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Zetan

Initiative One Community Organized Play

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I've been talking a lot about this on Discord (and in our next episode, going live later this week; it's a biggie!) but wanted to post here for people who aren't in the Discord and/or don't listen to the podcast. I don't have a lot of time this morning, but I have Wednesday and Thursday off, so I'll be able to get into more detail and get a bunch of work done then.

The long and short of it all is that I'm working (with help from many others) to step in and do what FFG has decided to stop. So why me? I think I have a lot of qualifications. I've been running tournaments in some capacity for over 10 years, and 7 of those years were spent primarily on a game that had no official organized play (Warhammer Fantasy Battles). I did a lot of work on some of the largest WFB tournaments on the east coast (Brawler Bash 7 onward, Southern Asault 5 onward, Grail Quest (all of them), etc). I also helped organize Krayt Cup 3 for X-Wing, and am working on this year's Krayt Cup (it's at the top of my to do list when I get to work today). Organizing wargaming events is second nature to me.

I'm also a host on a reasonably popular Runewars podcast (I don't have listener numbers, but I know we're in the top 3 ;)) with an 85-member Discord server. This puts me in a good position within the community to collect feedback and data and disseminate information.

Importantly, I don't want to seize control of this without the community as a whole behind me. If you think I'm not the man for the job, please contact me about it. I'd love to hear your thoughts. One of the things I've seen cause problems for other communities is when multiple different people/groups all work on rules documents, and each event has to declare who they're siding with. It's a mess. I don't want that to happen here. If anyone else has this idea (and it seems like many do) I encourage you to come to me so we can collaborate. Maybe you think you'd be a better choice to lead the project, and maybe you're even right! But I want to talk about it, rather than running off in different directions and doing all the same work, but slightly differently.

With all that out of my way, here's a summary of my plan for replacing FFG-supported organized play:

  1. Tournament Document. I'm planning to craft a new tournament document. One important aspect of it is giving tournament organizers the tools they need to balance their metagame, and encouraging them to send their results back to me and a possible rules committee (see below). Most people think the game has at least a few balance issues, but there is no community consensus on what those issues are, and part of that has to do with the small pockets of metagame we have everywhere. Only by trying lots of different ideas and compiling all that data together can we discover which problems are truly with the game, and not just with the local crowd. With that in mind, no game-balance rules will be changed at all, to start with.
  2. Errata/FAQ. My current plan is to gather all the outstanding FAQ questions we have and post them, a handful at a time, with my proposed answers. We can discuss them here on the forums. If we come to a consensus about the correct way to address them, we'll write that into the new document I'm creating. If we can't, we may need to create a rules committee to vote and decide on these issues once and for all. My current proposal is that any TO who runs at least four events (with at least 4 attendees, including themselves if they play) per year is eligible to join the committee; this selects people who are successfully building their local communities, and being a TO for these communities indicates that at least a few local people trust them to interpret the rules in a fair and helpful way. If anyone has another proposal for how to form a committee, I'd be happy to discuss it.
  3. Event kits. I'm working with Greg of Rebel Light Works in San Antonio. He has thrown his full backing behind this project, and is about as qualified as I am when it comes to supporting a game unofficially. Our plan is to create two tiers of event kits. One is designed for relaxed-tier events. This will, to a certain degree, mirror the quarterly/seasonal kits that FFG has been putting out. Each one will contain enough prizes to support 3 events of up to 8 players, and a new kit will be released each quarter to keep things fresh. Prizes will consist of acrylic tokens and alternate-art cards, with a new focus on upgrade cards instead of unit cards. Keep an eye out for these soon, I think you're going to like what we have planed. The other kit will be a bit more expensive and designed for formal-tier events. Anyone who wishes to run a yearly event with a bit more draw along the lines of a regional/national type event can purchase this kit and get some fancier prizes, such as movement templates and things like that. The contents of this kit will rotate yearly.
  4. Worlds 2019 and beyond. We are planning to host the 2019 World Championship at Atomic Empire in Durham, NC in October. My goal is to have a date announced and registration up as soon as possible, aiming for an absolute minimum of 4 months notice. Some problems beyond my control could prevent this (like Wizards dragging their feet on the Magic release schedule for fall like they are for the spring) but I will do everything in my power to meet that deadline so that everyone who wants to come can make travel plans well in advance. For future years, we would like to move the event from region to region. Court of Gamers in San Antonio, TX is a likely location for 2020. We'd love to put it somewhere on the west coast in 2021. Maybe it could even take place in the UK for one year. The idea with moving it around like this is so that the burden of travel is greater for some years and less for others, hopefully making it easier on everyone who wants to come every year.

If any of these topics interest you, I strongly encourage you to listen to this week's Initiative One podcast, which we'll try to have out on Thursday. You can even jump ahead about an hour if you're not interested in listening to a summary of our latest event (though it was a good one, so consider listening to that too if you've got time. :)). As I said, I'll be posting more detail here as quickly as possible. I hope to have the first handful of questions/answers for rules discussion up in the rules subforum soon; probably by Thursday.

