Are you one of the many people who want to play Goat Format in a competitive, live tournament, but lack anywhere to play it? It’s not a fun position to be in – I was there myself, not long ago. If you’re stuck playing with just your friends in a casual environment, but want to play in a real live tournament, chances are it’s going to be up to you to get something going. But how do you go about that? Well, don’t worry – this article is going to talk a bit about how to get Goat Format events going at your local game store. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Step 1: Be the “Goat Guy”
Every store has a player or two who is totally into older formats. Whether you’re playing Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, it doesn’t matter; there’s always that one person who wants to go back to “old school.” If you’re trying to get a Goat Format tournament going at your LGS, you have to be that guy.
This means investing in the format a little bit. As of this writing, the most expensive cards in Goat Format are Delinquent Duo, Gatling Dragon, Metamorphosis and Tribe-Infecting Virus. And the biggest reason why they’re expensive is due to a lack of reprints. So if you’re wanting people to start playing with you, you have to make it worth their while. This means building not one deck, but two or three. This way, you’re ready to go when someone wants to play you.
This is a great way to get your friends into playing. Don’t be afraid to build a couple of decks and let your friends use one of them. Of course, this can mean dropping a bit of cash to get it started, but you can always proxy cards until you’re able to get them. But by being “the Goat guy,” and getting your friends involved, you stand a much better chance of getting a tourney started.
Step 2: Play Goat Format at the store
The best way to get started is to actually bring the format into the store. If you play modern, taking some time either before or after the tournament or between rounds to play Goats with a friend is a good way to get some attention. People walking past will stop after they see Delinquent Duo or Sinister Serpent and say “oh, is that Goat Format?” Not all of them will, but there’s a good chance that at least someone at the store will recognize it.
And that’s one of the best ways to actually get some attention. Because that’s what’s needed before anything – attention. Once you get the attention of a few people, and offer to play some Goats with them, chances are they’ll take you up on it. And that’s really the best way to go about it. Getting people involved and playing will show any tournament organizer or store owner that there is at least a modicum of interest in an alternative Yu-Gi-Oh! Format.
Don’t expect everyone to just clamor up to your game and start watching, especially if you’re at a modern tournament. It’s going to take time to really pique enough interest to take the next step. But that’s okay. Patience, as they say, is a virtue. But by playing Goat Format matches with a friend at your LGS, you at the very least put it on the radar. And once it’s on everyone’s radar, things get a whole lot easier.
Step 3: Gauge interest
So you’re in the store, playing some good old Goat Format with your friends, and you start to see people looking in on your matches. Maybe they’re silent, or talking amongst themselves, or they’re just taking a glance before they head to their next match. Regardless of what it is, you need to start paying attention to who is paying attention to you.
Gauging interest is a crucial step, because if there’s not enough interest, any Goat Format tourney you’re trying to start is going to be harder to get off the ground. And it goes beyond just watching people watching you – take some time and interact with them. Discuss the format with people who are willing to engage. When it comes to resurrecting an older format (regardless of how popular it is) and getting tournaments going for it, networking is incredibly important.
Usually all it takes is a few people getting into the format to start seeing it snowball. You get one person to play, and then their friends start looking on to see what their friend is doing. Then you can pitch the whole Goat Format spiel to those friends, and pretty soon you end up having a solid group of people willing to participate in an older format.
Step 4: Talk to the Tournament Organizer
The first three steps can be summed up in one simple phrase: gain a reputation. You want to have the reputation of being serious about Goat Format (without being too serious, of course – remember, it’s unsanctioned, after all). Once you have that reputation, though, you should have some clout at the store, especially if the resident TO is interested in Goat Format as well. You see, gaining a reputation will help you draw more people to the tournament. Of course, if you’re not Kris Perovic this is going to be a bit more difficult, but it’s not impossible by any means. You just need to be the guy that’s willing to talk to the TO and maybe the store owner about getting a tourney off the ground.
Getting those people on board is almost always going to be the biggest hurdle, so you need to have your things in order. If you’re starting to gain a reputation and you’ve been able to get more people to start bringing Goat Format decks to the tournament it should be a lot easier because more people are going to be willing to go to bat for you. That’s when you want to approach the TO. If you can sell your TO on Goat Format chances are they can sell it to whoever runs the shop.
