Tourneys: Does Your Prize Support Suck?

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Pimpcron explains why it is a tough thing for TO’s to tackle.

Greetings, readers. Your ever-loving, blue-eyed Pimpcron is here this week. And my wargaming convention Shorehammer is NEXT WEEK! Oh snap! We’re gonna change lives, warm hearts, and save souls.

Well, it should be no surprise that prize support and things like that have been on my mind quite a bit. Especially in the last 8 months while planning what CNN is calling The World’s Best Warhammer Convention.

Or at least that’s probably what they’d call it.

If they knew about it.

Shut up.

Point being, prize support is kind of a tricky thing whether you’re organizing a store-based event, or an amazing convention so dope that regular life pales in comparison. (That one is mine)

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At Shorehammer, even Elves smile.

It’s Not One-Size-Fits-All

I’ve heard that some events buy random boxes of stuff like a vehicle kit, a flyer kit, and some model kits. And whether or not you play that army, that’s the prize you get. That just doesn’t sit well with me. Let’s put on our thinkin’ caps for a second: Prizes are meant to entice people to want to win. And value is in the eye of the beholder. So if I know I’m going to get some random box of stuff I potentially can’t use, I probably wouldn’t pay money to play. Disclaimer: Door prizes are a different animal in my opinion. If you literally just got it by luck of the draw and put forth no effort, then you have to take what you can get. But if I’m paying to play a tournament, I want the prizes to apply to me and everyone else.

“How can you possibly choose prizes that anybody would want Pimpcron?!” I imagine you saying in a really panicky, whiny voice. You just peed a little, I’m trying to act like I didn’t notice.

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Okay, thinking caps back on. I should have warned you not to put them away. A lot of stores offer store credit for their events and that is awesome! It’s just as a good as a gift card and you get exactly what you want. But it may not be a solution if you are hosting a private event like a convention or something that isn’t store-supported.

Some events give out strictly terrain kits or gaming mats, which is a good idea but some people may not have a home board to garnish with the new found terrain. So that one’s a 50-50 chance, but not a bad idea at all. I haven’t met anyone yet who wouldn’t like one of those mats.

Hobby paraphernalia is a great idea too. Glue, clippers, razor knives, brushes, paint pots of your choice, and maybe even primer are all awesome prizes. Maybe not the most exciting ones, but at least they apply to everyone and will get used.

Imperial Knights are a surprisingly good idea for a prize as long as everybody agrees on it ahead of time. We did a tournament with that as the grand prize because none of us had a Knight and we all wanted one. That was fun. All of the Armies of Imperium can use them as well as Chaos. So that covers more than half of the playable races. And I won! No I didn’t. I apologize for misleading you.

One of my favorite prizes if your budget can handle it, is army transports. Nearly everyone needs and/or uses them and they are a really nice prize. If we’re being honest, no matter how many transports you have, you’ll never have enough.

Another idea that I have always liked is trophies. It may sound juvenile, but there is something nice about being awarded a prize that you can sit on a shelf and say, “I was a winner once.” And trophies are a universal prize that anybody would like, generally speaking. I’m sure there’s someone out there saying that they hate trophies. And they would be wrong. They secretly love trophies, they just aren’t in touch with themselves enough to know it. Go meditate and find your spirit animal; he’ll tell you.

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“Trust me Dave, you love trophies.”

Also, Spread The Love, Man

My friend recently went to one of the BIG wargaming events in the past year. I won’t say which one to protect the offenders. But he was really disappointed that the 1st place winner walked away with like $600 worth of prizes and stuff. While the 2nd and 3rd place guys got almost nothing. What the heck man?

I understand that you want your winner to get the most. Like, duh. But why should it be winner-takes-all? This is the other thing that really doesn’t sit well with me. As a TO, I try to spread the prizes as much as possible. You probably know just as well as I do that the different between the top three places in a tournament probably came down to luck. These three people obviously knew what they were doing with their armies. They obviously made good lists. So why should the guy who happened to get 1st place get everything?

Being that my convention is a friendly, laid-back event. So here’s the prizes we will be giving out: Each tournament has a super-awesome award/trophy for the 1st place. 1st place for our Highlander Tournament gets a really nice genuine-leather heavy weight championship belt with the Shorehammer logo on it, etc. The Age of Sigmar Bigbattle winner gets a real-sized warhammer engraved with a plaque explaining everything. The Nutcrusher Tournament get the most epic trophy I’ve ever seen which perfectly represents how extreme that tournament is (you literally take whatever you want list-wise while you play every mission at one time).

