Thursday, June 23, 2011

Event Organizing 101 - Old School Terminator

AND IN LOCAL NEWS.... These event articles are interesting to me from the point of view of a Blogger. I don't know a ton of other bloggers personally that I can chat with on a regular basis though so I don't have a way to compare things I see on my blog or trends with what others see. I lack the DATA!! lol. These articles I have been doing for example are good for the community giving a little behind the scenes about people who run events around us. A bit of what drives them and just getting people to talk about events in general. (If you run events locally in your area you live in Thank You. Without you the hobby wouldn't be what it is) Anyway I get a ton of
positive feedback via word of mouth or email but I don't get a ton of traffic on these compared to the other things I post and I am surprised by this I would think those things go hand in hand like rappers and court cases but it appears not? Speaking of traffic I get more traffic than I was ever expecting on a pretty regular basis depending on what I am posting of course, and it appears traffic isn't directly related to followers. Also something interesting. The site is only about 5 months old (well less than a year) and I am over 20,000 page views. In fact stat wise in the last 30 days I have had 9000+ people show up, click through, or just stare from a distance. So again thanks for stopping by and convincing me to stick around and press on. Also large thanks to the vet blogs for helping, linking, and answering questions from the FNG with open arms when I ask random questions. Anyway let's move on to our Q and A post for the day.

This week we have Old School Terminator from Dark Future Gaming. Old School and crew run a great blog that you should check out on a regular basis if you aren't all ready. They stay on top of things and are all about giving back to the community of the local area and online. Old school makes rounds through the blogsphere as well so you will see him comment several places from time to time. If you are in the Michigan area for one reason or another I am sure if you touch base these guys would love to see you show up for a pick up game. Let's here from Old School himself though......

Please give a brief background on your gaming experience and organizing events background.

I have been running events for 40k specifically for 2 years, though part of my job in the military is to organize larger events, from town hall-style meetings to Air Shows and I have been at that much longer. While organizing a 40k event has little in common with the latter events, the basics are the same; people want to be comfortable, they want to know what is going on and how it will happen, and they want to be treated with respect - add fun to that and you have the ingredients for running a hobby event.

What led you to start organizing events?

I moved to Michigan after some heavy experience playing in different states. I was lucky enough to buy a house a block away from a FLGS. The store at the time had just picked up 40k, but had one of those "King Dork" type personalities who lorded over the game, made up house rules, and misinterpreted the actual written rules. The local crowd was just on the cusp of rebelling against King Dork and I think my moving in expedited his removal.

What was left was a gap in the 40k event schedule. There were a lot of guys there who were smart and motivated and things naturally fell into place and we have had a good rotation between a few of us running the local events.

If you recall what was the first organized event you ran and how did that go?

The first event that I ran was an event that was totally my own, called End of Days - A doubles tourney where each player brought a 1000 point list from a different codex than their partner and each partner had the option to take on unit from a codex other than the ones represented on their team. This was a recipe for potential disaster, but ended up being a very smooth event with a little trouble. I still get e-mails every month asking when I hope to have another End of Days tourney!

What did you take away from running your first event?

Part of why that event was a success despite potential insanity was preparation. I had advertised it for what is was (a crazy event) for two months and solicited the community online to ask questions. I then built a FAQ based on the crazy questions that came up. I printed the event FAQ and the basic rules and handed them out at registration and that seemed to eliminate a lot of potential arguments.

I then turned to more standard events, but the focus on preparation was the same. I make sure that the basic rules and expectations are known the moment I announce the tourney in the first place (bring dice, multiple copies of lists, WYSIWYG, etc.).  I then ensure the participants have access to the missions online before the event as well. Add in the proper amount of the right terrain and you are set for success.

Can you offer any tips or advice on working with the store/venue of an event location?

Communication is key. Once you sit with the owner and set a date, you need to ensure that you agree on the number of tables, the prize support (if you are asking for anything beyond the door money to buy prizes) and you need to make sure that the owner de-conflicts the schedule.  Having a 40k tourney, a Magic draft and an xbox event on the same day is no fun for anybody involved in any of those events and it can potentially make you and the store look bad to local players.

When you have the event in mind be firm, but flexible and communicate all of your needs and ask what the store needs - you should be just fine if you follow those basic rules.

For you personally what is the hardest part of running an event?

The hardest part of running an event is de-conflicting complex rules situations when one or more of the players involved is being unreasonable or is taking something in the game personally. It just makes for drama and nobody wants to see that. I am quick to let a player know they are embarrassing themselves - but the good thing is that most people are on their best behavior at a tourney and tend to be pretty reasonable.

The second most difficult thing to deal with are the guys who decide to leave after the first round. They create gaps in the parings that can lead to players setting out if you aren't prepared. Quitting after the first round of a tourney is my pet peeve.

For you personally what is the most rewarding part of running an event?

Seeing it unfold and knowing that everyone is having a good time. When I get asked when our next event is and where, it makes me happy because it means people would follow us across the state to play in our events, which is a really good feeling.

 If you had to give a single piece of advice to someone who was interested in organizing an event for the first time what would you pass on?

Talk to people who run events and not just one person, but lots of them - online, locally, any way possible. I can tell you that I talk to people about it still whenever I get the opportunity. At Adepticon, the DFG crew talked to Goatboy, the folks from Origins, Brian from A Gentleman's Ones and more just to get an idea of what they were doing. Don't just copy their ideas, take a little from everyone and add your own flavor.

- I also want to add that having a good friend involved is key. I would be half the event organizer I am today without the wise council and sweat labor of CVinton. Having a friend who is ready to work as hard as you are is priceless.

Thanks to Old School for taking the time to do a little Q and A with us. He brought up some great issues and points with having to plan that someone may leave early, other things going on the same day at the store (appearances matter when you deal with customer service) as well as avoiding drama.

This will conclude the basic background Q and A series, and I plan to start talking a bit more about other aspects of running a event, like terrain, clear missions, and FAQ issues. We will prob start doing a few more 40k 101 articles, and other commentary bits since I have had a request to do some more of that. All with eyecandy whenever I can throw it there of course. We like our pictures here at the Emperors Codex and strive to provide our own flavor of article and blog experience. We also have a some Q and A from GoatBoy and Jwolf about Wargamescon coming up next week. The event is only 2 weeks away!! I also have a bit of a idea about promoting other blogs with a joint article effort in the near future. If you run a blog and are interested in playing along leave a comment or drop a line to me. Drkmorals @ Well be doing our end of the week run down about 6th edition hopefully Friday depending on my work schedule. =P


  1. I have enjoyed the joint Ventures I have done with OST.

    Not to brag but so far my tournament was the biggest we have done between our two blogs and at our FLGS Evolution games :-)

    But seriously playing in tournaments run by OST and Cvinton have been awesome. If you want to prep for the big ones like Adepticon.

  2. Living someplace that has a strong local gaming scene is awesome and you don't really know that until you have lived someplace that doesn't. If I was closer I would totally game with the guys from DFG. I am fortunate that here locally our scene isn't bad at all.


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