Monday, June 20, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 9)

[This is part 9 in a series, and assumes that you've already read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8]

Well, to say my first WPN event was a total disaster would be an overstatement, and rather overly dramatic. But, on the other hand, it sure as heck wasn't what I was expecting....

My family and I had a picnic to attend in the morning/early afternoon of June 18, and would need to head straight from there to Novel Places if we were going to make it when I wanted to. So, I loaded up the car with everything that I wanted to have with me for the event, and it was a lot of stuff:
  • 2 5000-count card boxes filled with my "scratch & dent" cards;
  • A large handled cardboard box with the printer I would use along with lots of other necessities (WPN promos, table number signs, my Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 promo vouchers to pick up my copies of the special foil Titans, my Square credit card reader, etc);
  • Another large handled cardboard box filled with card sleeves of various descriptions: Ultra Pro, KMC, Dragon Shield, as well as bundles of 45 used (or at least opened) sleeves to be sold cheap; also the MBS and NPH Event Decks to sell;
  • The 9 boxes of booster packs to be used as the sealed deck pools, prizes, and stock for selling;
  • My netbook computer & its accoutrement in carrying case;
  • My Thraximundar shirt from @GriffnValentine (I think my wife would have disowned me had I worn it to the picnic)
We arrived at the store around 2:40 or so (registration was to start at 4) and proceeded to take over Patrick's store getting set up. He helped us clear some counter space so I could set up the sleeves, decks, and scratch and dent cards. I set up the printer & netbook, and got myself logged in to his WiFi so I could report the results of the event via WER right there, rather than wait to get home.

We had 4 people preregistered for the event, 1 of whom said he was bringing his roommate as well (at some point during the setup I realized I had missed a call from him on my cell phone - this becomes important later). One of the pre-registrations was someone without a DCI number, which was exciting because we need to get 6 new players signed up with the DCI as part of our moving up to Core Level. I knew also that one of the pre-registered players was bringing his daughter, another DCI newbie. With all of that, and with my older son & I as emergency backups, I figured it was safe to let my brother off the hook, as he had been ill for the previous week and a half at least. I can use him as a DCI newbie at some future event instead :-)

So, somewhere between 3:30 and 4, Craig and his daughter arrived. Our Special Guest Adam Styborski arrived very shortly thereafter, and Patrick started wheeling his merchandise displays out of the center of the store so tables could be set up.At this point we realized that the "8-person" tables Patrick had would really only comfortably handle 6 players (#7 & #8 would be at the ends of the rectangular table, which would not work for dueling). I figured that with those 12, and another 4 at the counter if need be, we should still be covered.

And, then, we waited. I had tried calling back the person whose call I had missed, but only got his voice mail. Come 4:00 he had still not arrived. Come 4:30 he had still not arrived.

And neither had anyone else.

At this point in time my grand total attendance was 3 people.

In order to have a DCI sanctioned, you must have at least 8 players. I could play, my older son could play, and even my younger son who can't quite read yet could play (he would count as another DCI newbie) and we STILL would be short of that 8.

And that is, indeed, what we did. I signed up myself, older son and younger son, cancelled the sanctioned event and created a new casual event. And the six of us played Scars block sealed.

When I went to print table assignments (just to practice using that aspect of the WER software) I discovered that I had not, in fact, beaten the problem with my netbook-printer connection, and so I was unable to print all evening. Instead, I just had folks sit wherever they liked and handed each player 2 booster packs each of Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged and New Phyrexia.

I ended up with a very nice sealed pool. Moltensteel Dragon alongside Consecrated Sphinx is pretty nasty - and I didn't even include the Molten-Tail Masticore in my deck! We took around 40 minutes building our decks, then I collected money from all parties interested in pizza to be ordered about 20 minutes into Round 1 (Patrick joined in on the pizza, and graciously agreed to order it for us while we were playing).

