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Author Topic: Shrinking Vintage in Southern US (mainly TX)  (Read 4784 times)
TheWhiteDragon
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« on: August 20, 2015, 06:16:25 pm »

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Due to lack of players this recurring event is being replaced by a once-a-month event. Information from here.

Starting August 30th, we will now be holding Vintage constructed events on the last Sunday of each month!

Event information:

Time: 12:30 PM
Entry: $10
Prizes: 100% payout in store credit
Proxies allowed: 20
At this time, we are not enforcing any specific rules regarding what your proxies must look like and we ask that you keep it reasonable. If the appearance of proxies becomes a problem, we will have to enforce proxy rules. We strongly recommend that you make your proxies following the Eternal Struggle rules found here.

Asgard games is located at 3302 South Shepherd Houston, Texas, 77098

It makes me sad that a city of 3+ million people can't get regular vintage attendance with a $10 buy-in and 20 proxies allowed...and that cities like San Antonio run ZERO vintage events with 2+ million peeps.  Yet the NE is firing off 20 vintage events every weekend at a ton of stores with $30/entry and max 10 proxies and topping 30+ people at every event regularly.  Why is it that area's like nowhere-town PA or NJ can host 40+ players for some obscure game shop, but a major city like Houston struggles to get 10 players with a proxy deck???
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 04:47:35 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 07:41:25 pm »

I would attribute a large part of the success of the NE tournaments to the T/Os we have. T/Os such as Nick Coss, Nick Detwiler, Calvin and many others are the major reason for events firing every week here and successfully. Now, I am not saying that to put down the T/Os in Houston as I do not know who they are. I only about why Vintage in the NE is so successful.
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2015, 08:08:53 pm »

I would attribute a large part of the success of the NE tournaments to the T/Os we have. T/Os such as Nick Coss, Nick Detwiler, Calvin and many others are the major reason for events firing every week here and successfully. Now, I am not saying that to put down the T/Os in Houston as I do not know who they are. I only about why Vintage in the NE is so successful.

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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2015, 08:44:54 pm »

We have the very same problem in Australia:
- Sydney 5M people: 10 players Vintage league once a year... sometimes a GP side event with 25 players max
- Melbourne 4M people: 30 players leagues chaining one after the other, monthly events, Eternal Masters once a year (50+ players)
- Brisbane 2M people: 25+ players leagues twice a year & monthly events.

In Sydney area only, there are something like 6 MTG stores but Vintage is inexistent. People blame transports, family stuff, they don't like one another, etc...

I think it all start with a couple of passionate people willing to push their format and, more important, who are able to spend a lot of quality time at their local store (showing the game to others, lending cards, proxying decks, discussing/helping/getting the support from the store manager, finding good prizes, TOing, etc...).

Once you get a bit of momentum happening, it gets easier and the community grows itself.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 09:20:26 pm by tribet » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2015, 11:54:59 pm »

I once spoke with ELD about how he worked to build up a tourney scene.  I managed to built up tourneys at a local shop, but at tops, after 6 months, we got to 18 players - with people coming in as far as Dallas, Houston and Louisiana.  Then the store went belly up and closed.  Now in my new shop, I only have met 2 people who play vintage, and neither own many of the cards...certainly nothing better than a handful of dual lands.  Further, I always had to supply the prize myself in past tourneys.  And the store got a cut of the entry fees.  Luckily I was able to win a couple of the tourneys and never lost any huge cards as a result, but guaranteeing a mox ruby to end up with 18 players and giving a 10% cut of $30 entry to the shop...that was just asking for a big loss.  I can only do that so many times before I'm just giving away my collection for nothing.  And when I stop putting up my power cards as prizes, the far away folks stop showing up (who wants to drive 4 hours for $100 in store credit?) and we're back to square one.

I'd love to see how Nick Coss and others did it.  I don't know many here that have any vintage cards or even interest in playing vintage.  It's hard enough to get 8 people to play modern FNM, as everyone plays standard or sealed draft instead.  My local shop and the other quasi-close shop has no interest in running a vintage tourney and won't supply prize.  The further-away shop said they'd host for 25% of the entry fee and I supply the prize payout.  I feel like it's too risky advertising another Vintage tourney for guaranteed power.  If i don't win it and only 10 people show up, I basically gave away a mox for $200 after paying the shop.  If I put up an Unlimited Underground Sea, I'm more likely to cover my costs, but doubt that would attract anyone outside of an hour away, and that'd probably being a 5 man tourney.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 11:57:58 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2015, 01:21:27 am »

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Due to lack of players this recurring event is being replaced by a once-a-month event. Information from here.
...

Hey TWD - I'm not the TO and it's not my store but I posted it so I'll go ahead and chime in.

I've been playing at Asgard since it opened. No, seriously, I lived with the guy who owns it. I helped hang the shelves and inventory the first giant order of product! I've always been at least a little into vintage and tried to get it going but almost always failed. I've had my 100% non-proxy vintage deck for almost two years now but only played it for the first time at GenCon.

