A few months ago I wrote about the deterioration of our hobby based on obsessive and overly competitive tournament gaming. I mentioned the ETC event in that article, namely because it was both the tipping point of my rage, as well as a prime example of excessive competitiveness. Well the ETC came and went, and to paraphrase one of my favourite sci-fi movies: something happened.

Something marvelous.

The event itself went without any (major) hiccups. It was an interesting event to witness and to observe (as stated earlier, I decided not to participate). I was somewhat shocked but not completely surprised that the amount of munchkin players was less than 10%. Our head coach made it sound like there will be entire teams of evil munchkin cheating bastards doing gods know what to win, but as my gut feeling turned out to be right once more, it was just his misconception on how this hobby should look like, at least should according to him. Don’t get me wrong, there were evil munchkins (maybe even a cheater) out there among the 30 or so teams for each system, but on average there was maybe one or even none munchkins per team. A great plus and it brought hope back to my heart that the gaming community might not be as bleak as it seems. On the other side of the coin, the style of play, lists, and just simple blatant rules digging really ached my soul. It’s like playing chess… with a lawyer, a loaded dice, and a table made to have 63 fields 😛 not my cup of tea, but at least this was somewhat expected, ETC being one of the most prestigious tournaments in the gaming community.

So far sounds like an average tournament, right? I thought so too, especially since it looked like an average, minimal visitors, no prizes tournament from my perspective as an observer. And it looked our countrymen barely made to make the event.

Boy, was I wrong.

As soon as the event was over our country and the ETC organization started getting endless amounts of praise for organizing an epic, huge, well organized, friendly event. I was shocked. How did we pull this off? We had barely any visitors. Well, the previous ones had zero visitors. We had venues, previous had… not sure. We had a big, empty, city fair hall with pathetic local AC. Previous ones didn’t have a hall. Let alone AC. And we had just 5 hostesses and 2 bar stands. …Yeah, I think this was the kicker. Good food, good drinks, friendly atmosphere, judges that were willing to discuss rules instead of just handing out negative points, the foreigners loved it. They loved it so much they want the next (or the one after that) ETC again in Serbia.

The impact of the event was felt on our community as well. The team, even the megamunchkin team captain are all hyped about it, and want more people to play, more guys to get involved, and to give this hobby a nitrous-oxide boost. Gaming mood improved, people are more enthusiastic and open about tournaments, and want to game on them. The competitive factor has dropped as well, as it’s all good fun and good training – serious games for team training are done outside local tournaments.

So a miracle happened. Hardcore competitive gamers decided to improve the hobby experience for everyone. Well, almost everyone, since the megamunchking is still a munchkin, but he’s a lost cause 😉

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