Meanwhile, I still had many things I needed to work on towards getting ready to run WPN events. I had my netbook now, but I would also need a printer that I could bring with me for printing pairings and the like at the event.
Freecycle, hopefully, to the rescue! It has been my experience that quite often people offer printers on Freecycle. They get a good deal on a new one, or just decide they need something better/newer/whatever, and they have an old one sitting around now that they don't need, but still has some life in it. So, I figured, I'd just keep an eagle-eye out for someone to offer one and request it for my purposes.
Lo and behold someone did offer a printer. An HP Color Laserjet to be precise. She couldn't get it to work, but it came complete with new imaging drum as well as new black and yellow toner cartridges. I figured I could probably get it working, and if not I could turn it in to the county's computer recycling center.
When I went to pick it up, however, I learned a very important lesson: check on the model before you accept a free printer. Especially if you need the printer to be easily transportable. This thing is a monster. The only muscles I'd be developing lugging this thing around are called hernias. So, it would definitely not work for my purposes. Feeling a little bad, however, I spent time getting it to work, including swapping out the imaging drum and black cartridge (the yellow one does not seem to be low yet). Now I will turn around and offer it to someone else on Freecycle. That's how Freecycle works.
A few days later another printer, this one a MUCH lighter color inkjet printer (Lexmark 3200 if you care) was offered, this one without any ink cartridges at all. I picked it up, and bought some cartridges at Cartridge World (by an amazing coincidence a coupon for a free cartridge came in the mail the day I was going to head over there). After a great deal of manipulation I finally got the printer to work with the netbook (it worked with my desktop PC no problem). It seems that I need to have the printer on and plugged in when the netbook is booted up. As long as I can remember to do the things in proper order, everything should work out.
While this was going on, a strange thing happened with the WER. I logged in to see how things were looking (and to order another pack of DCI membership cards, as Brian had said one could order two per month), and noticed that somehow I again had the option to order a Store Support Kit and a Gateway Support Kit. It seemed odd that I could order more of these, so I emailed Brian about the issue. It seems that sometimes these things get returned for ordering before they should. The system is set up to stop you if you try to order one that you've already done.
One important thing I learned from my initial email to Brian that I need to pass on to other potential organizers: When contacting your WPN rep, make sure to include the store name and/or your DCI number so they can recognize who you are! They deal with (I'm guessing) hundreds of organizers and, especially when you're pretty new to the whole thing like I am, chances are they won't remember you unless you've done something to distinguish yourself in their mind.
It turns out, I found out from the email back-and-forth, that there is no way to know exactly which Gateway Support Kit you are ordering from its name - only from the date (from now until June 15 the NPH Gateway Support kit is available; starting June 16 they switch to the M12 Support Kit; etc). I also found out that there is no way to track your order of these kits, so you put in your order and then just hope that it went through all right at that your materials will arrive. Brian told me that our Gateway and Store Support Kits had shipped, and should arrive soon.
The next day (May 24 if you're trying to put a timeline together), Patrick tweeted the following: "Some fool just dropped off a bunch of items and left without saying a word. Don Wiggins doesn't work for me! What's up?? *woot*" I quickly tweeted back, asking if he would mind a little company that afternoon. And so, my sons and I made the journey up to Clarksburg to see what the WPN had sent to us.
A great deal, it turns out! Inside the Store Support Kit were:
- a large vinyl banner to hang outside the store advertising that it is a WPN site (it, along with most of the generic WPN materials, features images & logos for not just Magic, but also Dungeons & Dragons);
- smaller paper posters to put up in-store and advertise event dates;
- large and small window-clings to put up in the store;
- Number signs to put on tables for labeling seating;
- a small stack of DCI membership cards.
- 30 copies of the WPN Vault Skirge foil promo (featuring different art than the NPH version):
- 30 copies of the WPN Maul Splicer foil promo (also with different art);
- 20 copies of the WPN Archenemy promos scheme card "Drench the Soil in their Blood";
- several copies (I haven't opened the pack to count) of a Tactic card for D&D called "Stay with Me!" [I have absolutely no idea whether this is intended for use in Dungeons & Dragons or D&D Miniatures]
We also got a third package containing several more DCI membership cards, so we should have plenty for our first event.
I'm not sure how, exactly, I will be using these promo cards yet. Partially it depends on what attendance is like at the event. If the event is small enough, I could probably use one of the two foil NPH promos as attendance rewards (you get a copy just for coming). Then I could allow the top X players to choose either the other NPH promo or the Archenemy promo (in addition to the booster pack prizes). On the other hand if things go very well on June 18, maybe we'll want to schedule another event between that one and the M12 Launch party, and I can use the second NPH promo as an attendance incentive for that one. I just haven't decided yet. All I know is that they will get used for the intended purpose - rewarding those players who show up to our events.
And that pretty much brings us to today. What remains at this time?
- Patrick will need to order Magic products from a distributor and let me know how much the stuff costs him so I can make sure we charge enough for the events (the price tag I have listed now is based on what it's cost me to attend events in the past; I presume these prices will work for us as well, but I need to make sure)
- I'm concerned about attendance. I'm fairly certain from the # of responses I've gotten so far via Twitter, email, and conversations that we will have at least 8 players, so the event will be able to run. However, if many more than expected show up we could have problems. At this point Patrick has space (and tables & chairs) for probably 12-18 players. If more than that come out, we may have to be creative in finding places for them to sit and duel! I have created a preregistration form that I am hoping people will use if they're seriously planning to attend, but thus far no-one has used it.
- I am sorting my "scratch & dent" cards by rarity & color to make them more user-friendly to browse through, and will bring at least a subset of them with me to the event for people to look through. I'm currently thinking of charging $0.05 per common, $0.10 per uncommon and $0.25 per rare or foil for these cards. The vast majority are probably in Fine or Very Fine condition, but I wouldn't feel right selling them as singles in my store. However they're perfectly usable in tournament conditions (especially if they're sleeved), so I'm sure that someone will want some of them!
- I'm trying to find an optical mouse and cash-box on Freecycle to use at the events. Not sure if I'll have any luck with either.
- My sons are helping out by cracking open plastic packs of basic lands and sorting them out. I have literally hundreds of plastic-wrapped sets of 20 basic lands (half 10th Edition, half Lorwyn) that I found on eBay a long time ago (these were originally packed inside 10th Edition Starters - how the seller ended up with hundreds of then I do not know). They will be perfect for making basic lands available for players to complete their decks in sealed-deck events.
- I need to do some further advertising of the event to make sure word gets out to the local gaming community. Folks (like you) who read my blog and/or follow my Twitter feed know all about it. But the majority of those people don't live anywhere nearby and therefore, of course, will not be in attendance.
[TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 7]