The Updated Marketing Strategy For Game Stores in 2018

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I originally wrote this article early in 2016 and at the time, it was pretty thorough. But the times are changing so it seems like now would be a good time to update and reevaluate our strategy for the coming new year. The first thing I want to point out is that the essential principle behind this strategy still holds true. Consistency is key. Marketing your business with Facebook, Twitter, and email is a long-term strategy. You don’t have to … Read More

Diversifying Your Game Store’s Product Lines

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Magic is one of the most popular and profitable games in the world. Even so, the majority of friendly local game stores do not rely solely on Magic to generate all of their revenue. Most stores diversify their offerings into other related areas in an attempt to appeal to more potential customers and increase their top line revenue. Even if your business focuses exclusively on Magic, at a minimum you should still have other related products on your shelves for … Read More

Adding A Viral Component To Your Events

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We all want more players to come to our events. More players in your event usually lead to more sales for your business, and events are a chance to showcase how awesome your game store is. So, of course, the more the merrier when it comes to tournaments and events but how should you go about bringing in new players to your shop? What if I told you there is a simple way to get your customers to encourage their … Read More

Marginal Utility Marketing

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Marginal utility is probably not what you think of when you think of marketing, you probably don’t even know what the term means. Which is fine. I didn’t either until a few days ago.But it’s a principle you operate your life and your business on But it’s a principle you operate your life and your business on every day without even really realizing it. And it’s the reason your customers buy from you (or don’t). So, let’s start with a … Read More

Extreme Ownership Book Review

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I recently finished the book Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and I want to share some of my thoughts with you guys and talk about how the principles apply to the games business. First off Jocko’s voice is exactly what you would expect one of the most deadly SEAL’s in the world to sound like. I forgot to mention, this was the audio version of the book, read by Jocko and Leif themselves instead of some random narrator. Definitely worth … Read More

Five Ways Streaming MTG Can Grow Your Business

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Magic: the Gathering tournaments are the bread and butter of many local game stores. They grow your community of players and help you sell boosters and singles to a captive and eager customer base. What’s not to love? But why stop there? Technology has made it easier than ever to get your events online and share them with a wider audience. Streaming Magic: the Gathering tournaments online is a great way to take your events to next level. Here are … Read More

How to Use Facebook WIFI To Connect Your LGS to New Customers

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Facebook is giving your LGS a great way to reach new customers. WiFi is pretty ubiquitous at this point, it’s almost a guarantee that your business has an internet connection and there’s a very good chance that it’s set up on a wireless network. Instead of going through the standard hassle of setting up and sharing passwords, your customers can just check in on your Facebook page to get access to your WiFi network. There is a lot to like … Read More

What do you do differently?

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In business, as in life, we tend to want to emulate what everyone else is doing. It feels safe. We take the beaten path instead of venturing out on our own into new frontiers. Even as game store owners we do it. And we’re a pretty unorthodox bunch to begin with. Not only are we entrepreneurs, rare enough as is, but we have picked a niche so deep that we often refer the mainstream consumer as a “muggle” or a … Read More

The end of the Panini DBZ TCG era, the beginning of a new one

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For those who haven’t heard the news, Panini, the company that published the Dragon Ball Z Ccollectible Card Game has decided to pull the plug on the game. Check out the announcement on the Panini America website here: https://paniniamericadbz.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/dbz-tcg-announcement/ Panini’s decision was essentially motivated by the introduction of a competing game published by Bandai to the market. Another trading card game based off of the Dragon Ball license but incorporating new content from the relatively new Dragon Ball Super. While the … Read More

The Death Spiral

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The dreaded death spiral. The downward slide into oblivion. Before we get into that, though, a story is in order. Not so long ago… A few months ago I walked into a restaurant I had never been in before. I was looking for something yummy to fill my belly with and the place looked like it could do the job. Don’t worry, this ties back into the games business eventually, I promise. Now, this restaurant had been around for a while … Read More

How I quit my day job and became a full time freelancer

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When I started this website and podcast over two years ago, I wasn’t sure where it would go. All I had was an idea and I decided to run with it. I didn’t plan on becoming a full time freelancer at the time. I didn’t know if anyone would want to listen to me. I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in the topic of game store entrepreneurship. I didn’t know much about producing a podcast or building websites … Read More

14 Ways Your Local Game Store Could Be Losing Customers

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You spend a huge amount of time and money trying to get customers to come through your doors, but are you making one of these 14 mistakes and sending them right back out again? Local game store customers are one of the most loyal, dedicated, and passionate groups of people you can serve and if you treat them right you can have customers for life. Screw it up and you will likely never see them again. What’s worse, they will probably take … Read More

Search Engine Optimization Quick Start

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This content is for members only

How do you define a friendly local game store?

