In the board game industry, like most industries, networking is very important. Unlike most industries, networking is built right in. Just play a game with some people and you’re networking.
I’ve never been great at networking. In college my video production major was harder because I didn’t connect with other video students and when it came time to put together a cast and crew for a project, I was very short on connections.
In college I did meet some new people through gaming. I was working on a magic deck at my campus job, running the front desk at the gym, and some people saw and invited me to their regular magic meet up. I wasn’t yet deep into board games and most of the group were science majors. So it was great fun but not helpful to my course work.
Fast forward about 9 years. I start becoming interested in modern board games and game design. I have my magic friends who got me into board games, but no designers. So my play testers are my family and friends.
Then I go to some local conventions and I sit down to play games with people. Those people know some other people, so I play some more games with some more people. In this very easy networking situation I met a lot of people that are all interested in board games.
Bringing up the topic of game design isn’t too difficult. Many of the people aren’t interested in playing prototypes, but some are. They are also game designers, perhaps just starting out like me or with some more experience. Again, those people know some other people. But now we are talking about design focused people. And it just keeps going from their.
After that first push to get out there and just play games this networking thing just snowballs. It now almost runs itself. I can’t do anything in the game design world without meeting new people. Some are more experienced and can teach me new things and introduce me to new people. Some are new to the community and I can teach them things and introduce them to people, but even new people can teach you things and introduce you to new people.
So the network grows without much effort. The hardest part for me is keeping it all straight. My memory for names isn’t great and meeting people on twitter, facebook, at conventions, design groups, and game groups gets very confusing. Especially when online names aren’t anything like real names. So if I forget your name and how I know you, just remind me, if you remember. And i’m happy you’re part of my network.
So if you are new to the board game community, just start playing games with new people and your network will grow itself.