The Judge Program keeps evolving to better serve Organized Play needs. We want judges to be able to assist tournament organizers, players and other judges as well.
The starting ground
The Level 2 exam certifies that you understand each of the skills described here and you already possess them well enough to start operating in your new role at events and outside them. Your road to improve is endless though, so be happy: keep challenging yourself to become a better judge.
The road to improvement
One of the best things about being a judge is that there are always opportunities to improve your skills and become a better judge. Most of this improvement comes from direct experience, but some guidance is extremely useful in order to find the best way for you to keep working on your skills.
If you want to better visualize how to advance towards Level 3 have a look at The Level 3 Advancement Process.
Working at Competitive REL events
The best way to improve your judging at Competitive REL events is, well, keep judging them! In these events you’ll start meeting new challenges due to tournament procedures and your new roles such as:
- Teamwork: Tasks of a big tournament are usually split among different teams (Deck Checks, Logistics, Paper, …) so that each judge contributes to the success of the event by performing specific tasks. Each team needs a judge that is responsible both for its tasks and for its judges. Team Leaders are the Head Judge’s eyes and ears on the floor. A good Team Leader balances his or her attention between the tasks and the judges, so that everything is performed correctly and judges may learn new skills, develop new friendships, enjoy the event and not exhaust themselves.
- Head Judging: The Head Judge is responsible for the entire tournament. He or she must solve appeals from players and explain rulings, policies and decisions. His or her tasks usually include work before the event with the tournament organizer in order to assist the selection of the staff and the logistics of the venue, and after the event in order to give feedback to the judges and reports of the event.
- Investigations: A proper investigation is needed to collect enough elements for you to take a decision and great diplomacy is needed to communicate your decision to the players. In case of disqualification from the event you need to write a statement, collect relevant information and statements from players and judges involved and enter the investigation into JudgeApps.
- Penalties: Delivering a penalty to players requires you to properly assess which infraction was committed and apply the correct fix and penalty. Diplomacy and document knowledge in this process is of the utmost importance. Infractions should always be entered into the reporting software.
- Deck Checks: Competitive events require to verify the correctness of the decklists and that the cards actually played in the decks are listed there.
The biggest new power you acquire by getting to Level 2 is the possibility to certify new judges. In order to help judges enter the Judge Program you need:
- Acquisition: Find some people that show the skills needed by judges (people skills, correctness, willingness to help others, …) and interest in rules and policy. You may start getting them involved in the judge community by pointing them to resources, challenging them with questions and scenarios, talking with them about your experiences at events you attended and so on. These people may be either players or store owners.
- Mentoring: Once someone shows interest into becoming a judge, they will be looking for someone to guide them through the process of learning. You need to give them the instruments to learn the rules, to test their knowledge and your support. Let them assist you while judging a small event so that they get used at what we do.
- Testing: The Judge Testing process is standardized so that all candidates are required to possess the same basic skills needed to operate at their level. We strongly suggest to go through the certification process at least once with a more expert judge.
- Reviewing: Giving and receiving feedback is extremely important and it is a fundamental tool for improving the judge community. Try always to watch some of your fellow judges working and find some areas in their skills in which they could improve. Offer them suggestions on how to make them stronger, and remember to offer constructive criticism.
- Communication: Be an active part of your regional community, be present online on local mailing lists, forums and the like. Propose interesting situations for discussions, reports of your tournaments, etc.
Judge Program work
By becoming Level 2 you demonstrate interest into becoming more involved in the Judge Program.
- Regional Coordinator: Be sure to get in contact with your Regional Coordinator, to let them know about any questions, any problems or any desires you may have about the Judge Program.
- Judge Forums: Start becoming an active part of the discussion on international and regional forums, either by proposing topics you encounter in your community or in your events or by sharing your experience by replying to other judges’ enquiries. Take some of the discussions back to your local community and help your community gain new experiences.
- Projects: The Judge Program keeps trying to improve by judges exploring new possibilities. Judges start working on particular topics in order to either add new features to the Program or to make them better. You may propose new Projects to the community or you may ask to join your favorite one.
- Bigger Events: Once you get enough experience in Competitive events, there is the ultimate frontier of Professional events. These events are run to the top possible standard in order to give players an awesome experience. Applications for these events are posted on JudgeApps so be sure to read the event pages and apply properly.
This page written by Fabian Peck