I am not sure this post will be read, or that I will see a reply, but I just wanted to bring up a few things again about VS at Merlyns. In the past there have been issuesâ€¦ we know this. People wouldnâ€™t play there, then they would, then people move, then people drop games, etcâ€¦ etcâ€¦ But I think we have 2 different sides here not seeing eye to eye, and the game is not getting any real support in our area.
Currently we have a new set of cardsâ€¦ (HOG) that isnâ€™t even tournament legal yet. It has been out for 2 weeks. On day one, one of our regular play group bought an entire box. 2 more people went in to buy roughly a 3rd of another box. It seems that only 2 boxes came inâ€¦ and now they are gone. There is no word when more boxes are coming in.
Cards sell the first month of release more than any other time, this is basic. And if we draft that set, which people DO want to, that is a full box to support 8 people drafting. But people only want to draft current sets. And the last few times we HAVE had people there to draft, there were not enough cards to support a draft. We have had people bring in their own cards, or cards purchased online, and draft there on site the past few times.
I KNOW the store doesnâ€™t want this to happen. But we have no real alternative if we want to gather and play there. Since this is happening, we ARE gathering there and playingâ€¦ so why is there no product?
We have suggesting the route of becoming a UDE direct storeâ€¦ but the limitation is that you have to purchase by the case, and thatâ€™s 12 boxes. Currently you arenâ€™t selling 12 boxes of cards, so you do not want to make that commitment to become a direct store. But is this a backward approach? What is the reason you canâ€™t sell 12 boxes?
Here are a few things that people think are hindering the salesâ€¦
1) Prices. Plain and simple. We have heard how the customer base is supposed to support your local store, and how we canâ€™t expect online prices. But you know what; other people (even in town) ARE selling at lower prices. Much lower. If other stores are doing it, local or online, why canâ€™t this store? Part of the reason is they DO buy more volume up front at a lower price. Becoming a direct store saves up front costs, which (if it translates into lower customer costs) will help more product move.
It isnâ€™t a customerâ€™s duty to support their store unfortunately; it is the stores duty to provide a service or product to make consumers want to shop with them. The effort has to be put in up front by the store if they want to generate loyalty and profits. Better prices are a key to this. Can/will it be fixed? Who knows?
2) Drafts. People have been in the store in the past with no product to draft. We have drafted a few older sets, but that is never optimal. If you want to clear out older boxes, those prices HAVE to be attractive, but if you get regular drafts, the current product will never stagnate. The problem again here is the store expect the player base to plan a tourney, all show up, and then see if we can draft.
This is backwards again. We had a time where we could have our own judges present, but the store is generally very restrictive on who can host the tourneys, and who can enter the results into the computer systems (Mantis, etc..) and whose number that tournament gets listed under. This all makes 100% senseâ€¦ but only if you actively promote and try to host tournaments. The staff needs to be TO certified, Rules certifiedâ€¦ and willing to support the games.
3) Advertising. Draft Can happen, people WANT to draft. And each draft is normally a box or more of cards going out the door. But the store has to promote those drafts. We have had over 10 players on site on Saturdaysâ€¦ Pirates was on the mailed out event s calendar, Warlord was on the Calendar, etcâ€¦ NONE of them had as many players, and some even had zero players show for weeks on end. But each time we ask, we have NEVER had our VS nights advertised.
I have been approached in a gaming site forum asking when and where we meet in Spokane by guys form Idaho. Guys who ARE on the Merlyns mailing list. The store needs to promote the game (adding the day to the calendar is NO real work, and we have NO idea why this has been such an impossibility in the past and we HAVE asked) and not expect the player base to be the ones to drive players through their doors.
If you have new product on hand, if you buy enough to get lower prices and pass those prices on to the customer like OTHER are doing, if you advertise the game, and if you actively plan and run tourneys â€¦ especially draftâ€¦ you WILL sell this game. You will justify a UDE direct account, which starts this whole ball rolling.
But it wonâ€™t happen if you expect the player base to do it for you. It is easier and cheaper to order online and have everyone keep complaining about what a horrible store it is for support. Merlyns is the best chance to get any support for the game into the future, the players need to realize that. But the store needs to make that more apparent and true by actually trying to support the game in the first place.