Jan 4, 2017

How I Leverage Open Dueling

Get tips on running Open Dueling at Prerelease from Nathanial Petersen, owner of Advanced Plus level Backstage Hobbies & Games.

Jan 4, 2017

How I Leverage Open Dueling

Get tips on running Open Dueling at Prerelease from Nathanial Petersen, owner of Advanced Plus level Backstage Hobbies & Games.

Backstage Hobbies & Games is a ten-year-old Advanced Plus level store, in the small tourist town of Ludington, Michigan. Each Prerelease, they cater to a diverse array of players who have an equally diverse array of schedules, commitments, and interests. Here's how they use Open Dueling to help keep the experience of Prerelease loose and flexible while focusing on the cards, on the fun, and on exploring the new set.

For us, the biggest thing about Open Dueling, such as we run it, is the chance to share the excitement of the Prerelease with those who, for their own reasons, cannot participate in the main event.

For Drop-In Customers

As a tourist town, we get a great deal of folks traveling. Players may be missing their Prerelease event at their home store, and be unable to commit to a full event while on the road. We run Open Dueling as just that—an open event that players can participate in at any point throughout Prerelease weekend.

Open Dueling gives them a chance to experience the new set and not feel like they're missing out on Prerelease. They also get the chance to throw down with tournament players for at least a hand or two and feel involved in the fun.

If they can't stay and play for long, we encourage them to "crack the packs" that come with the Planeswalker Decks and have a little fun in-shop. This inevitably encourages friends and companions to take a look, get excited, and pick up Planeswalker Deck themselves to take on the road, to the hotel, or back to the campground.

For New Players

New players, both in town and on the road, are often intrigued by Prerelease but lack the skill for swift deck building or the confidence to participate in a sea of other players.

For new players, Open Dueling provides them a solid foundation to play, it allows them to choose opponents they are comfortable playing against, and overall enables them to participate in the excitement of Prerelease Weekend.

An Opportunity to Tailor an Experience

We handle each customer interaction on a case-by-case basis. We find out the player's skill level, comfort level, and walk players through Planeswalker Decks and Open Dueling ourselves or partner players up with each other as it makes sense. The idea is to get them comfortable and get them playing.

We are very fortunate to have a community of skilled players. We can often pair some of these new players with our veterans for a friendly game with Planeswalker Decks, where they introduce the new set, detail the mechanics, and explain how tournaments work.

Sometimes, regrettably, they simply end up taking the deck home; but more often they stay to be a part of the Prerelease experience and play the new set with friends.

Tailoring the experience to the player takes time (something we don't always have during a hectic Prerelease weekend) but is well worth the investment.

Store Stats: Backstage Hobbies & Games

By Nathanial Petersen, owner Backstage Hobbies & Games

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