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Buzz's Compilation of GenCon Reactions towards FFGOP

- - - - - FFGOP Gencon

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#1
Buzz

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So for the benefit of everyone that does not frequent Facebook and for the FFG employees who requested it. Here is a compilation of some reactions to the incident(s) at GenCon. It is meant to try and capture the emotions and points of our community and deliver them in a way that FFGOP can’t possibly misinterpret or miss. If you’re from a different community than Game of Thrones, please consider checking this out and please come with your own feedback and thoughts. We know that AGOT isn’t the only game that is plagued by horrendous handling by FFGOP.

 

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My Drive folder with all Screenshots: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1NNvG5QF1MbZERzeXV6Tk5MczQ

Raw Document of this post: http://bit.ly/2wr24cS

Hynes’ well formulated CGDB article: http://bit.ly/2xkuHVA

 

Matthew “Rings” Ley’s initial facebook post - Original http://bit.ly/2x5HIDq / Drive with screenshots: http://bit.ly/2x68Thi / Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/6Ae7d

 

  • “I know I just started playing this game and everything, but these tournaments sound like a **** show”

  • “This is going to be a black eye on the tournament and solidify the fact that the company that makes the game can't support it."

  • “proof that FFG OP is undermanned and mismanaged.”

  • “why can't these big official tournaments be run by competent and responsible ppl?”

  • “ It's becoming increasingly difficult to give money to a company that treats customers so poorly and has shown no ability to better itself…”

  • “No one should go to Worlds in protest.”

 

Weir’s call to send feedback - Original http://bit.ly/2uYnxda / Drive with SS: http://bit.ly/2fYp3VZ / Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/H62hv

 

  • “Unacceptable. Your capability of attempting to run high level events at the premiere gaming convention is unacceptable. … I do not believe that I will be attending Worlds now.”

  • “I was also getting into L5R, and as that game is heavily centered around OP I'm reconsidering that as well. I want to support a company that supports the players.”

 

Paquet’s post sides with FFG and is in response to the angered community, This one is ripe with downright excellent quotes! - Original http://bit.ly/2wqa9P1 / Drive with SS: http://bit.ly/2vSTYIN / Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/6dwCn -

 

  • “ Seriously, the people most responsible for building this community - content creators, champions, envoys of the game - are unhappy. Doesn't that say something?”

  • “I don't think I like the game or the meta less because of a tournament screw up. But FFG needs to own this; that is the only way that they can fix it and prevent it from happening again.”

  • “People complaining are probably those that love the game the most and spent hours and hours playing it, making events, videos, podcasts etc.. just to improve the community. The reason the community is so good it's only thanks to them. Their critics are mostly constructive. FFG ****** up big time, it would be cool if they would at least acknowledge it and improve next time.”

  • “worst of all, a complete lack of willingness to learn from their mistakes - go back and listen to the White Book episode with the head of OP on it, it's a masterclass of defensiveness, head-in-the-sand and excuses where any self-respecting person should be thinking "boy, if we're receiving a whole load of complaints from our community at large, maybe we'd better actually listen to what the complaints were and see if we can improve our working practices henceforth"”

  • “No OP is better than poor (and in some cases downright disrespectful) OP. Player run tournaments like Dance have been and continue to be the standard for well run and enjoyable events.”

  • “We all needed this joke post to help process our legitimate anger and outrage. Thanks for helping us cope Paquet!”

 

Sandy pondering about Worlds, what are the consequences of angering the community? - Original: http://bit.ly/2wq6X6k / Drive with SS: http://bit.ly/2x5K9pn / Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/jO7wB

 

  • “Would it be bad to go to worlds to just protest OP and not actually play?”

  • “It sucks because every action I can think of that 'sends a message' only punishes us. I WANT to play in Worlds. I WANT to buy the cards.”

  • “... even moaning about it on the facebook group/cardgamedb etc does some harm to the game. Which we don't want to do... we really don't. But it's really hard to get a message through to FFG, apparently.”

 

John Bruno’s post - Original http://bit.ly/2ikbe53 / Drive with SS: http://bit.ly/2vXcm1B / Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/Ihshq

 

  • “My friend and the people in this community are the reason why I am on the fringe instead of leaving the game completely. It really is sad how things turned out today. I am disappointed to hear that after 15 years FFG still have issues running events.”

