Last Minute Tips for At-Home Prerelease
Jacob Nourigat, In-Store Play Specialist
Hosting At-Home Prereleases is a new experience for the WPN. With in-store play temporarily on hold, making the most of the May 15 At-Home Prerelease is essential.
Stores in Japan and parts of Asia-Pacific led the way when they successfully ran At-Home Prereleases back on April 17, and there's a lot we can learn from their experiences.
Here are a few ideas that helped make the Ikoria launch a success in Japan.
Provide Prerelease Kits to players for a physical At-Home Prerelease.
For Ikoria Prerelease, players are able to purchase Prerelease Kits online, open them at home, and play with their families and roommates in person.
This is the easiest At-Home Prerelease for a lot of WPN stores to run—you just have to sell Prerelease Packs through your online shop. That's it!
If you choose to, you may enter everyone who buys a Prerelease Kit into a "Player List Only" At-Home Prerelease event on WER, but keep in mind that any future Prerelease allocation that would include Ikoria will instead look at the highest attendance in the last three sets.
This version of At-Home Prerelease was popular during the April 17 Prerelease. Stores in Asia-Pacific and Japan had players report on social media that they've been using this time to teach family members and roommates how to play Magic for the first time!
For regions where small gatherings are allowed, players may also want to have private Prereleases outside the store. They just need to pick up a few Prerelease Packs from you and host their own Prerelease wherever they'd like. (Of course, it goes without saying that players should only do this in accordance with guidance from local authorities.)
And don't forget that you can use Promo Packs as a sales incentive with your Prerelease Packs and all sales throughout the Ikoria season.
Host webcam Prerelease events through Discord.
By now, you've probably heard us talk about Discord. But just in case you haven't, Discord is an online community hub that allows players to connect and play tabletop games through their webcams. Hundreds of WPN members have started their Discord communities using a simple template we partnered with Discord to create. Get details here.
Digital At-Home Prerelease events also require you to sell Prerelease Kits online or through curbside delivery where available. With every Prerelease Pack that you sell, include a flyer for your Discord channel and times when people will be playing Ikoria.
Players can find opponents on your Discord channel, set up their webcams pointed down at their battlefield, and enjoy their Prerelease pack with other players from their community while safe at home.
Stores in Japan found that Discord made a huge impact on the At-Home Prerelease experience. Having a store community hub means that players can still open packs, build decks, and play with all their friends from your store.
Players are still eager to experience Prerelease together digitally, even after the usual Prerelease weekend has passed.
TCG Shop Mag in Nagano, Japan held two Prerelease events, one on the weekend of Prerelease and another on the weekend after. The extra flexibility was good for their community, since getting a Prerelease Pack in time for launch was a challenge for some.
Think ahead to when your store will reopen.
For some regions, reopening stores for small events will be possible soon. And, while Ikoria is still fresh, people are going to want to experience playing with their Prerelease pools back in their local game store.
If it's feasible, responsible, and safe in your region, organize a Prerelease league and allow players to bring their Prerelease Pool in to play once your store is open again.
Interest in these types of event will vary between communities and will likely depend on how close to Prerelease your store reopens. Take advantage of your digital community hub to poll your players and gauge their interest level when you reopen to host the events that best suit them.
May 15 is almost here! While this Prerelease is certainly unusual, your players are still excited to get their hands on the newest set and share Prerelease with their community. Make sure your players have the chance to experience their favorite game and the excitement of the new set at home.