Event Disruptions

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What Defines an Event Disruption

An Event Disruption occurs whenever a participant makes a mistake or behaves in a manner that threatens the integrity, hospitality, or general safety of the event itself. While gameplay disruptions can throw off an individual game, event disruptions can affect the entire event, and thus should not be taken lightly. Event disruptions can be intentional or unintentional—it is up to the Judges, the Head Judge, and the Tournament Organizer to interpret a situation and determine the best course of action.

The goal of FFG’s Organized Play is to promote a safe, welcoming environment for players of all kinds to come and enjoy the games they love. Event disruptions, even minor ones, can lower or even ruin an attendee’s enjoyment. Players do not need to be overly friendly towards one another, but all of them are held to the expectation that they treat every person around them with politeness, respect, and general courtesy. Those who violate this expectation risk being deemed unwelcome at the event, and, at the Tournament Organizer’s discretion, may be removed from the premises. Repeat offenders may be suspended from attending official FFG OP events—see the FFG Organized Play Participant Suspension Policy for more details.

Tardiness and Absences – Normal Warning / Match Loss

Each player in an Organized Play event is responsible for being present at the correct table at the start of a tournament round. If a player is not in their correct seat by the scheduled start time of the round, then that player is tardy, and their opponent may call a Judge and ask them to start a timer. The tardy player receives a Normal Warning at this time. If a certain amount of time passes (determined by the type of game in question, see below) after the start time of the round and the tardy player still has not shown up, then that player is absent and is given a Match Loss. The absent player’s opponent receives a full win for the round. If the absent player does not show up before the end of the round, then they are also dropped from the tournament roster. This is not a Disqualification—if, after being dropped from the tournament, the absent player shows up again, the player may be re-added to the tournament roster upon their request, though they still receive a Match Loss for the round they missed.

Generally, a player is tardy if they are between 1 and 5 minutes late (for card games) or between 1 and 10 minutes late (for miniatures games). Beyond these time frames for their respective game type, the player is absent.

At Casual events, if a player sits at the wrong table and plays against the wrong opponent, then the resolution of the issue is left up to the Tournament Organizer’s discretion.

At Competitive events, a player must take care to arrive at the correct seat and play against the correct opponent. If a player sits at the wrong table and plays against the wrong opponent, this counts as being tardy for their actual scheduled match. The player who sat at the wrong table receives a Game Loss, and the opponent they incorrectly played against receives a Normal Warning—this is because both players in a match are responsible for paying attention to the pairings and making sure that they play against the correct opponent.

At Competitive events, if a player receives two Match Losses due to being absent, then that player should be Disqualified from the event.

For events that have a streaming table, the streaming table is treated the same as any other table regarding tardiness and absence.

Errors with Decks/Forces and Lists– Possible Game Loss or Disqualification

Note: This section deals with list errors that take place during Competitive-Tier events. When list errors take place during a Casual event, these penalties may be reduced at the Judge’s discretion.

Deck, squad, army, and fleet lists are tools used by Judges, Head Judges, and Tournament Organizers to ensure the validity of a particular deck or “force” (army, squad, or fleet) as well as check during the course of a tournament whether or not a player has altered their deck/force’s contents. At any time in between rounds, a Judge may check a player’s deck/force to see if it matches their list.

If an error or illegality is found on a player’s list before the beginning of a round—such as a deck having less than the legal number of cards or the combined points value of a squad being more than the legal maximum—a Judge should explain the error to the player and ask them to fix it before the round begins. If the error is discovered before the first round of the tournament, the player may fix it without penalty. If the error is discovered in between rounds, however, then the player receives a penalty (described in the table below) in addition to having to fix their deck/force or deck/force list. If the Judge thinks this error may have been committed intentionally by the player to gain an advantage in some way, then the Judge should investigate for cheating.

If a player ever repeats this infraction within the same event, then that player should be immediately Disqualified.

The following table provides a quick glance at common types of deck/force and list errors and what sort of penalty should be issued in response to each (if any) as well as how the error should be corrected. Whether a penalty is issued or not, the player must immediately correct the list error as appropriate for the specific situation (explained in the “resolution” column of the table on the next page). Any corrections made to a deck/force or deck/force list should be made under the careful supervision of a Judge or other leader.

Note: For ease of reference, everything in the following table refers to “deck lists” and “decks,” even though these guidelines apply to games that use forces (armies, fleets, and squads) as well.

