Tournaments, you either love them or hate them.
I have had a love hate relationship with tournaments for a long time. That was until I started running them and then I love them. In the past, before I started to run events I was always the poor sap that came nowhere, wasn’t recognised for my painting talent or was seen to be amongst the in crowd. I wanted tournaments to be more than what they had become, a dash for cash (prizes) with the whole concept that what we do is play games forgotten on the whole. Games are meant to be fun and enjoyable, not cut throat and unpleasant.
So here are my thoughts on tournaments, or to be more precise how I run them.
The placing of first, second, third etc. are nominal and generally the norm. Depending on the number of people I would get for an event, say 20 or more then this would be acceptable. I also recognise the last place holder, the unlucky or just bad gamer. At the club I call home the last place position is highly sought after and nothing to be ashamed of. After all it’s all about having fun.
A trophy or award is all that should be given.
This is where I run into the most conflict with the establishment. The people who play competitively “demand compensation” for the effort they put into winning. My question is why? Is not the trophy or award and the plaudits of your peers more than enough. Many gaming companies now “reward” people who play in their events (as well as the organisers) with benefits, either stock or discounts. This culture has led to a very mercenary group of people who “farm” the circuit, making “money” out of their ability. People, and in particular new blood, will stop attending and competing if the same people win over and over again. While it can be argued that competition breeds a better state of play, our hobby is about enjoyment, and that should be first and foremost. Not a dash for cash.
In many events that I have run I have taken the bulk of the prize support I have received and made it a random draw for all who have attended (excluding the major place winners). This way a new player can feel good with themselves having an equal chance to win a prize than having to worry about being able to best the champion. This means that while games are competitive, they are not cut throat and I would hope not unpleasant.
This is not on.
There are indeed some talented people out there but my philosophy is one person one award. For instance a person who obtained the highest points for first place and best painted and sportsmanship should not get all three awards. They get the highest choice. I’d rate the order as place, painting and then sportsmanship.
They should not be running events purely for their own benefit. A number of companies offer support to organisers in a number of forms. While some people see this as a way to obtain items hard to obtain, I think that anything obtained in this manner should be given as a prize in any event. Otherwise organisers are essentially prostituting themselves for benefits that many others cannot obtain through fair play. You should be running events for the love of the hobby, not for the love of what you can get out of it.
I run events because I am an extremely capable administrator. I can easily craft spreadsheets to calculate places and scores. I get more enjoyment out of seeing other having fun than being one who participates in the event. My satisfaction comes from knowing that people walk away from my event happy and keen to attend the next one. My reputation speaks for itself.
In the end I am just the abnormal person who desperately hangs on to outdated modes of conduct. I am (un)landed gentry and a true gentleman in all aspects of its connotation. However I have always endeavoured to be above board in all the events I have run. People play in my events because they know they can have fun and have an equal chance of walking away with something that makes their attendance all worthwhile.