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Old February 10th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

So You Want to Run a Tournament

This thread is a primer for all of you who are thinking about running a tournament but don’t know where to start. I’m trying to walk a fine line between giving you enough information on the one hand, and giving you too much so you’re intimidated or too bored to read it all on the other hand. Try to bear with me.

Here it is in a few easy steps. Remember, as you’re reading, the number one overriding goal is to have people attend. That is more important than *anything* else.

1. Identify your location: Normally it will be a FLGS (friendly local game store). Many of these have a few tables available for Magic (or whatever) tournaments or some other type of gaming space. If your favorite FLGS does not have much space, or is not conveniently located for other attendees, look around on the internet and see if you can find a different shop. I know the first shop I identified as a good site for tournaments was, without me ever running an event there, soon replaced with a *much* better one, at a great location and with a much better atmosphere.

So look around, find a good shop.

If you really and truly have no available FLGS, you may also find space at a public library. I’ve attended one of those, it works. They often have some space. You might have to pay some small amount of money for it; if so, pay for it out of tournament fees.

Get a rough idea of when the shop might be available for your tournament.

2. Put up a thread here in the ‘Scapers Events subforum announcing you intend to have a tournament, and roughly when you intend to have it.

A few words about announcing your event:

2.a. Remember you are reaching out to people beyond those who you already know. I still, after several years of running tournaments near Annapolis, Maryland, have people posting in my event threads that they will come and this will be their first tournament ever.

In order to attract those people, take care to *sell* your event in your thread. Make it sound like it will be fun because it *will* be fun. Make it sound like there will be a good group of people because, if your group is like my group, there *will* be a good group of people there. Remember you are not just writing for your buddies and the guys you’ve already met, but you’re writing for the lurkers who are thinking about it.

The following are things you can pick without consulting with your attendees in the Heroscapers thread, or you can seek their input. Pick some things yourself; seek input on others:

2.b. Now is the time to pick a date. You may wish to consult with your fellow attendees, or if your schedule or the shop’s schedule are rigid you may prefer to have the date already selected. I think Saturday afternoons tend to get more people than Sunday afternoons. Make sure you know what time the shop can let you start and what time the shop needs you to finish.

2.c. Now is also the time to pick a format. Again, you may wish to consult with your fellow attendees, but you also may choose just to pick one. There are roughly 1,000,000 formats. I discourage a novice TD from doing anything too far out of the ordinary. For a quick tour through a few different formats check out my Battle Reports thread; I have reports for all tournaments I’ve been to (except one), with a discussion of the format at the top of each report.

Most tournaments need about an hour a round. Leave about 30 - 45 minutes for clean up and prizes, and leave about 45 minutes for setup at the beginning.

2.d. Tournament fees: I do five dollars for each person. Every penny goes to buy gift certificates in some suitable denominations for the prizes for the tournament. Some people do prize tables, but unless you really have some way to get stuff to fill them, I recommend collecting $5 from everybody and getting gift certificates.

2.e. C3V/SoV: This is a tricky decision. I allow them at my tournaments, because some of my attendees, including myself, think they’re pretty awesome and they are a healthy expansion of the competitive metagame. There is absolutely a danger that they will turn some people off, though. I am the only tournament director in the MD/PA/NJ region who allows them, and I have a ton of respect for mad_wookiee, spidysox, northgate, and clancampbell, who are all excellent tournament directors and choose not to use them.

I will add as an additional consideration that if you, personally, are not roughly familiar with these units you should not allow them at a tournament. Remember, sometimes you will have to make decisions about rules, so don’t do anything that will put you completely out of your depth. For instance, if you never play with glyphs at home you may choose not to have glyphs at the tournament.

2.f. Maps: Choose good maps. This is important. Playing on maps that aren’t competitively balanced is the single most frustrating thing for me at tournaments. Look at the BoV, look at maps that have been used in tournaments before with positive feedback. Look at maps from the masters of competitive mapbuilding. I know it sounds terrible to say because there are so many fine mapmakers with fine maps on this site, but keep your standards high. Remember the good ones and reuse them sometimes.

