Saturday, September 27, 2008
Forty nine is the number of players for the Magic: Shards of Alara pre-release today. It's an odd number, because a) we only had 48 tournament packs, and b) we only had seating for 42.
The tournament pack problem was solved by using 3 boosters and free land for the 49th player. I never knew this but that's all a tournament pack really is, along with a fancy shiny card. The seating issue was creatively solved after one of the players volunteered a card table from his car. We had plenty of chairs, we were just short a table.
So 49 is definitely a phenomenally good number and the biggest event we've had. Now here's the caveat: It's not a successful event yet. The reason is the pre-release restrictions on ancillary sales. We're only allowed to sell product for the event, and not a single booster more. Usually we go through cases of Magic cards during a pre-release weekend, so although sales are really good with those 49 people, they are not up to snuff with a release event weekend. This event will only be a success if the release weekend is also succesful. If the pre-release cannibalizes customers from the release event, resulting in reduced sales, we have a big problem. I don't think that's going to happen, but those are the parameters for success.
We've got extra incentives for the release event next weekend, including three Magic backpacks we'll be using as prize support. I also know of at least a dozen people who couldn't make the pre-release that have promised to come to the release event instead. It's probably good they couldn't make it today.