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Regional Review in Wixom, Mi... Open letter to FFG

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Hey Guys at FFG XWing OP,

On Saturday I participated in a Regionals event at Flat Land Games in Wixom, MI. Unfortunately I want to express to you that although this is a great venue with lots of space, my game experience here was lacking and I want to express that a lack of game knowledge, the use of player judges, and the lack of care toward the player experience moved me to write you today.

Firstly, let's talk about the largest and most obvious issue. When the tournament started, the organizer noted that he would be the organizer, and he identified a few players as judges for the event. As you know, per your tournament guidelines, leaders playing in a formal event (like regionals) is not ok. This, combined with lack of tournament rules knowledge leads to my poor play experience.

Let's move on to lack of tournament knowledge. During a round, a player expressed to me a concern with the interaction between twin laser turret and tactician. Having read the FAQ, I was under the impression that under the right circumstances it would provide two stress. Calling the TO over, he asked the player next to me (a player judge) and I was ruled by committee that this was mistaken. To have built a list with this interaction in mind and then to have my peers strike me down was no doubt embarrassing, but life moves on. I lost the game, getting my second loss for the day and losing a shot at the cut. The other player wound up making it to the top 8. However realize that I lose ALL the time and this event of losing isn't why I'm upset, it's that I couldn't compete fairly.

After the match I researched the topic again and requested the TO to revisit this topic. I provided the cards and the FAQ (as they didn't have one handy), and the TO set about searching the forums for an answer. He came back, told me that he is swapping his ruling and I can play as I expected the rest of my games, one thing I didn't receive, an apology. Had the TO just expressed he was sorry, I wouldn't be writing you. I would overlook the judge issue and wouldn't waste my time as this has no beneficial outcome for me. I am sure as it stands I won't be welcome to play in that store again (I sent them a Facebook message asking for clarification to what I am writing you today. I was told he would send all correspondence to you).

Bottom line is I spent a day playing XWing, I had a good time. Had the Organizer had his act together a little better I would have had a great time. Had the organizer provided an apology, I would have had a great time. I still would have finished my day before the cut, and I have no illusions that the misruled game actually affected the integrity of the tournament itself. Hopefully this correspondence with you serves to create a dialogue in which this store can create better events in the future.


F**k it, I dont care anymore. /thread

Edited by Luke C

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I was at this event and I must say that we must have been at two completely different regionals.  I found the TO to be a bit odd at times, but well meaning and doing his best managing a 90 person event.  

 

I do remember there was a player that was harassing him about a quarter of the way through the event.  I also vaguely remember the player in question and the TO talking it over and him apologizing.  Was there another issue at the regional that was missed?

 

I thought it was awesome that they went out of their way to make sure that the whole event was supported so that none of the players had to go offsite for food.

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Apparently we were. After round 1, there was an issue with the bye players receiving 200 points instead of 150, this was because the organizers were using an outdated version of Cryodex. Clearly they didn't even bother to test the software prior to the event start or they would have figured this out pretty quickly. 

I was probably the guy "harassing" the TO at the event, and no he didn't apologize to me, he just reversed his ruling. Had he actually apologized I would definitely just shut up about the whole thing and move on. 

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You sound really upset about this.  

 

What outcome are you expecting from all this?

 

(also they fixed the 200 point issue, in fact if you were the guy harassing the TO then you were also the guy that gave the scorekeeper the contact info for the developer to fix it, so I fail to see how its relevant to your experience)

Edited by Drakespirit

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You sound really upset about this.  

 

What outcome are you expecting from all this?

 

(also they fixed the 200 point issue, in fact if you were the guy harassing the TO then you were also the guy that gave the scorekeeper the contact info for the developer to fix it, so I fail to see how its relevant to your experience)

Right, that is why I didn't include it in my initial assessment. However, they should have had that figured out prior to the event starting. 

And you are right, I am upset about this. Saying you are sorry is a really simple thing to do, and it fixes quite a bit of screw up. It was a game changing call, the way it was imposed made me uncomfortable and feel small and he was simply wrong. All I wanted was an apology. That would have fixed it. So yes, Im taking that frustration out here.

As far as outcome, I think that was pretty clear in the initial post. Either Flat Land doesn't host another big event like regionals, or they learn from this, and get the important parts right (e.g. scoring and rules judging) next time.

