As I continue my two-week long move across the great muddy river that separates Marietta, OH and Parkersburg, WV, I've had little time to post regular articles across the CPA. My apologies!
Something, though, that did catch my attention lately are the influx of boring, coded, drawn-out reports from this event or that. Now, as a writer, I have a responsibility to myself and my audience, in regards to publishing material. That responsibility lies in a simple question, "Is this something entertaining, or is this crap?"
Not to exaggerate, but, it appears that at least 70% of the reports out there are of the latter variety. A collection of descriptions, quips, and codified language that may (or may not!) be useful to all of 2% of the target audience.
What this means in English is that most of this garbage is crap.
Wading through this collection of refuse, I did find one gem of a report that I will use to illustrate a point that's been circulating in my community for a while, now.
You can find the article in question here:
Now, I would like everyone to pay special attention to one of the final paragraphs, as follows:
"Now this is where things get a bit controversial. We sideboard and shuffle up for game two. Jeff is going first and decided to keep his hand. I then pick up my starting seven and decide to keep as well, telling Jeff "Go ahead." He draws a card! No I had no intention of trying to psyche him out or Jedi mind trick him, but Thomas Pannell was sitting right there and saw it, too. I quickly pointed it out, and Jeff immediately looked dejected. He realized his mistake, but knew the inevitable penalty. Thomas thinks real hard, but in the end, rules that the drawn card results in a game loss. Harsh? I don't really think so. I like Jeff a lot, think he's a great guy, and had no intention of misleading him, but nonetheless, he broke a rule, even if unintentionally, and rules need to be followed and enforced, or else the game will have little integrity. So Jeff's mistake means I win the PTQ and am qualified for Chicago. It is a bit anticlimactic of a way to win, but it is a win and I'll take it. I'm sure Jeff can still qualify, his deck is really good and innovative, and I don't think his chances in this match were too good anyway."
Now, as I'm sure many will notice, the first thing that will strike you is that "Jeff" fought his way through many opponents only to lose in the final round due to a mistake. How many of you would have made the same mistake?
I'm sure there's a resounding "not me!" just hurtling toward the screen right now, but hear me out.
Now, in my play area, many events are without the benefit of classification. Type 1? What's that, a new expansion set? MBC? No, I don't have cable, man...
Get the picture?
Alright, that being said, we have a running "house rule," if you will, that if a person says "Go Ahead," they've oopsed and forgot their turn. We do have the right be a *******, and take our turn as normal, and sometimes do, depending on how our opponent has been behaving. Most of the time, though, we stop and say, "Hey, you didn't play a land or anything, did you forget your turn?"
That's a very pleasant, nice thing to do. It's very civil, and deserving of praise.
Now, the first criticism of this method of play is that it's too casual. (guffaw!) In a professional event, one is expected to adhere to ten pages of typed, single-spaced double-notarized, addended and appended rulings and clarifications of rulings. Hell, I'm not going to waste my printer ink trying to keep up with the DCI's inability to keep this game running smoothly.
It must be mentioned that what the DCI tries to do with eighteen-million rulings, errata and so on and so forth, we the casual players do on a daily basis without incident.
Very simple, really. Our group of players is small, and therefore, we can keep track of everyone. We know who cheats, who knows card-stacking tricks, who steals. We know when one of these folks is trying to go for an advantage, and when they honestly oops.
The point being that when someone cheats around here, its a very big deal, and that person is inevitably black listed throughout the community. There is no ruling, there is no month-banning or other such nonsense. That person is ostracized. Period.
Often, this person sees the error of his/her ways, and returns to the group humbled and corrected. If they attempt to cheat again, wash, rinse, repeat. Up until the point people get sick of it, and just tell the bugger to **** off.
Tournaments are likewise run. To date, we haven't had a single incident like the one above. And we're running tournaments with little or no rulings! Can you imagine the potential to abuse this trust?
And yet, no one does. Because these tournaments are important. They're not a source or revenue, or points, or anything of the kind. They're games and they're fun.