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Author Topic: Advice on building a strong play group.  (Read 2392 times)


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Advice on building a strong play group.
« on: September 09, 2014, 06:39:37 PM »
I was talking with Lord of Winter and we figured it'd be good if I posted advice from my own experiences building a play group. I believe the term here is "meta" which I'd never heard before. Anyway I started playing in January literally by accident, and right now we've got a strong community here in my town(Charlotte NC) and it's growing still. Here's how we did it, what resources we had, and how you may be able to do the same. Number one complaint I hear is "I don't get too play that much because the numbers in my area..." Ok lets fix that :)

1. Play the game. Play it at comic/gaming stores, play it on the campuses of local schools, play it at conventions, play Mage Wars where other people can see you. This is obviously easier if you have at least one person to play with but if need be go to those stores and ask the owner to play you. People see you having a good time playing a new game they haven't heard of and they think "Hey I want to have a good time! Why haven't I heard of this amazing game? I better go learn!"

2. Sign up as an Ambassador. AW is in the process of getting that system really up and running smoothly and you'd be amazed what resources you can have at your disposal once you're in if you just ask. Sign up to be an ambassador, then call or e-mail them and get yourself approved. Hey have your FLGS back you on it!

3. Set up demo events and follow through with them. Talk to local gaming clubs, stores, conventions, gatherings of geeks and ask if you can run demos on a busy day. Odds are if it's a store they've got product in stock they want to move and money they want to make. A con needs gaming spots filled so that's easy too. Present yourself in a respectful and professional manner with enthusiasm and a smile when running these demos btw. Do NOT just sit there like a bump on a log waiting for people to come up to you. Get up off your butt, walk over to the candy display and engage people(they'll be at the candy display they're gamers.) Make a bunch and I mean a bunch of spell books. If you don't have that many cards use proxies but you should make bare minimum one of each for the core set mages and then some of the expansions, at least one from each expansion. It's up to you if you want to use the starter spell books or not. It's easier on your card stock if you do I'll say. Also unless you have a super good reason not to: LOSE your demo matches or at the very least make it super close. Nobody likes getting their teeth kicked in playing some game they've never tried. You don't have to make it obvious but you can hold back and give the newbie some advantages.

4. When teaching the game keep a time limit on matches and stick to it. 45 minutes is honestly plenty of time to teach the game, you can extend it to 65 if need be. People get into Mage Wars and then get right back out if they think the average match takes 3 hours. This is Mage Wars folks not Axis and Allies...though if you finish an A&A game in three hours congrats!

5. Give away free crap like it was going out of fashion. It's a tough economy but FREE is well within everyones budget. I work a crap job myself but I can afford FREE all day every day. If you're an ambassador you can order the OP kits. You get 36 cards per OP kit and a little poster thingy. Ok 36 should cover you for a good while and the poster thingy makes for decent prize support at a tournament. If you want you can also come up with other creative stuff to give away, funny D12s to use as an effect dice for example they're like seventy five cents at most game stores. If you can draw then do little portraits of the mages and hand those out. Use your talents and get creative if you don't want to just hand out cards.

6. Set up casual tournaments. Note that I said CASUAL because in Mage Wars there really aren't any high stakes prizes. I hear with Magic they use to hand out cash, I know in Hero Clix you get to design a piece if you win Gen Con and even local events can have hundred dollar prize support handed out. This is Mage Wars and it aint like that. Some promo cards, maybe a hat or a poster is the best you're gonna get at your local tournaments and it should stay like that in my view. But tournaments give a sense of community and let people meet other players. It also gives people a sense of how they're growing as players and they're easy to organize.

7. Create a way for your players to communicate. Like a FB or Twitter or something, but keep everyone talking and on the same page. This is common sense.

That's all I got for now. I would like for a dedicated thread where we can exchange ideas on building communities :)

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Re: Advice on building a strong play group.
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 08:27:45 PM »
I am trying this right now in my area so thanks for the tips! All I need now is pictures of me teaching people the game, some E-mail references, and hopefully being vouched for by my FLGS and I should be an Ambassador in no time.
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Re: Advice on building a strong play group.
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 09:18:25 PM »
Thanks a bunch Silver for taking the time to do this. It will certainly be helpful to many people (myself included).

Can we get this pinned? IMO it's worthy of one.
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