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Before we can figure out what make a friendly local game store successful, we need to define what makes a game store a game store in the first place. What defines your friendly local game store? Friendly local game stores come in many shapes and sizes. Some are big, some are small. Some sell board games, others might sell miniatures or collectible card games, and still others comics, video games, or Japanese anime. Some stores have a large play space … Read More

The 7 Immutable Rules of Running Magic Tournaments

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One of the major factors in making Magic: the Gathering successful and popular is how well Wizards supports the game with an organized play program. The strength of organized play has set the game above the other CCG’s. Taking advantage of the systems in place is critical to building a great Magic shop. The events that make up your weekly schedule will have a huge effect on your overall sales. Filling your calendar with a variety of events will promote … Read More

Streaming Magic On Twitch.tv – OBS Settings and Twitch

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Today, as part of the continuing series on streaming a live Magic tournament to Twitch.tv we’re going to cover creating an account on Twitch and getting your OBS settings ready to go. If you haven’t read the first entry in the series, you should go do that first otherwise most of this won’t make as much sense. You can find the first article right there at Streaming Magic on Twitch.tv – The LGS Tech Guide. I’ve done things a little differently … Read More

Going First And Being Proactive

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Being on the play is generally where you want to be in Magic. There are exceptions, sometimes the extra card is more important but most of the time having the tempo of playing first is a big advantage. The same idea applies to life and our everyday interactions that we have with those we encounter. The first time a customer walks into your LGS, they have no idea what situation they are going to walk into. Will it be a … Read More

$75,000 Worth of Magic the Gathering Cards Stolen in Austin, Texas

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Pat’s Games, a pillar of the Austin, Texas Magic community and past guest of the Manaverse Podcast has suffered quite the blow recently. According to a post they made on Reddit, they were broken into in the wee hours of the morning and had $75 000 worth of Magic the Gathering cards stolen from their inventory. That includes $17 000 in Expedition lands alone. Apparently the daring and dastardly thief (thieves maybe) managed to pull the locked, front door off … Read More

Streaming Magic: the Gathering On Twitch.tv – The LGS Tech Guide

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Streaming is the future If you’ve never heard of Twitch.tv before, you will soon. Twitch.tv essentially allows millions of viewers to watch other people play games live over the internet. It originally focused on PC games like Minecraft and League of Legends but quickly expanded to console games and live streaming. According to Wikipedia: “As of mid-2013, there were over 43 million viewers on Twitch monthly, with the average viewer watching an hour and a half a day. As of February … Read More

On Nihilism and Depression

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This post is a little different from the usual topics I write about on this site but it’s been on my mind recently and I wanted to lay out my thoughts on paper so to speak. Maybe you will gain something from my ramblings, maybe you’ve felt the same way so if this helps even one person it will have been worth the effort. Firstly, I’m lumping these two seemingly disparate outlooks together because they have similar effects on a … Read More

My Battle For Zendikar Prerelease

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Like many, many Magic players I attended a Battle For Zendikar prerelease this past weekend. I usually make it a priority to play in prereleases since I don’t have as much opportunity to play organized Magic at the moment (a seven month old son will do that) and I think prereleases are some of the most fun events you can play in. The casual atmosphere combined with the excitement of a new set makes these things a tonne of fun. This time … Read More

Two Low Cost Card Tactics To Boost Your LGS Sales

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It’s all in the cards. We’re going to talk about two things today, incentives and simplification, and how they can increase sales in your LGS. People respond to incentives, Magic players aren’t any different. When you give players a good reason to do something, you increase the odds of them doing it. Prizes are an incentive to play in tournaments for some players, and having a good time with friends can be just as important. If you want to increase the number … Read More

How To Build Your Magic Community This Summer

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Summer is an interesting season for Magic. Interesting can sometimes be read as pretty bad. Historically summer means warm weather and fewer players coming into your store to play Magic. School is out and many of the customers that fill your gaming tables each night are on vacation, or spending that time with friends and family. The release schedule didn’t do much to help the situation either. Wizard’s has seemed to realize it this year with their decision to release … Read More

Why Would Anyone Want To Own A Game Store?!

