Thursday, June 25, 2015

GP Vegas 2015: Saturday and Sunday

Scheduled side events on Saturday and Sunday in Vegas, for me at least, were a little different from the Bounty event on Friday night. Over my shift I was responsible for 2-3 of the Swiss side events, which were firing every half-hour and were each five rounds. I had done some work with them on Friday before the Bounty started when I was covering other scorekeepers for breaks, but these two days were my real tastes of scheduled events.

Each event started off the same way: a radio message from registration that the player import was ready in Dropbox. I got a little impatient and refreshed the folder around ten minutes before the scheduled start time because I like starting events on time.

The biggest challenges for these events were the large-event logistics kind:

  • How were we managing result slips across half a dozen scorekeepers and a dozen events?
  • How were we squishing all these events into the hall?
  • Why is running Two-Headed Giant events so challenging?

We had a pretty snazzy solution to the first problem: rainbow colored paper!

Colored Result Slips

When a single scorekeeper is managing multiple events, they'll often use colored paper to easily differentiate one event's paperwork from another's. This is secret tech I'll talk about a bit more when I post about GP Charlotte, because I had almost all of the Swiss sides at that event.

In Vegas, we had to institute a slight variation on the theme: with multiple scorekeepers each managing multiple events, each scorekeeper was using a different color.

While this isn't quite as easy on us — we have to read table numbers or the event name from the slip instead of just remembering which event is which color — the slight inconvenience is outweighed by not having to run all over the stage to figure out who has which event.


We also had a pretty snazzy solution to the second problem: a Google Docs spreadsheet.

It columns headers something like this:

Using Google Docs is great for this kind of thing because multiple people can edit the spreadsheet at the same time, and changes update across all the open versions immediately.

All of the scorekeepers, stage managers, and sides team leads had access to a spreadsheet that was updated each round as events shrank. At the beginning of the day, seating events was easy: start at table 1 for the first event and fire subsequent events where the previous one ended. Eventually, though, the side event areas ran out of space, and we had to consult the spreadsheet when we got final player counts from registration.

(As an aside if you weren't in Vegas for the GP, the room was organized into ten sections with different colored tablecloths and iconic Magic characters, eight for the main event and two for side events. We quickly outgrew the side event areas and had to start using the main event tables. Yay!)

Two-Headed Giant

WER, DCI-R, it doesn't really matter: Two-Headed Giant is always kind of a pain. Wonky things happen with the software when you try to tie players together in teams, and Vegas was no exception. One of the 2HG events exceeded its registration cap by a little bit (read: a lot) and split into two events.

As a consequence, the player/team list took a little bit of time to get ready and the players were seated in their play area by judges to start building while we worked out the kinks. We printed team lists during build so teams could verify that they were on the list before the first round paired...

...Well, we tried to. One of the two events alternated between printing its own player/team list and the player/team list from the other split, somehow. The pairings and result slips were fine, though, and once the event got started (a little bit late), it was smooth-ish sailing from there.

Moral of the story: sometimes the best approach to 2HG events is crossing your fingers, pressing buttons, and hoping for the best. It works out. Most of the time.

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