tea@Hart has always been more than just a tea room (though anonymous tea drinkers who just want a quiet place to read the paper, meet a friend, or browse the internet are always very welcome – and the key part of our daytime trade)!
We’re attempting to resource a community of people who enjoy tabletop games. Or sometimes a community of people who enjoy people, and are happy to play games because they get to meet more people. Basically, we like giving people the opportunity to come together – and it’s something we’ve done quite a lot of over the last two-and-a-half years.
In 30 months we’ve gone from opening one evening per week as an extension of a family hobby, to six nights per week! We began with a donation of 12 games from home, to now having over 250 games, expansions and RPG books!!! A key part of our success for our gaming evenings so far are people who give up their time to learn games, get people together, to act as a ‘community builder’ as well as a champion for their preferred games.
But there’s much, much more we can do – and the capacity of the staff and owners to organise and run games are at a limit.
So we’d like to extend an offer to all current and budding Games Masters and Tournament organisers. We want to encourage people who are passionate about the game they love and want other people to love it to! As of September we’d like to offer all GMs:
- A ‘thank you’ in the form of store credit per person who attends your events
- Special rewards for length of service
- Free entry on the evenings you are GMing
- Adding the games, books, maps, or other resources you need to our library.
- We’ll help you advertise your group (if necessary).
- We’ll help you create the atmosphere you want for your game.
- For some games we’ll be able to offer amazing discounts on the games to begin the community.
- Some people might also appreciate the chance to develop their skills and a reference from the owners to show prospective employers your excellent organisational, problem solving, and people skills.
For all Tournament Organisers the rewards are similar, but because you are running a competition on behalf of the tea room, we’ll also get you a snazzy t-shirt if it’s a recurring tournament!
Let’s get to the details:
What’s the differences between a GM and a TO:
- A GM will be running a regular event, usually with the same group of people. As a general rule the participants of your game will pay £1 for their entry fee (unless you come in during the day where there’s no entry fee, but we’d just need to talk about how we can make it work – unfortunately tea rooms and cafes generally need a certain level of turnover in tables to stay afloat).
- A TO will be running a tournament, or a series of tournaments, or a league. Participants will generally pay more to cover prize support. And your snazzy T-Shirt.
Who can be a GM or TO:
- Anyone can be a GM – you just need enthusiasm for the game you want to run!
- Almost anyone can be a TO! You don’t really need to be at a judge level in the rules, though obviously it’s important to know the game. But a TO is representing the tea room, as such we expect a certain level of responsibility, communication, and organisational skills. It looks bad on us, for example, if you’re late to a juniors Pokemon event and have an army of parents and kids twiddling their thumbs. We suggest you talk to us about the tournaments you’d like to run, and if we have several people wanting to run the same event we’ll first encourage you to think of how you could work together, or if that won’t work we have a short application procedure.
- As a general rule you are welcome to still play in events you’re running. Of course, the aim is to grow your favourite game and so you may want to make decisions around playing to prevent an ‘odd number’, and how prize support will work if you do well!
I want the game night to reflect my personality. Can I change the decor/menu/table set up?
Yes. Although there are practical limits, but perhaps your table doesn’t want to have to come to the counter to order food and interrupt the flow of the game – we can provide food at prearranged times or special sharing platters. Perhaps you want to make sure we have a particular drink in to add atmosphere to the game. Maybe you want candles, a particular soundtrack, a favourite table… we want to work with you to create the night you want!
Of course many people want to run their game at tea@Hart because they get to do the opposite – no fuss, no mess to clean up, no worrying about clearing the table before playing or having to provide snacks – just turn up, unroll your map or unfold the board and get going!
GM – whatever game you fancy running. It doesn’t have to be a traditional Role Playing Game. It could running through all the Ticket to Ride expansion, or enjoying playing through a campaign game like Imperial Assault, or a legacy game. It doesn’t even have to be a game (see below). But this is a ‘thank you’ to people who put the time it takes into running a series of games, rather than just a one-off.
TO – whatever game you fancy running. Even those we already run (the one exception is Friday Night Magic and MTG prereleases, which we like to run in-house). Here are some ideas you can take off our hands, where we’re sure you’ll have the ideas to make it even better: YuGiOh; Pokemon (for juniors and more competitive levels); Star Wars: Destiny; Standard Showdown (MTG)… Events we don’t run, but we’ve had interest in: Guildball; Star Trek Attack Wing; Netrunner; Game of Thrones LCG… but send us your ideas! We can also offer some great deals to get new game communities up and running.
We’ve even found customers really appreciate bring introduced to something completely new to them. In the past we have been able to create some great ongoing events from a couple of enthusiastic gamers who began by teaching people completely new to the game how to play. For example: a Dreadball League, Eldritch Horror campaign, Doomtown tournaments, a Netrunner league…
We’re open every evening from Tuesday to Sunday. But it doesn’t have to be an evening. Perhaps you want a daytime D&D group? We can also explore opening Monday too, especially if you think you have enough people to make it worth it (usually 12+ participants).
We swap GM duties in our group – who gets the store credit?
Only one person can benefit from a group at a time. If you rotate GMs there’s no problem – just let us know who’s account to put the credit onto!
Does it have to be a game?
No! We’re using GM as a broad term for anyone who bring a regular group to the tea room. It could be a book club (which would actually be awesome and we’d love someone to run one!), craft group, we think some of our customers would be interested in computer coding (a Raspberry Pi or Microbit club?) or Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings.
What isn’t suitable?
We’re not really spacious enough for very large wargames that need a 6′ by 4′ table with 2 players. Although we’re happy for people to come and try, we couldn’t fit more that 2 games of Star Wars Armada in at once, and we don’t have the space for terrain for war games like Warhammer. Generally any 2 player game that needs more than a meter square are difficult to fit in. However Hartlepool has a well stocked War Games’ Society that would love to hear from you.
I’m in, and I have a great idea!