[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Leagues

Last week we talked about the experience of the game store, and someone brought up leagues and their relevance to the enjoyment of a store and its’ regulars.

I’ve noticed that leagues have an interesting  effect on the store overall, and I thought I’d talk about it at least a little. 
Leagues are almost always run by  a volunteer at the store, rather than a staffer. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the long and short of it is that a staffer has to pay attention to running the store and ringing up paying customers, not playing games.

As much as I love a good game with my local crew, I discovered the hard way that it’s just not fair to any of them for me to constantly interrupt the game to go help a customer.

Our volunteers do a lot to come up with fun ways to play the various games we offer at the store, and for the most part, league play is enjoyable and exciting due to their efforts.

League play is a blessing and a curse. When we have a league going on, our attendance shoots up, and our players are more intent and focused. We see higher purchases and a lot stronger interest in actual play. As a store owner, those are all positives and we would be silly to discourage them from occurring.

There are invariably some new people or guys that are looking for something more casual than league play. We also have guys that sign up and then can’t commit to the entirety of the league, or guys that want to join partway through.  With league play going on, it can be tough to accommodate these kinds of situations. It’s often been suggested that we offer an open table for the casual or walk-in player on league night; but our space just doesn’t allow for it at this time.  Trying to be inclusive to the casual player while supporting the league and promoting the hobby is one of our constant challenges.

Right now, we have two of the more interesting leagues I’ve seen going on, and I think they will do a lot to foster the hobby community. Rather than based on winning and losing, they are either about actual play, or the hobby aspects of the games being played.  They are also set up to be played at more than one store, with the idea of growing the community and increasing the overall player base. I really love seeing the intensity and devotion to the hobby from the players.

How do leagues change things at your store level? Is there anything you like a lot, or really hate? I’d love to hear all about it… 

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