Reviving An Inactive Scene (Louisiana, Latest Entry - 3/1/23)

The goal of this thread and future threads is to act as a journal entry so I can share my thoughts and actions, receive feedback and suggestions from readers, and maybe even potentially foster more connections to other Louisiana Bladers who just so happen to stumble across this thread.

Entry 01

My name is KJ and I go by kjrules17 here on the WBO. I used to host and attend WBO tournaments between 2018 and 2020, primarily in the New York area (Long Island and Brooklyn to be specific). I've also attended WBO tournaments in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and California (Los Angeles). 

Following a move from New York to Louisiana in the summer of 2020, I had tried reaching out to a few local game stores in my area to inquire about Beyblade tournaments but this was during the peak of COVID so it was very unlikely any events would have been hosted. Since then, I've continued to check up on the forum and Discord communities whenever I can with the eventual goal of putting something together here in Louisiana.

Near the end of last month, I managed to visit one of the local game stores in my area (Cajun Gamer of Lafayette, Louisiana) and speak to the owner. He was open to the idea of having Beyblade tournaments at his store, the next step was creating or finding a community here that plays it. 

Upon checking the WBO's Public Tournament Data Archive, it seems that the last time a WBO tournament was hosted in Louisiana was in 2014, so I have a lot of work on my hands to revive a scene that's been inactive for almost 10 years. One of the first things I did was try to group together other Louisiana Bladers I previously met through Discord into a single group so everyone could stay in touch. I also checked social media groups to see if there were already any local communities but couldn't find any. 

Yesterday, I attended an Open Game Night at the Cajun Gamer store. There were about 12-15 people there partaking in a variety of different activities: tabletop, PC gaming, console gaming. 

I spoke with some of them about Beyblade and also brought some of my collection and stadiums for people to try out. I only brought Single and Dual Layers and Discs as well as Drivers from Burst, SwitchStrike, and SlingShock. My collection of Beyblade went on hiatus during HyperSphere but I didn't want to bring those Drivers or newer Layers and Discs from SwitchStrike and SlingShock just yet. I want to introduce people to the game first and then get into the more detailed and complicated aspects of it, with mode changing and all that later on. I didn't want to overwhelm anyone from the start.

I had managed to introduce one person to Beyblade and he and I assembled several combos throughout the night to battle each other with. Because it was pretty new to him, he also had to take some time to learn about launching. We all have to start from somewhere. I also attracted some onlookers from the other eventgoers whenever they were taking breaks from their activities, though the ones I offered Beyblade to weren't interested. I didn't want to be too imposing with Beyblade either, as it was only my first time at an event at this store and I didn't want to disrupt the normal routines that the community there usually have. I didn't forget about getting that person's contact information either, we became friends on Discord and I invited him to the Louisiana Bladers group I have on there.

This is just a start. I think that with enough time and a consistent presence at this store and maybe other local game stores in my area as well, a revival of the Beyblade scene here in Louisiana is possible. It could take months, years, I don't know, but it doesn't hurt to try. Other steps I've taken recently are joining the Discord server for the Cajun Gamer store to introduce myself and what I want to do as well as make flyers to gather interest for Beyblade tournaments at the store.

But that's all I have to share for today. Whenever I feel that I've made enough progress for another entry, I'll post it on the forums. And if anyone has any suggestions or ideas of things I can do to help revive the Beyblade scene here in Louisiana, please let me know.

Thank you.
Hi KJ, back in 2018-2020 i've seen you very active on the WBO, and im glad you're back!
I wish you good luck in reviving the Beyblade scene in Louisiana, hope to see more tournaments there and everywhere else too Smile
Entry 02

I was debating on whether or not to add this second entry to my opening post or create a new post in this thread and I just decided to go with the latter.

I attended Cajun Gamer's Open Game Night for the second time last night and managed to introduce 2 more people to Beyblade (Lich and Moose) as well as connect with them on Discord. I also played several more matches with Ninja, the person I met at the first Open Game Night I attended last Wednesday and introduced to Beyblade. 

I saw a lot of the same faces I saw last Wednesday, many of them were already pre-occupied with role-playing games or video games. Like I mentioned previously, I don't want to force Beyblade on people so I will usually play by myself or with people who I've already introduced to the game to attract onlookers. And from there, maybe see if those onlookers are interested in trying it out as well. 

I'm also going to have to start establishing connections with other local game stores in my area and see if any of them have Open Game Nights too. The reason is because I feel that I can spread the game of Beyblade to more individuals by being at multiple stores instead of just one. This could also create additional venues to use for Beyblade tournaments down the line if one that I want to use is not available for a possible tournament date.
Entry 03

I made some more progress today so I might as well add it here.

