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Honor Bound Prerelease, Legends of the Five Rings

June 26, 1999 - Colorado Springs, CO

Amy Sawyer

I would go into my experience but it's quite extensive and I don't want to put anyone to sleep.

The day started off pretty well. I arrived two hours early to help clean the place. I was on about a half hour sleep that day. I spent the night before packing my tournaments materials up, worrying about what could go wrong, hoping the car didn't break down, and basically praying that we would get a good turn out.

To those who don't know L5R this was basically a big fiasco. We were expecting and had ordered enough material for 60 people. Being the only store in Colorado to be hosting a prerelease we figured we would be packed. With the amount of e-mail and phone calls that we received it looked like we were right. Well, to make a long story short (okay not really) Five Rings Publishing Group finds out about a week before the tourney that about 50% of the cards were miscut. Oh boy was that trouble. Well, before we found out they posted all over the net saying that yes the cards were miscut but they would still have the prerelease anyways. The stipulations though were they would not charge the stores for the product, the most we could charge the players was $5 to cover prize support, any miscut cards were to be mailed back and the players could keep the rest and any product left over went back a well. Oh and the event would not be sanctioned now. I didn't know that part until the day of the event and even then I made sure to check on Monday just to make sure. Well, this caused confusion like there was no tomorrow. Lots of players who would have come were confused they thought they would pay $5 just to give the cards back at the end and a bunch of other miscommunications.

After several tourneys the weeks before I had come to greatly hate FRPG's way of counting points to declare a winner and break up ties. Every week most of the players complained about it. After discussing with the owner that it would be a pain in the rear to calculate by hand Swiss rounds for 60 people and to use the FRPG point system he allowed me to put the DCI Reporter on the computer. So of course I did. I decided to run the whole tourney strictly off of the DCI program and not use any other systems. The DCI program allows for draws while most L5R players under the old system were used to a concrete winner/loser system.

Anyhow 1:00 P.M. rolls around with a total of 25 players. I had 3 players from Pueblo, 5 from Denver area, and 1 from Grand Junction I believe, the rest were from the Springs. Yeah! quite a bit, but I was hoping for more.

The buzz in the store was electrifying. Everyone was so excited about seeing the new cards. Almost nobody was there to win but just to play and have fun. It made me completely forget about being tired. Now I was the only one running and judging this tourney. I was also informed of the wonderful pile of paperwork including the forms that kept track of product usage during the tourney that I needed to fill out cause the owner had no clue what to do with them. Well, I dumped the decks into a plastic bag and then handed them out randomly. There were lots of yahoo's and groans as the players either did/did not receive the deck they wanted. Deck building began and ended without a hitch. I actually had myself together that day. I was able to get the seatings for round 1 done before they were done building.

Everyone seated for round 1. I had gone over all the rules beforehand including the part about the DCI Reporter and that you can get draws in L5R now just like a good little coordinator should do. During the round as I handed out the reporting slips (I really love those things!!!!) I had to do a bunch of explaining on how to use them but that didn't phase me at all.

Now here comes the end of the round my one and only big problem of the day. I had announced that if time ran out you could get a draw. Well, time runs out three matches are still in progress. Oh Dang! Okay I call time and ask each table who started. Turns out one match will end with a definite winner that's good news. Next table it's a draw. Was questioned while they started adding points. One player asked me, "Can we draw? Is that legal?". My reply,"Yes." The end of that discussion they shake hands and go of to chitchat with friends. Third table....problem. Seems one of the players who, I guess, happens to be a big coordinator up in Denver wants to know why he is getting a draw, why I didn't announce it beforehand, and proceeds to tell me I can't do that. I explained yes I can, yes I did announce it, there are still four rounds to go with a finals and it's any one's ball game. Well, he didn't like that response. At this point I still wasn't phased. I wasn't doing anything wrong. He kept up an argument. I then explained that the event was not sanctioned but if he had a problem to take it up with WOTC on Monday. Please realize this whole discussion only took maybe three minutes. He grumbles okay, signs the slip, and off I go to put it in the computer.

