|GP-Tours - When Everything Comes Together
I thought about writing
this report for a long time. Certainly because it was one of the most exciting
tournament I've ever run and maybe because I've spent a lot of time
and energy in the realization of this event.
As a WotC employee
in the local office, I was deeply involved in the organization of this major
event in France since the very beginning. In consequence, this report is a judging
report and a tournament managing report in once.
all, if you've not already read Michael Kastberg's report on GP Tours,
do it now ! ! And don't forget to have a look at theEuropean
Sideboard on-line coverage, there is a a lot of pictures of the event.
chronological report on how the tournament went : the managing part
of the report,
Of the situations we've encountered during the all week-end from a
judging point of view,
the cherry on top of the cake, the famous Props and Slops.
Part I :
When everything comes together
a Grand Prix is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult things to do in
a tournament organisator's life. It's as big as a Pro Tour, but it's
not a Pro Tour :
run as many rounds as on a Pro Tour (at least), but in two days with registration
instead of three without registration. It's a schedule's nightmare.
requires a lot of attention. In addition to entering 400+ players in DCIR,
awarding byes may cause a strong delay in your tournament schedule. Preregistration
is really, really helpfull. Tell it to your local players, please.
experience of your judging team is lower than a Pro Tour's one and most
of the time you don't have as many judges as on a Pro Tour.
the judging team was easy. I wanted an international team so I proposed
a couple of judges from Europe to show up in Tours. 6 of them made the travel.
In addition, I received a large number of application from french judges interested
by the event. It's a pleasure when you're not running out of staff.
Finally, the complete team was made of 8 level 3 judges (yes, it's not
a misprint : eight really trained and well exprienced judges), 11 level
2 and 4 level 1. This include judges for the all-night events and for the judge
the event just need you to be realistic and conservative. You can't
expect to start the next round only sixty minutes after the beginning of a given
one (assuming you're running a 50 minutes per rounds event). I've
per rounds on day 1 and
per rounds on day 2.
the unknown delay due to the 5 additional turns and the crowd control
(400 players can't find their sits in less than 10 minutes, so count 15).
In addition, I've assigned
for deckbuilding and land distribution (in the master schedule, but only 50
announced to the public during the player's meeting) and
for each draft and deck construction.
is to have a realistic view of How much time I'll loose with problems
I've not already consider ? . For my own satisfaction, based
on the DCIR Tournament Summary, we finished day 1 with 18 minutes of delay and
day 2 with 25 minutes (untimed final can't be properly scheduled).
up the site is not really exciting by itself…Banners on walls, tableclothes
on tables…But it's so good to welcome another staff/judge/friend/official
(cross out useless mention). It took more than 5 hours with more than 10 peoples,
so do not consider this part as an anecdotal side of the event. And do not skimp
this work, the global image of the event depend on how you've arranged
Judges Meeting is a good memory. I arranged for the entire staff to have
a relaxed snack together by having all of the french judges bring in a representative
food of their region to share. I brought some bottles of french wines (a kind
of sampling for 20 peoples) even if we do not want alcohol on-site…it was
a private party !
had the regular meeting itself, with a detailed schedule of the event, a rules
session, and the Gran'Pa session in which everybody explain his own Judge
Mind Trick (see Tim Weissman's article on communication), what to do and
not to do.
Registration were improved with the use of a new computerized system. In
addition to the preregistration system, we used a global database which keep
track of every single awarded byes. In practice, a search by DCI number, a double-click
and Joe is registered. Except when Joe uses several DCI PINs (see Elaine Ferrao's
report for more explanation on this problem).
side of the spoon is that you need several laptop computers to run such a registration
rounds are really boring. It was 8 rounds of prelisted (really boring…)
sealed deck on day 1 and 6 rounds of booster draft on day 2. Nothing to do except
waiting for the next call for the head judge. No I'm joking. Everything
went well, but it's so easy to screw up and lose 30 minutes on your schedule.
divided my team into groups of three or four judges, leaded by a high level
senior judge . This system is already used on the Pro Tour, and
works very well.
just assigned to each team additionnal little tasks for the entire day such
as posting pairings/standings or main event cleanness control. Then each team
rotates between four positions :
(see Russel Bulmer's article) and
rest (judging on major event is really tiring, and I don't want a zombie
team by the end of day 2).
Top 8 went smoothly. There is already an article on how to handle a Top
8 written by Sheldon Menery (by the way, here is a big thanks to all judges
I mention for their article/report in this report, it's so cool for a lazy
guy such me to make reference instead of writing).
If you need
to learn only one thing from this boring report it's : Arrange your
event as much as possible before D day, because you'll encounter unexpected
problem anyway…And the less you'll have to deal with, the better for
Part II :
JUUUUUUDGE ! !
Pavlovian reflex comes back….
Coggins (European Sideboard and Dojo contributor from UK) was in our database
with a 1 round bye awarded. When she showed up to the registration desk, she
explained me that she was in discussion with Gordon Culp (Organized Play System
Analyst in WotC) regarding a discrepancy on her rating (some misentered tournament
reports or associated K-Value, I don't remember anymore). As a proof,
she provided a copy of some e-mails from which it comes up that she deserved
a 2 rouds byes. Let's do it, she had 2 byes in Tours…
you and me, this is the example that proves the opposite rules. I mean, there
are approximatively 7.8 billions players who want to complain on their byes/rating
(just because there is a delay between the event date and the processing date)
, so do not go into an exception system (when you award byes for any event
in this particular situation), it's the best way to enter an endless
loop of complain.
Kastberg relates in his report, we were not really consistent on the Cinder
Elemental - Muzzle interaction (yes, the Elemental deals his damage) on day
1. Correction of wrong rulings is always unpleasant. In addition to spread
the correct ruling among the staff and every affected players, I added this
topic (not the ruling itself, but what to do in such situation) to the day
one's debriefing. We agreed on an announcement at the beginning of day
2 fixing for everybody (at least in the Top 64) the ruling on this interaction.
topic is consistency . Being fair basically means applying the
same thing to every player. From a penalty point of view, consistency is so
important. There are approximatively 9.4 billions players who want to complain
on the unfairness of their last penalty ( I had a game loss and my friend
received just a warning for the same infraction… hum,
your friend didn't put the additional card in his hand, this is a major
difference regarding the integrity of the game). This is the purpose of the
Penalty Guidelines and consistency have to be one of our major concerns when
issuing a penalty. However, I think that on the ruling side, truth is more
important than consistency. So, if I realize that I screwed up on the Thieve's
Auction – Food Chain – Bifurcate ruling, I'll apologize to
all affected players and make the proper ruling on future calls.
2, I disqualified 4 players for Illegal Main Decklist, and I feel bad with
that. We all know that the penalties structure is build to protect the integrity
of the event and players from potential misconduct. And, for this particular
infraction, the philosophy is pretty clear and obvious…in most of the
case. But I think that we have to make a difference between recording a 56
cards decklist in extended, living 4 slots for an amazing attunement, and
a 38 cards decklist in booster draft. This deck is used during 3 rounds only.
My experience showed me that we punish more innocent_but_so_dumb players than
Bad™ guy with this penalty. I would say that a game loss in each of the
following matches played with that deck is a more balanced penalty in a limited
other hand, this penalty will open the door of temptation. This is the reason
why the worldwide warning database maintained by Elaine Ferrao (DCI Policy
Administror) is so important. She keep track of redundant Bad™ behavior
and this job can be done only if we register every single warning we give
around the globe. Just to say that it's from your warning report that
creates good control by the DCI.
this is an opened discussion, feel free to send me some bombs…
of regular rulings you find everyday on the dcijudge-list.
Part III :
props and slops.
The most reassuring judging team I've ever had. Guys, you were amazing,
thanks a lot.
Play Staff from both Belgium, UK and French Office. One more well-done GP.
staff & judges only opening ceremony on Friday evening
was a good relaxing introduction to a long week end. Just ask everybody
to bring some foods or drinks from their regions and you'll have a
great buffet (Matt's foie gras and Thierry's dried sausage
were so good…thanks again). And by the way, if someone have a picture
or two of the party, I'll be happy to have a copy…
mighty Cajus for another perfect scorekeeping.
Crook (Level 4, WotC UK) and Didier Monin (Database and Computer Manager,
WotC France) for their hard work on the preregistration and byes database
system. It's a great tool.
again, because they were really awesome.
and his computer network. It's this kind of feature that turn a Grand
Prix into a great event.
Hoover. Do I need to tell you why ?
to all judges and players who send me a written constructive feedback after
the event. It's so important.
site. All week end long, I felt like Jean Luc Picard on a USS Magic spaceship
coming from Star Strek.
site and the bunch of beautiful hostesses…
players. My dream was 600 (and it's not unrealizable on the european
We could have done better. It was not that bad (Pairing of round 1 completed
27/11, 1999 12:01:34), but I loose a friendly bet on the timing (I've
bet on a beginning of round 1 at 11a.m which was doable, but not done…).
because I'm sure that I forget to mention someone or something in the
props, and I don't like that.
french train company for going on strike Saturday morning.
in GP Cannes ! The first team Grand Prix ever run !
Do I have
to tell you that the site is the Films Festival site, only 50 meters from the
seashore, 1 hour from the first ski track ?
Cyril ‘ !oNk$'