  • “I am searching for a productive action going forward. You hit the nail on the head: this is my 2nd family, and it's the only reason stuff like this flies and we still have great attendance”

 

Discord discussion - Invite link https://discord.gg/pH54nP6 / Drive with SS: http://bit.ly/2uZ74oO / Imgur Album: http://imgur.com/a/o7u86

 

  • “To be fair it wouldn't be a continental championship without DQing somebody in the cut”

  • “What. The. Actual. ****.”

  • “FFG is incapable of running a smooth event on a major stage.”

  • “Why should we keep a game going that even the company doesn't care about.”

  • “It sounds like FFG doesn't really appreciate how much of a time and money commitment it is to go to something like Gencon to play a game”

  • “I feel increasingly less motivated to give money to a company that doesn't care”

 

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From me:

FFG you step on our toes time and time again, and we keep coming back - but how many times do you think we will? Where do you draw the line? You’ve shown us to not listen or respond to our feedback, you’ve been showing us through action that you don’t care. The only weapon we have left is Money - we don’t want to use it, but you’re backing us into a corner. So lets talk money.

You have amazing opportunities to cash in. We aren’t comparable to Magic in numbers, but we are (generalizing) Older, more Loyal and much more Affluent in general and ask for much less in return.

We have a strong, dedicated and thoroughly beautiful community. I have been away from it for some months and I get all teary-eyed thinking about the upcoming tournaments and reconnecting with the community. You have to understand that we love your game(s), we really do.

 

FFG & Asmodee we need one or several Social Media/OP/Communications manager(s). In a connected society FFG & FFGOP is completely disconnected from its community, the community loves your product and want to throw money at you - give us the ability to, tell us how.

 

What would I do?

  • Get a lot more active on Twitter.

  • Acknowledge, cheer on and share(on twitter?) community events.

  • Join the AGoT 2nd Edition FB group.

  • Encourage interactions with the community by your employees.

  • Adopt/Endorse/Buyout JoustingPavilion.com.

  • Adopt Trello & Slack to structure events(and likely your internal communication, cz from experience: it sucks).

  • Invite prolific & dedicated community members to (help atleast) run events. (Who doesn’t love people working for free?(Just realised I’m doing your work just this moment))

  • Create news articles on your website and direct people towards them via Social Media.

 

You cannot underestimate the value of a known representative participating on FB/Reddit/Twitter “Haha, wait til you see the next pack ;)”, “Thanks for the info”, “I’ll pass it on and get this sorted asap”, “Wow that events looks amazing! #WishIWereThere”. There are many examples of this happening in other communities(DotA, Hearthstone, various Indie games etc.) and it elevates both the company and the community. It’s incredibly cheap & productive PR.

 

FFGOP have an open invitation to come on The Second Sons and talk to us. Be open, be engaged.

 

pleasehiremeIwanttohelpIbegyou

 

/ Andreas “Buzz” Aldrin of AgotNordic, Great Beards and The Second Sons

“He always dreamt of being a community manager for FFGOP” - Buzz’s kids @ his funeral

 

If you want to get in contact with me the best mediums are:

Facebook, e-mail, Twitter
 

 
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#2
Sandy

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Tangentially related - Judging.  I know Roy had a judging incident; and anecdotally have heard several others say that similar things happened to them.  Can't find the posts, but it seems like since the judges are independent contractors, there should be some mechanism to hold them responsible.



#3
Buzz

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Tangentially related - Judging.  I know Roy had a judging incident; and anecdotally have heard several others say that similar things happened to them.  Can't find the posts, but it seems like since the judges are independent contractors, there should be some mechanism to hold them responsible.

 

This post centers on one of the many incidents this weekend, but any incident or idea that concerns FFGOP is fair game. 