I input everything and then seat for second round. I post it on a bookcase and as everyone is walking to seats someone (player 21) mentions that three people listed dropped out. I ask OK who was it? They say that it was player 22 and two friend but he's not sure of there names. I was like okay nobody play I must repair and I need to figure out who dropped. Player 21 runs outside to get players 22-25 and tell them to let me know who they are so I can withdraw them. Well, one runs back in circles their names on the sheet and splits as I yell at him to let me know next time. Well, you guessed it the guy who grumbled about the draw decided to leave without telling me. It was annoying though that because he was upset his two friends, who had both won their matches, were made to leave cause he was driving. That part upset me little. I didn't like the fact that being a coordinator he didn't have the decency to inform me of his leaving and that he forced his friends out to.

Okay that moment passed. Round 2. It took me a few minutes to get the pairings situated cause of the withdrawals but I did it. No problems for the rest of the tournament. I had a few minor rules questions. Answered them quick and efficiently.

Okay last game of the finals.....The deciding battle. Who would win?...Well one Amy (really funny that the two females in the store, one as player and the one running it have the same first name) was playing Crab. Her opponent Mason was playing Shadowlands. Well, the battle resolves and it looks like Amy will win....Just then Mason remembers his Stronghold which has a <YOU MAY> ability on it. Oh great this would change the tide of the game letting Mason win. Well, Amy contests his use of it thinking that he can't use the ability as a Reaction because it doesn't say so and because he remembered as an afterthought after they were basically finished with the battle. I was asked to rule. I pondered and pondered and pondered. I asked others what they thought after I had come up with the way I was going to rule first. I searched through all the rule book. I read and reread the Stronghold again and again and again...You get the picture. Well, I decided with my knowledge of the game and what the Stronghold said that he could not use it as a reaction. And even if he could he tried to use it at a phase in the game that I wouldn't have allowed. Well, I come back and they're are like it didn't matter because Amy still had her Stronghold to use and it would have pushed her force high enough to win no matter what. I told them my ruling anyway and said I would get an official ruling on Monday. Well, turns out I was wrong but he hadn't used it in time anyway. So Amy won. It felt really good to crown a female winner in a large tournament that day.

Well, after that I ran two side events so everyone could get more cards and there would be less to send back. The first one had 11 and the last one 12. I have to say that this was by far the best and the most fun tournament that I have ever run. As a usually Magic Coordinator/Judge I'm used to not getting anything out of a tourney. I'm lucky if anyone even says thanks. Everyone that day didn't leave without giving me a hug or a handshake and thanking me over and over again. I have never seen so many smiling faces or heard so much laughter at an event before. Everyone wanted to know when we could do it again. The players came for fun and not to win. They had fun walked away with great cards and were eager to come back. This was a day that as I thanked people for coming I actually meant it. I had been up for over 24 hours at this point and even though I was hurting I had a big smile on my face and was really hyped up still. I didn't want to go home I wanted to keep the warm fuzzy feelings going for as long as possible. I couldn't care less about getting cards or money from running an event, although it's nice. It's the praise that I really strive for and hope to get.

This was a great day for me. It came at a point that I was seriously thinking about quitting tournaments. I was tired of putting lots of work into something when no one would show up or be totally ungrateful when they did. This really helped me to see why I started doing this stuff in the first place and that was for the players. The players have always been my number one responsibility. Now I have much of my drive back again. After all there isn't anyone nuts enough to take over for me if I did quit. I really wish to thank all the players who showed up even though none of them will probably read this. The really scary part is all of them are Magic players or Ex-Magic players and they bathed before hand.

I have recently started a free mailing list for players/coordinators in the Colorado area to better inform my players and others about events in the area. Trying to get fliers to all the stores and e-mail everyone individually or type in all the addresses was getting time consuming and expensive. I still use fliers but the mailing list is helping immensely. I went to our local gaming club today and was even thanked by quite a few players for creating the list. I'm feeling really good about what I do right now. Even though it wasn't that long ago if I start to get discouraged I just look back, remember and go on filling out paperwork.

Well, thank you all for reading my rant.

Amy Marie Sawyer
DCI Judge Level I
Tournament Coordinator for Magic: The Gathering, Legends of the Five Rings, Pokémon
Moderator for The Colorado Tournament Guide

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