The Organizer has now forged a solid playgroup though dedication and cooperation. Each store has a regular Destiny Day, the local meta is established, and the influx of new players is steady. This is now where the hard work begins. Assembling a machine can be done by many. Upkeep and maintenance of said machine takes passion and practice. Where does the Organizer go from here? Organized play.
Have a Thorough Understanding of the Rules
The latest comprehensive rules and tournament rules documents should be printed and on hand. They don’t need to memorized, but read enough times that the answer to most complex rules questions can be quickly located. In addition, tournament operation and formats should be familiarized. Knowing the following terms does most of the work.
- Single Round-Robin: Each participant plays every other participant once
- Double Round-Robin: Each participant plays every other participant twice
- Ideal for a small number of participants
- 1st round matches are randomly paired
- Subsequent matches are paired by similar performances (Prestige values)
- Predetermined number of rounds
- Ideal for a large number of participants
- Single Elimination aka “Knock-out”
- Swiss Modifier
- Losers of each bracket are eliminated
- Shortens tournament duration
- Double Elimination
- Swiss Modifier
- Participants are eliminated after two losses
- Commonly viewed as the format that brings “best” players to the final matches
- Requires at least twice the number of matches as Single Elimination
- Getting a “bye”
- Participant automatically proceeds to next round
- Does not affect strength of schedule
- Given in Round-Robin if there is an odd number of participants
- Given in Single Elimination if the number of participants is not a power of 2.
- Strength of Schedule
- A tie-breaking methods where the participant with the more powerful opponents wins
- Calculated by total wins of played opponents
At the time this article is published, much discontentment resonates regarding an issue that has followed the Official FFG Tournament rules up to the current 10th edition. One of the biggest issues is that the time to establish a winner from the Top 4, also known as post-cut, can take as long or longer as the first portion of the tournament. The silver lining is that FFG only requires this formatting to be used in official Store Championships. This allows venues to use a tournament format designed with the input of the local community for maximum enjoyment. The following format offers a good foundation for non-Store Championship events:
- 40 Minute Rounds
Competition Galvanizes a Community
Monthly tournaments should begin once the playgroup reaches about four regulars. These early tournaments likely won’t have the numbers to justify the purchase of a prize kit, especially considering those must be pre-ordered. However, an entry fee with boosters and/or store credit prize for at least first place conditional under a four player minimum should be satisfactory after some discussion with the store management. This is usually $5 entry/$20 credit equivalent or $10 entry/$30 credit equivalent. These tend have the most balance between not hurting the wallet of the participants or margins of the store. A quick note as to why store credit slightly more desirable for the venue versus boosters. Store credit is an easy prize to give because someone purchasing with store credit always spends more than that amount.
A prize kit should be purchased from Fantasy Flight Games when the store reaches $40 in profit from tournaments with the explanation that said kit will warrant about a $10 entry fee. The store makes a profit as long as at least five nerds pay to play Space Fight: Inevitability in a tournament once a month. Multiple tournaments may be held using the contents of a single prize kit if the community has five or fewer. The most dedicated Organizers should feel free to forgo the acquisition of a new video game or decorative soaps one month and offer said funds toward to pre-order of a prize kit.
“Such charitable souls are viewed as heroes among the community and may actually drown in the resulting flood of phone numbers and make-outs.”-Daniel Fackelman
The Inevitable Plateau and League Play
“Well, now the community has a handful of innovative opponents with a taste for competition and an Organizer a far cry from the green horn of so many months ago. Here comes the plateau. No, for realsies. The growth of the community is going to stop. That is not to say the community will hemorrhage players, but that the influx of Explorer’s that go from demo to purchase will alarmingly decrease. This is no one’s fault. It’s sociology or, like, a wizard did it. For whatever reason, this happens every time. This blight is a flummoxing phenomenon with no balm for the grinding itch.
That is until one a young man unbridled by romantic relationships discovered that this was not a slump, but a signal for the next stage of growth for the community. The platform for this new metamorphosis: league play. This consists of folks playing for points that accumulate over the course of a predetermined number of weeks with final standings established by total point values. A league can actually double the number of regulars at a game night.”-Daniel Fackelman
The venue staff should be informed of the league prior to its first week and humbly requested to assist by storing match results in a binder that also contains the list of paid entrants, latest official FAQ, latest official rules documents, and a rules document for that particular league. These should be comprehensive, concise, and organized considering they are not actually for the convenience of the Organizer, but the venue staff and potential participants. The rules document for the league should contain the following:
- Start and end dates, as well as the one-time participation fee
- A log of every paid participant and a their date-stamped point total
- Requirements presented by the venue
- Match time limit, if any
- Given that these matches are individually scheduled by the participants themselves, there is normally no time limit
- Additionally, these games are Best 2-out-of-3 for best results
- Points system (Standard is 2 for per win and 1 per loss)
- A reminder that decks must be sleeved, including Battlefields and Characters
- A statement that the acting Marshal’s rules decisions are final
- A rule that individuals may only play each other once a week
- This prevents “match spamming” where two dorks play each other repeatedly to gain a point advantage. This limit can be increased to 2 in communities of four or less than, but that is the maximum.
- Contact information for the Organizer
The community may also request point awards based on things other than match results. Examples include deck-building achievements or in-game accomplishments. If the decision is made to include such things then keep them simple, or go the way of Alderaan! This point bonus should also be limited to a maximum of once per week. Complexity will lead to balance issues for the players and a point calculation nightmare for the Organizer. It is highly suggested that the only additional points should be the following, as these will help grow awareness of the game and its local community:
- Promotion of the actual league via:
- Family-friendly social media posts with a designated hashtag
- Checking-into the venue when gaming
- Confirmed reference by a new, payed league participant
- It is functionally required that this is limited this to once per league to avoid abuse
The First Steps End and the Adventure Begins
“This summarizes the tools an Organizer will need to develop a community. A single person can become a hub for an entire culture when leadership and diplomacy are carried with dedication and discipline. Event organization is an essential and one of the most rewarding experiences in gaming. Get out there, make your community, make your store money, and most importantly, make new friends.”-Daniel Fackelman