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The Outsider Report

Community Management and You: How to Ensure People are Having a Good Time at OP's

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(Osprey-style great wall of text inbound, accept transmission? Y/N )



Again, before getting in to today's post, I will clarify that after much thought, I've decided that regular blog posts from myself will be written up bi-weekly. I'm also pushing the day back to Wednesday instead of Tuesday so I don't conflict with the two podcasts that are released on Tuesdays and overload people with stuff.

I like writing. Specifically, I like writing about things I find interesting, or have been on my mind. I don't want to write about some arbitrary topic, I want to write about things I enjoy thinking about. So this post was born from something currently happening in my area, the explosion of interest in the game we all know and love to be Dice Masters. Myself and @theroyalfalcon have been given permission by our friendly local game store to take the reins and run the OP events since we are more knowledgeable about Dice Masters than he is. I feel like we've been successful, and I wanted to write this to explain how I think we made it successful. First, some background:

Every week on Thursday night, we host a full constructed Dice Masters tournament at one of my favourite places to be, Gamebreakers Sports Cards in Ottawa.

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This started out a few months ago as myself and a good friend (theroyalfalcon) were attempting to grow the local Dice Masters community so we could have more people to play with. When the Yugioh set first released, more interest was created and we managed to set up a pitifully small 3-4 person round robin event every week. This type of small event went on for a while, and showed no signs of improving. D&D was released, and we managed another person out of that, but still little community growth. I was racking my brain and bouncing ideas off of theroyalfalcon, trying to figure out how we could recruit more people for more successful events, but there wasn't much we could come up with. Nationals is what started to change things.

My coworkers already knew that I played a lot of card games and was trying to get more into board games. So through watercooler-type conversation, they knew I would be going with some buddies to some kind of national event over that coming weekend. It was after the event that things started to change, when I came back to work and told people that myself and theroyalfalcon did well at a high level of play event. This got conversations going, and people wanted to know more. That's when the light bulb went off in my head. I currently work in retail, so I gave my best sales pitch and told them as much cool stuff as I could about the game, how it's played and how much fun you could have playing it. I told them what time we played and where, and I got the "well maybe" sort of response a kid might get from a parent when they ask to stop for ice-cream on the way home. You know the one, the one that usually means no .

Something happened that Thursday though. People actually came, learned the game and had a great time. Then more and more people started showing up and expressing interest. Theroyalfalcon managed to recruit some old yugioh players too. Now our weekly player forecast for this coming Thursday is calling for 10 at a minimum, with up to 14 players expected to show up! We did it, we created an actual local Dicemasters community, and the best part is, they want to play full constructed! They're showing open-mindedness and are willing to try new things instead of trying to shut out IP's they don't like or know a lot about.

Great! Now theroyalfalcon and I have people to game with. The hard part is over, but it may have also been the easiest part. If that makes any sense at all. You tell me. This is all about fun.

Now that we have people ready to play and have a good time, we come across the tricky step. The one that is always ongoing, and can make or break a game if mishandled.

Community management.

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You may think that organizing a group of people to play Dice Masters would be easy. That's not always the case, especially once it expands to groups outside of your regular playgroup. To keep everyone in check, I'm going to try and explain some general guidelines to follow to keep everyone happy and enjoying the tournaments, especially players who are newer to the game.

Keep in touch and offer updates

Make sure people know when and where events will be. If something has to change for whatever reason, tell someone. If you cannot make it to and event you said you would go to, tell someone. This should be easy, but it can be overlooked. Use whatever platforms you prefer, text, facebook, twitter, TRP, whatever you want. Just keep in touch with your players. Be understanding when people can't make it to an event you planned. On the other hand, if you are letting someone know that you cannot make it an event, try to politely give them notice in advance.

Offer help and advice to others

If someone is struggling to grasp something or wants to know how to make something work better, off some advice. If you've been playing longer than they have, you probably have a greater knowledge of the available cardpool and can suggest something that they haven't even thought of to improve their teams. This is not to say you should tell everyone how to do things. Instead, help them if you are approached, or maybe even politely ask them if they'd like any feedback. There is a fine line between rudeness and constructive criticism, but learning how to walk it will make you a better person overall. Also, never forget that commons, uncommons, they're cheap cards. If someone needs a common war machine for whatever and you know you have ten thousand left over from your green goblin hunt, just give it to them and help them out. No need to nickle and dime people over cards you won't do anything with.

Don't be afraid to help someone out of a tight spot when you are playing against them

This may be some difficult advice for some of the more competitive players out there, but seriously. If you are playing against someone who just picked up the game and is clearly struggling, help them out. Explain what their different options are. Maybe they haven't seen a play because they haven't fully grasped how the attack step works just yet, or the nuances of passing priority. It may cost you a game every now and then. @theroyalfalcon is famous for that, but he commands nothing but respect because his willingness to help teach the game does nothing but good for the community, and it shows real character. If you absolutely must because you want that precious OP superman that badly, at least take the time to explain how they could have played differently after the game is over.