A local Legacy player (not that it matters, but his name is Nick) recently decided to get into Vintage. He went from having nothing to having his no-proxy workshop deck (no small financial feat) in under a month and decided that it was time for everyone to play vintage. While I've been trying to get people to play for a while, he was the first to really make an effort and schedule events.

For everywhere that I say "he" below, "we" may be equally applicable.

Unfortunately, I think that his attempts to have weekly events have had several flaws:

1. He started trying to have these events in the middle of the summer. We only managed to actually fire the event once. There have been 15 or so people who have shown up regularly but we've only gotten a solid eight one time. Heck, the week of GenCon, actual zero people showed up because almost everyone interested in Vintage was in Indy.

2. He tried to start the events weekly. A once a week event is a lot easier to skip. "It's okay. I'll play next week" you think. You and about half the other players. I know I skipped weeks simply because I had dinner plans later that night.

3. The legacy group at Asgard plays twice a week. Most of the players you get into Vintage (especially limited proxy vintage) are going to be necessarily legacy players - they're the only ones who can build a deck, even with proxies, without having to spend a lot of money. Indeed, many of the players showing up to Vintage were from the legacy crew. A lot of these people, including myself, blew off Vintage because it was their third event of the week. This was especially true for the players with significant others - it's hard to play Legacy Saturday afternoon, Vintage Sunday afternoon and still spend time with your loved one(s).

4. He set a low proxy limit. Initially, we were playing ten proxy. I pointed out that this is nearly impossible for most players - your ten proxies in most deck are non-legacy cards and if you don't have one of the other fifty cards you need you're screwed. Eventually, this was changed to fifteen proxy. As I said, I can play no proxy but I ended up proxying in every event because some people needed to borrow duals or power or even little cards that legacy players don't own like Ingot Chewer just to get under the proxy limit.

I am of the opinion that moving to once a month and 20 proxies will ultimately be beneficial for Vintage in Houston. Addressing each thing:

1. Leaving the summer, people's schedules will be much more... scheduled? Perhaps rigid is a better word. I honestly think that if he'd held out for another couple weeks, the event would start firing now that no one's on vacation.

2. Being once a month makes the event a, well, event. I'm going to have a much harder time blowing off once-a-month vintage than I did weekly vintage.

3. This can't really be fixed but I think my point 2 addresses it.

4. Going to 20 proxies means that most players who are fairly invested in the format will be able to play. I know that a few players including myself will be lending out cards and playing proxies in their place to make sure that people who want to play get to play.

Unfortunately, try as I might, Nick insists that we do not allow 100% proxies. He feels that people should have a goal to build toward. As (I would argue) the two biggest proponents of vintage in Houston, this has been our single biggest sticking point. I would guess that in another month or so, he'll fall to my side - saying that it's better to play against 75 proxy cards than it is to not play at all.

Going to separate thoughts not directly related to this post/tournament into a separate post.

edit: broke multi level quoting. fixed.
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2015, 01:39:39 am »

I would attribute a large part of the success of the NE tournaments to the T/Os we have. T/Os such as Nick Coss, Nick Detwiler, Calvin and many others are the major reason for events firing every week here and successfully. Now, I am not saying that to put down the T/Os in Houston as I do not know who they are. I only about why Vintage in the NE is so successful.

The title of the thread is SE but that's a big area so let's talk about Texas. Vintage is definitely alive but maybe not well in Texas. Austin has had the Eternal Struggle series every other month for the last year or so. Last I heard, Madness (I think) in Denton (a suburb of Dallas) has been hosting weekly Vintage.

Unfortunately, the SE as a whole, and Texas in particular, are geographically large enough that it's a lot harder to make it to these big events. I live in the middle of Houston proper and I've skipped multiple events that were offering power and duals as prizes because they'd require 8+ total hours of travel, not to mention the associated cost. One such event offered multiple pieces of power for the top 8. A friend and I decided at the last minute not to go because, assuming our time has no value, the only prize that would cover our costs would be first and second place.

To make things worse, many of these events are on Sundays, meaning that if a person with a regular job does well, they're going to be getting home sometime after midnight Monday morning.

Some might argue that I should play for the love of the game or some other such explanation but, if nothing else, it's hard for me to justify a five hour (on the low end) round trip to play four rounds of Magic if I do poorly and just-more-that-cover-my-costs if I do fantasticly.

I honestly envy players in the NE. With cities much closer and, even better, public transportation between some of them, it's a lot easier to play a lot of high level Magic. Heck, I warned my wife when she was considering a job up there that I'd be gone playing Magic a lot more.

