Announcing the Player Experience Sphere

David Lyford-Smith
L3, United Kingdom

David Lyford-Smith
L3, United Kingdom

Today we’re announcing a new large-scale Sphere of judge program operations, which is all about players and making their experiences of Organized Play better.

We will focus on how to train judges who are considerate of player issues, how to increase links between the player community and the judge community, and how to implement plans for improving OP.

[cets_callout_box style=’grey’ align=’full’ title=’Mission statement’]This Sphere is all about players. It’s about how judges interact with players, how players can work with the judge programe, and how to make events more fun for everybody.[/cets_callout_box]

The Sphere’s leader, David Lyford-Smith explained on the JudgeApps forums his three goals for this new undertaking:

The Goals

  1. Create and run projects that help improve players’ experiences playing Magic, both in terms of fun at Regular REL and sense of fairness at Competitive REL.
  2. Directly involve players in judging projects and actively seek player input and feedback on what we do.
  3. Improve the player perception of judging and judges, supporting both cooperation between the communities and trust, as well as helping recruitment of new judges.

An important impact of #2 is this: All Projects within this Sphere must include player input. That can range from player surveys, to player input, to involving non-judges as fully-fledged project members (with Level 0 JudgeApps forum accounts).

Below are details on the initial six projects that we will be looking to get underway. If you would like to get involved – whether you’re a judge or not – please contact David via pm on JudgeApps, email (savia dot wanderer at gmail), or via Twitter @SaviaWanderer. If you have a new project suggestion those are also welcome.

Player Surveys

Run wide-range surveys on judging performance and policy opinions; help implement changes coming out of those surveys. Paul Baranay will be leading this project.

The Extra Mile

Providing resources for Regular REL judges to run fun events, e.g. unusual formats at FNM, charity events, etc.

This will include both format guides and assistance on organised special events, e.g. charity events or other fun add-ons (e.g. running a Magic trivia quiz or card design competition alongside a fun event). This will also include marketing the projects’ output so that people know it’s there. This project is currently looking for a leader.

Customer service

Teach customer service skills to judges, especially focusing on customer service at Regular REL.

The first step for this project will be a guide on how to be an awesome prerelease judge – we’d like this to be released in time for the Battle for Zendikar prereleases. This project is currently looking for a leader.

Public promotions

Form a dialogue with players (Pro players, Comp REL, Regular REL) – for example, promoting judge-made content that’s for player consumption. This project will be lead by Jess Dunks.

Judge/Player social

Create and promote one or more cross-community social events. We are looking to promote increased closeness and understanding between the communities by organizing one or more cross-community events. This project will be lead by Michael Wiese.

Michael is head of the existing and related Judge Booth project, which will provides a judge-led rules challenge experience for players at GPs. That project will move to this Sphere and is also happy to receive new input.

Judges for Diversity

Create resources to train judges in how to promote diversity in their local area, and how to resolve challenges that work against that. As well as helping train judges to support an open and welcoming culture, this project will also cover specific guidance in e.g. how to adjust your practice to help enable access to Magic for players with various specific disabilities. Dustin de Leeuw will be leading this project.


The scope and ambition of this Sphere here is large, but we know many of you care passionately about making the Magic experience as good as it can be and we’re really excited to get to work with others with the same excitement we’re feeling for this.