@thecravenone We need to record another cast talking about how the Austin Vintage scene is going; we've taken a different approach from what you're doing in Houston, so it might be worth discussing the differences and what works/doesn't.
@nevilshute Good luck getting a scene going! Here's some thoughts from the Austin Vintage series I've been involved in this year:
We've been running events every 6 weeks, which I think is the right amount. For starters, it keeps us, as organizers, from getting burnt out. Likewise, it's frequent enough to stay on people's minds, but infrequent enough to feel special. With that, we've had 24, 17, and 27 players for the three tournaments we've run this year.
Regardless of frequency, consistency is super important! E.g. if you want to do it monthly, commit to that and let people know it's monthly.
In addition to consistency, the most important thing you can do is build hype! To that end, we've structured our tournaments as a year-long series, culminating in a year-end championship. Long story short, whoever comes in 1st for each tournament gets an invite to that year-end championship. I think this has helped build some enthusiasm and a sense of prestige.
"Advertising" is another important piece, both for hype and general attendance. Post all your events 3 weeks beforehand on here, on the local Facebook page, twitter, etc. Then try to update people on something every week. Our marketing timeline is:
- 3 weeks out: announce the event
- 2 weeks out: announce the 1st place prize playmat
- 1 week out: post a reminder
Likewise, if you have someone who knows how to do it, make a flashy poster! This will help the event feel legitimate and fun. Here's the poster from our first event:
Re. prizes: we are paying out all the cash we take in, and buying some door prizes out of pocket. These include a playmat for 1st place, and smaller prizes (e.g. sleeves or a deckbox) for Best Brew and Last Place. Obviously this is a loss for us organizers, but we're all adults who work full-time, so we can afford to spend $70 or $80 every 6 weeks. If money is a concern for you, don't offer additional prizes but just pay out the cash you take in. An unfortunate reality is that Magic players are little bitches about EV; if you either take a cut of the cash, OR if you offer cards and keep the cash, they might get upset.
Per @JonHammack's comment, I would avoid giving prizes to "Best non-proxy finish," because that could just encourage people who are already into it. Prizes like Best Brew and Last Place help out people who are in it for fun, and they're the people you want to keep coming back.
Re. venue: we've been running our tournaments at breweries, instead of game stores. I think this helps recontextualize the events and make them more "special": instead of being a normal tournament, it's a chance to hang out and drink beers with friends, while you're playing Magic.
Anyway, I hope that helps. If I think of anything else I'll let you know!