Monday, December 16, 2013

Goodbye to Yugioh

I wasn't going to write a post about how we've canceled our Yugioh event, mostly because I've already written one. It's kind of an inside joke, as we've canceled Yugioh and brought it back twice already, and who knows, it may happen again. But people would like to know what set off this latest round. It turns out not to be one thing, like a felonious assault or theft, both of which have happened before, but instead an inflection point of problems and opportunities that came to a head.

There is Konami, which badly mismanages the Yugioh brand in the US. Besides the complete lack of communication, their event coordination has been piss poor at best. I've never had a game so popular sold by a company so intent on standing in our way from profiting from it. In the current situation, their new event software and tournament format required very long events in a format that nobody liked, neither the staff nor the players. There were angry protests that this was a requirement for play and we were looking for ways to get around that. Skipping Sneak Peak events was likely going to be part of that, not that those have functioned properly for years.

Next was our own management of this event. Managing a Yugioh event is much like managing a staff of TSA employees at an airport. To maintain some semblance of order, we have stricter rules for Yugioh. This is because this particular group of young people won't behave like human beings unless you impose some accountability, like requiring ID and name tags. The profanity got so bad last week, I told the staff to penalize entire tables for the actions of individuals. Sadly, it was the only way. The recommended reading for managing Yugioh is Lord of the Flies.

On top of this, our "golden handcuffs" rolled out the door on Saturday. Many a time we considered canceling the event, but the Duel Terminals either hadn't been paid off yet or there was still money to be made with them. Konami screwed the retailer community with these, especially those who got in later, by cutting short support of the terminals earlier in the year. Getting rid of them as they began to break made sense. We had grossed over $20,000 with them, and sold the second one for $41. It still felt like a Tom Sawyer moment, getting those things gone.

Finally, the community itself was unruly, unmanageable and generally sociopathic. As in taking enjoyment from the suffering of others. Yugioh on Yuigoh crime is now a term in the game trade. In final protest regarding our rules about profanity, food, and generally acting like human beings, a bunch decided to have an event at a competing store last night. It's not often you're handed an opportunity like this. It's like finally catching your horrible partner cheating on you. Oh, of course you know what to do now and sure, you could attempt to salvage the relationship, but why? The kids in the relationship are the problem. So we ended it.

It's not like we don't have other suitors. Magic, for example, now makes up an astonishing 50% or so of our sales. Giving them another night to play is worthwhile. There's also the new My Little Pony collectible card game, whose players are the antithesis of the thugs we get for Yugioh. Such nice, young men (in an old lady voice). So no, we won't be having open gaming on Sundays. It's my guess this space will be filled without much time in between, and with the holidays, it's a great time for a break anyway.

So should you run Yugioh events in your store? Well, if you don't care about problems like profanity, thefts, assaults and cleanliness, you should be fine. A gamer pit should do well with it. This story is so universally prevalent among game store owners, we'll often stand around and tell horror stories at trade shows. So to paraphrase Gandalf, I would not take that route unless there was no other choice.

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