Ravings of a Lunatic #19: Virtual or Face to Face?

It might be a good time to ask if Force GPs have come to a crossroads.

That question is easy, do we go online or revert back to in person? 

Some of you might be like, why not both?  And that is a good third choice, at least on paper and in many people’s minds.  But as the last in person GP has shown us, it might not be time to do both.

I played in the last online US GP and we had over 80 people (it’s 8/6 right now) and with another online GP this weekend we’ll be bale to get a better picture.  What we do know is that the latest in-person had just over 40.  And the numbers in Europe for online are high as well.

The online events started small, with a few people.  I think the first one I played in that was hosted by Games n Geek had less than 20.  It grew fast.  It might have been due to people just wanting to play, or maybe those sweet promos.  In either case it has caught on now.

If we just take a look at the good and bad for each, we can get a better idea.

Online – Good:

1) Cheap, no travel

2) Wear whatever

3) Eat while you play, or have a break

4) Still get all the prizes

5) Inexpensive for TOs

6) Easier to stream (I think)

7) Easier exposure for the game, as in filming and putting out content

8) Time.  Can just play then still have plans

9) The potential attendees are not limited to one place, etc.

Online – Bad:

1) Can’t hang with friends

2) No dealers or ability to get cool swag

3) Can’t really watch other matches when you’re done

In Person – Good:

1) See people

2) The venue (I like seeing places)

3) Traveling

4) Get your prizes in hand right there

5) TOs get to sell stuff

6) Spectating

In Person- Bad:

1) $$$ depending on how far you go and where you stay, and meals

2) Cost to host can be high and a risk if not many show

3) May have to take time off work

4) It’s all you can do for the weekend

5) Area to pull from, most people will only travel so far to play

I am sure there are a lot more factors in both good and bad I am missing, but you get the idea, the real issue is will one way overshadow the other?  No one can really tell as where we are right now it’s likely that people don’t want to travel and there is still a pandemic going on.  I think it will be a good year or so before we will actually be able to tell.

At the same time, it’s something that players and TOs will have to think about and better now than later.  If online still gets more than in person later, what can be done to entice the players to in person events?  More prizes?  Higher payouts?  More invitations?  And what can TOs due to lower costs?  Is there a hybrid model that might be usable?

Personally, I prefer in person, but now that I am running a business it takes a lot more to plan out the trip, especially if it’s far.  That is one of the downsides of being a responsible adult.  I think it will be an interesting development, but it warrants some thought on everyone’s part, because the last thing we want is to get back to normal and then find out, that could leave a lot of bad tastes in everyone’s mouth.

Just another quick one today tossing out some thought. 

Next time I plan to talk about how to open a game store and why you shouldn’t do it, cause I know more than a few of you think you want to.

But thanks for stopping by and reading,

Dan Rowland
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About the author


TCG player and enthusiast who has been slinging cards for 25+ years. He has won some stuff, judged, ran events, owned stores, and and sold online. Wannabe writer as well. Having written for sites such as The Dojo and Starcity for various other games, he now wants to try his hand for Force of Will. Also a hack novelist with one book currently published and seller of fine wares at for all things Force of Will and on Facebook.
Not the best of players, but a head for numbers and a historical buff. Sporting degrees in Business and Writing, he hopes to spread some knowledge with a dose of sarcasm. Enjoy the ramblings of a deficient mind and grab a chuckle while you're there.

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