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Virtual Raffle Tickets are Go!

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

9th January 2013

For the past five (5) years, we have held raffles using physical tickets distributed in our tournament kits and to our premium members. While there's no doubt that these have been successful and well-received, we've never been happy with the program because it didn't feel rewarding enough. For starters, we did not do a great job scheduling raffles and maintaining that schedule. Secondly, the burden of claiming prizes and registering tickets was on the players, requiring extra work on their part to claim a "bonus" prize. And finally, the prizes were entirely luck-of-the-draw, where First Edition players would win 2E foils while Second Edition players would win 1E boosters, meaning a player could end up with a bonus - yet disappointing - prize.

Thus, we made the decision last year to end the physical raffle tickets and move the program into a virtual world. We've completely revamped the Raffle program, and done our best to solve all of the problems outlined above and make the raffles more exciting and more rewarding. We'd like to outline the new program, and let's start with the raffles themselves.

Quarterly Raffles
Starting in 2013, we will be holding raffles on a quarterly basis, or every three (3) months. Since we will be hosting four (4) events per year, each one will be smaller than our previous raffles; however, the total prizes per year will remain the same (or possible increase). Raffle dates will be announced at the start of each quarter, and we will be hosting live online events for each raffle's draw.

These new raffles will be "teacup style" instead of the more traditional raffles held previously. A teacup raffle has a "bin" associated with each item in the raffle. Ticket holders - in this case, the players - are able to place their tickets in any of the bins associated with items they are interested in. Then, when we draw winners for those items, the draw is just from the tickets in the item's bin. This style of raffle allows players to avoid getting prizes they do not want, or to increase the odds of getting a prize they really want. Ticket holders can place their tickets in bins however they wish - either all in one, or one in each, or anywhere in between. All tickets placed in bins are consumed, but if nothing in the current raffle satisfies you, you can save your tickets for the future.

Shortly after the start of each quarter (or the end of the previous raffle), we will announce the bins for the next raffle. This will give all participants two (2) months to view the bins and make decisions about what they might like to win. Players can place their tickets as they earn them, or save up until the end of the quarter and place them all at once. There will be a deadline for placing tickets into the bins, but we'll announce that in advance of the date to avoid anyone being surprised by the cut off.

Earning Tickets
There are two ways to earn raffle tickets - premium membership and participation in First Edition and Second Edition tournaments. Regardless of how you earn them, tickets are all virtual and are automatically tracked. You will be able to look at your profile and see how many tickets you've earned, where your tickets came from, and how many you have on hand.

Premium members earn one (1) raffle ticket for each month of the membership. However, longer-term memberships earn bonus tickets. Requisitioning a six-month membership earns you three (3) bonus tickets, and a year-long membership will earn you twelve (12) bonus tickets. Note that all tickets are earned when the membership is requisitioned.

Premium Membership (Duration)Raffle Tickets Earned
1 Month1 Ticket
6 Months9 Tickets
12 Months24 Tickets

However, we expect the majority of tickets will come from tournaments. Effective as of Tuesday, January 1st, 2013, all reported and sanctioned First Edition and Second Edition tournaments will earn raffle tickets according to a standard formula. For each of these tournaments, the winner will earn a raffle ticket. Also, in any tournament where the tournament director does not play, he or she will earn a raffle ticket as a reward for his or her time. Finally, a number of raffle tickets will be randomly awarded to participants (other than the winner) based on the tournament attendance:

# of PlayersTickets Earned
4 PlayersWinner + 1 Bonus
5-8 PlayersWinner + 1 Random + 1 Bonus
9-16 PlayersWinner + 2 Random + 2 Bonus
17-24 PlayersWinner + 3 Random + 3 Bonus
25-32 PlayersWinner + 4 Random + 4 Bonus
If TD does not play, he/she earns 1 Ticket.

Important Note: Tribbles events do not earn raffle tickets; only First Edition and Second Edition tournaments.

What are these bonus tickets? They are extra tickets that players can earn by attaching their decklists to events and making them public. Bonus tickets are awarded one (1) week after the tournament results are entered, in order to give participants plenty of time to add in their decklists. Any player that didn't win a ticket the day of the event (either by winning the event or a random prize) is eligible for a bonus ticket. Make sure and put in your deck lists!

For example, let's say that Thomas, Dan, Rogue and Johnny get together for a small 1E tournament. Dan is the TD, but plays to make it sanctioned; Johnny ends up winning the event. When Dan reports the event, the system will automatically award a raffle ticket to Johnny. Everyone will be able to see a little raffle ticket icon () next to Johnny's name on the tournament page, and when Johnny checks his profile, he'll see that he earned a raffle ticket.

In another example, Jeremy, Kevin and eleven of their other friends get together for a 2E regional tournament. Jeremy is the TD and sits out because there are twelve (12) other players. When the dust has settled, Kevin has won the tournament. Once Jeremy inputs the results, he earns a ticket for running an event in which he didn't play; similarly, Kevin earns a ticket because he won the event. Then, since the event had between 9-16 players, two random participants are also awarded tickets - let's call them Mike and Kris.

In both cases, any player that didn't win an automatic ticket can win a bonus ticket simply by attaching their public deck to the event. One week after the event results are submitted, those bonus tickets will be given out!

Tickets have no expiration date, but once they are placed in a raffle bin they are used up.

New Players
We have quite a few players that are new or are still unregistered on our website. In fact, our Ambassador Corps has been tasked with working to get these players registered for the site. On the bright side, all players will eligible to earn raffle tickets even if they are not registered; however, only registered players will be able to use those raffle tickets. But that doesn't mean those tickets go away. Once a player that has earned tickets registers for the site and updates their profile, our system will merge their new account with their previous results and transfer all earned tickets to the new account! So don't despair if you have new or unregistered players in your area; simply encourage them to register to earn their prizes.

Using Your Tickets
As mentioned above, all of our new raffles will be teacup raffles; there will be a "bin" associated with each item, and only tickets from that bin will be eligible to win that prize. Ticket holders can place their tickets in the raffle's bins however they like. If you want an equal chance to win every prize (or the opportunity to win multiple prizes), you can spread your tickets across multiple bins. If you really want to win a particular prize, you can place all your tickets in a single bin. Just be aware that once a ticket is in a bin, it's used up and it can't be moved.

We will never publicly post (or be able to view privately) who has put tickets in bins prior to the raffle draw. However, you can see your own tickets and which bins you've placed them into so that you can keep track. We will also never post the exact number of tickets in a bin, but there will be some indication of how popular (i.e. full) each bin is. That means you could wait until the last minute and put tickets in empty or bins with small amounts of tickets in order to get great chances to win, or decide to dump extra tickets in a full bin to hedge your bets.

It is important that all players and premium members make sure to keep their shipping addresses in their profiles accurate. When the raffle takes place, our system will automatically pull a winning ticket (or tickets) from each bin and post a list of the winners. Requisitions will then be generated via The Promenade and their prizes will be packed and shipped out to them after the raffle. Without the correct information, the order might be delayed or event sent out to the wrong address.

Here's a quick recap in case you decided to skip to the end:

If you have more questions, comments, or concerns, you can discuss them on our Raffle forum.

When's the first raffle?
Our first quarterly raffle will be Saturday, April 13th, at 1 PM Pacific Time. Details about the bins will be posted in the next week or so, and details about the live raffle drawing broadcast will be posted closer to the date of the raffle. Get out there and get playing, earn those tickets, and win fabulous prizes!

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