Edited by Luke C

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I think the only thing that really bothers me about the whole situation is the way the ruling was made. I agree that you shouldn't have TOs playing in an event that large. I TO local events with 15 or less people and it's not a big deal. The problem is when you have a situation like this, the player/judge is in such a hurry to get back to their game that they may make a snap ruling without giving it the proper time. Along with that, not having the rules or faq available to point out the answer compounds the problem.

 

I've been to events where there was a call that had to be made that there was no clear answer for (given hard copy rules or not). You made the best ruling you can and move on. With player/judges "move on" means get back to your game. With a dedicated TO team, move on means having one person sit down and research the ruling to make sure you made the right call and making sure the team is on the same page when it's all said and done.

 

Luke, I understand how far an apology can go for some people, but some people are just the opposite. I've gone back days later and messaged a player to apologize over a ruling. Who knows if it made them feel better. Then there are some people that will rant and rage regardless. Heck, I teach my kids that you need to make the right decision and that apologizing doesn't fix everything. Apples and oranges perhaps. I agree though that adding a "sorry, had to make a snap judgement to get things moving forward. We'll get it right next time" is not difficult and shows dedication and intent to make things better.

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Just a few comments since I was there as well... 

 

1) Yes, the initial R1 results showed 200 MoV for the players on the bye.  But the TO immediately said that this was wrong and he was fixing it.  I don't see why anyone would bring this up.

 

2) While I was not apart of the conversation between the OP and the TO regarding the rules reversal, I did speak with the TO shortly afterwards, and you could tell he felt like *#%@ for getting a ruling wrong.  We all make mistakes and it sucks that the mistake may have cost you your game.  

 

3)  I agree that it was somewhat weird that he called out players that were playing as assistants.  HOWEVER, these players were not judges.  He specifically said that they were the local "experts" or whatever, and if need be, he would defer to them for specific rules that he may not be familiar with because he's busy running a game store and not up to speed on the minutia of rulings for each game that he supports.

 

4) I know this isn't your main point, but there were plenty of 4-2 players that made the cut.  

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Ditto on what Khyros said.

Overall I was very happy with this event and the store really tried hard to cater to the players. The competition was fierce and there were plenty of rules experts even if only one TO (e.g. the nationals champ and runner up, Hoth champ, and 16 store champ buys I believe, furthermore at the end of rd one 26/91 players had a perfect record). I saw more mutual support from neighboring tables, and high player knowledge, reducing the need for judge calls. I wanted to place higher myself, but would consider this regional competition on par with GenCon!

Bottom line, Michigan is an awesome place for X-Wing. We want a regional here every year just like Epic Loot in OH and Board Game Barrister in WI have pulled off. Of course we could use more certified judges at events, but I've yet to fly in a tourney where I didn't make a mistake or forget something. It's too bad you had a wrong call, but let's focus on how to make it better for next year and support bringing a regional back to Michigan.

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The competition was fierce and there were plenty of rules experts even if only one TO (e.g. the nationals champ and runner up, Hoth champ, and 16 store champ buys I believe, 

And that was the problem. The guy with the fancy nationals templates said I was wrong and the judge believed him (I am not going to say in any way shape or form that this was the criteria for the judge's ruling, i don't know if it was or if it wasn't). I understand that people want to be helpful, but really if you are at the table next to someone else or spectating you need to keep quiet. That is why judges or rules experts or whatever you want to call them shouldn't play. Either you are biased or you aren't. 

Just because you went to nationals or did well there does not mean you have a grasp on what the last FAQ said. 

Again I will continue saying this over and over. Im not mad because of the game, or because of the bad ruling, i am mad because of the way I felt I was treated during and after the encounter.

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Here's how the call in question went, as I remember it:

1) I was called over to the table.

 

2) I examined the card interaction in question.

 

3) I made a decision, explained my logic, instructed to play on.

 

4) Luke was obviously unhappy with the call, protested slightly, continued on with the game.