The 3 painting competition categories each have a 1st place trophy that is classy.

We also have 2nd place trophies for each of the 3 tournaments. And 3rd place of each one gets an -upper level prize from our prize pool. Then we have free games to play such as our Gorka Morka Drag Racing, Hive City Clash, and Dark Eldar Death Match Arena that require no signing up to play and you win prizes. They are running all weekend on the hour.

And if that wasn’t enough, Frontline Gaming and Table War donated 2 awesome mats for us to give away as random drawings! Literally, two lucky people who attend will just walk away with game mats!

And depending on how many prizes we have left at the end, I plan on just randomly giving out the rest with drawings! I’m sorry this became such a plug for my convention, it wasn’t actually my intention. I just wanted to illustrate how I am doing it.

What neat things have you given or received for tournaments? How do you think prizes should be awarded at events?

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  • euansmith

    How about giving the one thing every army can use and every army is better for having; Knight Titans?

    All the very best with Shorehammer.

    • Thanks euansmith. Starters sets for other games are a great idea. Never thought of that one.

      I am not making the rules public for the games, they are kind of our special sauce. 🙂 I can send them to you privately though. They are super fun! We’ve been play testing them.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        That is pretty sweet to bring those back in a new way! Sounds like a mighty blast to those that can attend.

        • Thanks Severius! I sure hope so. 🙂

    • kingcobra668

      I dont want or need a knight for my Eldar, Harlequins or Thousand Sons, though.

  • petrow84

    I will make my own prize support, with blackjack and hookers!

    • petrow84

      Not meant to interfere with your business interests, Mr Pimpcron.

      • lol. You keep your hookers away, and we’ll have no trouble. My girls don’t like anybody on their turf.

  • doughouseman

    For several of the events we run, there are no funds for prize support (we run them in a con that someone else runs). So I dip into my pocket for vouchers for 1 of the vendors on site. Typically I can get a discount on the voucher.

    So, yes most of my prize support sucks! I only have so much money to give away with 3 boys in college.

    • euansmith

      Maybe the answer is to go for a cool trophy? Handmade, on the cheap, of course.

  • jeff white

    sounds like a certain cron’s prize support is pimpin

  • Davis Centis

    My friend and I recently hosted the Beer & Pretzels Open (come next November up to Sudbury to take part!) and we had slightly over $1000 in prizes for a 20-person event. Here’s some key secrets:

    #1 – Sponsorships: You know who is a surprisingly good target demographic? Wargamers! They tend to have money and time enough to play this hobby, and are often right at the age that many companies want to hook you. Gaming tables (between missions, table numbers, player registration, cards, banners, etc) also offer a huge amount of very visible space for promotional materials.

    #2 – Pro-painting Prizes: Not going to lie, $600 of our $1000 of prize support was in two painting prizes. There’s often people in the community who offer painting services, and since it’s mostly labour for them, they’re often willing to offer some numerically high dollar figures. Plus, who doesn’t like having something painted nicely for free? That’s a prize that can go to anyone!

    #3 – Negotiate: Just because a store won’t give you prizes for free doesn’t mean you should leave them. Stores are a vitally important part of our hobby! Instead, just ask them how they might like to make an appearance. You can do the sponsorships (mentioned above), or maybe they’ll offer a discount on gift certificates. Budget some spending money for prizes to give.

    #4 – Aim to Break Even, or even lose a little: My friend and I lost $35 each hosting the last event, when all was said and done, which was pretty much exactly the cost we were asking people to pay ($20 for entry, $15 optional for a catered dinner). Everything else went into hosting the event and prizes. If we can’t take the same hit we’re asking of from our players, we didn’t deserve to host it.

    #5 – Extras: It’s okay to ask for money, if you offer something else! Some people like having something special, and they’ll pay for it. Others, shockingly, are so grateful that you’re running the tournament that they’re looking for opportunities to help you out. Fill that need! Have some chocolate bars and pop ready to sell, do a 50/50 raffle, offer some swag, have upgraded meal options, or even run an auction! It’s amazing what’s possible!

  • kingcobra668

    A note on tools. I have so many, itd have to be pretty niche for me and thus then maybe too niche for someone else.
    Cash (cheque/money order, whatever) is really the only way to be applicable to everyone.