“The Science and Art of Hosting Home Magic Events,” my new four-part series on ChannelFireball, is for those of you who’ve enjoyed and perhaps hosted Magic home events, and for folks who haven’t yet but might like to. With COVID-19 vaccinations more widespread in some places, it can be much safer to do these again. Yay!
I do recommend if you organize an event thinking about how to keep your friends and yourself as safe as possible, by perhaps utilizing masks, negative tests, temperature checks, the great outdoors and/or having potentially tough discussions with your friends about their vaccination status.
Think of this series like those long podcasts covering every card of a new set, versus a “normal length” article or series.
The MTG Companion app has resources for hosting events. I haven’t used it much yet, but I recommend downloading and checking it out. There are also some other related (shorter!) articles linked at the end.
While you can read this series from start to finish, you might also prefer skipping around by section. Today’s selection will cover:
- Goals for the Series
- Definitions and Methodology
Countless Magic articles, videos and podcasts I’ve consumed have the goal of getting listeners better at Magic. My main goals are 1. for you and I to improve as hosts and guests and 2. for our events to be more successful and numerous.
What defines success? For a host, a crucial metric is getting a number of people to show up and stay. Another is getting them to come back to a subsequent event you host. Compliments are also success indicators, whether or not you solicit them. Your specific event might have other key performance indicators (KPIs). For an attendee, success can mean having fun at the event, strengthening friendships and getting invited to more events… to play more Magic, have more fun, and make more friends.
As the article title implies, there’s definitely a science to hosting, and I have solicited input from friends to help hone some best practices. However, there are many more elements that are totally up to you and what feels right or you’re just dying to try; this is the art of hosting. Get your Creative Outburst on!
While what I call home events often occur at someone’s residence, they can also happen in parks, coffee shops, 24-hr Denny’s, public meeting rooms, bars or really cool video game companies! What I call host is the person providing the space, the event organizer, or both. Maintaining a clean and spacious venue, inviting guests, handling food and drink, communicating details and answering questions, securing sealed product and running the event/acting as judge can be important tasks. Sharing these responsibilities with a friend might be a good idea: your place, but I’ll organize X, Y and Z, for example.
The article focuses on MTG, yet I do Sneak Attack in a reference or two on hosting other events, as some advice is just host and guest best practice in general. An article about my husband and I organizing our wedding could easily rival this one in length!
I asked 35 friends to contribute their thoughts to this article, specifically on advice for hosts and guests. I’ve attended MTG events that 15 of them have organized. The other 20 I don’t recall inviting me to MTG events – some likely hosted and I wasn’t invited, while others perhaps haven’t hosted groups of six or more.
It’s not for everyone. The work and sometimes stress are definitely worth it in my Bookwurm! Also, I hope this article makes the process less daunting and more fun for aspiring hosts as well as Hardy Veterans.
11 responded with advice – thank you Aaron, Anton, Ben, Bryan, Elliott, Emily, Gar, Greg, Mark, Mike and Rob for your thoughts! This is a mix of frequent hosts, diehard players, as well as some casual players. Granted, these numbers are anecdotal, nowhere close to statistically significant data sets like 17Lands. But I found even a small sample size research revealed some patterns and common opinions.
The recurring themes included: be welcoming and respectful, have/bring food and basic lands, secure a comfortable space, and be clear with details. I’ll expand on these in the rest of the series, so stay tuned for subsequent parts!