Store Spotlight: Across the Board Games

How did FNM promos lead to Jimmie Johnson co-founding a popular game store? The Store Spotlight shines on Across the Board Games in Mount Airy, NC!

Mr. Johnson ran events even before the store opened. In 2010 he founded a Magic: The Gathering club he describes as “Nothing formal at the time, just enough to get FNM promo cards.” After Wizards of the Coast discontinued the club program, Mr. Johnson and Edison Floyd pooled their savings and co-founded Across the Board Games, opening in April 2011 “primarily as a Magic store.” Since then they’ve added other games, including miniatures, RPGs, TCGs, and board games, but as Mr. Johnson puts it, “Magic has been here since day one.”

Once Across the Board Games was open, Mr. Johnson felt another pull, toward judging. Though becoming a judge would let him give his players “the final word” during events, he said, “I was in school as well at the time and did not feel I had the time needed to devote to judging, my store and my family.”

Players  at an IQ hosted at Across the Board Games.

Players at an IQ hosted by Across the Board Games.

Once his schedule had cleared up, he had more time to study. “I read as much of the rules, Infraction Procedure Guide, and Tournament Rules as I could. I [also] took practice tests online.” When he was ready, Mr. Johnson worked at an SCG Open in Charlotte as a Level 0, shadowing a more experienced judge, and passed his Level 1 test during the weekend.

Becoming a certified judge had immediate benefits for Mr. Johnson and his store. While he cannot be head judge of a Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier yet—that requires a Level 2—his experiences with the judge community have been invaluable, giving him insight into what it takes to run a major event and how the principles apply to his in-store tournaments.

There are more perks: “Other than not having to find judges for IQs and other events that require L1s, our players like to run competitive events to practice for Opens, Invitationals, GPs, etc. It’s also very helpful to be able to answer most questions that customers have.”

Mr. Johnson’s advice to tournament organizers thinking about becoming judges: “Just do it. If you need a deeper rules understanding, you will gain that.  It adds a level of credibility to your store as well. Would you rather play in a store with a judge or one with a judge?”

“I would urge all TOs to at least get to know your local judges. Realize how much work they do when at events and what they do just to run FNM or IQs smoothly. There is a deep and welcoming community in the judge program that can benefit anyone that puts in the time and effort to get to know these great people.”

Why did my Game Night get cancelled?

If your Game Night was cancelled, this means we did not receive your event fee before the due date. Game Night event fees are due on the 10th of the month before each Game Night.

To avoid cancelled Game Nights, we recommend enrollment in our Automated Recurring Billing system. Our ARB means your Game Night event fees always will be paid on time.

To reinstate your Game Night or enroll in automated billing, please e-mail our Game Night representatives at [email protected]

Choosing the Right Event Date

When running a In-Store Programs event in your store, timing is everything. Whether you’re running Game Night or a $5,000 Premier IQ, keep these scheduling tips in mind.

  • What other Magic events are around me? If the calendar doesn’t show any Magic events nearby, that’s a good sign for yours to be a success. Dueling events near each other on the same weekend hurt both, and the In-Store Programs team avoids scheduling them whenever possible.
  • How far ahead can I plan? The earlier you request an event, the better your chances of getting it. Early approval and payment mean more advertising for your event!
  • Is it a holiday? Major holiday weekends lower attendance as players make other plans.
  • What’s the local school schedule? Especially in college towns, finals, breaks, and graduations can lower attendance. On the other hand, a one-day break within a week (Veteran’s Day, for example) could be the perfect date to host a weekday IQ.
  • What’s the convention schedule? A nearby “fan” convention for gaming, comic books, anime, etc. can be just as much of a scheduling conflict as a Magic tournament.
  • What do my players want? Find out what fits your customers’ lives.

Not sure when to schedule your event? Contact an In-Store Programs representative at[email protected]. We’ll be happy to help!

April – June 2015 Game Night Designs Update!

[Due to an unforeseen supply chain issue, we’ve changed the order of Game Night designs for April, May, and June. We apologize for any confusion!]

We hope you’re enjoying your March Game Night kits featuring our adorable Rat design! You’re also probably wondering what’s next — and so are your store’s customers! — so here are the Game Night designs for April, May, and June 2015!

First up is April’s design, the Kitten! The curious kitten has two paws on a hamster ball whose occupant is having fun. Here are the Kitten pins and foil tokens for April Game Night!

April 2015

April 2015

In May, the Bee flies in! Your players will be abuzz for our loyal hive-defender. Check out the Bee pins and foil tokens for May!

May 2015

May 2015

In June, the Bunny hops into action! This adorable tactician has a pointing-stick, a plan, and two eyes on a delicious carrot prize. Check out the Bunny pins and foil tokens that will go in June’s Game Night kits!

June 2015

June 2015

Our adorable Creature Collection product designs are the perfect rewards for your players! Use Game Night as the casual event to increase traffic and sales in your store each week! Sign up now for Game Night!

Tokens Added to IQs and Tournament Boosters!

Starting in May, we’ll be adding tokens to our IQ kits and Tournament Boosters!

Invitational Qualifiers will receive the current Invitational winner’s token, starting with the winner of the Richmond Invitational, according to their tier:

Regular IQs: 25 tokens

Super IQs: 50 tokens

Elite IQs: 100 tokens

Premier IQs: 400 tokens


Tournament Boosters will include 16 out-of-rotation non-foil tokens to give players another chance at hard-to-find designs.


This is the first of several changes we will be announcing in the next few months as a result of your feedback.  Keep your eyes open for more updates and get ready for tokens in IQ kits and Tournament Boosters, starting this May!

June Event Scheduling Now Open!

Ready to schedule your June In-Store Program events? Sign-ups are now open!

Schedule your June 2015 In-Store Program events in Organizer Tools today!