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I’ve been thinking about this for some time. On a recent episode of the Manaverse Podcast with Gary Ray, we talked about the fact that running a successful LGS is a difficult and costly endeavour. It takes a lot of time, effort, and especially money. In fact, the question became why would someone open a game store at all? If they had enough money to open one in the first place, they could get a much better return on their … Read More

The Top 5 Mistakes LGS Owners Make

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Running a business is difficult, running a retail business is a special kind of difficult. Building a business that lasts is the hardest of all. Sometimes, it can seem like you are walking a tight rope. Your decisions when starting up and growing can tread a fine line where failure and success are hard to predict. If only there was a list of the top 5 mistakes that LGS owners make so you can know what to avoid. Keep reading, … Read More

5 Podcasts That Will Make You A Better Gamer, A Better Entrepreneur, Or Possibly, A Better Person

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I spend a fair amount of time listening to podcasts. It’s easy to just stick in the ear buds and turn on my current favourite when I’m walking the dog, or driving around the city. Since I’m subscribed to them on iTunes they are automatically downloaded to my iPhone so the process couldn’t be much easier. Maybe it’s obvious I like podcasts, I am the host of one. On the Manaverse Podcast I interview successful game store owners from all … Read More

How To Get New Players Into Your Store Without Spending Money On Advertising

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Buying Your First Magic Players When you open the doors to your LGS for the first time, you’re probably filled with all sorts of emotions and anxieties. Excitement for the possibilities. Fear of failure. Curiosity about what will happen next. It’s the same experience when running your first Magic tournament as well. Your looking forward to meeting your future players and customers, the ones who will make your business successful and worthwhile. And the few who will ultimately become your friends. … Read More

Puca Power Professionals: Puca for business

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PucaTrade.com is changing the way Magic cards are traded online. Using an innovative process that eliminates the headache in the typical trading experience, PucaTrade has created a new way for players and businesses to find the cards they are looking for. When two players want to trade the “normal” way they run into the issue all barter transactions have. Each person has to find something they want in the other’s collection. It’s more than a matter of finding equal value … Read More

The one character trait you need to own a successful LGS

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Coming up in a future episode of the Manaverse Podcast I talk with Pascal Espinosa. He’s the owner of Metal Galaxy in Calgary, Alberta. Pascal has a unique approach to the business and has managed to carve out a profitable niche in the shadow of two giants in the industry, the Sentry Box and Phoenix Comics NW. Today’s article features Pascal thoughts on what it takes from a character perspective to make a great game store entrepreneur. It takes a special mix … Read More

Gaming the System: Memberships and Loyalty

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Gamers, Magic players in particular, are a fickle bunch. We are constantly on the lookout for an LGS that will treat us better. Offer us a better deal. Make us feel welcome. The trouble is most store owners fail to create a lasting connection with their customers so when another store opens its doors a good chunk of the community jumps ship. This is where the idea of membership comes in. Turn your customers into official members of your store’s community … Read More

Level Up Your Customers, Level Up Your Business Part 4: Mentors

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August 23rd 2013, the weekend of Grand Prix Oakland. Hosted by Channel Fireball, the attendees of this particular Grand Prix were treated to an excellent seminar about how to build a proper deck in a Sealed tournament by two masters of the game, LSV and Ben Stark. Using a slide presentation and a microphone, they talked players through the M14 sealed format. Chances are the players in the crowd increased their overall win percentage just by paying attention during the seminar. … Read More

Level Up Your Customers, Level Up Your Business Part 3

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This is the third instalment in the Level Up series. If you haven’t read the first two parts you can find the first one here and the second one here. Each one leads into the next but if you prefer to read things backwards I can’t stop you. Some people like jigsaw puzzles. Let’s go over a few definitions. Non Player: The first stage of the progression and development in a customer’s experience with Magic. Everyone starts off here when they … Read More

Level Up Your Customers, Level Up Your Business Part 2

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Last time we talked about how to turn customers who don’t play Magic into beginner/casual players. That article can be found here if you haven’t read it yet. The principle behind the concept of the Customer Development progression is that a local game store owner should invest into its customers in order to create customers that will return that investment into their business. This applies not only to Magic but also to other genres of gaming as well. The tactics … Read More

Level Up Your Customers, Level Up Your Business Part 1

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Magic: the Gathering is an excellent game. 21 years and still growing is a pretty good track record. It is fairly easy for a local game store to open up, declare that they have game tables and Magic cards for sale and have a steady source of income for their business. The trouble is that too many would be store owners do just that, open up their shop and hope that the Magic community will take care of them. That … Read More