Table: Deck/Force and List Errors
List Error Resolution Time of Discovery Penalty Issued
Both the deck and list are legal, but do not match each other. The deck must be corrected to match the list. Before the start of round 1 None
In between rounds Game Loss for next round
During a round Game Loss
The deck list is illegal, but the deck itself is legal. The list must be corrected to match the deck. Before the start of round 1 None
In between rounds Game Loss for next round
During a round Game Loss
The deck list is legal, but the deck itself is illegal. The deck must be corrected to match the list. Before the start of round 1 Game Loss for next round
In between rounds Game Loss for next round
During a round Game Loss
Both the deck list and the deck itself are illegal. Player must create a legal deck and matching list, then have both checked and approved by a Judge Before the start of round 1 Normal Warning. Also Game Loss for first round if the deck and list are not made fast enough
The player is Disqualified. In between rounds Disqualification
The player is Disqualified. During a round Disqualification

Marked Cards – Normal Warning

All objects eventually become affected by wear and tear, and cards and sleeves are no exception. Over the course of a tournament or several tournaments, a sleeve for a card may become marked in a way that would allow the player to distinguish it from the others in their deck. If a Judge notices this, they should perform a deck check for that player’s deck, then, if the marked cards seem unintentional, the Judge should ask the player to change the sleeve so that it better matches the other cards in its deck. If it is clear that the player was not intending to take advantage of this (or may have not even noticed the mark), then this solution should be sufficient. The Judge should make sure the player understands the importance of maintaining the integrity of their sleeves.

If, at a Casual tier event, a card in an unsleeved deck is distinctively marked in some way, then the Judge can issue a warning and ask the player to either replace the card with an unmarked copy of the same card or use opaque sleeves that will obscure the mark from view.

Players are responsible for maintaining the quality of their game materials, and if a Judge believes a player may be intentionally using marked cards or sleeves to gain an advantage, they may want to investigate for cheating.

If a Judge deems it necessary, they may create proxies if a card or cards become marked/damaged over the course of an event. For more information about how this is done, please refer to the game’s Tournament Regulations.

Drawing Extra Cards – Normal Warning

Mistakes happen, and sometimes a player grabs one too many cards while drawing or absentmindedly draws a card when not allowed to do so. When this happens, it is largely up to a Judge’s discretion on how best to proceed depending on the situation.

This section addresses disruptions involved when a player accidentally draws extra cards. If the Judge has reason to believe that the extra draws were intentional, they should investigate for cheating.

If a player drew one or more extra cards and is able to distinguish them from the rest of the cards in their hand, they must first confirm that the cards are the extra cards with their opponent, then the Judge can take those cards and shuffle them back into the player’s deck. The Judge should take care to maintain the position of any cards that are known information (such as if a player previously used an ability to reorder the top 2 cards of their deck, for example). This does not count as a shuffle in-game for the purpose of any abilities that may trigger off of such an event. After shuffling the extra cards back into the deck, the Judge issues that player a Normal Warning.

If neither of the players nor the Judge is able to deduce which cards were incorrectly drawn, then the integrity of the game has been compromised. To remedy this, the Judge should first make absolutely sure that the players cannot recreate the situation and deduce which cards are the extra ones; then, if this remains the case, the player who drew the extra cards must reveal their hand to their opponent. The opponent chooses one card for each extra card drawn—the chosen cards are then shuffled back into the player’s deck by the Judge.

Slow Play – Normal Warning

Even at Casual events, players are expected to play at a pace that will not set their opponent at a disadvantage because of the time limit. Slow play is an issue that arises when a player takes more time than necessary to perform one or more game actions. There can be a very fine line between slow play, which is unintentional, and stalling, which is a form of cheating. Players should openly communicate if they believe their opponent is playing too slowly—oftentimes a simple “I need you to play more quickly” from the Judge is all that is needed to remedy the situation.

If a player continues to play slowly even after being asked to speed up, then the Judge should issue a Normal Warning. Repeated offenses, even after receiving warnings, can also warrant a Game Loss if the Judge thinks it is appropriate.

If a Judge believes that a player is intentionally stalling to take advantage of the time limit, then this is a form of cheating and should be dealt with as such.

Unsporting Conduct – Varies

Unsporting conduct occurs when a person behaves poorly toward another person at the event, seeks to gain advantage in the game by intentionally exploiting a factor that is external to the game or event, or cheats while playing in some way. Unsporting conduct directly violates FFG’s goal for Organized Play events, and thus will not be tolerated.

Minor – Inappropriate Behavior (Normal or Hard Warning)

This kind of unsporting conduct involves actions that make other event attendees—be they players, spectators, or leaders—uncomfortable around the person committing the act. It is mostly up to a Judge’s discretion on which acts could be classified as “minor” conduct violations; as a general rule, any situation that causes social discomfort in the moment but can “blow over” after things calm down could be considered a minor disruption. The typical penalty for minor unsporting conduct is a Normal Warning, but a Head Judge may upgrade the penalty to a Hard Warning at a Judge’s request if they deem it appropriate. A reminder: only the Tournament Organizer and Head Judge are authorized to Disqualify a player from an event and have them removed from the premises. If a Judge believes a player should be removed from an event, they must recommend that player for Disqualification to the Tournament Organizer or Head Judge.