#4
Shenanigans

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I started playing AGoT around the time of the switch from CCG to LCG. As with so many others, I started playing just the core set with friends, then started building decks and investigating the competitive scene. Luckily for me, KTom was the first person I met from that world, and he was an invaluable guide to the game and the community, as well as just a wonderful friend. I started participating in and learning from the community online, and traveling to tournaments, meeting more and more lovely folks along the way. This game got me back into GenCon, which I hadn't attended since I had stopped playing MtG. I still count among my friends many of the wonderful people I met through this game, and those people, along with the great game and Martin's rich world, kept me coming back. I was never a Championship Level Player, but I made a few cuts and didn't (usually) shame myself or my house.

 

Life, however, began to interfere. I got married to an amazing woman, started my own business, and became a father of four (not all at once.) Frankly, I didn't have the time to spend on the game to be much good at it. I still attended some tournaments and relied on my smarter and more talented friends to help me out, but my skill at, and hence my enjoyment of, the game took a marked downturn.

 

The 2.0 conversion is what really nipped things for me, though. I think it was good for the game and community as a whole, but here was a whole new cardbase and a whole (mostly) new set of rules. I couldn't rely on my past experience, so I made the difficult decision to hang up my spurs and watch from afar, still keeping up with my friends.

 

I never completely gave up hope on returning someday when life gave me the time to do so. 

 

Hearing about what happened to Rings (Matt Ley) and Kyle was a real knife in the heart. It would have been horrendous had it happened to anybody, but Rings and Kyle have been true stalwarts for this game since...well...forever. They're true pillars of the community and they clearly love this game as much as anyone does. That turned something unprofessional and irresponsible into something personal. FFG hurt my friends, and that's not something that will be easily forgiven.

 

To FFG: Consider this my official breakup letter. I'll always remember the great times we had, the friends we made together. I thought about coming back to you one day when I could show you the love and respect you and AGoT deserved. However, it's now clear to me that you don't care at all whether I come back or not, except for money. If you treat people as faithful as Matt and Kyle like that, then I know you'll just break my heart too.


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#5
r480

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It reminds me when the Spanish OP was completely horseshit back in the days. What did we they to improve it? They changed the OP head guy and in official tournaments the TOs are people who actually play competitively the game and know how to organise stuff like this.

These past two years we didn't not have any problem at all.

Plz, FFG, get help from the community because I'm 100% sure AGoT players are willing to help you with your OP.

 

 


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#6
nyxnyxnyx

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Not related to the incident, but while I have your attention...

 

1. Judge program. Any news?

2. Can we have some kind of feeder system for Worlds at least in Asia? Even just ONE measly plane ticket from any place in Asia would at least keep the dream alive. Continentals, even better. There is no lack of volunteers to run the event on the ground for you.


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#7
jgruss42

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After last year we were assured that OP would improve in outreach and communication.
I see no evidence that happened. in fact, it is pretty clearly the opposite.

When a decision is made to change the printed, posted and published tournament start time: why would anybody think that a mere 'announcement' would be enough to adequately communicate that information?

Twitter, Facebook, forums this this - a 3 line note could have easily been distributed across all forums in a matter of minutes. The criticism you are seeing today would have been drastically reduced with that simple action.

While I undwrstand the community is spread across a number of media, all of these forums are free and easily accessed. FFG already has a presence on these forums. So...use them???

This incident is felt by many to be just an example of a deeper problem. The problem seems to be a lack of organization in 'organized play'.

I am not a high-end competitive player, but I feel engaged in the meta thanks to podcasts, Facebook and those in my Chicagoland meta that ARE very connected to the regional/national/world meta.

The #1 thing people are looking for seems to be 'better communication'.
If we understand WHY and HOW decisions are getting made, some may still disagree...but we will feel FFG cares enough to inform us.

Right now, whoever from FFG is reading this, go look online and see what kind of coverage the GoT North American Championship has from your end. I think you will find it lacking in depth, breadth and timeliness. If you can't find updated information, why are we expected to? If you don't care enough to cover YOUR OWN TOURNAMENTS, many in our community are asking 'why should WE SHOULD WE?'

