FLGS charging $5 per Encounters session??

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I hit up a new store to get on the list for Neverwinter day and the new encounters season and they are charging five bucks for goodie bag on D&D day and five bucks every Wednesday for encounters. My last haunt didn't do that is this legit?
   It might be legal, but it is not normal, and is very unlikely to be successful.
I hit up a new store to get on the list for Neverwinter day and the new encounters season and they are charging five bucks for goodie bag on D&D day and five bucks every Wednesday for encounters. My last haunt didn't do that is this legit?



It is my understanding that the Game Day and Encounters events are supposed to be free. As far as I know, the store does not pay anything for the Encounters and Game Day materials except the commitment to run the events in their store (they might pay for shipping).

If they are providing things on top of simply hosting the game (i.e.; the aforementioned "goodie bag"), then I suppose that gives them an excuse and loophole through which to charge ("You are paying for the goodie bag, not the game.").

Ask Wizards CS if this practice is kosher. If not, report the store and find a new venue.

From what I've seen, it's not abnormal.  One of our local stores charges $3.00, another $2.00.  Yes, it's legit, and I believe that I saw somehwhere on the actual Encounters pages that the FLGS might charge a local fee.

EDIT: I checked and could not locate it, but I do recall reading it, I just don't recall where.

A lot of stores that offer gaming space charge for usage, which is what charge could be.  It's a rather minor charge for 3 hours or so of fun.
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.

Two of the three stores that host Encounters in my area charge. 

Illusive Comics and Games doesn't.

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One of our local stores charges $3.00, another $2.00. 

One here charges $1, but then gives it to the DM as store credit. Although $5 seems high, I believe it's completely kosher, and I wouldn't begrudge the store doing so (assuming they have enough players willing to pay). I mean, conventions typically cost more per game and give you less.

Alrighty then. Just surprised me is all.
My FLGS has a "two drink minumum" which just means you've got to spend two bucks on stuff at the store, usually soda (which is 1.00 each, hence the nickname) or snacks.
Personally, I wouldn't play at any place that charged for Encounters, but if it was a small amount and it went toward prizes, gaming space, or something to help recruit DMs, I wouldn't damn them for it.  I don't think it's a good idea if your mission is to bring in new players, though.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

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Avatar Comics And Games doesn't charge for Encounters, and gives anyone who DMs an Encounters game 30 Store Reward Points. We typically have a turnout of 15-20 players. I make it a point to buy drinks or Fortune Cards every time I play...
For the entirety of the past two seasons, we had a group of local gamers come to our FLGS to play Encounters, and not so much as buy a bag of chips.  The owner was really questioning the reasons to keep Encounters going at the store, especially since he had to pay staff members to DM instead of, you know, working the counter.

So, for next season, he's requiring people to purchase 2 packs of Fortune Cards (or the actual Neverwinter Campaign book, since it's worth more).  It's a one-time purchase, and once made, they can play Encounters for the entire season.

Opinions on this tactic are sharply divided.  Some of us see this as just another way to support the store, and figure 8 bucks for 12-13 sessions of D&D is just fine, especially since it allows the store to support the volunteer DM's (the swag from WotC has been...ah....less than stellar.  Ooh, generic tokens!).

Others feel that they spend a lot of money at the store already, and don't like being told they have to purchase specific products in order to play D&D- especially gamers who aren't overly fond of the Fortune Cards to begin with!     
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
Metafictional, perhaps your store owner could consider this:

Every Encounters player must purchase an in-store gift card for $X that can be used as cash on anything, at any time. This way, those who "already send enough" don't have to spend any extra... they'll use it when they make their normal purchase. Those who never buy anything are encouraged to buy merchandise, but don't have to -- the store owner already has their money.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
5 bucks is a rip off, although id gladly fork that over rather than buy fortune cards. thats like cruel and unusual punishment; they might as well cane me if they are going to make me buy packs of fortune cards
Avatar Comics And Games doesn't charge for Encounters, and gives anyone who DMs an Encounters game 30 Store Reward Points.

fwiw: the modules given to the DM's are actually a pretty big reward by themselves... many of those are going for $50+ on ebay.

For the entirety of the past two seasons, we had a group of local gamers come to our FLGS to play Encounters, and not so much as buy a bag of chips.  The owner was really questioning the reasons to keep Encounters going at the store, especially since he had to pay staff members to DM instead of, you know, working the counter.

So, for next season, he's requiring people to purchase 2 packs of Fortune Cards (or the actual Neverwinter Campaign book, since it's worth more).  It's a one-time purchase, and once made, they can play Encounters for the entire season.

Opinions on this tactic are sharply divided.  Some of us see this as just another way to support the store, and figure 8 bucks for 12-13 sessions of D&D is just fine, especially since it allows the store to support the volunteer DM's (the swag from WotC has been...ah....less than stellar.  Ooh, generic tokens!).

