Philosophy and General Guidelines
Fantasy Flight Games’ Organized Play events uphold a mindset of providing an enjoyable experience that is open to anyone who wants to come and play a game. This philosophy holds true across all of FFG’s brands, regardless of a game’s age or legacy.
Penalties are intended to educate players who have made a mistake, whether that mistake was gameplay-related or conduct-related. The reason a penalty is applied at all is to help players learn from their mistakes, and to deter them and other players from making similar mistakes in the future.
FFG Organized Play observes two tiers of events: Casual and Competitive.
Casual Tier events are welcoming to all players, regardless of experience level. Players are encouraged to help each other improve and learn, so long as it does not significantly disrupt the game. The focus of Casual Tier events is on creating a fun and friendly environment where new players can learn and enjoy the game alongside long-time veterans. Open Play Nights and Store Championships are Casual-tier events.
Competitive Tier events are more prestigious. At this level, players are expected to have a moderate to expert amount of knowledge and experience with the game. Players should be familiar with not only game rules, but also the most recent Rules Reference and tournament regulations, and they should be prepared to exercise that knowledge to play at a reasonable pace. The focus of Competitive Tier events is on a friendly, competitive, and fair environment. Prime Championships, Grand Championships, and other prestigious events are Competitive-tier events.
The Role of a Judge
Note: Judges, Head Judges, and Tournament Organizers are all leaders at an Organized Play event. For definitions of these roles, please refer to the Fantasy Flight Games Fundamental Event Document.
As a mediator and conflict resolver, it is a Judge’s duty to remain impartial and objective no matter what situations may arise. Judges should not involve themselves in a particular match unless they have reason to believe a rules or event guideline violation has occurred. If a Judge witnesses a mistake being performed by a player, they may approach the table and explain to the players the mistake that was made and then correct it accordingly. A Judge should be capable of identifying an issue and determining the correct response based on the guidelines laid out in this document.
Sometimes the players of a game may realize that they made a mistake and attempt to fix it themselves. If a Judge sees this happening, they should watch over the players’ resolution and only step in if the players do not resolve the situation correctly.
A leader should be able to realize if a situation may call their impartiality into question. When they recognize this, the Judge should inform the Head Judge of the event and have either a different Judge or the Head Judge make the decision.
All Judges are human, which means they are capable of making mistakes. Upon making a mistake, a Judge should acknowledge it and apologize for their error, then attempt to fix it if it is not too late. If a player commits an event disruption directly because of incorrect information from a Judge, the Head Judge is allowed to downgrade any penalty that player may receive because of it.
If a player believes that a Judge has issued an incorrect ruling or penalty, that player may appeal to the Head Judge. The Head Judge should listen to both the original Judge and the player before deciding on a resolution. Once made, the Head Judge’s decision is final.
Judges should not deviate from this document’s guidelines. If a Judge feels that deviation is necessary, they should consult with the Head Judge first. The Head Judge of an event has the final say on rulings. Both the Head Judge and the Tournament Organizer have the final say on penalty decisions. If the Head Judge and Tournament Organizer disagree on a particular penalty decision, the Tournament Organizer’s decision is the one used, and the Head Judge should report the dispute to FFG OP after the event is over.
There are four types of penalties that are used to enforce the guidelines laid out in this document: Warnings, Game Losses, Match Losses, and Disqualification.
Warnings and Penalty Points
Warnings are the most common form of penalty. The purpose of a warning is to notify the player that their behavior has moved outside of the rules, to prompt them to correct their behavior, and to educate them so they do not repeat the mistake. Whenever a player is issued a warning, the involved Judge should write down the player’s name and the reason they have been given the warning, as well as how many penalty points that player receives from it (explained below).
Warnings come in three types: Normal Warnings, Hard Warnings, and Severe Warnings.
Normal Warnings are given when a player causes an intermediate gameplay disruption or minor event disruption, such as a simple error on their deck list or unintentional slow play. These warnings are worth 1 penalty point.
Hard Warnings are given when a player repeats an infraction or causes a significant gameplay disruption or an intermediate event disruption, such as a heated argument between players or bad attitude towards a judge. These warnings are worth 2 penalty points.
Severe Warnings are given when a player causes a significant event disruption that does not quite warrant a Disqualification, such as aggressive behavior toward an opponent or spouting unnecessary profanities. These warnings are worth 4 penalty points.
If a player ever accumulates too many penalty points (5 or more at a Competitive event, 7 or more at a Casual event), then that player is Disqualified.
As a general rule, warnings granted due to gameplay and non-behavioral event disruptions should be worth 1 fewer penalty point each at Casual events. This is because, at events where newer players are still learning the game, it is more appropriate to be lax on disruptions related to players making honest mistakes as they play. However, warnings due to poor behavior, unsporting conduct, or cheating should never have their penalties reduced.
For events that have a streaming table, a Judge may, at their discretion, increase the penalties for any infractions that happen on stream, particularly for behavior-related disruptions or unsporting conduct.
While reporting the results of an event to FFG, the Tournament Organizer should include the names of all players who received 3 or more penalty points throughout the event and how many penalty points each of them received.
For a clear overview of what infractions can lead to a warning, see Appendix: Warning Guidelines on pg. 17.
Game Loss and Match Loss
Note: A “match” is all the games played between the same pair/group of players in a given round of the tournament. For example, a “best-of-three” match involves the players playing two to three games to determine the winner of that tournament round.
A Game Loss is a standard penalty if a player commits a more severe disruption for which a warning alone is not a sufficient penalty. The player scores as if they lost the game (or came in last place at a multiplayer table), and the winning player is awarded a full win.
A Match Loss is similar to a Game Loss but takes it a step further. For tournament rounds where there are several games to a match (i.e. a best-of-three match), a Match Loss means the penalized player scores as if they lost the whole match, not just a single game. This is a more severe penalty that should be applied if a Game Loss is not sufficient. Note: for tournaments that only have one game per round, a Match Loss and a Game Loss denote the same level of penalty.
While reporting the results of the event to FFG, the Tournament Organizer should include the names of all players who received a Game/Match Loss penalty throughout the event and why they received that penalty.
Disqualification is the standard penalty if a player has received 5 or more penalty points in a Competitive event or 7 or more penalty points in a Casual event. The player receives a match loss for that round and is dropped from the event.
Note: Only the Head Judge and the Tournament Organizer have the authority to Disqualify a player from an event. Judges may recommend a certain player for Disqualification to the Head Judge or Tournament Organizer—such as when that player receives multiple penalty points or Game Losses—but only the Head Judge/Tournament Organizer themselves are able to actually Disqualify them. After issuing a Disqualification, the leader must report it to FFG as detailed in the FFG Organized Play Participant Suspension Policy.
At the Tournament Organizer’s discretion, a disqualified participant can also be removed from the event venue.
Leaders are strongly encouraged to inform FFG OP about any Game Losses, Match Losses, and Disqualifications they issue out. In addition, if a player consistently earns Game/Match Losses or Disqualifications across multiple events, this information should be shared with FFG OP as well.
If a Tournament Organizer is aware of a player who has demonstrated a tendency to cause disruptions in events, then the Tournament Organizer should alert the judges before the start of the event. Organized Play events should operate under the assumption that all players are given the benefit of the doubt; that said, patterned disruptive behavior should not be ignored. If the player in question begins to disrupt the event, then leaders are encouraged to respond with whatever penalties they deem appropriate.