I want to make a post about the horrid attitude FFG has displayed not only towards Europe, for some time, but towards all their Netrunner player base, by ruining an even that has been scheduled months ahead and all application deadlines have been met by the organizer.
An event that not only people from Bulgaria, but from neighbour countries like Greece, Serbia and Romania, have all been looking forward to.
Here is, in words of the organizer himself ( Mr. Nikolai Tsekov ) , how everything happened.
Please bare with me through the wall of text, because what he has to say is important.
Guys, I... have to cancel this event (at least this form of the event). I know how it sounds and I doubt anything I say on the matter will be easily accepted without ruining my own and our club's reputation, but you can read everything I have to say and decide for yourself.
We started working on the Deep Plunge Tournament and its date in September/October 2013. What we knew of the Chronos Protocol Tour back then was that it will be somewhere in February, so we booked and paid the hall for April, setting up the date of April 5 for the event. There would be no other major events in the same month so we expected good interest due to the cash prizes from all over Europe.
We asked FFG to support us with some alt-art cards for the event. Instead of this (their answer was big NO) at the end of 2013 FFG forced us on agreeing to buy (part of) our LCG stock and OP Kits from the local distributor in Bulgaia - Fantasmagoria. FFG explained they want to promote their local distributors in each country and they stopped selling us the kits through the major European distributors.
We were assured that we will get the stock and kits on time, just as before (when we bought the stock and kits from Esdevium Games, Intrafin and other distributors). We didn't had choice, and our arguments against it were ignored.
Meanwhile FFG announced they will release the Chronos Protocol Tour in April, which was the first step of ruining the event we organized - if there are enough tournaments locally, less players will travel for our event. We thought about moving it in March, but they announced there will be Store Championship events then and they have to be only in March. Then I thought moving it in May, but then the Regionals start in May. So we decided to turn the Deep Plunge into Chronos Protocol, we applied and got confirmation that we will get the kit. We had hopes that having bot cash prize and the kit will mitigate the fact that many players will not travel and instead join their local Chronos events, and we had set our date early. It didn't work so well and we have much lower than expected number of registrations, yet people tend to buy tickets on site so we decided to continue.
Few days ago, after asking where is our kit, I got word that we won't get the Regionals Kit for Netrunner because "we failed to register in the given timeframe". Which was entirely untrue, and I'm sure I was among the first to register on FFG website and I've sent the same application on Fantasmagoria's email and to Andrew Liberko at FFG. I also got confirmation from him that Fantasmagoria pre-ordered the kit.
In the same email I was told to wait a bit more for the Chronos kit (Fantasmagoria had to check) but FFG said that "it is not realistic to expect the kit to arrive before April 5" (and this event date was set up 5 months ago!!!). On March 24th I've sent a reply that I will even pay extra for express shipping (knowing that it would mean few hundred USD, I could lower the cash prize or something...).
FFG didn't reply to Fantasmagoria emails until today so I have to choose. Either I cancel the event early (which is a week before the event... not nearly "early") or I risk and wait until Monday to try to get the kit shipped with DHL Express/FedEx/Etc. Problem is that it will go to customs, and there is no telling how much time it will stay there.
I have to be realistic:
1. First of all many players will not come just because there are Chronos events everywhere in Europe. The less players, the less tickets sold, more financial loss, and we are already deep to the waist in this.
2. If we don't have the Chronos Protocol Kit, there will be players who will refuse to come. Those that have tickets I will be able to count and refund, but the people planning to come and buy tickets on site (which is actually most of the players)? If they pay hotel rooms and expect Chronos but we never got to offer it?
3. If I continue with the event and announce that we will ship the rewards later (again a financial loss, but it doesn't matter) - please see 2. People will be not pleased to come and find out there are no fancy cards, etc. And some of them just won't come.
I really tried. I called here and there, but it is Friday evening, no hope to make it right now. I just have to quit.
So here is it in less words:
1. There will be no Chronos Protocol Tour on April 5. We do not have the kit, and there is no way to get it. I have no idea what to do with it if it ever arrives, but I'll think of something.
2. I will personally cover any losses on hotel bookings, if any.
3. We will refund any tickets sold so far.
4. We will run 3 events, which will allow players who are already in Sofia to play Netrunner competitively or have some good time playing games:
- Netrunner Draft with Season 1 kit rewards (up to 12 players, winner gets the Season One 2014 play mat, a promo HB ID card, box of his choice, runner-up gets the other box, all players receive promo Wylside). Ticket fee (Tabletop Day ticket is included) EUR 36 / BGN 70. We will add additional rewards. Additional cash reward for the winner (really not in mood to calculate this now, but let's say it is in the low hundreds). Anyone willing to trade Chronos event ticket will be able to do so.
- Anyone not willing to pay for draft can play in the "Small corp" tournament - again with S1 rewards, no ticket (you still have to buy the Tabletop Ticket to enter). No limit on the number of players.
- Tabletop Day 2014 - it's in the same day and hall. It's why we are not left with an empty hall we paid few months ago. Ticket fee EUR 8 / BGN 15
Again, I'm sorry for the mess, but it is as bad for me as it sounds. If we didn't had the Tabletop in the same day it would be more disastrous than I can imagine, leaving us with big empty hall. I will try to get enough attention from FFG in hope they will change their policy or I will just quit dealing with them as with a respected partner. I never felt respected by them for anything I did anyway.
Anyone willing to come to the event is welcome, we will still play Netrunner, just not on the level I expected.
Words can't express how much I, and all of my friends, are simply astonished by the absurd attitude of FFG towards this.
I personally know Mr. Teskov and he has done everything in his power to popularize Netrunner in Bulgaria. To our knowledge, not only he has succeeded in that, but he seems to have created the most up-to date Netrunner store on the Balkans, considering we have heard from our Serbian, Romanian and Greek neighbours about the unavailability of the latest and most recent Data Packs in their own countries.
It is absolutely out of question, in my mind, that this person wasn't one of the first, who applied for the Chronos Protocol Kit.
Yet Fantasy Flight Games, display such neglect for an event of this magnitude! This attitude CAN'T be tolerated!
EDIT: I will quote one person from our playgroup, who said " And i will make as much as possible to share this with the whole gaming world. Let's see if they can handle bad publicity! " - because with such actions, they definitely deserve it!
Edited by Dydra, 28 March 2014 - 01:24 PM.