Others feel that they spend a lot of money at the store already, and don't like being told they have to purchase specific products in order to play D&D- especially gamers who aren't overly fond of the Fortune Cards to begin with!

Wow, my first reaction was like a lot of folks: "I'd never go to a store where they charge for Encounters," but then I haven't seen a pack of losers like the ones you describe.  "If I were the store owner," I'd:
(1) Schedule Encounters etc., but require customer volunteers to DM everything.  Post info and sign-ups in advance.  Cuts down on the cost of paying staff to DM- this is a business, dammit.
(2) Go ahead and charge $2-3 bucks a seat instead of the "two-drink minimum."
(3)Offer players a $2-3 discount on the first non-card/snack product they buy that night.
(4) Give the seat charge (minus discounts used) to the volunteer DMs as store credit.  This encourages volunteer DMs, while those players who DO buy products from the store at full retail price instead of Amazon are therefore not out of pocket, and finally your deadbeat players to buy something from the store, even if indirectly. 

...I'm still amazed at how degenerate some players are.  I know many D&D players are unemployed/students/etc. but if you're going to enjoy a hobby game, you should patronize the place you play, even if it's buying a lousy pack of Fortune Cards.   

 

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For the entirety of the past two seasons, we had a group of local gamers come to our FLGS to play Encounters, and not so much as buy a bag of chips.  

That seems to be a general problem with the D&D crowd which is why you ofteen need to basically beg to get the store owner to allow space for a D&D session. Hosting the 3rd CCG or wargaming night of the week is just more profitable, as these crowds usually leave $$ at the store.

Some game stores have enough business and play space for games they don't need to charge anything. Some game stores do not have the luxury, due to possibly how many people come in versus how many people come in and actually buy things. While personally I'd try and keep everything table space wise for free, just because people are pretty poor at avoiding impulse purchases; It's probably equally mis-management that ends up causing such policies to be a problem. I do think requiring a purchase is fine, but a soda should be okay. $5 a session regardless of purchases beforehand? That's completely ridiculous. Especially since DMs running stuff in store should not require compensation, that sounds about as backwards as it could ever get. (Yes, unfortunately DMing for love of the game really should be your only option)

One of the FLGS nearby charge 2$ to access the gaming room, where D&D Encounter is played.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I hit up a new store to get on the list for Neverwinter day and the new encounters season and they are charging five bucks for goodie bag on D&D day and five bucks every Wednesday for encounters. My last haunt didn't do that is this legit?



It is my understanding that the Game Day and Encounters events are supposed to be free. As far as I know, the store does not pay anything for the Encounters and Game Day materials except the commitment to run the events in their store (they might pay for shipping).

If they are providing things on top of simply hosting the game (i.e.; the aforementioned "goodie bag"), then I suppose that gives them an excuse and loophole through which to charge ("You are paying for the goodie bag, not the game.").

Ask Wizards CS if this practice is kosher. If not, report the store and find a new venue.


It is kosher - the "cover sheet" in the Encounters pack for the organizer/store (the stapled info packet with the sample event reporting sheet) says something like "you can set ground rules, which may include a nominal fee or purchase incentives for play" (I'm paraphrasing from memory here) but does permit stores to do what they feel they need to in order to cover costs associated with it.

As for the "goodie bag" for this Saturday's Game Day, that's provided by WotC Organized Play for the event (has a Neverwinter character sheet, a theme card, and maybe some other stuff - can't recall off-hand) and is supposed to be given out to players in order to help create their characters for the event so saying that the store is charging for that seems a little sketchy...

“If the computer or the game designer is having more fun than the player, you have made a terrible mistake.” -Sid Meier
The local gaming stores that I've seen charge tend to put it on gift cards for the DM, which encourages more people to DM, therefore more tables, therefore more product sold.

Back before Encounters tho, when I used to do some LFR, there was one place that charged $1 not for the DM but because an LFR table almost meant they were losing money...  Even the Magic players bought drinks and cards, and LFR players tended to just take up space.

I'm not sure if that means Encounters draws a different type of player than LFR, but it signifies some sort of change, clearly.
There are a lot of cheap, miserly gamers. If we don't contribute, then we should move aside and make room for the magic draft.
There are a lot of cheap, miserly gamers. If we don't contribute, then we should move aside and make room for the magic draft.

amen

we almost lost Encounters at our store because about a dozen or so of the regulars picked up Heroes of Shadow, all but 2 people got it from Amazon.  To say the least, the owner was disheartened.  

they would love to set aside more RPG time, but when the choice is between giving a table on Saturday to:


  • 4 W40K whales that drop $200 bucks apiece every month on lead (well, pewter or resin or whatever it is these days),

  • a dozen or so rabid MtG fanatics that buy cards like they might be the only source of oxygen,

  • or a D&D group that might generate 50 bucks total a quarter


even my meager business acumen can figure out who isn't going to get the space.


