The new year is here. I’d like to take this time recap 2017’s highlights. Then we will discuss what is in store for the Muskegon Area Gamers in 2018. Sit back and enjoy!
Ringing in the New Year
Attendance in 2017
The Gaming Annex has seen some growth! This chart shows how many attendees we’ve had at club sanctioned events (typically meetups at The Gaming Annex). We had 1,145 attendees in 2017. Not too shabby. That is 3% more than in 2016. 2016 had 18% growth over 2015 but that was because we added Thursday nights officially in late 2015/early 2016.
So we have an explanation for the 18% growth between 2015 and 2016. But why were we still able to grow in 2017? Because we are amazing–that’s why. We have a lot of passionate people in our organization who love our hobby. Our hobby is growing in general which accounts for some of our success. And finally: because we are always actively recruiting. I suspect we will have growth in 2018. I don’t think it will be 3% however; I predict it will be closer to 1% to 2%. But that is all we need to keep a robust game club.
So who were these attendees? You might be able to find your name in the chart here. This shows our Top 15 Attendees: the amount of times these attendees came to a club sanctioned event. Sick Nima almost eclipsed me this year–2018 may be his year to do so.
Changes in the Group
With the surge in attendance, we’ve added a few new faces to our inner circle. Brandi was promoted. She also is in charge of our special events. She has done a bang-up job too. She put together the Kids’ Gala, the Extra Life Event and Death Wears White. Look for her to put up more special events in 2018!
And then we promoted Iggy. Iggy has an impressive game collection. He’s been bringing over new games for us to play almost every Thursday in 2017. And this shows no signs of stopping in 2018. He also owns a nice collection of audio/visual equipment. He and I started a podcast called Beer & Pretzels. You can find it on his website Iggy Games. So while Brandi is our special events coordinator, Iggy is our A/V guy. And he’s excited to be on board.
Changes to the Venue
Our headquarters has changed. We moved to Laketon Avenue near Henry Street. After 5 years at Sherman and McCracken, The Gaming Annex has set up shop in a space about 50% larger than our previous spot. I like having a location this close to downtown. The presence on Laketon Avenue will also help with attendance as it is good, central location.
The Griffin’s Rest made their debut in 2017. Officially opening on Black Friday, The Griffin’s Rest is part of a 3rd Street renaissance. Hamburger Mikey’s, Third Coast Vinyl, the Curry Kitchen, and now The Griffin’s Rest.
The Griffin’s Rest boasts two stories of gaming. The main floor is the store with some tables for gaming and demos. The 2nd floor is all gaming. There are televisions, Wi-Fi and very comfy chairs. Use of the facility is open to the public. Private rooms are available for rent also.
I’m very impressed with the store and its owner Kiel. This is the first store/Gaming Annex partnership that has me all tingly inside. I know they are going to be successful. I know we can help them be successful. I also know they can help us grow the community. And if a gamer or two from their store decides to play with us: so much the better!
The Gaming Annex Too is open. Well, it’s not called that. Yet.
We have a small presence at Timeless Treasures on Sherman Boulevard. This is a vintage resale shop. The Gaming Annex has a shelf where we have our excess, overflow and thrift store games. We’ve been there for about a month. And sales have been stupendous! Seriously. We almost sold out. If you see any of my posts about my thrift store finds, you better hit me up quick. Otherwise, I’m relegating it to The Gaming Annex Too.
Games from 2017
Did any new and exciting games come out in 2017?
Just Twilight Imperium 4th Edition! The news spread across BGG and FFG’s websites like wildfire. Fantasy Flight announced they would have copies on hand at GenCon. Both Dusty and I wanted copies but we were unable to attend the con this year.
Fortunately, Dusty and I know a doctor who makes convention calls. Dr. Steve waited in line for several hours just so we could have TI4. And we are very grateful! TI4 is great! It fixes many issues with TI3 but leaves the charm and epicness of Twilight Imperium well in tact.
Our group is also enamored with Werewords. This 5 minute long game is hands down the best social deduction game out there. It has eclipsed even Avalon. Werewords belongs in every game collection–it is that good.
Magic Maze is another sleeper hit. This family friendly game is a real time delight. I was seriously surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I’m not sure it belongs in every game collection like Werewords. But it belongs in most game collections. It’s a real hoot.
What’s in store for 2018
So what will the Muskegon Area Gamers be up to in 2018? Pretty much the same thing as last year: lots of gaming. We will be open at The Gaming Annex on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
By the end of 2018, we may be open on a fourth day. This is because there is so much demand for role playing games. I probably won’t be available for a fourth day of gaming (there is a limit to even my gaming capital). But I think we can arrange it before the end of the year.
We will also have another Extra Life event in 2018. And this one will be at least as awesome as last year’s event. Last year’s event was a huge success. We’ve learned some things that work and that don’t work. As such, 2018’s event should be even better.
We raised $800 last year. I predict we will raise $1,000 for Helen DeVos in 2018. Check back in November to see if my prediction was correct.
CabinCon V is right around the corner. Yes, our yearly tradition is half a decade old this year. Where did the time go? Last year we had our biggest turnout for this event. I predict this year’s will be just as big. We almost have to put people on a waiting list for this event–it’s that popular.
I’m looking to expand our presence in Timeless Treasures. I’d like to get a couple of shelves of games there. Ideally, I’d like one of their rooms. That way I can put a sign up that actually reads, “The Gaming Annex Too”. Maybe by the end of 2018…
We are also working on codifying how candidates move up into our not-entirely-secret-society. We’ve been using the tried and true “30 Game Gauntlet”. This was a grueling ordeal where we made new players learn the rules to 30 new games before playing the same game a second time. While this is hilarious to most of us, it was shunned by a vocal minority: Brandi.
Our new system will be much more objective. New players will accumulate merit points for attending meetups, playing games, teaching games, etc. The process is under discussion by our crack team of HR specialists.