Last December, while visiting my FLGS (friendly local game store), I saw a gravity feed of Star Wars: Destiny Awakenings. Knowing nothing of the game (but being an avid fan of card games and Star Wars), I purchased one of each Awakenings starter and five booster packs. My first legendary was a Millennium Falcon (AW49); it went in a Finn deck – clearly primed for FFG World Championships. After lovingly forcing my wife to play a few games, I realized I needed other people to play this amazing game.
Over the next few months, I helped my FLGS go from selling five packs from their only box of Awakenings to ordering 36 boxes in the first wave of Empire at War. I went from being the only player I knew to hosting a weekly casual play night with an average attendance of 10, and routine events of 12-26 people.
Here are a few tips on how you can become your local product champion and help build your local scene.
Develop a Relationship with Your FLGS
The owner of my FLGS and I have become close friends over the last five years. Your shop owner is the most important person in developing your local Star Wars: Destiny community. Find your preferred local shop, visit there often, become a valuable patron, know their names, attend events, make sure they know you.
Your shop owner needs to trust you and like you so that he/she will encourage others to play with you and allow you to run events. Build loyalty with your FLGS. This means that it is beneficial to shop local rather than online for your product. If your local shop’s prices are insanely more expensive than online prices, find a private time to discuss that candidly. Keep in mind that playing in their space, taking advantage of their network of players, and using their distributor relationship to get organized play kits all rationalize the cost of buying local.
Host Different Types of Events
Collectible Card Games have players who are looking for all sorts of experiences from casual to competitive and everywhere in between. It is integral to know your crowd, and provide events that will appeal to various types of gamers.
Fantasy Flight Games requires shops to order their organized quarterly play kits up to six months before they start receiving the kits (that means they will need to start ordering now to get Q2 kits in 2018). Don’t fret, there are many fun events that you can host in the meantime (or in addition to these wonderful kits for those of you who already have access to them).
I have hosted casual play nights, booster drafts, cube drafts, constructed events, and an open house all without the support of organized kits. Most players want something to play for. Create a simple entry fee and have fun building a prize pool. A popular event that many stores do is a $5 entry fee, and then 3-4 swiss rounds based on attendance, and each person gets a booster pack per win.
Be Persistent and Optimistic
“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try” – Yoda. It will take time to save people from the dark side and show them the light. Seek some consistency. Try to find a day that you can commit to playing routinely. Announce the play night on your local Star Wars: Destiny Facebook page (if there isn’t one, now is the time to create one for your region).
Teach the shop owner how to play. Teach anyone who will listen. Invite, invite, invite! Others will love this game as much as you do. Do not be discouraged if you are the only one who attends for the first few weeks. Use that as an opportunity to invite someone at the shop to play with you.
If possible, bring at least two decks to the shop each time you play. I have taught many people who asked about the game while I was waiting for friends to arrive.
Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
The gaming community is full of wonderful people. The majority will be encouraging, fun, and excited to play. However, you will need to learn to deal with sore losers, sore winners, cheaters, poor sports, and novices. Your gaming community will need someone to create a fun atmosphere.
Lead by example and show people the importance of being graceful in defeat and humble in victory. Make sure you learn the rules thoroughly. It is okay to not remember everything, but gain a strong handle on the rules. I recommend bringing a printed copy of the extended rule book when you play.
Maintain the integrity of your shop and your playgroup by watching out for cheaters. Discuss with your shop owner the best way to deal with those situations.
It is incredibly fulfilling to help others develop a love for this great game. Whether you are looking for people to play with or wanting to increase your numbers, make sure to have fun with it. The Destiny community is full of wonderful scruffy looking nerf herders; dive in, and help others do the same.
How have you helped develop your local scene? What works for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.