Welcome back folks to the third part of the Gaming Vs Cancer blog series.
For this final part I’d like to take a minute to offer up some of my hints, tips & insights to organising your own event…
The event we ran at the Gaming Vs Cancer fundraiser was the third “Ministry of Dice Presents Dice Masters” event we’ve organised, with a fourth in the pipeline for early 2019.
The idea to start “sponsoring” events grew out of casual conversation between Andy & I during Hangout gaming sessions. We were chatting about Top Cuts and the pain of travelling to an event to have your day cut short once you got knocked out at Swiss. We were also talking about prizing, and how I took little notice of prizing at official events because the likelihood of winning them was low for most players. We were also interested in events with a more casual tone we knew were taking place, but were only short, evening-type things that lasted just a couple of hours. All this chat grew into action when an opportunity presented itself for a send-off for our 2017 National Champ Ben Said Scott.
Locations & Prizing
The first two concerns are always going to be location and prizing. I kinda figured that these would be the two main factors that might influence attendance initially, and so focused my attention on those.
They do sorta go hand in hand in a way – because if you want good prizing then you need to get some cash together; which will influence your entry price, which in turn might influence the location you use.
I’ve been fortunate that with the two stores we’ve held events at we were able to negotiate a ticket split that would generate some cash into the prize buying pot AND give the store a little something for “table rent”. But the point is to ask: in a time where Monthly Organised Play schemes have been a little thin on the ground (certainly on this side of the water) raising a bit of cash to get creative with prizing is a must to attract some players, so it can’t hurt to send a store a PM or have a chat when You’re in there. After all – the worse they can say is ‘no’. Gaming Vs Cancer was obviously a different kettle of fish as a charitable fundraiser – prizing was sourced through an e-mail campaign seeking donations, as all the entry ticket funds were to go to the charity.
Getting creative prizing for Dice Masters is the easier part – it’s just a question of being organised and perhaps willing to foot some of the bill before the ticket money comes in (as many don’t per-purchase and just settle up on arrival at the event). Dice Masters is a game loaded up with plenty of ‘bling’ opportunities and lots of cool stuff can be custom made.
Some example Dice Masters specific goodies we’ve laid on for swag are playmats (official and printed 3rd Party), MoD PoDs, Zen Bins, OPLaser storage, printing BAC indicators, “5 turns” Dice, card sleeves, life counters, tokens and card binders. These are readily available, not too costly, and, most importantly, attractive to players.
We also look at some fun prizing to top things up. The IPs of Dice Masters has a huge variety of relatively inexpensive, but attractive, merchandise that can be dropped into the prize pool. We’ve had quite the coo’s of delight when players have received comic books or DVDs of popular animated versions of comic book characters, as well as toys, mugs, posters and much, much more. We’ve also been fortunate to accrue UK player’s Promo doubles, which can usually be rustled up with a call out for help online.
We’ve been careful with the geography of the stores too – and so far have successfully had a decent spread of a northern, central and southern location to create opportunities to come to one of our events across England.
Setting the tone
One element of running our “Ministry of Dice Presents…” events is the more casual tone we try to encourage as we believe this drives attendance too – and there’s a couple of ways we do this.
First – and this is one Andy is particularly passionate about – we run Swiss rounds for the whole event and don’t run any top cuts. We’re keen, as we’ve mentioned many times on the podcast, that everyone “gets to play all day”. We’ve observed at numerous events the inevitable dwindling of numbers as the day goes on at more formal events as only the top 8, top 4, and eventual top 2 stick it out and everyone else dwindles away and goes home. By sticking to Swiss all day we find that everyone is there for the wrap up and prize giving, and the events have a great finish to the day as a community.
That leads me neatly to the different way we approach prizing too – winning games earns you swag too. We lay on some special prizes for the top spots and Fellowship award, but also set up the ‘Mystery Prize Raffle’ where every game won earns you a raffle ticket which wins a corresponding prize. (We play “best of three” rounds, so each round brings with it the possibility of three prizes to be won.)
The intent to this is two fold – even if your day is going terribly all you need to do is eke our a few game wins and you’ll get a little something special, but it also incentivises you to keep going by learning game by game, round by round, to get at least a handful of wins for some goodies. The more games you play, the more chances you have to get some sexy swag, and so we find mid-event drop outs are minimal.
It can be a bit of an arse-ache: predicting your potential attendance numbers to make sure there’s enough goodies in the “Mystery Prize Box” (especially when people express interest but then don’t confirm/pre-book their tickets) and it’s a good evening’s work getting everything labelled with a raffle ticket, but we believe it’s a worthwhile endeavour and we contingency plan with the store to grab some last minute boosters if the prize box needs a boost.
Also; we like to think we’ve set our stall out around what a “MoDPDM” is all about in every bit of communication, so players know that it is intended to be fun, casual, and a chance to play some of their more fun & janky teams. That’s not to say people have been bringing un-competitive teams, it’s just that largely everyone gets the tone & intent and brews accordingly.
Marketing the Event
Pretty much all of our advertising of the event is done exclusively through social media – in particular; Facebook.
Timing is everything. There’s a sweet spot of getting word out early enough that people are free on the date, but not so early that they don’t really pay it much attention.
We shoot for around the 5/6 weeks before point to get detailed word out, and it’s been a Facebook event shared across some key groups. We’ll have given some indication it’s coming some time in advance too.
A Facebook event, like everything, has its pros & cons but it definitely helps get the word out as one of the more active contact points in Dice Masters and it has the handy “interested” and “going” buttons to help gauge the attendance numbers.
Then it’s about keeping it alive – too many events, we believe, get slung up on Facebook and then aren’t driven. We comment, re-share, post piccies of prizes etc etc to keep it bumped in the feeds and to continue generating interest in the week’s preceding the event.
There we are then folks – hopefully you found these insights useful and can see a few pointers that may help with the organisation of your own events.
Feel free to tap Andy & I up if you want any more details of the above through Facebook or hit the “Contact Us” button in the sidebar.
And what about you – what are your Top Tips for organising Dice Masters Events? Let’s us know in the comments below…