What are things a LGS can do to make your events better ? What are things a LGS can to to make you want to go to events you don"t normally go to ?
May 4, 2018 5:12 p.m.
If you've got an online calendar, keep it updated. If someone calls, the store, make sure they can quickly and accurately confirm scheduled events. For some reason, this seems to be a huge issue for stores.
May 4, 2018 5:46 p.m.
One of my local shops recently removed prices from all the mtg cards and set up computers so customers can look up prices themselves. I am not a fan of the change, and will more than likely just stop going there to peek in the cases and impulse buy cards. I'm too lazy to look up a price everytime I see a card that interests me. So, if I had a store I'd have prices on the cards.
May 4, 2018 6:07 p.m.
I've moved a lot, so have been been to a a bunch of stores, and I always take special notice of two things:
- What's the "tone" of the people at the top tables? As a group, lots of people in a store will look up to them and try to emulate them, so if they're helpful and welcoming to newbs, the store is going to be pretty good. And if they're caustic or consedcending, the store will be too :-/
- How clean in the bathroom? I know this sounds stupid, but it's a HUGE indicator. Keeping a bathroom clean (especially during a large event) is almost certainly the worst part of running an LGS, so if they do a good job on that, I can be 100% certain they're going to do the fun parts well too.
May 4, 2018 8:28 p.m.
@maxon, I would argue that it's a bad idea to label prices on cards. The market fluctuates so much that it would be a chore to keep up.
If a store has hundreds of cards in their display cases; it would be in their best interest to check most of the prices daily. I once bought a Deathrite Shaman for $5 because the owner's teenage kid was pricing cards and consistently labeled foil cards at their nonfoil price (accidentally). If they'd price checked at point of sale...
My LGS uses a phone app to scan cards for prices and it goes really quick. A lot of patrons will mob the counter right before a tournament to either buy last minute cards or trade in for shop credit to pay for entries; and having the phone to scan in cards is a game changer.
Other aspects of my nonexistent LGS would be background music to drown out the sounds of shifting chairs, coughing, farting, etc. I bring a Bluetooth speaker to the midnight prereleases and people are always stoked for some tunes while they crack packs and build.
Another idea would be good air flow. TCG players aren't always the cleanest :P
I'd also want it to be a ground-floor storefront. I've seen a lot of shops stuffed down into a basement location, and although it can create a good dungeon theme, I'd rather have natural light helping the causeJust my $.02
May 5, 2018 8:46 a.m.
Yup. My friend was buying some staples for EDH when a less knowledgeable clerk run him up. He had to take a double check at the price and noticed he was charged $6 for Survival of the Fittest instead of $60 a month or so ago. Also, holy reserved list spikes, Batman! He called me upset about having to be tempted like that.
And I'd like to mirror the sentiment about airflow and music. Last time I was playing at a shop, the owner put on a 2 hour medley of piano music. So many pieces from Touhou. It was lovely. Even a mom of some younger Yugioh players stopped to ask about it. The music just has to be something you can easily drown out and you're good.
May 5, 2018 10:15 a.m.
My buddy Phil runs The Gaming Goat where I live. He sets his LGS apart by branching out into many different entities. He keeps MTG afloat by selling singles and listing preorders and has entire shelves of trade binders, but he does this with Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and several other new games. He also buys and resells videogames, stations, controllers, adapters, and other electronic stuff. But by far his biggest seller are board games. He sells massive quantities of board games via online sales and mails them out anywhere they are bought.
He also participates in FNM. In my city, we have three LGS. Affinity Gaming, Crackerjax, and Gaming Goat. In the first two, the owners / managers sit behind the counter and watch people play the game and cash out drinks / whatever. But Phil at the Goat actually participates. He cracks packs with his customers, drafts decks, and even competes in non-sanctioned events and ups the ante.
Just a few weeks ago for the Dominaria release, he made a store-wide bet: "If you can beat me, you get $100 store credit."
Not only this, he also helps out the local community. We have something called "Corn Fest" once a year which is like a county fair. We shut down the biggest road in the downtown area (Where the Goat is located) and the city commissions bands for live play, we bring in rides, vendor stands, parades, and all kinds of stuff. It's typically done right between the end of Summer and beginning of Autumn, so sometimes it's blistering hot and sometimes it's a bit chilly (Northern Illinois; Weather changes twice a day that time of the year).
