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Eliminating Barriers to Organized Play

by Kris Sonsteby, Director of Organized Play

6th August 2018

Today, the Organized Play team, along with the help of the invaluable IT folks working alongside us here at The Continuing Committee, are happy to announce two significant changes to the tournament system going forward. Aimed at increasing both the frequency of local tournaments and diversity amongst the active community, we have collectively decided to lower the threshold for sanctioning from four players down to just three as well as lowering the advance notice threshold from seven days down to just one. Going forward, if you and two of your friends determine everyone is free for some STCCG tomorrow night, there won't be anything stopping you from making those games official.

24-Hour Advanced Notice

As a Decipher-era dinosaur, the current system requiring 7-day advanced notice for tournaments is something I admittedly hadn't given any thought to - it was simply the way things worked around here. From my days as an Ambassador and eventual Product Champion, it had become standard operating procedure for the better part of two decades. And that familiarity ultimately brought about complacency. That is, until our Ambassador to South Africa, Fritzinger posted the following ...a thing I just thought of - for my group there is zero reason to require any advance notice for scheduling tournaments on TrekCC, especially not 7 days. Everything is by Facebook events. I'm about to approach some people about playing on Tuesday or Wednesday, if I do schedule for Tuesday I won't be able to schedule a tournament, if I do Wednesday... I might? But that's not a decision that I can let TrekCC rules affect, what matters is whether the players can make it or not.

Fritzinger brought up a good point, which I have highlighted for impact. Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether our community knows six months or six hours in advance that they can attend a given tournament - all we should care about is that they can. A tip of the cap from this "old pro" to Fritzinger for elevating his concern, and to everyone whom helped behind the scenes to bring about the change.

3-Person Sanctioning

??While sanctioning levels have been adjusted downwards over the years, the standby edict that everyone needed four players to make a tournament fire has existed for quite some time. On occassion, our dedicated tournament directors from around the globe have had to bribe a friend or loved one into playing to make an event count. We've all done it, myself included, and there is no shame in saying so. And in those rare circumstances where no helping hand is available, games are either being played casually or events are getting cancelled. I believe community member ?Danny said it best when he responded to an unofficial poll with the following ...?in our experience, we've had a 4-person tournament lined up, have someone cancel at the last minute, so we've abandoned the tournament as we know a 3-person one wouldn't be sanctioned. Scoring points and / or achievements for a tournament is much more gratifying and long lasting than mere "bragging rights." And if implimenting 3-person tournaments (especially on a trial basis) isn't to the detriment of other events (or detracts from them in any way) why not do it? I mean, where's the harm and what have we got to lose?

Admittedly, this change will have far more sweeping implications as both player ratings and the achievement system will be affected going forward. It was not a decision that we have taken lightly, and was therefore discussed internally at length prior to reaching a consensus. The Organized Play team acknowledges there may be community members whom try to game the system in the wake of this change, but our hope is that the reward for helping sustain smaller play groups will outweigh this risk in the long run. As Danny? and other forum users have alluded to, it appears we have more to gain by making this change than by maintaining the status quo.


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