What to do when PFS is too popular.


Pathfinder Society

Dark Archive

We have a problem at my local game store. Since we started PFS at our local game store it started small with 1 or 2 tables a night. However as time has gone on word has gotten out about how fun it is to play.

We now have in excess of 30 people showing up frequently and I see at least a new person every other week. In short we now are having 5 tables of PFS run a night on average. Normally this would be wonderful but we are outgrowing our store. When PFS takes over almost all the other tables get used up so nobody can play things like Warhammer or Magic The Gathering. The Store Owner has told us we need to fix this.

I've decided to ask you people on the forums for ideas on how we can keep this flood of PFS from getting us removed from the store yet try to let as many people as we can enjoy this hobby we all love.

Thank you for your time.

Sovereign Court

Is there another store in your area that you could also use for PFS?

Dividing your player base into multiple locations while your player base is young might work, as unpleasant as that may be.


Have the RPG guys buy alot more stuff and show the owner you are a profitable bunch.
One thing I always hear is that the RPG crowd are moochers and many just tolerate us. Show them that is not the case

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My thought was to find a day of the week that is relatively dead, and take that day, so the store is still full, but not competing with tournaments or other events.

Another thought is you can do more than one night. Thereby keeping everyone in one store, but allowing players to choose their night of play, and dividing the base without having to move.

Silver Crusade

Another option is to have multiple game days run the same games and only allow say 2 - 3 tables to sign up at any one time. Might also help with gms if people don't want to have to burn scenarios...

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You need to find an alternate location (or likely location/s)
* Consider Libraries. They tend to be open later and on weekends now and often have seminar rooms etc.
* Universities/Colleges. Again empty on weekends and often with a library that opens late on weekdays/weekends
* Other stores. Obviously keep going at the same store, but branch out too (obviously not possible if its the only store)
* Get your players on the hunt for new venues. People often look at gms to be the 'organisers', but players are a great resource as they know people who ... know people. So the pool of information gets a lot bigger
* Set a table limit. Find out what the current store is happy with. They might say '2 tables a night'. If so make sure you run the later season scenarios there which are designed for a full table of 6.
Running 6 players on a 4 player designed scenario is honestly not great.
* If you dont already, run a small cost to play. Funnel that money back through the store... (maybe a lottery prize etc). That way you are helping out the store financially as opposed to simply eating up table space (even if people occasionaly do buy Paizo product)

Im not knowledgeable on the exact situation from the post but by each night I assume you mean Mon-Sat 5 tables a night. So 30 tables a week give or take? Are you running repeats of scenarios or fresh stuff? If so you are going to run out of scenarios very very quickly.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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What a great problem to have!

Grand Lodge 4/5

Matthew Pittard wrote:


Im not knowledgeable on the exact situation from the post but by each night I assume you mean Mon-Sat 5 tables a night. So 30 tables a week give or take? Are you running repeats of scenarios or fresh stuff? If so you are going to run out of scenarios very very quickly.

Each night is actually Tuesday and Saturday, not every day of the week. And we run a mixture of older and newer scenarios.

Dark Archive

hotsauceman wrote:

Have the RPG guys buy alot more stuff and show the owner you are a profitable bunch.

One thing I always hear is that the RPG crowd are moochers and many just tolerate us. Show them that is not the case

It's not a matter of our player base not buying things. I've seen a bunch of Core Rulebooks go off the shelves. It's that his other customers can't really use the store when PFS runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays.


all of the above are great suggestions.

regarding lady ophelia's suggestion, it's best to talk directly with the store owner about this. many stores will have exclusive nights for specific games (like friday night magic, D&D Encounters wednesdays, etc.), and if they do have a slow day of the week that you can host PFS events, it becomes a solution that will hopefully work for everyone. it's also going to depend a lot on your player base, as well, depending on when you are running your events currently.

also, hotsauceman does have a bit of a point. RPG players generally don't (or aren't generally perceived to) purchase product as consistently as CCG players, and don't tend to drop the rather large amounts like warhammer players tend to, so they can seem like a bit of a low-return investment if there is limited playspace. you might want to talk with the venue owner about a way to turn the fact that there are 30+ willing to completely fill up the playspace for PFS events. many stores will offer a small discount (say 10%) on Pathfinder products for PFS players on the day of the event. other venues charge a small fee for attendance, but return it to the player as store credit. things like this let store owners really turn something that might be a problem (even if it is a great problem to have) into an opportunity.


