Magic Ikoria Prerelease & Mystery Booster Reprints

Ian O'Brien

Ikoria Prerelease

As you may have heard, Wizards of the Coast have now officially moved the date of the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths prerelease. It will now take place on 15th May.

In this time of uncertainty, it is unclear whether the current lockdown will have ended by 15th May, so at this time you can still preregister for Ikoria by picking up a Stay-at-home Prerelease Ticket here:

https://justplaygames.uk/products/ikoria-stay-at-home-prerelease-15-may

If the lockdown has ended by this point, we will convert these tickets into a normal, in-store prerelease ticket at no cost. If you've ordered these tickets and don't wish to play in-store, we'll still honour them as stay-at-home tickets and deliver the packs to you. So please do still preregister with confidence and you can will get to play this this exciting prerelease in whatever manner best suits you when the time comes!

 

Mystery Boosters

We've been waiting on reprint news for Mystery Boosters for a while (and indeed, a few of you have already preordered some) and the second part of this announcement confirmed that they will indeed be getting reprinted and sent to WPN stores. Wizards will be supplying us with some of these for free as a support effort for the WPN (for which we are deeply grateful!), and we're waiting on news on whether we'll also be able to purchase them through distribution as usual.

In either case, we've reopened preorders for Mystery Boosters and you can find them here:

https://justplaygames.uk/products/mystery-booster-booster-display

These will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and we may disable orders if we get too much of a rush on them since we don't know how many we'll be allocated, so preorder away whilst you can!

 

Thanks for all of your support, and we'll keep you updated on any further changes as they happen!

Ritchie, Ian and Team JustPlay

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JustPlay Physical Store Closed, Distributors Closing, Deliveries Still Open!

Ash Gavin

Hi Everybody,

As you may know by now, in line with government guidance we've now closed the JustPlay store to the public. Most of our staff have been sent home (especially those that rely on public transport). You may have also read in the news that some major distributors, notably Games Workshop, are also closing their doors for the foreseeable future.

Firstly some good news: we are still sending out orders via Royal Mail and we are still delivering locally in Liverpool. All stock in our store has now been set to show as out of stock when our stock levels hit 0 since we can't order any new stock, but everything in-stock can still be ordered and dispatched as usual! I'll caveat this with the fact that we don't know how long this service will be available for; we will run out of stock at some point, and we could be asked to close even as a delivery business. So if you're planning on ordering something for an isolation project, a board game to play, or anything else, do it now whilst you still can!

Last week I wrote a post explaining our stance on the current situation, and since then the government have advertised a number of measures to help small businesses. I'm sure that you will have all read various comments from your small business-owning friends on social media as the the efficacy of these measures for them, but for us I can tell you that these measures alone will not guarantee our survival and we still need your support! Small businesses owners around the country are currently trying to figure out how to write that line without sounding like they're begging, but that's the situation we're in. Please be kind to them as they try to keep their business alive and keep paying their staff - what you may not realise is that the government's staff retention scheme will only pay wages if the business survives.

On a lighter note, we'll be ramping up our content efforts in the coming days and weeks! Please make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, tune in to our Twitch Channel, and join us on our Discord Server. Keep the community spirit alive in these trying times!

Thanks for reading everybody. Keep yourself safe, look after eachother where you can, and be kind to everybody; the world needs a lot of that right now.

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Same-Day Local Delivery Service & Other Updates

Ian O'Brien

Same-Day Home Delivery (Available Now!)

Today we're announcing our new same-day home delivery service that we are launching today in response to the Coronavirus isolation policies. This service will allow you to order from JustPlay as normal, meaning that you can still get your gaming fix, keep working on your projects at home, and support us all at the same time!

First, I want to set expectations. This is new, and it's been planned in 24 hours, meaning it is subject to changes as we try it out. We're pretty good at what we do though, and if it's a service that our customers take advantage of, we've already got extra drivers on standby to scale it up. For now, Ritchie will be delivering items straight to your door.

As Coronavirus precautions dictate, orders will be packed in a hygienic area that is frequently wiped down and sanitised. Deliveries will be dropped at your door, and you won't need to make any physical contact with the driver.

Initially we are delivering in the L1 to L30 areas inclusive. We may refine this as we go on, and we're very open to feedback from you guys if your area is not covered. If there is demand to go farther afield or through the tunnel, we'll definitely consider it.

(Update:

Going forward we'll be delivering Home Delivery orders for CH postcodes every Friday. We've chosen Fridays because it ensures that we've gotten all of our deliveries in for the week. For CH delivery, please choose the usual Home Delivery option on our site and just ignore the "L Postcodes Only" part, and Ritchie will see you on delivery day!

