The Godfather Goes To The Mattresses
Greetings to all you Mafiosi of Magic and welcome to another edition of The Godfather’s not so regular column. This week I want to cover a lot of ground including North Texas Magic, Magic Online, and more. So without further adieu…
The State of Magic in North Texas
As many of you know I live in a small suburb just south of the Fort Worth/Dallas area and am within a few minutes of both cities and their suburbs. I got my early schooling playing in Arlington and Dallas with people like Jeff (Zanman) Zandi, Chip Hogan (Remember him the infamous 1st professional player, the deservedly legendary George Baxter, Scot Martin and many, many others. Back in the day there were probably 6-8 places to play sanctioned Magic and on any given day you could find some sort of sanctioned tournament in the area. Weekends often meant playing in a 50+ person tournament for Moxes, Lotuses, or a full set of whatever the current set was and many of these big events would feature several major tournaments over 2 days usually at a hotel. When PTQ’s began 150 entrants was not unusual and my local store’s regular Sunday T2 often had 40 or so players. That time was, for me, the Golden age of Magic.
Since about 1999 I have seen many good stores close and many others stop holding sanctioned tournaments and as of today there are no stores in DFW holding regular sanctioned tournaments other than a couple of FNM places that close early and don’t support any other tourneys and certainly don’t encourage or advertise any other store’s events. The saddest part is that there are still a fairly large number of players who want to play “real tournaments” with qualified judges and rules enforcement but because there are no longer any central playing places no one knows where to go or when events are held the playing community is becoming fragmented and disillusioned.
I am well aware that some stores closed due to competition and the nature of the free enterprise system but I believe just as many stores no longer hold sanctioned events due to laziness or incompetence on the part of the owners. My favorite example of the later is a local game store in Arlington, Texas that is still open as merely a shell of what it once was. I am not going to name the store as anyone who played there will recognize it and if you didn’t play there it doesn’t really matter. The store opened when Magic was in its infancy. There were 2 partners who ran it and they stocked it with both new product and singles. The stock was quite good and you can obtain almost any cards you ever needed at median Scrye price. They advertised in Duelist and Scrye and the partners were both sanctioned judges. In late ’98 or early ’99 one of the partners decided to sell out, as it appeared that he would have to move out of the area due to his regular job. Several of us tried to buy the store but the other partner had first shot and bought the store. Soon the problems began, regular customers were treated poorly, new customers coming in looking for MTG and (by this time Pokemon) were treated like nuisances or at best received indifferent service. The store was never cleaned and eventually the owner lost his sanctioning. All due to his failure to understand how to run a business, his laziness, and his refusal to listen to those who tried to help. Now the store limps along with tiny unsanctioned tournaments and low sales. Almost all the old regulars who played and spent money there are gone for the obvious reasons. Makes me sad.
“Well Godfather that’s a really sad tale but what are you gonna do about it?” they asked. Well here’s what I am willing to do about it. I am this day offering my services free of charge to anyone who is serious about opening a store in the immediate Fort Worth/Arlington area and maybe Dallas as well. The services are: 1) I will scout local real estate and help locate suitable and affordable property, 2) I will help draft appropriate business plans, 3) I will personally tell a minimum of 200 Magic players in the area about the store and will make a list of names and other info to be sure they know about all sanctioned events the store sponsors, and 4) if needed I will provide sufficient competent labor to help make whatever site ready for operation, including personally scrubbing the floors if needed. If you are interested in such a venture drop me an email at Roblawing@earthlink.net and we will start to work. Remember I am making you an offer you can’t refuse.
Why is it that WOTC and now Hasbro just can’t get there act together and treat people right? I was a Beta tester for them as were many other people I know. We were all told that in exchange for testing we would receive some sort of small compensation, eventually revealed to be an account and a draft set when the game was released. Well the game is released and guess what me and at least 50 other hardcore testers got…nothing…nada…not even a thank you email. Last I checked WOTC said a random selection of people got a set via an email and if you didn’t get one it’s just too bad and even if you were selected and had a hotmail filter set wrong you lost your email and can't be sent another. Jeez for some reason I thought WOTC was actually run by some folks who generally tried to be fair and do the right thing, even if it didn’t always seem that way. So screw me…I was wrong. I guess WOTC doesn’t realize that if they did the right thing and gave out those sets to testers their actual cost basis would consist of the labor it took to send an email and allow them a promotional expense write off equivalent to the retail price of the giveaway. I hope WOTC doesn’t miss the money that I would spend every month with them to play online if they had only honored their commitment. By the way, I am certainly not the only one who feels this way.
Less you think that the Godfather is becoming a grouchy old don, let me conclude with some happy thoughts. First, the most recent season of team sealed has just ended and without reservation I believe it is the single most enjoyable of all the PT seasons. My old teammates were unable to play and I didn’t Q with any of my new teams but I still had a blast. Thanks to Robbie Dojo, KKK Pender, Phatt Jason, Hippie Jason, and everyone else for being fun teammates and good folks. Secondly, I am excited that the next PT season will be qualifiers for PT-Houston. It’s been a while since the freak snowstorm made PT-Dallas such a beating and Texas is ready to show you players from all over the world some Texas hospitality. Particularly those of you who have never been to a Gentlemen’s club where all the entertainers look like they just stepped out of the pages of Playboy. Yeeeehaaaaa !!!! Finally my fellow Texas Guildmage and all around good guy Jeff Zandi told me the other day that our team practice and all skate, which occurs every Wednesday at his house has now been going on for 6 years. In those 6 years there have been only 3 weeks missed. Two when Jeff was in the hospital and one for some other reason. The only other misses occur when Christmas or Christmas Eve fall on Wednesday. I am proud to be part of this group of players and hope to still be playing on Wednesday nights when I am 50 (only 6 years and 5 months away).
That’s all for now kids, just remember that not only does the Constitution give you the right to freely express your opinion…it also gives you the right to not listen to those who preach hate, war, and Republican party lies.
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