How to run a great games night and make it inclusive and supportive of well being and neurodiversity

There is no perfect answer to this but the following tips, should create a welcome friendly environment. Everyone likes to know the lie of the land, the basic rules and what to expect but more so if you have anxiety, autistic tendencies or a number of other issues.
So double check and make sure everything is clear even down to signage and drinks options. Set and manage expectations

Step one: Prepare:

1) Advertise, find your players but clearly set expectations of the kind of games being played but also cover the administration.
a. Where, when, what food and drink is available what is the cost?
2) Take requests for games and ask if people are bringing games to teach.
3) Send out rules videos or lists of the games being played so people can research
4) Include photos of the venue and gaming space.
5) Provide a second private channel for information and feedback. (Messenger)

Step two: The night

1) Ensure the venue is well signed so you are easy to find. I include A4 laminated signed the whole way
2) Friendly greeter to welcome all guests to assign them to an appropriate game and game teacher.
3) An appropriate game is dependent on the gamer but be aware of:
a. overly competitive games,
b. overall complex games for new games.
c. games which are too extrovert or social and / or involve lying and bluffing.
d. Game which rules change too much, having known and controlled rules can be more comfortable.
4) The game teacher should be patient but also enthusiastic and welcoming
5) Ensure the venue has appropriate lighting,
6) Enough space between the gaming tables.
7) Control the noise including reducing or eliminating background music (Provide space between games helps with this).
8) Be patient and tolerant, gamers with additional needs may be harder to please, may not react to social cues.
9) Ensure staff are identifiable. (Even having a different colour lanyard or badge)
10) Name stickers or name tags for all guests removes the pressure of asking or remembering names.

Step three: The growth

1) Grow and nurture the culture to be friendly, inclusive and welcoming.
2) Ask for feedback
3) Allow volunteers to step up and be involved. (Ownership of tasks and feeling of belonging)
4) Do not take rejection personally, even with perfect planning you cannot please everyone. Doubly so if people have additional issues.

This is not a once size fits all guide everyone is different and i am a gamer with an interest in inclusivity and making sure everyone has a good time not a medical professional. Hopefully these tips will help, they are mostly obvious.

Happy gaming!

This is work in progress so I’d love any feedback or comments.

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Charity Events 2018 for Herefordshire Mind

Herefordshire Mind is our Charity for this year (until our birthday in July)

Our mega charity day is May 19th at the core. 

Our last event in May 2017 raised over £525

We are attempting at 24 hour game a to on March 3rd, it could be interesting. the donation page is here

We also have a mini charity game day on March 31st 12 hours gaming for a small donation of £2 to Mind

Overall I really want us to raise £1000 this year for Mind, any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

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Best of facebook

We have a great facebook community here is a quick best of from over the last few months.

Introduce yourself:

Our Game collections:

Online codenames:

Our top nine games:

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September looks awesome! Four gaming events

Our August Charity day was awesome, 27 players played games for nearly 12 hours and raised over £75 for Herefordshire Mind, this will go into the fund with the September Charity day and the big charity day next May, lets see how much money we can make it our second official year, can we beat £600!

Onto gaming events this month

Thursday 7th 18:30 onwards at the Imperial (For this month only we are in the main bar)

Sunday 17th 15:00 onwards at the Beer in Hand

Saturday 23th 11:00 12 hour of charity game day at the Imperial

Also Dice and Decks Birthday party is on Friday the 15th


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Event updates: Saturday games August 26th and September 23rd

Event updates:

Great Indoors is this weekend! 

On to club news:

First Thursday from 6.30 at the Imperial.

Going well no changes but we welcome your feedback.

Third Sunday at the Beer in Hand

Change of time to 3pm to 9pm to match pub opening times. Going well with an overlap to Thursday nights but some different faces too.


August 26th and Saturday 23rd. 11am to 11pm.All day game sessions at the Imperial. Similar to the mega charity day but much more informal. There might be a surprise large game or side attraction for those that want to but generally just a chance to sit and play some of the longer games.

Mega Charity day

I am already planning the mega annual charity day for 2018 it will be May again for Herefordshire Mind unless we get any strong objections. I will be looking for volunteers to help me put up posters, drum up prizes, prep the venue, teach games and advertise the event on social media. If you are interesting please let me know now. I want to start organising sooner so we can pace ourselves.

At or around our Birthday in July 2018 we will vote for a new charity of the year for 2018-2019. I am using our Birthday as the Charity anniversary rather than the calendar year as it allows for simpler organisation.

Pop over to facebook for the events:

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The Pub game starter kit in the flesh! / Thanks to our host the Imperial!

The Imperial has been a great host for us and have just started  a game shelf so as a thank you we’ve put together a selection of games from our recommended list to get them started!

Pub Starter kit: Codenames, Penguin Trap, Perudo, Zombie Dice and Rainbow Rage

The kit also contains a charity shop bargain copy of Carcassonne donated by one of our members. I think it is a great kit, you have dexterity, word play, dice and push your luck, bluffing and reactions. All of the games are robust enough to loose a few pieces, easy to teach and look great and exciting.

More information on the best games to have on a pub / café  or club games shelf is here


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