Never Start an Event Late Again
Starting events on time is consistently a top priority for players when evaluating stores.
But, as every organizer knows, it's not that simple. For instance, if players call to say they'll be late, should you wait for them? If they show up after pairings are made, should you try to squeeze them into round one? Should you poll your punctual players about it or should you have a firm policy?
You can help dodge this issue altogether by clearly defining what your start time means and consistently abiding by that definition.
What does “starting on time” mean?
Andrew Schwab of Anime Kat asked the same question:
How do you define "starting on time?" If your event starts at 2pm, do you announce the pairings then or is that when you start the timer? What does "on time" mean to you?
Take the following event for example:
Friday Night Magic
Is 6:30 when registration starts, or when pairings go up? When packs get handed out, or when players are seated? If I'm a player, when should I show up? And if I'm an organizer, what should my cutoff be for registering players?
The consensus solution is easy to apply.
We specify registration time and starting time. Starting time is always when packs are handed out for sealed or pairings are up for constructed. — Anna O’Keefe, CCGHouse
You can avoid the ambiguity by communicating registration start time and round one (or draft seating) start time in your messaging. Just being a little more specific can make all the difference.
Consider the previous example, but with Anna's method in place:
Friday Night Magic
Registration: 5–6:15pm; Round 1 pairings up at: 6:30pm
Now, expectations are set. If I'm a player, I know precisely when to show up, and precisely when the event begins. If I'm an organizer, I've got an explicitly stated cutoff to stand by if anyone shows up late. I can issue them a match loss and add them to round two.
Use this strategy and never start an event late again!