last year.  I ran 2 X-Wing events, each were 6 hours in duration.  To be honest, even though I poured through the event host policy and asked a few questions via email before the convention, I was still a bit nervous doing this on my own.  However, in the end, it was a piece of cake.

The staff at non-historical mini HQ was very, very helpful.  They answered all of my questions, even the stupid newbie ones, with allot of patience.  No question was unimportant to them.  The on-site staff also helped me when I ran into issues with my table and lack of chairs.  The handling of the tickets, and submission of tickets after the event was really easy and straight forward.

So, if you want to go out on your own - don't be afraid, you can do it.

With respect to joining a gaming group, beyond the positives and negatives mentioned above, as part of a group you may be able to get an extra hand if something goes wrong or to simply watch your stuff while you go get lunch/dinner or go to the bathroom. 

Posted by sirjohn

Hey there If you would like to talk to someone that has been running events for over 13 years with a group give me a holler. I can either help you with what you need or we could talk about you joining our national group. Shoot an email to [email protected] or [email protected] Thank you and good luck.

Posted by brotherbock

One thing to consider on both sides is quality of the GM and group. No offense to anyone at all, but I would never have someone join our group as a GM without meeting them in person and seeing them game. 

Reputation is important, if just for selling your tickets. A new GM doesn't want to end up with a group he thinks later isn't good, and a group doesn't want a table full of gamers walking away from a new GMs game saying "wow, we'll never play Group X games again". 

I'd say run independent first, but make it a point this year to meet and game with a couple of groups you are interested in. Then see if you want to join the following year. 

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