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university society

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:21 pm
by edinburghfoos
hey guys, dunno if this is the right place to post, and you've probably given this advice plenty of times, but im interested in starting a tf society at unversity.

it'l be edinburgh university, and im just asking for advice or any ideas for gettin tables, the best way to set it up. there are a few pubs in the area which have tables to play on, should i start here, see if theres enough interest then approach the uni?

im just a young go-getter who wants edinburgh on the tf map.

any help will be much appreciated =)

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:00 pm
by Naked Snake
Hi Dave - Welcome to Britfoos!

It's always good to have new keen players trying to set up university scenes, especially in universities without a current one. It is possible to form a thriving society in a relatively short time, as Warwick uni have done, and I suggest that the players from there will be most helpful to you (Adam Baker, Philip Pratt, Harry Cummings... there are quite a few of them who will respond I'm sure).

The main thing you need is a table and a venue to put it in - at first one table will be plenty. You should first check to see if the a university venue (SU) would be willing to gat a table in - as this way you are more likely to get sponsorship and attract players than if you use a pub/bar not affiliated to the uni. Some places are contracted by games (pool) distributors with exclusive rights to providing gaming equipment - these companies rarely stock decent foos tables and generally the maintenance is even worse, so if possible find a place with freedom of choice of tables. If the place is willing to have a table in then you can start to investigate the options...

A new professional World-championship spec. table will cost around 550 pounds for a Garlando (Italian Style - blue and red men, ramps on the edges, single keeper) and upwards of 1000 pounds for a Tornado (US style - yellow/black men, no ramps, 3 keepers, heavier table). These are the two tables played the most at the highest level in the UK/World so I'd suggest getting one of these rather than a cheaper model. If the bar is willing to buy the table then great - they should make their money back in no time at all. However, most bar managers will want to see results before paying up, in which case you can either pay for the table yourself/through a society and earn money back on it as it's played (this is I believe what Warwick did, making much profit in the process), or you can contact a distributor who will put a table in the venue and split the takings with the bar/SU.

If you get a distributor in you need to be careful - some are much better than others at maintaining tables, offering a decent money split, and having the better models of tables available. Really, the only person I know of who is completely reputable (though he doesn't look it!) and would cover your area (possibly) is Boris Atha. He is on this forum often and I'm you should get in touch anyway as he travels around a lot and will I'm sure be in Edinbrough at some point and willing to give advice.

Once the table is in it's just a matter of promotion and encouragement. A great way to start a scene with a bang is a tournament, preferably with incentives (e.g. free crate of beer for the winners) and low/no entry fees. The bar may well help you out with a prize in exchange for a bar full of thirsty foosers all afternoon/evening. You should get e-mails of anyone even vaguely keen, and preferably all this should be done while the freshers are still excited, free and malleable! I took a table along to the Bangor University Freshers fair, and offered prizes for "Beat the Pro" -  a crate of beer for anyone beating me in a first to 10 - this allowed me to get peoples' details and spread awareness of the club.

Once you've got the initial impact, you should follow up with something regular, even if it's just a sociable practice night one a week. Eventually it's great to have weekly competitive foos (e.g. a cup competition or league for singles/doubles/teams...) but this is a little way down the line.

It'll take some work but be immensely rewarding. Good luck with everything and I'm sure the Britfoos regulars will give you all the help they can.

Mark

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:03 pm
by edinburghfoos
thats top notch, thanks for the ideas.
i'm no pro (of course, who is?) but i went to tommies (like burdet,tom hampson,steve lyall, and the up and coming joe latimer) so im their pre warwick level (they won the freshers tournament).

i like the freshers idea, wonder if i could get a table organised in time. thanks again,
Dave

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:18 pm
by nfm24
Cambridge and Oxford leagues are pretty big, but are helped by the college structure, which gives people obvious teams to play for. So you'll need some way of designating what teams there will be in your league, if you want to have teams with several people in them. Alternatively, Warwick has done well without college structure, by having just doubles/singles leagues I think.

In my view the Cam/Ox type leagues provide competition for a large number of people, at all kinds of standards, whereas the Warwick league seems to provide great top-end competition for a smaller number, with all their best players playing each other all the time and improving together.

Before I founded the Cambridge league, I organised a couple of doubles comps which were basically trial-runs to see who was interested. Then during these I could talk to the other keen players and suddenly I had a load of college captains who entered teams the next year. So some kind of preliminary competition would be necessary. If you offer some kind of prize, or the competition has some sort of theme to it, you could attract more interest.

You should definitely put posters and things up in the local pubs and anywhere with a table.

