Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mactonight Brings Light to the Financing of WizFest

In light of some of the comments that have been posted, and for those of you who may have been wondering about the cost of organizing a tournament like Wizfest, I would like to present the following overview of some of the expenses involved.

In 2010, Ken Fisher (Wizard) decided to hold the Wizfest tournament at the Delta hotel in Toronto. The event was funded by Wizard Cards International, of which Ken Fisher is the major shareholder.

The registration fee that was charged to players was approximately $20, which means that the 60 or so players contributed somewhere close to $1200 to the event. The prizes and trophies and pins for the winners and finalists of the A and B tourneys alone came to more than $2000, and the entire event cost in excess of $10,000.

It is easy to understand why Ken was quickly losing interest in organizing and funding these annual tournaments on such a large scale.

That is why the two Toronto Wizard clubs stepped in and joined forces to organize Wizfest on a much smaller scale in 2011. Wizard Cards had already committed to organizing a tournament in Florida that year, so it was not able to offer the kind of financing that had been available in previous years.

However, even with a smaller venue and less frills, the cost of the tournament exceeded $4500. Registration fees were increased to $30, which means that the 50 players who attended contributed approximately $1500 to the event. This still left a shortfall of more than $3000, which had to be covered by our 3 major sponsors – Wizard Cards International., US Games Systems, which matches the contribution made by Wizard Cards, and Kroeger games – along with several smaller sponsors. These costs do not include the prizes, trophies, pins, certificates or the decks of Wizard cards that we needed to run the tournament.

In addition to helping to fund Wizfest, Wizard Cards International also paid for the 2 top finishers to attend the World Championships in Europe, which included airfare and hotel accommodations.

In 2012, after receiving a number of complaints to the effect that the 2011 tournament wasn't "grand" enough, we worked on obtaining more money from our sponsors, and more sponsors. We had a friend from Coke who supplied us with all of the soft drinks and juice for the tournament, and we found three local sponsors who helped us to make the event happen.

Once again, registration fees were $30, which means that the 62 players who attended contributed less than $1900 to the event. That didn’t even cover the cost of the prizes and trophies and pins for the winners and finalists of the A and B tourneys.

Despite the sponsorships that we were able to obtain, the event still cost in excess of $5000, not to mention the 20 decks of Medieval Wizard cards, pins, and certificates. Once again, Wizard Cards International provided the financing to send two people to Europe, in addition to supporting the New Mexico tournament and sending a representative from that tournament to the World Championships.

For 2013, which will be the 10th anniversary of Wizfest, we asked Wizard Cards International., US Games Systems and Kroeger games to DOUBLE their support, and they agreed!

I have no idea how much this year’s tournament will cost, but we will likely have to increase the registration fee a little in order to help with the funding, and we will still need decks of cards, coins, certificates and pins.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that the registration fee paid by the players who attend Wizfest is basically a pittance that doesn’t even cover the cost of the prizes. It doesn't come anywhere close to covering the cost of the venue, the food, or any of the supplies that are required to run a tournament such as Wizfest.

As for sending representatives to the World Championships, the funding for that comes directly from Wizard Cards International, which means that Ken Fisher and the other shareholders are giving up money that could otherwise be paid out to them in the form of dividends.

The same is true for the website, which costs money to maintain and operate. All of this funding comes from Wizard Cards International.

In addition, the people who organize and run Wizfest are all volunteers, putting in a great deal of hard work and personal time out of the kindness of their hearts and for the love of the game.

I hope this will help you to understand a little bit of what Ken Fisher and others do for the community of Wizard players, who sometimes seem to do nothing but criticize and complain!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Selecting WIZARD Champions
“Unfair” is “Unfair”
To describe the decision to send the top ranked Canadians to the World Finals as “unfair” is unfair.
Regardless of which of the 3 possible selection methods applied there will always be a group that is largely disenfranchised. So if the current process is ‘unfair’ so are the alternatives.
The December poll that was conducted did not show a clear mandate for any one of the 3 processes:
WizFest..18,      Online Tournament..16,      World Ranking 10.
It is not surprising that “World Ranking” scored lowest inasmuch as it automatically shut out 99% of the players.
The online feedback suggests that the best method would be an online tournament spread over a number of months as we are currently doing to find a USA champion. However the very fact that online play is used rules out a vast number of Wizard players. We sent out about 1,000 invitations to USA Wizard players who participated in the live local tournaments sponsored during 2012. Players were invited to take part in the online tournament to find a US Champion. Not one player joined in the tournament as a result of the mail out. The only conclusion to be reached is that although many people enjoy playing Wizard with friends in a live situation they were not interested in online play.
The claim is also made that the site “doesn’t care about promoting the game”. Ouch! This is an inane remark. The site is expensive and time-consuming and has no financial return. Its sole function is promotion. Similarly “WizFest” is a serious money-pit and is run as an adjunct to the site with no other goal than to promote the game.
Nevertheless, I am pleased to receive any feedback, negative or otherwise and I do think that determining both a USA champion and a Canadian Champion may best be accomplished via a multi-month online contest. This method is best both in terms of cost and time management. However it does very little in the way of acquiring new players. I would be very happy to allow any of the members who advocate the online tournament process of selection to volunteer to administer the tournament for the 2014 reps.
 It is true that the contributions made by both cargobeep and mactonight over the years was a major factor in deciding to go with the “Top Ranking” method of selection. I think it’s “FAIR” because they deserve some reward for their efforts. And of course, their scores confirm that they are both excellent players.
There are many other unseen factors that work into the equation when making these decisions. I think the story of the “Blind Men and the Elephant” best illustrates this point.

The Blind Men and the Elephant
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

MORAL. Without knowing all the facts false conclusions are often made.