Today I am going to discuss a few different ways you can help grow your local communities in a positive way. The advent of social media, e-mail, group text services just to name a few has made it easier than ever to connect and coordinate events with people. While this article will have an emphasis on community building for Fantasy Flight Games: STAR WARS Armada, it can easily be adapted to suite other gaming systems or social clubs outside gaming. I will break down some of the more common tools I use and give some person Pros and Cons to each. I will also start a thread on the FFG forums for others to discuss the ways that they help unite the local communities.
Facebook Groups. Firstly lets discuss the one most people may be familiar with. The Facebook group. These are great for more regional type communities. We use them up in New England for a vast majority of games. They are a great way for EOs to post events and players to set up pick up games or just discuss some tactics and strategy.
- The majority of people use Facebook
- It saves older topics and discussions
- Great way to spread the world about events to the masses
- Really good for Regions like New England, Mid West, SoCal, where players can travel to other events
- Built in Group Messenger
- Lots of spammers/trolls/advertisers
- Quickly can get off topic
- Less personal feeling for the more Regional groups
- Only Admins can mass invite to events they make
The Google-verse is also a great tool for building a community. You have Google Groups that can easily provide a make shift forum for your group. You have a built in calendar and messenger systems for easy reminders of upcoming events and group chatting. I have seen these work well for individual stores. Members who also monitor the bigger regional groups can easily relay the information to the store level and raise awareness of those events.
- Its Google… It comes with a file sharing service, group messaging, calendars, group functions and all the smart phone apps to support them
- It is easy for people who already use Google to adjust too.
The Calendar is great for keeping groups informed and organized
- Group Messaging lets people stay connected and helps build deeper friendships
- Google Drive lets you upload files like FAQs, Erratas, Event details and have everyone access it essentially whenever they want
- Requires a member to have a Google account to really take advantage of it
- With the advent of Social Media, not everyone checks their e-mail as often, I know I don’t
- Group settings management can be a bit of a pain sometimes
The last system I have used is Group Messengers. Available through most social media outlets and other programs like GroupMe they are a more organized version of Mass Texting. My experience with these for community building is very limited. It doesn’t seem like they should be used as a stand alone platform but more to enhance other community building operations. Facebook and Google have them built in. Add the other benefits of those websites and you have what some companies pay lots of money to attain. Calendars, Group Messaging, Private Messages, Document sharing are all great things for building a community.
Lastly, you will need administrators or moderators. These should be upstanding citizens of the community. Event Organizers are a good start. As is any official representatives from the company itself, like Privateer Press’s Pressgang members. Laying a good foundation of rules and expectations also helps. Stamp out trolls, spammers, bullies, and other negative nancies from the group. It should be a place people can go for information, a bit of fun, and some mental exercise in discussing their favorite games. Also talk with your local gaming stores. Get the owners or their EOs involved. Explain the importance of communication with their customers and keeping everyone informed of the upcoming events. Reiterate that it is not a place for them to endlessly advertise or start trouble with other stores, but a place for them to promote their own communities. When multiple stores are friendly to each other, you see a lot more players patronize them.
What are some of your ideas for building a community? Go to the link below and post your ideas and recommendations.