One of the best aspects about the game of Redemption is fellowship! In this first part of two articles, Chris F. shares some great tips on starting a play group.
I know there have already been a few times where people have made suggestions about what they did to start a playgroup. But, the way I feel about it, is there are never too many ideas on how to do this. Some ideas work for some people but don’t work for others. So given that fact, I wanted to present the way that I am currently building my play group.
I’ve been in this game for many years now, and have gone from a group of 5-6 adults that had money to spend (and some tended to spend quite a bit), to now having a group of 10+ “kids” that have little to no money. So as I adjusted from those two groups, my style has shifted and I really like this new method and feel like it could be a good way to build new players into sustainable players.
I will start this by saying that I do have the currently luxury of being a youth minister in the church I have attended since my childhood. But that being said, I didn’t always have this position but I have always enjoyed playing this game, and wanted to share that with others! So if you can get over the hurdle of finding a place to play, and a group to play with, here are my suggestions on where to start:
I always start new players the same way, and that is to introduce them to Redemption with the I/J starter decks. I allow them to decide which deck they want to play with and have them play a game against one of my current players, while I sit beside the new player. I have already given a brief explanation of as to what the card types are and how/when you can play them. So my goal for the first several games is for that player to simply come to understand the game and basic rules of the game. The number of games this takes will greatly change based on the player. I have had players that have played other games and pretty much “mastered” the I/J decks in 3-4 games, while others play them for months to get it down.
After they get to the point that they know and understand these decks (or at least very close), I absolutely suggest that they then purchase the starter deck, sleeves and possibly even a deck box. In my opinion, this might be the most important step. In my personal experience, the players who spend money (regardless of how much) on this game are those ones who tend to stick with it longest.
Regardless of whether they make this purchase or not, I do proceed to give them some cards. I have had the luxury of being in this game a very long time and have a large quantity of “older” cards that I can now give out to new players. More details on what these cards are will come in the next article! If the new player has chosen not to purchase the starter decks, they are allowed to build a deck by picking from the assortment of cards I have pulled for them.
These decks that they pick are very similar to the I/J decks, and extremely “balanced” as far as the card types. They get to pick 50 cards that include 5 Lost Souls (with no abilities), 2 Lost Souls (with abilities), and 8 of each of the following: Heroes, Good Enhancements, Evil Characters, and Evil Enhancements. They are then allowed to pick 11 more cards to fill out their deck. Details on the cards they are allowed to pick from to come in the next article!
If the player did choose to purchase the starter deck, then they are allowed to pick the same amount of cards, and they don’t have to use their picks on cards that they already have from their starter decks. These players are allowed to choose 5 Lost Souls with abilities and 8 of each of the following: Heroes, Good Enhancements, Evil Characters, and Evil Enhancements. They then have 13 picks to fill out their collection. Again, details on the cards they are allowed to pick from to come in next article as well!
Once a player has cards of their own, I then like to keep them engaged by keeping them “challenged.” The challenge that I present is what was shown to me and called “level decks.” This idea was given to me from Mark Underwood as something he did for his students, and I have since expanded it. Basically, I have 4 decks that are increasing in difficulty and gives players a different type of challenge. Decklists/types to come in the next article also. Players then play me in a best 2 out of 3 games. If the player wins the best 2 out of 3 games, they are now a level X player, and then get a reward. Rewards will also be explained in the next article. Sorry, have to get you to come back!
So there are two things that truly excite players, especially younger ones! Every time they beat one of my decks, they get free cards. But what I have found most of my younger players talk about is the level of player they are. Any time I get a new player that starts looking into the game and playing the starter decks, my younger players love telling the new player what level they are on. It also becomes a bragging point for some, which is a huge motivator for others. Nobody wants to be the lowest, and everyone wants to be the highest. So because of that, it causes most players to want to play more and be better so they can at least match the others.
So my ultimate goals are to get players interested in the game. Sometimes that is very easy I as find a “gamer” who is looking for something new, while others I know might be interested but not necessarily looking for something else to do. Once the interest is there, I try to keep them coming by giving them cards, which I do hope ultimately becomes making a few purchases. Again, I always want the students to purchase the I/J decks as they are strong enough to beat all of my 4 level decks (with the right build and correct play), and it gives them the incentive to get more cards. After a player has cards regardless, attending tournaments is the next hurdle. For new players, I always play sealed deck, that way everyone starts on an “even playing ground.” They don’t have to worry about the fact that I own every card, and they might own none, they get the same cards I do and even might get lucky and pull an awesome card out of the sealed packs. Side note: the first player in my play group to own a 2nd Coming was my youngest, who pulled it during a sealed deck tournament! The second category I have players play is an extremely modified Type 1. Players are allowed to build decks out of the I/J deck and any card that is offered to the new players. What this does is allows for the new players to play with the free decks they just built from my cards and to add a handful of the I/J cards that they want to use and have a deck on par with the others. This also helps with the disparity between collections. Depending on who shows up for the tournaments, I do sometimes allow for players to add 5 or so of their own cards, so that they can play cards that they like that wouldn’t normally be allowed in this game mode.
I again have had quite a bit of success with this method, because I have actually had two students who have played sealed deck before even owning any cards. This allowed them to pick their new decks around some of the cards that they had previously acquired and allowed them to make better decks to begin with. So again, this is just a different look at what I am currently doing with my students / new players and I hope it gives you some new ideas in which to use for your new or upcoming play group. If you have any ideas on a change that could be made to make this method more efficient please let me know, as I’m always looking for new ways to make things work easier. As I have also mentioned several times before, please check back for part two of this article so that you can see more details on the cards being used and played!