I then spent much of the remainder of the round consulting FAQs, followed by hopping onto FFG's rules forum when I couldn't find a clear FAQ answer.  (We did have the FAQs on site, with multiple copies in print) The thread I created can be found here:
https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/218751-tlt-and-tactician-during-regional-speedier-is-better/

While I was researching this issue, Luke concluded his game, then spent a chunk of his between round time complaining to other players.  This is understandable human nature.  What wasn't kosher, however, was the persistent lingering around the judge/scorekeeping booth and badgering of unrelated players about this rules question.  He took up space at table 9, the one closest to the judge booth, and loudly complained about my decision to many different players approaching the booth to turn in their match slip.

 

After receiving several responses on the rules thread and seeing a general consensus, I left the booth to admit my mistake, but having to make a decision - did Luke's behavior merit disqualification under FFG's code of conduct?

Up to that point, I had to consider if Luke's behavior fell under the following:

- Behaving in a manner which could be interpreted by a reasonable person as bullying, harassment, belligerent, stalking, vulgar, obscene, threatening, or hurtful.

My scorekeeper believed Luke's behavior fell under this line, primarily for harassment, belligerence, and bullying.  I made the decision, however, to chalk this behavior up to being upset over a blown call, with the hope that Luke would feel mollified by an apology and hopefully have fun throughout the rest of the day.  I approached Luke, admitted fault, apologized for the blown call, moved on with the event.
 

In hindsight, this may have been a mistake.  We have been approached by Luke on multiple social media platforms.  While the tone here falls more on the side of civil, other platforms were less so - this included cursing at staff.  Rather than keep his grievance private while he awaits word from correspondence with FFG, he has chosen to air his grievance here.

________________________

On some of the other stuff - 

Our version of Cryodex was fairly recent.  One of our local players had the contact info for the developer, and the developer walked us through correcting the issue.  At no point did it affect pairings, and the delay heading into round 2 was minimal.  Cryodex handled byes a bit strangely overall - the single player who had a first round bye due to an odd number of round one players was given the correct number of points, the 17 store champ byes were given a different number of points from him.  The byes also somehow led to a round 3 repairing of players that had already played against each other, which had to be corrected.

Also, for Drakespirit - I wish I could chalk my being a bit odd to the lack of sleep and length of event but, really, I'm just a little strange.  :P

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Here's how the call in question went, as I remember it:

1) I was called over to the table.

 

2) I examined the card interaction in question.

 

3) I made a decision, explained my logic, instructed to play on.

 

4) Luke was obviously unhappy with the call, protested slightly, continued on with the game.

I then spent much of the remainder of the round consulting FAQs, followed by hopping onto FFG's rules forum when I couldn't find a clear FAQ answer.  (We did have the FAQs on site, with multiple copies in print) The thread I created can be found here:

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/218751-tlt-and-tactician-during-regional-speedier-is-better/

While I was researching this issue, Luke concluded his game, then spent a chunk of his between round time complaining to other players.  This is understandable human nature.  What wasn't kosher, however, was the persistent lingering around the judge/scorekeeping booth and badgering of unrelated players about this rules question.  He took up space at table 9, the one closest to the judge booth, and loudly complained about my decision to many different players approaching the booth to turn in their match slip.

 

After receiving several responses on the rules thread and seeing a general consensus, I left the booth to admit my mistake, but having to make a decision - did Luke's behavior merit disqualification under FFG's code of conduct?

Up to that point, I had to consider if Luke's behavior fell under the following:

- Behaving in a manner which could be interpreted by a reasonable person as bullying, harassment, belligerent, stalking, vulgar, obscene, threatening, or hurtful.

My scorekeeper believed Luke's behavior fell under this line, primarily for harassment, belligerence, and bullying.  I made the decision, however, to chalk this behavior up to being upset over a blown call, with the hope that Luke would feel mollified by an apology and hopefully have fun throughout the rest of the day.  I approached Luke, admitted fault, apologized for the blown call, moved on with the event.

 

In hindsight, this may have been a mistake.  We have been approached by Luke on multiple social media platforms.  While the tone here falls more on the side of civil, other platforms were less so - this included cursing at staff.  Rather than keep his grievance private while he awaits word from correspondence with FFG, he has chosen to air his grievance here.

