With February in full swing, we thought it would be a good time to talk about where we are with Organized Play, and play in the shoppe in general.  We're not announcing any dramatic changes, but we did want to talk about where we are, and what we're doing.

Over the course of the last several months, words like “Quaranteams” and “Bubbles” have entered our venacular as we talk about who we spend time with and who we feel safe around.  Keeping your quaranteams small and your bubbles tight continues to be an important part of maintaining your health.  When we first wrote our DEFCON chart in 2020, these concepts weren't really part of the conversation, so we've updated the chart to reflect these new terms.

For the longest time, we've been stated that we were at DEFCON 2, but realized that we've actually been hovering around 2.5 for a while now.

For example, rather than strictly adhering to the idea of “co-habitating gaming,” we've begun to allow small “quaranteams” to reserve tables in the shoppe. This was born out of practicality – it was impossible for us to verify co-habitation, and ultimately, we were taking it on faith that the people at the table trusted each other enough to spend time together.

With that in mind, the differences between DEFCON 2, 2.5, and 3 were a bit blurry, so we opted to adjust the chart to better reflect what's happening, and show us more firmly at DEFCON 3 status.

The Summary of Changes

We have increased the number of players (previously 4, now 5) allowed at a table to accommodate slightly larger “Quaranteams.” We will continue to closely manage our reservations and overall shoppe experience to ensure we maintain a healthy distance between all our guests.

But What About Organized Play?

Over the last several weeks we've been experimenting with Organized Play – structured events that allow us to participate with other members of our community while keeping everyone as safe and comfortable as possible.

We have created two rules for ourselves that govern our events.  They're pretty straight forward:

  1. We will not require mandatory pairings.
  2. We will not require players to come into our shoppe.

No Mandatory Pairings

It's tempting to want to do full tournaments with stacked prize support.  To do so, however, requires us to tell each player who they must invite into their “Bubble.”  If they were to refuse, it would either compromise the results of the tournament, or cause them to take a loss for the match.  Neither of those outcomes is desirable, and we don't feel comfortable telling folks who they must play.

No Shoppe Visit Required

We have many active members of our community who prefer to game at home, or perhaps closer to home.  For some, it's a safety issue – they would prefer to play where they're isolating during this crisis.  For others, it's a question of comfort – they prefer to play at home (or elsewhere) where they aren't required to wear a mask the entire time and can eat a meal during the game.

The Birth of Play Anywhere Leagues

Taking those two rules into account, in January we launched our first Play Anywhere League – a Jedi Jank event – and are excited to announce that we will be doing a different league every month through November.

While the particulars of any given league will vary, here's the gist of them:

  1. They will be free to play
  2. Players can play from anywhere
  3. Prizes, if any, will be participation-based or randomly awarded
  4. Participation will include posting photos of your matches to our Discord Server or FaceBook groups.

And, yes, we mean you can play from anywhere – even another Local Game Store. The only caveat is that any prizes must be picked up at our shoppe (for those requiring it, our private shopping hours are still available each morning, as is curbside pickup).

Wait, We Can Play at Your Competitors?

Other game stores aren't our competitors.  We're all in this together.  Our competitors are apathy, sadness, loneliness, and a whole host of other negative emotions that build up when we don't find way to connect with the people and hobbies we love.

Just post pictures of your games for us, and share the experience with our community – we will be honored to include you in these events.

More Discord Events

Beyond the Leagues, we're also fleshing out the rest of our gaming experiences.  We'll be making posts about these events on all our social media sites, but it all happens on our Discord Community, so be sure to check it out!

Remote Board Game Events

We've recently launched Remote Learn-to-Play events using Tabletopia. The Shoppe has purchased a premium plan, allowing us to invite any of our guests to the full catalog of games that Tabletopia has to offer.

We focus our Learn-to-Play events on titles we also have in stock at the shoppe.  If you enjoy the online experience, you'll be able to come in and grab a physical copy for yourself.

Pokémon TCG Online and Magic: Arena

For our card game players, we will continue to offer online tournaments for both Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering.

Remote Play Kits

And, of course, we'll continue to offer Remote Play Kits – like our Green Goblin scenario for Marvel: Champions, or the Lord of the Rings Escape from Khazad-dum event we launched this week.

More to Come – But We're Not Rushing

As the vaccine begins to take effect, and the world begins to steer itself closer to normal, we'll be making more adjustments to in-store play along the way.

We're not rushing, however. We feel the worse thing we could do is push too quickly in one direction and then have to pull back. So we'll keep moving steadily towards the future, and we hope you'll continue to join us on this journey.

Got a question?  Feel free to message us on Discord, or email us at store@meeplemadness.com.