5 Points Regarding The FFG Floor Rules


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This originally started out as "5 Things That Are Hot and Not About Destiny" and was our regular weekly segment here at the YOUR Destiny website and meant to be a column on what has been going on, either, in Destiny generally, or in the head of the columnist specifically. It has now developed into an informal space for various reflections on Destiny from the perspective of the resident writers at YOUR Destiny. Here we deal with anything related to Star Wars Destiny.

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JULY 30, 2019.
TODAY'S COLUMNIST:
CLAUS STAAL

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5 POINTS REGARDING THE FFG FLOOR RULES:

Written by CLAUS STAAL

As some of you might know, I was the Marshal at Nordics 2017, Euros 2018 as well as the recent Galactic Qualifier in Malmö, add to this a wealth of other events, and yet, it is NOT in this capacity that I'm writing this article. It's of course written with a lot of the experiences from these events in mind, but I'm primarily writing this as someone who's engaged in competitive Destiny on a regular basis and want to see the competitive scene grow and flourish.

The Floor Rules is generally a great document, and a much needed document, and today I'll be looking at some of the key points of the document.
reading the floor rulesjpg
I also take note of the timing of the release of the Floor Rules, just ahead of the North American Championships 2019 and what is expected to be the busiest and largest competitive season ever for Star Wars Destiny with EUROS 2019 following shortly after Gen Con and a host of Grand Championships. Getting the document out and tested now prior to Worlds 2019 with up to 600 Destiny players making landfall in Minneapolis in October makes plenty of sense.

It's also worth noting that the document covers ALL of Fantasy Flight Games' various systems including their two other AAA-GamesX-Wing and KeyForge Any inconsistencies or problems with wording and application might simply be due to the inherent "one size doesn't fit all problem".

AND finally, it was just recently announced that Judge Academy would take over Wizards of the Coast's Judge Programme as well as building an independent Judge Programme in collaboration with Asmodee for KeyForge. The timing of the release of the Floor Rules to coincide with that announcement is probably also not entirely coincidental.
Judge academy the floor rulesjpg

You can find all the links to all the documents you'll need before a tournament on our Resources page including the Tournament Regulations and the FFG Floor Rules that I'll be referencing in this article. There are also links to all our Tournament Reports and a Beginner's Guide To Tournaments.
tournament links floor rules THUMBNAILjpg

1. PENALTIES:

This is probably the strongest aspect of the new FFG Floor Rules. Relatively clear definitions as to which infractions leads to which penalties. This has previously been a very weak point in the FFG tournament system and while not everything is covered, and some things are still shrouded in vague definitions, it's nonetheless a massive improvement from what we previously had (or in reality lacked).

The warnings are split into the following categories:Penalty systemjpgIt is described in the appendix of the Floor Rules, as a guideline, what penalties various kinds of infractions would lead to. The guidelines identify two main kinds of infractions:
  1. Gameplay Disruptions
  2. Event Disruptions
Event Disruptions are generally warranting harder penalties than Gameplay Disruptions with the latter primarily dealing with small mistakes made in a game that can relatively easily be corrected by either the Players or a Judge.
penalty1jpg
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I think the two most important Event Disruptions to note are the multiple ones dealing with "behaviour" and the one dealing with "cheating".

Properly assessing behavioural patterns and when something can be considered "inappropriate" is a VERY GREY zone to venture into. I guess we've all tried to be in situations where one's perception of a given situation was definitely not aligning with the other's perception. I can only start imagining the odd situations that could arise and thinking back at past events I've seen several situations that could have escalated had the current Floor Rules been in force at the time.Common sense destinyjpg
Often we rely on common sense to guide our decision making, both as Leaders and Players, but the problem is that the the first thing that disappears in a heated debate is common sense itself, which is exactly why we need clear rules in place of it. The more ambiguous the rules, the more interpretations it invites, the more problematic it becomes and the harder it is to assess proper behaviour.

2. CHEATING:
penalty7jpgWe have already had several instances at various competitive events where cheating has been either suspected or confirmed. We now have fairly strict definitions on what constitutes cheating and what penalties to enforce.

DO NOT CHEAT! Whether or not it was intentional, the possibility of gaining an unfair advantage as a result of cheating would in itself constitute an infraction and could possibly - and is likely to - lead to disqualification.50000 shades of grey destinyjpg
There is still a HUGE grey zone consisting of approximately 50000 shades of mega grey concerning cheating, but the most important of those shades is probably the enforcement policy. How hard will various Leaders be in their definition of "unfair advantage"? So, drawing an extra card once is NOT cheating, but a repeated offense is. We get that. What about the other instances?

The Floor Rules stipulate the following two criteria to be met for something to constitute cheating (page 16).
  1. First, the player must either be gaining an advantage from their actions or putting someone else at a disadvantage.
  2. Second, the person must be aware that what they are doing is against the rules.
If both criteria are NOT met it would still be an infraction of the rules, but it would probably not constitute cheating, but rather another offense and hence warrant another penalty.

