Does my home-board-game-night dream organizer exist?
August 3, 2015 1:33 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I moved about a year ago to a town where we already had some friends, and have made new friends. Trying to invite people to play games via e-mail quickly devolves into micro-scheduling. "Big" board game nights are unwieldy and unfun. I'm looking for something that feels like it should exist, but I haven't found it yet. Full details inside:

- We know about a dozen people who like to play games.
- We like games that play 4 people, usually, with a bit of wiggle room.
- We don't like "open" games nights at games shops.
- We like having people over to our house.
- Our game collection isn't vast vast vast, but among several dozen games covers fairly intro-style games (Ticket to Ride etc.) through more complex, role-playing-ish games (Mansions of Madness).

What seems to make the most sense to me:

- A calendar-type interface, where you can see evenings that we're hosting board game nights. Shared with people we know.
- Without registering, people can click on dates with open games to see what game is being played, at what time, and how many people can join the game.
- Without registering, people can type in their name to fill a game slot.
- The calendar updates when this happens at the calendar view level, so you can see which dates are full of players, and which dates still have games seeking players.
- People can delete themselves from a game, and the calendar will reflect this change in status (from "full" back to "open").

Does this exist "out of the box" or is it home-brewable with some kind of existing web app? It feels like kind of a mashup between Google Calendar and Doodle and Meetup, but none of those three really do what I'm looking for here.
posted by Shepherd to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
SignUp Genius?
posted by acm at 1:35 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have you looked at Google Forms? You could use a survey to collect the info and then allow anyone to view the resulting Google Sheet. (Or you could just use a Google sheet and let anyone edit.)
posted by grobstein at 1:37 PM on August 3, 2015


I feel like Doodle would do the trick. Maybe not straight out of the box but you should be able to pick specified dates for a specific game type night and then people just put a check box next to the days they're in. And then you could make a different Doodle calendar for each game type I think?
posted by like_neon at 1:42 PM on August 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Doodle is amazing for this type of thing. In your shoes, I would list a few nights when you'd like to host game nights, then depending on the responses you get, schedule accordingly.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:50 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I came in to recommend Doodle for this exact problem.
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would do a public Google sheet that anyone can edit.

Sample
posted by samthemander at 2:12 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Idea: Just invite everyone over on a periodic basis (say, every 2 weeks or so) and play with whoever shows up? We used to have a get-together like this with friends, and it varied in size from just 2 or 3 couples to maybe 20 people once everyone had kids. Not everyone wants to play all the time, and that's totally OK. Even if just one other couple shows up, you're still in good shape for smaller games.

Start a simple Google Group, saying "Hey we would love to have you over for dinner and some board games" and then send a quick report when it's all over. Ping everybody a few days before the next get-together to gauge interest. Don't be alarmed when attendance waxes and wanes, and just go with the flow.
posted by slacy at 2:13 PM on August 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Thanks to Celsius1414 we've been using Doodle to schedule L.A. meet ups and so far it's been very helpful. No registration required.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:36 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Besides Doodle, there's also when2meet which I've found helpful. When2meet seemed a little clunkier to me at first, but I think it's actually more efficient once you get used to it. Depends on the crowd.
posted by zeek321 at 2:41 PM on August 3, 2015




Thanks for the suggestions so far. However, just for clarity, the model I'm seeking is not a "we're considering playing a board game at such and such a time, what time works for all of you?" situation.

The model is "we are playing these boardgames at these times, so check out this calendar and sign up on nights where there are open seats if you want to join us."

My experiences with Doodle may be too limited to understand its possibilities, but I don't want input on when to schedule board game nights. I want to schedule board game nights, and see who is available to fill seats on the already established dates and times on that schedule.

Idea: Just invite everyone over on a periodic basis (say, every 2 weeks or so) and play with whoever shows up? We used to have a get-together like this with friends, and it varied in size from just 2 or 3 couples to maybe 20 people once everyone had kids. Not everyone wants to play all the time, and that's totally OK. Even if just one other couple shows up, you're still in good shape for smaller games.

I'm sure this is a well-intentioned suggestion and I really appreciate it, but again, just for clarity, this is petty much the exact opposite of what I want to do. I already know how to invite vast numbers of people to vaguely planned get-togethers.

