Running a tournament can be a bit of a ball ache, so why do it? That’s the question I asked myself a year ago, then behold, in November 2019 we ran ‘The Chertsey Road Memorial Tournament.’
Things were looking ropey at our local games store in Woking and a chat with one of our founding squadron members brought about the fallback plan of looking for a potential new venue for playing when the inevitable happened.
“We could host tournaments again,” he said.
“Mehh,” or some other sound I uttered, “We only really stopped running our own tournaments in the first place as we didn’t need to in terms of raising funds as a club, costs me wife points when I could be playing and there are plenty of stores that run tournaments anyway.”
“What if it were for charity?” came the response, “we’ve both had friends and relatives hit by cancer of late. Could do something for that or something else?”
Damn, “Yeah, I’d do it, then.”
So the inevitable happened, the local store goes down in flames, c’est la vie wave three pre-orders, but operation Echo base swung into action and a new friendly environment was found. Now for the tournament running part. After a few months of settling in the new venue, a plan and date were arranged. The first part was actually finding a charity to support.
The narrowing down, after running it past the executive committee then out to the general masses of Zombie Squadron for approval, was thus:
Child orientated and local.
During all this, I completely forgot about the fact that my business partner has been running a ‘make a wish,’ style fundraiser each year for the past four years or so. They do a couple of events combined with a ‘Go fund me’ to raise money to send a sick child to Euro Disney or the equivalent. They are now registering The Fairy Godbrothers as a proper charity too, which will make things a bit easier and better moving forward. Their aim for 2020 is to send two children to Disney World, so this was a perfect little local charity to get behind.
This was going to be a bit more tricky as now our local store had gone bye-bye, as when we did run events of our own through 2015 to 2017, it sponsored us for most of them by means of a free Q kit or something. We would add a few extra bits like custom mugs, drinks mats and custom tokens or range rulers to flesh it out a bit, (even copies of Loopin Chewie on one occasion). Furthermore, the best way to add to the charity pot is to hold a raffle or two.
There are a fair few of us, including some store champions and the odd Coruscant Invitational winner, so made a pot of tokens, alt art cards and stuff. Richard also has a menagerie of wooden spoons and offered some of them, but we already had one. Spoilers, he got another one. To buff it all up I wrote to the FFG distributor and organised play providers in the UK via a number of avenues. Disappointingly all I got from them was tumbleweed.
Now, I didn’t think we would get anything in regards to prize support, I understand their policy on gaming clubs versus games stores. I understand the logic and potential issues for them, but it was disappointing not even to receive a reply. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, but a no thanks and good luck with the event would have been nice.
On the other hand, I had written to some of the third party suppliers and got unsolicited support from other parts of the X-wing community. A massive thank you to individual cards supplier Protech models and the guys at Nerf Herder, third party perspex suppliers Cog-O-Two and Buy the Same Token, some fantastic home brew Alt arts from Dark Star Squadron as well as Nic from the Firestorm Firecast live stream. The Firecast not only live streamed games from the event but also fundraised via their patron thing for the month beforehand.
What’s in a name?
You need a good name for the event. Something that rolls off the tongue and resonates with the community. Our local game store was on Chertsey Road, and the road works upon said road were flagged as one of the many reasons it went under. It seemed appropriate that the event be called The Chertsey Road Memorial Tournament,’ with a genuine piece of Chertsey Road as the trophy.
The Day of the Event
It went really smoothly overall. We had loads of bodies early doors to set up the tables which is always a big help. For the tournament data, I used the Cryodex android app, which while I prefer the use of a laptop for inputting data due to fat fingers on the phone, worked really well. Even with the odd error in data entry, it was easy to go back in and amend the result. It wasn’t me though, as I was at the Pizza Express in Woking at the time.
Out of the expected twenty-nine entrants, we had a couple of drops on the day so ran at 26 players, which was reasonable. We did start 15 minutes later than intended and finished at 7pm when I expected to finish at around 6.15ish. I hadn’t really considered the additional time taken up that running spot raffles at the start of each round as well as the main one near the end of the day.
Only one rules question came up, which I was rather pleased that I knew without checking the rules plus a few is it in arc or not? The best one being after realising it was really close, was to knock one of the ships over. Fortunately, both players were in agreement about the target being in arc at that point.
With all the support of the X-wing Community, fellow Zombies, (both those that attended and those who couldn’t make it), and the generosity of all 26 tournament attendants, we raised £508.00. It was truly humbling to walk away from the event and message the Fairy Godbrothers to let them know the total. We hoped we might hit about £250 to £300 and to exceed that was amazing. It gives them a great leg up in their fundraising for 2020.
We used to run two events per year and I feel we could go back to that. November or early December was one of our time slots so the Chertsey Road Memorial Tournament could occupy that spot on a regular basis. Another event in the first half could be on the cards too, dependent on when the other Major X-wing events are planned.
Which bring us back to the opening question, why run a tournament? As much as running one for the noble cause of charity, even if its one just to cover the room hire and prize support, (which doesn’t need to be lavish), a tournament can help build the community and keep the hobby relevant. Around the area, we have lost a number of stores which regularly ran events, especially one on our doorstep. Fortunately, we have a new store, ‘The Gaming Den,’ set up down the road as the crow flys which is running monthly events as well as some members of the 186th Squadron running a new monthly event in conjunction with the new Dark Sphere Megastore in Shepards Bush in 2020.
These are still big excursions for most of us so supporting our local tournament community on our own doorstep is essential. If there is a gap in the calender, if you can get a venue, some tournament software and a will to do it, build it and they will come.
Firestorm Fire Cast:5 games from the event up there to watch.
Protech Models: card singles, templates, tokens and other hobby supplies.
Cog O Two: Perspex templates, tokens and Trophies.
Buy The Same Token: Perspex templates and tokens.