Let’s Talk Prizes
When I started the Province League my primary goal was to offer an opportunity for players to play competitive L5R at a medium to large scale. To accomplish this, I knew Province League events needed to satisfy four main desires: affordability, availability, frequency, and prizes. Today, I want to talk about that fourth point, detail what you can expect in a Province League Prize Kit, and outline my thought process behind the decisions I made. While no system is perfect, I spent a lot of time thinking through multiple permutations, trying to come up with a framework that would work for player, store, and organizer alike. Let’s get to it!
From the start I knew Province League events needed to be enticing for both casual and competitive players alike, so I set out to create a prize structure that rewards players based on participation AND performance. I took inspiration from the FFG Kotei model, which rewards prizes to all participants while also award additional prizes based on performance. You’ll see similar types of prizes here, along with clan specific rewards and door prizes that can be given randomly, or by accomplishing fun objectives outlined by your store or playergroup (if they wish). While the Kotei model is a great starting point, it isn’t ‘perfect’ for The Province League for a few reasons.
One of the unique constraints with Province League events is the issue of ‘left-overs’. If you’ve been to a Kotei you’ve probably seen the gigantic box that contains hundreds of promos to hand out at events, things like Seals, Clouds, etc. Extras go back in the box and carry over to the next event. This isn’t possible with Province League events, as each store is an individual entity. For a while I wanted to offer participation prizes based on clan (like the Seals) but struggled to find a way to handle the ‘leftovers’ that would result from this system. Do I ship ten sets of every clan token? I would either have to charge more for the Kit, putting the burden on the store to offload the extra cost, or I would have to have the store ship back unused product. Still, all the prizes in the world won’t matter if the event is too expensive, so I had to find a balance that worked equally for players, stores, and myself (as product creator). It was tough, but I think I’ve got something that works.
Another point of debate was whether to produce ‘promo’ cards similar to what is found in the Stronghold Kits. These cards are easier and cheaper to mass produce, and using them as rewards would help to keep Kit cost down while still providing a wealth of prizes for players to compete for. In the end I decided that card promos don’t align with the identity of The Province League currently, and could result in issues down the road. Let’s say I offer a promo version of a particular card, and then later on FFG includes their own version of that card in a Stronghold Kit. If even one player chooses to not play in that event because they already have that promo, I’ve damaged the current FFG system rather than helped it. What if I release a promo version of an expansion pack card, and someone chooses to use that version of the card instead of buying the pack? For these reasons I chose to stick with accessory items only.
Before jumping into the prizes you can win at Province League events, I need to first talk about the different types of Province League events you’ll find ‘in the wild’. To keep the nomenclature simple for new players, I’ve chosen to call these events ‘Province League Bronze’, ‘Province League Silver, and ‘Province League Gold’. Many community members suggested thematic names that we can incorporate in the future, but for now, while we work to introduce these events to the community it is best to keep things simple.
All Province League events (Bronze/Silver/Gold) will follow a standard Swiss + Top Cut model, with no Challenger system. The goal of these events is to provide a competitive tournament experience (hence the Top Cut), while minimizing the number of rounds played to avoid player fatigue and help stores with scheduling. While the Challenger system is unique (and a lot of fun), it leads to complicated Top Cut fields and increases number of rounds unnecessarily, and opens the door for weird scenarios where players with an otherwise adequate performance miss Top Cut due to simply playing a popular clan.
Instead, Province League events will reward clan specific prizes to the top finisher of each clan that DID NOT make Top Cut. Essentially, players that would have been Challengers receive a clan prize instead for their achievement, while the Top Cut is ‘kept clean’ and the total number of rounds is kept low. While this system isn’t perfect for everyone, through polling and lots of theory I’ve determined it is the best of all worlds for now. Things can change, so let me know your thoughts!
Bronze-level events are 16 player tournaments supported by the ‘Bronze’ Prize Kit, and award Leaderboard and Rout of Rokugan points. Bronze events support a maximum of 16 players and follow a 4 Round Swiss + Cut to Top 4 model. Entry fee for Bronze events is $10, making Bronze the cheapest (and easiest to maximize) Province League event option available. The Bronze Kit is a great starter kit to introduce Province League events to your local playgroup, though the goal is to grow your community large enough to support Silver or Gold level events. Stores will find the Bronze Kit to be the most ‘low risk’ at $80, putting the ‘break-even point’ at 8 players. Potential store profit for the Bronze Kit is $80 as well, so stores are encouraged to step up to the Silver and Gold level events as soon as possible, both to prevent event saturation and to gain access to better potential profit.
Silver-level events are 32 player tournaments supported by the ‘Silver’ Prize Kit, and award double Leaderboard and Rout of Rokugan points. Silver events support a maximum of 32 players and follow a 5 Round Swiss + Cut to Top 8 model. Entry fee for Silver events is $15, placing Silver in the middle of the event and Kit size offerings. I suggest most stores to start with a Bronze event to gauge local interest, followed by a step up to the Silver Kit. Stores will see a higher initial cost for the Silver kit at $200, though the break-even point is very low at 14 players. Unlike the Bronze Kit, the Silver Kit offers a potential store profit of $280, though of course the greatest source of profit comes from new potential customers outside the regular playergroup that will be drawn to these events.
Gold-level events are 64 player tournaments supported by the ‘Gold’ Prize Kit, and award triple Leaderboard and Rout of Rokugan points. Gold events support a maximum of 64 players and follow a 6 Round Swiss + Cut to Top 8 model. Entry fee for Gold events is $20, placing Gold at the top of the three event and Kit size offerings. Gold will be an enticing option for select stores capable of supporting large scale events, both in terms of floor space and playerbase support. The initial investment is high at $350, though the break even point is only 18 players, making it very low-risk for stores. The potential profit from Gold events is the highest at $930 for the store. This is by design; Gold level events simulate US Kotei attendance levels, and my goal is to help stores grow to run these events as frequently as possible.
All Province League rewards detailed in the graphics above will be unique items attainable only at Province League events, and designs will rotate at the conclusion of each season. Mockups of these prizes are currently in production and will be released soon, as well as a supplementary pdf for stores containing more information concerning Prize Kits, as well as Responsibilities when hosting Province League events.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing your feedback! You can comment below or through the various links/channels that brought you here! Please join the Facebook or Discord Group if you haven’t yet, and please consider supporting the Kickstarter! We are over halfway to our stretch goal of $10,000, and every pledge helps!