The challenge is inviting vast numbers of people to fill a specific number of seats, on specific dates, to play specific board games, where the end result is I know who is turning up, to play which board game, when.
posted by Shepherd at 3:20 PM on August 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


A publicly-editable Google sheet would be easy enough. You could lock the columns for date/time and game/#players, and then people could add their names to the appropriate row. It wouldn't automatically stop someone for signing up as the fifth player of a four-person game, but you could (for example) manually shade in the cells of available slots to help make it extra clear how many people you're looking for.
posted by teremala at 4:35 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did you check out the SignUpGenius suggestion above? It looks like it would do what you want. I also found wejoinin and MySignUp by searching for "signup" at AlternativeTo.net.
posted by ropeladder at 7:21 PM on August 3, 2015


I don't understand why meetup would not work for you. My game group does exactly what you prescribe (we are a closed group) and it works out great bc we have set nights and rsvps and everything you say you want.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 9:04 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


"The model is "we are playing these boardgames at these times, so check out this calendar and sign up on nights where there are open seats if you want to join us."

My experiences with Doodle may be too limited to understand its possibilities, but I don't want input on when to schedule board game nights. I want to schedule board game nights, and see who is available to fill seats on the already established dates and times on that schedule.
"

The way to accomplish this on Doodle would be to list all the nights that are already scheduled, which people can sign up for. You would ultimately get an email listing all the people who had registered for that night. (My memory is that there's a way to limit registrations too, but I may be misremembering that part.)

I also believe that you can export Doodle stuff directly to calendars.

The problem of "We'd like to know what the best night is for playing these games" is basically the same as "We have these nights, who's available to augment our regular crew" — what you want is a list of who is willing to commit to play games that night. You can do that on Doodle or with a variety of other solutions. What would be more helpful in answering your question is knowing what you want to do with that information once you have it. If you want an automatic email generated to you to let you know, Doodle would still work, and like I said, I believe you can export that to calendar APIs.

Do you want to take this list and automatically share a calendar with the people who are registered? Do you want the registrations to be exclusive (i.e. end after four registrations)? Do you want the registration to create an event receipt? Give you their contact info and have you follow up?

If you'd prefer something that's more modeled on a traditional event, you can use eventbrite. If you know a little bit about HTML forms, you can use google forms to export to a google spreadsheet and do a lot with their API (you could also roll your own if you have a place to host it).
posted by klangklangston at 9:44 PM on August 3, 2015


The model is "we are playing these boardgames at these times, so check out this calendar and sign up on nights where there are open seats if you want to join us."

Doodle can work for this. You can pick specific dates for the event - you just have to frame your message to your invite list that these are dates when the game is happening and they are signing up for the date, not voting for a date.
posted by like_neon at 2:06 AM on August 4, 2015


Ha. I am building this thing, as I wanted it and found it didn't exist. It will be at http://cardboard.community at one point, but not soon, I fear.
posted by Skyanth at 3:25 AM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cool Skyanth! I agree with Shepard that I've never seen anything quite like this in terms of a browsable calendar with different information and fixed sign up slots per date. If you do get it made, let me know via a message or something. I'd love to plug it at opinionated gamers and boardgamegeek.
posted by meinvt at 5:06 AM on August 4, 2015


(Skyanth, when it's finished it would be great in Projects, and mod-willing, maybe even a MeTa as a tool for meetups.)
posted by Room 641-A at 5:27 AM on August 4, 2015


It might be complete overkill, but what you're describing sounds a bit like planning a convention. "The afternoon slot from 12-4 will be this game, which has 4 seats available, put your name here if you want in" is basically what board game and RPG con planning is all about.

The guys over at Fear the Boot couldn't find decent software to do this, and ended up writing their own. It's free, so the only cost is time if you're interested in checking it out.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 12:16 PM on August 4, 2015


Good to hear people would like it! It might get made a bit faster now. :) I'll be sure to post it in projects.
posted by Skyanth at 1:39 AM on August 5, 2015


Wow, I've literally contemplated posting this exact same question. Right now my group is using a public Google calendar, but it's far from an ideal solution. I'm chiming in only to say that, Skyanth, if you make something with this functionality I would also find it extremely useful!
posted by soonertbone at 1:00 PM on August 5, 2015


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