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kaywillow

Individuals Sharing a Common Goal

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Dice Masters surely is not the first game to have an awesome community that sometimes has trouble finding a groove, fluctuating in attendance, and seeing two vastly different styles of play (casual and competitive) vying for time and attention. For me, though, it's the first game I've loved so much that I've been a big part of the community. So of course, it's also the first time I've struggled with these issues. As the person coordinating the Dice Masters play at my FLGS, where I also happen to work part-time, I want the game and community to thrive. So how on earth can we please most of the people most of the time and keep the dice rolling?

Listening
I listened to the tournament players. I listened to casual players, to new players who never joined the community., to those who quit, and even to my own instincts. What I heard was a mixture of painful, enlightening, frustrating, and funny stuff. Sometimes it even made me want to take my dice and go home. Thankfully, I didn't, and in the end I listened to (or maybe grilled) my colleague Tim about how he had taken Pokemon at our store and made it huge. With every answer or idea, Tim inspired me, and now I think we're on to something big.

Introducing the Nerd Store Dice Masters League!
I'm so excited about League that I want to say it's sure to make everyone happy all of the time! But of course that's not possible. I can promise, however, that League is really, really cool. Modeled in large part on what Tim told me, we now host low-key League/open play for two hours followed by a tournament every week. League participants can earn points without entering competitive play, and tournament entrants don't have to join League. So why would they? Awesome prizes, of course! This is where WizKids came to the table and was amazingly supportive.

My boss contacted Justin Ziran, and told him what we hoped to do. I don't know their conversation, but I do know that my hopes for our group becoming a League hinged on whether we'd be approved to use the OP kits for League prizes instead of the regular tournament structure. With a thumbs up from Justin, a squee of joy from me, and a commitment to keep WizKids informed on how things are going, we got the opportunity to try this pilot program out. And although we only have a couple of official weeks under our belts plus the two weeks prior when we started rolling out the whole idea to our regulars, I just couldn't be happier!
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Early Results
Adjusting our schedule to have both open play and tournaments weekly instead of offering casual play some weeks with competitive play others was an immediate improvement. For tournaments, we get the same level of participation just more often. We shifted our prize support to booster packs, since promos are awarded for League participation, and less pressure on winning to get OP cards resulted in more willingness to try new combos and teams. That in turn has allowed us to alternate between unlimited constructed and all the other formats we've been dying to try. The paupers (commons and starters only) and affiliation constructed tournaments so far have been huge hits, and I'm already getting requests for other formats to try.

With League, we are getting participation from folks who haven't played competitively (...yet), and they are excited about choosing promos once they've earned their points. We encourage them to play in at least the big event at the end of each season with a special prize drawing, so the idea is to eventually convince the casual gang that tournaments aren't really intimidating. With our new program, they truly aren't! We're laughing so much, enjoying great games, marveling at unexpected combos, seeing characters in play that you don't see in the meta, and still ending with bragging rights for the winner plus packs for everyone to open up.

How We Roll
I'm a worrier, so I am not going to rest easy on this new venture. I'll keep working at it, but this confessed neurotic is crazy optimistic about our Dice Masters League. To fully embrace our goal, I checked out the definition of “league,” and there's one that struck me as most fitting - “individuals having a common goal.” That is a perfect reflection of our community. Both the competitive players and those who are playing simply for fun and camaraderie have more in common than I thought when I first started listening. The underlying truth is that we all really love Dice Masters and want to enjoy the hours we spend at it with other folks like us. Like in life, things may not always roll your way, but it's easier to handle the defeats and more fun to celebrate victories when you're doing it with friends. That's League.

I'll write more and share our journey as we move ahead. Please let me know what you think of our League adventure, and may the dice rolls be ever in your favor.
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Comments

  1. pk2317's Avatar
    This looks/sounds like a ton of fun! I'd love to hear more about it as you progress.
  2. kaywillow's Avatar
    I will definitely keep updating on our progress. Here's hoping for an amazing Rainbow Draft Weekend for you and everyone! Gonna try and add to our League membership as well as have a blast. :-)
  3. IsaacBV's Avatar
    So the league has a fee to join? And you are using regular OP prizes? Are they still registered games under the WES?
  4. Ressless's Avatar
    Hello kaywillow, thanks for this article. For me this is the shining sun, because in my case, my city and country i am in the dark corner. The thing is, this article motivates me and gives me again new fresh ideas and inspiration to rekindle the light. So really thank you for this! I wish you even more joy and success for the future and your store/community for DM!




    Also i have a technical question about the weekly tournaments. How much entry fee do you take and how distribute you the prices(so how much for the first, second and maybe the last gets gets special price). A PM would be cool if no one should read it in public.



    Greetings Tom
    Updated 09-27-2015 at 12:55 PM by Ressless
  5. Ressless's Avatar
    I have another question, what is this called "low-key" league ment?

    I calculated and i dont know how to solve the problem ,that people will play with different and casual teams instead of competitive teams.