What Phil does is he will buy 300+ cases of bottled water with 24 bottles each and will literally hand them out for free - whether you are a customer or not.
He also donates to charity, participates in wellness programs, and has a band to help local venues.
While these are all outstanding ovations on behalf of Phil, the fact he brings it into a business model is what separates his store from the rest.
Affinity has been closed-sold-bought-repackaged a total of four or five times in the past seven years. They do D&D nights, FNM, and sell singles / packs. That's all. Crackerjax is more of a comic store that sells toys and they have a very small counter of Magic cards in the basement where they host FNM and Modern Thursdays and EDH Saturdays, but few people show up there. Typically 5 people at most, if they remember.
The difference between those two and The Gaming Goat is while all three are a business, only one feels like a home.
TLDR - Maintain a business, but grow a family.
May 5, 2018 12:29 p.m.
Catalog9000 a store owner that participates in events is a giant red flag, especially at prereleases. how do you know he doesn't crack open packs early?
May 5, 2018 12:43 p.m.
MegaMetagross, good question. Glad you brought that up.
After everyone is signed in and has their boxes, he takes his and sits down with the customers and cracks his packs with them. So it's impossible for him to do it early, as he gets his pack last and opens with everyone else.
The whole "beat me" isn't intended as a sense of grandeur, it's meant as a playful challenge. All in the sport of fun.
May 5, 2018 12:45 p.m.
Catalog9000 still not impossible to open packs early. he could easily have some cards already sleeved before distributing packs, and then switch cards before and between rounds. opening up some packs in front of everyone is the obvious tactic to attempt to ease suspicion, but it doesn't actually stop cheating.
but even in constructed formats he has an advantage and could just be participating so that its 1 less person he has to give prizes to.
May 5, 2018 12:52 p.m.
MegaMetagross While I appreciate your concern, given what all he does for his community, I doubt he'd go to that level just for a few foil cards that he could quite literally just buy straight off of his own shelf.
And besides, the possibility of him doing this is no different than literally anyone else doing it.
What we're talking about here fundamentally is just cheating. I witnessed multiple people cheat at the prerelease I went to.
Pile shuffling their lands, refusing to let opponent's cut their decks, slipping in cards from previous runs, trading for playsets (you're supposed to only play with cards you open, therefore trading for cards you did not open is cheating), etc
I understand your point; A game store owner playing with their customers can give the store an unfair advantage as the owner can manipulate the outcome easier than the customers could.
However, the game store owner has little to gain from it. Suppose he wins 1st place and gets packs. He's going to open the packs and put the cards in his displace case to sell.
Or, someone else wins them, cracks them, and sells them to him for a percentage of what they're going for. He than sells them for full price.
Either way, he is selling the exact same card for the exact same amount of money. He has quite literally no gain out of it.
Because of this, you have a moot point. It's a valid concern, but one with no substance.
May 5, 2018 1:10 p.m.
Catalog9000: its not a moot point, it does have substance, and he does have something to gain. if he pulls a card himself, its pure profit whereas if he buys it from someone else, he has to pay them first. there is very much a literal gain. why would he put his OWN cards in the display case? they're HIS cards, not the stores. being the store owner, its very different than if someone else cheated. he has access to the boxes first. its not a matter of "just a few foils". even non foils sell for quite a lot and he can easily get his hands on expensive staples at basically no cost.
May 5, 2018 1:18 p.m.
The few dollars you could make every once in a while by doing something like that pale in comparison to what you can earn by spending time regularly checking on your online storefront in an effort to maintain prompt communication with customers. If he's spending hours of his time on playing in the store, I'd wager he's actually losing time he could be using to make sure his inventory is properly labeled and priced. For you, the rewards may seem notable, but when you're paying thousands just to keep the lights on every month, you learn not to sweat the small stuff and focus instead on the larger cash cows.
The opportunity cost of cheating at his own events is just insanely high. Heck, I'd say he's losing out just by participating (one fewer guy at the counter selling stuff during prerelease, for example). It's probably made up for in the sense of community he builds in his store and via personal enjoyment.
It makes sense to be weary of businesses exploiting their customers, but try to see the good in people and spend a little more time assessing things from the perspective of others.