How Do You Run a Perfect Prerelease?

July 6, 2016 | 3 min to read

What does it take to run the perfect Prerelease?

We asked WPN members in our Facebook group for their advice on the topic and here's what they had to say:

Focus on the Fun

Prereleases tend to draw a lot of newer and infrequent players. And no matter your players' level of experience, everyone will still be learning the new mechanics and cards.

So many retailers suggest emphasizing fun over highly competitive play.

Think of Prerelease more as a Magic party than a tournament.—Whitman Bottiger, Critical Hit Games

Whitman goes on to add: "Decorate and put in the effort. Think of fun ways to make the event your own. You want it to stand out. Fun side activities, games, food, . . . whatever you feel comfortable with that doesn't break the bank."

Gamesville in Florida created this simple, but atmospheric display with just a tablecloth, a few props, and stack of booster displays.

Be Punctual

Magic players report that "long waits" are one reason they feel dissatisfied with a store's events. Avoid common pitfalls that negatively affect your players' experience by keeping your event moving.

Start on time and cap your event at 4 rounds.—Brian Mitchell, A Muse N Games

And don't let late players between rounds derail your event.

Late players can still play, they just get less time for deck construction, [and] they will eventually learn to be punctual.—Mathew Daigle, TableTop Shop

"Turn your rounds over quickly," Mathew advises, "hand out match slips, and have a drop box for match results slips, preferably near your register. The more they come to the register, the more face time you get with them."

Offer a Flat Prize Pool

Many WPN members create an atmosphere that welcomes all levels of players with a flat prize structure that awards more players.

Rather than awarding a large amount of prizes to just the top players, a flat prize structure distributes the pool of prizes amongst many players.

We go with the 2 packs per player into the prize pool. Everyone who stays and plays through all the rounds get 1 prize pack.—Brian Mitchell, A Muse N Games

Grow Repeat Business

Prereleases are a great opportunity to turn new and infrequent players into repeat customers.

We try to make a big welcome for new players and remind the 'seasoned veterans' to help them out.—Jim Hughes, Pat’s Games

Loyalty programs and unique offers that encourage them to come back can then help establish a habit of playing in your events.

Give new players a free pack of sleeves [and] give returning players a [booster] pack for bringing a friend to play. Things like that go a long way to keep players coming back.—Eric Wolansky, Cards In the Corner

Cards & Hobbies in Malaysia showing off how excited their players are at Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease.

The better an experience you can provide at your first Prerelease, the more likely players are to show up for your second one.

Take the advice of these veteran organizers and make sure they do!

For more ideas like these and the chance to network with other WPN members, join our Facebook group today!

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