Friday, November 11, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 27)

[This is part 27 in a series, and assumes that you've already read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 14.5, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, and Part 26]

October 28, 2011: FNM tonight went reasonably well. We had 8 participants for a Standard event (and I didn't need to sign up to make it 8!).

It turned out that the FNM&Ms that we received last week were supposed to be used TONIGHT (which I found out from the WPN newsletter this past Wednesday). It would be nice if the instructions on use of these promotional items went out in advance of their arriving at the store so that we know these things! [Side note on these: the reverse side does not have the Planeswalker symbol as I had previously reported, but instead the symbol of Avacyn from the Innistrad set.]

Anyway, the majority of the players had been here last week as well, so I handed out FNM&Ms and deck boxes to those who hadn't been. We ended up getting the ideal distribution after three rounds (1 player with 9 match points, 3 players with 6, 3 with 3 and one with 0).

This was, in a way, to be a test night for me. If, as I was concerned, the issue was one of format in competing with Dream Wizards, then (I hoped) running Standard more often at FNM would lead to larger turnouts. But last week's Draft actually had more players. Not sure what to make of this.

This is the beginning of a Magic intensive weekend for me, as I have not one but two Game Days to run tomorrow. And there's a rare October snow storm forecast for tomorrow, so I'm a bit nervous.

October 29, 2011: The weather this morning was mostly cold and rainy, not snowy. We ended up with 7 other players at Beyond Comics, so I joined in to make it 8. This meant that everyone got not only the participation promo (non-Foil full art Diregraf Ghoul) but also the "Top 8" foil full-art Elite Inquisitor promo as well (turns out it's easy to top 8 an event when there are only 8 players - who knew?).

I played my "Tokens of my Affection" deck, which does not have a sideboard at the moment. It played okay, but not great. I only won one match (Round 1), but, as mentioned before, still managed to Top 8. We had the same match point distribution as last night's event.

The afternoon Game Day at Novel Places was not so rosy a story. By the afternoon, the snow had really started coming down. We ended up with only 4 players (1 of whom was me). This meant that I had to cancel the official Game Day and run things as a casual event instead. The good news was, though, that all four of us got both of the promos!

I played the same deck, and defeated two of my opponents. One of the players lost each match, while the other three of us won 2/3 matches. Strange ending record.

This makes two events in a row at Novel Places that only had 4 players show up (and I was #4 in both cases). I'm really not sure what to do about this. I had seriously thought that having a Saturday Magic option was going to be attractive to folks, and it may simply be that I'm not doing a good enough job getting the word out that we're doing them.

So, mixed results on my first experience running a Game Day. My hope is that the weather was a major factor and things would have been different attendance-wise if we didn't have the snow.

November 3, 2011: Stopped by Novel Places today to pick up some books I had ordered, and discussed with Patrick some conflicts that will be coming up on some of our Saturday events. The 4th Saturday of November and the 2nd Saturday of December he had to schedule some other programs that will be set up in the space we normally run the events. We think we have a solution moving into an alternate space. I think it's important that we maintain our "2nd and 4th Saturday" schedule so that folks get used to it and know that if it's one of those Saturdays they can come out to Novel Places and play Magic.

November 4, 2011: FNM tonight was Innistrad Sealed Deck, and we only managed to get 6 players out (not including me - if a seventh had shown up I would have joined in to make it 8). This, of course, means cancelling the official event and running a casual instead. I am, to be quite frank, getting sick and tired of having to do that.

The other big news tonight was that John asked if it would be possible to cancel the FNM scheduled for November 25. Here in the US, the Friday after Thanksgiving (Nov 24 this year) is known as "Black Friday" and is, historically, the biggest shopping day of the year. It's the unofficial beginning of the holiday buying season, and a day that most retailers depend on for a huge influx of revenue.

As could be predicted, then, Beyond Comics plans to have a huge sale, and will need some of the tables we would ordinarily use for an event to set up special sales items. Also, whoever is on duty that day (and they're down an employee at the moment) will likely be wiped out by the end of the day, and not really looking forward to having to stay late for a FNM. Add that to the fact that I had scheduled that night to be Innistrad Sealed Deck (the most expensive of the formats we run) which would likely reduce the potential number of players....yeah, you can see why he'd want to let this one go.

BUT, I had already received the FNM promos for that week. And there was always the possibility that Patrick would be interested in running an FNM for once (if the event could be transferred from one location to another). So I resolved to check with Patrick and find out.

November 6, 2011: Turns out he would, so I contacted Brian (through the new interface system with WotC customer support) to ask if it was possible. He told me it would be possible - I needed to create an event at Novel Places for that evening and send him the sanctioning number. He would change that event to an FNM, and I would then need to cancel the scheduled FNM for Beyond Comics.

We got that all cleared up, and now Novel Places will host its very first FNM on November 25. I decided to make it a Standard event, in the hopes that it will be more attractive to folks (a Constructed event is the cheapest of the events). We have an Innistrad Draft event scheduled there for the day after that as well. It is the Thanksgiving weekend, and many folks will be away. But, on the other hand, a number of college students will be back home for the holiday, so maybe those two will cancel out?

ON ANOTHER NOTE: This will likely be my last regular update to The Road to WPN. As many regular readers already know, it's rather overdue anyway. Things have become a bit more routine lately, and simple reports of FNM attendance does not for riveting reading make.

If something of note should occur (like the FNM transfer mentioned above, or an especially large event, or some random big-name Magic celebrity showing up - something like that) I will be sure to post an update on it.

I want to thank everyone who has made this journey with me, both by attending events and reading about it. Without the former, neither store could have made it to Core Level, and been able to run FNMs, Prereleases and Game Days, not to mention that I've had a blast meeting new people and playing more Magic than I've been able to play in years. And without the latter, well - this certainly would not have been as easy a trip without the support and well-wishes I have received from readers.



Whoisles said...

Wow, the journey is coming to the end (for now) I have been reading since the first installment an I personally have enjoyed the road you have taken to bring more MTG to your local area.

I only wish I could turn up to one of your FNM nights, but living in Australia this might take a bit of time!

I wish you luck and I hope you continue to get more people turning up and supporting your local FNM events.

Thank you for the journey Don!

NLi10 said...

And cheers from the UK too. Running two of those things seems like almost a full time job, but quite rewarding too (and still great to read).

Hope to read a new article about the Dark Ascension launch (or whatever it's called) if not tit bits before.

Bet you've inspired a good few of the start-up WPN things that are happening all over the globe. It really is the second coming of Magic!

Behrooz 'Bezman' Shahriari said...

Maybe you could change the format of these updates a bit, maybe just mentioning attendance and writing a short bit in note format for each event, then posting it as a table (with maybe 3 columns - date, location, attendance, notes) every month or so.

I know you might not want to always reveal all these details, but it is interesting tracking these things since it becomes relevant to folk starting any kind of group.

I suppose one interesting point that you haven't really gone into would be what kind of advertising you do. Do you leave flyers at BC or NP? Have they had much success? Do you use FB to advertise events? How do folk tend to find out about it?

Piers said...

I just wanted to say thank you for your very informative series of posts.

I've recently signed up as a TO and there's quite a learning curve to get started.

Thankfully you answered pretty much all of the questions I had, so now I can look like I have a clue what I'm doing :)