Prizes are another big problem. People playing Vintage tend not to want store credit - the store has nothing that they want to buy. So what do you do? Offer duals, power, and other high value cards? This means acquiring, that is, finding and paying for these cards and hoping that entries cover the cost of the card and your other expenses. For TOs like Asgard, this is a hard proposition. In the last few years, they've fired Vintage once. That means high prices for entry for these events and maybe, if we're lucky, we cover the cost of the prize. Now we need to pay second place. And now we're at a price where we need to either give up or give out prizes no one wants. It's an unfortunate situation (which personally, I think is greatly helped by 100% proxy - then maybe people with no cards start picking up the cheaper stuff)

Another thing that I'd like to at least mention is the current Vintage format. One player recently sold our of their collection and another player, with a full set of beta power, doesn't play because they don't like what the format looks like. I'm not going to go into a full thing on the current B&R list but perhaps there's some things that WotC/The DCI can do to make the format more appealing.

I'm kind of rambling at this point. I'm sure there's things I said that I went into too much and things I meant to say that I missed. It's 1:40 AM in Texas... we'll see in the morning ;P
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2015, 04:01:37 pm »

I'd love to see how Nick Coss and others did it.

I can't speak for Coss, but I can speak for myself.

Initially, Neutral Ground hosted Vintage tournaments around 2000.  This set the foundation for a NYC community.  While nearly all of that community is now gone, there are still a few guys from NYC who played during that era (Vinny Pau comes to mind).

In 2002, prices were (looking back with 20/20 vision) absurdly cheap.  I built a few extra decks and got a few friends to play.  I still played Standard back then, and always had Vintage decks with me at FNMs, Saturday tournaments and Sunday drafts.  

This last from 2002-2005.

By the time I came back to Vintage in 2008, the atrophy was tremendous.  At its height, the Mark's Comics Vintage events from 2002-2005 were never more than 30 players.  By 2008, nearly all of those guys were out of the format.  

Still, there were a couple of guys left, and they were instrumental in building the new foundation.  

N.Y.S.E. Challenge I was run in July 2009, and had strong support from the Jersey and Pennsylvania crowds.  We had 31 players.  At the time of the first N.Y.S.E., there were only 15-20 Vintage pilots on Long Island.

Over the next two years, I went to FNMs, PTQs, Sunday drafts, Saturday Vintage tournaments throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and whatever other events I could attend.  I built five Vintage decks.  I lent out all my decks at events that I ran, and I frequently lent out decks to friends when attending other events.  I tried to recruit as many people as I could on Long Island and I tried to get as many people as I could to attend my events from other areas.  I played a lot of Magic.  The crowning achievement of all this was the 90 man Grudge Match II event in January 2012.  

The NEV series was run by Nick and I for 2012, and while it wasn't bad, I wasn't happy with the turnout at a fair number of the N.Y.S.E. events later that year, especially an event I ran in July for an Ancestral Recall and Time Walk (or was it a Mox Jet to second?  I don't remember).  By the time we came to December, I was as burned out on Vintage, and Magic, as I'd ever been.  At one point, I actually sold out because I was convinced that I would never be willing to come back and do what I did again.  I was too emotionally invested, and I didn't always feel like the efforts were appreciated.

I delegated my responsibilities out to people who were looking to run events (two stores on the Island).  I stepped back from T/O'ing for a while, and decided to just sink my energy into one event a year.  

But those two stores kept running events, which kept things going.

Instead of just telling a story though, I should hit on a few points:

1.  Start with the low-hanging fruit.  If you have two guys that are interested in Vintage locally, then do what you can to convince them to build other decks, play in non-Vintage events, and preach the gospel of Vintage to non-Vintage pilots.

2.  Build out your own collection enough that you can put a few decks together, and go to non-Vintage events.  Just jam games with people.  The format is a ton of fun, it's not a tough sale on the basis of fun.

3.  Run testing sessions locally, maybe twice a month, for those new recruits.  Roland Chang has done an unbelievable job building a Brooklyn/Manhattan community back up.  Really.  I think he's up to 60ish recruits so far.  It's nuts.

4.  Build a team of community organizers who are all willing to take ownership of a small share of the larger pie.  Burnout is real, it happens to everyone, and it will destroy what you build.

5.  Be patient and accept that atrophy happens.  For every two guys that you get in, you may lose a guy.  It happens.  If I had to recommend targeting specific guys, I'd say guys that are single, out of college, and middle-class (as far as income goes) or better.  We all know that this format is a significant investment, even with proxies.  

6.  Be persistent.

7.  Don't take losses.  Events need to be able to stand on their own.  Credit may not be optimal, but people play for it all the time.  We regularly have 20 or so guys play for credit at Comic Book Depot.  It's the nature of the beast, due to the skyrocketing of prices, for Vintage in 2015.

Regardless, I hope that you decide to pick the mantle back up again, and work towards building a community in Texas.  There were a lot of benefits to doing this in New York, 30 minutes from the biggest city in the country, in the largest wealth center of the country.  Your journey will likely be tougher, but it's eminently doable and I hope you're successful with it.

Best of luck.
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2015, 10:26:56 pm »

Thanks for the input.