Never, ever cheat or play dishonestly, nor tolerate that sort of behavior

This is obvious. So obvious that it shouldn't have to ever be explained. But things like dishonesty, slow playing, lying, trade scamming, they all happen, within any game. Thankfully we haven't observed it in our local community, but if you spot it at any time, tell someone. Make sure people are aware, and handle the situation appropriately. I'm not going to tell you how to deal with these situations, they're up to your own discretion. Just make it clear that you won't tolerate that kind of behavior. Your group will thank you for it as it builds trust. I come from a Yugioh background, and I'm always thankful when I come to play dicemasters because I know that my opponents will play honestly and fairly. Trust me, it's in everyone's best interest.

Try and dissuade arguments

It happens. People disagree, people get angry, people shout. It could be a ruling issue, a trade dispute or a disagreement about the game in general. Don't be afraid to step up and calm people down, help them understand the situation and explain why. Most people don't like to fight, so if you can stop an argument, do it.

Trade fairly

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(Note, it will appear that I am giving myself a gigantic pat on the back in this paragraph, stay focused on the point)

Occasionally, there may be a card you want. A card you really really really really want. Sometimes someone will have that card for trade. If they are a newer player, they may not know what the card is worth. So in some cases, like what happened to the totally unheard of Mr. Blosprey, someone will attempt to offer you their super rare green goblin for your common red dragon because it's cool and has a very strong global. If you ever find yourself in similar scenarios, put on your big kid pants, be honest and tell them that you're still interested in the trade, but aren't letting them give you an expensive game-ender card for a 50 cent common. Not unless they take another $50-60 worth of value from your trades binder with them. If you're honest, things will work out, and they'll thank you for it. (Unless you are like Mr. Blosprey, then your fast villain burn team with it's new gobby will become one of the most hated creations to ever see play). Maybe they'll continue the trade, maybe they'll step back and reconsider, and decide to keep their stuff. Either way, trade fairly and be honest with others. Once again, it builds trust and friendship between people.

Make OP events worthwhile for everyone

People want to get value for their money. Most of the time, a friendly local game store is going to ask for $5 chip-ins from everyone to support them when your gang walks in and monopolizes their space for 4 hours. However, people want to get soemthing back for their money. Not only should you make sure they have a great time playing, but make trying to do well worth it. Make participating worth it. Make playingworth it. Since I have been given a degree of control over how events are run at our local game store, this may not apply to every situation. If you can, try and work it out with the staff to make it better for everyone. We have it set up like so:

Depending on turnout, 1st to 4th will receive a special OP card for their victories. Everyone will get a participation level OP card for playing. The cost to the store of these card is deducted from the total pot. Then, the rest of the money is divided by 1.13% (the provincial sales tax in Ontario, called HST). Since packs are 1 each, this tells us how many packs are possible to distribute to players. Then, we take that total and subtract the total number of players. This allows us to give a minimum of 1 pack to every person who played. Finally, the remaining packs are divided up fairly among the top spots, based on turnout. This allows for everyone who shows up to get a minimum of 1 pack and 1 promo. Since the promos are rare, and the packs already have a random chance to have a rare card inside, this allows everyone to feel like they got a great value. So not only are they having a good time, but they're getting something tangible for their money too. (At least, I think that's how some players explain their expenditures to their spouses)

Finally, be a good person

This is pretty self-explanatory, and relates back to a point @Ken has made already. "Be excellent to each other". Treat others with respect and kindness, and you'll get the same respect and kindness back. Pay things forward, and play to have a good time. If you want to win, go for it, but never forget that the goal is fun for everyone. Dice Masters is a great game, but at the end of the day, it's just a tool for getting even greater people together for a while.


Thanks for sticking by this far in, expect another post in two weeks once I've chosen another topic. If you want to correspond or suggest future topics, leave a comment or pm me. Does anyone want a pizza roll? Leave a comment on this webzone and I'll email you a pizza roll. (Oh no, I'm being doubly unoriginal!)

Updated 06-25-2015 at 12:19 PM by Osprey

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  1. pk2317's Avatar
    This is a good post. I would also add to be understanding when people want to come but then can't make it that day for whatever reason. As a player, this happens to me often, and my local group has been great and understanding about it.
  2. Osprey's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pk2317
    This is a good post. I would also add to be understanding when people want to come but then can't make it that day for whatever reason. As a player, this happens to me often, and my local group has been great and understanding about it.
    Good point, that's been added in.