Any incidents that could significantly sully or even ruin an attendee’s experience for that event are considered more severe than what falls under this category.

The following are some examples of inappropriate behavior that fall under minor unsporting conduct:

1. A player uses vulgar or profane language or makes profane or offensive gestures towards another person.
2. A player inappropriately demands that a Judge issue a penalty to their opponent.
3. A player insults another person, be they another player, a spectator, or a tournament leader.
4. A player fails to follow the instructions of a Judge, Head Judge, or Tournament Organizer.
5. A player leaves excessive trash at the table or play area after getting up and leaving.
6. A player stomps around, throws their deck onto the ground, or performs other frustrated outbursts after losing a game. If a player begins to act too aggressively, this is a more serious disruption.
7. A player celebrates a victory loudly and excessively beyond what could be deemed appropriate or is rude and condescending towards the person they defeated (“rubbing it in,” for example).
8. A person attending the event is wearing offensive clothing or has offensive images on their game materials, such as a play mat. The player must remove or cover up the offensive imagery or risk an upgrade to their penalty. “Offensive” in this context is:
a. Anything that could be deemed as racist, sexist, or discriminatory in any way.
b. Graphically violent/gory imagery.
c. Sexually suggestive or explicit material.
d. Strong language, i.e. swear words, slurs, etc. (keep it PG!)

Major – Harassment (Severe Warning and Match Loss or Disqualification)

This kind of unsporting conduct involves actions of malicious intent or great inconsideration that could ruin another person’s experience or cause them to want to leave the event. Harassment of any form is absolutely not allowed at FFG Organized Play events and will be dealt with severely. Harassment can include (but is not limited to) any language or behavior that is hostile, threatening, demeaning, solicitous, or objectifying.

To make a person feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or unwelcome at an event directly goes against FFG’s goal for Organized Play events. Players who harass another person even once will receive an immediate Match Loss (or a Game Loss when a Match Loss is not applicable). A player who continues to harass someone or commits a particularly severe offense should be immediately Disqualified and removed from the event space if necessary.

It is possible for a misunderstanding to cause a person to feel harassed. A player may make a comment or act in a way that offends or disturbs another person without them meaning to. If a Judge assesses the situation and determines that the offending player did not intend to cause offense, and the player is genuinely apologetic about it, that Judge may ask a Head Judge to downgrade the penalty to just a Hard Warning at their discretion. However, if the same player commits a second offense of this nature later during the event, then that player should be immediately Disqualified. It is important that the Judge clearly communicate this with the player and, if necessary, educate the player to make sure they understand what was wrong about their behavior.

The following are some examples of harassment-related behavior that fall under major unsporting conduct:

1. A person uses a racial slur or other derogatory term or phrase against another person.
2. A person takes inappropriate photos of another person without express consent.
3. A person makes unwanted romantic or sexual advances on another person and does not stop when denied.
4. A person purposefully gets in the way of another person with the intent of causing physical contact.
5. A person intentionally touches another person in an unwanted or threatening way (i.e. grabbing their shoulders or shirt, touching their head or face, slapping their rear, etc.)
6. A person bullies another person through social media or manipulative language.

Bribery and Collusion – Disqualification

Players come to Organized Play events with the intent to enjoy themselves playing a game they love while competing against others in a welcoming environment. Bribery and collusion can violate the integrity of this environment by putting more emphasis on manipulating the system than actually playing the game, which is not the kind of event that FFG wants to promote.

Bribery involves a player offering some form of reward or incentive to their opponent in order to convince them to concede, draw, or even alter the results of a game. A bribe can come in any form that the opponent finds desirable, whether it be money, promotional material, prizes, or even personal favors. Bribery in any form, involving anyone at an FFG Organized Play event, is strictly forbidden and warrants a Disqualification from the Tournament Organizer for the player offering the bribe. If the opponent accepts the bribe, they are also guilty of this disruption and should suffer the same penalty.

Collusion occurs whenever two or more players discuss an outcome for their game before the game’s conclusion and then artificially or randomly determine the results of the game based on that discussion. Collusion can take place at any time, even between tournament rounds, and is never tolerated. Collusion violates the integrity of a tournament as a whole by invalidating the efforts of those who earned their place in the standings purely through the skill of their gameplay. This can drastically decrease the enjoyability of the event as a whole, and thus collusion warrants a Disqualification for each player involved.