#8
steinerp

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Sandi-  The judging problem with Roy was 100% me and not FFG at all.  I screwed up and caught my mistake too late.  FFG has a system in place allowed Roy to appeal to the marshal (Nate) but that wasn't done.  After I figured out I had screwed up and asked the OP guys if they had extra promos to give Roy, they didn't hesitate (but unfortunately didn't have any more of the real nice Stark cards).  I got sloppy and almost cost Roy a spot in the cut (and definitely cost him the game) but that I wouldn't blame on FFG.  (Note you can blame lots of other things on them, like the start time where I was the judge and didn't show up until 8:30 because I too was under the impression of a 9:00 start time)


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#9
IMABUNNEH

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Something that absolutely should not and cannot be glossed over is FFG's assertion that the Organised Play team don't read the Facebook/Discord/Social Medias FOR THE GAMERS THEY ARE PRODUCING PRIZES FOR.

 

How on earth can it be even a little acceptable that on the main community Facebook groups, the thrones one which has over 5000 members (other bigger games have more!), there is nobody from FFG reading the input or feedback that people have on events?

 

Is their only interaction with the community the almost-hidden feedback form on the FFG website? OP's ONLY JOB is to provide events/prizes for the community, and yet they themselves haven't even got VISIBILITY of the community? (let alone actually be a part of it). Who the **** is actually making organised play decisions?

 

"Hey this'd be cool we should do this for the players"

"Is that what they want? We've done similar in the past, how did they feel about that then?"

"How is anyone meant to know what players think? Just do it my ideas great"

-actual discussion at FFG OP, probably.

 

 

In addition to this, who actually believes that any of this feedback will be worth anything at all? I've repeatedly used the Feedback form, and never had any kind of response, nor seen any response in their actions. The HEAD of OP went on one of the Thrones podcasts last year. Other than his very evasive ducking, weaving, and blaming other areas, he was very specific that they have heard our feedback and will IMPROVE.

Does anyone think the past year's OP has been an improvement? Because literally every person I've talked to has seen it go downhill. From the contents of their prize kits to the way they run the tournaments, FFG has demonstrated very VERY clearly that they do not give a **** about their Organised Play program, and the people RUNNING the OP clearly couldn't give a **** about the communities they're providing events for (the fact that the hugely visible issues with FFG OP posted repeatedly week after week year on year isn't even something they've concerned themselves with is actually outrageous).


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#10
lordhakera

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Most of what I have to say is either part of Buzz's screenshots or mentioned in his own feedback (which I strongly support and wholeheartedly agree with, especially when looking at the condensed bullet points) so I'll be brief. Although it may sound like needless repetition when looking at previous posts, my feedback still boils down to one request - talk to us more.

 

Hype us with stuff, engage in discussion, talk events/prizes/decks. Ask for help when you need it - we have community members organizing events like Stahleck, Flea Bottom, Batalla etc. that are on a similar or larger scale to official ones so you can literally get advice based on first-hand experience.

 

AGoT has always been strongest in its community aspect, so why do you so stubbornly refuse to take part in it? We're not MTG - no one is going to sue you if you go for a Judge program (still waiting btw) and no one is going to overly flak you for occasional slip ups during communication (provided that it is more frequent). Most of us consider this game as a second family - we play, we drink, we have fun and respect each other. Yeah, we can be rowdy and seemingly critical sometimes, but isn't that just human nature? Seriously, join us in discussion about upcoming cards on FB, talk strategy with us on Discord, tease us with shiny new things on Twitter and, at the same time, collect invaluable first-hand data from the player base about your product. Through adjustments based on our feedback, you can easily ensure that future offerings are well-received and perceived as being of the highest quality/desirability.

 

There's always an open chair at the AGoT Family table - why not have a seat?


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#11
Deviant

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The Kiku Matsuri, or as I call it, The Feast of Cultural Appropriation was a cringeworthy **** show from top to bottom.

 

Let's start with the 7 most asian actors we can find in finger-quotes-Japanese costumes, marching to a taiko drum.  Then let's let everyone gawk at them for a few minutes, and then have a big-ass group of western people yell "Banzai!".

Gameplay started 2-3 hours late.  After time was called, rounds would go on for 20+ minutes for "finishing your turn":  Plus more time for pairings, nearly an hour in between rounds.

 

I showed up promptly at start time, and didn't leave until 11pm.  Ridiculous, and I've seen how smoothly X-Wing runs and was run.



