This post is about the story of creating a community of Werewolves players using meetup. (This is not an advertisement post)
What is Werewolves?
Werewolves is a role-playing game, It involves bluffing, building strategies, and psychological analysis.
This game is quite addictive, when we play it we usually spend a long time talking about the events of the game after we are done playing it, some people tell us “why do you take that game seriously?”
I first learned about Werewolves when I went to school in Iowa as there was a group of students that play it there, I then moved to the Bay Area and had no friends and couldn’t find people who play the game regularly and were open to new people (like Facebook or meetup events).
How Did I create a successful Meetup group?
I loved the game and always felt it was a great way to socialize and make friends, I had an idea that I would start a group myself.
I’ve used Meetup to find events and participate in activities around me before but I have never been an organizer and I was quite hesitant (social anxiety, fear of failure, fear of responsibility … etc).
How much did it cost me?
After a not too long fight with these feelings I decided to do it, I order a set of cards (that we don’t use anymore because now we have a more effective way to start the game and I also lost these cards when someone broke into my car before 😅).
I was under the impression that this will be the investment I need to put in, just get the cards and be willing to teach people the game, what can potentially go wrong? well, that’s when I found that meetup is not free for organizers.
I was determined that I want to make it a free meetup, I didn’t want to charge people to join and I was not legally allowed to have any such source of income anyway (I’m on a student VISA until the moment of writing this article).
I’ve decided to pay the organizer fees for the first year, my fear is getting higher because I’m afraid I will be losing the money if I fail to start the group and that will make me an irresponsible person.
Note: as of today, some people bring name tags for everyone and some people bring snacks to share, that was not my call to make but that is how it is now ☺️
How do I convince enough people to attend?
Meetup doesn’t show new groups at the top, if there are enough older groups with higher traffic in the area your group will be buried.
I even tried writing the exact name of the event in the search bar and the event was not the first to show up (or second, not even third 😒).
The game needs at least 7 players and it’s more fun when more people play, if only 5 people or so showed up, what will happen? will I tell them to go home while they could have planned a better weekend?
I wanted to tell more people about the event but I just moved and I don’t know anyone, I made sure to write a good description for the game and had it peer-reviewed by the organizer of the old group from my school, but I’m sure that is not enough.
I went to a couple of other meetup events and started telling people about it, I even met a guy who organizes multiple meetup groups and was okay with the idea of announcing my new game to the attendees.
All of that only resulted in exactly 7 attendees, just enough to be able to have a game, but surely the game sells itself, word of mouth was our way to get players for upcoming weeks.
At the moment of writing this article the Bay Area werewolves group has 493 members and an average of 25 people showing up every week to play Werewolves, when I ask first-timers how they found the group, many say they just opened meetup and it was the first thing to pop up.
I’m moving to Seattle so ownership of the group is currently transferred to a friend that was always highly involved in organizing the group.
I’m still involved, people in other cities in the bay area reached out to see if the group can host events in their cities so looking into that.
Not sure if I will start a similar group in Seattle on not 🤔.
Most importantly, we will be working on building an open-source app to help the community evolve the game and keep adding more to the fun. check the source code or how far the app is today (At the moment of writing this there was not much done yet – but there are a bunch of documents some volunteers are working on).
That was a super awesome and fun experience I’m glad I had it. So impressed by how people naturally kept pushing the game forward toward more fun and dynamic.