Saturday, August 13, 2011

No Players? Create them!

No, not like Dr. Frankenstein (that would fit better with Warhammer, War Machine/Hordes or Malifauex).  Be that voice in the wilderness preaching to the heathen masses of teh glory and wonders of your chosen game.  In this case I am talking about Flames of War.  The guys at "What Would Patton Do" really gave me the idea where in one of their podcasts Dirty John was talking about a demo he ran and a couple of tips to those who wanted to run demos.  Well, I sent the WWPD dirty one and their Noob-in-chief, Joe Mezz, an email and asked for some tips.

1. Have support of the Gamestore where you will run it.  The gametsore has to be actively involved for the demo to be a success.  Advertising is key.  More than just putting a flyer up her and there.  They need to give you a space for the that is visible to customers and not in an out of the way corner.  They need to talk it up to customers as well.  You know...when someone enters "Hi, welcome Billy Joe Bob's Gamestore.  Make sure you check out the most excellent Flames of War demo in the back."  Having a promotion in conjunction with the demo is another method.  Something like 10% off all FOW merchandise for those who partake in the demo.  Lastly, use the store set of terrain and miniatures.  If they dont have the models, Battlefront can give them some courtesy copies of the "Open Fire" Introductory Boxed Set.

2. Use PAINTED models and nice terrain.  You want to show off the beauty that is miniature wargaming and the beauty that Battlefront miniatures possess.  NO silver surfer or primed models for this.  They dont have to be award winning paint jobs, but at least a good 3-4 foot army standard.  Terrain is the same.  No books for hills...avoid green felt for trees...etc...  The idea is to catch a customers eye and make them say "Whoa! That looks cool. What is that?"  It is just another form of advertising when you get down to it."

3.  Start with something simple.  You are bound to have COMPLETE newcomers to the game if not to the overall hobby as well.  Battlefront's "Open Fire" Introductory Boxed Set is perfect for this.  3 Sherman tanks vs 2 StuGs.  You only have to deal with the Movement and Shooting Rules.  Pretty easy for someone to get a feel for in 15 or so minutes of playing.  No messy Assault or Artillery rules for them to learn, or you to have to know by heart.  Which brings me to the next point.

4.  Know the rules you will need for the demo inside and out.  Nothing will spoil the atmosphere you are trying to create as you having to refer back to the rulebook...."ah, Hmmmmm...lets see where is that rule."  You get the idea. If you have to do it, you have to do it....but it should be at a minimum. 

5.  Have everything the players will need ready for them.  Stat sheets for the Shermans and StuGs for instance.  You might want to make a several copies as they could walk or get to crumpled.  If you are really high speed get them lamenated.  Maybe even the Cheatsheet from the FoW rulebook that shows all the phases and steps.

And this is exactly what I plan on doing with my local gamestore.  More to follow...

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