5 years later: Arena Games – the 2020 Version

It’s been 5 years since the Arena opened its doors for the Ingolstadt gaming community. Celebrating half a decade of existence is something big for me. After everything is said and done, the Arena still stands tall in the heart of Ingolstadt, regardless of the ups and downs it went through. I missed the actual date when the Arena did have its anniversary, but in my own way, I made it count, for me. In the end, it’s the relationship that I have with the invisible spirit of the Arena that keeps me going. Regardless if we miss some “important” dates, what counts is if we have each other’s backs when things get real. This time, I need to give something back to that spirit since all I’ve been doing for the past years is take advantage of the calmness that it has brought in my life, the lack of stress, the easy days of having a job that I love, follow my passion and recently have a good friend next to me to pursue even bigger dreams that can only come to fruition when one opens up to the world and what it tells you. I listened to the universe. Here’s what I’ve learned.

A great logo made by a good friend of mine from Finland. The new logo is also created by him 🙂 Thanks Kai!

I went through a lot of periods of calmness, but I did also have a lot of bad days. The biggest mistake was focusing on so many things that I would never be able to change in the first place. What’s the purpose of thinking about things you can’t change? External factors will still be external factors and the best way to approach changing something is by changing yourself and how you view the issue. “The problem isn’t the problem itself, it’s how you see the problem.” There are a lot of issues I could have avoided having a better mindset, but we learn from our mistakes, pick ourselves up and move forward. Those who talk about the past and like to live in its shadow won’t ever get to enjoy the sunshine of the future.

For the better part of the last two years, I tried getting together with people to create a better Arena. I can confidently say that I found a person that shares my views and philosophy about the Arena. We have a strong work ethic and are both passionate enough that whatever comes our way can also move the hell out of it instantly or we’ll just blast through it 🙂 It’s empowering to be around people who want the same thing as me. It gives me strength, but most importantly it gives me security and a feeling of safeness when I’m not around the Arena to take care of it. I know it’s in good, capable hands. It’s so much easier now. Because of this, I can focus on so much more that I was never able to do. Running a business by myself, for the most part, for 5 years is not easy. I was on the verge of giving up so many times. Depression, fear, anxiety…But I never let go. So here we are! A new store for all the people who have made it possible for me to stay in business for so many years. You might think that I don’t notice you, but I do. I see every purchase that you make from me. I see that you show up at my tournaments. I know you have other options, maybe much better than what I offer. But you choose me and the Arena. So thank you all for that. It’s time to give you, the ones who have been close to the Arena, something to be proud of, not to mention a ton of fun 🙂

We’re trying to get our online shop up and running. For now, we have been busy with other plans, that you will read about below, but in the background, we’re still working hard to get the inventory synched up with the online store to get it going. We also integrated a facebook store, where you can browse our products. This will send you to the webpage in case you want to purchase anything. It’s a neat little thing that I very much like to have. Thank you, Tobias, for setting it up and redesigning the website. It looks great and I really appreciate the work you did. It is in fact a beautiful website 🙂

Lately, I was so busy with online sales from single cards that I neglected the store so much…Things turned around when I got a call from Wizards of the Coast asking if I’d like to get my store to Premium levels because they think that it’s a great store and it should definitely be Premium. At first, I thought I hallucinated the entire thing, but after the second call talking about the future and possibilities, I just said to myself “Let’s fucking go!”. In order to achieve Premium status, there is a lot of work to be done. The thing is, I don’t care if I do get Premium or not…Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice of course, but the most valuable point I got from all of this is that the Arena can be so much better. Someone saw the potential of my store, so why can’t I? It was the spark that started it all again for me. So here’s the change of pace that will hit starting next week with a massive amount of events being available on a weekly basis:

*Every first Tuesday of the month is the start of the Monthly Events
**Every game will be decided based on who will lead the seminar

