Hammer N Ales Portsmouth is a wargaming group based in Portsmouth
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Posts : 910
Join date : 2012-07-17

PostSubject: MAJOR NEWS   Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:55 am

Started this as a facebook conversation with most of you, but if you aren't on that or I don't have you...

Right guys, Hammer N Ales stuff please add anyone I've missed. And brace yourself, this is a long one...

For those who haven't been down in a while or weren't at club tonight, I was presented with a letter from the RAOB committee saying that as of the 1st July the fee for the use of their facilities is going to rise from £5 per meeting to £20 per meeting. Now that is quite a substantial jump.

I plan to have a look around to see if I can find anywhere else, but I'm not confident about finding a better deal. That may be where this has come from - if they recognise that we have no alternative, they may be thinking they can milk us for all we are worth. They just seem to have overestimated how much our club is worth. As it stands at £5 per week, based on average attendances, they already get 43% of club funds. The rest goes on club investment. Now that is a split I've been reasonably happy with. Their new price makes for difficult reading.

In 2015 we averaged 7.8 attendees per week. To meet their proposed rent increase, with absolutely no club investment (leading to the long term death of the club as we would be unable to buy new things or repair/replace broken scenery) we would have to put the price up to £2.56 per week. If we also wished to maintain current club investment levels, we would need to raise the price to £3.42 per week. That would then leave us in the uncomfortable position of 75% of club funds going towards rent.

IF I can haggle, I'm assuming the natural haggle mark to aim for would be halfway, or £12.50 per week, although please note that there are no contact details nor invitation to discuss... the way the letter is written, the decision has been made. We just have to deal with it. But even IF I managed to haggle them down to £10 a week, a mere doubling of our current rent, then in order to maintain current club investment levels we would need to raise our price to £2.14 per week. And this begs the question, do we want the club to be for us and us alone? Or do we want to grow, bring in new blood, meet new people? If we are to play the same 8 people week in week out, we may as well hang out at someones house if they have the space. The purpose of a club is to meet new people and discover new games and experiences. Our club has always been the smaller, cheap and cheerful club in Portsmouth, we've never pretended to be bigger or better equipped than the competition (Solent Wargamers) So how do we compare to SWG? I've checked their website, and things have changed there since last I checked...

None members who turn up, play, don't join... £2 per week. So not as good as our current rate, but better than the prices we are looking at to cope with this rent increase. However, for a £60 membership fee, you can get a season pass. Play for the entire year, no gaming fees. Assuming you attend there or here every week for a year, they ALREADY undercut us by £18 a year, before any increases to our costs. This is substantially lower than it used to be. Last I checked we were the marginally cheaper club, but they have dropped in price, I can only assume they have a large enough membership base to support the lowering of costs.

Now don't get me wrong guys, I don't like the idea of losing our independence and going to hang out with those we have had, shall we say, differences with in the past... but at the same time I don't want to run Hammer N Ales at a subsistence level where we hope to cover the rent just barely on a week by week basis and can completely forget about ever buying campaign books or starter sets or scenery ever again. I don't want Hammer N Ales to survive, I want it to LIVE. But under these circumstances, I am struggling to see an out here...

I shall have a look around, to see if I can find anything. I shall go to Dave, and see if there is any wriggle room, presenting the same numbers I have presented here to make our case of just how small a margin we run on. I'll add in the costs of the books and terrain, that may be an eye opener for him, although on the other hand letting them know the crap they store in their outhouse has value may not be the best idea... I'll think about that one. But going up to someone to haggle and saying "yeah, I can give no ground whatsoever, sorry..." not exactly the best negotiating position to start from if I'm honest.

Thoughts? Ideas? Anything better than Hammer N Ales becoming a badge of honour among a few of us when we meet up at commercially available venues/other clubs/each others gamerooms? Cos right now I'm struggling...
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Jamie Garrett


Posts : 459
Join date : 2013-03-01
Age : 39
Location : Portsmouth

PostSubject: Re: MAJOR NEWS   Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:33 am

It sucks mate. Taking a completely commercial view from their stand point they know we are not going to get another venue for £5 per week (which includes storage) so did what any business has been doing in the last few years and increased the price to the point where they think you'll be forced to accept based upon competitive pricing (i think we'll struggle to find somewhere which will offer storage and a room for the whole evening for £20 a week).

As we discussed last night, i have space for three 6x4 tables (possibly 4 if you have those fold up tables), plus kettle and fridge so people can bring their own food and drink. I'd be happy to host an evening or two a month and have additional scenery for people to use. I could also store a bit in my annexe too.
Not sure id want to commit to hosting the game evening every week though as i am up and down the country for work and sometimes wouldn't be around.

Just throwing that option out there if we want to consider looking at a multiple location option, with venues being agreed before hand and games organised/tables being booked on the forum.

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PostSubject: Re: MAJOR NEWS   Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:23 am

Oh commercially I completely agree, we are really going to be up shit creek to try to match their new price let alone their old... But we aren't exactly a commercial company are we? It's like charging the same rent for a function room to BP as you do to the local womens hospice bingo group... technically it's fair, but you wouldn't actually do it...

I just don't think they've taken into account that the price they have set is too high for us to exist.

I don't have as much space as you, nor as many tables, my place would be better suited to the boardgame style nights, maybe squeeze a couple x-wing games in... I can set up a 6x4 table, and a 2x3 boardgame table. Plus a small seating area with coffee table for small card based games. If we were looking at multiple private homes for gaming I think that it'd be better to have necessary equipment/scenery at each place rather than flitting it to and fro week by week, as the constant moving would be a) a chore and b) damaging to the stuff. So the storage of the tables and scenery during the week would also have to be considered. I can store some infrequently used boxes at my place, may need to give my store cupboard a bit of a tidy up but it is an option.

Do remember guys of course, this talk of running it at multiple small locations is effectively plan D... our best hope is still gonna be me talking to Dave next week and asking if a) they just want us out and b) presenting our case and haggling. But if I can't get him down to a tenner a week, which would mean us putting club fees up to £2 a week and taking some loss to club investment funds... if I can't manage that, we NEED these other options...
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PostSubject: Re: MAJOR NEWS   Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:38 am

Ginge, whilst negotiating for a better deal would it be viable to offer a similar system of payment as Solent Wargamers - I hate to suggest something from our rivals but Tricia suggested something similar in order to try helping negotiate a better deal - the club may be better minded to negotiate a better deal for us if they know they will be getting monies upfront.
Tricia also suggested offering an inflated non membership fee per visit to encourage annual membership, and that may also encourage club loyalty and thus more members per week.
Also, getting a written contract with said terms would be great.

Apologies if we are teaching you to suck eggs, just trying to come up with ideas to not only save the club but prolong it's lifespan too.
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