#12
America

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I'd really like FFG to have an events section on their website. For example, events ranging from game night kit events to Worlds could be listed with information about each event posted, including dates and start times. Store championship season is a bit of a nightmare because you don't have an easy way to easily determine the dates of events, so you have to call the store and sometimes stores drag their feet on setting up events. This past weekend's scheduling snafu could have been avoided if there was one central authority for event start times.
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#13
Sandy

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Sandi-  The judging problem with Roy was 100% me and not FFG at all.  I screwed up and caught my mistake too late.  FFG has a system in place allowed Roy to appeal to the marshal (Nate) but that wasn't done.  After I figured out I had screwed up and asked the OP guys if they had extra promos to give Roy, they didn't hesitate (but unfortunately didn't have any more of the real nice Stark cards).  I got sloppy and almost cost Roy a spot in the cut (and definitely cost him the game) but that I wouldn't blame on FFG.  (Note you can blame lots of other things on them, like the start time where I was the judge and didn't show up until 8:30 because I too was under the impression of a 9:00 start time)


I appreciate you taking responsibility for this, but IMO, the ultimate responsibility is for FFG to actually have formal judging guidelines and training. I mean, obviously mistakes happen, but I wonder what level of preparation FFG gave you for judging?

#14
linkingverbs

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Communication between this company and the player base needs to be looked at pretty seriously.

 

Sure, Melee has been relegated to a side event now, but there were a few big problems from that day that really set the tone for the rest of the weekend. It wasn't until not even an hour before round 1 of the melee that everyone learned Oberyn's Revenge would be legal. There may have been a hand full of people who actually waited on line at some point on Thursday for the pack but for the majority, there was no way people could wait on that line and purchase before the tournament started.

 

Throughout the first 2 rounds everyone was told the melee event would be a Swiss tournament. In round 3, it was then announced there would be a cut to the top 16.

 

And I guess while we're here, that leads to another point that has been beaten to death. 

 

Melee gets a lot of hate online but if I'm recalling correctly, I believe the attendance from this years NA Melee event was more than last year. I think people would love it to be recognized as an official championship again and I believe even more people would show up. Even the ones who say they hate it on the forums, but still played at GenCon :)



#15
LoneElfRanger

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It's really frustrating that FFGOP doesn't seem to want any negative feedback when they are doing such a poor job of making headway into improving things.



#16
steinerp

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I appreciate you taking responsibility for this, but IMO, the ultimate responsibility is for FFG to actually have formal judging guidelines and training. I mean, obviously mistakes happen, but I wonder what level of preparation FFG gave you for judging?

 

Don't get me wrong, I harped at them last year for not getting their judge program up and running.  I understand that the Magic lawsuit scared them off but it would still be nice to have something in place.  Why they don't have floor rules is beyond me.  Earlier in the day there was a situation where the players had created a fairly minor illegal game state.  I resolved it but thinking about it more later, I would probably resolve it differently next time.  Neither way is right, or even better, but without any guidance the odds of getting the same ruling from different judges drops.  From my competitive sports days, the absolutely worst thing a participant can have is an inconsistent judging.  As an athlete I would much rather have a ref that gets the call wrong but always gets it wrong in the same way, than one that gets it right sometimes and wrong other times.  I can adjust to one but not the other.  Fortunately AGOT judges are much less of a factor than in most sports but we should still strive to be consistent.

 

As for your question about preparation.  This isn't Thrones related but FFG did a decent job of preparing the judges for L5R.  They sent us copies of the game ahead of time and showed us the unreleased tournament guidelines and tiebreakers (don't get me started that they weren't released prior to event).  Most were also playtesters so they had an above average knowledge of the game as well.  Given the number of judges they needed and the fact that most of the judges were new, this seemed to work pretty well.  They didn't do this for Thrones but the quality of judges for this AGOT was pretty high.  Of the four judges we had on hand, three of us have judged multiple Gencon across multiple FFG systems, two of us have served as rules forum moderators here (for other games) and I think we have all run multiple regionals.  I don't know the fourth guy that well but his name appears in some of the FFG playtesting credits as well.  So I'm not sure what they should have done.  Other than the floor rules not existing and pinning Nate down on a couple of questions before Gencon, I felt prepared and the other judges seemed prepared as well.







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