“Let’s have a three way” is a terrible way to introduce a girl to the Magic community

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Female gamers have always been a rare breed. But that’s changing and the game of Magic is no exception. The number of women who play Magic is on the rise and they are beginning to change the way the community operates. Between Melissa DeTora and Jackie Lee kicking ass on a professional level to a more even ratio of guys to girls at local FNM’s, the gender landscape of this once predominantly male culture is shifting and many men are … Read More

Stolen Identity sucks in real life

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I understand how Slim Shady felt way back in the day when all he wanted was for the real Slim Shady to please stand up. Being impersonated is strange. Somewhat flattering, but mostly just annoying. So this is the story. My wife and I are currently looking for a new place to live. We’ve been searching online through the posted ads and seen a few places and recently we contacted someone claiming to be in Denmark trying to rent out … Read More

The new (slightly longer) path to the Pro Tour and what it means for you

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The game has changed. In the past two years the growth of Magic and the tournament scene has been both a boon and a curse. I’m sure everyone has heard a horror story or two about a PTQ that was run catastrophically. Too many players, not enough seats. Registration gets delayed by 60 minutes. A top 8 playoff being moved into the Tim Horton’s next door because the event ran past midnight and the venue is closing. All kinds of … Read More

Lessons Learned at the Last Level – How to open your own LGS for $3000

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Partners are the key Business has always been attractive to me, even when I was young. Right out of high school I knew I wanted to run my own Local Gaming Store. I decided to abandon my studies in Computer Science and instead open a gaming establishment with two of my like-minded friends. Thus, The Last Level was born. This is where the story and the lessons begin. The partnership. Partnering up was essentially what enabled the title of this post to be … Read More

The Phyrexian’s were an inside job and WotC’s plot to steal your wallet.

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It’s a conspiracy. They want your money and they know how to get it. They are mad with power you see, they have even begun to manipulate how will we draft our cards together. Them. They. You know. Big TCG. Wizard’s of the Coast is a front for the Illuminati with a complex plan to make drafting into a new experience, one where they break all the rules. Read More

Game Store Operation 101 – The features every game store should have

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Below is a list of features that every single game store should aspire to have. For those of you who are considering opening your own store use this list as a road map. There is far more to running a proper business than the bullet points down below but if these things are part of your plan, you’re taking a step in the right direction. For the store owners who have come looking for ideas to improve their business this … Read More

The one question you must ask yourself before becoming a Magic retailer.

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Maybe you have been thinking about it for a while. It usually goes like this. “I’ve been playing Magic for a long time now. How cool would it be to open my own local gaming store (LGS)? I know how to trade, how hard can it be to sell?”  First off, it is totally cool going into business for yourself. Second, Magic and gaming is a great industry to get into. Third, there is one more question you should consider … Read More

Buy and Sell your Magic cards for Bitcoin?

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MtG the Crypto Currency Edition For those who have not heard yet, Bitcoin is the crypto currency of the future. Some have called it the money of the internet but the better way to look at it is the internet of money. Bitcoin is going to be a game changer as we move into the next few years of indefinite quantitative easing and generally corrupt central banking. As the world economy comes to the realization that it has been essentially … Read More

Great Divides

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A recent scandal has taken place this past weekend. Circulating the internet as a collection of photos known as “GP Richmond Crackstyle”, one enterprising individual decided to photograph himself next to as many exposed butt cracks he could find. While amusing for those viewing the pictures of breezy posteriors next to his concerned and serious face, the album has sparked a discussion that we as a community should have probably had years ago. Is a dress code necessary for Magic … Read More

Running a Magic Tournament Part Deux

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So GP Richmond is happening this weekend and will likely if not certainly be the biggest constructed Magic event in history. It may even cap out at 5000 players if the registration trends continue to hold. This is an absurd number of people in one spot playing Magic for a weekend. Even as little as two years ago this kind of turnout was unheard of, an impossibility. But with Magic’s incredible growth in the past few years we have seen … Read More

Running a Magic Tournament

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This is almost the first piece of content I have ever posted on the internet. Before this the last time I participated in the great forum of the internet was answering a few questions about a tournament I was running on www.mtgontario.com. For those who don’t know, mtgontario is an outdated but still useful website for Magic in the snowy province of Ontario, Canada which is where I currently reside. I still use it to keep on top of current … Read More