The Background

Organised Play has been something I’ve been excited about from the very beginning. For me a game is about much more than dice and miniatures- it’s about the people you game with, and the story that game tells! I’ve always been a huge fan of franchises which have an evolving plot cast of characters and over-arching sense of progress.

What cooler way to run a games company than to provide players with a way to get directly involved in that story- experience it for themselves, and effect the way it progresses?

And so for The Drowned Earth, Organised Play was always going to be highly narrative, and the kind of endeavour which involved a high level of feedback.

Tournaments are a great way to get players together, playing, raising their tactical game but also socialising and building a sense of community, which is perhaps my favourite part of gaming. But there was always something missing for me. I never really understood why so many people think that competitiveness and fluff/story are mutually exclusive. Why not have both, I say!

The Drowned Earth Organised Play Philosophy

First and foremost Tournaments should be about fun. We are playing a game, after all! But the competitive side of things is also important. The ability of game designers and event organisers to provide a way for players to compete with each other in a way which prevents disagreements and arguments, is critical. To some degree “best practice” is fostered by the community itself, but I’m a hands on kind of guy, and like to do what I can to help things run smoothly from the start.

That’s why theres an order of events table in the rulebook, why in a competitive environment we encourage people to strictly adhere to the “declare, test, apply” methodology and why we encourage the use of Line of Sight templates as movement markers in addition to their original use (And why I’m super-glad I have two sets of the beautiful Art of War Studios tokens!

However, there’s absolutely no reason why Tournaments need to be anodyne affairs all about rules precision, and win/loss records. We can absolutely inject a good dose of story goodness in to our Organised Play Events!

Organised Play Packs and Story Cycles

Now we come to the nitty gritty! In order to run an Organised Play Event (which is just a fancy phrase for an official tournament) you will be able to purchase an Organised Play Pack which will consist of prize support (to be announced at a later date… but it’s going to be COOL!) participant codes and a copy of the Story Cycle Event Booklet. This booklet will consist of a guide for the event organiser explaining how to run the event and, critically, six Official Scenarios for that story cycle.

  • Each of these scenarios will be related in a single narrative (although some of them will be optional, so that organisers have a little control over the length of their event).
  • This narrative will be a story about The Drowned Earth, and the way your crews relate to it. Each Cycle will consist of a single story arc.
  • During the last game of the Event each winning player will have a choice to make, and these choices are recorded by the Tournament Organiser, and an overall “winning” choice declared.
  • At the end of the Story Cycle we will count up the choices made by each Organised Play Event, and apply this result to the next phase of the story.
  • This decision will effect a custom End of Cycle Event, the top table results of which will decide the outcome of the entire story cycle.
  • Spot happenings from this event (“coolest moments”, etc) may even find themselves feeding back in to the story also.

Ultimately though, this cycle will feed back in to the game both in terms of story events but new releases and perhaps even rules!

Our First Event!

More details on the first Organised Play Pack will be released soon, but on the 7th of July in Manchester we will be running our first official event, which will pilot the above system. I don’t mind telling you I’m pretty excited about it, and can’t wait to see people get to grips with the new tournament pack. However, I’m going to save any meaningful announcements for a later blog article, and in the meantime simply link you to the tickets, which are available in limited number right now 😀