Magic the Gathering

That’s quite the difference from what is generally happening in the Arena right now. I would like to explain some of it and how everything should work out based on the new schedule. So first off, when do the monthly tournaments actually take place? As I wrote below the image, the first Tuesday of the Month will kick off the start of the Gladiator Week, which will contain all the Monthly tournaments. It’s meant to be more of a huge week so that people have time to plan out for a monthly event. The reality is that weekly tournaments for older formats will simply not take place, or at least not for now. Modern was close to getting off the ground, but the fact that some people can’t show up every week makes it impossible to move forward. The lack of players for older formats made it easier to simply choose one week a month to gather all enthusiasts for these events. The idea is that making plans for one day of the month (in case you only play one specific format from the above-mentioned ones), then it should be much much easier compared to weekly. We will see how things will move forward after a trial period of 3 months. Entry fees for each of these events will be 10€ with 75% of that going in the prize pool for the top half participants in the form of single cards.

As a Magic player, probably the weirdest event on the schedule is the Monthly Proxy Vintage tournament. Most people know that I am against proxies as I believe they are simply not upholding the spirit of the game, but for this specific format, an exception can be made. We might all want to fool around a bit with weird decks that have absurd power levels, but who wants to invest upwards of 5.000€ to build a proper vintage deck? There might be a few here and there, but us, the petty mortals of Magic the Gathering, won’t really get a chance to play with the original cards. So the next best possible scenario is to create proxies to simply discover this old format which has been around for a long time, but hardly touched on since it’s price tag is just too damn high. Let’s just have fun on Wednesdays with some crazy brews 🙂 Entry fee will be 10€ for this just like the other monthly constructed events with single cards as prizes.

Standard has fallen out of favor, but with all the new players that the Arena is getting right now, we really planned more in regard to this format. Going forward, we will put a lot of support into it. The major change and point of attraction here is the use of Promo Packs(PP) and Premium Promo Packs(PPP) that Wizards offer as a WPN partner. Bringing in new players, having multiple tournaments specifically for Standard (also for every Standard supported format) and also rewarding the loyalty of all returning customers and tournament participants with the introduction of stamp cards. Since this topic is bigger than just for Magic I will just skip it right now and pick it up later. Just read on to find out more 🙂 Regarding the tournaments themselves, the Wednesday one will have one PP in the prize pool in addition to the normal boosters. The entry fee will be 5€ with 0.75 boosters from the newest edition in the Prize Pool per person. The Saturday Standard, which is competitive, will have 1 PPP and 1 PP in the pool and will have an entry fee of 10€ with 1.5 Boosters per player in the prize pool. The monthly Standard event will be the highest level of competitive play that we will offer. The entry fee will be 15€ with 2.5 boosters per person in the prize pool and in addition 3 PPP with first place getting a full one, while the rest will be opened and divided between the highest-placed players. There is one more benefit you will get for participating in Standard events in the form of stamps. Read below at the Loyalty Stamp Card section about it and how it works.

Brawl is another standard format that should help out new Magic players get into the world of singleton decks. For now, Commander and Oathbreaker are the fan favorites because of the multitude of cards that you can bring in and create amazing combos or strong synergies. The downside for new players, however, is that not everyone wants to invest so much in power cards that simply define most of the commander decks once things get more competitive. Brawl is going to give meaning to all the draft cards that you have laying around once you have started playing Magic. Most players disregard these cards and just put them in boxes that collect dust in a corner. Not anymore though. You can use all the cards to create your own brawl deck and participate for FNM on Friday evening. Cards in Standard rotate and with them your deck as well, but remember that together with the cards that are leaving, new ones will take their place. Create your own version of the deck you want to play with the help of all the cards you have laying around from participating in any of the other Standard related events. The entry fee will be 5€ with one booster in the prize pool that each participant gets. We will also be offering a Promo Pack for each Brawl table of 4. The pack will be split based on standings in order of losing the game with the first eliminated player picking last.

