For those who have been asking about this event recently...
The Gathering Of Friends is an invitation-only 10-day gaming event hosted by board game designer Alan Moon. Alan Moon is a two-time winner of the Spiel des Jahres (Ticket To Ride, Elfenland) and is one of the most recognized active game designers.
I was first invited in 2010; you can read about my experience: Alan Moon's Gathering Of Friends: A Newbie Report.
I haven't yet posted my report for 2011 but will update this entry when I do. For now, you can see some of my photos from the 2011 Gathering Of Friends. Also, you should check out this great article about the 2011 Gathering Of Friends in the Niagara Gazette.
Some frequently asked questions:
How do I get invited?
You need to receive a personal invitation from Alan. However, I strongly advise AGAINST asking Alan directly. Keep reading...
I've heard about a nomination process for being invited. How does that work?
The current nomination process: Nominations for new invites are only accepted when Alan sends out the word that he's accepting new nominations. In order to nominate someone or second a nomination, you must have attended the previous two Gatherings and must be registered to attend the next year's Gathering. Nominations should have two seconds and have to include info about why the person being nominated (or seconded) would be a good fit.
Also, the person who is being nominated must be able to attend the next Gathering event if invited.
Once I'm invited, am I in for good?
After your first invite, you will most likely receive an invitation from Alan every year (it comes by e-mail). BUT remember that this is Alan's private event, so he may rescind your invitation if you give him a reason to do so.
Think of it like walking into someone's house. If you start harassing the other guests or making them uncomfortable, or otherwise behaving badly, you're unlikely to be invited back.
Other attendees might have had different experiences but in the two Gatherings I've attended so far, I have never encountered even a single instance of bad sportsmanship while board gaming. No hissyfits, no throwing of the game just because they're losing, no cheating, etc. I've also found everyone friendly and welcoming, even to a relative newbie like me.
It's a great group, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.
I hardly ever read reports about The Gathering. Why not?
In addition to those who attend just to play games at The Gathering, there are also game designers and game publishers from around the world who may be testing and showing prototypes as well as doing some business with each other. Not surprisingly, attendees are asked NOT to blog or tweet about these prototypes unless given explicit permission by the designer/publisher.
Some opt not to blog/tweet about the event at all. I always ask because I figure if the designer or publisher says yes, then it's a chance for me to help build buzz for and promote their game, plus give other people a glimpse into an aspect of board gaming they may know very little about. Although I have no desire to be a board game designer or publisher myself (I just want to play the games :-)), I've always been fascinated by the process of how a board game is developed.
Where to find out more about Alan Moon and his board games online: