Most of the blog posts I write are gushing about the community we have, explaining why decisions we make have been made and so on. In this post I’m going to touch in some of the less positive aspects of organised events from my perspective as a TO.
Organised Event Attendance
At our most recent event – We had 72 people buy a ticket and we sold out, with a waiting list. Sadly only 69 of those players turned up that morning. I’m a mum of 3, I work and family is important to me so I 100% understand that sometimes things happen at the last minute which mean that you can’t make it to an event. I really do understand that, the flip side to this is that we are a community and when you join our page, our mailing list or buy a ticket to one of our events you become part of our ObSec family. Once you are part of our family my mumma instinct kicks in and if you don’t turn up and I’m expecting you I’m going to worry about you. I have enough worrying about my actual kids without worrying about you too!
Having players not turn up and not contact us also impacts on the event schedule and the event attendees. If we are waiting for players to turn up it can throw the whole schedule, how long should we wait? Are they stuck in traffic and can’t contact us because they are driving? Are they not coming? The morning of First Blood we waited 10 minutes to start, did the match ups and then waited while the players moved to their tables before we called it. We had a lovely player who had come along to spectate bring his army with him ‘just in case’ and he was able to step in to make it an even number. We were than able to get the two players who were without an opponent to match up and we were good to go.
We make a conscious effort to have even numbers of players and to have ringers to make it up to even numbers when we can, if we end up with odd numbers it means that there is a bye in each round. This isn’t fair for the players who have come to play 4 games but end up playing only 3, the flip side is that those players then get an automatic win which potentially throws out the results.
For ObSec players, we print our phone number in all players packs (well M’s I never answer my phone anyway so no point calling me) so if you aren’t going to come please give us a call, shoot us a text, pm us, leave a message on our Facebook page, ask your friend to let us know, send a carrier pigeon, smoke signals (actually maybe not smoke signals in the middle of an Aussie summer), what ever way works, but please let us know. TOs outside of ObSec, I know this is something that impacts you and your events, can I suggest that you include a method of contact in your players pack so that a player can get in contact and let you know if they are running late or won’t be attending. Let’s make it an expectation that if a player isn’t going to attend that they contact the TO.
The second issue is something that M experienced during the LVO where players left during the event. Again, I re-iterate that I totally understand that we all have a life outside of gaming and sometimes things happen that require players to leave, sometimes players get sick mid event, sometimes there is a family emergency, sometimes, sometimes…… Stuff happens, we have no control over it and during those circumstances as TOs we will do our best to manage it as best we can, whether we get a ringer, or sadly have to issue byes we will make it work and we have no issues with that at all. What is really disheartening is when players decide to go home mid event or not show up for day 2 of an event because they lost a game and now can’t win so it isn’t worth playing. While we have had a few issues over the last almost 2 years where a player has needed to leave for an emergency I am pleased to say that we have never had a sore loser leave because s/he wasn’t winning, so yay ObSec players.
It is because I hope this never happens that I wanted to address it. We run events with the intention that we will bring together a group of people who have similar interests so that they can have a good time at an event that is essentially playing with plastic soldiers. It is supposed to be fun and although we do award the winners the event is made on the backs of players having a good event, it isn’t designed to showcase a winner which is why we have somewhere between 9 and 20 hours of play (depending on the event) and 15 minutes of awards. We see these events as a way to build the gaming community, a way for gamers to get an opportunity to play, a way to build excitement about the game, a way for players to learn how to best play their army against other armies, an opportunity for players to play with gamers they maybe would never face off against. What I am trying to say is the events themselves are supposed to be fun, while its great to win, at the end of the day there can only be one winner and someone has to come in last. If you are going to an event with the sole purpose of winning then it is going to be disheartening to lose so perhaps go in with two goals, the first to do the best you possibly can in the rankings, remembering that while skills and knowledge play a part in wins, it does also come down to the roll of a dice, over which you have no control) and a second goal of having fun or learning something or meeting new people or what ever else might be appropriate to you.
If a player leaves mid way through an event then they are affecting their event and they are also impacting on the event experience for others. Much like when players don’t turn up, if a player leaves mid way through an event it then leaves other players having a bye and missing out on games and generally affects the day. It begs the question about why a player should care if another player is missing out, ‘why should I stay if I’m not winning just so someone else isn’t affected?’ That comes back to being a community. Do you want to be a part of something bigger than just you? That’s what we love about ObSec, it’s never about a single player it is about the community. The players arrive early and help set up, everyone pitches in for pack up and everyone stays for the awards!
Which brings me to another point, awards! We generally have 99% of players stay for the awards, the exception are the players that have a couple of hours drive home ahead of them. I recently found out that this is not the norm and often people think ‘if I haven’t won, why bother staying?’ Seriously? We stay to celebrate the event, to come together and have a shared experience, to cheer and clap as players are acknowledged for their results. It’s a show of respect, respect for the organisers, respect for the players and respect for the event. This is how we build a community!
While this may have not necessarily been the most positive of blog posts they are things that have been weighing on my mind. I wanted to briefly touch on these points and I’ll be back to my glitter farting rainbow sparkles posts ASAP.