Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne comments on organized play events for Yu-Gi-Oh!, Fantasy Flight, and Magic.

We hosted the Yu-Gi-Oh! Cosmo Blazer Sneak Peek yesterday and while everything went smoothly, Konami keeps adding on restrictions to the Sneak Peeks that makes me leery of pursuing any of their larger events such as Regionals.  We put in for a Regional and got approved to host one last year but time and personnel constraints caused us to have to cancel.  Noticing the most recent addition to the Sneak Peek operating instructions makes me wonder what rules the company has put in place for Regionals.

In the past, if you wanted to host a Sneak Peek, a store had to run it starting after 8 a.m. and ending before 8 p.m., which means no midnight events with their accompanying excitement.  Stores have to submit pictures, which can be rather dicey when you have underage players, and cannot charge more than $20.  This is much more restrictive than the regulations surrounding a Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering Pre-release but it still makes money so we worked with it.  However, the latest addition to Konami's regulations said that stores cannot charge sales tax on the event, which would appear to break the law in states and municipalities that require stores to collect sales taxes on events.  In this case, Konami's rules addendum states that the venue must discount the amount of the entry fee by the amount of the sales tax, so that the total still equals $20, cutting the amount made on the event by the sales tax percentage.

As long as I am talking about events, I see Fantasy Flight Games has set up a World Championship program, allowing stores to host Regional Championship qualifiers for their Dust and X-Wing Miniatures and GOT, NetRunner, Warhammer, Star Wars and Call of Cthulhu card games.  This is a great idea but a bit pricey at $175 per event.   Fantasy Flight Games does allow venues to charge a fee to cover the cost of the Regional Championship kit and even allows the stores to set the amount of the fee.  We have small but strong groups playing both the X-Wing and Star Wars LCG so put it up to them which event they would like to have us host, since multiple expenditures of that size to get multiple Regional Championships for the same group of people to play did not make much sense.  Looking at the event kits for both, we decided that, though more people liked playing the X-Wing Miniatures Game, more people would show up for the prize support for the Star Wars LCG, so, going for numbers, we opted  to apply for that one.

Then, of course, there is the gorilla in the room, this coming weekend's Magic--Gatecrash pre-release.  We seem to have a little more advance excitement for this pre-release event as  we have over 30 people already signed up for various events over the weekend, more than we had for the Return to Ravnica Pre-release at this point prior to the event.  Last time, our largest turnout was for the midnight pre-release but this time, we have more people signed up for the Saturday afternoon one.  Maybe our players are getting older and less willing to show up at midnight and play Magic until 4 o'something in the morning.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of