In my research, I discovered that WPN is set up in a tier system. In case you (like me) have never investigated this, you might want to check out the official WPN site that covers this stuff. In essence, when you join WPN you start off at what they call the Gateway level. At this level you can run sanctioned events (D&D one as well as MTG, but I am only interested in the MTG ones), but the only "special" events you can run are the Launch Parties (sometimes called Release Events by folks like me who don't know all the official terms).
In order to run Prereleases and FNMs (the kinds of events I'd really like to hold), you need to work your way up from the Gateway level to what they call the Core level. To do this, an organizer needs to meet certain criteria within a 12-month period (this is copied straight from their site; I hope they don't mind!):
- Report a minimum of 4 events
- Have a minimum of 30 unique people playing in your reported events
- Run and report a single event with 12 players or more
- Maintain a delinquency rate of less than 20%
- Introduce 6 new players to WPN events
The second requirement will depend on how well I/we get the word out about our events. We already have some plans in place for advertising:
- Pat will be having an advertisement subscription with a a local weekly newspaper, and has offered that he can tailor it to include word of the MTG event for a week or two beforehand
- I have my Twitter following (although few of them are local, I'm hoping those will show, and hopefully bring friends)
- I have contacts with a local gaming group (Games Club of Maryland) and hope to be able to spread word through their organization
- a Magic celebrity who happens to live locally has offered to show up for the first event at least and have his name used in conjunction [thanks, Adam!]
It is my hope that with enough touting and trumpeting we can reach objective 3 on our first event. The spectacle of having a sanctioned event in the area where there hasn't been one in years if ever should bring out a good group. Also, the above mentioned advertising will hopefully get word out and bring people out just to see what it's all about. If not the first, then hopefully the second (the M12 Launch Party) will bring in 12+ players.
Goal #4 should not be a problem at all. From what I understand as long as you get your results posted up within what seems like a very reasonable amount of time, there's no delinquency issue. The store will have WiFi, which means I ought to be able to post results right after the event is over (or even have them updating as the event progresses - I have not yet had my Wizards Event Reporter tutorial - that will be a tale for another day!).
Of all the goals, it's only really the last one that has me a bit nervous. I would need to find (or have show up) 6 people who have never attended a WPN event before. I believe this means no DCI card - not registered with the DCI at all. Most of the people who would come to these things, I think, will be folks who are old hats at these sorts of things. I'm pretty sure I can get my brother (who played MTG years ago) to come out to one and sign up. But what about the other 5? Maybe Pat (the store owner) can be taught MTG and sign up :-) I know that Laurel (the owner of Dream Wizards) routinely has new people show up at the regional prereleases, but those are gone now. Will those people instead start showing up at the smaller local prereleases and the like? But, of course, I can't run prereleases yet....Catch 22?
So, as you can see, there's a bit more to it than simply signing up with the WPN and starting to run FNMs as I had initially thought.
The next step was to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Pat. When we briefly spoke on the phone, we tentatively agreed that I could come up to the store and meet with him in person. Through email and Twitter we arranged that the following Friday (this would now be May 6 for you chronic calendar-watchers) I would come up. Our meeting will be the beginning of Part 4...
[TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 4]