In SA, I am struggling to find people that even play Legacy.  I know 2 guys that play Vintage, but barely have any of the cards and another couple that play legacy (and none of them are actually "Vintage/Legacy guys", they just happen to know the format and their B/R list - they are standard players that happen to have some of the old cards, mainly, and will sleeve up a mostly proxied Vintage deck just to humor me).  Crav noted that a "Legacy group" plays twice a week.  I have not met any "Legacy group".  Our "Modern group" isn't even big enough to fire off an FNM. As I mentioned, it's hard to even get Modern going as most play only standard or Yu-gi-oh.  Modern FNM got to 14 players at best and hasn't fired in over 3 months due to less than 4 players signing up every week.  

Houston is about an 8 hr round trip for me, but if there was power as prizes, I'd try to make the trip.  I did not know about those.  But that also poses a problem - I would only travel 4 hrs one-way for POWER and that's because I already love Vintage.  I'd barely be willing to drive across town for $100 store credit prize.  So if I keep putting up power and don't top 15 players (like was the case at my old store before it folded) I am continually at risk of losing $100s every month just for hosting a tourney.  The saving grace was I played in the tourneys and won a fair amount of them to reclaim the prize I put up.

As of now, I sold my lotus and I sold out of my collection several times already, so now I only have 4 moxen and no blue duals, no bazaars, no workshops.  That is to say I only have enough cards to make MY decks (basically only BGW).  I don't want to buy extra power or rebuild my whole collection and get back into blue just to lend out decks.  That's a huge investment for no guaranteed return (and more chance  I lend out a deck and it just "vanishes" from a tourney).

I used to live on LI, and 15-20 pilots on the island is nice - you can make it across from the east end to NYC in about an hour (give or take for traffic).  In NY I could make it to several states within 4 hours...I can barely make it to the next big city in that span of time in TX.  I think the geography might be a detriment I can't overcome.  And to entice people from several hours away, I need grand prizes and a top 4 payout....which is a huge investment of my own cash.  I don't know if just being able to play in a tourney in SA is worth me putting up $1000 in prizes.  

The shops here don't help out much either.  Even the Modern tourneys, when they were getting 10-14 players, it was $5 to play and the top prize was $30 store credit, $5 credit for 2nd place, and that was it. So they pocketed $50-70 and only risked $35 in store credit.  If they had less than 8 people sign up, they'd just cancel, so they NEVER lost money.  But the only people that played were the store regulars...and when they stopped playing...well, as I said it's been over 3 months since even 4 people signed up to play.  I feel like you need a big prize to draw a big crowd.  But if I have to foot that bill myself (and give the store a 25% cut of entry just for hosting), I'm at best breaking even for winning the tourney and at worst losing money even for coming in 2nd.

Quote
By the time I came back to Vintage in 2008, the atrophy was tremendous.  At its height, the Mark's Comics Vintage events from 2002-2005 were never more than 30 players.

Mark's events had at most 30 and that NYSE Challenge I had 31 players - and I think it was meant to suggest that number was small.  I've never seen greater than an 18 man tourney in SA, and that was one I ran, promoted heavily, and put up my own Mox Ruby and an Unlimited Tundra as 1st/2nd place.

Quote
7.  Don't take losses.  Events need to be able to stand on their own.  Credit may not be optimal, but people play for it all the time.  We regularly have 20 or so guys play for credit at Comic Book Depot.  It's the nature of the beast, due to the skyrocketing of prices, for Vintage in 2015.

I'm just not seeing how that's possible.  I wouldn't play for credit myself, and 20 is more vintage bodies than I've ever seen in the same room in SA.  As I said, a tourney with a Ruby and Tundra as prizes only drew 18 people total, some coming from as far as Dallas, Houston, and Louisiana.  I'd love to see Vintage in SA, but I just don't think I have what it takes (certainly not the disposable income to give away power) to get 50+ man Vintage tourneys going in SA.  If a ruby only draws 18 people coming from a 5 hr radius to play, how well will $100 store credit do?

So, I know this all sounds like I want a thriving Vintage community in my city without me putting in the effort to grind and build one up.  Possibly, but I just don't see the base to start with.  Getting a small group of guys to play and spread the word is tough when the 2 guys I do know that play Vintage prefer Standard and only play a match vs me when they crap out of a standard tourney and I'm loitering around the shop.  If a shop can't even get FNM Modern to fire regularly requiring only 8 players...well, you get the gist.  I also know I can't put in the financial investment to buy loaner decks for people and pay out power each month.  The cost of power nowadays means a 15 man tourney at $30 a head would only pay for half of the first place prize if I got to keep ALL the entry fees.  I just don't think i can pay out $500+ from my own pocket once a month just to play in a tourney.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 10:36:40 pm by TheWhiteDragon » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2015, 02:31:53 am »

Are there any TMDers from the San Antonio area besides me?
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 08:07:50 am »

I moved from Long Island to Louisiana in 2012.  I was lucky enough to meet a decent Legacy community (our Legacy FNMs are 10-20 people, almost always) so naturally I began converting some to Vintage.  After about a year, we had 6 of us that owned non-proxy decks and another 6 people would would come down with proxied decks.  We'd have a good time doing one Saturday a month, cash in, 100% cash back out, for the little while that lasted (our local stone is cool with us).