Get people to bring maps. People won’t want to volunteer right away, but hopefully near your tournament date enough people will volunteer to have enough for your event.

2.g. Remember, we’re still talking about your announcement here on ‘Scapers. Tell people what they need to know about parking and food.

2.h. Pairings and determining a winner:

(1). The traditional method of pairings at Heroscape tournaments is the “Swiss System.” In the Swiss System, take the 16 attendees and pair them against each other in Round 1. In Round 2, take the 8 winners, who are all 1-0, and pit them against each other, and the losers play each other as well. After Round 2, the players will be either 2-0, 1-1, or 0-2. Group them accordingly. There will be a shrinking group of players who are unbeaten; they will be 3-0, then 4-0, at which point (in a 16 player tournament) they will be playing each other for the only 5-0 record and the tournament win.

You will have players tied 4-1 and 3-2 and so on. Traditionally these players are ranked by “partial card scoring,” which is to say the amount of damage they inflicted. If I kill all of your Krav Maga Agents I get 100 points; if I kill 2 of them but 1 survives I get 66. If I kill Kaemon Awa (4 life, 120 points) I get 120 points; if I put 1 wound on him I get 30 points. Add it all up at the end. “Full card” scoring works the same but without any points for wounding things.

There are minor variations. For games that get called on time I have a rule that the winner gets the full value of the loser’s army, even if he or she still has a few units hanging around; otherwise I’m punishing the winner because they ran out of time. Other TD’s give only partial card scoring for winner and loser in the event of a game running out of time.

The tiebreaks at my tournaments are a bit more complicated but I like them more. See the appendix for further thoughts on tiebreaks in my tournaments.

2.h.(2). This post would not be complete without a reference to the “Rolling Rumble” format. That involves games without structured rounds, so people just play whoever is available.

I’ve never run or attended one of these events, I don’t think they’d serve my local group well for various reasons, but they may work for you. I leave it to one of the advocates for that system to post a link & explanation.

3. The event itself:

3.a. Bring maps already constructed, if you can. *Especially* if you’re the tournament director, it is a pain to construct them as you’re preparing to begin the event.

3.b. Have a kldonnelly. At my events, kldonnelly helps with the paperwork. I would be lost without her.

If someone understands how to do pairings and can help, count yourself lucky and say thank you.

3.c. Check in with the shop periodically before the event. That’s important because they need to know how many people to expect. Also, at least once and possibly several times they will not have you on their calendar, and you will have to remind them. Also, if you are clancampbell, they might close without telling you, and you will have to find out at the last minute and move your event to the library. Stay on top of them.

3.d. Have fun. Even if you are by nature a fiery competitive type, set the tone for your event by being relaxed and having a good time.

3.e. Use name tags. You can find them at any office supply store and many drugstores. They make the whole thing more social.

3.f. After our events, I go through the whole list of finishers from the bottom to the top, saying a word or two about everyone, so everybody can get a little round of applause.

Acknowledgements and disclaimer:

I do not claim to be a great tournament director. To the extent that I’m decent, it’s only because clancampbell set a good example for me. Mostly I claim to be an experienced tournament director who took a few minutes to write this down. I encourage others to supplement as necessary, below. Many thanks to kldonnelly, and shaugville before her, for all their help over the years at my occasional events in Savage. Also many thanks to The Family Game Store, which I highly recommend to any board gamer, Heroscaping or not. Many thanks to all my tournament attendees, ever, for being awesome, and also do drewcula, for tricking me into TD'ing the first time and being my co-TD at it.

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Last edited by Dad_Scaper; February 13th, 2016 at 02:00 AM.
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  #2  
Old February 10th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Appendix:

The Swiss System: My Alternate Tiebreak Method
Spoiler Alert!


Further thoughts on allowing SoV/C3V/C3G/whatever
Spoiler Alert!


