It's been 5 months since our opening night, Wednesday at the scout hut in Flamsteed Rd, Cambridge.
It has been a challenging period.
We have really struggled to be honest.
The first 2 months were fantastic! We require just 12 people per evening to meet our costs (ranging from facility to terrain upkeep to tables to insurance) and there are 4 of us that run the club! So 8 more and we are sorted..
For a while we had between 18-22 coming each week and were flying.
But then Christmas hit... and over December and January we have just been really hit hard.
We have had podcast shout outs (thanks to the Overlords podcast), a website, forums, advertising in local geek stores, I've thrown shit up on the blog, facebook..
Now, for the 3rd month of 5 we are short on meeting our costs financially.. I have no desire to go back to just gaming with a couple of dudes in the garage and only getting in games vs new people at tournaments.. whilst I accept that that is the way of it for many people, we did have a real community based around Cambridge and I am not sure where it has gone!
Trouble is reaching everyone.. it simply isn't possible! Whilst GW Cambridge operated it's Battle Bunker we had a huge community and all was good, we had the numbers of few choice dudes who were similar in personality etc.. you know, friends.. and everyone else we took for granted. Who knew it would close!
Then we played on our own, round friends houses etc for a year - 18 months.
This, I think, was the real killer.. if we had got going almost straightaway when all the guys n gals were still around (as opposed to lurking in their houses and garages!) then we may have been able to gather the community to us.
Now, if you walk into GW Cambridge on a Tuesday Vets night, there are 2 tables (possibly three on occasion) and a handful of guys playing. No more than we have at the club on our worst nights... the issue with recruiting these guys is that they see nothing wrong in the current situation.
The 'new blood' at the local GW has never experienced GW Cambridge in the 'Golden Years' - Andy Keddie as manager and smashing the trade, a true community playing on over a dozen boards, every board filled and gaming, with dudes waiting to play in the wings.. wonderful. Banter everywhere and different guys to play every week!
If you've never experienced it, how do you compare it to 2 tables with the same guys every week. I can do that shit in the garage...
At our club in Cambridge, we have a dozen boards, all with decent terrain, the biggest and best place to play in Cambridgeshire..
Ah. Fuck it.
Cost, I believe, is also a big issue. We charge £3 for casual gamers, £2.50 for members. This is based solely on meeting our costs on expected level of 'customers'/gamers... If more and more guys were to come down, we can afford to drop our costs. Simple as.. help us develop the community and the costs are drastically reduced.
Again, if you are used to playing at GW and not having to pay to play then fine, but you only get a game every other week due to the lack of boards..
Expectations.. Do you only want to play one game a week at most.. Are you happy to just watch others play the game? I'm not, my leisure time is precious to me, I am a classic "money rich, time poor" western european worker.. when I want to do something, you better make fucking sure you can provide me with what I want! So watching a game of 40k once a week is not what I want from my hobby..
I can't imagine how it is for some!
HELP ME! Do any of you guys run clubs? How do you get your business in? How tough was it for you to get started.. what would you do in my situation??