Eventually two sold out of Magic (more about financial issues than the game itself), then another one, then one moved most of his power, and the last one is currently out of Magic (for Warhammer, not sure what he sold though).  That leaves me as the only person who keeps a Vintage deck (non-proxy) built.  A few people have an interest, but I've completely failed as a TO honestly.  Free time is tough for me to come by, as I have five kids (one who is only 7 months old) and a wife all whom I'd like to spend time with too.  I need to refocus on building up our local proxy events, then hopefully we can get something growing.

Mind you, I am not from the part of Louisiana that has anything like a real population density, like between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  I am on the West side, so while that puts me closer to Texas, almost anywhere one would need to go there is still rather far away (Houston is closest at three hours away, Dallas is six hours away).  I'm sure there are probably more people in Louisiana that would be interested in Vintage, but with our local community being in shambles, it's impossible to ask people to come here.

So, unfortunately I don't really have an answer to the problems presented.  Geography is geography, Texas isn't going to get any smaller (well, speculative Hyperloop-like transportation advancements aside) and neither is the rest of the south.  I know for a fact there are people in places like Mississippi and Alabama would would want to play, but they are even more geographically remote than I am.  I can't think of how we could possibly unite something like a San Antonio crew and even the Houston crews, let alone Dallas (and let's not even get to Oklahoma, etc.).

At the end though, it all comes down to how motivated people are.  Prizes can be a decent motivator, but at some point that breaks down.  Plus, as Nick said, you can't take a loss.  You just can't.  For me, playing always comes down to availability of free time, ease of commute, who else is going, and then prizes (almost always in that order).  I think that if your local scene can't even pull a decent Legacy event, hell, even Modern, Vintage might simply be doomed.  If the only way you are pulling people in is with crazy prizes, I think the community is fundamentally unhealthy.

TL;DR: The South (and even just the south east) is really incredibly large, I'm not sure what can really be done to unite our highly geographically isolated communities.
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2015, 03:20:20 am »

The first rule of events is to not take a loss.

If you're running amateur events for fun, put up more, cheaper prizes - people like to win something, and it's better to have a lot of people win something of low value, as they are more likely to come back (to a point). Some cards are hard to get and popular, but not especially expensive (someone come up with ideas!).

However, if you really want to have a scene, and are prepared to pay for it, set a budget for your losses, and don't go over it. If you've got a good collection, you can probably sustain a few cards here and there, but don't over do it.
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2015, 05:48:32 am »

To me it depends on what part of the SE US you are talking about.  In NC we have a diverse and thriving Vintage community.  One of the most important things I think you can do is travel to other events and support other vintage communities and more often than not they will travel to support you as well.  We've done this exact thing with the Richmond, VA community and it's done nothing but improve both areas.  There is a lot more dedication and work involved than just posting a tournament on a few forums and hoping people show up to play.  I play at Atomic Empire in NC.  It was a slow process but I started by talking to one player at a time about vintage.  I built multiple decks and let people use them to play against me.  Over the course of a year or so we finally had enough people interested to hold a tournament.  We promoted like hell and the turnout was great for the stores first vintage event.  http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=41482.0  Attendance has been up and down since then but we try to have tournaments regularly.  We are taking our time on our next one in hopes that we can get more players than ever.  The prize support has been upgraded and the store is better than ever in the sense that the card selection, http://www.atomicempire.com/singles/listSets.aspx?nCardGameID=1 ,  if you opt for store credit is more than decent and who doesn't like having multiple craft beer on tap 10 feet away from where you are playing?  So if you are within reasonable driving distance then please come support the SE vintage scene.  I promise you will have an enjoyable time and more than likely it will benefit your area as well.  This is the link to our next Vintage event with scans of the prize support.  http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=47627.0
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2015, 08:22:22 am »

From what I have seen so far it looks like the biggest difference between NC and TX is the stores we play at.  Here in NC Atomic Empire is an awesome store, they don't take as much as yours do from the entry fees and the venue is fantastic in terms of space, accessibility (right off major highways) and good location in terms of food, with a bar in store.

If I were you I would see about having a tournament somewhere like a public park instead of the store.  I'm not sure if you would need to get a permit or something, but if you are doing a 12 man tournament then a few hours in the park sounds pretty nice.  It would mean people can bring their own drinks/coolers (and you might be able to make an extra buck or two off selling some drinks) and you could even grill out.  Plus some parks have nice spots for the wife and kids to play.