Part of it is the nature of the game, sure, most stuff is aimed at the DM and 1 purchase from the DM feeds a whole group whereas the other games require all parties that wish to participate to invest.  But $5 is a real minimal investment to ensure there is at least somewhere to go for the swag organized D&D events bring, even if you aren't just going to turn around and put it on EBay =)  

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

Serving as a meeting ground for groups doesn’t, by itself, make any money for the store.  Sure, it invites extra purchases and the like, but it doesn’t ensure them.  Roleplaying requires a fairly low capital outlay from the consumer anyway because not every at the table needs a copy of, I dunno, Martial Power 2. 


 Having more people in the store who are not actually buying things also increases the cost of the store as they need to divert labor resources to ensure that people aren’t stealing or making a mess of the place. 


 So charging for a table seems fair.  $5 / person does seem high relative to other stores that might charge one or two bucks a person.  That said, $5 for four hours of entertainment isn’t an unreasonable ratel.

Rule one isn’t “The DM is always right.” Rule one is: Everyone should be having fun at the table. Plans for 5e: Kill the d20, and replace it with a bell curve for task resolution.
$5 / person does seem high relative to other stores that might charge one or two bucks a person.  That said, $5 for four hours of entertainment isn’t an unreasonable ratel.


   A quibble here is that Encounters is designed to be less than 2 hours, not 4.
You can play or at least watch more than one session.  There are vaguely local stores to me that start running in the early afternoon and still have at least one game going well after 9.  

my store charges $5 for the whole Encounters season (can be waived by at least a $5 purchase).     hopefully they won't see this thread and up the rate =)

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

$5 for two hours might be pushing it.  Still, a cover charge cuts back on the number of anklebitters all hopped up on Mountain Dew running around, so it’s probably still worth it. 

Rule one isn’t “The DM is always right.” Rule one is: Everyone should be having fun at the table. Plans for 5e: Kill the d20, and replace it with a bell curve for task resolution.
$5 for two hours might be pushing it.  Still, a cover charge cuts back on the number of anklebitters all hopped up on Mountain Dew running around, so it’s probably still worth it. 

Really?  Because that is way cheaper than a babysitter. 

Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
Hmmm… you’re probably right.  A better rate might be $15 for two hours or fraction there of.  That’s hits the sweet spot between being cheaper than a bar but still keeping out hoi polloi.  The smell of commoners does quite curdle the cream upon my blini.
Rule one isn’t “The DM is always right.” Rule one is: Everyone should be having fun at the table. Plans for 5e: Kill the d20, and replace it with a bell curve for task resolution.
Our store doesn't charge to play encounters BUT it does give priority to the M:tg events. Mind you, it has seen an increase in the purchases made of dnd products over when encounters wasn't run in the store so in the end, it all pans out.
GMT +10 (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie ....)
The FLGS that I've been going to for Encounters does not charge at all. They also do not charge for the game day event. In fact, there's no minimum purchase or anything... and on DnD nights they give 20% off any DnD related books/cards/etc (just bought 2 packs of fortune cards and a player compendium)

I would definately be willing to give say $15-20 for a season if it meant a guaranteed place/time to play with a knowledgable and experienced DM. Or maybe like $2-$3 per encounter night or something. I think it'd be worth it.
The place where I attended the Game Day adventure had a one-pack buy-in for the event.  I figured it was fine, and no one complained.  I would probably complain, though, if I had to buy a pack of fortune cards every single week for Encounters.  This store was not my usual store for Encounters, so I don't know if that buy-in will continue.

The reason I went to this other store is because my usual store does Yu-Gi-Oh events on Saturdays, and they get $20 a head for that.  It's disappointing that I wasn't able to attend Game Day there, but they are there to make money.

That said, my copy of the Neverwinter book came from the store that held the event. 
5 bucks is a rip off, although id gladly fork that over rather than buy fortune cards.



Think of it like a cover charge at a bar/club.

You go, you hang out with your friends for awhile, and maybe you actually drink something.  But you still pay at the door if you want to come in.... 
my FLGS has a 1$ cover charge (players only) for Encounters and Game Day.  It's used as incentive for DM's to come and help out when the DM at the end of the night get's a 5$ in store credit
Think of it like a cover charge at a bar/club.

You go, you hang out with your friends for awhile, and maybe you actually drink something.  But you still pay at the door if you want to come in....

Huh... normally I get in free, drink profusely, proceed with drunk and disorderly and then time travel to my bed where I wake up missing my underwear.

Come hang at my bar/club!

Danny