If you head to justplaygames.uk and place an order, you'll see a new option for same-day local delivery. There is a minimum £10 order and a £1 delivery fee (to cover petrol). We've kept this as low as possible for now.

Our driver will leave the store each day at 3pm, and deliveries will take place between 3pm-7pm. Orders placed by 2pm will be delivered on the same day. This part is definitely open to change if you guys have feedback here, and we'll happily do more if there is more demand!

That's it - please take advantage of this service! It supports us through this very difficult time for business, and also means you get stuff to play with at home, which will be very useful if you want to take part in our isolation-based activities which we'll be announcing in the coming days (starting with a Games Workshop-related announcement later today!)

Outstanding Store Pickups

If you have an order placed before lunchtime on 17/03 that was to be for store pickup, and you can't or don't want to come to the store, please get in touch with us via the usual channels and we'll home deliver it for free.

 

Club JustPlay Memberships

Many of you are Club JustPlay members and are undoubtedly wondering what happens to your memberships during this period. We'll be converting all money spent on Club JustPlay memberships during isolation to store credit. That includes pro-rata'd credit for those of you who pay 3 or 12 monthly. This is a manual and complex process (not the least of all because everybody's memberships renew on different days!) so we aren't doing this immediately, but rest assured you won't end up out of pocket.

 

That's everything for now! We'll be announcing lots more about community continuity and isolation events in the coming days so please do stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for more news, and don't forget that you can also join us (and the rest of the community) on Discord at https://discord.gg/GWPHnv

Thanks for reading, look out for eachother and stay safe! And as ever, if you could help us out by sharing this article around, that would be amazing.

Ian, Ritchie and Team JustPlay

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Coronavirus Measures and the Future of JustPlay

Ian O'Brien

In-Store Changes

As many of you will have seen, the Prime Minister has just addressed the nation regarding Coronavirus. As part of his address, he has asked that all social gathering spaces close, and the British Public refrain from "unnecessary social contact". Whilst enforcement of these measures is not clear, it is clear that we have a social responsibility to close JustPlay for gaming purposes. According to today's update, this closure will be for approximately 12 weeks, but possibly longer.

Therefore, we're announcing the following:

  • The store will be open every day for business as usual from 1200-1900, seven days a week, but the gaming area will be closed to the public.
  • With immediate effect, all events are cancelled. Please see below regarding refunds.
  • Tomorrow (Tuesday 17th) we will be announcing details of our same-day new home delivery service, which will deliver hobby supplies, miniatures, card games, board games, and more to your door.

Cool Stuff Coming Up...

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and we're going to be doing everything that we can to ensure continuity of the JustPlay community and events, even if they take a slightly unusual form!

Firstly we've rebooted our old Discord server, both for the community and so that we can have more discussions with you guys and take any ideas that you may have, as well as communicate with your more effectively. You can join it here:

https://discord.gg/gpMHaum

Secondly, with our usual JustPlay-esque levels of innovation, we'll be looking at what kinds of events we can possibly run "from home". We don't know exxactly what form this may take but it may include things like Arena-based tournaments (with entry fees, and prizes delivered to your door!), live streamed Warhammer games, painting competitions, and more. We know that Wizards of the Coast are making preparations for the Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths prerelease to run from peoples' homes, so there is also potential support coming from your favourite games manufacturers.

Thirdly, we are open to your ideas. If you have a cool idea for us, for the community, or for your game system, something you'd like to see us run or something we can support you with during this time, please let us know!

The Future of JustPlay

It goes without saying that this is an extraordinary time for many people, and we're no different. To be very honest with you, the outlook for JustPlay as of today is not great. We're a business that relies largely on our in-store trade, and that will be severely impacted by these measures.

We've never taken our customer base for granted, and we've always tried to make our store an attractive place to make your purchases over online stores and deep discounters, but for the next few months we have to ask directly for your help. If you are able, and if your own financial situation in these trying times allows it, then please continue to make your regular purchases from us. Pop down to the store if able, take advantage of our new home delivery service, or use our 24-hour Royal Mail shipping options. It is not an exaggeration to say that  without your continued custom, there will not be a JustPlay when this pandemic ends. Also, please consider similar for other local businesses; they will need your support too.

