Mar 27th, 2012 by Terence Jason Dorman
by Will Clark, Director of North American Operations
When we last left off, Red and I had just taken over the duties of Organized Play Directors for North America. We couldn’t rest on our laurels because our first act as OP Directors was to plan the State Championships that had been announced by our predecessor but never fleshed out. After much debate between Red and myself, we scheduled the events on various weekends at different stores across the U.S. with the winner in each state getting free entry and a bye into the National Championships at Gen-Con 2010. After this we had a couple weeks respite before the events were due for both Origins and Gen-Con. Red and I were new to the whole event planning process but our love for the game drove us to make the events as memorable as possible.
Planning Origins was significantly easier than planning Gen-Con. We knew that the attendance would be smaller and that Seed Two: Gloamspike’s Revenge wouldn’t be out by then. This allowed us to host events for brand new players and one big event that fed into Gen-Con. So that’s what we did. We hosted a few casual sealed and precon events where rules enforcement was more relaxed. We actively encouraged using the few experienced players in attendance for advice when not playing in events. It was significantly more causal than Gen-Con would be and the players thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
After Origins came Gen-Con. That year Seed Two released at the con and we had a slew of events showing it off. It all fed into the National Championship where the winner won a massive television on top of all the promos, product, and prestige. All the events went well except the National Championship. A glitch in the tournament software was discovered after a re-pairing of round one was needed. People who were granted one bye to the event were suddenly paired and those who were awarded two byes had only one bye showing. Needless to say this threw Red and I into panic mode. We methodically re-entered every player and their byes into the system and began again only to have one player not hear our call to confirm that they were entered into the event. So once again we entered the players into the system and afterwards the event went smoothly. Bernie Makino won that year and has continued to be a top player since.
To wrap up my tale with a pretty little bow, let me say this. The journey from volunteer to employee was anything but easy. Despite setbacks, red tape, and other issues, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I have met and bonded with some of the best people I know through this game, I have acquired skills that serve me outside of the gaming world, and I get to make sure the game I love is available to you, the player, for a long time. While I can’t play anymore, I’m still a player at heart and always try to put their interests first.