The best solution would be to divide your player base somehow. Different locations, different time slots... whatever you can do.

At worst, you can post the games on Warhorn and strictly enforce table size. Those who sign up play. Those who don't are turned away. This would manage your table size, but it carries the heavy cost of limiting (likely reversing) growth in your area. I'd try everything I could think of before this.

Do you have a venture officer for your area? You should probably talk to them about it. They may have some ideas.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jason Hanlon wrote:

The best solution would be to divide your player base somehow. Different locations, different time slots... whatever you can do.

At worst, you can post the games on Warhorn and strictly enforce table size. Those who sign up play. Those who don't are turned away. This would manage your table size, but it carries the heavy cost of limiting (likely reversing) growth in your area. I'd try everything I could think of before this.

Do you have a venture officer for your area? You should probably talk to them about it. They may have some ideas.

We've got Adam Swinder, who we're definitely in contact with, seeing as the store in question is the one he works at. And right now we're just all trying to get as many ideas as we can before we implement anything.

The Exchange 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Lexington

The Gaunt Man wrote:
We have a problem at my local game store. The Store Owner has told us we need to fix this.

I wish I knew how you are doing it. I'd like to duplicate your problem.

Your best bet is to switch stores or split stores. Coordinate all games on Warhorn and/or Facebook and seat different games at different stores.

Grand Lodge

I recommend running short and sweet scenarios and season 0s on weeknights to 'train up' some of the newer players. Many players will want to play once a week at maximum, if they get their fix during the week, that will loosen up space on the weekend.


Also consider restaurants as alternate locations for additional tables. Set up a dinner and a game night for PFS.

Liberty's Edge

I also attend PFS at this store. I think maybe it is time we think about instituting a fee of some kind. That would allow us to give back to the store, be able to sustain ourselves better (the donation box is usually pitifully empty), and will force the players to be more intentional about when they/we play. The trick would be figuring out a model that is ideal for us to not drive away players, but still show the boss man that we aren't just moochers that clog up his store and only spend the occasional dollar on a soda.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—QLD—Brisbane aka YogoZuno

Ahh, first world problems :)

We are having a related, but slightly different problem at my LGS. We only run once a month (with a couple of other venues in the city running a bit more frequently). We schedule two session on that day, and are constantly ending up with just enough people to play two minimum tables with, meaning someone has to run something on the fly.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One thing that we are doing in Ottawa is to ask for $5 per game day. The money goes into store gift certificates, some for the GMs, and the rest are drawing amongst the players.

This way, the store is guaranteed sales (and I am often drawn into buying more than the value of the gift certificate).


YogoZuno wrote:
We are having a related, but slightly different problem at my LGS. We only run once a month (with a couple of other venues in the city running a bit more frequently). We schedule two session on that day, and are constantly ending up with just enough people to play two minimum tables with, meaning someone has to run something on the fly.

From my experience in organized play, I would say that once a month is just too infrequent to hold interest. Biweekly seems to be what gets things moving. Is that possible for you?

-Matt

Grand Lodge

What to do when PFS is too popular? Celebrate, I suppose.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Multiple nights in the week with fewer tables might be the way to go.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Here's what we do in the Hampton Roads area at the main store we play at:

Tuesday - High level night (typically one table) - scenario 'A'

Wednesday - Low level night (typically two tables) - scenario 'B'

Saturday - High/Low day (three tables) - scenario 'A' (x1) scenario 'B' (x2)

With Saturady as a replay day of the Tuesday and Wednesday games it keeps us from cycling through the scenarios to quickly.

Again, this is for the main event in Norfolk. On Sundays there are usually games available at two or three other stores in our area.

Digital Products Assistant

Removed an unhelpful post.

