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Gaming in the Wild: The Beginning of Something

In my previous article, I hinted at a new undertaking that the Bracebridge Tabletop Gaming Community will be working towards. I feel that there is a time and a place for every organised group of enthusiasts of any kind to start asking themselves how they can give back to the world they live in. For us, we believe that time is coming…

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The BTGC has successfully seen two years of faithful operation come and go. We have had our ups and downs, and so far have been lucky that we have weathered small storms, and done so with class and optimism. We have had membership spike and decrease, we have floundered through different attempts at format changes and other bright ideas that didn’t really work out. Overall, we have maintained our mission: to provide an open, respectful and supportive space for local residents to come and get their game on with the opportunity to meet like minded individuals who will help them expand their own gaming community.

Earlier this year, Mike and I were involved in a marathon Dungeons and Dragons fundraiser that would have seen us contributing to an international charity organisation helping children around the globe become educated through games that helped promote community health. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t work out, and we had to withdraw from the group.

However, it got both of us thinking about what we could do in the future to give back. Everybody wants to help somebody somehow. We give change to persons outside the grocery store, donate to charitable organisations canvassing door to door, or contribute a dollar or two at the checkout. And all of these little things add up to make a difference in the world. I even profiled a few larger organisations in an earlier article who utilise gaming in some form to raise funds for chosen charities.

So we talked about what we wanted to do. The main thing we agreed upon was to start small. This was mainly due to the fact that we have never done anything like this together. Lucky for me, Mike has spent some time volunteering for Big Brothers and Big Sisters groups in our area, so he is a little ahead of the game on some of the things that we will need to consider as we move forward.

So if you were going to start your own fundraising event using your game group or community, what would you have to do?

Start Small

Like I said earlier, don’t try to change the world in a day. It’s a noble goal, and one that I am sure we have all thought of in the past, but it is just unrealistic. There are plenty of people in your own neighbourhood who need help just as badly as those who are half a world away, and maybe after you pull the first one off for your friends and neighbours, you can set your sights towards the horizon. For now however, stick with what you know. Oh, wait…

Stick with What you Know

You don’t have to make some drastic change to your routine to raise funds. If you are an RPG group, think about how you can do that and raise money. If you have a closet full of board games or miniature war games, start there. If Magic: The Gathering is your thing, get a big tourney set up, because you know all of those things inside and out.

The reason you don’t want to upset the apple cart that way, is really because you are about to add a whole other list of things to do to get this thing off the ground, and you don’t want to start with a pile of crushed apples in the street, when they were perfectly fine in the cart to begin with.

For us, this means that we are going to make use of our monthly board game night. You may or may not know that the first Thursday evening of each month is set aside for board games. We are blessed to have so many members who love D&D, Star Wars, Rifts and such. They love coming out each week with their character binders, rolling their funny shaped dice and ridding the world of evil, one encounter at a time. However, we all have board games we want to play, and as you all know, they are so much fun. So we make sure that once a month, the opportunity arises to share those games with each other.

Board games can also be a far less intimidating method of bringing others into the hobby. Mike and I didn’t want to do a fish bowl style event where we assemble a party and take others on a spectator’s journey through strange and different lands. We want people to come in and sit down with us, roll the dice or assemble a hand of cards right alongside the rest of the table. That way they will get an inkling of what it’s like to enjoy this hobby, and why they should help us help others to do the same.

So we are starting small and helping a little bit. And we are using what we already know to get that ball rolling. We have started the process of selecting the group we want to act on behalf of, and we think we have a unique and manageable event conceptualized to do that.

It will go something like this: During our event, we will invite people in to our usual spot in the basement of the senior’s centre. Tables will be set up with games and volunteers to run them. I don’t think a game that takes any longer than half an hour to play will work, but we’ll see where that goes. Participants can try out as many games as they like, and while they are playing, our volunteer community members can tell them about the charity cause we are raising funds for, and how tabletop board gaming will make a difference in their lives.

You see, the end result is that we are hoping to raise funds to purchase board games to be donated to a very special place, so that children of all ages can have just as much fun as we do with this hobby. What cause is this? Well I can’t tell you. Yet. Why? Well, this is just the beginning, and though I am excited to move forward with this endeavour, there are still a few miles to go yet before we can let the cat out of the bag.

Know that you will be along for the ride, and when we know more, and learn more, and possibly break a few eggs, you will hear all about it.

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