In our series spotlighting great D&D Encounters stores, the WPN talked to Rob Newhart of Game Theory
in Raleigh, North Carolina to ask about their secrets for success.
WPN: Tell us a little bit about your store.
Rob Newhart: We are an events store that opened in March of 2010. We specialize in introducing people in the gaming community to each other. We consider Game Theory a place where friends come to meet, laugh, and play some games. We love to host professional events where fun and friendly play is our main concern.
WPN: How do you run D&D Encounters at your store?
RN: We run it on Wednesdays at 6pm and 8pm. Whenever people come into the store we make sure we mention our D&D Encounters on Wednesdays and our Living Forgotten Realms on Monday nights.
WPN: How do you publicize D&D Encounters for your store?
RN: We list it on our Meetup site and tell everyone at our store and in our gaming community.
WPN: What do you do to attract new players?
RN: We communicate with our customers and make sure we talk about all the events that happen in our store all the time. We assume that they want to come, they just don’t know it yet!
WPN: How do you satisfy returning players?
RN: We make sure that we always treat them in the way they deserve. They are celebrities to us and we treat them like it.
WPN: What do you add to the program to make it more attractive to players?
RN: We make sure that when people play D&D Encounters in our store, we have a fully stocked snack bar, a private room, and a DM with a lot of experience (Rick Desautels—over 30 years). He DMed the original modules when they came out in the early 80s, so he adds a lot of tradition coupled with a very overactive imagination!
WPN: What do you do to attract DMs?
RN: We have plenty of people who want to DM, but we really like to make sure that we choose DMs who have a flare for the dramatic and good rules knowledge.
WPN: How do you get new players to come back and become customers?
RN: We are more concerned about whether they have a good experience than whether they buy something. If they have fun, they are going to buy something… it’s that simple. Some places get that backwards.
WPN: What’s the most valuable thing your store does to improve Encounters?
RN: I don’t think it needs improvement, but we like to use real miniatures for the monsters instead of tokens. The store provides them free of charge. The tokens are good for minions, but it’s always scary to see the actual mini on the table.
WPN: What is the most valuable thing your store gets from Encounters?
RN: I think it’s the people who come and say hello every Wednesday night that I only get to see once a week. They are some of my favorite folks, and I like to see their smiling faces.
What does your store do to make Encounters the best it can be? Tell us in our WPN Forums and we might feature your store in a future article.
March of the Phantom Brigade launched February 9th, but you can join in any week of the entire D&D Encounters season. Interested in playing? Find out more about D&D Encounters on our events page, including the adventure’s backstory, its downloadable characters—and where to find a game near you!