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Scallywags Preview Tournament at Origins Game Fair

In my previous post, I discussed some of the turmoil leading up to the debut of Scallywags. Shipping a large quantity of product from China has great advantages, but one of the big disadvantages is uncertainty. It takes quite a while for ships to travel across the Pacific. On top of that, you have customs inspections and an entire nation to traverse before the product can arrive in warehouse. That means that "sometime this spring" might just bleed into early summer. That's exactly what happened and it was completely out of the publishers control. They received the games the day before the big event. Thankfully, my publisher is amazing and they were able to overnight a case of the product to Columbus for me to pick up before the event.

A case of Scallywags

I arrived in Columbus shortly after 10:00 with my good friend Mark. We have traveled to conventions together for many years and having him along for the debut of Scallywags was important to me. He also helped keep me in check the entire day. Before adventuring to the convention center, we stopped at the pickup location and grabbed the product. Everything was perfect. FedEx was my hero for the day! Our next stop was picking up our badges and scouting out Hall D for the event table. We had a few hours to spare, but I wanted an idea of where we were going to set up. We did a speed-run of the hall before grabbing lunch. I like to quickly work through the hall, noting the things I'd like to see later when I have time.

Scallywags table

After a quick lunch, we unloaded the car and got ready for the big event. We were about an hour and a half early, but the hall was empty enough that we could have just parked there all day and ran games. Looking back, I wish I would have done that. I think I could have got enough attention to keep people filtering in all day just by doing demos and leaving my stuff up. Once I got the stuff set up, some people came by and looked, but none stayed or asked questions. A few small boys checked out the oversize cards I made, but when I talked to them, they wouldn't talk back.

Tournament underway

As time grew closer and closer, I was a bit worried. No one had showed up early! But, just before kickoff, players started trickling in. We ended up with just six players, but I think that worked for the best. The event seemed much more personal and the players were able to chat with each other and ask me questions without frustration or delays. In fact, I had planned on running only 3 swiss-style rounds and then cutting to a top 4, but the players kept wanting to play! They voted, and decided on playing a fourth round before the top 4 cut. That was fine by me.

Analyzing the game

I could have watched them play the entire day. It was amazing watching six people that were new to the game discuss strategy and cards. They discussed the meta between games and really analyzed everything that was going on. That was really exciting for me because on the surface, the game seems like a simple, luck-based game, but really, there is quite a bit of hidden depth.

Final table

After 4 rounds of swiss-style play, we cut to the top four for a final match. I had been dead set on giving away three copies of the game that day, and I did not let the lack of players deter me. I decided that first and second place from this final table would win a copy and I would draw one random player from the remaining 4 to win a third copy. After a pretty intense round of play the results were in! Here's the results listed in rank order:

  • 1st: Corey Young
  • 2nd: Garret Kinderman
  • 3rd: Tom Capor
  • 4th: Elizabeth Leib
  • 5th: Rori Leath
  • 6th: Logan Crew

Corey (center) and Garret (left) won themselves a brand new copy of the game and Elizabeth (right) was the lucky lottery winner to take home the third prize. A huge thank you to all the awesome players and your wonderful comments! You made the day magical for me. I also apologize for the snags we ran into during the day. This was not only my first event for this game, it was nearly the first time I had seen this edition of the game! I even had to have a few mistakes pointed out by some of the players! That's embarrassing! At the end of the day, however, I consider the day a success. I learned a great deal about how to do this in the future and I hope to continue running events for many years to come. Maybe we'll make Origins the official venue of the Scallywags World Championships!

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- June 10, 2012