Running a Tournament: What You Need to Know
by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes

So you're pumped about Netrunner, you've taught people how to play, and you want to put on a tournament. What now?

Well, the most obvious first step is to secure a location and a time. You'll need enough space to set up at least three 4' x 8' gaming tables. This should be enough to seat six to eight pairs of players. Sheets or tablecloths would be a nice idea to prevent damage to cards (and to players!).

If possible, try to work with your local game retailer. If the store has gaming space, so much the better. But if not, you may still be able to have the retailer sponsor your event in exchange for publicity. Libraries, community centers, schools, and even shopping malls are likely places to find space without having to pay a fee.

You'll also need to set up a date and time. Try for two to three weeks' notice so you can advertise and secure prize materials. A typical Swiss-draw tournament of four rounds will probably take five to six hours, depending on the deck format and the experience of your players. Maybe your retailer has regular game nights that could be used for this purpose, or an open gaming period on weekends. Perhaps there are recreational slots available at the library.

Advertise your event! Eventually the TRC will have more official posters, but until then, even hand-made posters are better than nothing at all. Use the bulletin boards in stores, libraries, community centers, and schools to get the word out. Post something to a newsgroup. If you have a Web page, or the retailer does, it makes an excellent advertisement node.

Prizes are good. People play in tournaments for fun, but it adds a lot to have a shot at winning something. Cards make fine prizes. Maybe your retailer will be able to provide some materials. As well, Wizards of the Coast supports tournaments with prize packages. I am the person in charge of this: to request prize support, you can email me at . If you don't have email, please write to me at:

Wizards of the Coast
P.O. Box 707
Renton, WA 98057-0707
attn: Netrunner prize support

The prize packages are sent by parcel post, so allow two weeks or so for delivery in the continental US, and somewhat longer for international destinations.

A good way to prepare the gaming community for your tournament is to hold some demos in the preceding weeks. (There have been some excellent suggestions about demo technique on the TRC list.) You can get demo support materials like posters, flyers, playmats, and cards from me as well.

I'd recommend sealed-deck tournaments to start with. Many players only have a starter or two that they picked up and set aside when they couldn't find opponents. A constructed-deck environment can be very intimidating. Besides, Netrunner plays so well out of the box that it is perfect for sealed-deck play. It's also more approachable by people you have just taught. As well, it helps the retailer, since people will probably have to buy cards.

On the day of the tournament, try to get there about an hour before the starting time so you can get things set up. You can also use this time to do a last-minute demo or two for walk-in traffic. Bring a copy of the card rulings and rules errata with you--you can download this stuff from the WotC website or ask me for a copy. Tricky rules questions don't tend to come up often, but it's good to be prepared.

I don't recommend playing in a tournament you run, but if there is an independent person available to resolve rules questions (such as the retailer), this can work. If you have an odd number of players, you can play whoever has a bye that round. Or strip out a starter and challenge all comers. Above all, have fun!