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 Post subject: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:49 pm 
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For the past few months I've made a solid effort to bring organized play to the table in my area. It's been a quite a journey, and I don't know how it's all going to end. I thought I'd share how everything has gone for me in the hopes I can get good information. and maybe my experiences will help others along the way as well.

My first issue was establishing a group. It is during this process how much I realized that Star Wars miniatures takes a back seat to most other games, from players and retailers alike. It seems to be a 3rd tier game behind Magic, WarMachine, and Right now Monsterpocalypse. For pete's sake its Star Wars! Gamers are so fickle, and bore so easily. I am shocked this game is still in business, as there are only about 15 people I know in person that actually play. But nonetheless I found 4 or 5 dudes, and thats enough for an event.

My second issue was joining the DCI. Why is it such a process? you have to go to an authorized retailer, fill out forms, scratch off a password that has one of these thinkgs in it ..... }. What is this thing? Well apparently Wizards has these things installed on keyboards especially for activating DCI accounts. I work for the US Gov't, the Department of Defense actually, my password at work was less trouble than coming up with my own password for my DCI account.

So now after 45 minutes I've logged onto the website. I have a computer system at work that logs all the medical apointments in the entire military medicine network. It has the medical records of Every military person,and there families, Civl Servants, Contractors, Senators ETc. It's quicker and easier than trying to find trhe DCI software. Which I still havent' found. I'd have an easier time find Barracks shot record.

So know I've taken it upon myself to be the TO, and The Judge, and the grassroots campain guy trying to establish a group in my town. And I've never even played in a DCI game before.

NOw for all the other stuff. seeing how I am the one most eager for organized play, I am the one who does most the footwork, and I have the least amount of playtime! I have to spread the word to every disinterested LGS owner in Virginia, who apprently don't answer emails unless your either Bill Shatner, Megatron, George Lucas, or Man-E-Faces. So esentially I'm beating my head against the wall for an event that will definitly have 3 players, one of which remembered to get his DCI card.

So what have I learned? I really love this game. And I love the people I play it with, and I love doing what I can to keep it going. But when am I going to learn I am just a man?

Did I mention I make maps?

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:41 pm 
One of the Sith on Malgus' Shuttle
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I agree with you on how horrible the DCI website is organized. For me, its trying to log in. You have to go to 3 different pages just to find the frickin spot to actually allow you to log into your account. WTF? Make it on the first page like all other websites, lol.

But that sucks about the trouble you're having! I can understand about lack of playgroup, while we do have a good on in Cincy its only good for those who work days (aka majority of Cincy players play in the evening). So I'm forced to play on Sunday where occasionally I go to play and no one shows up at all =o/ We do have a good group on Sunday, its just not all that large and usual (only 2 of use are basically guaranteed to be there each week). So I hope you have luck in getting a good group of people that can frequently play...


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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:15 am 
Master of the Order
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Sorry Chris.....hopefully as things calm down for me over this next week, I'll try to start making it back out there more often. ;)

For JC here....well, there's a simple reason why your websites at work are easier than the DCI website....The DCI site doesn't have government funding. :P They probably only pay for the cheapest form of web design they can come up with. Heck, my wife can build better websites than the DCI site, and she just does it for fun in her spare time.

I have no idea with the TO software is either, lol. I'd write a message to DCI or WOTC's customer service and complain about it I guess. I think there used to be a way to request a CD with the software as well. I know the biggest thing for our group at ACME right now is that we need to download an upgraded version for the software, so we can have the 'Casual Play' option if we want to use that.

Otherwise....word of mouth is one of the ways we seem to bring in a lot of our newer players. It's either that, or random happenstance that somebody comes into the store during the time we're there playing, which has happened on a few different occasions. The last thing that really makes a big difference for our groups, especially at YottaQuest, is that the store owner is really on board with what we do. He's not a big Star Wars fan or anything, he doesn't play the game, and I'm not even sure if he plays the SW RPG either. But he's genuinely interested in the support that we bring to the store.

The trick with a lot of stores is that they don't make any money off of people coming and using their tables. With the economy the way it is right now, most of us are buying our cases online to save every penny we can. The brick & mortar stores are losing sales because of that. So, we've found that a large part of keeping the store owner happy, and helping him want to support our gaming group, is making sure that people are buying at least some product in the store. It's why we do a $5 buy in for games every week, and then we take that money and buy boosters with it. If you have 6 people, that's $30 for 2 boosters (both stores work with us so we don't have to pay the full price + tax I guess, so we don't actually need $32 or whatever). It moves some product at the store every single week.

Then, some of it comes down to simply choosing to support the store even when it isn't in your best interest. For example, I can typically get the newest RPG books for 35-40% off through Barnes&Noble or Amazon or something when I find coupons and such for them. But there's been once or twice when I've just gone ahead and bought it at the LGS instead. It was only a $10-$15 difference usually. That's 1-2 meals at McDonald's, and most of us can afford to skip that once or twice. :P

Anyways, I guess I'm saying that from my perspective, a large part about earning the respect and commitment from your LGS owner/employees is to show them that same respect. Don't just use their space in the store. Show your appreciation that the store has space to play by purchasing product there. I'm not saying you have to buy ALL your SWMs stuff there. Though there are some people in the online community who I know would espouse that ideal, I realize it's just not financially feasible for all of us (myself included!). But do what you can to make sure the LGS owner knows that you realize the gift he's giving you with offering tables and a place to hang out.

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:27 am 
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Noted. I defintley think the venue I play at deserves more from us than we give.