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:39 pm
by Boris
I could provide you with a WC Garlando table (open or glass top) free of charge, in return for 40% of the coin receipts (50% to venue, and 10% to society for maintaining it and collecting) - training will be given.

I wouldn't be able to service it myself (too far), but it would be a way to get started.  The cost of spare parts would have to come off the top, before the split.

If you need a table for Freshers, I'm due in Scotland early next week with work, so if you can set things up I can bring an (open top) table.  No glass top versions until the end of September.

Contact 07767-307579

Boris

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:14 pm
by fool_on_the_hill
I was going to say you don't need to worry about getting a table yet, and instead to just find a nearby venue with a good table, but Boris's offer sounds pretty great.

It really would make a big difference to get the word out to the Freshers. The Warwick society was founded the academic year before last by a group of friends, and they picked up about twenty other members through flyers for tournaments and their page on the Students' Union website. Almost all of the members were final year students, so the membership dropped to about eight last summer. We only got a large number of members after heavy publicity at the International Orientation week (a pre-term warm up week for overseas students) and the Freshers' Fair. We had a freeplay table set up at both of these events, and got to about seventy members like this.

I suggest you start as soon as possible looking into what the system is for setting up and publicising societies at Edinburgh.

If you want to keep people interested and have decent numbers attending, you should pick a weekly meeting time and advertise it wherever possible. Obviously if you install a table in your union you can put something on this, I'd suggest keeping it fairly brief or people might not bother to read it. Weekly sessions should consist of a mix of friendly and competitive games. When we joined the society at Warwick shortly after it was founded, the competitive games were for a singles ladder system. Due to the restrictions of who you could challenge in the ladder, and the fact that not everyone was there every week, this completely didn't work. We replaced it with our doubles league, which with a little trial and error developed to our current system. The formal rules for our league are going to be heavily revamped soon, in anticipation of an increase in membership, but they should work well for the sort of group size you would expect to get in your first year.

If you can get one organised, tournaments are a great way to increase publicity, especially if you can get the union or one of the local landlords to sponsor it with a good prize (there's nothing like a crate of alchohol for attracting freshers).

Take a look at http://www.warwickfoos.co.uk/ (especially the league and tournaments pages) for fairly in-depth documentation of our activities. Our society was founded just before Christmas 2003, so has only recently gone through all the early stages you'd be aiming to follow. Carry on asking us anything you need to, advice in answer to specific questions is often a lot easier to give and can be a lot more useful.

Good luck with the society, it would be great to have another uni getting involved.

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:56 pm
by Catherine
can someone give him the link to the Oxford Uni site too please? I can't remember it off the top of my head.

cheers xx

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:14 am
by Zico
Cath the Oxford site is down at the moment, but the link is
http://socweb.keble.ox.ac.uk/tablefootball/home.htm

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:14 am
by nfm24
Press www under my post for the Cambridge link. Some bits might be useful. It contains a lot of results and things, because I think people seem to like to see how they have done. When you hold competitions, it might be an idea to keep results, and post them on some noticeboard near the table, or on the web (make your own thread on here in 'local venues' is prob quickest, though everyone seems to know how to make their own sites now anyway). Or both. Then you can tell your players to visit the site and they can see their results, and everything else here as well...

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:59 am
by ashyc23
Dave:

I have sent you a private mail.

Ash...

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:05 pm
by edinburghfoos
Thank you so far for the support.

I go to edinburgh on the 10th, so i won't personally be able to accept your table Boris, but i'll ask the union if it will be possible to install it there without my presence. Give me 48hours.

thank you again everyone else who has given me advice, i'll be back.
So you know - ive heard from ppl at heriot watt and St andrews universities also interested in a foosball society, so if i can make this a success look forward to seeing a growing scottish influence on the game.

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:14 pm
by Boris
edinburghfoos wrote:Thank you so far for the support.

I go to edinburgh on the 10th,
I might be up again around the 22nd Sept
if i can make this a success look forward to seeing a growing scottish influence on the game.
Scotish Foosball Association affiliated to ITSF???

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:53 am
by Philo
In my 4 years at Swansea University I saw 2 table football societies come and go, one of which was started by me. We faced several difficulties, I hope by shareing them you can overcome the problems that caused Swansea foosball to fail.

<li>Venues: Students are too lazy to travel. This was the single biggest problem to Swansea foosball. You need a central venue with a devent table.

<li>Interest: You need people interested in the game before you start. Only people who like playing a lot will want to join you. Our society won an award for most new members at the freshers fair, but come match day not many were keen enough to make a commitment to foosball.