The weekly Standard Booster Draft will be exactly that with the newest edition always being drafted on Thursday. What usually happens when a new set launches is that players want to draft it two times per week. However, this leads to the set being “over-drafted” quickly and things become boring as well. There is no more interest in drafting it as players have “figured out” the format and therefore there is nothing interesting about it anymore aside from cool picks in the form of foils or extended art cards. Drafting it one time per week should make things run more fluently over the course of a set’s post-release months. This should also resolve the issue with players being confused as to when would the newest edition is supposed to be drafted. Concentrating all interested players on a specific day should also get more people for the draft so that we all have better decks with more cards being in the pool. The entry fee for this event is 15€ with 0,75 boosters in the prize pool plus 1 PP.

The weekly Flashback Booster Draft is going to send you back in time to draft other past editions that are still available at the store. The price to participate will be 12€ with 0.75 boosters in the prize pool. There will be no PP awarded for anything that is non-standard related.

The monthly Flashback Draft will be a Masters set or Modern Horizons that will be put up for voting one month prior to the event starting. Once this article will go live, there will be a follow-up poll for what the next Masters Edition should be drafted. The poll will be posted on Facebook and in our store MTG WhatsApp group. Contact us if you want to be part of that group or simply vote on Facebook for your preferred Masters Edition for the upcoming event in November.

What happened to Friday Night Magic? What is it anymore anyway? It’s a day where you come to the store to meet your friends and play Magic. We are supporting it in the form of having new players join and learn the game with preconstructed Planeswalker Decks at 16:00 (5€ entry with a full booster per person for participating and 1PP). There have been a lot of people who have taken our free decks from the store. We know that not everyone will be attracted to Magic based on that, but for the ones that Magic piqued their curiosity we would like to be there to teach them the game properly. Fridays are for beginners. If you’re a veteran player and you want to join us on Fridays to teach new people Magic, you are welcome to join. Yes, you will get a stamp for that 🙂 Brawl is our second choice for FNM. We will also have a monthly Sealed for FNM to round out most formats that Magic has to offer. The price to join the monthly sealed will be 30€ with 1.5 boosters in the Prize Pool + 1 PP.

If you have any questions about anything regarding our Magic the Gathering events don’t hesitate to contact us and ask. We’ll gladly try to give your proper answers to your inquiries.

Yu-Gi-Oh!

The world of Yu-Gi-Oh! in the Arena has been reduced to one event per week. But has it really been that much different prior to this? Well, not so much actually. There used to be a Tuesday tournament with an Arena ban list, but it felt really odd putting some people in charge of a ban list who mostly did it in their favor unsurprisingly. It simply was the wrong approach. While we don’t agree with what Konami bans or unbans at times, they still make the rules and we’re playing their game, so we’ll follow them. Having tournaments that are officially recognized by Konami will help in never creating such a ban group again at the Arena. The new schedule lets people try out other formats while still maintaining the double Advanced events per week. Some players wanted to have more tournaments and more support from our store, so here you go. The Friday Advanced event should be considered competitive as it should have more people attending compared to Wednesday. All of these tournaments will have 5€ as entry fee with a mix of OTS packs and normal boosters will be given out as prize support. We will additionally have a Monthly Yu-Gi-Oh! Advanced tournament that should fall on the second Saturday of each month (important!!!: this tournament will replace the OCG Banlist tournament). The entry fee for this tournament will be 10€ with a mix of OTS packs and normal boosters in the prize pool. This will be the highest competitive level for a YGO event at the Arena. We considered giving a chance to the ones who want to showcase their skills and in-depth knowledge of the game somehow. So if you want to try your hand at competitive play, you are more than welcome to join the action.

Dragon Duel is meant for kids of 13 years of age and under who want to play the game but simply can’t stay as long as their older peers. Starting a tournament at 17:00 and leaving at 20:00 or even 21:00, might not be the best. So we picked 15:00 as the starting hour since that’s when school’s generally out. We would really like to get a few new faces in the Arena who will eventually upgrade into the evening tournaments as they grow older. The entry fee for these tournaments will be 2,5 € with participants getting an OTS Pack.

Pokemon

There have been some people asking for cards for Pokemon, so we will try to consistently have at least the newest edition in stock. We are starting this adventure with organizing tournaments for the younger audience first. The same concept as for the YGO Dragon Duel applies to the 15:00 o’clock start time. Moving forward we will consider organizing a later tournament if more people decide to pick up this timeless TCG. The entry fee will be 2,5€ and the players get to pick based on standings from the boosters that we will open from the newest edition.

