6 Secrets of a Successful FNM
Your player community is tight-knit, and that's a good thing.
But how do you keep your community close while keeping it open to new players?
Judy Thomas of Labyrinth Games has it figured out, and she was kind enough to share some of her secrets:
1. Announce and Enforce Your Sportsmanship Policy
Judy announces their "Play Nice" policy—no intimidation, no cursing—before every Friday Night Magic. Players found in violation of the policy will find themselves on the business end of a firm talking-to.
"On the way out," she adds.
2. Set Behavior Standards Early
While evangelizing the game—like during their educational outreach and "Sealed Deck Workshop" programs—Judy also evangelizes Magic's culture of friendly competition, making sure the rules of behavior are clear from the beginning, right along with the rules of the game.
3. Find the Right Event for the Right Player
Judy "vets" first time visitors, recommending events based on their levels of experience and investment. A young player might be directed toward their monthly "Kid's Magic" event, while an experienced but casual player might be directed to Commander Night or their Sealed Deck league.
And under the new FNM paradigm, all these can happen at FNM!
4. Have a Judge On Hand
While not a requirement, having L1 Chris Yates on hand helps keep the peace while keeping the play competitive. Rules debates are resolved early and peaceably, plus the event gains an air of authority.
5. Encourage "Flavorful" Activities
At Magic 2015 Prerelease, Conor Delaney, Labyrinth's resident "Flavor Judge," issued prizes for themed clothing and decks.
Activities like this reduce the intimidation factor to zero.
6. Welcome New Players with a Gift
Meanwhile, Judy brings flavor of a different kind:
When you show up and you're immediately handed a cupcake, you know right away what kind of a store this is.
A cupcake may seem trivial, but simple gestures like that have players going out of their way to get to Labyrinth. One player even passes on other options literally: "There's a store he drives past to get here."
So take a cue from Judy and create an inclusive atmosphere this week at FNM!