Please note that concession, in and of itself, is not collusion. Players are allowed to concede a game at any time before the end of the game, so long as there was no discussion or solicitation involved. However, convincing or manipulating an opponent to concede in order to give any person a distinct advantage is dishonest and is considered a form of cheating. Asking an opponent to concede in any shape or form falls under collusion and is grounds for Disqualification.

The following are some examples of collusion:

1. A player offers to concede to their opponent in return for some of the prizes their opponent will win.
a. This is also a form of bribery.
2. Two players realize that they both will make the top cut regardless of who wins. After discussing it with each other, they decide to randomly determine the outcome of their game rather than play it out.
a. As soon as there is discussion, the integrity of the game has been lost. If players do not want to play the game, then one of them should concede.
3. Player A and Player B are friends. Player A is already going to advance to Day 2, but Player B needs one more win to do so. After discussing it with each other, Player A offers to concede so that Player B can also advance, and Player B agrees.
a. As soon as there is discussion, the integrity of the game has been lost. Player A is allowed to concede the game at any time, but should do so without soliciting the concession.

For the purpose of determining collusion, a “discussion” is when the involved players negotiate and agree upon an outcome of some sort. It is largely up to a Judge’s interpretation on whether or not a particular conversation between players is a discussion leading to collusion.

Stalling – Hard Warning and Game Loss or Disqualification

Stalling occurs when a player intentionally plays slowly in order to exploit an advantage they could gain from the time limit. If a player is unintentionally playing slowly, this falls under the 3.6 Slow Play section.

If, after addressing and warning a player who is playing slowly, a Judge believes that player is intentionally stalling, the Judge may give that player one final warning to speed up their gameplay or suffer a Game Loss. If the player still does not improve their behavior, then this penalty is issued.

Stalling not only sours the experience for the offender’s opponent, but also can throw off the timing and integrity of the tournament as a whole. In addition, stalling is often viewed as a form of cheating. Because of this, should the Tournament Organizer wish, they may instead Disqualify a player who is intentionally stalling to gain advantage in their games.

Aggressive Behavior – Disqualification

An FFG Organized Play event is meant to be a safe place where players can enjoy their game without worry. Any person—be they player, spectator, or leader—that disrupts this sense of safety with aggressive or violent behavior will not be tolerated. The Tournament Organizer may deny entry to a player who exhibits this behavior or have such a player removed from the venue as necessary.

The following are some examples of aggressive behavior:

1. A person moves to strike another person or verbally threatens to do so.
2. A person pulls a chair out from under another person, causing them to fall to the ground.
3. A person intentionally overturns a table.
4. A person begins shouting at another person in anger.
5. A person brings a weapon to the event or threatens to bring one.

None of this or like behavior will be tolerated in any capacity. If a player acts aggressively in any fashion, the Tournament Organizer should immediately Disqualify them. Then, it is recommended that the offending person be asked to leave the venue. At the end of the event, the disqualified player and the incident in question should be reported to FFG OP.

Vandalism and Theft – Disqualification

Just as people come to FFG Organized Play events with the expectation of their personal safety, they also come expecting their belongings to remain safe as well. FFG will not tolerate the destruction or theft of other people’s belongings at FFG Organized Play events. If a person destroys or renders unusable any tournament-related materials or game components belonging to another person, the offending person will be asked to leave the venue immediately. If that person was a player, the Tournament Organizer should also immediately Disqualify that player from the event.

If a person is discovered to have stolen any items belonging to another person, they will be asked to return the belongings to their original owner, then they will be asked to leave the event venue.

Cheating – Disqualification

If a player attempts to gain advantage in the tournament by intentionally breaking a rule, lying to tournament leaders, intentionally altering or misreporting match results, or somehow abusing any other part of the system for their own benefit, they are guilty of cheating. Players attend FFG Organized Play events in order to enjoy playing the games they love with like-minded individuals. There are few things more upsetting to a player than having their efforts in a tournament be invalidated by someone who reached a similar or better position through exploitation and dishonesty.

If a Judge verifies that a player is cheating or has cheated, then the Judge must immediately report it to the Head Judge or Tournament Organizer. The Head Judge/Tournament Organizer must then Disqualify the offending player in order to preserve the integrity of the tournament and the other players. At the end of the event, the cheating player and how they cheated should be reported to FFG OP.

Note: As a general rule, in order for a player to be confirmed as cheating, two criteria must be met: first, the player must either be gaining an advantage from their actions or putting someone else at a disadvantage; second, the person must be aware that what they are doing is against the rules. If both of these criteria are not met, then the disruption might fall under a different category and should be addressed as such. That said, each instance is largely up to a leader’s interpretation and judgment. If a leader is uncertain whether or not a player is cheating or has cheated, then they should consult with another leader about what action to take.