With regard to refunds from event tickets already purchased, please contact us to arrange a refund. As you may have seen today, PayPal have introduced a new policy whereby they will keep all fees from refunded payments. You may call this profiteering from the Coronavirus situation, and you'd be correct. We'd like to make a request that you consider a refund in store credit for any event tickets that you've purchased (we pay fees on all refunds, PayPal or otherwise, PayPal's fees are just much higher for us). It would be a giant help to us to not have to refund tickets right now, although we appreciate that many of you may need the cash, so please let us know what suits you best when you request your refund.

A Huge Thank You

Thank you for four wonderful years of JustPlay. It's been an amazing ride, and we won't let it end without a fight. We'll do everything we can to keep forging ahead and with your support I believe that we will get through this.

On that note, if you need support, we are here for you too. If you need to chat, we're available online. This article from MIND on personal wellbeing and the Coronavirus is a great read.

Thank you for reading this announcement, and thank you for your continued support.

Stay safe everybody, look after yourselves, and hopefully we'll speak to you on Discord or online!

 

Regards,

Ian, Ritchie, and Team JustPlay

 

PS. If you could share this in local Facebook groups, Twitter, and with your fellow gaming friends in order to get the news out, that would be a huge help to us.

 

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Our Coronavirus Measures

Ian O'Brien

Hi Everybody,

As you are no doubt aware, the current situation with Coronavirus in the UK is quite serious and we want you to know that we are taking it seriously ourselves at JustPlay, so here's some information on the measures that we're taking at the store to assist in keeping yourselves and our staff safe.

As of a couple of weeks ago, we upped the general cleaning schedule in our store. Our staff are regularly wiping down all touchpoints in the store including the counter, till, shelves, and gaming tables with antibacterial wipes. The gaming mats and terrain are being sprayed between games with Dettol antibacterial sprays.

We've ordered new pedal bins for the store to replace our old flip-top bins and reduce the numbers of touchpoints in the shop. We have hand sanitizers readily available at the counter for you to use and will continue to do so for as long as we're able to keep getting it.

The bathrooms are being deep cleaned 2-3 times daily instead of once, and we've replaced our usual towels with blue roll towels for the duration of this situation. 

We've also opened up the old kitchen as an additional hand wash area, where you can use our basins and soap to clean your hands as regularly as you require.

We'd ask that all customers avail them of the above facilities and follow the current guidance; wash your hands often, don't touch your face if you can help it, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

We would also ask that customers follow the Public Health England Stay-at-home Guidance in regards to self-isolation if you feel unwell.

Currently there is no advice that people need to avoid public places, however we will be monitoring the PHE advice for businesses closely and if we have to close the store to gaming fully or partially, we will do so for the safety of all of our customers. Also bear in mind that some games companies such as Wizards of the Coast are currently making provisions for upcoming events such as the Ikoria Prerelease to be played at home - please keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter for updates as they become available.

It's a very unusual and challenging time for most of us at the minute I'm sure you'll all agree - please look after yourselves and we hope to see you all soon!

If you're unable to get to the store, remember that we send all parcels by Royal Mail 24 which means they arrive next day - please take advantage of this service even if you're local, it's a very tough time for retail right now and we appreciate the custom during this period!


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Gaming at JustPlay in 2020

Ian O'Brien

Welcome to 2020. We hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year!

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Tagged: news

Flames of War Hobby League!

Ian O'Brien

Hello, fans of small tanks and tiny soldiers!

Starting mid-July, JustPlay will be running the official Flames of War Hobby League from Battlefront Miniatures. Regulars to the store will know that we've had a small but dedicated following for Flames of War for quite a while but don't currently stock the game - that's about to change, and it's all been inspired by the fantastic in-store play that Battlefront have planned for their game!

There are two boxes packed full of stuff!

 

The Hobby League kit is seriously impressive, and we honestly think it's one of the best kits we've seen. It comes with Limited Edition cards, tokens, objectives, and even deck boxes sized perfectly to fit the Flames of War unit cards. Read on to find out how you can get your hands on some!

The idea behind the Hobby League is that you slowly build up to a full-size, 100 point Flames of War D-Day Army (that's Late War, for those of you who know what that means) . In late October, OnTableTop - formerly known as Beasts of War - will be running a global Flames of War campaign, and as the Hobby league ends that campaign will begin. The Hobby League will prepare you for this campaign, and you'll be ready to join in the global fight for freedom! But that's not all; during the hobby league you can earn "Tactical Edge" cards which you can save up for your games in the global campaign, too, giving you advantages when you need them most.

