“Baptized in Fire”
(It has taken some time to post this one because I was swamped with work but here it is.)
I am back with the second part of the series of posts about me sharing my thoughts and experiences with organizing a tournament for beginners. As the first post was more about the theme and ideas that would work for a beginners tournament this post will concentrate more on the Do-s and Don’t-s and the practical part concerning organizing a tournament.
Some of you might know that I did organize the tournament and by now it has allready taken place a few weeks ago. And after the first article I was sure I got the basics down- but now that the first tournament is done I am not so sure I did. There were some hits and some misses, so let’s get right into it.
So before we get into the misses I got a talk about the goods stuff. So when organizing one of the main things you got to think about is the venue. It depends on a lot of things mainly the number of players you’re gonna host. If you have a club it will probably be the best place to organize. Here we have a boardgame shop called Lorien that we usually play at. So obviously it fits perfectly for our tournaments, specially because we have usually less than 10 players- it’ll fit right in there. But as it is not mainly a hobby shop it hosts a lot of card game events aswell. So a big thing when organizing a tournament is the timing. I booked the venue 4 months prior to the tournament. This gave me enough time to talk about it and get ready with the organizing side. Also announcing a tournament at least 3 months before it takes place is a good way of getting players to clear that date for the event. Not to mention the need to book the venue early if your club shares its rooms with other communities (As in this case- card games).
Another thing, specially with a beginners tournament, is that you should have armies ready to be given out to new players. Luckily I have been in the hobby long enough to have a few armies ready for that. I had two of my 1000 point armies out there that day and both were played by newcomers. In a small community like ours it was a real success. So be ready to loan out an army for a beginner, put it out there, let the people know that they can take part even if they don’t have an army yet. Witch also means when you organize the event- you should not play or at least find someone who is not playing that can help new comers with questions and rules about the game. I did not take part in the playing and I went around the tables teaching people some rules and helping the two new players get their grips on the game.
Also don’t forget the quick reference and tournament rules. Print them out, at least one copy per table- it really helps out. And figuring out the matchings. As there were 6 players and three tables I wanted to be sure that everyone could play different people on different tables- so before hand I figured out the system that I had to follow to have that result- it worked! And yes, 6 players is not that much but for our community along side with two of them being new players- it was a success.
So I did work out the magical boons and had a nice list of them. While some were very popular being used almost by everyone there were a few that were not used at all. Everyone at the tournament really enjoyed that little extra element to the game. As you can see on the picture untop of this paragraph I made up 6 positive and 6 negative boons. The idea was that one of the six would be slightly radical whilst the others are less so.
Surprisingly so from the positive boons people only chose A- giving them one reroll in the battle. Whilst all of the negative ones were utilised every time. The most popular one was L in the end bringing everyone 3 points every game. I have some new ideas ready for the next one to straighten the choices up so that all of them would be viable. For example, instead of C there could be a boon that allows you to force the opponent to re-roll a charge distance.
So the boons were a lot of fun and definitely something you should think about when organising a tournament.
Obviously it was not a perfect tournament, but I am ok with that. One thing I want to address is the “entry fee”. First of all, whatever the tournament or format the organizer should inform their participants what the entry fee goes towards. In my case I let people know that it goes towards prize pool- giving the first place all the money and the last place getting their entry fee back. While this has worked really well for me in the past, but only after the tournament did I realize this is not the ideal way for a beginners tournament. Putting out a prize money opens the tournament up for a mindset that is out for the win- witch is totally natural but the idea is not to create an epic competitive scene but rather an interesting and welcoming environment for newcomers. Hear me out- I suggest that instead of making a prize pool with the entry fee you should use it in a different way.
For example, if you have a club it could go towards terrain and better gaming mats. Maybe even a tournament called “The MiniFreezer” where the entry fee would go towards a mini freezer for the club. See- the options are out there. What if you don’t have a club? Well then maybe the entry fee goes towards paying for the venue and/or ordering a gaming mat or two.
I hope I have sparked an idea with this bit about the entry fee. For me it went down like this- the person who won the tournament gave all the prize money back to me saying I should use this to either buy new terrain or get some prizes for the next one I’m holding. So I shall. As I am doing the series of narrative tournaments I think it would be proper to get some extra terrain and or miniatures that could be on the table as neutral pieces. And obviously the terrain stays in the club and players get the miniatures for themselves.
Quick reference! I did print the reference sheets out but I did not print out scoring sheets. So after every game it took quite some time for players to work out the results. Further more as I thought it is a beginners tournament I’ll go easy with the armylists- and that was a mistake. You should definitely get the armylists before hand- to check the validity and the rules and stats they have. I had a few instances at the tournament where players had misunderstood the rules of the armies and it affected the results. So that was my mistake as much as theirs. And at the same time it did not hinder the enjoyment of the tournament so it is a tiny-tiny miss.
And ofcorse I forgot to take any pictures- what a bummer. Next time I’ll dedicate some time for that.
So now that I’ve had my first try I should play with the idea of using sportsmanship points, painting awards and how else could a beginners tournament boost the hobby side of the tournament.