We Talk, They Listen: An Unrivaled Follow-Up

If you thought that the Unrivaled Tournament Series was starting to sound like those emails your grandma gets from a Nigerian prince with untold fortunes, that’s exactly how Darren Holt, Executive Producer of the Unrivaled TS, felt as he jokingly discussed his concerns about the initial public perception of the event. After reading my original article about my excitement and apprehensions, Holt reached out for a quick phone interview to clarify some of the information I had reported. In addition, CEO/Founder Michael Williams of Oomba also took the time to write an extensive comment regarding the public’s concerns. Here’s a breakdown of the information gathered from these sources:

The Unrivaled Tournament Series encourages players of every level to support their local game stores while promoting a love of gaming as a whole. This will help to expand the market, drawing in new players of all ages. Because of the rise in the gaming industry, Holt sees a place where tSports (Table Top Sports) are almost equal to eSports.

“Legitimacy is everything,” Holt states, in regards to the information given and displayed to the public. When asked about the lack of details to the public, Holt explains that it was necessary to make sure that the stores received all the necessary information ahead of any of the players or participants. Similarly, Williams commented that the event would not be happening if it weren’t for the local game stores’ efforts:

“…the only reason this tournament is working at all is because the stores have been very good about running the satellite tournaments with only a modest amount of support by Unrivaled and Oomba. If they weren’t good at promoting and running events, then this event wouldn’t been as well attended as it is now.

So far, 1,418 satellite events have been run. 2048 winners have been named to go to the regionals. 4794 additional players have participated. We anticipate about 3,600 players at the finale.”

Both Holt and Williams described that the choice in games (now and in the future) are two-fold: player’s choice and competitiveness. Many critics have questioned the choice of games with less strategy and more luck. Holt expressed that some of the choices this year were due to the support from the games’ publishers (Villagers and Villains, Epic Spell Wars, and Nevermore, specified by M. Williams). However, future Unrivaled events will include more competitive games, including other deck builder games similar to Ascension, as well as a to-be-determined Player’s Choice game. In addition, Holt assures that one of the focuses will always be to showcase indie games and developers.

Finally, in regards to the Regionals and the Nationals in Las Vegas, both Holt and Williams were very forthcoming. The scheduling of Regionals, though some locations are still being updated as we speak, was posted by Williams in the comments of the previous article:

The regionals start this next weekend with the first one being at the GameWorks in Ontario (July 1st). Then we’ll be at the GameWorks in Las Vegas (July 8), Jillians in San Francisco (July 15), GameWorks in Seattle (July 22) and GameWorks in Denver (July 29). Then we’ll be at game stores in Kansas City (August 5), Dallas (August 12), Atlanta (August 19), and New York (September 2). Finally, we’re at GameWorks in Chesapeake (August 26), Newport KY (September 9), Schaumburg (September 16), and Mall of America (September 23). The grand finals will be in Las Vegas at the end of October.

According to Holt, the location of the Finals is still a work in progress, but it will all take place the weekend of October 27th – 29th. The current set up looks to be as follows: Friday – meet and greet, Saturday – rounds and rounds of play, and Sunday – finals and awards ceremony. All of these events, Regionals and Finals, will be live-streamed on Oomba TV.

As a final note, I apologized to Holt for my criticisms regarding the Oomba live-stream tutorials on YouTube. He laughed and assured me that I was not the only person to point this out. The team is continuing to work on a proper balance of polished and unpolished style of recording. Holt mentioned that they have reached out to a number of YouTube personalities for future endeavors.

Some last thoughts:

  • Sociability and Communication
    • To say I was surprised to have the CEO/Founder of Oomba and Executive Producer of Unrivaled reach out to me in regards to the article is an understatement. They were very welcoming of the criticism they have taken and were constructive in responses to ensure that the events will be a huge success. I must say, seeing the updates on their social media and having them respond to posts, as well as to blog and website articles like mine, is encouraging. They truly promote a take-care-of-the-community feeling. In addition, Unrivaled will be at PAX Unplugged this Fall to promote their event. I will be stopping by to follow up on the conclusion of Unrivaled 2017.
  • When Streaming, Know the Rules!!!
    • I had the opportunity to watch the Regionals from Ontario, CA this weekend. I was very excited to watch the Munchkin event and to check out my competition. The stream was much better and the announcers were funny. I DO hope that in the future the commentators know the rules before making assumptions, though, as I am afraid that a lack of understanding about a game on which they are commentating will deter new players rather than encourage (I’m a stickler for rules, especially for Munchkin).
  • Update to “Golden Ticket”
    • I mistakenly made mention of a “Golden Ticket” in the previous article. The correct term is “Magic Ticket”.
    • A “Magic Ticket” will be given to one player for each game from each store participating in the Unrivaled Tournament Series (six players total). This bypasses the Regionals round and allows the players to play in the Finals in Las Vegas.

Be sure to stay tuned here on Nerd-Base for more follow-ups to the Unrivaled Tournament Series.

For now, I have some Munchkin training to do…

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