Hello, Judges, and welcome to another Project edition of Judge of the Week! This week, we honor the fine men and women who fight the good fight, “digesting” Magic’s rules into sizable chunks for public consumption – the fine people from the Rules Tips Blog! We have L1 Judge Trevor Nunez, from Roswell, New Mexico, to give us a tip or two about the Blog.
Tell us about your project.
Our project is the Rules Tip Blog – every Monday through Friday, we post a Rules Tip (with Tournament Tips on Tuesday!), mostly aimed at an FNM-level audience. The intent is to get people to be aware of common interactions and answers to common questions they may run into, and also hopefully get them more interested in the rules themselves!
What is your role within the Judge project?
My primary role is the same as the other project members: we write up a week’s worth of rules tips on a rotating schedule, and submit them for the blog. I also serve as Josh Stansfield‘s backup – I help with assigning, editing, posting, and scheduling the tips themselves when he’s busy with real life.
Why did you decide to join the Rules Tip Blog project?
Even before I became a Judge, the rules of the game fascinated me. I found (and still find!) it very enjoyable to just sit down and hang around on Rulings forums and the like, answering people’s questions. I was inspired by the Cranial Insertion articles, so I jumped at the chance to be part of a similar project within the Judge community.
Tell us a fun story about your participation in this project.
I’d say the most fun story I have is when I heard from Josh that we’d be getting a preview card for Born of the Gods – we were all really excited about it, and then we saw our preview card. The whole project group worked together on the article where we got to spoil Archetype of Courage, and it was really neat – especially considering it was the first time (to my knowledge!) that a Judge project has gotten a spoiler card. It was a really interesting one, rules-wise, on top of that!
If you could change one thing about the project, what would it be?
I’d have to say I’d change it so we have even more readers! All of us on the project get really excited when Josh lets us know that some tip or another has gotten a lot of views – we really like to know that thousands of people are reading our little blog, and learning more about the game that means so much to us.
How has this project helped your judging?
It has helped me to “speak Player, not Judge”. I had (and still sort of have) a bad habit of over-explaining answers to players, especially getting way too technical when they just wanted to know the answer, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘this happens’. The blog, since it’s aimed at an FNM crowd, lets me explain a little in-depth about why X happens, or what the interaction between Y and Z is, but also somewhat requires me to put it into terms that a less experienced player could understand. It’s really been good practice towards answering more promptly and not going into too much detail on the floor of an event. Plus, I’ve gotten to meet up with other judges within the project and learn directly from them.
Oh, you met other judges in your project in real life? What was that meeting like?
I met our project leader, Josh Stansfield, at GP Albuquerque last fall. It was interesting – it was the first time I had met him in person, but we’ve had lots of communication online (both on IRC and via Facebook). One of the things I love about the Judge program is how I’ve made so many friends all across the world, and how the internet allows us to keep in contact.
What do you like best about the project?
I like sharing my knowledge with players. When I’m judging at an event, most of what I do is keep the tournament running smoothly, keeping the play areas tidy, and occasionally answering very specific questions that players have. I don’t really get to share fun quirks about the rules with the players, since that’s not part of my job as a Judge at an event. But through this blog, I get to essentially gush about fun interactions and quirks, and flat out offer players tips, tricks, and advice, which I don’t get to do as a Judge working an event. I like that I get to share my fascination with the rules, and hopefully ignite that same spark in others.
What do you want people to know about this project, and what’s important for other judges, in your opinion?
I want them to know that the project exists, and to visit our blog and share it with friends!
How do you pick your questions and rules tips?
Mostly we get them from Josh, who gets them from the #mtgrules IRC channel, MTGSalvation’s Rulings forum, and the MTG Sub-Reddits. Basically, he picks and assigns rules tips based on questions/misunderstandings that he sees frequently, since those will be the most helpful. We also have plenty of tips that come in the form of submissions from our readers, and we contributors also often pick and suggest our own tips.
What’s the hardest rules questions/interactions that you’ve had to cover?
I think the hardest set of tips we’ve dealt with was updating players on the changes to Missed Triggers. Our primary target audience is more laid back players, usually the FNM level, but these changes were important enough that we wanted to get it out there in a format they’d understand, and hopefully discuss/share with their playgroups and friends. It was tough, but I think we did pretty well.
Thank you Trevor for your time and answers! We hope you all check the solid work of the Rules Tips team. See you next week!
Written by David Homan and Pedro Gonçalves