For those of you who haven't heard, at GAMA this year FFG announced they'd be implementing a judge program this year. To be fair, they've announced this the last two years too, but they acknowledged that and promised it was 'for real this time', and I believe them because... umm... fool me once? Anyway, they've stated they'll have a judge certification program in July 2016.
In an effort to avoid me writing another "What are you Smoking?" when FFG comes around and missteps with it, I thought we should get a group discussion going about what we hope to see from a Judge program - and maybe I can compile it and send it FFG's way so they can at least take it into account when implementing this.
Some of the aspects I'd love to hear thoughts on are
- How other games/sports/etc handle it, and what you like/dislike about the way they do (preferably games/sports at non-professional levels).
- Judges playing in events (currently, the new tourney document allows a 'leader' to play in an event if there is a second leader, and only at the 'relaxed' teir - so not at Regionals and up)? How many judges/marshals for an event?
- What kind of 'certification' a judge should have. How often should it be updated. How should it be updated. Should it be tiered? Can it be revoked?
- How to incentivize Judge/Marshal participation (e.g. swag for them, or "the store can only run a regional if they have a marshal, so it's up to the store/community to incentivize, and so on, or "Only judges can order game night kits", etc) or traveling to events to help if they can't play.
- The extent of a Judge's authority (DQs, etc), how to back up that authority, and how to appeal a judge decision .
- Whether judges should be obliged, encouraged, or somehow granted special status with regards to participation on 'official' rules queries (like the rules board here, or the rules link fantasyflightgames deals with).
- Whether remote judging can be permitted. If someone can run a tournament, could I be available through skype to resolve rules disputes or answer rules queries? I mean, that sounds like a miserable gig, but I'd occasionally do it if it allowed somewhere to have an event they couldn't otherwise have. But it has significant disadvantages for handling issues pertaining to sportsmanship/code of conduct.
And, honestly, pretty much anything else you guys can think of. I haven't yet given this topic quite enough thought to even frame all the right questions!