The vintage community (at least those that stay in the community) are fairly laid back people, often the smaller tournaments are just as much about hanging out as they are about playing the game.  I know I would be up for a weekend tournament outside as long as the weather is decent.  And who knows, if the stores find out that you have built a community for this without them, they might make some concessions to bring back your business.
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2015, 09:08:55 am »

Here in Barcelona (in europe, a little far) we are also losing players, slowly but consistently. In my first LCV tournament, more than 6 years ago, we were 90 or 92 players. During that year assistance decreasedm but most tournaments had 7 rounds. In consecuent years we got down to 60 players, and was really difficult to have 65 or more. Then 50. But these last 2 years are being a disaster, often not getting 32 players.

People is "retiring" of magic, mostly because we are in our mid or late thirties and have responsibilities. Other people have sold the cards (I bought my P9 less than 2 years ago to a retiring player), because of the high prices and the financial problems for lots of people (medium salary in Spain is far from USA's). Some argue that the format is unfun. Besides, we have a ridiculous tolerance to travel compared to yours: more than 1 hour of travelling is quite annoying to most of us, 2 hours being a real nuisance.

The real problem is that few people enter the format. Money is the biggest problem, and our league does not allow proxies at all (we had also another monthly league allowing proxies but had even less assistance). And I suspect that young people is not so engaged to old MTG as those who had played since 1994 or 1995. Thankfully we have some players that keep organizing tournaments monthly, specially a store from a recently retired player, but the perspective is that we cannot grow, only decrease, and the average age of the players grows year by year. If someone has a magical recipe, please share it in this thread.


@TheWhiteDragon: good luck with the search of players. Let's hope new generations get somehow engaged with vintage, but I suspect that Wizards hand should be involved (via reprints)
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2015, 01:36:57 pm »

Echo Wiley. We (Team Tusk out of Atlanta) try to support any Vintage event within a 6 hour drive, including Atomic Empire. We are slowly turning the local store owners on to Eternal magic, Thursday night Legacy is consistently getting 25+ despite that format being a piece of shit. We are shooting to get a Vintage monthly going. For us, streaming the event really helped. Once we started streaming our weekly legacy attendance doubled.

http://www.twitch.tv/tuskvision/

and youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDVRxCfafLshubkZrdaxxIw

there is Vintage scattered in the legacy videos in between rounds Smile
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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2015, 04:46:34 pm »

I'll keep plugging away.

I'm not sure what I can do about "taking losses".  It's not something I enjoy for sure.  I also no longer have the collection to loan out decks, just build my own.  I'd like to just give out lower-priced staples or packs or something, but then I'm only attracting peeps from within the San Antonio metro most likely.  That's a tiny number.  The "disastrous 32 turnout" is still almost double the attendance of my best event with a Mox Ruby prize, as I said.

As far as NC/Richmond, I never had trouble playing Vintage in Richmond.  I know we're a bit removed from 2002, but I remember 30+ tourneys being "awful attendance" and P9 tourneys cranking out 100+.  You can also get from NYC to Richmond in 7.5 hrs.  You can't even cross from one side of Texas to the other in that amount of time.  I'd love to support "local" areas like Houston, Dallas, Louisiana...but it would literally be just me and maybe 1 other guy.  My attendance at my 18 man tourney mainly WAS people from those far-off areas...I'm guessing due to the pull of winning a Mox Ruby in only 4 rounds of play for $30.

It sucks that my shop rakes me on fees%, but they really have little incentive to reserve space for what is likely to be 8 or less guys showing up.  I'm thinking they might even stop running Modern FNM altogether due to the bad turnout for multiple months.

Doing things without the shop is interesting, but not sure how feasible.  To compare it to NC...would someone drive from Charlotte to Richmond to play with 10 other guys in a park for a shot at an unlimited taiga?

I also updated the Subject line.  TX is not SE, more like SW or south central.  I'm speaking primarily about TX.  I'm sure vintage is sagging in general, but compared to the Richmond/Charlotte/Atlanta areas, TX can't even hold a candle to those burgeoning scenes
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2015, 07:12:23 am »

Well, about Texas, one thing I noticed talking to a few people at the Houston SCG Legacy events (and the Dallas ones too) is that the Dallas folks seem to not want to come to Houston, nor do the Houston folks seem to want to go to Dallas.

I can imagine the same usually applies to San Antonio, really.  3+ hours each way is nothing to scoff at, or so it would seem to me, but then again, I really hate driving.

It was discussed and I think attempted, to run a Vintage event in Lake Charles, LA, which would have been able to (hopefully) draw some people from Houston and from our Lafayette group.  Unfortunately, I was unable to make it, the Texas crew wasn't able to make it, and so only two people were there.  I know that doesn't help you much in San Antonio, but if the Houston crew gets built up through events like that, perhaps you can run an event somewhere that is about halfway between?
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2015, 03:35:16 pm »

Well, about Texas, one thing I noticed talking to a few people at the Houston SCG Legacy events (and the Dallas ones too) is that the Dallas folks seem to not want to come to Houston, nor do the Houston folks seem to want to go to Dallas.

