How I Promoted Commander in My Store
When Adam Berces purchased The Orc's Lair, he discovered that the store's Commander player base was almost non-existent. After a few failed attempts, Adam found a formula that worked with his community of players and reignited Commander play in his store. Here's his story.
When we decided to purchase an existing game store, we knew there would be challenges. Not only did we need to maintain the existing customer base the previous store had, but also expand it. We had the space and we had the new look—we just needed the players.
At the time, we had a Commander player base that consisted of a single person. That player would show up and, unfortunately, have no one to play with. We asked what happened to the other Commander players—long story short, the group broke up before we took over.
When pressed as to why and found that lack of organization dissolved the group. There was no real structure to their meetings, they didn’t have a consistent date or time, and there were no prizes.
We told that player,
Hang in there, we're going to get you a group of players to play Commander with!
The following week, we set a date for Commander. It was a free-to-play event. We painted, we scrubbed, we advertised. To our surprise, we only had one additional player show up. Initially, we were discouraged. However, it soon became clear, we needed even more structure.
I researched Commander Leagues through the Wizards website, along with a few blogs and forums, and decided to try it out. The next week, we made an event for an official Commander League. The league would meet in store every week on Wednesdays and play Commander.
Free events didn't really work for us, but an official league did. We charged a modest entry fee for each league event which helped support prizing—including the final prize given at league’s conclusion.
The winner of each pod gets a free booster pack and the first player out would get a free snack or soda. This did the trick.
Since then, we've grown our Commander League from just one interested player to about twenty regular players. The affordable buy-in, the consolation snack prize, and the booster pack prize for the winner, formed the right combination to pique player interest. We've also added a fun and amusing achievement sheet that has helped foster comradery and plenty of laughs around the table.
Using Commander (2016)
I asked my players what they wanted as prizes for the end of the league—the decision was unanimous.
When the 3-month league comes to an end this October, we will be rewarding each player with a new Commander (2016) deck as a "thank you for playing."
I will also be using Commander (2016) as prizes for FNM and other events to help advertise the Commander format to the rest of our player community.
The excitement as the Commander (2016) release date draws near is palatable. All our Commander League players are very much looking forward to it and so am I!
Store Stats: The Orc's Lair
- Location: Youngtown, Arizona (3,000)
- WPN Level: Advanced
- Age: 3 years
- Size: 1200 sq. ft.
- Website: www.theorcslair.com