Dungeon Command Organized Play : An account of how we're doing things in Montreal

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Some people over on Boardgame Geek thought our tournament format was interesting and told me some people might be interested in hearing about it.

As many veterans of DDM might already know, Montreal (and in particular the CartaMagica store) have been very enthusiastic supporters of the D&D miniatures line. We've had many of our friends do really well at competitive events like the World tournament at GenCon and so forth. Most of that is due to the excellent support our TOs provide us. The same level of support was also responsible for the large following of other miniatures lines in the city, like Dreamblade, World of Warcraft miniatures, and so forth. The Carta Magica TOs have always gone above and beyond, providing prize support on top of the support that companies have provided us and fostering a community that is well balanced between support for competitive players and accessibility for casual and new players.

Our long standing tradition has been that for all these lines of products we've always had 5$ weekly tournaments (some BGGers would call it a league) where all entry fees are converted into prize support (plus whatever promos the game designers are providing). More importantly, our prize support is not store credit or money, but is reinvested back into the game. We open product and have players draft from the contents based on standings. With many games this means even a last place player usually gets something nice out of it. Also our pick order is from top to last THEN back up again (so last player has two picks in sequence and the first player gets the first pick but his second pick is the last second pick).

For Dungeon Command we are basically opening more Sting of Lolth/Heart of Cormyr boxes and having players pick minis/cards in that fashion (we do also have some remaining Drow Mage and Secret Passage cards from Game Day). Since we have roughly 6 players per week we only get to open one box each time, but that has been wonder for picking up some of these rarer key pieces. Some players only own one box, some one of each set, there's a family of three who own four sets total between them (I believe) and I own two of each sets because, well, I'm crazy. So what's fun about this is I get some good pickings (extra Drow Priestess for instance was cool, I built a band around 3x of them) while the people who invested less can get a whole lot of value out of the cards I don't need that remain in the pool.

Anyway, until WotC gets the ball rolling the point is TOs can certainly already take the opportunity to provide support for this game. From what we've heard from the store management there actually are plans for some Organized Play support coming down the line which will make this weekly league even cooler, but in the meantime I'm certainly having plenty of fun. So this is an idea I'm throwing out there for people who might want to get something going in their own city.
This is really interesting.  I wish we had something like this in Ottawa.

How do you determine what one "game prize" is?  I can see one miniature plus the associated card  being one prize.  Is an entire deck order deck one "prize"?

What version of the tournament rules are you playing?  Limited or Constructed? 
We're playing Constructed. At this point I have seen people win the thing even with Limited warbands right out of the pack. Maybe when the metagame is a lot more developped and we're all better players the Limited players won't stand a chance, but for now they're still doing quite well overall.

For us a prize is a miniature (with accompanying Creature card and Adventure System card, since they're useless alone) or an Order card. Obviously miniatures tend to get favored early on but some of the cards are real good and I've sometimes skipped picks from the minis pool for them if I wanted something bad enough that I didn't want someone else to pick it first. We also have the tiles each count as one prize, as well as Commander cards and the entire chit board (but as you can expect Commander cards, the chit board and the smaller tiles tend not to get picked until nothing of use is left). With Cormyr we also put the Ally event card and the accompanying rule card as one prize (I'm unsure if that makes sense but I did pick it as my last pick so I might have multiple copies for the Adventure System games, but basically the rules card is useless by itself while the Ally card is useful to anyone who has some of the Cormyr A.S. creature cards already).
I'd figure on 2 order cards in a pick instead of just 1, but that's me. I have 2 of each set and 2 extra order decks from each set, so my needs are pretty few... but this would certainly be a good excuse to get in some practice if my FLGS started running it. 8 players at $5/per covers the box and gives everyone a crack at something decent.
Thanks for posting this. I'm thinking of starting up something at Drexoll Games in Vancouver. I've never played in Magic tournaments or anything really so I'm not sure what kind of point system to use. I think WotC will have some guidlines for DC eventually but for now there's nothing. 

Hopefully you don't mind answering a few questions.
Have you been timing the matches? How do you award points? How do you deal with ties?

Additionally how do you deal with rules issues during the game. The LoS in particular have some unexplained cases. Many official answeres have been provided by the very excellent Chris Dupuis, but not everything has been addressed yet. 

EDIT: Okay I found the tournament document: www.wizards.com/wpn/Document.aspx?x=2012...
Still curious if you have anything else to share

I shamelessly stole this idea from you for my tournaments (Cambridge/Boston, MA) and love it.  Thanks so much for sharing
Very cool. I plan to do this in my area soon. My FLG has agreed to host and now I just need to find people with the game. 

I'm a bit surprised that there is no organized prize support since they greated the promo drow and 2 promo order cards.

Very cool. I plan to do this in my area soon. My FLG has agreed to host and now I just need to find people with the game. 

I'm a bit surprised that there is no organized prize support since they greated the promo drow and 2 promo order cards.


They sent me some promo Mirror Image cards to use right around the goblin release.
We've basically been receiving new promos every month since the first Game Day. The ones I've seen (and own):

Drow Mage mini + cards
Secret Passage alt art
Into the Fray alt art
Mirror Image alt art (was released around Tyranny of Goblins release)

I hope they do more promos like Mirror Image and Drow Mage that are one-ofs in their respective boxed sets, as that makes those promos really desirable to frea-, erm, hardcore gamers like me.
I asked my store manager to contact his WOTC rep to see if they'd do prize support and got a negative. 

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