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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Save a codex, bash a TO

I find it interesting that are giving TO's a hard time about what they ban/allow/FAQ's etc, especially on the internet. I am going to pick on Carl from the IC's, mainly because i know him fairly well and i know he won't get his panties in a wad. I am picking on him not for his comment, but as an example of an average poster. Here is a gentleman who lives on the West Coast, commenting on a small RTT/GT which he probably has no intent of attending ever, because of distance and size. 

I also happen to know the type of player Carl is, because of his show, he loves his toys, the excellent products that FW comes out with, the skill/love/care it takes to assemble/paint them. Then again, he is not a regular tournament player, and does not routinely play games to develop lists to take to a tournament or regularly play 'meta' games.

TO's have a thankless job:
-you deal with fronting the cost (although they clearly make money hand-over-fist :)  )
-player's bad behavior
-depending on the crowd, clean up (i came in on Sunday at 6:30am to clean of half empty booze bottles and abandoned spit-cups (that's you John))
-outrage when you don't rule a ruling right (and internet ridicule afterwards)
-and anything else wrong they can lay at your feet instead of taking personal responsibility for their failings in the game/character/personal life/whatever...

TO's get a lot of local pressure and feedback. Neil entertained the notion of Forge World briefly, because some registered attendees asked. He put out a poll on email. We received no positive feedback for inclusion of FW, yet numerous 'I-will-take-my-ball-and-go-the-@#$%-home' emails, some rather negative and nasty. We tend to ignore forum and other internet feedback, since you can't tell if it is from a stakeholder or not.

Most TO's make decisions based on their knowledge of their previous and local attendees. Why? Because they invest time and money into running an event, rarely at a profit. If people fail to show, it costs money. At a local store, it might cost them the prized time slot and space. Why run a barely attended 40K event, if the store owner can just add another magic/heroclix/insert-other-game-that-pays-the-bills? Every failed event has a cost of some type to the community.

People fear change, period. Lets give the new stuff a while to feather out, just like the release of a new codex. Leave local tournament decisions to locals and give it some time. Let people play how they play. Who am I to judge a local group for having specific house rules? Why should i care that Reecius includes Forge World in his tournaments? Especially since i hate flying and will probably never get to the West Coast to attend one of his excellent events. Who am I to complain about Nova/BAO/Adepticon/insert-other-event missions? if i don't intend to play at such an event. People don't like others dictating how they should play. Why do that to someone else?

Some people will complain, "but my local TO uses @#$% missions at our local events". Have that discussion locally. Get involved with the process, offer your help. Maybe rotate with the sole guy who runs events all the time at your local store/group/hangout. I am sure that individual would like to play in an event once in a while. RTT TO's will adopt larger event FAQ's/Missions/whatever because it is less work than making this up by yourself and they may not have the time, especially if they are a one-man-show.

The larger events usually have large groups getting together to determine what is best for their event, taking all kinds of feedback. They usually have the larger tournament crowd in mind, not the top 10% of the tournament. Events like nova can not survive by only catering to the 40 or so 'internet famous' players. They need the other few hundred attendees to have a great experience so they keep coming back. That said, every community tends to have a 'tournament player' in the group that helps people to become motivated to go, helps design their lists, helps them become better prepared players. There is a fine balance between keeping happy the hyper competitive players (think Neil) and the people wanting to play some awesome 40K in a large crowd (me).

As a player you have some options. Get involved in your local community, help make it better. Don't allow your local TO to get trampled by the vocal minority and internet pundits with no stack in your local community and events. Ultimately, if an event is not responsive, it will fail because players will not show up. So if you feel your feedback is not heard, vote with your feet and don't attend, go elsewhere. When you read blogs like Faeit or Bols, listen to a podcast like 40KUK or even us, think about what stake we have in your local area. Who are you going to trust to run a good event for you, your TO or someone like me who may never have set a foot in your local meta.

I have a long list of TO's who i trust to run an excellent event for me. It includes people like Mike Brandt, Reecius and local TO's like Brock. I can't name them all of the top of my head, and i apologize for not mentioning anyone else, i am horrible with names. Ignore the internet screamers, work in your local community to make it better. Be active in fixing/protecting the gaming experience you like and love, don't let GW steal your xmas and the content of your wallet. Look at what is offered, use what fits in your group.