Reflections on Augusta Super Tournament: Anatomy of a well-run Tournament

The Augusta Super Tournament took place on 3rd October, and if you missed it, it was a great tournament.  It wasn’t just a good tournament for the normal reasons (good matches, good competition, good people), but when we left the event we were all very impressed by just how well that tournament was run.  What’s sad is that it stands out because it’s still something of a rarity. Many tournaments still have significant problems, suffer from obvious lack of planning, start significantly late, and just seem disorganized.

The organizers of the Augusta Super Tournament, (Drew Greiner/ Druseph) and John (John Buckley/ Electric), agreed to share their thoughts on how they prepared for the tournament, how they thought it went, and other details.  This tournament wasn’t absolutely perfect (none are) but if you are a tournament organizer or if you are thinking about getting into organizing an event, their thoughts may help your own event.  It’s a little long because they were gracious enough to actually take the time to go into a little detail but if you have any interest in organizing, it’s absolutely worth reading.

All responses are by Drew Greiner (Druseph) but John Buckley (Electric) co-organized the event.  Huge thanks to Drew and John for putting on a fantastic tournament and for taking the time to do this so that hopefully future tournaments in the area can benefit from the experience.

EVENT PREPARATION:

What kind of pre-planning did you use to prepare for this tournament (please include thinking behind stuff like the cool posters, the stickers you guys made, any little thing you guys put effort into that you want recognized!)?

-I had been thinking about running a tourney for a while now, and had spoken about it to some of the other Augusta players from time to time, and when I mentioned the idea to John(Electric) he became very interested in doing it with me. We sat down one day at my house for a couple of hours and wrote out all the details of the tourney from: what games we were gonna run, the rules, times for registration, etc.

Once we figured everything out, John spoke to the guys at our local tournament gaming center about the date, and we were fortunate enough for them to let us come and do basically what we wanted and needed to do for the tournament. We had both been to many tournaments in the past, and being this was our first actual hosting of one, we wanted to make ours better than the average. This was back in early August, and both myself and John knew we had to plan early if we wanted this to be awesome.

The reason we called it the Augusta SUPER tournament was because we kinda wanted to bring back the “old school” hype and feel felt when we used to play back in the arcades. I designed the logo of our tournament to resemble the classic SUPER Street Fighter 2 logo, and I began to make poster designs and banners to place here and there around the web. With this tournament logo, it basically made us look kinda professional, so that was a plus!

AUGSuper7

 At our first practice gathering, a couple of weeks before the tourney at the TC of Augusta, I displayed the framed trophies we created and one of the posters to kind of pump up the hype early. We also recorded the matches and John created a video to hype up and advertise our tournament to those who were not local. Basically, we wanted for everyone who came to remember how great our tourney was, whether it be through the awesome matches, hype experience, the stickers we made (which I had a little fun with, aka the Bison dollar one and the “curly mustache” one lol), or just the pleasure of playing against high level players.

We put alotta effort and pre-planning into our tourney, and I’m not trying to say that’s how every tourney should be ran, I mean, we sacrificed alotta time and money to do the things we did, and that’s not how other organizers like to plan, but in our case, to have a great experience, you have to sacrifice a little!

On the day before we pre-added all the players who pre-regged to the bracket system, and on the day of the tournament, we showed up 2 hours early to make sure everything was set-up just the way we needed it. Again, we did sacrifice alot, but when you love and enjoy the community that much, it’s definitely worth it in the end!

Side note:
Posters made by PosterBrain.com
Stickers made at FedEx kinkos, get em’ lami-label’ed and cut em’ out with scissors.
Tio Bracket program, which I got from sctourney.wordpress.com
Framed Trophies: print out design and frame (lol, I spent $4 dollars a frame at Wall-Mart for the trophies which only cost me $16 to give the winners a little extra prize! Something nice for not too much money!)

AUGSuperEXPosterAs active tourney players yourselves, what kinds of pitfalls did you want to avoid for your event that you ran into at other events and how did you plan to address them?

-The number one thing I wanted to avoid was starting super late. That seems to me to be the main problem with local tourneys. I tried to stress to people to show up early, but of course, we had a few who showed up about an hour late which caused our tourney to start an hour late. I think just about every tourney starts a little late, so people are used to it, but when its like 2 to 3 to even 4 hours starting late, theres definitely a problem. And yes, I’ve been to tourneys that have started about 4 hours late (“blegh, miserable”) Luckily I posted my phone number on the tourney’s thread, and the late players called to let us know to put them in the bracket, so we didn’t fail that hard lol.
-Another pitfall that we ran into was just making sure that a match was going on and that we were keeping up with who was winning and losing. At first it was difficult, but a few of the Augusta crew stepped up and took over which helped tremendously! Its always good to have your city’s players and friends there to help and support you! That’s always a must!

When did you start the hype and how did you go about advertizing the event?

-The only real advertising we had was the thread on SRK (which contained the video) and by word of mouth. We tried to make the thread look as nice as possible to convince players that our tourney was gonna be good, and I think the hype from just Augusta getting ready for this showed to out-of-towners that they would enjoy this as well! We also have much player respect with some of the out of towners, so having friends and traveling to other player’s tourneys will only help you obtain their attendance at yours!

