Preparation and First Impressions
Star Wars: Destiny offers a rich community, intricacy of tactics, and a setting held precious for generations. As this game develops, its future falls on the shoulders of local support. This is more than just investing in a friendly local game store. It requires a galvanizer to transform the sporadic Destiny nights with a couple faux force users behind saloon doors clattering against a chilling wind. An ember glows within at least one of these dice-droppers that with proper practice and dedication can be stoked into the magnetic fire of a Star Wars: Destiny Organizer. It can be daunting to blaze this trail alone, so this article was designed as a guide to equipping the mantle of an Organizer. A Guide to Growing a Star Wars Destiny Community will be presented in three installments over six weeks. The readers are encouraged to pursue development of their local scenes and provide feedback in the comments section & on the forums.
An Organizer doesn’t just get people to exchange resources for cardstock. They actually offer is an invitation to a community of friendly, creative, and competitive people via “What-If” battles between icons and staples of the Star Wars Universe. Destiny is not just a game; it is a bounty of unique experiences and should be presented as such.
Any game’s community grows with several elements that develop at common times in its progression. These components will be sorted into a general sequence, however it should be kept in mind that different stores, communities, and Organizers may encounter these in different orders. The first step, however, is universal as it the most important.
Create and Maintain a Good Relationship with the Venue Staff
Keeping in goods with the venue will mean an allocation of space, labor, advertisement, and consideration. What this means to those that do not speak retail:
- Space: Tables will be needed and can actually be rare given the day. The day that currently has the fewest weekly events already planned should be established as Destiny Day. This will result in less competition for tables as well as potential new players to whom the game is demonstrated.
- Labor: The venue staff may be requested to assist in the future with tournaments and league events. Starting a positive relationship long before requesting assistance greatly increases the accommodation from the folks behind the counter.
- Advertisement: Additional options for advertisement may come up when the new game night of well-behaved Destineers yields more purchases of Boosters. This may mean an investment in greater space on the venue website, photos and videos uploaded to social media, or cool signage.
- Consideration: Resources go to the group with whom the venue has a better relationship. There are new games with comical amounts of hype monthly. Each one is going to have a person like the Density Organizer, albeit not as good-looking, that will want to capture pilgrims off the path to detesting Jango.
Much of this may seem like common sense to many, however there are several venues that leave the event organization entirely in the hands of its potential participants. College game clubs or bookstores hosting a game night are the usual members of this category. Maintaining a positive relationship with the folks that make decisions where dice are dropped is key. It shows that that the local Destiny Community (of which the Organizer now serves as the ambassador) is considerate and kind. Communities with these qualities are more likely to make the cut when venues decide that room needs to be made for other events.
There are, however, inexplicably successful game stores that do not appear invested in the workings of events contained by their very walls. The gaming groups therein can be thought of as ants in a farm on their desk. As ants they can operate independently, however can be completely wiped out at the venue’s whim. Playgroups that keep these stores in the loop are less likely to be struck from the desk.
Always Look Presentable
“Think about a night out with your friends where there also exists the possibility of meeting someone special. However you dress for that night is how you should dress for game night. An organizer should appear ready to impress. Comfortable, confident, and kissable. If you feel awkward, you will seem unprepared. If you look disheveled, you will come across as unorganized and unreliable. If you look unwashed, you will be avoided. Always dress in whatever style suits you, however just make sure that it looks you like you tried before you walk out the door. This includes smelling nice as well. Seriously, don’t be a gamer stereotype.” – Daniel Fackelman
Practice the Pitch
This is what makes or breaks each opportunity to grow the community. How the game is presented needs to be practiced or it won’t produce consistent success. Star Wars: Destiny is an excellent game that can often sell itself by box alone. However, the Organizer now represents this excellent game and its great local community and is therefore tasked with the responsibility of the best and most polished effort each performance. The reason for this discipline is not weakness that lies with the game or the Organizer, but the singular intrinsic challenge of gaming sales.
The recently dusted cornucopias erupting with glinting cellophane, striking boxes, and the promise of endless adventure that make up every game store wilt under pressure to the same weak point:
They contain nothing any human on the planet needs.
The entire game industry is built exclusively on disposable income. There are thousands of other games, including other Star Wars licensed products, competing for the investment of each wide-eyed Explorer looking to a new world to claim as their own. Destiny is a relatively inexpensive game compared to others in the collectible category. It still requires an investment of resources, however. Resources well-earned at demanding jobs with torturous hours and co-workers that make fun of these folks for playing Dungeons & Dragons or quoting Marvel movies.
“It’s about 50 bucks for a fun deck.” may seem like a slow Tuesday morning for some, but a twelve hour Saturday shift of poorly tipping adults and condescending hipsters to others. More wide-eyed Explorers are transformed into steely-eyed Destineers when each person’s fifty dollars are treated with the utmost respect.
“The Hook” and First Impressions
The Hook is two or three well-constructed sentences, the first of which describes the setting and the second explains the most basic concepts of game play. This is the Explorer’s first taste of Destiny and will often lead into a demo if performed well. The Hook dances upon the fulcrum of conveyance and comprehension. Sufficient amounts of information should be explained, but not excessively that the game seems overwhelming. The comprehensive rules document is broken into chapters and its contents should be similarly explained.
The following is an example interaction along with the most common questions encountered. Note that initial interactions are rarely as long as presented, as these questions are never asked all at once. The Hook will be in bold.
Explorer: “Hey, is that Star Wars? What game is this?”
Early in the community’s development the Organizer will often have only one regular play buddy and therefore only a single match going on at one time. Two nerds playing a random card game doesn’t draw much attention, so a little investment to ensure that single match catches the eye will go a long way. The purchase of a Star Wars playmat and some venue-approved signage will cover this wonderfully. The posters from prize kits serve well as the latter and are inexpensive to laminate and place on a small stand. There is also a poster for free to download on FFG’s site under Tournament Resources, but be sure to resize it to something affordable before taking it to be printed.