Maps & the BoV
Spoiler Alert!


Sample formats
Spoiler Alert!


My Favorite Format
Spoiler Alert!


Transporting maps
Spoiler Alert!


I'm Not Really Talking About Online Competitive 'Scape
Spoiler Alert!


AliasQTip's Customizable Tournament Sheet

Sample Tournament Announcement

More Thoughts On Where To Hold Your Tournament
Spoiler Alert!

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Last edited by Dad_Scaper; August 10th, 2014 at 11:39 PM.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Very nice! I haven't had time to read it all, but what I have read looks really good.

Have you asked to get it stickied?
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Old February 10th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Yes. When your time comes, read the whole thing.

Thank you for the kind words.

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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Just finished reading the whole thing. Defiantly very well written.

Perhaps you should create links to SoV/C3V, and BoV display threads. I have encountered TDs who didn't know what SoV/C3V, or BoV is, and it may simplify things for them.

Hope you don't mind my

Very nice job!

~JS
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

This is very good advice, D_S. It'd be a while before I ever hosted a tourney, but if the time ever comes this thread would help a lot.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 04:42 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
I do not claim to be a great tournament director.
No need to claim it, you just are a great TD. Thanks for making LoB and me feel welcome and relaxed from day one.

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Old February 10th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Thanks, GO. In years gone by I've also been a TD for chess and MtG tournaments. Heroscape tournaments are the best tournaments because Heroscape attracts the best players. And that means you!

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Old February 10th, 2013, 07:21 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

You got that right.

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Old February 11th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

I *love* the "number one goal" reality check. Terrific.

There is no local Heroscape scene that I've been able to find, but your post has inspired me to try and start one. I've got lots of questions, but will start with just a few. They are random, and not necessarily the most important issues, but I'll circle back round and get to everything eventually.

1) Regarding the #1 goal. Any recommended venues for advertising your tournaments beyond heroscapers? Do you have luck on BGG or in FLGS bulletin boards, etc?

2) Does the $5 turn anybody off that you're aware of? I live in a college town and if I were to strive to keep it VERY local, hosting it here, a certain percentage of players will be possibly cash-strapped college students. Have you experimented with an optional fee, but no-prize-for-you-if-you-don't-pay-it option?

3) FLGS may not be an option for me. One has no tables (I think?). The other recently moved and I'll have to check them out. Regarding the library option, you didn't exactly give it a ringing endorsement. "I’ve attended one of those, it works." Is there something inherently better about the FLGS? I'm pretty sure our library is going to have a cleaner facility! (I'm also considering hosting it on campus since rooms are available cheaply). Any concerns with hosting it at someone's house if they have the tables and generous space in the basement beyond the risks of inviting complete strangers to your house?

4) Recommendations for the "flow" of the tournament? People show up, check-in at a table, get registered/armies looked over (?), get name tag, then...

I'll start you off with those questions so as not to overwhelm you.

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Old February 11th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xorlof View Post
2) Does the $5 turn anybody off that you're aware of? I live in a college town and if I were to strive to keep it VERY local, hosting it here, a certain percentage of players will be possibly cash-strapped college students. Have you experimented with an optional fee, but no-prize-for-you-if-you-don't-pay-it option?
I think $5 is a very measly amount to pay, and I've always payed it happily. But, back in December I went to a Chicagoland Tourney, where you could choose to just "Free Play" meaning, No fees, but you can't win a prize. I think roughly 20% of the people chose to free play, and it seemed to work fine.

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Old February 11th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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Re: How to Host Your First Heroscape Tournament

1) I advertised for my tourney in the game shop window, front desk, and on their site. We got a good 3 players from that for of advertisement. Fliers at the library and school brought in another 4-5 players.

2) 5$ Hasn't ever been a complaint for any of my attendees.

3) Game shop's usually just fit the theme, and are prepared to rent-out at a cheaper price (at least the ones I've been to).

Hope that helps.

If your asking D_S exclusively, then I apologize.
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