<li>Tournaments are much easier to do than leagues. Can you get a venue with 2 tables for 1 day?  Work out how long a game takes x the number of games needed. Trophies and beer are cheap and welcome prizes.

Good luck.

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:42 pm
by edinburghfoos
yea philo im sorry and disappointed there's not more university with foosball but i'm gonna look after my bunch.

Boris, ive contacted the society committees and a few possible locations and nowhere can confirm a place for next week, so use your car space more wisely.
I'm going to keep hampering them until i get a decent (central =) ) location, and then i think your route will be a good way to start.

I do have some specific questions i'd like answering which i'll post soon, but i really am pushed for time, didn't wana leave you hanging.

=)

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:41 am
by edinburghfoos
I'm sure i'll be able to sort a venue quite soon, but i have questions concerning the table:
Where did/do Warwick hold their society, are the tables in the union or a seperate room used by societies only. If in a union, is it safe to have an open top table, im just thinking i don't want to get beers and drink all over Boris's table.

Also, Warwick didn't use a distributor did they, do you think if people had contributed towards a table they'd be more likely to stay with the club? Or do you think because they have to contribute they would be less likely to join in the 1st place. I feel like  i'm in a catch22 here.

Finally, do other uni's have society t shirts? everyone loves t shirts (maybe ones with the armpit cut out).

naked snake wrote:check to see if the a university venue (SU) would be willing to gat a table in - as this way you are more likely to get sponsorship and attract players
What do you mean by sponsorship? I hadn't thought about it.

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:26 pm
by Doshin
edinburghfoos wrote:Where did/do Warwick hold their society, are the tables in the union or a seperate room used by societies only. If in a union, is it safe to have an open top table, im just thinking i don't want to get beers and drink all over Boris's table.
We held, and still hold our society sessions in the Union. An Open top table will work absolutely fine. True, beer does get spilled on it from time to time- but this can easily be cleaned and even if left it's much nicer playing on an open top with beer stains than a glass top covered in smears. Make sure you buy some sort of lubricant for the bars though, because spilt beer on open or closed top tables makes them much harder to use.
edinburghfoos wrote:Also, Warwick didn't use a distributor did they, do you think if people had contributed towards a table they'd be more likely to stay with the club? Or do you think because they have to contribute they would be less likely to join in the 1st place. I feel like  i'm in a catch22 here.
We as a society didn't use a distributor. Originally there were 2 glass top Copertos in the bar which we used. These were rented by the bar manger who kept all the profits, but were more than suitable for us to run a society.

Warwick bought a WC table after the Reading Open, because several people who'd attended were willing to put money towards one to improve our tournament games. I would not insist that those who join the society have to give some money towards a new table. The majority of people who join will be happy to have a few casual games, and that's it. Wait until you've identified 5 or 6 'serious' players who would be happy to contribute towards a nicer table to improve their games. Until then work with a table that's already in a bar. If there isn't one take advantage of Boris' offer, or buy and run one yourself. These things can make a lot of money...
edinburghfoos wrote:Finally, do other uni's have society t shirts? everyone loves t shirts (maybe ones with the armpit cut out).
Society t-shirts are fairly easy to get hold of, but (I think) Warwick is the only Foos society to have them. Don't get ones with the armpits cut out- you'll look like Tom Burdett, and people will question your manliness.

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:52 pm
by Teeb
Moderator note - Picture removed from thread - please do not clutter up sensible posts with in-jokes or silly comments.

A nice picture of Doshin

enough said

great idea

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:32 pm
by secondark
I'm at Edinburgh uni and regularly play table football at rush bar. I think it would be great to have a foosball society and I know a few friends that would be completely up for it as well. A couple of them do architecture and recently got all the architects to club together for a foosball table in the architecture building. It's on chambers street just across from the museum. It may be a possiblity you could use that table but they are on holiday at the moment so I can't talk to them about it for a couple of weeks. I shall mention it to them when they return tho.

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:03 pm
by Doshin
Teeb wrote:Moderator note - Picture removed from thread - please do not clutter up sensible posts with in-jokes or silly comments.
I'm pretty sure that's not me... nice dress though.

Keeping things on topic, make sure you get a stall at the Fresher's Fair. This is by far the best time all year to get people interested into the society. You guys should meet up, decide who's on the exec in what positions, and then contact the Union about getting a stall. If you get a society set up we'll give you a game sometime. Good luck :)

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:33 pm
by ashyc23
Paul -

Went to the rush last night but had to get back to the lady so missed out on the competition.....

I know a crew of players who are more than up for it. Hopefully see you there next wed for some foosball and formulation.
Ash