Over the weekend I ran an Infinity tournament, the “AD Food Drop” event held locally. A lot of minis games do various charity tournaments and other events right around Thanksgiving, and this year Infinity is no exception. It’s a neat thing, I think, and there are a variety of formats that the events take.
One of the more popular event types is the canned food drive tournament, which is what we did this past weekend. The concept is fairly straightforward– it’s structured like a normal tournament except that you can donate cans for various bonuses or cheats. You can donate cans to bring units in your army lists that you otherwise couldn’t, or gain an advantage of some kind, or reroll your dice (and, in some cases, make your opponent reroll theirs).
It’s a format I like because it’s really obvious from the get-go that the person who donates the most cans is probably going to win, or at least have a good shot at it, but the whole point is that it’s a food drive, and donating more food gets you better results. It takes some of the seriousness out of the tournament in general, which I think is sometimes a good thing. There’s no implication of fairness, and everyone knows that up front.
It’s not just minis games, either– a lot of competitive tabletop games do this kind of event, and they tend to be pretty well-recieved. In a lot of cases, they upset the usual balance of tournaments (which I think is a good thing) and get people to play a bit more casually than they otherwise might (also a good thing). It’s hard to get mad at anyone for “cheating”, because they’re paying for the cheats in donations, and you can get a pretty good amount of charity from even a small tournament.
One of the other charity events at least among minis players is a fully painted army raffle. A wide variety of people (from professionals to hobbyists) will contribute painted miniatures to a single, unified army, which is then raffled off and the proceeds donated to charity. I’ve never personally contributed a miniature, but I’ve had a number of friends who have and the end result is always impressive. The armies are generally painted with an orange theme, as a world hunger awareness nod.
I always like these community events, and it was a great time being able to run the weekend’s tournament, both because I like the cause and also because it allowed the usual tournament organizer (who, truth be told, also set up and arranged this event) to actually play in an event rather than simply overseeing it.
The experienced reinforced to me how much I like Infinity and its community. There was another tournament running simultaneously with ours, and I had the opportunity to keep an eye on it while things were ticking over smoothly with Infinity. It didn’t escape my notice that the players at the other tournament were rather more aggressive and there were frequent calls for a judge to mediate some disagreement or another. Over the entire day of games during the Infinity tournament, I was called over to answer a question or mediate a disagreement maybe… three or four times, total?
It was a good time, and I liked having the opportunity to play a bit more active of a role in the community outside of simply being a player. I’m not sure it’s something I’d want to do ALL the time, but once in a while is nice.