Every week starting on 14th August, JustPlay will hold a Hobby League night on Wednesday. League players will meet for games, and earn achievements (see below) that work towards helping them in the campaign. Games can be played at any size (and if you want to play mid-war instead of late-war, we're not going to stop you), which means it's easy for you to play with what you have as you work up to your full 100 point force. Each week we'll recommend a points value for games but you can play whatever you like - the focus is on cool armies and having fun playing the campaign together. 

A tracker up on the wall in the shop for everyone to record their progress!

 

During the Hobby League, you will earn points on a points tracker for painting units for your army, up to a total of 100. The following limited edition goodies are up for grabs...

  • 50 points painted: A set of D-Day themed Movement Order and Mission Cards
  • 75 points painted: A set of D-Day themed acrylic Tokens
  • 100 points painted: A D-Day themed Deck Box

In addition to scoring points for painted units, you can also score various achievements. Every 5 achievements that you earn will give you access to one tactical edge card that you can use in the global campaign. You earn an achievements each time you do any of the following:

  • Attend Hobby League night - 1 achievement
  • Post a picture (or 10) of Hobby League night on Instagram - 1 point
  • Buy and paint a new unit (in addition to painting points) - 1 achievement
  • Bring a friend to Hobby League night - 1 achievement
  • Bring a table's worth of terrain to Hobby League night - 2 achievements
  • Teach a new player to play the game - 2 achievement
  • Attend a hobby league tournament (more on these later) - 5 achievements

At the end of the campaign, we'll also have cool awards for players with particularly high achievement scores... more on this as the campaign develops.

Does this sound awesome? We're not done yet!

 

In Early September, Battlefront will be releasing a special D-Day campaign pack that will become part of the Hobby League. Each game will form part of a campaign and have an effect on what game you play next. Also, each player will be able to choose an "ace" in their force, who will gain experience and skills during the campaign too! We can't wait to see this and get more details.

And last but by no means least, at a couple of points during the campaign we will run narrative tournament days linked to the Hobby League. These will award attendees with 5 achievements points as mentioned above, as well as tie into the Hobby League and give everyone a chance to test their mettle against other officers. The Hobby league kits comes with some very awesome D-Day themed objective markers to use as prizes for these events, so they'll be one to make sure you don't miss!

Are you as excited about this as we are? Head on over to Flames of War at JustPlay and grab your starter set, models and books - and get ready for the best campaign you'll play in 2019!

 

 

 

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Mythic Qualifier Update

Ian O'Brien

Hi Magic Players,

As you may have heard, the Mythic Qualifier weekend that we are running on 3rd/4th August has suffered from extremely poor ticket sales. It's pretty difficult to put our fingers on exactly why this was, but let me give you some background for context.

When we were first introduced to the idea of Mythic Qualifiers, the steer that we were given can be summed up as Wizards wanting these events to feel like a "Mini Magicfest". They had a 226 player cap which was thought to be a sure sellout. We were invited to tender our proposition for the event, so we set about figuring out what we could do to make an event which was essentially a modern-era PTQ feel like something special. We chose a great venue, we contacted a couple of singles traders, we organised side events and most of all, we looked at a level of entry fee + prizes that would make the event feel like there was something real to be won. The upshot of all of this was a £55 entry fee with a flight and cases of Magic boosters, plus more boosters for high-finishing records.

We were pretty unsure of this level of entry fee as it was high, but in order to offer the levels of prize support that we felt we had to, this was where the entry fee needed to settle. The break-even point on this event was very high, and we weren't even sure we would hit it; as it happened, the events around the country were not as successful as Wizards expected them to be. Whilst Spain, Italy and other bastions of Magic to whose standards we are regularly held sold out multiple events, the UK was running in the +-150 bracket. We made some money on the first event - about £50-100 - and we didn't account for staff meals and drinks during the day in there, so overall we probably lost some. On a 120-odd man Magic tournament with a £55 entry fee.

We took player feedback from that tournament. It was, from the players who were there, overwhelmingly positive, but still there was a feeling that the price was a little too high from a lot of corners. That left us in a tough position; less entry fee = less prizes = less attractive event. It felt like a lose/lose situation.

Then, we were asked if we wanted to run another event. This time it was to be Modern, the UK's favourite format. We figured this would be a good chance to try again. We spoke to multiple competitive modern playgroups across the UK, solicited feedback on prizes. People didn't want boosters. Cash came up a bunch of times. We rolled with that and even ran the exact prize structure past a few people, who told us they thought it was great. They told us they'd love to play. We reduced the entry fee down to £47.50 for early bird, we added a higher percentage of that as prize pool than we did for our first event. Our break-even point went up again, but with 120-odd players for Standard, we figured that this would be fine for Modern. Our expectations seemed reasonable.

