Explaining the Province League #1: Identity and Scope
The Province League is almost here!
Last October I introduced the Province League, a new player-run tournament series for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game. The world was a different place back then. Innocent citizens were getting Hawk Tattooed, we didn’t know our President was a Russian agent, people thought the New England Patriots were finished. A lot has happened since then, so today I’ll be catching you up on the Province League Tournament Series, where we’ve been, and what to expect moving forward.
A Brief History of Time
The Province League was born shortly after GenCon 2018, at the conclusion of the Toshi Ranbo Kotei series. At that time, tournament L5R was in a state of flux, with many community members exploring new and better ways to experience larger-scale competitive L5R. As a community, we learned a lot from Year One Koteis, and collectively we determined that improvements could be made in the areas of Affordability, Availability, Frequency, and Prizes. The Province League began as a supplementary tournament series designed to offer the L5R community more opportunities for large scale competitive play, and to serve as a bridge between local store-level events and the regional/national Kotei tournaments. While the Province League will forge on, it is shifting slightly to respond more appropriately to the current state of the game.
The Changing of Times
In recent months the world of L5R has changed. As with any game, Year One of L5R was volatile, with gaps in product release, balance issues, and tournament criticisms all understandable burdens. FFG have responded to community feedback with Elemental Challenges and Championships, and have adjusted most Kotei events to be held at stand-alone venues. This is a great start, but player turnout at large events is still declining. The Province League seeks to jump-start the L5R playerbase by offering enticing, easy to run events at the local store level that can smoothly scale to fit player growth. The focus for Phase One of the Province League will be integration and support at the store level, with an eye towards larger regional events as a goal. Let’s dive into exactly what that means.
Province League events are designed to be as seamless and flexible as possible. To run a Province League event, all a store or playergroup needs to do is purchase a Province League Event Kit from the shop! Purchasing a Kit is your store’s ticket into the Series, a larger network of simultaneous events happening worldwide on YOUR schedule. The goal of the Province League is flexibility, and scale-ability. Events are offered in three tiers, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, each tier offering prize support for 16, 32, and 64 player events respectively. All upcoming Province League events are promoted on various social platforms (Province League Discord/Facebook/website) to facilitate large turnouts.
Province League events function much like the official store level FFG offerings, but differ in a few key areas.
· Flexibility: Have a small playerbase? Purchase a Bronze kit and schedule your event ahead of time. ‘One and done’ is a great way to gauge local interest and work your way up the tiers, and attract potential new customers to your store.
· Repeatability: First event went well? Run another! The goal of the Province League is to best support your local playerbase, however possible. Some stores either can’t support or aren’t interested in running weekly events fed from one pool of prize support.
· Long-term appeal: Province League events offer sustainability through player progression and point tracking. Most ‘kit’ tournaments experience drop-off as the market is saturated with product, but Province League events encourage repeat participants through point tracking and a Global Leaderboard system and invites to the Province League Championship.
· Prizes: Province League events feature custom prizes, made by the community, not available anywhere else.
The goal of the Province League is to offer supplementary competitive events to the L5R community in an enticing way that makes sense for both players and store owners, while respecting the official FFG tournament offerings. These events will help to jump-start interest in the game at the local level, which in turn will help player turnout at large events. Province League events are designed with store owners in mind; flexible, low-risk, with opportunity for profit and customer growth. The initial kit cost is higher (due to economies of scale/custom nature of the product), but care has been taken to off-load as much of the risk as possible. The Province League helps stores market their events, and asks the community to participate as well, organizing from the grassroots level to provide stores with data on player interest to help them with Kit purchasing/scheduling decisions. With coordination and buy-in from each group (player/store/organizer), Province League events can offer opportunity for growth and profit for stores, and more exciting, plentiful, accessible events for players.
I know you probably have many questions, and I intend to publish follow-up posts that explain in-depth the contents and philosophy behind Prize Kits, tournament structure, point tracking, and other concepts. The ‘soft launch’ of the Province League will begin on Monday, February 4, when I open up the storefront and make Kits available for purchase. For the Province League to succeed, players need to know about it, so please share and discuss with your friends and local stores!
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the League.