The Championship Series
An Organized Play-by-Play on the Competitive Tournament Structure
The Championship events offered by Fantasy Flight Games Organized Play are tournaments which embrace the spirit of competition. These Championships are arranged into ascending levels of increasing prestige and exclusivity. They range from Store Championships—the most widely available and welcoming level—all the way to the World Championships—the culmination of the previous twelve months of competitions.
All of these Championships are designed to allow entry to all participants, taking into account factors such as capacity and preregistration. However, as the prestige and exclusivity increase, the environment and level of play elevates as well. While each event should be enjoyable for any player, some players may find that certain levels more closely align with their preferred style of play or desired experience.
This Organized Play-by-Play article examines the elements which make each Championship level special. The availability, tournament tier, round structure, and prizes for each type of Championship help to communicate the expectations that all participants can share.
Every store in good standing has the opportunity to run a single Store Championship for each game supported by Organized Play. These tournaments are meant to be a highly-accessible introduction to the competitive Championship series of tournaments.
Accordingly, Store Championships use the Relaxed Tournament Tier, which focuses on creating a fun and friendly environment for competition. At the Relaxed tier, the leaders of the event (organizer, marshal, and judge) may play in the event as long as there are two or more designated leaders.
Store Championships also use the Basic Tournament Structure outlined in each game’s tournament regulations. These tournaments are designed to be held during a single Saturday or Sunday. For typical attendance levels, this will represent a modest commitment of time and resources for players and organizers.
Prizes typically consist of an alternate art card for the Top 32 players and additional items for the Top 8 and Top 4. An additional copy of each of these prizes is included for the organizer to distribute at their discretion, typically to themselves or another leader. The champion will also receive a commemorative prize and a plastic bye card which can be redeemed for a first-round bye—removing that player from the pairings for the round and rewarding them with a win—at a Regional Championship during the following season.
FFG also includes materials in each Store Championship Kit for an in-store World Championship Celebration. Store Championship Kits will arrive at retailers prior to the World Championship for that game and will include two copies of the World Championship alternate art card. Retailers are encouraged to host open play, a tournament, or a special, fun event sometime that weekend and distribute those two cards. Players can also learn that retailer’s scheduled Store Championship date, which can be anytime after the World Championship Celebration weekend during the four-month Store Championship season.
A select number of stores worldwide are chosen to offer this limited-availability tournament. These events are held during a four-month season, which begins two months after the Store Championship season concludes. Regional Championships cater to players seeking a dedicated competitive play experience, many of whom will be motivated to travel a significant distance to their nearest Regional Championship.
These Championships use the Formal Tournament Tier which denotes a stronger focus on competition. Leaders of a Regional Championship cannot also play in the event, as their attention must be committed to the oversight of the tournament.
Regional Championships use the Advanced Tournament Structure. For most attendance levels, this round structure will require a significant commitment of time and resources for players and organizers. Most of these events will be scheduled for a single Saturday or Sunday. However, as noted in the Regional Championship Event Outlines, organizers expecting a large turnout can choose to run the event’s Swiss rounds on Saturday and elimination rounds on Sunday if they advertise this structure well in advance of the event.
A Regional Championship Kit typically includes a Top 64 prize of an alternate art card and additional items for the Top 16, Top 8, and Top 4. An additional copy of each of these prizes is included for the organizer to distribute at their discretion, typically to themselves or another leader. The champion will also receive a commemorative prize and a plastic bye card which can be redeemed for a first-round bye—removing that player from the pairings for the round and rewarding them with a win—at a National Championship. For 2016 only, players may use their bye card at North American Championships instead of a National Championship.
A National Championship is a reflection of the competitive communities within and around various countries spanning the globe. These events are not exclusionary based on nationality. A National Championship is welcoming to all challengers who would compete for the title. Fantasy Flight Games and their worldwide distribution partners arrange to host National Championships.
