“Ho, ho, etc., and let me welcome you back to reality after the hopefully satisfactory completion of your respective annual rituals. Personally, I consumed roughly my weight in chocolate and crashed like a hypothetical bl…”
Ah well I can’t finish that quote, trying to be family friendly and all that! However, the first person who guesses where it’s from will get a £10 discount on the Langden website – the code is where the quote is from all lower case with no spaces…
Anyway, it’s the beginning of January and as we say a fond (is that the right word? Nah, I’ll stick with it) farewell to 2023 I wanted to take some time to ponder upon the year that was and the year that will be!
2023 marked our 9th year of existing and our 2nd year in the new shop! These are both very positive things! While thinking of positives we’ve added Yu-Gi-Oh! to our regular events, hosted multiple 20+ wargames tournaments, and raised over £1,000 for charity! Happy days!
It’s not all been positive, and the ever-increasing cost of living is a real threat, couple this with companies that seem hell bent on destroying their reputation and customer goodwill with ‘interesting decisions’ (mentioning no names) and we end up in ‘interesting times’! (To use the ancient curse).
Before I get into the main ramble, I wanted to take a moment to convey my thanks to all our customers that have supported us this year and especially those we’ve dubbed ‘hobby champions’ who have helped grow communities and organise events, we couldn’t have done it without you! So again, thank you!
To hopefully make the ramble easier to read I’m going to talk about each standalone topic/game system individually, so strap in, here we go!
The Shop/Range of Products
We’re always looking to expand what we stock and base this on equal parts, feedback, demand, and guess work coupled with a bit of faith. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong, it’s the joy of retail! Our aim this year is to focus on our key sellers and try to ensure we have sufficient stock for all of them and make the most of our shelf space. Don’t worry we’re not going to cut the main brands we sell, but we might move things around a bit to make the best use of space that we can!
The play space is now much busier than it was, this means that sometimes there is no space available either due to demand or other events taking place. If you’re coming down to play, please check with us in advance that there is space available! Please also remember that paid events trump bookings, and bookings trump walk ins.
Remember our tables are free to use! However, we are not a ‘doss house’ if you’re using our tables, please remember they are only for playing games, hobbying, or opening product, they aren’t just for sitting at.
I’ll talk more about events for specific games in their relevant section, but the main plan is to ensure that we continue to host well run and more importantly well attended events. There are only so many days in the week and if events are not getting a good attendance, we’ll cut them for something that hopefully will!
Magic the Gathering
2023 marked 30 years of Magic and Wizards handled it really well and the entire player base couldn’t be happier… That’s what I should have been writing but it wouldn’t be true. 2023 was a challenging year for Magic, competitive play is in a weird place, they’ve released some questionable products (Commander Masters take a bow) and a lot of players are feeling a bit burned out with the game as a whole.
It’s not all been negative thought, the RCQ events have been well attended and have brought in players who wouldn’t normally come into the shop so that’s good. There is also the upcoming unknown of ‘Play Boosters’ so we’ll have to see how those are received.
The biggest issue we currently have with Magic is regular event attendance, outside of RCQ’s event attendance is down and we’ve had spates where some events have not fired for a number of weeks. To be blunt if event attendance does not improve then Magic risks losing some of its nights as other systems are looking for space. The only night that is guaranteed for Magic is Fridays with FNM.
If people have issues with the regular MTG events, please let us know and we can review them. The aim is to have regular Standard, Pioneer, Modern and Legacy organised play but like we said numbers need to improve i.e. we get 8+ on a regular basis or Thursday Night Magic may be at risk.
While talking about Magic we will ensure that all paid events are on our website with as much notice as possible and we’ll do as much as we can to promote them. The aim is to have a fixed schedule so that people can get into an event rhythm and plan around what is happening.
We’ll be looking to continue running RCQ’s and will run occasional larger weekended events, we’ll also look at running things like the old Standard Showdown as I recall Wizards bringing events like this back in 2024, these will probably be on a Sunday.
Basically, we’re reviewing Magic events to ensure that we continue to provide the best offering at the best prices, with the best prize support but we need people to attend to make them worthwhile.
Warhammer – 40K & Age of Sigmar
Warhammer is the heavy hitter of tabletop games in store. We have large and growing communities for both games and have successfully run 20+ person tournaments for both systems. We want to do more of this!
We’ll be working to plan a series of events throughout the year and hopefully be able to have an invitational event for both systems at year end. We’re also looking to run some full weekend events as well which should be fun!
Our aim is to increase the selections of and improve the quality and usability of the store terrain and we’ll be using income from events to support this. What we want to provide is boards that are interesting and have a bit of soul to them while also being fun to play on.
We’ll be creating living event packs that will be used for all events that will have reminders on rules and clarifications on things such as the required painting standard, so everyone is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. 2023 was a great year to test ideas and see how things work and 2024 we plan to put what we learned into practice.
2023 was an amazing year for Blood Bowl in store, we managed to run 2 league seasons and 2 full day tournaments while increasing the size of the player base and raising money for charity! This was a win all round. We want to continue to support the same in 2024 and continue to provide leagues and one day tournaments.
Not much else to say really other than onwards and upwards!
Bolt Action is a weird one, we have a player base, but we just need to be able to get them all in the same place at the same time! We’re going to look at running regular events in 2024 but they may not be a regular as they were in 2023. We’ll make sure we run at least 4 events across the year. Personally, it’s one of my favourite games and I’m keen to see the community grow.
In 2023 we ran a number of ‘Hang Out & Hobby Days’ which were great! The plan in 2024 is to make these more regular and hopefully have them take place at least once a month. It gives me the opportunity to get store terrain done as well as supporting the community with any project they are working on. Social hobbying is great 😊
2023 saw us enter the arena of Yu-Gi-Oh organised play. It’s been a great success with us seeing an average of 14+ players each week. The plan for 2024 is to build on this and run things such as OTS Championships and Early Access events. Thank you to the community for letting us host events and we look forward to more players taking part in events!
Flesh & Blood
Another game that has seen steady growth in 2023 and we now have a good level of regular attendance. As with the other games we run our plan in 2024 is to continue to grow the community and hold intro events to introduce people to the game.
Dungeons & Dragons
A game we don’t really shout about, but we currently have 7 groups that meet at the shop, some weekly, some more ad hoc. Basically, if you’re looking for a venue to host a game we can help. All we need to do is check that there is the space available.
We keep getting asked about other games systems such as Lorcana and Pokémon and we’re keen to support any games that have a local community and player base. Basically, if you want us to run events, talk to use and we’ll see what we can do!
And Finally… 10 Years of Langden Games
This August will see the shop celebrate existing for 10 years! We’re keen to make this an awesome year. Please support us in making this year the best year ever!
And finally, finally, thank you for reading this far! As a thank you the first 10 people to use the code ‘ANNUALRAMBLE’ will get £10 off at our webstore.