by Terence Jason Dorman, former Judge of Great Justice
I was recently asked a Spoils rules question by one of my fellow Team Hopper members. It was a rather common question, one I’d answered a dozen times before. I provided the answer quickly, but when I answered I added the line “but let me just look at the rules to be sure.”
Upon saying this, I was blasted by jokes and insults from my teammates (because that is what we do). Stuff like “you were the Judge of Great Justice, why do you have to look it up?” and “you practically wrote the rules for a while, you idiot” were thrown my way for the entire duration of me looking up the rule in question.
All judges, regardless of experience, would handle this situation differently based on their personality. I, however, feel there is only one way to really deal with this kind of verbal abuse, be it from friends or just the gamers you judge.
Shrug your shoulders and walk it off.
In my opinion, there is no reason to be offended by statements like the ones I was recently subject to. I believe this because, when it really comes down to it, being a judge is like constantly taking an open book test.
You don’t have to know all the answers, you just need to know where to find them in a reasonable amount of time. This is evidenced by the fact that our judge test (and all judge tests I’ve ever taken, for that matter) are open book and encourage the test takers to have the rules documents on hand.
In essence, the only difference between taking the judge test and actually judging an event is that you aren’t graded at the end of the event. You’ll also probably face a lot fewer questions at an event than on the test, and they are spread out over a much greater time.
While it is certainly fun and impressive to know all the rules off the top of your head, it isn’t necessary. Being a good judge means only that you know how to find the correct rule and relay that information to your players. Whether you know the rules off-hand or have to look them up is irrelevant as long as you are looking in the right place when the time comes.
So next time you may catch a joke or rib because you didn’t know a rule as quickly as your playerbase would like, ignore it. It really doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t reflect your abilities as a judge whatsoever.
Plus, they don’t know the rules either, so if you really have to, make fun of them right back =p