Liberty's Edge

In Richmond we have the same problem, luckily the store is super awesome and trying fit more tables in, the location is just a wee bit to small. Here is what we are doing:

Advertised another location that is starting up on Firday nights.
Thursday nights - 1x Table Mid Tier
Friday nights - High tier (does not conflict due to wide level range)
Sunday - 4x Tables low tier, 2x Tables High tier

Even with this we are running 7 man tables, and almost have to turn folks away. We use Warhorn as a "Did you sign up and are not a new walk in? No? Then if all the tables fill up and signees come in your getting the boot."

The shop also offers a 10% discount to players and 20% discount to GMs on all paizo product on Sunday which is getting folks to buy stuff. Especially the Battles Minis.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

1. limit the players per night.
Use warhorn (or another sign up engine.) Say "we only have room for X tables."

2. spread to other nights / venues.
Lots of helpful advice above on that.

3. It is entirely reasonable to ask for a nominal fee. This will help the store do things that support your game.


Zach Williams wrote:
In Richmond we have the same problem...

Not to mention the 3-4 tables we have at other locations during the week. Actually, I think the Richmond PFS market is probably approaching an oversaturation point. Only time will tell.

4/5

Man. I wish I had this problem...

However a suggestion is to limit the tables to 3 a night, that way the majority of tables are going to the other games.

Encourage pre-sign ups for those tables and penalties for folks who consistently cancel in an untimely manner and rotate the players so that the same folks are not always signing up preventing others from getting in on the fun.

Ask the store owner for any ideas he would like.

Dark Archive 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Upper Midwest aka Silbeg

you know, on the idea of suggesting stores give discounts (which I think is great for players and GMs, as long as the stores are still making enough to cover their expenses and make a profit as well)... you could give some strong suggestions of what the stores should stock. It is pretty easy to guess what to stock for Magic: The Gathering... and I assume that a lot of Warhammer aficionados will special order what they want. The same is probably true for many of us, but giving the FLGS owner a guiding hand as to what we Pathfinders are looking for can never help.

Examples:


  • Pathfinder Battles minis are a great thing to stock... and try and keep in stock. People love these, and they are not so expensive that it will break the bank. It is a good idea to have a mix of sets available, if possible, including the single-mini drop-boxes like We Be Goblins.
  • Dice. We gamers love dice. If possible, a mix of single (loose) dice and sets. Oh, and dice accessories (bags, etc).
  • Pathfinder Character Folios!!! As a GM, part of my opening spiel is to point these out. It is a lot easier to sell what is available!
  • Flip-mats (and map packs). This one is a little harder, and as a GM you can suggest ones that are actually being used (and in stock), such as Warehouse, Arena, Darklands, and Theater. Plus, a copy or two of the newest ones. Oh, and don't forget the blank ones!
  • Initiative trackers... having one or two in stock for GMs is a great idea.

Adding to all of this, having things like sodas, pens/pencils, candy, etc., available for sale would be a great idea. Suggest that the store sell pens or pencils with their logos on them (usually pretty cheap to order from a variety of sources).

All of this is to help increase sales for the FLGS. We want them to make money, because when they make money, we have a place to play!

Dark Archive 4/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—QLD—Brisbane aka YogoZuno

Mattastrophic wrote:

From my experience in organized play, I would say that once a month is just too infrequent to hold interest. Biweekly seems to be what gets things moving. Is that possible for you?

Not at the current venue - too many other organised play and CCG events happening. There is a second venue in the CBD that does run events fortnightly as well. There is some cross-pollination, but there are a few...personality clashes.

Liberty's Edge

Tell CCG players the store owner has IBS and loves taco bell. Cackle madly when you have the entire store to yourselves.

2/5 5/5

We had a similar problem with LFR at a FLGS in Indianapolis. We explored a few options, but before we completely solved the problem LFR started to die off in the area.

We encouraged gamers to buy product. This always helps when store owners see the benefit from a business perspective.

Our organizer charged $5 per game per person. This money paid for table space (this offset income lost because we took up the whole store), paid for products for the GMs to encourage them to keep running, as well as a raffle. There was also a deal with the store owner that is you showed your game ticket when you purchased game products you got a discount (that day only). The game slots paid for themselves if you did your buying on the same day.