Since I couldn't print, I just used WER

Round 2 saw me face Adam, Craig faced my younger son, and my older son faced Craig's daughter. This match was much closer for me (and longer) than round 1, and the pizza arrived shortly after we begun. So while my older son rather quickly beat Craig's daughter, and Craig rather quickly beat my younger son (and they could begin enjoying dinner), it took me a lot longer to finally defeat Adam and allow us to get to our now lukewarm dinner. [I should note that I learned a rather valuable lesson about being a bit more sportsmanlike in my match, and owe Adam a public apology for casting Consecrated Sphinx during my second main phase when I already had next turn lethal damage represented in the form of Moltensteel Dragon]

After wolfing down some slices, we got the pairings for Round 3. Adam faced off against Craig's daughter, I was paired against Craig, and my two sons faced each other ("The Brothers War" I immediately dubbed it). The end of the round found myself, Adam, and my younger son victorious, and the event was over.

Final standings: I had 9 match points, Adam had 6, and everyone else had 3. And I'm sure that not a single person out there believes that I didn't somehow rig my own event.

Anyway, for prizes I gave everyone a participatory promo card (the WPN foil Vault Skirge), then Adam as our winner (since I could hardly count myself as that) received a copy of the foil Maul Splicer AND the Archenemy promo Drench the Soil in Their Blood. Everyone else received their choice of one or the other of those promos. I also let everyone pick an additional booster pack from SOM, MBS or NPH as a thank-you for coming and sticking it out through the end.

So, as I say, a bit disappointing in the turn-out department, but I think it was an enjoyable evening, and it still let us check off a few boxes towards moving up to Core Level in the WPN. As a reminder, here are the goals we have to meet within a 12-month time frame:

  • Report a minimum of 4 events [If my understanding is correct, this should still count as 1 of our 4]
  • Have a minimum of 30 unique people playing in your reported events [We're at 6/30 now]
  • Run and report a single event with 12 players or more [Yeah, still need this one]
  • Maintain a delinquency rate of less than 20% [As far as I know I got this reported on time, so we're good]
  • Introduce 6 new players to WPN events [We're at 2/6 now]
My biggest headache WPN-wise right now is figuring out the netbook-printer problem, and being able to print. If we had actually had a 12+ crowd, announcing pairings at each round would have been a royal pain in the tuchus. I have until July 2 (the first event at Beyond Comics) to try and get this working. I think the problem lies in the fact that the netbook is running Windows 7 Starter, and not the full version of Windows 7. I may have to get the full version installed.

We did learn that we should be able to fit a third table into the space we were using, and therefore be able to seat 18 people in the main section of the store should it some day become necessary. Patrick says he'll pick up another table sometime in the future.

Unfortunately neither Patrick nor I thought to get any photos taken, so we missed an opportunity to get a photo in the Gazette, our local newspaper. It would have been nice to get the publicity.

In other news, I have sent in I believe 3 separate emails with various questions in to Brian, my WPN rep, and have yet to receive an answer. Perhaps he's on vacation? Or maybe I've ticked him off with too many questions? I don't know - but I hope I get some soon. My biggest one involved the casual event. When you "close" a sanctioned event, you are supposed to get a "Submit" button to click in WER to submit the results. No such button seems to appear for a casual event when it gets closed, so I am worried as to whether I have in fact done everything I am supposed to do with getting this event properly recognized. I will be much more upset if it turns out I am wrong and this did NOT count as 1 of our 4 events!

Oh, and on a final note: I still have all 12 of the MBS and NPH Event Decks (3x of each deck), and 2x each unopened booster boxes of SOM, MBS and NPH. If anyone reading this is interested in any of these let me know!



Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to say it was wrong to cast Consecrated Sphinx. I was just being honest in sharing I had no answer for your bevvy of flying power, particularly as I was so mana punished.

I truly had a miserable pool (when my Mythic is just a 5/5 for 5, something available elsewhere in the set, augh) but I scraped by to drag out our fight in game 2. That was pretty epic as I got pretty close to finagling killing you after the Sphinx dropped down.

It was a fun event and I'm glad to have been there to play! Thanks again Don!

MJ said...

Business has got to be THE place for true bad beats! Lol. Thanks for sharing, Don, it's so interesting to follow your journey and despite the setbacks it's inspiring for fellow entrepreneurs in the community.

pureval said...

Perhaps you should try offering something else as a prize and advertising it? My LGS has done fairly well doing sealed or draft tournaments with FTV sets or planeswalkers as prizes. Would help to bring in more people who are not interested in getting promos.

Les said...

You know what Don? Dont worry about it, things will pick up.

You are getting yourself out there on Twitter and on Podcasts and this website.

Im glad you and your family had a good night playing cards and getting closer to completing your list.