Monday, May 23, 2011

Running Events...Things to know and do

So here in the sweaty unwashed armpit of hell where the Army has chosen to park me for the next couple of years we have a small but aspiring new LGS.  It's nearest cousins are both 45 minutes to an hour away so no real marketshare is being lost by either of these more established stores.  (I'll do some store reviews later)

This store owner "J" is fairly new to the gaming scene himself, but is a big comic book fan and that was the primary basis for the store.  Comics weren't supporting the store completely and so he added in another aspect of nerd bait and added in the gaming stuff.  He had customers and a bunch of new players buying battle forces and what not.  There were a few experienced players but not many.  So he asked for help to run an event.  I volunteered, out of the goodness of my heart, and want to attract/find some other players who knew the rules.  Event went well but there are things that I learned and some thing I wish the shop owner knew at the time.

So there are some things that any event planner needs to do-

-Make an agreement with the store owner (if they are not the same person, obviously) about some seemingly negligible sticking points, notables are listed below.
  • Hours- Need to open earlier or stay later than usual hours?  
  • Pricing vs. prize support - how much money does the owner want to make from hosting the event?  how much of the entry fee is being put toward the prizes?
  • Restrictions on Space - need more tables?  This can be a real big problem as a store can only filed so many tables for its size.  Some stores only have a few tables to play on in the first place.  This can severely limit the number of players,  and put a big downer on the event.  
-Plan ahead, and prepare the event rules.  A simple page of printed rules (ie.  No Apocalypse, or Forge World rules, etc.),  a list of what to bring (dice, 3 copies of your list, etc) and what not is essential in my opinion to a successful and lower stress event for you the planner.  You can always refer someone to the rulesheet.  Now if you are doing scenarios you need to have those prepared on printed sheets also.  Shouting special rules across a crowded store can be un-fun.  If you really want to be "cool" have score cards/sheets for players to initial results on and turn in. 

-Communicate with your player base early.  Put out the word as soon as you can about the date/time and where/how to sign up.  As an addendum to this...make sign-up easy.

-Be prepared for the day of the event.  Get there early and get set-up.  Preferably before the player get there, especially if you want to guarantee even terrain spread or whatever.  Players will often adjust terrain to better suit their army if you allow them to set up the tables.

-Have fun, but be fair.  You will end up being a judge, and being a dick to some guy you don't like because he tabled you last time you played him doesn't make it more fun.  It can and will riun the event for more than just you/him.  Now on the flip side if someone is being a dick, warn him, punish him (take points from his score), then drop him and have the owner ask him to leave.  Don't get into a screaming match, that's just ugliness that no one needs.  The second and third order effects can really ruin a shop (seen it happen).

-If there are bonus points available for something not hard wired into the game (like paint quality, sportsmanship, army fluff/cohesion, etc) have an impartial judge(s) or allow all participants to vote.  Ask every player after every game to rate their opponent from 1-5 on sportsmanship, have all players set up their army before /after play to be viewed and voted on for paint.  Or something like that.  "Because I said so" isn't fair and makes for tournament(s) that no one will want to go to.

-Try to know the rules.  As the organizer, you will be the judge most often.  If you don't know the rules you can't effectively be the judge, so get someone else.

With any dash of common sense, most of the above will not be anything new.  But hopefully it may help you plan/run an event if you are so inclined.


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