We tried setting up smaller alternate locations to varying degrees of success. In the end, most of these alternate locations turned into home games. Not our purpose, but the end result was not a bad one per se.

We communicated with other LFR events in the area, and encouraged players to alternate locations. At the time, there were five stores running weekly events in the area. Some folks were territorial about where they played, but for the most part it was good for the community.

In the end, the problem fixed itself as LFR died off, and organized play in the area shifted focus to PFS. The VL/VC system went a long way towards organizing games across the region without sucking up all the space in one store.

Here in Vegas, they run a monthly event at an arts center near downtown. It is a great opportunity for gamers from all over the city to game together, and takes some pressure off the local FLGS. Finding locations for larger, regular events is actually pretty easy if you check your local listings. Although this event is not devoted 100% to PFS, there is often a lot of Pathfinder played there. Good group of players too.

Liberty's Edge

Michael: As a side note, Im heading to Vegas in June. Is there a place I could go to to find out what gaming is going on there in June/July?

5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka lastblacknight

Also note that whilst RPG's aren't buying cards as often a CCG's encourage players to buy their drinks and snacks from the store (rather than popping).

Use sites like Warhorn to train players to sign up for tables (this will help you manage how many GM's you are going to need - and help avoid burn out, and let the store owner know how many people you expect for extra drinks if required). If you manage the relationship with the store owner they can take advantage of the extra people coming in the store.

New players will also buy dice and possibly boxes of mini if they have them. Also remember that your number of new players may drop off as some start buying AP's and playing at home, So keep the momentum going.

Chat with your local VC about coordinating support for your area, they will be able to help.

Also with the sort of numbers of players you have coming in see if one of your mates can step up to help you out with the load - it's nice to have an extra set of eyes an hands when getting organised. (one of you can take the new players and introducing them to the system whilst the second gets the tables kicked off etc..)

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Matthew Pittard wrote:
Michael: As a side note, Im heading to Vegas in June. Is there a place I could go to to find out what gaming is going on there in June/July?

Hope to see you in June!

To cover a few things: Due to issues at that site downtown, the monthly Vegas Game Day is currently on an indefinite hiatus. :( They messed with us a few times at the end of the year, and the regular organizer is involved with stuff in real life, and the other folk are still looking, from what I hear, for a good new location.

Not sure about other PFS gaming, but one of our local GMs is running PFS on Sundays at the Little SHop of Magic, and is, hopefully, posting events on their calendar, at Little Shop of Magic

Hopefully, by then, I will be back to running once or twice a month on Saturdays, as well.

Liberty's Edge

I do like the little blurb at the end on that Little Shop of Magic for PFS recruitiment

What is Pathfinder Society?

Pathfinder Society Organized Play is a worldwide fantasy roleplaying campaign that puts YOU in the role of an agent of the Pathfinder Society, a legendary league of explorers, archaeologists, and adventurers dedicated to discovering and chronicling the greatest mysteries and wonders of an ancient world beset by magic and evil.

My version:

What is Pathfinder Society?

Pathfinder Society Organized Play is a worldwide fantasy roleplaying campaign that puts YOU in the role of an agent of the Pathfinder Society, a legendary league of murderers, arsonists, and brigands dedicated to discovering and chronicling the greatest mysteries and wonders of an ancient world beset by magic and evil. Pathfinders fight to protect the free world from the evil Multi national Aspis Consortium as they seek to introduce globalisation and free market practices.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

But we is trying to not be murderhobobums, now.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Jason Hanlon wrote:
Zach Williams wrote:
In Richmond we have the same problem...
Not to mention the 3-4 tables we have at other locations during the week. Actually, I think the Richmond PFS market is probably approaching an oversaturation point. Only time will tell.

Kinda why we're expanding to another store :)

Lantern Lodge

My local group runs a small lotto each game to support the store.
Each player puts in $5 at the start of the game, and at the end we all roll a d20, winner gets store credit equal to the total input.
the store gets $5 form each player and wins, and the players get something back also.
We also say that you can't win two weeks in a row (wich is fair)

P.S. we have the new player curse ATM. last 3 winners were playing their first game, and the rolls were 20, 20, 19.

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