I visited another local game store in my area, Sanctuary Games and Comics. When comparing them to Cajun Gamer, Sanctuary has a bigger store (which can easily accommodate more people) and they also have a more active social media presence. I spoke with the owner about the idea of having Beyblade tournaments at his store as well as if his store does Open Game Nights during the week (the reason being that if so, I could essentially duplicate what I've already been doing at Cajun Gamer: attend Open Game Nights with some of my Beyblade stuff with the goal of gathering more interest for the game). 

The owner was open to the idea of having Beyblade tournaments (but just like the situation at Cajun Gamer, there just has to be a community for it) and also mentioned that Sanctuary's Open Game Nights fall on Tuesdays which is good for me because if I'm available, I can try to attend the Open Game Night at Sanctuary and Cajun Gamer.

I also learned an interesting tidbit from the owner during our discussion: It turns out there was a small group of individuals around 2018 who tried to build a Beyblade community at his store but it fizzled out after a month. He also hasn't heard from those people in a while. I hadn't seen anything about this online so I guess it was just something you had to be around for in person.

I also was able to reach out to Dark Ninja Gaming and Anubis Games & Hobby, 2 more local game stores around me, but neither have Open Game Nights so it would be a lot harder for me to try to introduce or re-introduce Beyblade to those stores' communities, as each day is usually reserved for a certain hobby, game, or other activity (Warhammer, Dungeons & Dragons, Yugioh, Pokemon, Digimon, Magic: The Gathering, Smash Ultimate, etc.). If a store is already being reserved for a specific activity and people are coming to that store for that specific activity, chances are they may not be as interested in trying out another activity from someone who just pops up there randomly. With both of these stores here, I would have to have a community of Bladers already established and then perhaps either of these stores could be used as a potential venue or back-up venue for future events or tournaments I'm planning on hosting.

On another note, most of the individuals I've encountered so far at Cajun Gamer's Open Game Nights were repeat visitors, many of whom weren't interested in picking up Beyblade for one reason or another. While I definitely know that this goal of mine will take a lot of time, patience, and consistency, I also feel that restricting myself to only one local game store in my area may prolong the process, as I'm basically having to rely more on the new faces to gather interest. And I don't know when or if new faces will ever walk through those doors on a Wednesday night, only time will tell. 

I'm certainly not giving up on attending Cajun Gamer's Open Game Nights but if I can establish a presence at more than one store and try to be consistent with it, I think the likelihood of meeting more people and potentially gathering more Bladers could increase.

With all of that being said, if I'm available, I'll also start attending Sanctuary Games and Comics' Open Game Nights on Tuesdays in addition to Cajun Gamer's Open Game Nights on Wednesdays.

I'll probably have another entry for this thread next week if I'm able to attend one or both Open Game Nights.
Good luck KJ, I believe that you can Raise up Louisiana
Entry 04

It's been almost 3 weeks since my last entry but I've made some progress since then.

I went to Anubis Games & Hobby on February 13th and February 27th, where I met BK (2/13) and Vixyn (2/27) irl after talking to them online. I played Beyblade with both of them for a few hours on both of those Mondays. I know I had previously mentioned that Anubis didn't really have Open Game Nights but BK told me that the store was big enough (after an expansion a year ago) to accommodate multiple hobbies at the same time. Monday is normally when people there play Digimon and BK is a part of that group but he also told me that the store is never usually that packed so I decided to go on the 13th and see how it went. I had a good time talking with BK and playing Beyblade with him. I also was able to go to Anubis on the 27th and play Beyblade with Vixyn. It was nice to talk with her as well.

I went to Cajun Gamer on February 15th and March 1st, where I played Beyblade with Ninja both times. Not much else to share here since it's been more or less the same each Wednesday I go but I do have something else to elaborate on later in this entry.

I went to Sanctuary Games & Comics on February 28th, where I met XZealot and a few others and introduced them to Beyblade. I mainly played with XZealot but will try to play with some of the others there the next time I go.

With the thing I wanted to elaborate more on, here it is. 

When I was at Sanctuary on the 28th, I observed that XZealot and 6-7 other people were all playing the same game. Out of curiosity, I decided to ask what it was. The game they were playing was Vampire: The Eternal Struggle or V:TES for short. XZealot basically gave me a crash course on V:TES, he and I basically played a game with him showing me different ins and outs along the way. I had never played a game like it before, there was a whole lot to it but it was pretty fun to try out. It's actually better when 4 or more people play but I got there late so I wasn't able to join the bigger group of players when they first started.

But what I started to realize was, if I put myself out there and make an effort to involve myself in the activities that others are doing when I go to these stores, not only will I be able to make connections with the people there, but it could also increase my chances to introducing them to Beyblade. Sort of like a "I scratch your back, you scratch mine". I don't necessarily have to spend lots of money to get into these various hobbies, it can really be as simple as watching people play, asking questions about gameplay, or seeing if it's possible to borrow from others in order to join the people playing. I'm sure any group would love to have an additional player.