As May continues and the health situation improves (at least locally), updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Georgia, and the Federal Government allow us to update the state of in-shoppe activities.
We are still not yet comfortable, as a shoppe, with creating individual pairings at large events, so weekly tournaments remain an activity for the future. Wizards of the Coast has announced we can return to in-store activities on May 28th, so we are looking to see how we can comfortably return Magic to our tables on or shortly after that date.
For now, in consultation with our staff, and after reviewing the latest guidelines from the various entities responsible for managing the health situation, we are comfortable with moving the shoppe to DEFCON 4.
The Summary of Changes
While we will continue to require masks for in-shoppe play, we are opening up additional tables, including the Apothecary Room.
You will also see a measured return of Demo Tables to the shoppe floor, allowing us to highlight and demonstrate exciting new titles as they arrive at the shoppe.
We're also doing an overhaul of our snacks and beverages. We scaled back considerably in 2020, since we had very limited attendance in the shoppe. As we move into the summer, we're hopeful things will be changing for the better, so we're preparing for that.
But What About Organized Play?
As mentioned in our last update, we continue to follow our two basic rules for organizing events:
- We will not require mandatory pairings.
- We will not require players to come into our shoppe.
With that in mind, you'll continue to see us supporting our Play Anywhere style of events. This includes formal prereleases for games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon, as well as casual monthly leagues and other shoppe-sponsored events.
As mentioned above, yesterday, Wizards of the Coast announced that shoppes may begin offering Organized Play at the end of this month. We are reviewing how to comfortably bring Magic events back to the shoppe, and hope to have a follow up announcement in the coming weeks.
The Return of the Apothecary Room
It's been well over a year since we first launched the Apothecary Room. Our hope was to create a premium experience for our guests by providing a semi-private room outfitted for Role Playing Games, small birthday parties, or whatever else our guests might have in mind.
For the last year, of course, it's been mostly dormant, showcasing a few D&D products, but being mostly unused.
And that has made us rather sad.
Getting to Happy
To jumpstart use of our Apothecary Room, we're doing a few things.
As originally designed, anyone can rent the room for $60.00 for a four-hour block. That option is still in place, and is a great option for a birthday experience, a one-shot adventure, or anything else that isn't part of your regularly scheduled gaming program.
For those that want to game more regularly in the room, we're now offering our Weeknight Subscription.
If you're gaming group meets weekly, you can reserve the Apothecary Room on your weeknight for just $30.00 for a four-hour block.
To take advantage of the Weeknight Pass, just talk with a staff member. Subscriptions are paid one month in advance, and must be used on the specific night of the week noted in the subscription. Subscription payments are non-refundable, but if you miss a week, we can roll it over to the next one.
Free Birthday Night for Members
If you've cashed in points to obtain a year-long Membership, you're eligible to use the Apothecary Room for free once a year to celebrate your birthday. We're not here to judge when you want to celebrate your birthday, though, so just pick any night of the year, make the reservation, and your four-hour stay in the room is on us.
Free Sesssion Zeros
Starting a new campaign with players you've met in our community? Talk to one of our staffers about the possibility of hosting your Session 0 with us, free of charge. Whether your campaign is going to be ongoing in the shoppe, or you'll be playing at your home or another venue, having Session 0 in the Apothecary Room can get the creative energy flowing as your players create their characters.
Free Photo Shoots
Are you a Cosplayer or a photo enthusiast looking for a cool backdrops to create your next photographic masterpiece? Talk with a staffer to arrange a free two-hour photo shoot in the Apothecary Room.
As we open up more activities in the shoppe, we're also ramping up our snack offerings, to try to bring a little more interest and deliciousness for our guests.
You may have noticed we pulled out the Pepsi-branded refrigerator last month. In the coming weeks, we'll be doing the same with the Coke fridge. We'll be replacing both with a single unit that we own and maintain.
The change is due to policy requirements around Coke & Pepsi. Using their refrigerators prevented us from bringing in interesting brands and flavors from other companies. When the new refrigerator arrives, we'll be able to offer all the popular Pepsi and Coke products but we will also bring in small-batch brand sodas and others soft drinks.
Vegans and Carnivores Delight
In addition to the upcoming beverage changes, we've spent several weeks sampling interesting treats from around the country. Most recently we've brought in Sweetpotato Awesome – delicious vegan chips as well as several flavors of Righteous Felon Beef Jerky. These new offerings come alongside our other recent additions including Jelly Belly, Griff's Toffee, Conundrum Trail Mix, and Only Beans Snack Packs.
Of course, we'll still carry the classics, so if you're looking for a Reeses' Peanut Butter Cup or some Skittles, we'll have you covered.
Patience Can Be Boring
We recognize we're not moving as quickly as some of our guests would like. And we further understand that there are other venues in the area that are able to offer a more complete gaming experience today, while we continue to proceed at a different pace.
Ultimately, we're doing what we think is wise for us, our familes, and our community. We know everyone has to make those same decisions for themselves. We hope you understand that we're approaching these changes thoughtfully.