FINDING A PLACE FOR YOUR FIRESIDE GATHERING
We suggest completing this task at least 10 days before the Fireside Gathering
What good is being an Innkeeper if you have no inn to keep? For your Fireside, will you want a cozy coffee shop, a warm pub or restaurant to shelter your patrons from the cold? Or do you live in a hot and sunny place, where terraces in the shade and air conditioning are the way to go?
Regardless of your local specificities, here are some ideas to get your search started.
Restaurants, Pubs & Coffee Shops
These are generally a good choice since the owners tend to be quite happy to see an influx of customers. Try to talk with them about their off-peak times—maybe there’s a way for you to get a special deal for your Fireside patrons!
Public, or City-Owned Venues
In many countries, it’s possible to book a venue for free at your town hall, school or library by just presenting your project. You might be required to be part of an association, or to make a booking several months in advance, but it can be a very solid option.
The approach here is similar to restaurants, pubs and coffee shops except that many gaming stores already have an events calendar. Check with the owner to see if they can slot you in—if they don’t have an events calendar maybe you can be their first!
Venues that Already Host Fireside Gatherings
It goes almost without saying that if you’ve been to a few Firesides in your town and are thinking of running your own, you should ask if that venue would like to host yours too!
Friends & Family
Last, but certainly not least, ask around you! It’s not uncommon to find a “friend of a friend” who is happy to bring a small crowd to their venue.
When thinking about your future venue, some things you might want to check include:
Is it open to the public? Is it a good place to hang out for an extended period of time? Will my guests feel safe here? Will there be food, drinks, and bathrooms? If you’re planning to watch or play Hearthstone, is there an adequate solution for internet access and/or power?
Answering “yes” to all? Well, it’s time to think about the fun stuff!
PLANNING ACTIVITIES TO DO TOGETHER
We suggest completing this task 8 days before the Fireside Gathering
Fireside Gatherings are all about enjoying spending time together. That can take many forms, and as the Innkeeper, it’s up to you to craft one or more cool activities for your patrons. We’ve prepared a short list of possible ideas for you to consider, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, the possibilities are endless!
Giving your patrons something to do as soon as they arrive can be a great ice-breaker. How about handing out pieces of paper with a secret quest to complete? For example: “Help a beginner build a deck” or “Find the Murloc plush hidden at the venue” or “Reach 10 mana crystals against a Paladin deck.”
You can reward completed quests with minor prizes such as a drink voucher or a little badge.
Watch a Hearthstone Stream Together
Whether your patrons enjoy the thrill of the top HCT games or the chill of your favorite streamer, the whole year is packed with great excuses to get together and watch some Hearthstone! You can even organize some prediction ballots: let your patrons guess the outcome of what they’re watching, then score them on how well they guessed.
A community favorite, Paint-Stone is very simple: get a white board and a few markers, give the active player a card name – they must draw the card’s art (no numbers, no text, no cheating!) while the other players try to guess it as fast as possible. The worse your drawing skills are, the more hilarious it gets!
While it’s not mandatory by any means, many Fireside Gatherings plan tournaments. Since this is likely to be your first Fireside, we will suggest this simple option for small crowds: The Round Robin Tournament.
In this type of competition, each player plays against everyone else, and points are given for each match won. When all matches have been played, whoever stands at the top of the scoreboard is your champion! Feel free to have a little reward for them. Their name as reigning champ on a board for the next event is another nice touch that doesn’t cost too much.
On the topic of rewards… While it’s great to give prizes to the best Hearthstone player(s) in the room, it is also good to consider patrons who contribute to the quality of the event, and help build your local community. For example, experienced players teaching newcomers, folks bringing food, or drinks, or showing up in cosplay, etc. You can also organize random raffles, as a way for everyone to feel that regardless of their game prowess, they have a chance to win a little something!
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with fun and crazy “house rules” for your tournaments. For example, deckbuilding rules such as only common cards allowed, only even-cost minions and odd-cost spells allowed, or even “The Ogre Challenge: before every game, flip a coin. If heads: Swap decks with your opponent!”
If you have time for it, you could schedule some of these activities more than once during your event. Don’t forget, the key to a growing community is to try to offer something fun for everyone, from newcomer to competitive player!
GETTING THE WORD OUT
We suggest completing this task 7 days before the Fireside Gathering
“Everyone! Get in here!”
How do you make it happen for your event? Well, it’s all about getting the word out! Here are 3 avenues you can explore to get started.
Fireside Gatherings Website
When you register your events on the Fireside Gatherings website, it becomes visible to players in your area. This is a great first step in getting new players to develop your local community.
Creating an account for your Tavern on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media channel is a great way to let your patrons know when you’re planning something. Don’t forget to tell newcomers so they can follow your page and stay up to date on upcoming events!
In this digital age, it’s easy to overlook what a simple poster can do for you. If the venue you’re planning to use allows it, why not put up a simple note on the door – or a wall – telling every passerby that something cool is about to happen soon!
In some cities, a Fireside Gathering is typically something that might interest a local paper or events guide.
And that about wraps it up! Hopefully this gives you some pointers to run your event successfully. If you’d like to find more tips on how to be a great host, or let us know about what works for you, be sure to check out our Innkeeper Community space.
From all of us at Blizzard, thank you for what you do for your local players, and for being a part of Fireside Gatherings!