The Premier Tournament Tier, used at all National Championships, reflects the prestigious, competitive atmosphere of these events. Leaders at a National Championship cannot also play in the event, but must remain focused on the oversight of the tournament.
National Championships are as diverse as the nations which will be holding them. Appropriately, these tournaments allow for each of the organizers to build their own Custom Tournament Structure. Be sure to contact the organizer of the National Championship you will be attending to learn its round structure.
In the United States, 2016 National Championships were held in June at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. United States National Championships utilize a unique round structure. For 2016, National Championships outside of the United States will be held within the months of August and September.
A National Championship typically awards prizes to the Top 128, Top 16, Top 8, and Top 4 players. The Custom Round Structure may impact when those levels are calculated, so organizers should clearly state before the event if any other considerations will be necessary.
The champion will also receive a commemorative prize and a first-round bye—removing that player from the pairings for the round and rewarding them with a win—at the game’s upcoming World Championship, where a seat will be reserved for them.
Starting in 2017, National Championships will not have a fixed scheduling window, meaning they can be run at any time during the year. This flexibility will allow these tournaments to take place at highly attended conventions, festivals, or other similar gatherings.
North American & European Championships
The North American and European Championships are amazing opportunities for the global community of players. These events are not exclusionary based on nationality or location. These championships are open to all challengers from all reaches of the globe. Fantasy Flight Games hosts the North American Championships and works with their worldwide distribution partners to host European Championships.
These prominent Championships use the Premier Tournament Tier, reflecting the prestigious, competitive atmosphere of these events. Leaders at a continental Championship cannot also play in the event, but must remain focused on the oversight of the tournament.
Continental Championships are unique events and use a Custom Tournament Structure to allow each individual event to provide the best experience for attendees. The structure of European Championships will be announced on our website prior to the event.
The North American Championships are held each year in August at Gen Con in Indianapolis, Indiana. North American Championships utilize a unique round structure. The location and structure of the European Championships will be announced closer to their start in 2017.
These championships typically award a prize to each entrant, as well as the Top 16, the Top 8, and the Top 4 players. The champion will also receive a commemorative prize and a first-round bye—removing that player from the pairings for the round and rewarding them with a win—at the game’s upcoming World Championship, where a seat will be reserved for them. In addition, the champion will receive travel and accommodations to the game’s upcoming World Championship! Each champion will also win a unique opportunity to affect the future of their game: for card games, they will cooperate with the game developers to inspire the design of a future card; for miniatures games, the champion will cooperate with the Organized Play team to select and conceptualize the alternate art for a future prize card!
The World Championships are a one-of-a-kind experience and the pinnacle of Organized Play, featuring a friendly but competitive atmosphere.
Registration for the World Championships opens in late spring/early summer each year. Players can reserve a spot for themselves through various methods as well, including winning a Regional Championship in the United States or Canada (winners of other Regional Championships will have a spot reserved for the champion starting in 2017), being a top finisher at a National Championship, being a previous World Champion, or being a top finisher at select prestigious events. Most of these players will still be required to register and pay for their entry into the World Championships.
This set of Championship use the Premier Tournament Tier, reflecting the prestigious, competitive atmosphere of these events. Leaders at a World Championship cannot also play in the event, but must remain focused on the oversight of the tournament.
The World Championship for each game is one-of-a-kind and uses a Custom Tournament Structure to create the best possible experience for the players attending. More details on the structure for each individual 2016 World Championship will be released when we announce registration details for the event.
The 2016 World Championships will be held on November 2-6 in Roseville, Minnesota. Starting in 2017, the World Championships for games on our FFG track will continue being held in early November, while the World Championships for games on our Star Wars™ track will be held in early May each year. For more information on the future of World Championships and Organized Play, read our article explaining 2017 and beyond.
Specific prizes for the 2016 World Championships will be announced as the event gets closer, but the ultimate prize—won by the World Champion of each of our games—remains the same: a chance to work with the developers of the game to design a card that will appear in the game!
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