________________________

On some of the other stuff - 

Our version of Cryodex was fairly recent.  One of our local players had the contact info for the developer, and the developer walked us through correcting the issue.  At no point did it affect pairings, and the delay heading into round 2 was minimal.  Cryodex handled byes a bit strangely overall - the single player who had a first round bye due to an odd number of round one players was given the correct number of points, the 17 store champ byes were given a different number of points from him.  The byes also somehow led to a round 3 repairing of players that had already played against each other, which had to be corrected.

Also, for Drakespirit - I wish I could chalk my being a bit odd to the lack of sleep and length of event but, really, I'm just a little strange.   :P

wow. absolutely not what happened. 

Round 1 ended, I actually provided you with the developers information, so you're welcome. anyway...

1st part, right on. you came over asked what the issue was, made a decision the guy next to me was apparently one of your experts and he chimed in too, you're right i was unhappy. I then came up to you at the end of the round and asked you to revisit the ruling. 

THEN you started looking into it. I was talking to my friends at the event about the call and the effect it had on the game. If I was getting loud or out of hand, You can imagine my angst if you didnt reverse your call, I might as well drop out then and there, so I was hanging out near the judges table. I would hope that you would let me know before you kicked me out, c'mon man. Regardless, I AM SORRY (see how easy that was?) I should have been stoic and let you run your course. I learned something for my future participation in events. 

The thing is though, you didnt apologize... you didnt freaking apologize, you told me that you were reversing my call and i could play how I expected the rest of the day. Had you apologized I wouldn't be mad.

Obviously you aren't sorry, and no amount of hinting will actually get you to say you are sorry. So my bad. Im done with this conversation. 

EDIT: oh and for the record I sent you a message on facebook, not "multiple social media platforms" get over yourself. I wanted to discuss with you all of this and how I was feeling but you refused, so here we are. 

Edited by Luke C

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I apologized when I came to you acknowledging that I blew the call.  That apology and acknowledgment came before the start of the next round.  Time stamping on our print outs and the rules thread confirm the timeframe I stated above.

You began your communication with us on Facebook, post-event, by cursing; at that point, communication largely ends.  In response, I gave you my personal cell phone number to hash this out.  Rather than call, you instead began in on a second set of social media here to express complaint.  The only difference between what you sent here and elsewhere was that you didn't curse.

Your purpose at this point seems to be public shaming as opposed to reasonable discussion.  I gave you two reasonable opportunities, via Facebook and on a private call, to communicate with me professionally and courteously.  You chose neither, and instead seem more interested in playing victim.

It's unfortunate that this thread may become the event legacy, rather than the positives that many others expressed to us throughout the day and after its conclusion.

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The way I see it, the guy with the fancy templates seem to be the real problem here..a veteran who doesn't know how TLT & Tactician interact with each other? hmm hmm hmm~

 

I've had someone also with regional templates insisting that a small ship bumping a large ship facing each other can clear its 2-straight maneuver next turn and that's part of the rule. Do templates exude law and order nowadays?

 

Veterans bully peeps sometimes. And I really hate this kind of moments, although rare, in X-wing. Say crap to fly casual when the veterans smile and deliberately misinterpretating the rule at the same time.

Edited by Grivoire

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I would just like to talk about my experiences at the event.

 

I just started playing X wing this year and it was my first regional tournament so I don't have any others to compare it to. However, I thought this place was a blast to play! My friend drove 6 hours to get there and went 1-5 and even with being mad about loosing almost all his games he said he would absolutely come back to play there. 

 

Like I said I just started playing this game 3 months ago so to go 4-2 getting 17th place I thought was pretty awesome. It did burn a little when I realized I was that close to top 16 cut!

 

My only complaint for the entire tournament was when I found out what an "intentional draw" was and that there was 10 of them in the top 16 allowing several people that won only 4 games also to beat me. I do not blame the tournament holders for this at all, it is part of the game and they clearly stated how draws would take place if someone wanted to do one before the first round. The part that I found really frustrating was a guy that was bragging during the 5th round that he only played 3 games and was guaranteed a spot in the top 16. He was able to do this with a buy, 3 wins, and a draw. He then went on to draw the 6th game as well. 

 

I heard they are supposed to be fixing this so its not really an issue but I don't think i would be bragging if I made it to top 16 by exploiting a system. Just my thoughts.

 

ANNNNYWAY, this was an awesome tournament and I hope to get to play at it again next year if not sooner!

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