Oftentimes you’re going to have to jump through some hurdles. Some TO’s may want you to have a physical piece of paper signifying that there’s enough interest (like a petition, for instance). Some may just take your word for it, or read the mood of the players and gauge their reaction. Regardless, once you start getting some people involved in playing Goat Format casually, make sure you start talking to the TO about getting a tournament started.
Step 5: Start discussing logistics
This step assumes that there’s enough interest in Goat Format tournaments at your LGS, and it can also be woven somewhat into Steps 3 and 4 because some TO’s may only give the go-ahead if the entry fee structure and prize payouts are kosher.
If there’s real interest in tournaments, you’re going to have to work out a time and a date. The way we did it was we gave players a full month from the day we decided to host one. This gives you ample time for word to spread. And advertising is important – having a post on an event calendar, advertising the tournament in-store, and talking to other players at modern events is a good way to go about it. You can discuss advertising with the TO or the store organizer as well.
But it’s important to set it up. Is it going to be a one-time thing to gauge interest and go from there? For instance, my LGS started with just one tournament, and we used that to gauge interest for future tournaments. And there was enough to start hosting Goat Format tournaments once a month. And then that increased to twice a month. Who knows, maybe some time soon we’ll start hosting them weekly. But that’s going to be up to the TO and the store owner, so start with just the one tournament and see how it goes.
Step 6: Establish rules for the tournament
Will your tournament include Exarion Universe, or no? How often will they happen? Are they going to be early morning, or later in the evening? Are they going to be on weekends, or weekdays? This step is important because this is where you coordinate with all the people who are interested in playing. A good idea is to give people a few weeks’ heads-up before you actually start it, and this is something you can coordinate with your TO, too. Regardless, giving people time to ready themselves and prepare is a great idea.
Something else to keep in mind is whether or not you’re going to allow proxies. Now, proxies are a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it can be frustrating when you roll up with your nice, shiny, fully-built Goat Control deck just to get stomped by someone who has nothing but written-on cards. But proxies are also a great way to allow people to play if they don’t have all the cards.
Let’s face it, Goat Format can be expensive. While most common versions of staples are under a dollar, some cards – like Delinquent Duo, for instance – can cost someone a pretty penny. So if you’re more worried about turnout as opposed to having the actual cards, proxies can be a good way to go. Again, talk to your TO about it and establish some rules. Our goal is to simply get as many people into the shop as we can, and if that means we allow proxies so be it. At the end of the day, regardless of whether the cards are real or not, the matches are, and that’s really what counts.
Step 7: Discuss prizes
And then there’s prizes, because what’s the point of a tournament if you’re not winning anything? My LGS has a $5/person entry fee, with a full payout to the first place finisher (usually $50 if there are up to 12 players). They don’t offer entry packs (and they don’t have to, since the tournament is, by its nature, unsanctioned by Konami). You shouldn’t expect any entry prizes or anything like that. Honestly, if Goat Format isn’t around in your area, but there’s enough demand for it, people will almost always pay $5 for a chance to play in a real tournament. You’d be surprised at how big the draw of real life competition for the format can be.
Really, cash prizes are going to bring the most people, but not all LGS’s are going to be willing to offer cash payouts. Right now, interest is high enough in my area that we can get away with in-store credit, but many shop owners are hesitant to give away real cash as a prize. It’s a lot easier to give people in-store credit, especially from a financial standpoint. Remember, most card shops don’t make a lot in terms of profit, so in-store credit is one of the better prizes out there.
What prizes your LGS gives away is up to them, of course, but you can have input on it, especially if a Goat Format tourney is your idea to begin with. Bigger stores with more interest can give out more in prizes, of course, and better prizes will often lead to better turnouts.
Step 8: Have fun!
It might be a little daunting to get them started, but once you actually get a tournament going is when the real fun begins. You can discuss specifics with your tournament organizer and I definitely recommend you do so. But at the end of the day, getting a Goat Format tournament going – so long as there’s interest – is a great way to get bodies into your LGS, which is only going to help the store.
And that’s a great pitch to an owner, too – bodies in the store means more than just entry fees. Players may need to buy some singles to finish their decks, or buy some sleeves so they aren’t looking like a new player. Maybe they’ll see a comic book they like, or pick up some packs. Maybe they stick around for a modern tournament later (or stick around after playing in a modern tournament). Regardless, a store needs bodies in it in order to function properly, and a Goat Format tournament can be a nice, easy way of getting people into the store.
That’s pretty much it for this time. If you have specific questions or would like some help or advice in approaching players or TO’s about a possible Goat Format tournament, you can always contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.