By Drew S.
On November 14, 2013, I had the opportunity to go to Wizards University. Wizards U was a retailer only event put on by my Magic the Gathering supplier, Magazine Exchange. Wizards U was a day filled with fun, spending time with other store owners, and learning how to strengthen my relationship with Wizards of the Coast to improve the store. There were about 120 people with store owners as far away as Rhode Island and Florida.
The entire day was filled with opportunities to learn new things to improve the store. For those curious, I’ve list the schedule and some of my thoughts on how I can use the ideas presented to better Anime Kat and the community:
8:00 to 9:00 AM: Breakfast
It’s always nice to start of with a nice bacon and eggs breakfast…especially if it’s provide for me.
9:00: Introduction from Roger of Magazine Exchange Inc.
It was nice to put a face to a name in my email’s inbox.
9:15 to 10:00: “Community Building & Engaging the New Customer” with open discussion: Mark Price of Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast did a study: How do new players prefer to learn Magic – read the instructions, one on one instruction, or using the How To of Duels of the Planeswalkers. What they found was 2/3 of new players preferred learning using Duels of the Planeswalkers. Players preferred using Duels of the Planeswalkers because it engaged the players with the back store of the game, it scaled difficulty with the new players abilities, and each match revealed new rules. I want to see about getting Duels of the Planeswalkers in the store for new players.
The discussion also lead to community outreach. One of the ways is to get involved with the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts offer a merit badge in Game Design. I’m already a Scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop. I’m now also a registered merit badge counselor for the Game Design merit badge. If you or anyone you know would be interested in earning this merit badge and live near Port Angeles, WA, please contact me at Anime Kat, and I will gladly help you.
10:00 to 10:15: Ultra-PRO Presentation
Ultra-Pro told ups about some of the new product that will be coming out soon. There are two product that I’m on the look out for. The first is a new premier sleeve. The sleeves are said to out perform Dragon Shield. I was allowed to play with a deck sleeved in them. The welded seams appear strong than in a normal Ultra-Pro. I’m a mash shuffler. I separate a deck in half and then push the stacks back together. The new sleeves made this method very, very smooth with no catching of corners. When the deck was placed on the table, none of the cards slid.
The second product is a new deck box. The boxes are leather-like and have your choice of Planeswalker or different mana symbols. A magnet keeps the deck box closed with a soft inner liner. Unlike the ones we already have, the new ones holds up to 200 sleeved cards. My favorite part is the adjustable divider that allows the dual compartments different sized decks and room for oversized cards.
10:15 to 10:30: Break
10:30 to 11:15: “Beyond Advanced – Running Premier Level Play”: Mark Price of Wizards of the Coast
Anime Kat is not an Advance level store yet. However, we are very close to meeting the criteria. Once we do, we can run Premier events.
11:15 to 11:45 Araca Group & Red Monkey presentations
The Araca Group is who makes the licensed Magic t-shirts. The interesting thing I learned was that although Walmart carries Magic shirts, they are not the same ones I can order. Red Monkey makes lifestyle products. The make beautiful, hand made in Portland, wallets, leather goods, messenger bags, and other items. Even if we don’t have any of these items in the store at the moment, I will gladly show you some pictures and place a special order.
12:00 to 1:00: Lunch
1:00 to 1:15 Store Improvement Scholarship Program: Roger of Magazine Exchange Inc.
Magazine Exchange is offering 5 – $1000 store improvement scholarships. I don’t want to ruin the surprise if I’m awarded the scholarship, so I’m not telling exactly what I’m planning.
1:15 to 2:15: “Wizards Play Network Tools & Resources” with open discussion: Mark Price & Stephanie Speece of Wizards of the Coast
We were given time to complain about what we didn’t like about the Wizards Play Network to the guys at Wizards. Most of the suggestion revolved around the software store owners use to run Wizards events. Even if everything suggested is put into practice, it’s unlikely players will ever see any changes. Everything focused on making it easier and faster for us to use the software.
2:15 to 4:15: Magic Event with live Wizards Even Reporter demo: Hosted by John Grant of Wizards of the Coast
During Wizards U, we had a chance to play a free, causal, sealed Theros event. Sadly, I didn’t pull very good cards (or I don’t know how to work with what I did pull) and didn’t do very well. But, I did have fun and met new people and that’s the whole point of playing card games.
4:15: Closing comments and Raffle Prizes
Everyone had a lot of fun, and learn new things to take back to their stores. What better way to end a day than with raffle prizes and gift bags! I won a From the Vault: Realms among other things.
If you are curious about what else I’ve learn, or you have suggestions, feel free to contact me via Facebook, our website, or stop in a talk to me.