Growing the Community

On Social Media the other day, someone asked, “How do I grow the BattleTech base in my area?” Here’s an answer.

I will be tapping my related article Watch One, Do One, Teach One for some things, but this is complimentary to that article, not a replacement. You have to do both. This will be a multi-pronged campaign. The overall objective here is to grow your BattleTech community at your FLGS.

Prong 1: Get the store involved.

We do this by approaching the owner of the FLGS and hand him money. Not to buy things from him, but for him (or her) to buy BattleTech products for the store. The owner can buy things a lot cheaper than you because they get it wholesale, you get it at retail. I’ll put this up front, you’re going to need $400-500 for an initial stock order. A bit of help from your BTCC (BattleTech Co-Conspirators) might be helpful here.

You might want to talk to him about “renting an end cap” or a particular section of the store. Manufacturers rent the ends of aisles in supermarkets and retail stores as a normal course of business because what's on the ends of the aisle gets more notice.
Let the store owner keep all of the profits from the sale (don’t do this “on consignment”), he’s done all of the work. If he sells everything you had him get, ask him to reinvest your money into more stock. If it continues to sell, slowly back out of your investment by asking for store credit in small chunks. So a $500 investment you can get back out in ten $50 store credits over 6-12 months.

In a worst case scenario where nothing sells, he gives you the product to pay off the investment and you now have more miniatures to paint!

Prong 2: Be visible.

This means you and your BattleTech Co-Conspirators have to play every Saturday (or whatever very busy day your FLGS has) to invoke the “100:10:1” rule. Namely, if you’re doing something in public, for every 100 people who walk by, 10 will be interested enough to stop and gander for a bit, and 1 will actually ask to join. The sign I have at the end of the other article and a sign holder from Office Depot. Give a quick summary of what BattleTech is and if it piques their interest, they’ll ask. If you haven't read it already, now's the best time to check out Watch One, Do One, Teach One

Prong 3: Convert the “Heathens.”

The points I bring up here are specifically aimed at Warhammer 40K players. You don’t have to quote me on these points, but you do need to cover all of them.

Point 1: Cheaper models. A standard 40k Space Marine army of about 1,850 points (HQ, 2 Troops, Terminators, Dreadnought, Assault squad, Devastator squad and a Whirlwind or Predator tank) will cost between $350-400. Spending the same amount on BattleTech miniatures will buy about 2 companies worth or 24 models. That many miniatures will get you well over 20,000 points, providing a great pool of units to customize a variety of armies.

Point 2: Stable Ruleset. The foundation of BattleTech was laid by the base rules in 1984. There has been only a single rule change between then and today. Everything else has been new rules and more detail. Warhammer 40k is currently on its’ eighth edition, with radical changes of rules occurring between each edition.

Point 3: No Codex Creep. The constant release and re-release of books for each faction forces players to perpetually purchase new units to remain competitive in casual play and tournaments. For BattleTech, the Battledroids Locust is just as viable today as it was then.

Point 4: Proxies. Warhammer 40K has an inflexible WYSIWYG. If your Sergeant doesn’t have a Power Fist, you can’t use it, even if you paid for it on your roster. The BattleTech community encourages the use of proxies. You can use one Atlas model to represent any of the 22 variants (yes, I counted) there are, just not at the same time. Proxies can also be used to just have something on the table to try a new record sheet. “Want to field test an Atlas but only have a Trebuchet miniature? It’s an Atlas now!” I’ve seen people use poker chips as units. Try that at a 40k tournament!

Point 5: Lore/Backstory/Fluff. The amount of lore written for both games are enormous. Each are different tastes and I will not compare one to the other. I am sure any lore fan of one universe would appreciate the lore of the other.

So there you have it. Three simple (not easy) things you can do to influence the growth of your local BattleTech community.

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