• The Collector's Chaos Draft : Anatomy of a Failed Event

    Every year Four Horsemen Comics in Morgantown, WV runs a Child's Play Weekend event where all the store's event organizers come up with interesting charity events where players can donate money and all proceeds go to Child's Play, a charity organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in a network of over 100 hospitals worldwide.

    I once again took on the task of creating an event for our Dice Masters event. Last year I went rather simple with the event. We did a regular unlimited constructed event, but with the added benefit of a series of universally available globals that could be used by making a small monetary donation to Child's Play. In the end, the event became a little too "pay to win" with whoever was willing to make the largest donation winning the event.

    For this year's Child's Play event, I decided to go a bit more adventurous, and we would attempt a Chaos Draft, but with a bit of flair. One of the bigger issues with a Chaos draft is the inability to get a reasonable amount of dice for characters, so the first tweaks would be allowing players to make a donation of $1 to Child's Play to increase their number of dice on card by one.

    The second bit of flair was "The Collector's Vault". I created a special collection of 50+ cards of varying rarities and power levels. The players could contribute $1 to Child's Play to randomly get one card from "The Vault" along with one die for that card. The players could then make additional contributions to get additional dice for the vault cards. Cards of exceptionally low power level (such as common Vixen and Uncommon UXM Professor X) would give the player an opportunity to contribute another dollar to get a "2 for 1 special" letting them get any two dice or to dive into the vault twice for a dollar, hopefully encouraging additional donations. Some of the cards in the Vault were from OP sets giving players the opportunity to use cards that they would not normally see in draft.

    With a D8 in hand (my store had 8 sets in stock) I got to the store early and created our draft bags filled with random packs, and set up "The Collector's Vault". There seemed to be a fair amount of interest in the event on social media and talking about it at previous events. I was prepared for at least eight participants in advance, but was ready to run off and create more draft bags as needed. Unfortunately, in the end, including myself, we only had two participants. Since this was a charity event, we carried on with the event, drafting our two bags and dealing with a very measly draft distribution. I contributed $10 up front allowing both me and my opponent to add five dice to any card we had drafted. My opponent also opted to dive into "The Vault," getting an Uncommon Angel from AvX and adding dice to it.

    Both of our teams turned out quite serviceable and worked out fairly well. My main strategy was the common Stirge going through for damage, using Catwoman and Angela to remove the low purchase cost characters that would be able to block it. With my opponent's draft, this meant only his sidekicks could block my Stirge. We played a best of three, making the most of the event ending with only $15 actually raised from the event for Child's Play.

    So what went wrong? I believe it was a combination of several factors. The first factor was wallet fatigue. Not only is it the Xmas season where budgets are stretched thin, we were also one of the last Child's Play events of the weekend, so those that played across multiple games may have already been bled dry. The second factor was player interest. With Deadpool and Green Arrow and Flash still fresh, I would guess players wanted to focus on those sets. Unfortunately, my store has an abundance of product from older sets, but is a little thin on the two latest. The Chaos Draft format is great for moving old product, but not so great for getting into new product. I wouldn't say I put store interest over player interest, but I definitely overestimated our player bases's interest in revisiting older cards. I also aimed to keep the entry cost low, expecting some wallet fatigue, but this meant slimmer prize support which may have also been an influencing factor. Lastly, we've had a general waning in our attendance over the last couple months. A greater focus on bringing in new players has sorely been needed at our store, and that is partially where I have dropped the ball, and working on that may be the focus of my next article.

    It was disappointing, but we made the most of it and did our best to contribute to the cause. I personally loved running the event and had the help of Isaac and Shadowmeld coming up with and fine tuning some of the ideas. Hopefully some of the ideas here are useful to someone else, and can have better luck with their participation rate and money raised.