Frugal GM Resource: Gaming Associations
A Frugal GM can take advantage of this fact in several ways. Instead of trying to get everything ready for a game himself* a Frugal GM can hand out some of the workload to the gaming group. Enlist some players to help paint minis or make terrain. If you have such a cooperative group, that is great.
Another simple way to enlist help is to join a gaming association. Because HackMaster is my primary RPG I belong to the HackMaster Association (HMA). Quite often you only get as much out of a gaming association as you put into it, but the synergistic effect works here too. When like-minded gamers get together they can bounce ideas off of each other and share some of their efforts.
The HMA is a good example of a gaming association. Currently there is a charge of $10 for a sidekick membership and $25 for a full membership. The big difference between the two is that full members get a quarterly publication for free ($3x4=$12 a year) and some other minor benefits. All members get access to a special forum to discuss and share ideas.
HackJournal) out of the equation a lot of people question what is the value in a $10-13 a year membership when there is already an open/free forum they can join in on. First of all, the HackMaster Association is a registered gaming club with the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Every year GAMA hosts one of the largest gaming convention a year: the Origins Game Fair. Full HMA members get half off their registration for Origins, which is equal to the price of joining the HMA!
Another big selling point for the HMA is the intimate connection to Kenzer & Company, the producers of HackMaster. KenzerCo has always been generous in providing prize support for HMA sponsored events.
My last point is what I consider the most important to a Frugal GM: sharing work effort. The HMA has a dedicated sub-forum to sharing game aids created by other GMs. The sharing of ideas in itself can be quite valuable, but the sharing of effort (work) can shave hours off of your game prep. another thing to keep in mind is that there is always going to be someone else that is better than you at certain tasks. What might take you an hour took them ten minutes....and the results of their ten minutes looks better than what you could do if you took your time and spent two hours on it.
If you really like a certain game then it would be well worth your while to find out if they have a gaming association and join it. If not, it might be well worth your effort to find some like-minded individuals and form an association.