Mar 22, 2023 — New Player Acquisition

How to Build a Diverse & Inclusive Game Community

Prioritizing inclusivity helps a broader spectrum of players feel welcome in your store.

Mar 22, 2023 — New Player Acquisition

How to Build a Diverse & Inclusive Game Community

Prioritizing inclusivity helps a broader spectrum of players feel welcome in your store.

Magic: The Gathering celebrates a diverse cast of characters from across the multiverse—a diversity that is equally reflected in the fans and community who love the game. Making a safe and inclusive play space will help grow your community by helping everyone at the table feel welcome.

There are numerous ways for you to incorporate more diversity and inclusion efforts throughout your store's gaming community; with a straightforward plan, you can create a space where a more diverse community can flourish.

Make Inclusivity Core to Your Code of Conduct

An inclusive environment begins with you, and baking a zero-tolerance policy for harassment into your Code of Conduct is the perfect place to start. Having a zero-tolerance harassment policy front and center is a proactive way to discourage behavior from players in your store that may make newer members of your community feel unsafe.

The same principles should apply to your employee code of conduct—players of all ages and experience levels will look to your staff as an example of what behavior is and isn't acceptable in your store.

You are always welcome to reference the WPN Code of Conduct while creating your store's Code of Conduct, though we encourage you to expand upon it with your own zero-tolerance policy.

Make sure your Code of Conduct is prominently displayed in your play space; if your play space is large enough, you may even want to hang it up at multiple key points so players can see it no matter where they're sitting in the room.

Host Community-Driven Event Nights

Regular events are key for an in-store gaming community, and you should try to align your events to the interests of your player base. Players may be more engaged and more likely to return when they see you're hosting events that feel designed specifically for them.

To encourage a more diverse player base, you might want to try hosting community-focused event nights. Engage in social listening—both within and outside your current community—and find out what other stores in the area are hosting. You can conduct social listening by tuning into what players are talking about on local social media channels: whether that's Discord, Facebook, or Twitter.

There may exist a gap or niche that you can fill in your store; for example, you might host an event geared toward less represented groups, like women or members of the LGBT community.

Create an Accessible Play Space

Accessibility should be top of mind from the beginning as you build plans for your play space and running in-store events. Make sure your play space is comfortably spaced to accommodate any players who arrive at your store with mobility aids. Plus, you'll want your staff to be familiar with EventLink's accessibility accommodation options, such as fixed seating for players with limited mobility (or even children who need to sit closer to their parents).

If your store has a screen, you might consider broadcasting the text from your opening announcements at major events, so players who may not be able to hear you can still follow along.

Above all else, be there for anyone who requests assistance—you won't always know by looking whether someone needs accommodation. Building an environment where players can openly ask for accommodations will make new players feel more comfortable at your store.

Foster a Culture of Inclusivity

When players feel comfortable visiting your store for the first time, your next step is helping them feel welcome at your store every time they return. This involves an ongoing commitment to your zero-tolerance policy—including customers who are only dropping in for a short time.

Supporting diversity fosters a sense of belonging; after all, customers come to your store to play. You want each person visiting to feel safe and comfortable being their whole, honest, and true selves—and they deserve to be celebrated.

Growing your play community to include more diverse players may ultimately prove valuable to your business; you'll have a wider variety of player insights, allowing you to iterate on your event offerings, strengthening your community and giving even more players a space to have fun.

It's never too late to start building a plan for diversifying your player base and fostering a more inclusive game community. Try hosting a themed event night by creating a custom event in Wizards EventLink and see what players find their way to your store.

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