Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to Host a Successful Guild Meetup

So you’ve decided to finally take the step forward and get your guild together for a meetup. This is a huge undertaking, and you should expect to put in a lot of work if you want it to be a success. That said, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. So read on if you’d like some tips on making your guild meetup the best it can be!

Get Help!

Hosting a guild meetup is a LOT of work. As the host, you’ll be setting up and organizing events at the meetup locale. Unless you are lucky enough to have guild mates in your area, you’ll have to do a lot of that yourself. So anything else that you can get help with, do so! Examples include planning meals, organizing carpooling or airport pick up / drop off, non-location-based activities, etc. Often officers in the guild are good choices for this, but they also have their in-game duties, so if any enterprising and reliable guild members offer to help, be sure to give them a chance!

How Long is Too Long?

Most likely, you’ll have people traveling long distances to attend your meetup. You want to make sure they’ll be staying long enough to make it worth their while. However, too long and your guildies can end up sick of eachother. You want to find the right balance. The meetup I attended lasted four full days and nights. This was the perfect amount of time for our situation, but as everyone has difference circumstances, this might not work for your guild.

Plan Activities!

It’s much better to have too much to do and end up not doing some of the planned things, than to be bored. Some things we did at our meetup:

  • WoW
  • Minecraft (guild server)
  • XBox (rockband)
  • Movies
  • Cooking
  • Board Games
  • Card Games
  • Tabletop RPGs
  • Shopping
  • Swimming
If your location has some awesome tourist attractions, you might want to plan some outings involving those. Just keep in mind various athletic abilities of your guild mates, as well as different spending budgets. It would be a good idea to have alternatives if people didn’t want to or were unable to attend some of these.

One thing to remember if you decide to have computer gaming as one of your activities: Not everyone plays on laptops, or has portable desktops. Not everyone will be able to play at once. We solved this by being generous with sharing computers, and having other activities going at the same time.

Eat In

You’ll definitely want to plan meals ahead of time. Avoid racking up a huge dining bill by eating in. Cooking together can be an awesome bonding activity for guild mates. Just make sure one person isn’t doing ALL the cooking! Have a menu planned out and the week before the meetup go to a bulk store such as Costco or Winco to get all the ingredients. Keep in mind that some of your guildmates may have special dietary needs, and not everyone likes the same foods - try to have a variety of things available. 

At our meetup, we served a main dish as well as a fairly substantial side dish with each dinner. That way, even if someone didn’t like one, they might like the other. Lunches were simply leftovers, sandwich stuff, or hotdogs/sausage dogs. Breakfast was served each day but leftovers were also an option.

Space Planning

The only thing I could fault our meetup with was lack of space. Our host lived in an apartment, which made things interesting for us. With a gaming meetup, you need lots of table space and chairs. We were okay on that account, with a dining room table as well as a large coffee table available. However, we were all in one room and after four days it started to feel pretty crowded. Having a separate room for people to spread out into, especially if different groups are doing different activities, would be an improvement.

During the meetup, people sometimes got tired mid-day. Everyone has different schedules normally, and jet lag can hit hard. Having a place for exhausted folks to crash mid-day was very nice. Our hosts graciously let tired guests use their bed, but a futon or air mattress set up in a quiet place would work just as well.

Our group would not have all been able to sleep in our host’s apartment. Additionally, some of our guildmates could not afford a hotel. We worked it out so that some stayed on our host’s floor while others got a hotel room a block away. This worked well for our location, but it might not work if there are no nearby hotels. Keep this in mind when choosing a location.

Stay Chill and Have Fun!

Having a large group all in one place can be difficult. The most important thing to remember is that you're all there to have fun, so stay relaxed and enjoy yourselves!

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