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:34 am 
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JC,

I know exactly how you feel. I've been there myself and it sounds like I need to finish up that article(s) adressing all of this sooner rather than later. The best advice that I can give you is this:

Don't give up. It's difficult to get something going, no doubt, and it takes a lot of your time and energy to do it. But, whatever you do, don't give up. It's worth it, in the end.

I have played a grand total of 1 DCI sanctioned tournament. And that was at a different store that had no idea what they were doing. All of my time and effort goes into running events for others. We recently had a 12 year old kid (and occasionally his friend) join our play group. He shows up every weekend, excited to play, even though he usually comes in last place or close to it. He's excited about squad construction, he's constantly running ideas past me and the other players and, most important of all, this little kid has an absolute blast each and every week. That makes me feel awesome. I told Dean, yesterday, that I get a ton of enjoyment running events for everyone else. It's things like that which make it worthwhile.

Just don't give up, man.

- Chuck

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:52 am 
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One thing about the dopey DCI registration process... the typical player never needs to do anything. I'm the only one of our group to ever log into the DCI web site, and they're all DCI. None of them have even scratched off the card to get their passwords.

Basically, the TO just hands out cards to new people and enters their name and number into the system and unless, as a player, you really want to go in and change your settings or review individual match info (and who really cares? Almost no one...) you pretty much never have to look at it.

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:59 am 
Third Jedi from the Left
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I feel your pain. I'm in a very similar situation here.

My local scene (Lakeland, FL) has been the same handful of people for the past three years. Unfortunately, I think the group is nearly dead. The two boys are growing up and finding other interests and more homework; the other guys are getting strange work schedules. I used to run release tournaments for each set, but I didn't want to ask the owner to dump funds into a couple cases of CW minis, since he's still got tons of product on the shelf from the previous THREE sets. Essentially, nobody buys games of any kind there anymore because the store is turning more into the RC car/toy store type HobbyTown. :? SWM is the only game left that has players come to the store to play.

There's another HobbyTown in Brandon that's started SWM, but they are totally hit-and-miss on whether they bother to show up or not. The cool thing about that is the store actually *wants* to run tournaments and came to me last week to see about setting stuff up for them. :D We'll see how that goes, as they were all about having sealed tournaments so the store could get money, but weren't so excited about providing prize support.

As for how I became a TO, it was because I won a tournament at MegaCon four years ago. The head of gaming for the convention found me doing a SWM demo at another convention and asked me to run SWM at Mega. I've been doing that for three years now.

I guess the only thing I can say is to keep chugging along. Be seen playing. Even if it's just a couple players doing casual games. And, if possible, do demos at stores and conventions.

If there's a convention in your area that has gaming...ANY gaming...you could contact the organizer or head of gaming and see if you can run SWM there (assuming it's not already being played). If so, you've got some built-in advertising. Just be sure to provide the convention with more information than you think they could possibly need for your event. And if you've got a bit of spare time, see if you can have a table in the gaming hall and run a demo...or even just set up a couple friends and do a "demo" in the snack area. (Be sure to know where SWM is being sold at the dealer's room, so you can point people to the starter/boosters immediately.)

I know this is all standard info., but it's a long and slow (sometimes unsuccessful) process filled with a whole bunch of "I don't even get to PLAY!" moments. I figure I'm doing something For The Greater Good when I run a tournament, and I save my DCI playing for GenCon. I do try to get in plenty of casual play whenever possible with whomever I can find, though. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:23 pm 
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What about downloading the reporting software? do I need to call someone maybe?

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:07 pm 
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The software:
https://webapp.wizards.com/download/DCI ... June07.zip

Quote:
Updated on 6/12/2007. Version v1.1 Check the readme for the list of last fixes. Run the setup.exe program to update the DCI Reporter V3 code on your computer. If after running DCI reporter V3 you do not have access to all the more recent games and formats, download the DCI Reporter Update from this page.


The most recent update:
https://webapp.wizards.com/download/DCI ... vanced.zip

Quote:
Updated on 03/20/2009. Adds Casual Play to all Brands. Please note: Casual Play is non-rated and does not count towards players Magic Player Rewards. You need to have DCI reporter V3 installed. Copy the update file in the folder C:\DCIReporterUser then start DCI reporter V3 to access all the current games and formats.


The most recent PIN Database:
https://webapp.wizards.com/download/Pin37.zip

Quote:
Updated Feb 20, 2009. Pin 37 database works with DCI Reporter v3. Once downloaded, unzip the Pin37.mdb file and copy it in your C:\DCIReporterUser folder. Run V3, and open a tournament, then click Edit, players and click the button in the middle of the screen 'DCI pin.MDB'. Then click 'connect' and browse for the file. Please make sure you only connect to the unzipped version of the Pin36.mdb. Contact your DCI Representative if you need help connecting to the PIN database.

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 Post subject: Re: DCI New Guy compaints, woes, and lessons learned.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 8:09 pm 
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LoboStele wrote:
But do what you can to make sure the LGS owner knows that you realize the gift he's giving you with offering tables and a place to hang out.


Ah Men.. my local venue really puts out for us players. Which is why while i may not buy my case's from him (i just can't, he charges the same as just buying by the pack), I do make sure and promot the idea of getting a couple packs each week, and as such he always tends to support any ideas i put forward to bring players into the store.

If you work with them from the point that THey are there to make money, most LGS owners will support anything that does that.

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DCI Ranking
Star Wars Miniatures Constructed (as of 2008-09-15)
1826 rating   64 matches   21 events   
    37  All   33  North America   7  Canada   1  CA-Ontario   
[/spoiler]


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