Monday, January 9, 2012

Prize Support - a tournament players perspective.

This is something that I have wanted to blog about for a while. It started when I had Merlin's back in the 20001-2002 realm. We were trailblazers back then. There was no Nova, no Adepticon. At the time GW had a policy that if you wanted to host a tournament, then you could do one every other month, per game system. This was the way it had always been. Furthermore, if you wanted to have the tournament advertised in the White Dwarf (people actually got the magazine back then), you had to pay either $80 or $150 for the missions, and the trophy (it was a cool golden griffon).

So, I was a competitive fencer, and we hosted monthly tournaments. Over the past 12 years this has allowed me to develop a lot of fencing in FL, NY, and NC/SC. So this should be able to work with 40k as well, right? Well... things got ugly real fast in the Charlotte metro area, and that is a story for another post. (Delgado may be reading this post and I don't want to bore him again.)

Anyway, we would give out all the entry fees in prize support. GW at the time didn't give anything other than the trophy and certificates. Mike (USA manager) from GW and I had a long discussion about this when I went to the Grand Opening tournament for GW staff in Memphis, TN; and Rob Villanave probably took our template and made the prize support idea for the stores the program that it is today for retailers. It is $150 per quarter (for those that are wondering.)

We then decided to do one for each system, 40k and fantasy, per month. This worked well in the beginning and we got people from all over the southeast that came to the tournaments - because nothing like this was going on at the time. Robert Ash, Mike Twitchle, Brian White, Walter (a former fencer of one of my schools in MA) and his crew, Kevin and his crew, and a group from Fayetteville came as well. We would have about 25-40 people come per tournament. It was great. Then they convinced their stores to do the same thing to generate interest in the game and make some money in the process (and to save on drive time away from home). Everyone wins, right? Then some people got greedy and the shit hit the fan in some tournaments.

Basically the break down should be: (in my opinion) 50% of the pot for overall, 30% for second and 20% for third. Now what is 1st,2nd,or 3rd is up for discussion and has been debated a lot. Now with all the two day tournaments this has gotten even more difficult. Where are the prizes for sportsmanship, and painting? Back in the day of RTT only and the GTs sponsored by GW you got certificates. Prizes? This was unheard of.

As a shop owner it was pretty cut and dry for me. The entry fee was as if people came in and bought product. The players were happy, we made the money from the tournament, and usually spent some more money while they were there. However, recently with the economy the way it is, some stores have screwed the pooch and think that those that play a game with math all the time are kind of stupid. For instance there is one store (that shall remain nameless, unless I can tell you the story in person or you email me) where the entry fee was $20. They had 24 people signed up and you had to prepay for the event. Pretty cool. (This place in the past has been a great place to play and although the missions were straight out of the book it would be fun) and with $480 in prize money, even if I came in third that would be about $100. If I had a great day and the dice gods smiled on me, then $240 would be a nice haul for a one day, three round tournament.

Well, everyone that was there that prepaid, there were even a couple of people who showed up for the tournament hoping that someone else didn't show and they could fill the slot. Well, my day was good and I won the event! I was excited and got a gift certificate for $100. WTF? Where did the rest of the money go? Well, I found out the hard way by asking the owner in an email. I didn't want to be rude and ask at the event. Well so much for being polite, I got an email with his explanation of the break out and was told to stick to the GT circuit and not to come back if I didn't like the prizes that he was "giving" out.

The breakdown was $100 for first, $75 for second and there was a tie for third so they gave each player $50 and the store only made $5, the rest went to the judge for compensation for his time. Saying that the store only got a small pittance of only $5 for hosting the event was bullshit. Ok, I have an accounting degree from college so I did the long math on this one. Last time I checked the store got the who $480, the entire entry fee for the event. To say that they only made $5 was insane! So either the organizer got $200 in cash for running the event, or the store kept the remaining $205 (nice tip for the day for not having to give out product). I want that job.

Now I have been to some events where the owner advertise a specific prize, like a $100 battleforce. He believed that from his local players and the people who may drive in, that there would be enough entry fees to pay for the battleforce. But, only 6 people show up and with the cost of the event being $5,he loses about $20 on the event. Some days you win, some days you lose. The important thing is that he kept his word on what he would give out and there was no back - peddling and no excuses. Or they say a box big box set $66 for first, a squad box for second $35 and then a blister for third $15. This is still a commitment that and have never seen a store walk away from.

So, what do you think fellow players on the tournament scene? I have been competitively fencing for 20 plus years and there was never "prize" support on the medal stand or a Nike contract. I often joke that I can make more in competitive 40k in prizes, than in competitive fencing. What is fair? What is right? How would you do it? Now with the number of GT's filling up our weekend schedules what should we be looking for?

This is just one players opinion....

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