Monday, March 20, 2006

WWLA - All Wrapped Up in a Bow

Wow, what a con!

I've been home for almost 24 hours and I'm still exhausted. That doesn't matter because I've got playtesting to do tomorrow, plus I've made promises of Demo Kits, Tournament Kits, and external playtest info to get out to folks, all this week. No problem, I can handle it.

I'm still working out what works best for tournaments, prize-wise. I really want to establish a set prize-schedule for convention events, including product but it's been really hard because we keep getting new products, new promo items, and the number of players at the events has swung wildly from event to event. As a result, I end up winging it every single time, which I hate. If not a set structure, at least a base-line that I can build upon based on attendance and what I have available.

I ran four tournaments at WWLA, and each one had a completely different prize structure. It was madness.

What wasn't madness was a little fun I had between rounds of the first Sunday tournament. I grabbed a Merfolk Play-Stack box plus several boosters and placed them on the mat. I then allowed all the players who were waiting the next round to pitch 10 (or so) chips into the play area. Once all the chips were thrown, the players whose chips were closest to the products won them. It was a bit too quick, but it was a fun way to give out a few prizes. One player managed to land his chip right on top of the Play-Stack box, and despite a few tries to knock it off, it stayed and he got it. That's the sort of thing I want to do between rounds. It's fun, it's got prizes, and it keeps people around the tournament area when they might otherwise wander off (which is only a problem when they don't come back in a timely manner!)

Day 1 - Intro to Clout. Wasn't really attended. Gaming hadn't really started at the con, and demos were the order of the day.

Day 2 - 10am (11am, really) - Booster Draft. Gave up on drafting. Between having all beginners and the noise of the hall, we made it a straight sealed stack/booster event, plus trading session. 16 players, in all. Very well recieved. Prizes included Boosters, Promo Chips, and a signed & matted Clout Art Print.

Day 2 - 4pm Constructed Stack Multiplayer. Wasn't sure what sort of attendance I'd get, but it turned out pretty well. 13 players, about 5 from the first event and 8 new ones. As I'd foolishly given away most of my boosters at the first event, I had more modest prizes for this one. A few Boosters (to everyone), plus a second print. As I mentioned before, Scott gave up the print to the second place player as he'd already won one.

Day 3 - 11am (12pm, really) - Constructed Stack One-on-One. Again, I figured Sunday would be dead, but I was wrong. 8 players, most from the previous day's events, showed up and played a very strong event. I had the DoU Play Stacks to give out as prizes by then, so everyone who stuck around for the later rounds (win or lose) ended up with one. The top finishers ended up with two (there are three flavors, Goblin, Undead, and Merfolk) In addition I had a fresh supply of boosters, for all, plus extras for the winners, and Ultra-Pro binders.

That was supposed to be it, but the booth was promising more tournaments and I had to think fast. Most of the players coming over now had just learned from the demo and had nothing more than a starter. The veterans that had been scoring and buying boosters all weekend would crush them, so I decided that only sealed starters and play-stacks would be allowed.

Day 3 - 3pm - Sealed Starter/Play Stack 3 player. I got exactly 9 players which was perfect. Three tables of three players each. The winners from each table would then face off in a final 3 player game (everyone else was eliminated, but got 4 boosters for playing) The hall closed at 5, so I had to make the event short. It turns out the starter Centaur stack can't handle the DoU Goblin play stack because of the all (strike), but folks still had a great time. Prizes were my last remaining boosters and my last remaining DoU Play Stack Boxes. We wrapped at 4:45, 15 minutes before the hall closed. I managed to grab the very last pizza in the food court-area.

That was my Wizard World LA. I want to thank Ryan "CloutHead" for all his help and being a great roommate at the hotel. He's a great guy and a talented game designer. If any of the players of the events read this, I want to thank you again for coming and playing. You guys made it a terrific experience.

See you all at the next one. GenCon SoCal, if not sooner!


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