Thursday, June 13, 2024

Running my First Big ITS, Part 1



The Rose City Raid 2018 has come and gone, and I’m exhausted. This is the first time I’ve taken to organizing and running an ITS tournament with more than 12 players, and man it was a blast! Today I’m going to start on a short series of articles about how the Rose City Raid 2018 came to be, and give suggestions for people who are looking into running their own large tournament.


Humble Beginnings

The whole story begins when I was having a conversation about bigger ITS tournaments with a friend, which we had last August. We both like playing the ITS format, though I travel more than he does to reach them. Really the foundation of the project began when we were asking each other, how come nobody plays a tournament somewhere cool? We’ve played in tournaments in convention centers, hotels, community centers, and game stores, which are all serviceable, but nothing about those locations really has any character.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to play in a brewery?” we mused, and before we knew it, it had been decided that it must be done. Portland, where we live, is home to no less than 68 microbreweries, so surely we could find one to host a tournament at.

Our first project was to take the daunting task of going to different breweries, testing the food and beer, to find the right home for our tournament. It was a thankless job, but Jon, Nate, and I were up to the task.

Upon entering the Lucky Labrador Brew Hall in the North-West section of Portland, we knew we had a winner. They have a good-sized banquet hall attached to the brewery, the perfect size for our fledgling tournament. The three of us ordered a round of drinks and a bit of food to make sure everything was in order, and proceeded to talk with the manager about the cost of renting out the hall. Compared to other venues we looked into, the Lucky Labrador was incredibly affordable, didn’t require a minimum food or drink purchase, and the space comes with a dedicated bartender for the event.

We were reserving the space well in advance of the tournament (September 2017 for an event in June 2018), so we had no problem getting the weekend we wanted. We picked June 23-24 because it is after college finals, but not an overlapping weekend with any other major events we could find.




Now What?

Well, now that we had a space, we actually had to organize a tournament! We’ve all seen it done before, and I’ve run many smaller ITS tournaments over the last couple years, but none of us have ever put together something with significant player count. We decided early on that 32 players seemed like the most we could manage, given our lack of experience, and was also the most tables we could reasonably fit into the beer hall.


On a Mission

One of the first things we decided on was the set of missions. I knew that I wanted a mix of both difficult list building missions, as well as some easier ones to taper off the event with. I have a bit of a reputation for putting my players through list building hell, and I thought that was something I wanted to share with the world. Looting and Sabotaging, as well as Transmission Matrix seemed like good opposing scenarios, both having very specific list requirements. To fill in the other three we went with Supremacy, Decapitation, and Annihilation, all of which any Infinity player should be very familiar with, and none have incredibly taxing list requirements.



Easy Peasy, right?

With all the easy stuff out of the way, it was time to begin tackling the hard part. I needed to figure out how to get sponsors and prizes, how to promote the event, get patches manufactured, build player packs, signs, table numbers, and a mountain of other print collateral, get enough terrain and surfaces to play on…