North West Gaming Centre

Reputation - Like teeth, painful to get and painful to lose

The North West Gaming Centre in Stockport seems to have acquired a chequered reputation but when I attended Toy Soldier last year, (as I have blogged earlier),  I was pleasantly surprised. I may have mentioned that Darren, the owner/manager contacted me in response to my feedback and seemed to take my suggestions on board. I was delighted when he  called me a couple of weeks ago and invited me to attend Decimation in March so that I ‘could see the improvements he has made’. I must say that I do feel he and his team are making an effort and I’m looking forward to attending Decimation and seeing for myself the changes he has made over the last six months.

This brings me to another point. Decimation seems to be a typical event. The venue is better than most but attendance seems to be quite low at around 40. I asked myself why this should be?

Issues that occurred to me were, transport links, publicity, reputation, table top terrain, organisation and so on. But I can’t help thinking that all of these are more than acceptable or at least improving greatly since the early days of the venue. I therefore have come to the conclusion that in order to attract more attendees each venue needs to attract advocates that ‘push’ their prefered venue to their friends and club members. If I was therefore going to offer any advice to Darren I would suggest he build strong relationships with the local big clubs, and key members.  ‘Flame On’ used to be based in Manchester for example so recruiting their leading members would be a great start.

A second issue is the lack of updates on forums like TWF. As it happens I think that recruiting advocates would solve this problem as they would build excitement around an event and in turn their friends would add to the discussion and the forum presence would grow.

I am not suggesting that the NWGC is the best venue in the country. However it seems to me that Darren is making a concerted effort to offer the gaming community a wider choice of high quality venue. This surely is a benefit to tournament organisers and will ensure other venues ‘behave’ in the light of competition. Darren’s efforts to elicit feedback from gamers and then to do something about it is refreshing and I wish him all the best.

I can conclude that it takes a while to develop a positive reputation within the gaming community, and that it only takes a single poor event to wreck all the good work.

What does everyone think? Have you been to the NWGC, if not why not? If you have what were your thoughts? I know I had reservations last year  that I voiced and they  seem to have been addressed, but I could see the potential and will report back after  Decimation in March.



10 thoughts on “North West Gaming Centre

  1. I must say that I have not been to NWGC since last August when we returned the board we had used for the Rumble. Must admit that I did see improvements from previous visits in the form of more tables and scenery with more being worked on.
    My main gripes were the toilet facilities being pretty dire, food and drinks in short supply and the access via the fire escape. I had also been told that at that time and before they had no drinks license (how true this is or was I can’t say).
    Plus points are being reasonably close for me, a couple of hotels and pubs in locality although I can’t say what any of them are like. On site parking and reasonable transport links.
    The place has definite potential and Darren does seem to be trying hard to push the place upmarket and improve things and I appreciate that is a rolling job especially in todays economic climate.
    It could be some or all the above have been addressed since I last was there, it would certainly improve the experience of attending.
    There are a few of the Flame On guys who go there for regular gaming playing Epic, FOW and Malifaux as far as I know and also a few guys who I know from round the tourney circuit, so they seem to have a reasonable “club” attendance as it were.
    Be interrested to see how things have moved on, words and pics please.

  2. Geoff,

    Funnily enough you had the same issues that I sent to Darren in writing. He has told me that he has made improvements and wants me to see them so I hope all the issues that you raise will be improved.

    The entrance should not be by the fire escape. Apparently there is a front door but locals park their cars in the car park and rather than walk around to the front, they use the fire escape. The toilets were very shabby and I told him that they were not family friendly and I certainly would not let my kids use any of his facilities. I hope these two things at least will be fixed by the time I get there in a couple of weeks.

    I can recommend the Premier Inn that is 50 yards from the venue. Rooms are what you would expect but the Beefeater steak house was very good and the ‘all you can eat breakfast’ simply dangerous!

    I’ll keep you informed.

  3. Where the hell is Manchester? Is it up north i.e above Bristol? If so I only thought there were dragons and a few weary souls ekeing out an existence on the land.

  4. Very funny! 😉

    Steve. When you have an idea of any events you are attending this year will you let me know? I quite fancy a change of scene so I may well come along with you to one or two southern softy events. (Not that it will be very challenging)

  5. So what’s the verdict on the old place then?
    Have the proposed improvements happened?
    How was the gaming over the weekend?

  6. Geoff,

    I will repost here what I posted on TWF.

    “Thanks for a nice little event. I enjoyed all my games but I was astonished at the polarised aspects of the event.

    Whilst the event was run as a club night in a very relaxed atmosphere I did think that, as a showcase, it should have been more professionally managed. There were several armies that were unpainted or extremely badly painted. If this was any other event I think they would have been disqualified. For those of us that spend a long time painting (even if its badly) I found this a bit disrespectful. It’s fine for a local club but not for an event that hopes to grow into something bigger. The Organisers never really got a grip[ on the competitors. Players continued to talk over announcements and game times were not adhered to. Fine for a club night but not when extra turns may have made a difference. For example I stopped at the end of turn four in one game when time was called. Otyher games were still going on 45 minutes later. Again, fine for playing with your mates but not at a publicised event.

    So the event felt relaxed and I was expecting a small event with more characterful armies, it seemed that the majority of players had ‘tooled’ up as if they were at the ETC! I think that if I had known I would not have attended as I can fight those type of armies any time at larger events, against better players and with better paint jobs.

    I am however, optimistic about the event and will go again. The terrain was great and has clearly had some time invested in it. The facilities are improving and I am told that the toilets will be improved this week. Table service was good but the food was poor and not clearly explained. It was clearly based on the requirements of youths on a club night rather than those of players that invest their time in a hobby and expect a certain level of return.

    The players were all fine and I enjoyed every game. Winning three and losing three was about average and better that I expected after reading my opponents army lists!! My recommendation is to attend this event. the facilities are improving all the time. The terrain was the best I’ve seen for a long time. BUT make sure you are ready to face very hard armies that have been thrown together for their effectiveness rather than their looks.”


  7. Thought as much Mike, glad you had a reasonable time. It always strikes me as more of a club hall than a professional venue. Glad the terrain is improved, last time I was down they were quite bust making it. The bogs have been “being done over” since the first time I was there and are woefully inadequate. When we were down borrowing tables for the last Rumble Darren said there was a cafe opening in the next room and that would be doing the food, so either that hasn’t happened or it is no different to the ordered in stuff he had previously.
    There is so much potential there but until the basic facilities are sorted it will remain tier two.
    The painted armies thing has been that way since they started as well, very shabby in my view, they are tourneys after all’s said and done (no the armies LOL) and the wider gaming community expects a higher standard these days and time keeping to be fair all round not just for the locals.
    Think that is a major hurdle, too many “mates” who don’t want to improve the place and the gameing.
    By the way I have started a blog after your inspiration and it will have bumf about my dice and me at tourneys and also Warriors stuff about our terrain building programme etc, have a butchers.

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