We sold less than 80 tickets across two events.

Let that sink in for a second. The UK's "most popular" competitive format, a format that we all were worried was going to have support dropped a couple of years ago, has finally gotten big competitive events back that the community has been asking for since PTQs were abolished, sold 80 tickets. We didn't see it coming. Nobody did. And honestly, I don't really know what to say about it. Maybe we've done something wrong with this event that I can't figure out. Maybe the price being similar to a GP just makes the event unpalatable, but GPs have an economy of scale that we could never match. Maybe we should have run it cheaper, and with much reduced prizes? Is Liverpool an unattractive location because people feel that it's difficult to get to? Are there too many events in the calendar? Is it too close to a GP?

Please tell us, and please tell Wizards. I'd love to know what it is about this event that made you decide that it wasn't for you. If "premium priced" small scale events are too expensive for what they offer in your opinion, then it would be valuable for WotC to lower their expectations around these events being a "mini magicfest" because mini magicfests cost money. If you would rather see them be cheap qualifiers, then make your voice heard. Or if it's something else, say that too. We will make sure the feedback makes it to them.

In the meantime, clearly this event can't go ahead in the form in which it was planned. We'd hoped that with ticket sales closing on payday, we might have a big last minute rush - it's absolutely not unheard of for that to happen - but it didn't. So, players who have registered have received an email with revised event times and expectations. We'll be dropping the prize support, refunding 50% of everybody's tickets and the events will likely be 5/6 rounds. Anyone who wants a full refund will get one, along with an offer of compensation in the form of heavily discounted Magic products, which we hope will go some way to offsetting any out-of-pocket expenses.

We apologise for all of this. We're sorry. We're a small business, and we're not in this industry because we're here to make our millions. We're here because we love what we do, and we're excited to run big events like this because they are cool and we love Magic. We weren't able to do that this time round, and it's genuinely saddening and absolutely embarrassing. 

Hopefully the other Mythic Qualifiers this season do better than we did. Please support them, if you care about these events being available and want to see them continue.

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We're Hiring - Social Media & Marketing Associate

Ian O'Brien

Social Media & Marketing Associate (Gaming)

The Basics

We're looking for someone to manage our social media, customer communications and marketing on a part-time basis. We're a small team of games enthusiasts, and we need your help to grow and improve this very fast-moving, dynamic and interesting part of our business!

The Role

Your primary responsibilities will involve:
  • Planning, writing, and scheduling posts across our social media accounts to support product releases, events, and more
  • Creating, monitoring, and continuously improving paid adverts across platforms such as Facebook and Google
  • Growing JustPlay's online communities
  • Editing and curating content contributed by other staff members
  • Supporting JustPlay with effective customer communication
  • Helping maintain and improve our website

Skills

We'd like you to have all of the following skills:
  • Experience of both the Games Workshop ecosystem and Magic: The Gathering
  • Excellent written English and communication skills
  • Some web design, website management, or similar experience - not necessarily commercial
  • Basic Facebook, Google, or related online advertising or ad management experience
  • Solid computer skills and general comfort with technology
Skills that are a nice to have, but not a deal breaker:
  • Knowledge of some or all of: card games, miniatures games, board games, trending games, general gaming knowledge
  • Knowledge of film editing, photo editing, photography, streaming, podcasting
  • SEO/SEM experience

What We're Offering

We think we're a pretty awesome employer. We're easy going and won't be on your case as long as you're working hard. We're flexible and reasonable over most things as long as you are too. On top of that, we offer a great staff discount!

We realise that this role is unusual, and we recognise that part time doesn't necessarily work for a lot of people who might otherwise be a good fit. We're prepared to work something out to find the right person. We'd be happy for you to work odd hours if you have another job or are a stay at home parent, we'd be happy for you to work remotely if you live in another part of the country. If you're interested, get in touch and let's have a chat!

How to Apply

Send an email to hello(at)justplaygames.uk, attaching your CV and giving us as brief or in-depth an introduction to yourself as you'd like to write. Please use the title "JOB APPLICATION - MARKETING ASSOCIATE" - this is important, as our mail filter won't catch your application otherwise.

To be honest, we really only want to see your CV to get an idea of what you've done before, so the main thing we're looking for is for you to write us a sweet email telling us why we should interview you.

Applications close 31st July. We're looking to recruit someone as soon as possible for this role, so expect things to move quickly. We won't be able to respond to all applicants, so thank you in advance for applying!

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Tagged: news