As my current job eats up pretty much all my time, I've not really kept up with the X-Wing Tournament scene, but my buddy Sean made it to WinterWar this weekend and was texting me about a tournament that Armored Gopher is having on 22 February that we're going to try to hit.
When he told me about it, he mentioned it was a Regional and I thought, "Wow- they're doing X-Wing Regionals much earlier this year." After some Googling though, it's not a Regional, it's a Store Championship, which left me wondering what the hell all this was about.
Back in November, FFG announced they were expanding their Organized Play into Store Championships while also keeping their Regionals format. After perusing both articles, I think I have my head around it.
Ok, remember last year how Regionals was kind of a mess? I mean, it kinda was and it kinda wasn't, and I don't mean to sound like I'm hating or anything, and it was (I think) the first time they'd ever really done it for X-Wing, but apparently FFG wanted to address it too or they wouldn't have gone and changed things up, so I don't really think I'm talking out of school saying that.
Right, so the Store Championships are kinda like the old Regionals. What I mean by that is stores apply for the kit and pay their dough and all that just like Regionals last year. They're limited to 32 players and have FFG prize support, as well as offering the winner a bye into the Regionals tournaments that will happen later in the year (1 May to 31 July, which I think is the same as last year's).
That said, I don't think there's anything keeping somebody who didn't get first at a Store Championship from playing in a Regional or anything, but as they imply that there will be fewer Regionals this year, I think it's safe to assume you won't necessarily just walk into a Regional and get to play like last year. Could be wrong, it's still early, the wording is a little vague, and I'm kinda worn out so take all of this for what it's worth.
Where am I getting that?
In the Regionals article, they have that map graphic and the paragraph above says, "... Each region will host no more than two Regionals..." Paraphrasing a bit there, but you get the gist, right? As there are 8 regions in the U.S., we're looking at a max of 16 Regionals Tournaments. If X-Wing is kinda dead in your area, you might have a decent shot at getting into a Regionals without a Store Championship win, but I sure wouldn't count on it.
So basically, I think the Store Championship is there to try and be the first step into going to Nationals. If you win there, you get to play at your Regionals, which will earn you a bye into a Nationals Tournament, which I guess is the step prior to Worlds? Didn't even know about that business, of course I came in last at a Regionals with like 6 people, two of whom I don't think ever played the game before, so I'm not exactly the Subject Matter Expert, y'know?
Long story long, if you're wanting to compete in X-Wing, better start looking around at these Store Tournaments. If it says actual dates somewhere, I apologize for not finding it. All I see is "Febaruary through March."
Make your plans, aficionados! And if any of y'all decide to play at the Gopher, maybe we can battle for who will come in last, yo!
And for God's sake, read up on Tournament Etiqutte (and Protocol) parts 1 and 2 by yours truly. :)