3. TRIAL BY STREAM:
Another interesting point that's mentioned (on page 5 of the document) is the instance in which a streaming table is in use.penalty4jpg
Streaming tables are normally, except for the World Championship, provided by various content creators. Players are never required to play their games at a streaming table nor are there any repercussions or penalties involved if players refuse to play at a streaming table. It has in fact happened before that one or both players have specifically asked not to feature on a stream. This happened at the UK Nationals 2018, which meant that the finals of that event was not streamed at all. A pity some would say, yet the clear prerogative of the players.

I fear that the addition of the above clause to the Floor Rules could lead to more players passing up on the possibility to feature on a stream. The best streamed games are the ones with high stakes. The top cut is always more exciting than round 1 simply because more is at stake. With more at stake tensions are higher and while YOU might be accustomed to the pressure of a top cut game at a large competitive event, some are not, and their attitudes towards others might change.

While I understand the underpinning reasoning for adding the above clause, I strongly disagree with the idea that penalties could be increased, albeit at a Judge's discretion, simply because it happens on a stream. Judging all players the same no matter the circumstances should be fundamental at any event!

Livestream floor rules THUMBNAILjpg

4. THE ROLE OF LEADERS:

A LEADER is a Tournament Organizer, a Head Judge or a Judge. Other roles include players and spectators.

At any event there will be a TOURNAMENT ORGANIZER, which can either be a store, organisation, club or in some instances Fantasy Flight Games Organized Play.

The Tournament Organizer may also be the HEAD JUDGE. This will be the case when the Tournament Organizer takes on the responsibility of not only organising the event, but also running the event and maintaining the integrity of the event, i.e. making sure that the event is run by both the letter and spirit of the rules. The Tournament Organizer can also appoint a Head Judge. There SHOULD only be ONE HEAD JUDGE (to rule them all). The Head Judge is also referred to as the MARSHAL in the Tournament Regulations (this should probably be addressed as the Tournament Regulations suggest that several Leaders can be Marshals. There should only ever be one active Head Judge at an event).one Judge to rule them alljpg
The Tournament Organizer may also appoint one or more JUDGES at the event. If there's just one person judging at the event then that person will be the HEAD JUDGE. The Judges make rulings, throughout the event, when:
  1. They are called to resolve a dispute at a table by the players. Players SHOULD always call a Judge if a dispute cannot be solved to both players' mutual satisfaction AND in accordance with the rules. This is an important note! Leaders SHOULD interfere if the suggested resolution to a dispute is NOT in accordance with the rules!
  2. A possible infraction can be called to attention by a spectator who can choose to approach a leader. Spectators do NOT have an obligation to call a leader, but are not allowed to interfere in an ongoing game even if an infraction of the rules has been witnessed. Maintaining the integrity of the game is ALWAYS the responsibility of the players.Spectatorjpg
  3. A leader may at their own behest bring to attention a possible infraction although they should always allow players to resolve disputes without they influence of a leader.
I think this last point is interesting as it says something quite significant about the relationship between leaders and players at a tournament.

Although THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, in lack of a better word, at a tournament is quite simple (even if the icons suggest differently, needless to say, but any of the Players, Judges, Head Judges and Tournament Organizer can be a man or woman):chain of commandjpg
Everyone involved can make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable at any event. Live with it! But generally, Players should accept the rulings of a Judge, but can ask for a second opinion from the Head Judge, who is the final authority on any and all rules disputes, while the Tournament Organizer is the final authority on penalty decisions. This distinction is important!penalty6jpg
IMPORTANT NOTE for Leaders: I always advice my Judges to never argue with one another in front of the players. If you disagree on a rules question discuss away from the table! Let the players know of the decision made not the process.

I also think it would be prudent for the Tournament Organizer and the Head Judge to make sure they agree on not only the principles determining penalties, but also the application of the principles.

IMPORTANT NOTE for Players: Remember that a rules discussion with a Judge or Head Judge could at worst be determined as warranting a Hard Warning (2 Penalty points).

5. COLLUSION?
This is probably ... no ... IT IS THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL part of the document. I've added the entire part of the text below (page 14-15). It is supposed to deal with the part of the Tournament Regulation which has been very unclear for ages, namely the part referencing "Unsporting Conduct" (Tournament Regulations, page 3).Star Wars Destiny Collusionjpg

Let's first of all start off by stating that simply CONCEDING a game is never considered collusion.
collusionjpgThe other instances described as collusion in the document vary from (1) offering a win in exchange of prizes, (2) randomly determing the outcome of a game or (3) discussing the outcome of a game.

The many possible situations are almost infinite and the consequences honestly unbearable. The document reads at the end: "It is largely up to a Judge's interpretation on whether or not a particular conversation between players is a discussion leading to collusion" ... OH BOY ...

Star Wars Destiny Collusion3jpg
Normally, a Player is not a defined as a Player in between rounds at a tournament, but only when that person is actively engaged in a game of Star Wars Destiny, but due to the clause in the text concerning collusion, everyone attending a tournament in a capacity as players are covered by the rules even in between rounds. "In between rounds" basically means at any time until the end of the tournament or the elimination of both players.

The main reason why this is of interest is due to the penalty related to collusion, which is stated as warranting a DISQUALIFICATION OF EACH PLAYER INVOLVED: Star Wars Destiny Collusion5jpg
The severity of the penalty, if nothing else, warrants a discussion of the concept and approach to it. I'm expecting this to be a talking point at any major event from the North American Championships to Euros and beyond. It already is.

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