Frequently Asked Questions
What happens at a boardgame club?
We sit around at big tables and play modern boardgames together. It’s as simple as that. People turn up, pick a game out, get some others to sit down and play it. If you’re new or don’t know someone, everyone introduces themselves, the game is explained nicely, and we play nicely too. When the game’s over, we put all the bits away, and find another one to play. We often mix people up, so you don’t spend all your time in one group.
Our club is for adults, we’re not a kids playgroup. But you can bring children from 8-12 as long as you take care of them. We’ll treat teens as adults and expect them to behave likewise.
We have a huge cupboard filled with the club’s games and club regulars bring their own too. If you see a game you want to play, pick it up, look for people not playing and say “Would you like to play this?”. You’ll soon have enough players to sit down together and start the game. If you don’t know what to play next, ask one of the organisers for a suggestion. Occasionally, we run a club tournament, but there’s no obligation to join in if you don’t want to.
I am nervous about coming on my own…
That’s understandable, but we are genuinely a welcoming and friendly place. You won’t be on your own for long! If you are wary, just drop in for a quick look if you like. You can check out the club and the games and we won’t force you to play anything. Once you’ve seen us, we’re sure you’ll want to stop a while.
Lots of players make friends at the club, swap details and arrange to play games outside the club, in public places or at home. We get gamers from all over Yorkshire, not just York, so you could find a gamer at BM! who’s actually a neighbour.
Do I have to learn lots of rules? It sounds complicated…
It’s rare that you will ever have to read a rulebook. Typically, someone will explain how the game works and what you do. If you want, you’ll be coached along with useful suggestions. We do expect you to take an active role and pay attention. If you don’t like what you’ve just played, we’ll pick another more suited to your tastes. Most of the games are very easy to learn and play. The complications are the players, what will they decide to do?
Are you all ultra-competitive?
We play for fun. If we win, that’s good. If we lose, that’s fine. It’s playing the game that matters to us. Some of our games are co-operative, you all play against the game, not against each other. We expect everyone to play properly, and try to win right to the end. Lots of the games make it clear who’s leading, so naturally they get pegged back. But we don’t gang up, we don’t bear grudges, and we don’t have a cross word. Plus, no swearing allowed.
Is it like Dungeons & Dragons / Pokemon / Warhammer / war games / Chess / Poker?
Nope. The games may not look like the board games of old, but they are board games. You might play a game with characters or abilities, but we’re not a role playing club. We don’t do CCGs, RPGs, gambling, tabletop figures, or Chess. We do have the odd abstract game, but it’s mostly modern euros.
Can I bring my own games?
On your first visit, come empty-handed (bring a water bottle). It’s best to see how the club works first and what we play. When you come again, you’ll know what to bring. The old style of ahem ‘traditional’ games aren’t very popular with us. Once you’ve had a crack at the games we play, you will want to leave Trivial Cluedo Monopoly behind.
What about food and drink?
Now that we have moved to the Bar Convent, a condition of use is that we do not consume our own food or drink on the premises, except water or sweets. We are very happy to comply and we know you will respect their wishes. The Bar Convent has a very good Cafe open till 4pm, and club members get a 10% discount when they show a validated member’s card (anytime, not just during club meets).
If you wish to bring a packed lunch, please leave the premises to consume it. Literally, go out to the street. You can also come and go in BM!, so if you want to out for food, that’s fine, just please don’t bring it back in.
The cafe is licensed and after 4pm, you can still get beer. But we’re not a heavy drinking club and we keep the atmosphere easy.
I’ve designed a game. Can I bring it to test out?
Yes, but be prepared. We’ve done lots of play-testing for designers, including Martin Wallace, Jackson Pope and others. We’ve over 500 games in our collection, we’ve been going for 8 years, we know what works and what doesn’t. Your game might be very good but if it’s not, we will tell you, politely. Honest, constructive criticism. If you’ve no idea what a eurogame is, or never seen BoardgameGeek, do a bit of research. And if your game has a board and dice like Monopoly…
As before, it’s a good idea to come along, join in, see what the club is like, before pulling your prototype out. And we’re not fussy, it doesn’t have to be a full colour professional print job. If the game works, it doesn’t need flashy graphics or even a theme.
What sort of disabled access is there?
The good news is that the Bar Convent has proper disabled access inside the building, include a disabled toilet on the first floor, and an elevator to get there. So wheelchair users should be able to join us in our rooms now. The bad news is that to enter or leave the building, the staff need to bring out a ramp for the front steps. You’ll have to phone the Reception on 01904 643238 before 4pm (after 4pm it switches to a mobile number) and ask them to bring the ramp out. There is not a doorbell at street level, due to the nuisance caused by troublemakers.
Playing modern boardgames is much like a dining experience. If you can handle a restaurant meal, you can handle our games. But if you have problems with dexterity, handling small pieces, reading small text and so on, then you might find it too frustrating. Our club is also very vocal and many games use speech such as bidding or negotiating, or giving information or clues. If you have hearing or speech problems, again you might find them too frustrating to enjoy. But equally, there are lots of games you can play in complete silence anyway, so it’s more a matter of comprehending the gameplay.
I really only want to play a few games and then go. I don’t want to be there all day. Is that OK?
Fine by us! Lots of members come for just the morning and leave in the afternoon. Others only turn up after 4pm. Some stay all day, some for just one game. It’s your choice. Once you’ve been checked off the attendance list, you can come and go as you like. It’s common for people to go out to get lunch and then come back in after.
How much is membership? What are the charges?
We don’t have a membership fee. We only charge for your visit. Your first visit is FREE! On Saturday meets, it’s £4 for adults, £2 for seniors, students and unwaged, and FREE for children 8-12. Anyone over 12 years old is treated as a student and expected to behave as an adult. After 5pm on Saturdays, it’s only £2.
On evening meets, it’s only £2 or £1 for concessions, children are FREE. Just pay the organiser in charge when you come in, get ticked off the names list and carry on.