Interesting that the Dallas folks didn't want to come to Houston. I wonder why that was. It could be because it was also Valentine's Day weekend :/

I can't speak for the open as a tournament (i.e., the two day standard open) but in terms of the open as an event (i.e., two days of various magic tournaments), I know a lot of the Houston legacy crew has dropped out due to, again, profitability.

* It's just over 500 miles round trip from Houston to Dallas Fort Worth. Let's say I get good gas mileage and split that with three other people. I'm looking at around $11 per person round trip, not including wear and tear on my care.

* The PIQ ends registration at 10A. This means if you're not a crazy person, you're driving up the day before and getting a hotel. Just hitting up HotWire, I see hotels near-isn to the venue with one bed .listed at around $65. Let's say you split that with another guy (which I really don't like doing) and you're at $32.5 .

* Staying at a hotel means breakfast (and depending on your drive-up schedule) is going to be at a restaurant. I'll conservatively call that another $10.

* The PIQ is $30 entry

So I've got a real-world entry fee of around $80 plus around 24 hours of time invested.

Top 16 just barely covers my conservative estimate
Top 8 gives me a return of around $100 which, let's be honest, is a pretty crappy payout for that much time.

I basically need to play in the finals for the tournament to be worth it from a purely money perspective. Oh, and if I do, I'll be getting home sometime around 3AM Monday morning, just in time for me to wake up a couple hours later and head to work!

(All this assumes that my deck cost is not included)

While a couple people in this thread are saying that you can't play in an event where you don't expect good value, I don't really think that's possible for even the above average player in an eternal format.

I think what we as players need to do is recognize the extrinsic value of these tournaments.

The 8 hours spent cramped into a car with some of my best friends has value. The going out the night before or after with those friends has value. The new things I can do in the city I'm visiting have value. Meeting new people (and especially finally trading or testing with people you don't know) has value.

I do think that there's something that the TOs can do about this, too. Aside from doing "fun" events (e.g. wacky draft), which I don't think most of us want, these locations could be picked better. (cue a rant I've gone on too many times)

SCG Dallas is held in Fort Worth, a completely separate city over a half hour away. If the event was held in Dallas proper, I'd be driving up Friday night and spending most of Saturday hanging out in Dallas.

The first SCG Houston was scheduled to be held in freaking Galveston. For those not intimately familiar with Texas geography, if you fly a non-Southwest airline and you come to Houston, you should expect at least a two hour drive, three in traffic, not doable in a cab, to get to an event like that!

GP Washington DC 2013 (legacy) was held at basically Dulles airport - host an event in DC and I can stay in DC proper and bring the whole family to share our nation's capitol!

GP New Jersey 2014 (legacy) was held in Edison - a $60 cab ride away from the nearest airport. Oh, and the venue was over a mile away from the nearest hotel and it's 40* outside, so I hope you brought a bunch of cash for cabs to and from the venue!
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2015, 04:01:28 pm »

Oh, yeah, oops, I forgot about the whole Valentine's Day thing with that SCG.  I was just saying what people were telling me, who knows, I was probably talking to some vagrants (maybe they weren't even from Texas for all I know).  SCG is not very good at locating and scheduling events most of the time.  From what I heard (I had just moved here), Louisiana got pretty screwed on SCG New Orleans last time with the scheduling and now they probably won't ever come back.

You're right though, I think if you are an Eternal player, the idea of EV, or having some positive EV is really not feasible.  Considering all the costs that go in to making it to a tournament and factoring in the cost of a deck, there really isn't any way possible to 'make money' by playing Legacy or Vintage.

If people aren't playing 'for the love of the game' then they really just aren't going to be playing. 
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2015, 11:16:46 pm »

I'll be moving back to SA in December, as you know, and I'll jam some vintage with you!  I mostly play Legacy and Modern these days, as vintage just isn't something 99% of people I know can afford to buy into. I tried to get a vintage scene going here in Anchorage and failed miserably. Modern took a couple years to catch on, but my shop gets 12-20 people weekly now. We even have one legacy tournament every month. Maybe we should start off trying to build a modern scene first and work our way up.  Also, I'm bringing three other modern players with me. Smile

Doug
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« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2015, 08:16:37 am »

I'll be moving back to SA in December, as you know, and I'll jam some vintage with you!  I mostly play Legacy and Modern these days, as vintage just isn't something 99% of people I know can afford to buy into. I tried to get a vintage scene going here in Anchorage and failed miserably. Modern took a couple years to catch on, but my shop gets 12-20 people weekly now. We even have one legacy tournament every month. Maybe we should start off trying to build a modern scene first and work our way up.  Also, I'm bringing three other modern players with me. Smile

Doug

That sounds like a plan, bro. I know we could re-up the Modern scene fairly easily with 5 of us + other peeps.  Vintage will be a bit of a grind to get back, but we can try.
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« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2015, 01:07:52 am »

After a hiatus from TmD and m:tg for almost a year to handle family responsibilities,  I am willing to give vintage another try. I am still in san antonio and recently asked two stores nearby about vintage tournies.. they seemed very uninterested. This of course will not deter me.

