Pay to Play; Are Private Game Rooms on the Rise?

In recent weeks I have begun seeing my local game stores setting aside dedicated gaming space by way of private gaming rooms. At face value, this is not a bad thing and I don’t want this article to come across as asshat-ish. Let me preface the rest of this article with we have five local stores of varying size and focus.

Common Room Games, Green Room (Bloomington, IN) Not a local store!

In the last month and a half, we have one local store forced to close (due to developers) only to reopen the other day in a new location. This new location has several rooms for gaming, most of which can be reserved for private gaming. We’ve also had another store who has been around for less than a year that was only catering to MtG move to a new location and begin branching out into other genres. They also have two rooms that can be reserved for private use. The other three stores do not currently offer private gaming space.

While I think these two stores are trying something novel for our local area, I am not sure if it something that will be widely utilized by local gamers. The local game groups are very fragmented and tend to play in either public locations (stores) where there is little to no table fee or they tend to play at private homes. The later is what my gaming groups do for a variety of reasons (food, alcohol, language, etc). As I understand it, both stores will be charging game groups for use of these private rooms. Given I know the local community moderately well, I have a hard time seeing most of these groups paying any real money to rent these spaces when free or cheaper space is available at other stores or private homes. If the price to rent out these spaces locally is cheap and fair, I could see more groups maybe utilizing them on a regular basis. Specifically, one store has proposed charging what amounts to $30 to rent a room to a local RPG group for a 6-hour session. If the group meets weekly, that would be a $120 a month to play a weekly RPG. Pricey in my humble opinion, but I do see the value in a quiet private space for roleplaying.

When my job takes me to other locations I always try to visit as many local game stores as possible. I have not seen the renting of private rooms as a “thing” in the areas I have traveled to. That is not to say that it’s not happening, only that I have not seen it before. A quick internet search tells me this is a “thing” in some locations and conditions to use/reserve the space varies widely. I’d like to know if private games rooms are an option in other locations and if so, what do they cost to rent? Are they regularly rented?

~ Modoc

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