Aug 8, 2015

3 Offbeat Event Ideas that Can Draw New Players

See how 3 great WPN stores are finding new players in uncommon places

Aug 8, 2015

3 Offbeat Event Ideas that Can Draw New Players

See how 3 great WPN stores are finding new players in uncommon places

What events do you run to draw new players? Bring-a-friend nights? Learn-to-play events? Those are good, time-tested ideas, but a lot of WPN stores are getting inventive and finding new players off the beaten path.

Here are three:

1. "Mom-And-Me Magic"

Sometimes parents are curious about the game their child loves, but timid about getting involved. Sometimes they're Magic veterans, eager to share their passion.

Both needs are met at The Gameboard's "Mom-and-Me Magic" event, in which mothers and their children play Two-Headed Giant against other mother/child teams.

But there's a catch: if the more experienced player wants to advise the other, they have to sacrifice a permanent.

Owner Lynn Potyen recalls a particularly absorbing match, in which one team was desperately behind when the son identified a way to survive. He chose to sacrifice a permanent—putting himself at risk—in order to keep his mother in the game.

"But it worked out and they won!" says Lynn.

2. Magic Birthday Parties

Last March, the parent of a deeply enthusiastic young Magic player asked Keegan Conrad of Comics to Astonish for Magic birthday party ideas.

Ray Nee, the store manager, quickly chimed in: "We could run them their own private party in the store!"

Comics to Astonish provided product and an organizer, the parent provided cake and ice cream, and the result was three hours of Magic in a private, VIP-style setting—a great experience, especially for young players.

Many kids experienced Magic for the very first time, and Keegan says they're still turning out for FNM.

"Once we did it, I was like, we probably should have thought of this years ago."

3. Renaissance Fair Magic

Four years running, Jason Webster of Dreamer's Vault has connected with the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and hosted a Booster Draft on the festival grounds.

Entry to the draft includes admission to the festival and costs about the same as a general admission ticket. The festival provides the product, Jason provides the prizes, plus saleable peripherals like sleeves and deckboxes.

Jason says the Ren Fair has brought new faces of all types into the store.

"It's probably the most diverse age group of any event that I've ever run. It's a very good way of getting our name out there."

Jason's tips for working with Ren Fairs:

  • Reach out to the marketing department
  • Choose a backup location in advance of inclement weather
  • Stay on flavor (no computer, no printer)
  • Issue coupons that can be redeemed in the store
  • Keep the rules enforcement at the "kitchen table" level

What unusual events are you running to draw new players? Tell us at!

By Matt Neubert

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