Diminishing Returners: The Problem of Group-Fade

For the past few years I have spent most of my Thursday nights the same way. This is because Thursday night is game night with our local games group, the Northern Knights.

They’re a nice bunch, and I genuinely think I’d have struggled to settle in up here without them or a similar group.

Thing is, I’m getting a bit worried about the group as we seem to be fading away. When I first started attending, we might jave a dozen players on a good night, with several games going on at once. Now, we’re lucky to have 5 or 6 people. Last week we had 3.

Our group at the other side of the county managed 20, which is great! They run on Wednesdays. I’m worried about the original group, though. I’ve been thinking about possible contributing factors to this problem.

  1. Cost: for the Thursday group we charge £15 for 4 sessions. These do not have to be consecutive sessions and you can “bank” days. This is not cheap. The group at the other end of the county pays £1 per session currently. This is partly because if’s a new group and partly because this group does not need to pay for accomodation, as the Thursday group does.
  2. Timing and Location: we are located in a small town, by normal standards. Both groups are. But these are the biggest towns for quite some distance. The Thursday group is in a cadet hall, whilst the Wednesday group is in a supermarket community room. Both are reasonably accessible, but draw from a limited pool of attendees. Could Wednesday just be a better night for folks?
  3. Initial events: the Thursday group has been going for years and is perhaps suffering from not standing out much. Perhaps those who might be interested are already aware of us and have dismissed us. The Wednesday group got off to a good start, I believe, through a local GM using it to do 4 monthly games of Adventurer’s League for Dungeons & Dragons on a weekly rotation. This got people through the door, at which point organisers could try to convince them to come along for other games on the weeks where they were not playing D&D. Thjs seems to have worked quite well.
  4. Perception of acivity: the above games of D&D ensured that new players coming in would see the room packed with people playing ganes each and every week. This makes it feel more active and worth coming along for. The Thursday group, by contrast, has appeared small and less active for some time. Often when a new player has come along there is a single game going on in an otherwise big, empty hall. Worse yet, there may be no games going on as people arrive a little later or are having their dinner before starting games. It’s an understandable problem, but it puts people off paying to come back which, in turn, keeps attendance low and exacerbates the problem.

I’d be open to advice from anyone reading on how to revitalise the Thursday group. We’ve been a lot better at promoting ourselves on social media, but it’s not enough. Any suggestions?

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