It’s time to feature another excellent judge! This week on the RC edition of Judge of the Week, our team lands in the country that gave us bife chorizo, Maradona, and the Pope of the Catholic Church. This judge works in one of the widest regions in the world, but in his regular life, he’s a passionate board game collector. Judges, it’s an honor to spotlight Adrián Estoup from Temperley, Argentina.
When did you become a Judge?
I’ve been judging for about 11 years by now!
Why did you become a Judge?
I don’t believe I had an “unique” reason. I just got interested in checking out how the organizational process went at the events I attended as a player.
What advice would you give to members of your region?
Latin America is a wonderful Region, although we don’t have many events and the realities of life in many countries are tough, we are under an always ongoing development and Growth state year by year, supported by our judge community… and we still have many things to do! My personal advice for our Judges is just “give always your best in everything and try for every project you are interested in”. It turns out that our region is so wide and physically distant, so we have a fertile ground for many awesome and innovative ideas!
Could you recognize a few outstanding members of your region?
There are plenty of them! It’s sometimes unfair to pick one over others by their excellent work, but I’d like to highlight Damian Hiller and Carlos Ho. They are, without a doubt, the ones who influenced me the most in my career as a judge. The stories behind this fact are long to tell but in short: Carlos was the very first person in boosting my ideas and feeding my interest regarding involvement into the program, he taught me and trusted (and still trusts I hope!) me to truly work hard in the Region. With Damian we have a weird history: we’ve known each other for about 15 years, but other than attend some events, we didn’t engage each other much. At some point, we figured out our projects could be improved by working as a team, so we started working together in several regional projects! He was the first RC that our region had and his work was just exceptional!
I also want to recognize Nemesio Bolaños, who is doing an excellent community work not only in the north part of Chile but also is a huge presence in other countries like Perú and Bolivia. Development in those communities/regions is highly impacted by his work.
Finally, I’d love to recognize two of the newest members to our local L3+ crew, Federico Donner and Julio Sosa. Guys, your energy make us keep working every day and your interest provides us support for our local scene. Without that, this would be impossible!
What’s the farthest you have ever traveled for a Magic event?
Gothenburg, Sweden. This trip was one week before I hit L3 :).
Does your family travel with you?
Most of the time, we don’t. On a personal note, we rely a lot on the holidays for vacations. My wife normally has vacation time only in January (she works at a school) and the same with my daughter. Sometimes, we get together in Europe or like last GP Orlando, where we managed to spend a few days, post-GP, enjoying the city!
How do you not lose your mind as a RC?
I think the only two reasons why I haven’t lost my mind are because a) I really enjoy what I’m currently doing so much and I’m happy doing it, and b) I secretly have an organization method that, while not perfect, leaves me enough time to be up-to-date with all of the RC tasks, my work, and my family. My method is a long queue of pending tasks that gets refreshed periodically, prioritizing some things over others, as I deal with the list. In fact, this interview was on my list for a while, because I always had many GP-related tasks taking precedence over answering this interview properly.
What do you feel needs to be improved in the Judge program?
On a macro level, I believe we have improved a lot on communication aspects, and it is something where we still have room to improve. It’s tough to see many judges that are not aware of the latest changes in the program, and I have to admit, some of this lack of awareness is due to problems with this aspect. That being said, compared to the early days of our LatAm community, we have made enormous strides.
Regionally, we have two zones that need extra effort and that’s where I’m focusing much of my energy. First, getting an L3 in Chile (a goal for many years already), and secondly, develop the L2 community of Mexico, where we have 6 to 7 times the amount of advanced-level stores than L2 Judges. With the PPTQ schedule this year, that looks to be a daunting challenge!
How often do you Travel for Magic?
Last year, I had the chance to travel abroad for Magic many times , but I have to say, this is not a constant. There are two factors that limit my travel possibilities: my holidays with my regular job and living in south America, which to be honest, is far away from Europe or the States where many huge events happen monthly (or even weekly!).
All in all, I think I’m lucky and can travel a lot, which I love to do! This past year, I’ve managed to visit Valencia, Barcelona, Sao Paulo, Asunción (three times ;D), Portland, Orlando, and Santiago de Chile, all thanks to Magic!
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much “free time” to spend on my hobbies. I wish I had more time for that! I do, though, have a collection of amusing board games which I love to try with my friends!
The one that started my collection was “El Grande“. I bought it on the street one day after PT Berlin 2008. The game came in a metal case, along with “Carcassonne“. Given that this game was in German, it took me a while to learn all the mechanics of the game, but one year later, I could properly enjoy this game with my friends and just loved it! Other related games I like the most are: Dominion, Dungeon Lords, Agricola, Puerto Rico, Cash and Guns, Airlines Europe and Alien Frontiers.
Are there any hated games in your collection too?
Yes, there are a couple games on the top of my “Most Hated board games” list. Most of the time we gather at Alejandro Raggio‘s house, there is a playlist of games for the day. I decline almost every time one of my hated games are on that day’s playlist!
The first one is “Letters from Whitechapel“. It’s just not a game that everyone around the table will enjoy, basically letting one person have fun and the rest are stuck being bored. It’s not part of my concept for a good game experience. The other one is “Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game“. In my opinion, it’s the classic game where, if you want to interact, you just end up losing, and the players that didn’t do anything end up winning. I also give an honorable mention to “Mansions of Madness“. While it’s not one of my loved nor hated games, it’s about to join my “hate list” for being similar to “Letters of Whitechapel“. It’s just a one-sided game, with the one that has control of the board decimating the others, and the Game Master will always kill you no matter what!
Digging into the LatAm archives, we found a fancy series of Yu-Gi-Oh tokens with LatAm Judges on them! Is there any particular story behind that?
Yep! Created at GenCon 2012 during the World Magic Cup, these rare tokens are highly valuable and sought after by most of the dealers :D. One day, I had a long break until the next round, so along with Francisco Iramain and Carlos Ho, we decided to walk around and check out the booths (because we all three love games and related stuff so much <3). Among all the booths, we stayed around the Konami one. They offered to their guests to take pics and print them onto sweet tokens! Besides the funny poses, one memorable thing was, as the Konami staff noticed our presence there, them saying things like “Whoa, Magic Judges!” This story reminds me of the humor we have in our lovely LatAm community.
Although this was the only time I got onto a token, nowadays we have a similar system at Pro Tours where you can print your own token. As this happened a few years ago, for some time, we were the only Magic Judges appearing on a Yu-Gi-Oh token!
What are some of your Regional Goals?
As I said before, there are two countries were we are focusing our efforts: Chile and Mexico. I also have the challenge to modify the current regional conference structure. At this moment, we are working on a design that I believe will improve the way we handle our conferences.
How has being a Magic Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
In many ways, judging Magic has helped me with teamwork, leadership skills (especially with multicultural teams under pressure) and resolution and conflict management. Thanks to other off-event activities in the program, I’ve advanced in skills that surely might take years in a regular office job.
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Without a doubt, the two best moments were when I was offered to be the next RC of my region and when I leveled up to L3. These events were where I felt that my dedication to the community was rewarded.
The answer to the last Two Truths and a Lie...
The last five sanctioned Magic events Minh played in date back to only 2011. That’s a long time to not play magic.
That’s all folks! Thanks Adrian, your dedication to this region is awesome. We love to keep hearing good news from there! Thanks judges, hope to see you again next week! If you know a judge that you would like to recognize, please nominate a judge today!