by Ken Tidwell with Tom Preston, 3 December 2014Want to learn more about London on Board?
London On Board held their Pandemic Party on November 25, 2014. The night was well attended with a great atmosphere as gamers joined together playing games for a great cause. As the night wound down the group got some great feedback and calls to do it, again. Tom Preston, an assistant organizer with the group, gave us all the details.
On the night, 48 people came to a packed evening in the basement of one of the group’s regular venues, a central London pub called The Red Herring. Most people played Pandemic, sometimes multiple games and various expansions. Some members also played other games with hospital, disease or 'saving the world' related themes.
London on Board’s regular meetups are free but for this special night they set a minimum amount for admission of £10 but people were free to pay more and some did. They wanted to keep it simple and ensure that they got a decent amount in donations. They were upfront about there being a charge for this particular meetup that would go to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) directly. The sweetener was that entry included a raffle ticket with prizes such as Board Game Guru gift vouchers and board games.
To handle all of the donations, they got envelopes from MSF that sealed (so no funny business!). The envelopes also allowed people to add their address for gift aid, a program in which the UK government refunds to the charity the tax that the donor paid on that amount. In order to take advantage of gift aid, the group will be sending their donation directly to MSF in the UK.
When collecting funds outside of the United States, it is also okay to donate directly to the Pandemic Parties page. If you do donate directly to your local MSF office, be sure to let us know the amount so we can update the running total on the site!
The event worked out nicely and the group will donate well over £600 (around US$1,000)!
London, UK is a large, sprawling European capital. And it has a board games club of imperial proportions: 5,000 members at large! London on Board is a friendly board game group. They have meetings seven days a week (give or take!). To find out where they are meeting (and whether or not they have space for you - with that many members, this is a reservation driven club!) check out their Meetup page. Also have a look at the glowing article from Time Out, the popular guide to things around and about London.
London on Board meets in various pubs in central London. Most members can get to the venues easily after work. If you attend, you’ll find a mix of people from various backgrounds doing all sorts of different jobs, most of whom live in London but some only come in for work. The group has been encouraged to see a steady rise in female members over the years. They are a welcoming club for anyone who loves games or is interested in trying them out.
Weekday meetups take place in the evening and are relaxed, friendly environments for playing games and having fun. Players try not to take themselves too seriously. It's a great place to play games and meet new people.
They've ruled out two player games, collectable card games, and large scale miniature wargames to maintain a casual, social environment (and lack of space in London pubs!). Just about any other types of games are welcome and encouraged. Weekday meetups are in the evening so shorter, lighter games are the stars. At the weekend, they book rooms for the whole day to accommodate longer games.
This was the first time the club had done a charity event. London on Board does host other, non-charity events, including LoBsterCon, a very popular mini-con held twice a year in Eastbourne.
Tom Preston has always loved games. His recent obsession with the hobby, however, probably started with an introduction to Settlers of Catan by a friend. Carcassonne followed at Christmas. Things snowballed from there as Tom first discovered Boardgamegeek and then London on Board.
We asked Tom if he was concerned about ebola. “I can't really speak for the whole club here, except to say that it's a fairly non-divisive cause that we can all get behind. Personally speaking, it's a tragedy that we should all care about, not just for the suffering of fellow human beings, but for the danger it presents to people far beyond the origins if left unchecked.”
Tom is spot on. Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of MSF, says, "The best way to reduce the risk of Ebola spreading outside West Africa is to fight it there."
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