Are the D&D Organized Play Changes Good for Your Store?
As I’m sure we’re all aware at this point, Wizards of the Coast recently announced that they are planning to make some significant changes to D&D Organized Play. These changes have lots of store owners, managers, and group leaders worried. They’re wondering what might become of the groups and game nights they’ve helped to grow over the past five years. Are these changes any good for them?
For Battleground Games & Hobbies (locations in Plainville MA and Abington MA), we are convinced the answer is yes!
Wizards of the Coast intended for these changes to bring more content to the D&D community and more flexibility to in-store events, and past experience shows that they know how to adapt their programs. Over the years the Wednesday night D&D Encounters experience has done nothing but get better and better, allowing us to provide a quick, weekly, in-store experience that leaves 50-70 players wondering what’s coming next, what monsters they’ll battle, and what lands they might explore. But before this recent change, that experience was only available on Wednesday nights. Starting this March, stores are no longer required to host their quick, fun, entry-level D&D games on Wednesday night. Instead, they can host a weekly event any time they’d like, or even multiple times every week.
What if your store loved D&D Encounters and Wednesday night worked perfectly? Well, nothing needs to change. Stores are free to continue hosting a Wednesday night D&D game if they choose, and they’re free to advertise or present it to the community in the exact same way that they’ve done in the past. They’ve now got total control over what, when, where, for whom, and how they run their events. Rather than taking away the programs you have, the new changes offer more flexibility.
What about exclusive content to help drive in-store play? The new system offers that as well. To kick off each new product release, Wizards of the Coast is giving us an awesome addition to the in-store event experience: official Launch Events that are exclusive to WPN locations and correspond to each new product. The Launch Event kit will provide organizers with digital materials and content they can use to host an event, which should be exciting news for anyone who remembers the Vault of the Dracolich or Dead in Thay events. It’s said that the launch kits provide roughly 12-16 hours of content for the players and are intended, in part, to replace the modules that stores currently receive to start a D&D Encounters season. We view that as nothing but upside. We get to advertise a large, special event a few times a year, and we get the same sort of materials we’ve been getting? Sign us up!
The new Launch Events also help address an existing problem with D&D Encounters: what to do when the content ends. Previously, the length of a D&D Encounters season was much longer than the time it took a group to finish the content that Wizards of the Coast provided to stores. Every store might handle this “in between time” differently; some stores will roll into the published adventure, some stores send players to the D&D Adventurers League modules, some stores end their season once the module is finished, and some stores take their players in other directions. Whichever option your store chooses doesn’t have to change, but they’re about to have a lot more options thanks to the DMs Guild. Tons of content will soon be available for organizers to choose from. You might have DMs coming to you with suggestions of how to fill that void, based on DMs Guild content they’re particularly excited about.
I’ve heard some concerns from fellow store owners about vetting the content on the Dungeon Masters Guild, as well as questions about how it all might apply to the D&D Adventurers League. Official sources have been saying only content with the official D&D Adventurers League logo will be approved for D&D Adventurers League use. They’ll also be looking for the best original content, and recruiting the creators of that content to write official D&D Adventurers League products in the future. If organizers are worried that some home-brew module will hand out magic items in droves to every D&D Adventurers League character, fear not.
From our retailer perspective, Wizards of the Coast and the D&D Adventurers League are once again making sweeping improvements to the way D&D can (and will) be played in our stores. They’re giving us a new, official Launch Event; they’re giving us free content to use during and after that event; they’re not requiring that we spend any money or change anything about how we currently host D&D in our stores; and they’re providing an outlet for organizers to get their hands on tons of cool new content, some of which will be approved for use in D&D Adventurers League events. It seems to us like all the tools are there to continue to grow successful, existing D&D communities, as well as the tools to attract and start a D&D community if a store doesn’t currently have one. Battleground Games & Hobbies welcomes these new changes, and we think other organizers can do the same. Cheers!
Battleground is a retail gaming store that specializes in role-playing games, board games, card games, and miniature games. We carry all of the top-selling products from each of these categories and strive to provide the highest level of service to the ever-growing community of gamers that have supported us since we opened our Abington location in 2002. Our second location in Plainville, MA opened in September of 2010.
D&D sessions can be found every Wednesday at 7:00pm at our Abington, MA location and at 5:00pm and 7:30pm in Plainville, MA. Learn more on our Battleground Games & Hobbies Facebook page
A DC25 perception check may reveal him at his sister store, Battleground Games & Hobbies in Abington MA, where he cut his teeth nearly 10 years ago.
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- Are the D&D Organized Play Changes Good for Your Store? - January 26, 2016