At Auburn Village, the condo community I call home, we have a new community manager. This manager is decisively less-cool than the former manager. The former manager allowed me to keep a single application on file with a security deposit to have a standing Sunday afternoon reservation for the local community room. This stable venue allowed me to run week after week of tabletop gaming. The new community manager will not do it, insisting on a new application and a new deposit check every week.
This isn't a huge deal, in the grand scheme of things, but it's a big enough deal to make me start thinking of other viable venues. I want to start hosting tabletop games for the public again soon, so it's time to start looking at my options:
1. My home. With the missus gone, I now have no reason I can't just invite people over and host games right from the comfort of my own home. There are two problems with this, however. Firstly, I only have enough space to comfortably accomodate about four gamers, and my games tend to run five or more, espeically the more popular ones like D&D. Secondly, this would entail opening up my home to strangers. I'm not super-keen on that. I'm not sure if there's any particular concern I have, so much as I'm just generally uncomfortable with the idea. As for the venue's size, I could just run four-player games, I suppose...
2. The Landing. Not far from where I live is a small underground mall. I've written about it before. In this mall is a giant open space with tables and chairs where people are allowed to just sit and hang out. The Friday boardgaming meetups I frequent are held in this area. They require no special permission or anything; you just show up, grab a table, and do your thing. The main advantage here is that the Landing is highly accessible, being connected to the Metro. Also, being in a mall, there is near-instant access to food and drink from a variety of places. And the space issue mentioned above would be a non-issue here. The main disadvantage to the Landing is that it's public. I can't control the space, so if some class fieldtrip happens to be hanging out there (as is often the case on Fridays), the Landing will be loud and its normally-abundant seating may become a premium. Plus, strangers may just wander up to our game, but I'm not actually too worried about that, I love engaging people about the game, anyway. What I may have to do is launch a couple of Sunday afternoon scouting sessions at the Landing over the next couple of weeks and see what kind of atmosphere I can expect. If it is as quiet as it normally is (on non-Fridays, that is) then this could be the best contender.
3. The library. Before the community room, I used to cycle through libraries every Sunday. I'd book a conference room for an event with my "Interactive Fiction Club," then have at it. Libraries are awesome places. I actually really enjoyed going to them. The problem is, every library in the area will not allow a standing reservation, and competition can be really tight sometimes (many a plan has been ruined because of the damn Northern Virginia Knitting Group!) Sometimes, I'd have to juggle several libraries at once to shake loose a reservation; an option no longer feasible to me, without a car. So this option isn't really on the table, except for the one library in walking distance, and that would of course be subject to the availability of whatever rooms they have.
4. The Internet. Tabletop RPGing across the internet has become a big deal over the past several years, for obvious reasons: game with your friends across the world, don't have to leave your home, etc. My problem with this option has always been that doing it face-to-face is just better. Given the choice between an in-person game with affable strangers versus an online game with actual friends, I often would opt for the strangers! But beggars can't be choosers, so maybe its time to actually look into online play as an option. Besides, this would allow me to be able to play with some really great people, anyway.