Karl Musser runs the
more-or-less monthly annual Brunswick Games Day. BGD is what I would call a self-organizing event. Karl has a sweet deal with the town of Brunswick, MD whereby he gets the use of function space for free once a month year, as long the event is non-commercial, and he advertises that it's sponsored by the town. The space is roughly 100x40 feet, with fold-up tables and chairs. He has a game library that he brings, and then people just show up. People show up, bring out a table and chairs if needed, and start playing games. Towards the end of the day, people start putting away extra tables and chairs, and policing the area. Karl's nominally in charge, but has such a deft touch that everything 'just happens' without appearing to need his direction.
A lot of the Ludans have been going to BGD for a long time; today was my first time. I got there somewhat after noon, and things were already in swing. Grayhawk, B, and F were there, as were Brian and Lije. A couple of people were running a snacks table as a 'please donate' for a kid who's doing an exchange trip to Europe next year. There was a square of tables set up for an RPG, with more than a dozen people playing. Everyone there was involved in a game, and the tables were all full, so I setup another table and sat down. While I was doing that, Bruce and Cheryl appeared. Within moments, it seemed, I was teaching Cheryl and two other people to play Ticket To Ride. I didn't win, but everyone had fun, so I count it a success.
After a short break I pulled out Power Grid and ended up playing a 4-player game on the USA map with Grayhawk and two new players: Ethan and Mary Ann. After a slow start (4 plant the first turn, but nothing worth bidding on for turns 2 and 3), I acquired the 15, 25 and 30 plants, and eventually added the 40 plant. I won by powering 17 cities, when no one else could power more than 16.
Somewhere in there, Tony and Dana appeared, followed by Sallie and Dave. Brian and Lije had recently purchased Khronos so we sat down and learned to play with Tony and Dana. I ended up going first, and everyone else learned from my mistakes ... <grin> Still, it was an interesting game and I'll probably buy it.
Brian spent a lot of time teaching people to play Race for the Galaxy, and we played two games. I did better in the first game than in the second, but still lost both games -- not unexpected. I'll probably buy this one as well.
By this point, it was getting late so we helped strike tables and clean up. While we were playing Khronos, some folks borrowed my Power Grid set. They ended up being the last game, and it ended around 11:30, so there was a mad rush to clean that up before the Brunswick Police kicked us out. I'll probably keep going back, schedule permitting.
I got a lot of comments about the Flying Buffalo Box Bands that I use on some of my games to keep them from opening up at inconvenient times. They're available in small, medium, and large, and they're reasonably priced: 6 for $5. If you haven't seen them, they're 4-way rubber bands that slip over all 4 edges of a game box at once.
EDIT: Corrected -- The full up BGD is annual, not monthly.