Please explain the venue and setup that was assembled for the event. What kind of equipment did you have available?

-We were really fortunate with our venue. The Tournament Center of Augusta basically let us come in and do what we wanted to. They had multiple tvs, consoles, games, and even some sticks for players to use. They had all the cool technology, like putting the brackets on a monitor, the karaoke microphone speaker, the space, chairs, tables, and especially the tech to help us make the “hype” station. Most of everything was there, we just had to come in and move it all around to our liking. For our “hype” station, the TC had this multiple input/output box thing (lol, I’m tech stupid, srry) that enabled us to play one console on multiple tvs. We had a CRT tv for each player and two flat panels on the walls projecting that match. This was the highlight of the tournament because we put all the finals and top 8s on this station, as well as many of the other matches. This was something I really wanted to have at our tournament, and I was glad we were able to make it. It was a set-up to put the players on the spot and let them know that if you played on this station, you better put up your best! I’d could see how some could get nervous on it, since everyone was watching and cheering, and when your up in there playing, every combo, hit or miss would really stand out in the atmosphere of it all! That’s how I wanted everyone to feel though, because that’s what makes it memorable and fun! I’m pretty sure many of the players will return next time just because of how awesome the hype station was.

RUNNING THE EVENT:

Did you encounter anything unexpected during the tourney and how did you deal with them?

-The only unexpected thing was just how stressfull it kinda seemed when you had people wanting to start the brackets and tourneys, and I wanted to delay and wait for the later players. Luckily everyone seemed cool about it, but I was a little stressed, but everything worked out fine when the players finally showed up!

How well did you feel the tournaments were run? Is there anything you would do differently or anything you would improve upon for next time?

– I felt the tourneys ran fine once they got started! The only thing I hate about the brackets though, were just the seeding of the players. I knew I didn’t want to have players from the same city play each other at the start, and for the most part, that didn’t happen, but as far as two well known top players having to play each other the first match, it happened once or twice. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but that only happened because of the players coming in late, so I guess that served as their punishment lol! JK, Players should know that with more time to make the brackets and register people, they could be seeded properly and not have to play your friends! So come EARLY people! lol

How did you guys feel during the various stages of the event from pre-planning to running the actual event to the post-event activities?

-Hype, Hype, Hype! Or excited, excited, excited! lol, it was kinda tedious pre-planning all the info, rules, games, dates, and stuff, but as far as the stickers, designs, and posters, I enjoyed making those things, and it was cool to see it all be produced! When running the tourney, it was a little stressful at times, but overall, it was very fun! I enjoyed every minute of that day! Lol, the hype energy kept me rolling non-stop from 10:00am to 11:00pm that day!

POST-GAME:

Did you learn anything that you would apply to your next tournament not already discussed?

– Basically to just do everything better and hope that no other players will run late again lol!

In your opinion, what are the absolute minimum requirements that a tournament needs in order to be truly prepared to succeed?

-1. An organizer “who cares” about the community and pre-plans to make sure everything is needed as far as games, venues, consoles, rules (always double elim), bracket systems, etc. And that things start on time.

2. Your city’s support! Your own player-community’s support is a must whether it be one person to multiple friends helping you along the day!

3. Positive and friendly attitudes! Work with the players who have problems and then will they gain your respect and further enjoy the tournament!

-That’s all you really need to put on a local tournament! Now if you want to go outside that already awesome set-up and do more for the players, then that’s up to you! lol, I still greatly enjoy all the small local tourneys around us and I keep going back to play there, but to make your tournament memorable and better than the average, you just have to get creative and go for “hype” as what we did in our case!

Post-game: What was your plan for after-tournament activity? (quick results thread, vids, feedback between organizer and player, etc, etc)

-I believe the tournaments must post the results at least within after a day of the tourney. I mean, players came and paid money to enter, and the least you could do for them would be to show them how well they did. I can’t stand tournaments that happen and the results are lost the next day, or the results never get posted at all! I posted my results the night of the tourney as soon as I got home, then the next day I uploaded my vids. I was also very fortunate for my friend Ryan and Chris (ADVIII) to post up some of their vids! Anything I could give back to the players as far as results I wanted to get to them as soon as possible! My feeback from the players have been all positive so far, and I’m glad I was able to please and help make many of our local players’ tournament experience a great one! Some even told me it was the best local tourney they have been to which makes me only want to produce another even better tournament!

Did you have any plans for follow-up events before the current one? If you didn’t already think about follow-ups, what advice would you give to tourney organizers who want to start a regular series of events?

-We definitely want to do another one, hopefully soon, but right now we are taking it easy and letting the “hype” go back into hibernation for it to one day wake back up and go crazy lol! For any other tournament organizers out there who want my advice, just have the 3 main requirements I stated above, and BE CREATIVE with everything else! Don’t be afraid to make stickers, or produce a hype station! Pre plan and make sure your tourney is run smoothly and that the players are rewarded for coming!

They put together a video walkthrough of the event at various points. They do a walkthrough a few hours before the event started, a walkthrough of people really getting into their matches, and some late-tournament action. You can see how they had things set up, can see their “hype station” and other things they did for the tournament for inspiration for your own event!

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