Gaming Charity Event?

Hi Folks,

Does anyone have any experience on organizing a game day for charity, and would you be willing to share your experience/advice? I did a search on this but didn't come up with much.

The thoughts I've had so far are: have a suggested donation to get in; you can sponsor people to play games, for example for every game a person plays you give $2 to the charity, and maybe for every different type of game played too. The event could emphasize collaborative games or team games (probably board games), helping to build community as well as help the cause.

Any advice or thoughts appreciated!


  • For a moment I thought that I might have some relevant experience, but then I realized that the whole American charity event thing is such a peculiar institution (heh heh) that anything I've done here possibly couldn't apply.

    Interesting idea, nevertheless. Please keep us apprised of your progress with it.

    It occurs to me that the purpose of a charity event is basically similar to a commercial carnival in that you're trying to entice people to part with their money in a peaceful manner. A charity event has the additional leverage of paying for the contribution in social capital. There should be opportunities for stealth contributions (for the humble and shy people) and buying peculiar stuff and services (as you suggested), of course, but perhaps you'll want to pay attention to specific ways in which you could make contributors feel good about giving money. That is, how can the event celebrate big contributors?

    One thing I might consider for a charity gaming event is something gambling-like, despite my general dislike for gambling. A very lethal, very quick-paced D&D table (like, a couple of rooms and you're likely dead) where you pay to get a character, and the high scores are posted visibly (and perhaps some prizes for high achievers). $5 for a 3d6-straight-down character, $10 for a 4d6-drop-the-lowest-distribute-as-you-wish elite (chance for a paladin etc.), $50 lets you start at 3rd level. I could see something like that encouraging people to part with their money pretty well in a properly light-hearted context.
  • edited March 2017
    Make sure you check with local authorities, as laws for fundraising, gambling, and handling money vary widely. Make it as easy as possible to organize and run. Your sponsorship model has a lot of record-keeping and overhead, for example.

    I've helped organize and run a number of charity-oriented events. One that is really fun is to play in public - we used Fiasco - and allow spectators to "buy" anything. Seats at the table as players, of course, but also die rolls, re-rolls, narrating outcomes, scene-setting, whatever you can cajole them into paying for. Have an MC on hand to taunt and challenge and get people to outbid each other for the right to decide how a scene ends. Start a bidding war to kick player A out and replace them with spectator B. Make it big and entertaining and situate it in a place that will draw a crowd. This works well at a gaming convention, where people already know what's going on, generally.
  • Great suggestions folks! Much appreciated.

    Eero, I was hoping the sponsorship idea would appeal to stealth contributors - you could be officially anonymous, for example. There is some record-keeping involved, but hopefully this could be limited to one index card per person or the like.

    Jason you're right that the gambling part can run afoul of legal rules, but fortunately I have some lawyer friends who can help advise (probably simplest to avoid it though).

    The concept of having spectators buy anything from seats to die rolls is genius! I will definitely try to employ this. I'm thinking that our first run at this will be with board games, as they're more familiar to people and less intimidating than rpgs. The games I'm thinking of having there are:

    Two Rooms and a Boom
    One Night Werewolf
    Escape from the Temple
    Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
    Secret Hitler
    The Resistance
    A couple of versions of Zombicide

    For the timed games, spectators can pay to help the players out by turning the timer back so they have more time (or the reverse for nasty spectators!). For the games with secret roles, maybe they can pay to get a look at someone's card? Any other tips of what to "buy" with these games? Also, any other board games that would work well with this concept?
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