When I greet a Comp REL event, there is a reason why I go through the spiel that I do, as well as when we make the top 8 cut. For those of you that don’t know, Comp REL means Competitive Rules Enforcement Level. I reiterate probably the most important part also when I do the prerelease announcements. These discussions all have a component of acceptable behaviour (yes, I’m Canadian). Today we levied sanctions against a member of our community because their behaviour was completely unacceptable and has been warned on numerous occasions.
Over the years I have played various games. I originally began with the old red box D&D, and later expanded into MechWarrior, Cyberpunk and various RPG’s. In the 90’s I found this game called Magic and it was awesome. I would go to the local shop and play to stupid hours at night and then run home to sleep before going to work. All these things revolved around one thing: community and interactions. I have even written code for an online game, because of the social aspect of it (I really don’t do computer games as a general rule).
The DCI, the rules portion of the Magic tournament scene, has quite a bit about player and spectator conduct. There are general postings from tournament organizers at high level events reminding players what is acceptable as well. Konami, makers of Yu-Gi-Oh!, also dedicate a considerable section of the rules to govern what is deemed acceptable.
To me this is pretty serious stuff. We are a subculture of the mainstream and often we hide our passions from the rest of society… not like those NASCAR people. We need to look out for each other. Earlier this summer I had to disqualify a person because I felt that they were cheating in a tournament, and this is just not acceptable and levied sanction against them preventing them from playing at the shop for the rest of the day. This person had rode up for a tournament and had to wait for his peers to finish up.
Ramifications to the shop? I haven’t seen any of that car load again. And I’m ok with that. Not that I want to ostracize customers/players, but I want to preserve the integrity of our competitive and casual environments and actions like this simply cannot be tolerated.
So back to today, we have suspended a player and sent a report on up high. This wasn’t cheating in a tournament but rather maleficent trading practices. In the past I have sent road crews out onto the tournament floor to make amends to what I felt was unfair trading practices. Keep in mind we need to make a profit as being there costs more mortgage payments than I’d like to think about. But when a player trades with another, it needs to be equitable.
There are various methods of measuring equability such as play-ability, dollar value, market value, sentiment, etc. In short though it needs to be fair. Someone might walk away with the same dollar value but with a higher market value (ie much more lucrative cards), or ahead in both but the other party places some high intrinsic value on what they received. This is all good, it is common place in every card shop going I would dare say. But there are limits. If I recall properly there was a Star City Games author who had a regular article on trading and there was community outcry about one of the trades he had done and reported on.
We have firmly asked a member of our own local community to take a break and not participate for some time due to egregious practices. I hope they take this time to rethink their actions as well as think of the effects on the environment of the shop and their community as a whole. This player is welcome back after a set amount of time, it is completely up to them. Until then, they are not allowed in any of our games be they sneak previews of upcoming releases, alternate game systems, or even free organized play.
My grandmother taught me about the Golden Rule, and oddly enough it applies decades later. Folks, please just treat each other civilly if that is the best you can do. You are a representative of your own gaming culture and that of the store(s) you frequent too. I have an intrinsic motivation for what that global representation of Magelings Games is and I will defend it for the rest of my community.