Finally, as a special note, thanks for still being here, for sticking with this game and for contributing in whatever way you choose to. Things don't look good for continued releases, but if we can surprise FFG by growing the community on our own and they see a steady increase in sales and tournament attendance, maybe they'll get back to work on new content. I don't know how likely it is, but it doesn't hurt to try, and I'm happy to do all this whether it gets us new content or not.

Edited by Zetan

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You have my vote, I am your adoring fan after all!

Also, I think I could perhaps lend a hand in some way.

I started a London based Runewars Group back in September/October with some friends and have so far hosted three events, with our fourth one planned for this month. One of our events had more attendees than that of the UK Nationals earlier that year.

I've also been a Runewars TO at several other events that took places before the creation of the group.

If you ever need a UK branch, I could probably try and be useful to you (hopefully the player base we have built will survive the news).

I've really grown to love this community and this has been the first Miniatures Game I have properly invested into in my adult life and I've had a blast playing it and would like to see the good times continue as I've also met some great people along the way.

I would say Runewars is my first actual rodeo though and so experience may be lacking, but I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Edited by Zaaik

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This is gonna be a thankless job, in the height of the "Age of the Critic."

I would encourage you think about creating a"council" of folks (e.g. "The RuneWars Player Committee") who collectively form a team that can help make these sorts of decisions can help share the load and the legwork that will be required.  In addition to the shared load, it'll also help democratize the process and when some decisions are made that inevitably upset/disappoint some contingent of the playerbase (it's impossible to please everyone all the time), they at least won't be able to throw around the "grumble grumble this sucks because HE is super biased" sorts of nonsense.

Best of luck, and may the community shine brightly under your auspices!

 

Edited by AllWingsStandyingBy

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I echo the comments this needs to be a community effort, not "initiative one".

Just as FFG had a team of people, this requires a community team to handle all the various aspects of keeping this community together and importantly vital. As a team this assures that no one person gets overloaded/burned out etc. We ought to be identifying what all needs to be done and be giving people opportunities. 

Take worlds for instance, I can very much appreciate that a store can say they want to run that, but again, this needs to be a group think. Politely I think the appropriate thing to say is, we will have a worlds, we will have store championships but much is TBD at this very early hour. Running large events (voice of experience here) is not something to be taken lightly. No matter where it's held there are logical matters to consider and most importantly we need to keep things worthwhile for the player who almost all will have to travel a fair distance. We can not at this point dismiss the other ideas such as holding it at Gencon. 

 

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Shane, I support you helping to coordinate things. I definitely want to see you share the work, testing, and brainstorming with other community leaders, both to ensure some diversity of perspective and to prevent burnout.

I think you've outlined good starting principles, though I think you're being overly cautious in not at least choosing one or two items of low hanging balance fruit to tackle. I think the regional results you all outlined in your own show indicate the data supports some targeted, small tweaks to Uthuk at least. I feel it's important to demonstrate from the outset the council (or whatever) has a willingness to engage balance and the processes you'll use to analyze and address it. That way, players on the fence about the community ownership and players considering jumping in despite the lack of official support can see that we as a community plan to take an interest in keeping a fair and diverse meta going.

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For what it's worth, I planned and ran Brawler Bash, Southern Assault, and Grail Quest with Zetan for more than a decade, which were 50-120 player GT's, and there isn't a better TO for planning and executing things that I've worked with or met in the larger community.  That's not to belittle anyone else, just to say that he's darn good at what he does.  Further, he's passionate about the game and running events, which goes a long way.  He's even a decent human being, to boot.  Best of luck!

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All of these are fair points. I only called the thread the "Initiative One Community Organized Play" to differentiate it from other efforts going on elsewhere on the forums.

Upon further reflection, I've decided that while I'm going ahead with the four points outlined above, I have no interest in forming/managing a rules committee. Many others are much more passionate about the correct way to implement balance changes, and it is beyond the scope of what I'm trying to accomplish here.

Balancing of the game (whether that means army composition rules, changing point values, or changing rules) is something others should take on. Whatever is decided, once the community gets behind a single movement, my tournament document will link to that set of rules. Until then, it will give advice, but no rules changes, as I initially intended.

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At least a couple of our group out here in Phoenix were planning on going to worlds this year.  We talked about going last year but none of us were able to make it happen. After seeing how much fun people seemed to have at this past worlds a couple of us basically committed to going this year.  Then the announcement dropped... ouch!  We were hyped and already talking about tuning our tournament lists.  You, however have given me hope.  If you hold a Worlds tourney this year you can count on at least two of us from Phoenix coming (and I'll likely try to convince more).  

I do think this game, as it is now, is well worth playing for the next several years.  Here's hoping the community continues to grow due to efforts like this one.

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2 hours ago, QuickWhit said:

At least a couple of our group out here in Phoenix were planning on going to worlds this year.  We talked about going last year but none of us were able to make it happen. After seeing how much fun people seemed to have at this past worlds a couple of us basically committed to going this year.  Then the announcement dropped... ouch!  We were hyped and already talking about tuning our tournament lists.  You, however have given me hope.  If you hold a Worlds tourney this year you can count on at least two of us from Phoenix coming (and I'll likely try to convince more).  

I do think this game, as it is now, is well worth playing for the next several years.  Here's hoping the community continues to grow due to efforts like this one.

I'm thrilled to hear it. I'm hoping we can put on a great event for you!

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