I am glad I am not alone in this, TwD.
I do not own power but have enough of a collection to build a decent enough cube, edh, pauper, maybe modern and some eternal decks.(minus Shop decks). To a lesser extent, planeschase Smile
I mostly played at home with two of my brothers. This did not stop us from being highly competative. I would build vintage and legacy, they would run rogue decks viable enough to stand a chance against mine. Unfortunately, one brother quit magic altogether  and handed me his small but nice collection and the other brother is currently focused on his job(s) and is taking a break from m:tg but might join us for a monthly event Smile

I have similar thoughts on prizes, proxies and fees as some have stated above.
To begin, I believe we must build on introduction. Not just the format we enjoy but US as players and important part of this community. As well as acknowledging the local MTG community as a whole, being important to building a vintage scene before we begin to cater to players coming in from out of town. We must build relationships. Prospero, mentions "friends" several times. I believe this to be essential to maintaining a vintage community, no matter how small or big.

I apologize if my thoughts are not clear enough or if I rambled on. Its 1:06am in San Antonio and I am on nine hours of sleep total in four days.
I just had to post before I knock out.

Edit: some spelling/grammar.
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« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2015, 06:54:43 am »

Glad to see it looking like San Antonio will be getting a scene now.  Keep drumming up interest, go to Legacy events and play some Vintage before and after (or during).  Every time we would, it would always draw a crowd.

From the Houston crowd, would there be interest in an event run in Lake Charles?  I know there is a store that that is very close of I-10, owner is rather friendly, but would probably require at least a modest cut to run it there.  While it's not very close to any of us, it is probably the closest to a 'central' location.

This is just an idea in it's infancy though.
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« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2015, 12:19:08 pm »

From the Houston crowd, would there be interest in an event run in Lake Charles?  I know there is a store that that is very close of I-10, owner is rather friendly, but would probably require at least a modest cut to run it there.  While it's not very close to any of us, it is probably the closest to a 'central' location.

It would have to be Saturday and announced pretty far in advance. If that's the case, I know at least myself and a couple other players that would likely come to do a MtG/casino weekend.
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« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2015, 12:58:55 pm »

From the Houston crowd, would there be interest in an event run in Lake Charles?  I know there is a store that that is very close of I-10, owner is rather friendly, but would probably require at least a modest cut to run it there.  While it's not very close to any of us, it is probably the closest to a 'central' location.

It would have to be Saturday and announced pretty far in advance. If that's the case, I know at least myself and a couple other players that would likely come to do a MtG/casino weekend.

OK, I figured a Saturday.  I will see what I can muster up by way for support here and if it seems like I can make it worth the trip for you guys I will get it scheduled.

I would be aiming for no less than two months in advance notice on a date though.
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« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2015, 10:10:07 am »

- Brisbane 2M people: 25+ players leagues twice a year & monthly events.
We also smack each other before Legacy starts. It's not uncommon to see people playing before an event. The reason is that most of the Legacy players here have at lest a proxy deck.

That's not a bad way to kick things off either. A game like TPS v Grixis will draw a crowd like nothing else. People are happy to watch something new so when you have a game going before a Legacy event, you can use it as a springboard to talk about the format. Then, after a few weeks, announce a proxy tournament that let's people play in the times that suit them. That's fun to, seeing people play league games before Legacy. It too is a conversation starter.
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2015, 05:43:36 pm »

After downgrading vintage to monthly and increasing the allowed proxies from 15 to 20, two people showed up yesterday.

I'd like to think it's maybe because local sports ball team was playing during the tournament but our legacy crowd has been doing pretty poorly as well :/
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« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2015, 07:23:01 pm »

After downgrading vintage to monthly and increasing the allowed proxies from 15 to 20, two people showed up yesterday.

I'd like to think it's maybe because local sports ball team was playing during the tournament but our legacy crowd has been doing pretty poorly as well :/

I have to apologize, real-life has been kicking my ass lately, not much time for Magic in general.  I haven't been successful in really drumming up local interest.  The few times I've been able to make it to Legacy though we're struggling to get 8, where we used to average about 15.

It's a bad time here economically, I think several people have sold their stuff.  Hopefully things turn around soon, if we can start drawing for Legacy, there is a chance to draw  some in to Vintage.
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« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2015, 12:42:42 pm »

I haven't sold any of my stuff, but I recently checked what my collection is worth.  Fucking wow.  Even the Wastelands are worth money???  There is just no way I'm bringing those cards out of my house.  I don't even want to pile shuffle them anymore.  What the hell happened???

And I just found out Chalice of the fucking Void is restricted???  WHY!?  Jesus wept for vintage...
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