Organizer: “Thanks. This is Star Wars: Destiny, a card and dice game about “What-If” battles between icons and staples of the Star Wars: Universe. My buddy here is playing as Han Solo and Rey fighting against my Count Dooku and General Grievous. The first one to eliminate all the other person’s characters wins.”
This is an example of the Hook and is the defining moment of each interaction with Explorers. Organizers should take the time to form their own as it needs to be authentic so as to convey genuine enthusiasm for this awesome game. If it feels forced then it will come off as rehearsed and insincere.
Explorer: “Card and Dice?”
Organizer: “There is a deck of cards like other card games, but certain ones have dice you roll when they are used. The characters always have dice and start the game in play.”
Star Wars: Destiny is a unique blend of card and dice. Connecting something new to something familiar greatly helps the interaction.
Explorer: “Is it like Magic?”
Organizer: “Not really, though there are some similarities. It does have the elements shared by most of the successful collectible card games and is simple enough to begin having fun right away.”
Magic the Gathering is the most iconic card game in history. This means many people will ask how similar Destiny is to tapping lands, using the Stack, and swinging in the red zone. The answer yielding the greatest success is: “there are some similarities.”
The Organizer should only draw on these similarities during the actual demonstration and only if it would assist in teaching. Otherwise it can be construed that Destiny is similar enough to Magic not to yield a sufficiently unique experience for investment and that the Explorer should simply continue to play Magic. Here are the comparisons:
- Events ≈ Sorceries
- Characters ≈ Commanders, mentioning that they also influence deck building
- Every other card is a permanent
- Colors and Hero/Villain have defining gameplay styles similar to the color philosophies in Magic
- Resources are colorless mana and everything costs colorless mana
Explorer: “It looks cool, but Magic eats up most of my fun money.”
Organizer: “Yeah, Magic eats up a lot of people’s fun money. That’s why I like Destiny. Picking up each of the starters is less than thirty bucks and boosters are about three each. The online community and the locals are great for trading to get the rest of what you want. If you want to try it out, the store has a couple of demo decks you can use and we can show you through a game.”
Magic can be quite a hefty investment, even in formats only using the newest sets. As such, any other card game will have the challenge of competing for the monetary resources of the Explorer who already has an existing community in Magic.
The perceived value of trying out a game increases by utilizing demo decks because the cost is now zero dollars. The Starter decks do have the shortcoming of not being tournament legal, however extra cards not being used by the community can be pooled to allow the new Destineer to have a tournament-ready deck after their first purchase.
There are a variety of non-verbal physical signs such as smiling, leaning into the conversation, and arm placement that can indicate deepening interest in the game. However, there is nothing as telling as the next question.
Explorer: “Really? Is it expensive to stay relevant?”
Organizer: “The game is quite new, but I imagine that with the guaranteed six-legendary-per-box rule that very few cards will be pricey. The big names like Vader and Han will always be in demand, but with the other guarantee that each booster always contains either a rare or a legendary card plus its associated die things should keep things pretty manageable.”
Explorer: “Are there a lot of expansions?”
Organizer: “This came out at the end of 2016, so right now there is just one/a few set(s). Fantasy Flight Games stated there would be three expansions a year and the next one will be heavily themed on [Rogue One]. Each set is about 160-ish cards, however we can guide you to the cooler cards for the side and colors you like after you get some games in with the demo decks. If you decide you want a haul, then a few booster boxes and a singles yielding three to four decks is still cheaper than flat-out buying a single top-tier Standard Magic deck.”
A new Destineer doesn’t realistically need every card, just the ones to make the decks that they want. Reducing the perceived investment makes getting into the game less daunting, which is further lessened by the donation of extras to make a Starter deck playable in a tournament. It doesn’t take a king’s ransom to be competitive, let alone have massive amounts of fun. Tabletop Simulator on Steam should also be brought up. It is $20, though is often on sale for $10, and has a free mod for Destiny with all the cards. There is also SWDestiny.com and swdestinydb.com which are great places to learn the cards, build decks, and get feedback from and connect to the massive community.
Explorer: “How do you build decks?”
Organizer: “First you choose either all hero or all villain character and make sure their total point value is thirty or less. You can’t include cards that are for the other side. Now that you have your peeps, you build your deck using cards that match the colors of your characters. Blue are force users, Red is military, Yellow are outlaws, and Gray can go in any deck. A playset of a card is two. Then your pick you battlefield, which shows where this fight takes place and has a special ability. Then you’re ready to play, including hero versus hero and even Han against Han.”
This covers all the main elements of deck-building, including restrictions. The actual function of each of these should not be further explained. This is still a point where the Explorer can be overwhelmed and scared away, so simple is best. The meat of the interactions can be saved for the demo game for that will hopefully come right after this.
Organizer: “Hi. My name is Dan by the way and this is Teddy. You wanna check out a few turns and get some free stuff?”
New Destineer: “Yeah, I do. Hey, does Jabba have a card?”
This is known in the retail world as “asking for the sale.” Imagine if the interaction had simply stopped after “Wow.” What would happen? The particulars are impossible to predict, but seldom contain the purchase of a Starter. Asking the Explorer to join the match currently being played expresses interest in that person and is the first token of camaraderie that knits this wonderful community together.
May the Force be With You
The elements contained in Step 1 can be sufficient for Organizers to develop the rest of their own tools. Please provide observations, and success stories, and lessons learned from un-success stories in the comments below and on the forums. However, there is more flying down the trench in two weeks as “Part 2: Demonstrating the Game” teaches Explorers how to use the Force. Thanks for reading, good luck, and have fun.