Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 3)

[This is part 3 in a series, and assumes that you've already read Part 1 and Part 2]

In my research, I discovered that WPN is set up in a tier system. In case you (like me) have never investigated this, you might want to check out the official WPN site that covers this stuff.  In essence, when you join WPN you start off at what they call the Gateway level. At this level you can run sanctioned events (D&D one as well as MTG, but I am only interested in the MTG ones), but the only "special" events you can run are the Launch Parties (sometimes called Release Events by folks like me who don't know all the official terms).

In order to run Prereleases and FNMs (the kinds of events I'd really like to hold), you need to work your way up from the Gateway level to what they call the Core level. To do this, an organizer needs to meet certain criteria within a 12-month period (this is copied straight from their site; I hope they don't mind!):
  • Report a minimum of 4 events
  • Have a minimum of 30 unique people playing in your reported events
  • Run and report a single event with 12 players or more
  • Maintain a delinquency rate of less than 20%
  • Introduce 6 new players to WPN events
The first requirement I figure is not likely to be too difficult. I'd like to run some sanctioned event (right now I'm thinking a SOM/MBS/NPH sealed tournament) in mid to late June, and also run a Launch Party for Magic 2012 in July. If I can pull off even 1 per month for the next four months, I will have that covered (and if things go well, we may hold more than that).

The second requirement will depend on how well I/we get the word out about our events. We already have some plans in place for advertising:
  • Pat will be having an advertisement subscription with a a local weekly newspaper, and has offered that he can tailor it to include word of the MTG event for a week or two beforehand
  • I have my Twitter following (although few of them are local, I'm hoping those will show, and hopefully bring friends)
  • I have contacts with a local gaming group (Games Club of Maryland) and hope to be able to spread word through their organization
  • a Magic celebrity who happens to live locally has offered to show up for the first event at least and have his name used in conjunction [thanks, Adam!]
It may take more than 4 events to get the 30 unique people, but we'll see.

It is my hope that with enough touting and trumpeting we can reach objective 3 on our first event. The spectacle of having a sanctioned event in the area where there hasn't been one in years if ever should bring out a good group. Also, the above mentioned advertising will hopefully get word out and bring people out just to see what it's all about. If not the first, then hopefully the second (the M12 Launch Party) will bring in 12+ players.

Goal #4 should not be a problem at all. From what I understand as long as you get your results posted up within what seems like a very reasonable amount of time, there's no delinquency issue. The store will have WiFi, which means I ought to be able to post results right after the event is over (or even have them updating as the event progresses - I have not yet had my Wizards Event Reporter tutorial - that will be a tale for another day!).

Of all the goals, it's only really the last one that has me a bit nervous. I would need to find (or have show up) 6 people who have never attended a WPN event before. I believe this means no DCI card - not registered with the DCI at all. Most of the people who would come to these things, I think, will be folks who are old hats at these sorts of things. I'm pretty sure I can get my brother (who played MTG years ago) to come out to one and sign up. But what about the other 5? Maybe Pat (the store owner) can be taught MTG and sign up :-) I know that Laurel (the owner of Dream Wizards) routinely has new people show up at the regional prereleases, but those are gone now. Will those people instead start showing up at the smaller local prereleases and the like? But, of course, I can't run prereleases yet....Catch 22?

So, as you can see,  there's a bit more to it than simply signing up with the WPN and starting to run FNMs as I had initially thought.

The next step was to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Pat. When we briefly spoke on the phone, we tentatively agreed that I could come up to the store and meet with him in person. Through email and Twitter we arranged that the following Friday (this would now be May 6 for you chronic calendar-watchers) I would come up. Our meeting will be the beginning of Part 4...



Casual said...

Would it be permissible to have some sort of "Newbie Incentive"? Does Wizards permit the addition of prizes/bribes?

I bet if you gave each first timer a booster just for getting a DCI number and playing you wouldn't have any trouble.

AlteredCity said...

What is a "delinquency rate"?

I'm enjoying the series and looking forward to see where all of this takes you.

Don said...

@Casual - I think that is allowed. In fact, they are supposed to send us some sort of intro store pack that includes special promos cards to use as prizes.

@AlteredCity - the "delinquency" that they are referring to is being late in getting the results of the event (who won what rounds, etc) posted to their system. If you've got quick & easy wifi access at the event site, there's no excuse for being delinquent. And even if I don't have access there (which I should), I can just upload it when I get home that evening. I think you have like a week to get it in, so really - no excuse!

Russell said...

This is NineZeroZeroOne on Twitter:
I have several friends who are interested in playing mtg and may not have dci numbers yet. If you still need new people, let me know and I'll try to get some of my friends to come to an FNM.