Keyforge

This game had a great start with multiple people, including us, hyping it as being a great game. We still believe that it is a very interesting game to play. It has big tournaments across Europe with thousands of attendants so it definitely has an audience. Having one event per week should also concentrate all interested players in that time frame. Hopefully, there will be enough players participating in the events to get them going again. The new expansion was released not that long ago and brought in a plethora of new cards. The uniqueness of each deck also should not be underestimated or forgotten. Overall Keyforge is not dead, just sleeping and waiting 🙂 A sealed tournament will set you back 10€. We still have pins as and chain cards as rewards, so you can show up and earn one based on your standing.

Esports

This is more of a personal topic for me. I grew up with internet cafes around me and the social aspect of playing games surrounded by like-minded people has never left me. I am fully aware that with the rise of TeamSpeak or Discord people have gradually ended up alone in their room talking to their friends who are also alone in their rooms. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just not my thing. I really like the feeling of being in the same room and getting to chat about the plays, the strategy we’ll follow in the upcoming game and so on. Maybe we’ll just chill and watch some stream or try to help each other climb the ladder. It’s probably an old-school mentality, but I like it and I also think it seems to be growing anyway. More and more businesses and firms are embracing eSports, so why should Ingolstadt not have something in that direction?
– Consoles: We tested out what games felt that had the most reach and unsurprisingly Super Smash Brothers is top of the list. We decided to create weekly tournaments for that and for the second most preferred game, Tekken, both on Saturday. The entry fee for this will be 2€ with 1€ going into the prize pool. At the end of the tournament based on amount of participants and standing, we will award cash prizes. We will also have a monthly event with a prize pool of 50€ cash. Since eSports is not considered gambling, rather just skill, this is actually possible to do. The entry fee for this will be 5€ and you will also get a drink.
– PCs: League of Legends 1v1 and CounterStrike 1v1 are our top 2 games we would like to see being played on the PCs as tournaments, but the one that might have the highest chance of getting participants is Magic Arena. We are a magic centric store after all, so we’ll keep this as a possibility going forward. Simply check our website or facebook for the upcoming tournament announcements. Each of these tournaments will have a 5€ participation fee with a drink being included in that.

The consoles and PCs are there during opening hours for you at the following prices:
All students: 2€ per hour // 6€ per 4 hours // 10€ for the full day (starting at 12:00 til closing time)
Everyone else: 4€ per hour // 12€ per 4 hours // 15€ for the full day (starting at 12:00 til closing time)

Boardgames

This has been a tough one. I never got to get the boardgames off the ground. Having been constantly caught between making enough money to pay rent and other necessities around me, I’ve always pushed Magic the Gathering and at times Yu-Gi-Oh! in order to survive. Things have definitely changed now since I can finally take more time off for myself and use it wisely in the form of learning new and old board games. Markus will join me of course on this adventure and we’ll soon teach 1-2 board games per week. Events will be created with the board game we plan on teaching. We will charge 2€ per person for the ones who will learn from us and those people will each get a stamp that they can use for snacks once they reach 6 stamps. We will also put 1€ from the entry fee into a monthly board game voucher. Your name will be introduced in a bowl and we’ll pick out the winner during the Gladiator week. I have been a big fan of board games because of the even bigger social aspect that they have over Magic the Gathering. For me, sitting around a table with people who like the same stuff as me is always a pleasure. I hope that the Arena will welcome more people into board games. Let’s see how the board game life will evolve 🙂

Pen & Paper

We had a group coming over on a weekly basis to play at the store. That seemed to create some hype around P&P, but soon it dissolved for various reasons…We are currently looking for multiple Dungeon Masters who want to set up group play for Dungeons & Dragons at the Arena. We don’t really want to support any other system because, frankly, there are too many and they have a higher skill floor. D&D is easy to learn and a fan favorite. It’s also a Wizards of the Coast supported game, so we can create adventurer’s leagues in our event reporter as well. If you are interested in DM-ing at the Arena, shoot as an email at contact@arengames.de or simply drop by the store and introduce yourself. We will charge 3€ per person as entry fee to play with 1€ going to the DM. Stamps will be awarded based on repeat attendance.

