Would you pay to play?

Why not?

Say a bunch of you go out to the movies. Depending on your location, you're probably paying something like $8 each for 90 minutes or 2 hours of entertainment. Let us be gracious, and say it is $4 each per hour.

$5 each for even an entire slot (which is probably at least three hours, if not the entire evening) doesn't compare favorably with that?

There is a slight difference. The movie (hopefully) provides entertainment. Renting table space is just that . You still have to provide your own entertainment.

Its the equivalent of paying for a movie ticket and getting a seat in the theater but you have to bring your own movie.

I don't object to the rental of space in principle but if a store does it and there are other successful stores in the area that don't charge then what you have is a sinking ship business model.
 

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Kzach

Banned
Banned
I don't object to the rental of space in principle but if a store does it and there are other successful stores in the area that don't charge then what you have is a sinking ship business model.

This is another concern because what if I pay now and everyone else, and most future or potential players, go to the other store? I've then paid and will be sitting there by myself.

Again, I just don't think this is a healthy business decision. From what I understand, and from having played at the store and engaged the staff in discussions for the last month, the RPG portion of the store has been growing exponentially. They were on the verge of creating two groups of six players and still having new people show interest. This could be a really great RPG community. But none of these people even knew about the pay to play thing until I asked the staff member at the table about it. So who knows who is going to turn up next week, or the week after that?

So I'm most concerned about how this is going to affect the development of the burgeoning RPG community there. If there's no community, then I see no point in paying to be a member of it.

EDIT: You know, it just occurred to me that there are some fairly strong parallels between the store and this site...
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I don't object to the rental of space in principle but if a store does it and there are other successful stores in the area that don't charge then what you have is a sinking ship business model.

That depends on why those other businesses are able to seemingly offer that space for free. Are they operating on a slimmer profit margin? Are they compensating with higher prices on other merch? Do they have lower costs overall?
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
That depends on why those other businesses are able to seemingly offer that space for free. Are they operating on a slimmer profit margin? Are they compensating with higher prices on other merch? Do they have lower costs overall?

Whatever they're doing, it's working. They're a chain of franchised stores that have, over the last five or six years, been popping up all over Australia. They're at about a dozen or so stores now. Their setup is very basic. Cheap chairs and tables and a good 70% of the store devoted to gaming space. They have more space devoted to snacks and drinks than they do RPG or other geek merchandise.

They hold weekly, organised, tournaments for MTG, Yugio and all those other CCG's. D&D Encounters and living games is more of an after-thought.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
They have more space devoted to snacks and drinks than they do RPG or other geek merchandise.

That is probably your answer right there. Lots of markups on those. I'd be surprised if they let you bring outside food & drinks in.

I know I can get bottles of water for pennies apiece- I get them for my Church choir- and they cost $1.50 from vending machines. And I'm not even getting the stuff wholesale or with bulk discounts. Were I selling the stuff, that's 600% markup, minimum.

Personally, I'd rather bring my own refreshments and pay the $5.

....Again, that is if I had to game away from someone's house. I've only been in that situation a few times in my life. The first was in my initiation to the game, hosted in the library after school. The second time was actually in a game store. But we were playing with the store's owner after hours, so there was no charge.
 
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Ulrick

First Post
Aside from the occasional wargame, CCG, or boardgame, I find gaming stores incredibly lousy places to run an RPG.

I can see the logic for a store charging per table, you are using their space. And, after all, there's usually a low fee to enter a CCG or a Warhammer tournament. But to play D&D or any other RPG, no thanks. And I definitely wouldn't pay to play an RPG in a gaming store.
 

Tanstaafl_au

Explorer
I've often paid to play at cons.
I've been paid to GM :)

~

The shop I game at, (gamequest.net.au) has cheaper prices for food and drinks for the GMs, charges $2 AUD for causal rates to play, can't recall the monthly membership but it also gets you a discount of %5 of product plus some net time/printing rights on the computers.
$5 USD sounds like a bit more than i'd be happy with, but not by much. If there is limited table space they cant run as many games, to have cheaper prices with more people.

First time visitors get 2-3 free games to try stuff out.

The shop keepers do a great job of ogranising games, matching players and GMs to preffered games etc.

They run about 4 tables a night plus do board games during the day.

I could play at my house, or at one of the other gamer's place. I do for one of my games, but I like to think I'm helping the community and encouraging growth of my favourite hobby. Plus its in the heart of town, they supply meals, drinks, banter and they sometimes even clean up.

I also get to see a variety of different games, and people (mixed blessing;) )
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
I used to be on the committee of our local roleplaying club. We rented some space at a school, ran a canteen with fizzy, chips and chocolates and charged a door price. You didn't get charged if you didn't play, and we made an effort to find new players a spot in an existing game, and if people were new to the hobby we had plenty of friendly gamers willing to help them learn.

Oh, and if you were a DM, you got a drink or some chips or choccies for free.

We folded. And we folded because gamers weren't willing to pay more than $2.50 to play, and because we had to pay rent and insurance to keep the club going, we couldn't afford to keep going on so little.

From the sounds of things Kzach, your shop is
1) Suddenly springing a $5 fee on everyone
2) Charging even if you don't manage to get a game together.
3) Not doing the work to build a community and also not letting members of the community do that work either.

My vote is try to convince them that this isn't a good path to go down, and if they're not willing to listen, vote with your wallet.
 

Pentius

First Post
From what I've seen, letting people use the tables for free and then selling snacks(not to mention minis, single dice, extra characters sheets, pencils, etc) at a nice markup is a much better business model. It's not so much an issue of what a store is 'entitled' to do, but one of what their customers will accept them doing. On the other hand, some customers who would leave when asked to pay 5$ to be there would happily spend 10$ on various knacks during the game.

(I may be slightly biased, though. I've seen all of one store that charged per game, and they didn't include that fact on their 'play here' signs, but instead waited until a friend and I had already played a few games to seek compensation. Needless to say, they no longer get our business.)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I may be slightly biased, though. I've seen all of one store that charged per game, and they didn't include that fact on their 'play here' signs, but instead waited until a friend and I had already played a few games to seek compensation. Needless to say, they no longer get our business.

That's pretty crappy. I wouldn't shop there after that. Heck, if I had my receipts, I might even do a few returns.
 

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