First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support for my first Underground article. I’m happy to report that I’ll be back with another one next month! In the meantime, let’s talk about Fall Regionals again!
After all the US Regionals were completed, Jason Klaczynski posted a survey to the TCG Facebook group “Virbank City,” which has almost 5,000 members. 238 members gave their feedback, and here are the results.
As you can see from the graph, the majority of players that participated in the survey attended Fort Wayne Regionals, with Philadelphia coming in second, and Houston in third. Additionally, the Masters division overwhelmingly dominated the responses.
First, let’s take a look at what everyone thought about the tournament structure. Jason asked players to rate the amount of time they thought was needed for each portion of the tournament.
Most players thought that the time they spent in line waiting to register was reasonable, but bordering on being too long. However, when it came to the time spent waiting for the first round to begin after registration, players became a bit antsy, with 36.36% reporting that it was getting to be too long. For the most part, players thought the time between rounds was acceptable. Not surprisingly, the majority of players (Masters, keep in mind) thought that Day 1 overall took either “somewhat too long” or “far too long” to finish, with the percentage of these two categories combining to be 63.92%.
Satisfaction with the amount of time given for lunch breaks was fairly high. What do you think? Should events have a lunch break at all, or would cutting this out save on overall time, which most players were dissatisfied with? If yes, how long should it be? If no, what are some other solutions for feeding players? Personally, I would like to see no lunch break with on-site food options available for players to eat if they finish a round early. This would keep the flow of the tournament intact while still allowing players to eat.
In general, it seems like most Masters were relatively satisfied with the organization of the first day of Regionals.
Switching Formats and 50+3
Although most players were okay with the organization of Day 1, opinions on specific logistics surrounding the format and time limits were generally negative. When players were asked their opinion on the newly instituted Expanded format for Day 2, 59.92% of responders said they would prefer only one format per event.
As for my personal opinion, I am not against the Expanded format, but I can see where players harbor a dislike for it. I believe that it adds another level of skill to Day 2, and I would argue that it is good for the game. The only true negative I see is the issue of obtaining older cards, especially for players like me who don’t keep a large collection on hand. What do you think?
At this point, we have had the 50 minute, best-of-three format for Swiss rounds in place for a significant amount of time, and I think players are growing used to this time frame. However, most players are not happy with this structure.
The response was far from clear-cut, with most players falling somewhere between no opinion and extreme dislike. This is a difficult problem to propose a solution for. I would venture to say that most players approve of having matches be best of three and balk at the 50 minute time limit. Perhaps these two concepts are not perfectly matched. We all want to play more than one game to help reduce the variance of bad starts, etc., but it is difficult to get it done in 50 minutes plus three turns.
According to this data, most players felt rushed under the 50+3 time limit and that slow playing was a significant problem. This is another area where I might disagree. I do not see stalling as a dire issue, but I do think that there are measures that could be taken under the current system to make players more aware of the time. The easiest improvement would be to make the time left in the round available to all players during the tournament. I can’t see a reason as to why this is not already common practice.
It seems that an overwhelming majority of players are in favor of instituting a 4 Prize rule. I also would support this rule with the current system, as it would make for far less ties and discourage stalling.
It is clear that the current structure and organization of larger tournaments is far from ideal. But how do we improve the current system? I think the ideas and opinions of the player base are important and should be heard. The last question in Jason’s survey provided alternative systems for Swiss rounds.
What do you think about these options? Are they worth exploring? Do you think they would be better or worse than the current 50+3? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!