Why Tournaments are Great

When I first saw X-Wing I was excited and wished I was a kid again! This was a game I would have loved as a teenager. None of my close friends are really into this “hobby” thing, they just aren’t geeky enough, and the few guys I grew up with that would have played X-Wing are working in other cities.

When I got the game there was only one person from childhood who would play, but we could never get enough games in. So I decided to go to my first tournament ever for the Kessel run.

It was a small event, there were eight of us or so. I had only played the game about three times before that day so I was defeated often at the table. Still, I had a great time and decided to attend the next event, which I did, and where I was defeated again. I remember taking R5-D8 on Garven and the local dominant player Don (R5Don4 on the forums) was nicely trying to tell me, “you know Grish, that’s not really a good idea. He’s not a very good droid.” I was confused. Couldn’t he see that with this droid’s ability I would give Garven infinite hull? I had just discovered something amazing, I had broken the game…. Well no, Don was right. The droid sucked and I lost more matches.

Gatineau Regoinals
Gatineau Regoinals

I still had fun though. Playing in tournaments introduced me to a new subculture of gamers that I didn’t know existed. These guys played all kinds of games: card games, board games, rpg games, miniature games. Their minds were highly tuned to how rules worked and understood game mechanics. It was fascinating talking to them as they gave me insights into X-Wing that I would never have had if I just played casually. They analyzed the smallest things in the game, debated points spent vs tabletop performance, found synergies between pilots, upgrades and squads. It was a whole other level of playing because they were passionate about this game and gaming in general.

I kept on going and meeting up with these guys. Slowly my play started to get better through osmosis and soon enough I had made some great new friends. I discovered that I had a passion for this game just like they did so I fit right in. After a while, if I ever wanted to have a game, I now had some buddies I could go play with. Getting a game in would never be an issue again.

If you are a casual player and think that tournaments are scary places, let me tell you they aren’t. Get out there and meet new people, make new friends, and bring your own good vibes to your local playgroup, they’ll be happy to have you.

5 thoughts on “Why Tournaments are Great”

  1. Agreed 100%. Of the competitive games I’ve played in the past, X-wing has the most mature and supportive community. Most have a “fly casual” attitude that’s more about having fun than winning at all costs. Even at the highest levels of competition (e.g. multi-day Gen Con tournaments, etc) players are generally happy to discuss ways to improve – whether that be in squad building or in-game tactics or even rules interpretations. Part of it might be that X-wing appeals to an adult crowd who recognize it’s just a game – if we aren’t having fun, why are we playing? There are lots of other things in life to stress about. X-wing shouldn’t be among them.

  2. As someone who hadn’t ever played in any kind of competitive gaming, I was definitely intimidated by the tournament scene. But my love of the game and the fact that my regular partner lost interest got me out to my first tournament…

    Of course, I lost every single game! I thought I was “out of my league” so it took me a while to get the courage to go out again. I am so glad I did though because I then realized I had learned so much from my first tournament. I actually won a game, wasn’t as nervous and everyone didn’t seem as intimidating as before.

    And four tournaments later I’m able to say that I played in such a great event as the first Canadian Nationals!

    The point being you’re article is spot on. Everything may seem intimidating at first, but everyone is just as excited about the game as you and welcoming to all kinds of players. There’s so much to learn by playing against great opponents.

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