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Hosting a Big Group

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01 Oct 2019 14:37 #302115 by Shellhead
A few times a year, I host a day of boardgames at my house. I generally invite around 20 people and then actually get maybe 4 people to show up. But my Oktoberfest game day (featuring horror-themed boardgames) tends to be the most popular, and this time I may be hitting the limit of what I can reasonably host. I invited 22 people, and we have 8 confirmed plus 8 maybes, for a total of 16.

I can just barely pull this off. My primary gaming table in the basement comfortably fits 8, maybe 10 total. My dining room table/old gaming table fit another 6 on the first floor. And I have 3 card tables that can fit 4 players each. I have 10 chairs in the basement and 6 in the dining room. Players on the first floor can listen to music on my computer, and I have a bookshelf stereo in the basement. The first floor folks can use the fridge, and I have a cold storage room next to the basement gaming area.

The odd part will be splitting the group up. I normally like to play games where everybody present can play, and I have a few games that can scale up to 12 players. But realistically, the only game that I have that can handle 16 is Werewolf/Mafia, and I don't think this group could play it all day. There are a few hardcore boardgamers in the group, but there will also be some players with minimal boardgame experience. I have two dozen games with horror themes, but most of my friends have few if any horror games.

One distinctive feature of horror-themed games is that player elimination is often likely, and it's very thematic. So one idea that I considered was deliberately advocating games with player elimination and even some games where it's easy to add a player during play, so that players can circulate between the two rooms and interact with a wider variety of players. The other idea that I had was to assume that we get a dozen players or less and run the big games. But I suppose the conventional wisdom would be to just plan for the two tables to effectively stay separate as they play their separate games. The reason that I want to avoid that is because 3 of the definites and 4 of the maybes are newer friends will be visiting my place for the first or second time, and I don't want to miss out playing games with them while they are stuck in another room.

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01 Oct 2019 15:36 #302116 by WadeMonnig
Replied by WadeMonnig on topic Hosting a Big Group
Maybe a "light" gaming table with copies of Finger Guns at High Noon and Werewords. Maybe a copy of Betrayal at the House on the hill with a pre- picked good scenario (The Bird one comes to mind). Good, filler speed games that are fun to watch? This might encourage mingling from room to room.
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01 Oct 2019 16:01 #302117 by hotseatgames
Replied by hotseatgames on topic Hosting a Big Group
Psycho Raiders can go up to 8, although people would be sitting on their hands a lot. The Thing plays up to 8 but really it's not good for going past 6.

Splitting the group is the right way to go, mixing it up every game or so.
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01 Oct 2019 16:24 #302118 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Hosting a Big Group
Psychoraiders is definitely on the agenda for the big table. I even made a two-disc soundtrack that only uses popular music that might have been played on the radio on that date.

Focusing on player elimination, moderate play duration, and table size, I am thinking along these lines so far:

Basement group with big table:
Psychoraiders (2 - 8)
The Gothic Game (3 - 8)
Slasher Flick: Revenge of the Boogeyman (2 - 14, but realistically more like 9)
Zombies!!! (up to 12, using a special variant that speeds the game up significantly)

Dining Room group with medium table:
Camp Grizzly (3 - 6)
Betrayal at House on the Hill (3 - 6)
Mall of Horror (3 - 6)
Coma Ward (2 - 6)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Milton Bradley version (2 - 5)

I could potentially break out Human!!! for an epic Zombies!!! vs Humans!!! game for up to 18 players, but 18 would be crowded even for my basement. Could be a blast in a game convention environment, though.

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01 Oct 2019 16:32 #302119 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Hosting a Big Group
Based on past interactions with various people, my best guess for actual attendance is 10.
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01 Oct 2019 17:02 - 01 Oct 2019 17:17 #302120 by WadeMonnig
Replied by WadeMonnig on topic Hosting a Big Group
Werewords does 10 players and you could probably print a set of cards and just download the app if you were inclined. Edit: Flick em up: Dead of winter supports 10 players but would require a dedicated table but, Halloween!
Last edit: 01 Oct 2019 17:17 by WadeMonnig.

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01 Oct 2019 17:28 #302121 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Hosting a Big Group

WadeMonnig wrote: Werewords does 10 players and you could probably print a set of cards and just download the app if you were inclined. Edit: Flick em up: Dead of winter supports 10 players but would require a dedicated table but, Halloween!


You just reminded me that I have Dead of Winter: Warring Colonies, which handles up to 11 players. This would potentially be perfect, except that I have never played before, not even the base game. My girlfriend got it for my birthday, and I spent the whole summer on major DIY projects instead of playing games. Has anybody here played Warring Colonies?

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01 Oct 2019 17:43 #302122 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Hosting a Big Group
I was going to post about how I streamlined Zombies!!! for a big group, but decided it deserves a separate topic.

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01 Oct 2019 21:39 #302127 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Hosting a Big Group
You're overthinking this Shell. The players are going to organize themselves, jumping in on games that look exciting to them, swapping up after each game. I do this every year with 20 people. Just take breaks after games when you finish to make contact with everyone.
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02 Oct 2019 09:49 #302129 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Hosting a Big Group
You're right, I am over-thinking this. Still, I think the player elimination games are a good idea to get people to circulate. This will also reduce downtime if people are looking to switch tables.

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06 Oct 2019 00:40 - 06 Oct 2019 00:40 #302225 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Hosting a Big Group
In the end, it was my second largest turnout, with ten players, but we had a maximum of seven at any given time.

Four of us sat down to play Psycho Raiders, and two more showed up during the game. The Raiders won a solid victory, with the help from a sinister mechanic. However, there was a funny part towards the end. Randy was running towards the Old Store, in hopes of getting help from both Drunky and the nearby Sheriff, but I kept failing my scream rolls, even when I was just five hexes away from Drunky. This led to a spirited discussion about whether he should be called Drunky or Druggy. The turn after Drunky finally got alerted and into the action, he randomly got attacked by a murder of crows due to the event for that turn. We joked about how Druggy was obviously hallucinating the crows which mysteriously disappeared the following turn.

One player had to leave early, and so five of us started a game of Camp Grizzly, but a couple of new players showed up just then, so I volunteered to roll dice for Otis so they could both play characters. It ended up being an insanely short game due to an untimely Blood Moon environment that doubled all damage inflicted by Otis. Three characters died quickly, leaving three trying to swim across the lake to safety. Otis drowned two after a flurry of bad die rolls, but the final victim just barely managed to swim to safety after several tense die rolls.

Two more players left and one showed up, so we played a six-player game of The Gothic Game. Half of the players were killed by a vampire attack, but the final winner took out the vampire with the hammer/stake/garlic card. Although The Gothic Game is considered a disastrous design by modern board game standards, everybody had fun. Then two more players left, leaving me with the three latest of the late arrivals.

The latest of the late arrivals brought the Resident Evil 2 boardgame, so we played that next. He had never played before, so setup was slow and we had to doublecheck the rules several times. The game had nice components, but our scenario was too easy.

Finally, we played a four-player game of Mall of Horror. I was nearly ousted early, but managed to cling with just my pin-up, for second place.
Last edit: 06 Oct 2019 00:40 by Shellhead.
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