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Monk's Corner
Ray Powers

*Level III Judge

*WOTC Tournament Organizer for Arizona & San Diego

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 Monk's Corner
How to act at a tournament

By Ray "Monk" Powers

As everyone who reads my articles weekly knows by now, I am retiring from tournament organizing for everyone but Wizards of the Coast. A couple of weeks ago was my last WizKids event, and this past week was my last events for Upper Deck. For Upper Deck this meant a Yu Gi Oh Prerelease. If you haven't been to one of these, the new set up is pretty interesting. They do a 16 person flight system which you should be familiar with, but they also have an Open style side, which is basically "Arena League - The Prerelease."

Each player gets the packs, builds a deck, then goes and finds anyone they want in the open area, plays them, repeat five times, then turn in their sheet showing they played five people, and get a pack. How they actually did is irrelevant, everyone gets a pack just for playing five people. Kind of a weird setup, and a small pain in the butt for a tournament organizer for one big reason; the last entries are kind of screwed. If you are doing sign ups for this all day long, the last few trickle in players are going to have a very difficult time finding five people to play against because everyone else is done playing already, so its going to be a fairly unhappy experience for them. But that's the way it goes, and it was a fun experiment at the very least.

While sitting at this event, I kind of had a numb feeling. Its weird to realize I may not be seeing a lot of these people again. But, even with the numb feeling, there was still the minor annoyances that come from some of the players. Let's face it, even as a player you can see that there is a number of "challenging players" out there for us organizers. Players who seem to make the whole day more difficult for everyone. I started to wonder if these people do it on purpose, or strictly out of ignorance, and decided I had my article for this week!

How not to be an Annoying Player!

This quick easy guide is written, admittedly very selfishly, to make life easier for the organizer. I know it sounds like its not very useful to you, but think about how much nicer your day will be when your organizer is in a good mood and willing to make your day great for you. Grumpy organizers are no fun for the judges or the players, so if you follow some of these easy rules, you will make the event better for the organizer, and for the staff, which should mean the event ends up better for you.

1.. Registration begins at 9am, means registration begins at 9am

This is probably by far my personal biggest pet peeve as a tournament organizer, but it might just be me. Every event that I run has a published registration time, and that's when I will start taking registration and do some initial announcements so everyone knows what's going on. By its very nature, this means that, for the hour or so before registration, what do you think the staff is doing? They are setting up to get ready for a vast influx of people we are going to have at the registration start time. Somehow tho, to a large number of players, this translates to "the hour before the event starts where we will do everything we can to distract the judges and organizer asking them questions they don't have time to answer because they are trying to set up the event.

You want to make me happy, step away from me and my staff the half hour before the events starts. I am happy you wanted to be here, and showed up early, and when I am ready for registration I will do some announcements telling you everything you need to know about registration, and if you have any questions AFTER that announcement feel free to ask me. But for that half hour before we start, PLEASE LET US DO OUR JOB AND SET UP THE SITE FOR YOU.
Every person who comes up and distracts me or my judges is setting back the time we get to start for everyone, and that's just not fair.

2.. The night before is not the time to request information

Events are announced very early on nowadays. I have events on the web site normally MINIMALLY one month before the event actually occurs. There is the web site to find out information, fliers, and my cell phone number is on most advertisements so you can call me directly to get information.

Use it. Feel free to call me, feel free to e-mail, feel free to check out the web site. But, not the night before. The night before is when an organizer is packing everything, doing a final inventory check, and making sure he has everything ready for you tomorrow for setup so he can run the event for you as best as he can. Try not to disturb him during this.

Even more importantly, REALIZE THAT WE HAVE LIVES, and that we are not at your beck and call. Every event I run, EVERY SINGLE ONE, someone decides that, at say 11:30pm the night before is the time to call and "make sure"
that registration is at 9am the next morning. For my Yu Gi Oh event this past weekend, someone called my number at 1:30 in the morning. DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE SLEEP?!?!?!

Please learn some sense of courtesy for your organizer, and that they need to sleep if they want to run your event the next day.

2.. We do not have extra free stuff just for you

This is probably the biggest complaint I hear from other organizers across the world, and its probably my second choice of pet peeves. For many events we run, there is an enormous amount of free stuff and "included giveaways."
We will tell you what they are, and are more than happy to give them to you as supplies last. We want you to be happy, and we want you to get your money's worth.

We do not just carry extra packs just for you because you ask for them. We do not have a secret stash hiding because we're thinking "You know, everyone else gets five packs for this event, but hey, if someone ASKS, why not give them an extra one!?"

Uh, no, it doesn't work like that. And at the end of the day, when we have packs left over, that does not mean they are to give out to you. It means we need to return them, or maybe save them for the next event. They are not free packs. We had to pay for them. We can't just give them to you.

Admittedly the first asker normally doesn't bother me. Most of these people are kids, and they don't know better. After all, everything they get from their parents is essentially free, so why wouldn't other people give them things for free? Its the continuous askers that kill me. "Can I have this for free? How about this? What about this? Well, then why not that first thing again?"

Its not hard to say no once. Its annoying as heck to say no five times.

2.. Judges get judge questions, organizers get organizer questions

As a player, this is the hardest to understand, so its easy to be patient with these people, but it really is a time crunch for the staff when a player continually asks the wrong person the wrong questions. The short version of this is simple - If you have a question about a card or a ruling, you ask a judge. If you have a question about how the tournament runs, you ask a organizer.

2.. Listen to announcements

Almost every event you ever go to, there will be a microphone. The organizer and the judge will often use the microphone. Please listen to them. When you hear someone talking on the microphone, stop talking to your friends for a second, stop playing for a second, and listen to what is being said. If we are talking on the microphone, it means we feel what we are saying is important enough to try to communicate it to all of you. Please listen to us. I can not count the number of times I have made an announcement on the microphone, only to have someone walk up to me less than a minute later and ask me a question that was covered by the announcement I had JUST made. I guarantee you that by listening to the announcements you will have a better feel for the event as a whole because you will know what is going on, and won't be just kind of wandering the event wondering what is going to happen next.

2.. Ask questions

I know a lot of this sometimes sounds like the organizer is saying "LEAVE ME ALONE!" but that's really not true. We want you to understand what is going on in the event, and we want you to feel comfortable here. If you are confused about something, please come talk to us (using number four and number one as a guide of course). The only way we can clear up something for you is if we know you have something you need cleared up. We will be happy to answer anything you ask. Don't wander around confused. Help us help you.

Follow these simple steps, and hopefully you will have a better time, and your organizer will have a better time, and everyone will have a better time.

We can hope.

See you next week!

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