Just around a month ago, we had Thai Nationals 2018. As the owner of Hobby Bugong, the store that received the honor to run this year’s Nats, I had quite a fun experience I’d love to share. Running Nationals was never easy, and I knew that from the beginning. Nonetheless, there is no way I would turn this chance down.
This year we had a crazy increase in player count: from 144 players in 2017 to 222 players! I was actually aiming at around 30% increase from last year so this 56% increase was way out of my expectations. This is a good unexpected though, so I’m not going to complain LOL.
With only 6 active judges in Thailand, I knew right away that we will be severely understaffed for an event with over 200 players. Therefore, I volunteered myself as a scorekeeper for this tournament right away. Getting to be a scorekeeper in a big tournament was a personal goal, I originally thought that being an SK will allow me some time to overlook the event as a coordinator as well.
WRONGGGGGG!!! I learned the hard way that SK job for an event this scale is super time-consuming. I barely had any chance to leave my station. No, I barely had any chance to even leave for the restroom! Knowing that each mistake in entering scores can delay the event for at least 10 minutes, I was extra careful with entering each result. Thankfully, we ended the whole event without any score entry mistake.
As for the Tournament Organizer side, fortunately, I had also prepared my staff well before the event. Admittedly this is my first ever big event experience, so I’d rather be over-prepared than otherwise. This may only be my chance to run the event this grand so I really wanted to finish it with a good memory.
I hired one more staff member right after volunteering the SK job, just to make sure we’re not understaffed on the general staff side. I also thoroughly briefed every staff before the event because I want to avoid them bugging me with questions while I’m busy. Here are the things I went through with my staff prior to the event:
- How to setup the event at first stage and later stages (STD ==> Draft Pods ==> Top 8)
- The timeline of the main event & side activities
- Specific jobs each person has to cover (such as coordinating with the meal box delivery, picking up the masseurs, collecting parking tickets, etc.)
- Prizes for each event and their tracking sheets
- Things to keep looking out for (trash on the tables, people looking for seatings, etc.)
- Common questions that players might ask
This turned out to be one of the best decisions I made because as I said above, scorekeeping took almost all of my time already OTL. Results entering -> preparing End of Round procedure -> End of Round procedure -> pairing, printing, and posting online: these steps took over 40 minutes per round when the tournament is 200+ players.
There were also so many hoops we had to jump through using WER running Nationals. In short, WER program wasn’t meant to be running multiple-format event, but there was no other choice for us so it came with 40+ pages manual on how to workaround the system. To give you a quick rough idea how manual we had to do it: I had to manually pair people into each draft pod BY HAND.
Getting back to the judges’ side, we also received a bad news right around just 1 week before the event. Our Head Judge, Smith, had to pull out of the event due to family reasons. Pym took up the Head Judge mantle, and so in total, including me, we had total of 7 judges to cover all the main and side events. It was a very big task to ask, but with all of our professionalism and diligence, we managed to pull through the event very smoothly. Big CREDIT to every judge that stepped up to the challenge!!
On the bright side, even though we were very busy on both days, all judges still had time to enjoy the luxury every VIP players got to enjoy as well: Massage!!
So a quick wrap up for my experience of organizing Nationals Thailand 2018 this time:
- Being a tournament organizer and scorekeeper simultaneously is tough, highly not recommended.
- When you are both a TO and judge at the same time, you care for judges a whole lot more and know how things are going. Experiencing them firsthand lets you know what to fix right away.
- Judges are strongly understaffed here in Thailand. We managed to pull it through this year, but with the change to 12 rounds format next year, we may be in big trouble if we couldn’t get new recruits soon.
- Using WER to handle Nationals is very hard to use because the program wasn’t developed to do such task. It’s better to request for WLTR if possible.
- Being a scorekeeper in a tournament of this size is something special, totally different from a normal PPTQ/RPTQ you’d find normally. It is highly recommended to practice a mockup event beforehand.
If you want to see even more pictures, you can find them in this link: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AhazYtMb0WwRh6Irg2EAfMB-vvcVuA