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Mercadian Masques Prerelease-Rockville, MD

Skip Potter

Baltimore/Washington, D.C - Mercadian Masques Prerelease September 25, 1999 Auality Suites Hotel, Rockville MD, (run by DreamWizards) 373 Players

Judging Staff - Rob Kaminsky (Head Judge), Joe Stafford, Rick Fravel, Chris Brownmiller, Ken Russell and myself

6:30am - Got out of bed and grabbed my Magical suit of armor (jeans, T-shirt and my comfy tennis shoes). I take two Tylenol and stick two more in my pocket for later in the day. I know from my past experiences of working these long day Prerelease Tournaments that a few things happen: 1) You get tired, 2) You get a headache from not eating right/on time/at all!, 3) your feet and back my start to show signs of rebellion from standing most of the day! I snatch two packs of Pop Tarts out of the box, grab both computers that are loaded with the DCI Reporter software and jump into my ride. I swing by 7-Eleven and grab my 16oz cup of coffee (can't eat Pop Tarts without coffee!) and head off to the COMIC shop where our entire gaming group meet.

7:30am - I pull into the parking lot of the COMIC shop and everyone is already present and accounted for. I sound the trumpet and three cars line up behind me as I lead this caravan some 40 miles to Rockville, MD from Woodbridge, VA by way I-95 and I-495.

8:15am - We arrive at the Quality Suites Hotel and immediately find the room where the event is going to be held. The first think that came to mind was that the room was too small and the tables were not covered with table clothes. The DreamWizards staff had not yet arrived so I instructed my judging crew to get some coffee/food/bathroom break because we will be very busy over the next several hours. They scatter like roaches when the lights come on!

8:30am - DreamWizards arrive on the scene and we all get started setting up the room. Rob Kaminsky tracks down the hotel manager and I start setting up the two computer systems with Rick Fravel. We use two computers (in case you are asking why) because we usually get so many people at these Prerelease Tourneys that we run two Tournaments at once so that we can all go home before 12:00 Midnight!

9:00am - The players are lining up outside and starting to get registered. I notice the hotel crew are putting down table clothes. This is a good sign, I know Rob is doing his thing as he always does. Rob is kind of the Cooler in our neck of the woods. Rob makes sure you get what you paid for. Rick and I finish setting up the computers and testing the printers and the software.

10:00am - We are ready. We start filling up the computers with player information when I look up and see on of the hotel staff taking the table clothes off the tables! I sprint over to inquire what was wrong with the current table clothes? The hotel staff member pointed out one of the players and explained that she said "We don't need those!" so he was collecting them for safe keeping! I am not sure how upset he got when I explained that he should listen only the people in the "Purple Shirts". This little delay cost us about 30 minutes in times because we could not number the tables until the table clothes were in place!

11:00am - I am informed that we have run out of the prerelease cards! Wizards had delivered 150 cards for an event that easily gets 350+ people! This causes a small wrinkle in our plans for a smooth tournament. We usually have the players show their prerelease card as proof of entry fee when we are handing out decks and booster packs! Somehow we make it through passing out decks, booster packs, pens, registration sheets, and warnings all before noon!

12:00 - We start the tournament! I am expecting many problems based on the early morning events. Right after posting the first pairing list I have 10 people standing around the judges table. All of them are complaining that they are not on the list. I check both computers and find the mistake. I quickly enter these players and pair them against each other and get them started!

1:00pm - All is well and not a problem reported in over 30 minutes!

3:00pm - After almost all the players have reported I am notified of two players who sat at the wrong table and played the wrong players! After checking out who they played and their standings it was a quick job to break the original pairings in the computer and pair the players with who they actually played.

5:00pm - A REPEAT OF THE 3:00pm pairings mistake! Been there, done that! Fixed it, announced it! One of the printers decides to stop working. Now we have to switch the one printer we have left between the two computers for the rest of the event.

7:00pm - Everything is going smoothly and then I hear the loudest digital disco music being played throughout the hotel! We rush around trying to find out who has lost their mind! Rob finds out that their is a wedding scheduled in the hotel and the DJ was testing the sound system and that the wedding will start at 8pm.

8:00pm - The wedding starts. Everything else is fine.

10:30pm - We post the final 8 in both tournaments! They all agree to split with whoever they are paired. We all get to pack up and go home a little early this time. As we are packing up the computer, I wonder off and grab some of that wedding cake!

11:30pm - We are packed up, all prizes have been destributed, and we are pretty pleased at the final results of the day.

What we learned:

1. You need to keep everyone on your staff well informed. This includes the hotel staff if you are obtaining any of their services.

2. Make sure you know the DCI Reporter Software features. We had to do several operations at this tournament that we never had to do in the past. Breaking pairings, repairing, and entering players into the tournament after it started.

Until next time,

Skip Potter
DCI Level I Certified Judge

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