I’ve been giving a lot of thought to running events lately. In my local area, there’s been a lot of disucssion about how to generate support for specific games (particularly miniature games from smaller publishers). While there’s been a lot of discussion, there hasn’t been as much action (save for myself and a few other groups). One of the primary ways to generate interest in a game is to establish an event.
Whether a tournament or a demo or even an organized play day, an event signals to interested (and potentially interested) players that there is a place for them to play the game, even if they’ve not seen it at the store or club before. So what’s the best way to get an event going? For me, there are a handful of super easy steps.
First, let people know that there’s an event happening. A modicum of early warning goes a long way. You don’t have to have all the details worked out, just let people know that you’re thinking about an event. This gives people time to ask questions about the game itself, the format of the event and the timing. In addition, they’re prone to provide valuable suggestions or feedback that can help to shape the event. For example, in the Shadespire tournament I’m running this weekend, there was a question about interpretation of a card weeks before the tournament itself. Digging into the question gave me an impetus to check out how other groups were handling the issue, talk to GW employees about it and establish the way our event would be run.
The second is to announce the event itself. Make you give at least a few weeks notice before the initial announcement of the event and the event itself. On the other hand, don’t announce it too early! Too much notice and people tend to forget they were interested in the event in the first place! Also, don’t just announce it in a single place. Go to the user groups where people likely to be interested in the game congregate. This is a great way to broaden the appeal of the event and attract lurkers who might not be affiliated with your local club or store. For a first evnet, I like to make sure there’s something extra to catch people’s attention. For example, in this weekend’s event, I’ve 3D printed some terrain for Shadespire to give away to a random player in addition to the standard organized play prize support (I have a painted set of this terrain that I’ve made to show it off).
The most important step is the event itself! It’s critical that the event runs smoothly with a focus on making sure everyone enjoys themselves. Make sure you’re clear about rules and format before everyone starts. After each round of the event (if it works that way), make sure that everyone has had a chance to report in and that there are no questions. Don’t wait until the end of the event to resolve problems! At the end of the event, do a final wrap-up and make sure everyone knows how to get more involved with the game (joining a local group, where to buy product, etc). And if it’s a regular event, make sure people know when to expect the next one!