Tabletop

This is by far the topic I have the least experience with. In all honesty, I have never been a big fan of tabletop with figurines. For me, card games have always been more attractive. But there are plenty of people who want to play Tabletop games such as X-Wing, Warhammer40K or Lord of the Rings. I am sure there are many more and because of that, the Arena will give you the opportunity to play at the store. We have a table that’s specifically designed for this purpose. It’s true that the support for tabletop is at the lowest possible point right now at the Arena, but if things start picking up with visitors coming in more often, there is obviously a consideration to invest in a tabletop line (the most played at the shop of course). I don’t have any expectations from this. It’s not like we don’t have a use for a big table at the store, but we would very much prefer it if there would be people using it for what was intended for: armies that fight each other for strategical advantage and military prowess. I’m not necessarily confident in our approach to the tabletop world for now, but we still want to leave the door open in case someone wants to walk in.

The Loyalty Stamp Card

This is the stamp card that we will start using from next week with a new system that will reward each player for multiple tournament participations. Once you reach 6 stamps you will either get a Promo Pack for Magic, an OTS Pack for Yu-Gi-Oh! or free hours for our consoles or PCs. This program wants to support all the returning customers for each of our events. Loyalty should be rewarded and we really want to show you that we appreciate you. But how do you get these? What awards stamps even?

Magic the Gathering
The following events will give out stamps that you can collect to get Promo Packs:
– Casual Standard on Wednesdays will award 1 Stamp
– Standard Booster Draft on Thursdays will award 1 Stamp
– Brawl will award 1 Stamp
– Planeswalker Constructed Events will award 1 Stamp
– Standard on Saturday will award 1 Stamp
– The monthly Standard will award 3 Stamps
– The monthly Sealed will award 1 Stamp
– Each Prerelease will award 1 Stamp

When you reach 24 total stamps, you will get instead of your normal Promo Pack, a Premium Promo Pack with all cards being in foil.

Yu-Gi-Oh!
All events will award 1 Stamp for participation.
The monthly YGO Advanced will award 3 Stamps.

Once you reach 24 Stamps you will get 3 OTS Packs instead of one.

eSports
Purchasing 4 hour packs or Day passes for renting a PC or a console will award 1 stamp. Once you reach 6 Stamps, you will get a 4 hour pack free for either PC or console usage at the Arena. At 24 Stamps you get a full free day.

Pokemon
All events will award 1 Stamp for participation. At 6 Stamps you will get a free tournament participation. At 24 Stamps you will get 2 boosters of the newest edition.

Boardgames

You get a stamp for each learning session you participate in. Once you reach 6 you can get a snack or drink for free.

Pen and Paper

You will get a stamp for each participation. Upon reaching 6 stamps, your next session will be free of charge.

A note to consider: please keep the full stamp cards in order to prove that you have 24 for Magic the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!. We are not responsible for you losing your stamp cards.
We will also give out Premium Packs as long as supplies last!

Closing thoughts

Seems that I’ve reached the end of the announcement frenzy 😀 We have been working for a week now on finding a system that fits the Arena. It’s been a lot of back and forth with the schedule. Having so many variables has made it difficult to fix every possible issue, but we got there eventually. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good start for what we have planned out. I’m very excited to see how the Ingolstadt community will react to this. We certainly hope that it will be a good reaction with positive feedback. It’s true that most of the emphasis will fall on Magic…the truth is that at the very end, we are a Magic store for the most part. I have created the Arena solely based on my interest in this wonderful game, but that doesn’t mean that any other games or activities will be neglected. We really want to bring more Regionals for Yu-Gi-Oh!, bigger eSports events and also more quality boardgames. It’s a work in progress and I certainly am asking you, dear reader, to join us in creating a better store, a better atmosphere for it and a better community to enjoy our time with.

See you in the Arena!