A few years ago, I moved my usual Wednesday Night gathering to the game store for a couple of reasons:
1) We had outgrown my apartment. While we were usually in the five to seven guests range, we had "surges" up to twenty or so players. Even in a two-bedroom apartment, that's a lot of people. This many people fits in the game store.After Game Night had been at the store for a year or so, Brian asked me if I would object to his charging for attendance. I did object, but not strenuously - his arguments made sense. At the same time, the Wednesday night crowd was spending a fair amount of money at the store. Fast forward three years - Phoenix is in a larger (and more expensive location), and the economy is struggling. The Wednesday crowd (myself included) doesn't have as much money to spend, and so we're spending less.
2) Not everyone that was showing up was good about cleaning up after themselves. I thought that maybe moving to a more public place would nudge them in the right direction. The people who had the issues stopped attending before the move to the game store, so I don't know if it would have helped or not.
3) I wanted to support the store. A lot of times, the Wednesday Night folks would ask me where they could get that game we had just played. Having the Game Night at the store meant that I didn't have to give directions over and over and over to where to find the games - I could put the game in their hand and point them at the register.
4) Even having outgrown my apartment, I knew there were local gamers looking for chances to play games. There always are - this is one reason a good game store is the center of local gamer society. Game Night has grown and shrunk and grown and shrunk. We've had a number of new members become core members, and some of the core members have faded out.
On February 24th, Brian sent an e-mail to our mailing list to let us know that - as of March 25th - Game Night will be $5 per person.
I'm thankful he held off as long as he did, but I support his decision. For one, most of that money will be directly reinvested back into Game Night in several ways:
1) Brian rents games. Your $5 admission gives you access (for the evening) to any open store copies of games. He has some very good ones, too, thanks to Z-Man and Rio Grande both having programs that allow retailers to obtain demo copies of their games at a very low price.I expect that we'll shrink a bit at first, but I think that long-term this will be a good move for Game Night. And if it helps Brian, I'm all for it.
2) Brian is setting up a Meetup group for Game Night. It's not free, but has the potential to cause us to grow larger. More people means more variety and more games to play. I'm always in favor of growth.
3) A percentage of the money collected at the door will be turned into a door prize. Or prizes if there are enough people there. This means that your admission is also a raffle ticket for a store gift certificate.