Watch one, do one, teach one

Any organization, group or movement has to contend with what I call the "100:10:1" rule.

The "100:10:1" boils down to "If you hold a public event, 100 people walk by you. 10 will pause and watch and be interested enough to ask questions. 1 will ask to join." We as a community and a group need to be ready to accommodate that one who is interested and wants to play. Here's how I have started to do this.

For the Memphis Battletech Group (our Facebook Page) I have become one of the leaders/organizers. When we have an event I ask every player in our group if they show up for a planned event to come with three lists. Two 4,000 point lists and one 8,000 point list.

As a group, we have discovered that 4,000 points per player is an optimum point value. You can run a force big enough (2-5 units, depending on their point value) to actually pull off some real tactical maneuvers, and with multiple players reach a conclusion (i.e. easily determine which side is most likely to win) in 2-4 hours, which is all of the play time some of us have. Some of our players have wives and children who do not play Battletech and thus wait impatiently for us to finish playing with our little war robots.

Having pre-made lists before we hit our favorite game store allows us to get in, set up, play and tear down and go home in a timely manner. We also get to think about trying various tactics and methods instead of throwing a force together in a claptrap manner.

The first list of 4,000 points is for ourselves to play. Our primary list.

The 8,000 point list is just in case there is an odd number of players. For example, if only five players show, we roll randomly to determine which player gets to use this list. This allows for us to keep a balanced game without having to exclude anybody because "the points would be lopsided." The 8,000 point list is usually an extension of the first list, or a list with a different theme or tactical objective.

The second 4,000 point list is actually the most important. With any group or organization, a constant stream of new people are essential to maintaining the group and growing the membership. If someone walks up to us and asks, "Can I play?" we can quickly and unequivocally say, "We knew you were coming, so we made a list just for you. Here you go, we will explain how to play and offer suggestions. These are yours to control."

I like this concept because we don't want to give the appearance of reluctantly giving up a single Mech for a new player to use. I want them to feel from the start they are an equal player with us, not the runt kid who we have to "squeeze in" in a game of sandlot baseball. Now if they only want to play a single unit, that's another matter entirely. Ask them what unit they want to play and have them go at it! This also encourages the present members because they have "mentored" a new player, thus their enthusiasm and level of participation improves as well. A definite win-win situation.

The very first time we tried this, we had four players show up with three lists. We also had a veteran player who had all of his Mechs stolen show up with a new player so two of the extra lists were used. Here is the battle report of that fight. Much fun was had by all.

As one last way to garner attention by passersby, I have made a sign which will be in a document holder prominently displayed at one end of the table:

battletech signI hope you use these suggestions to grow your groups and our community as a whole.

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