Unrivaled Tournament Series

An Unorganized Opinion by Chubbs

When I first came across the Unrivaled Tournament Series as shared by Ascension’s official Facebook page, my first thought was “Is this thing legit, or is this the kind of scheme that’ll end up with me losing a kidney?” Well, the FAQ on their website addresses that very concern right off the bat, though with a different scheme metaphor that doesn’t involve having your organs harvested…

Is Unrivaled as fake as that Nigerian prince who emails me all the time?

No! We are Unrivaled, the largest tabletop tournament of the year! Our $250k in cash and prizes, staff (hello out there!), relationships with the publishers of all six participating games, and desire to create an amazing event for gaming fans out there are ALL 100% real.

In short, Unrivaled is a series of tournaments open to all gamers trying to bring tabletop gaming into the spotlight like its eSports counterparts. Players will be able to play in Satellite events at their local game stores. Winners of those tournaments qualify to represent their respective stores at one of 12 Regional tournaments where the winner will receive paid travel, room, and board to Las Vegas to compete in the Grand Finals that will streamed on OombaTV. The grand champion of each game will receive $10,000 cash PLUS various other prizes! There are 6 games that are featured in this series, each of which offers the same level of prizes:

  • King of Tokyo, a game that captures the awesome feeling of an early 90s arcade game…
  • Munchkin, a game that encourages you to essentially cheat without “cheating”…
  • Ascension, a game that I have played over 9,500 times according to their App…
  • Epic Spell Wars, a game that embodies what it would be like if Adult Swim had a nightmare…
  • Nevermore, a game by Smirk & Dagger (‘nuff said! <3)…
  • Villagers & Villains, a game I didn’t know even existed until this announcement.

UG

Unrivaled may have sprouted up out of nowhere, but from everything I can see, this is the real deal – and a very welcomed addition to my hobby life! I’ve been an avid Ascension player since the game was released at Gen Con 2010, and have always looked at it as a game with potential for large tournaments. However, it never took off for a litany of reasons that I won’t go into… Nevertheless, even I could not imagine the possibility of playing a single game of Ascension for $10,000!

The oddest choice on this list for me has to be Munchkin mainly because of how open-ended the rules can be. Even their rulebook tells you to settle things by arguing, which could get really ugly with 10 grand on the line. Still, Munchkin is by far the most commonly known game of the list and a favorite for many (except Larry).

While there is a lot I’m excited about with this, there are also a few things I’m concerned about – mainly the fact that so many local game stores are not actively pushing this series. It would not shock me if this is the first time our readers are hearing of Unrivaled, and the fact that their Facebook page is sitting at a mere 183 Likes currently speaks a clear message – not enough people know (or care) about this than the prize money dictates.

There’s also room for potentially abusing their system at the Satellite level. To give you an example, their website has a map that lets players search out events in their local area. I searched around at the dozen or so stores in my area to see how many events were scheduled, yet only two had definitive dates posted. I figured stores were still locking down their dates… however, I check back a week later to see one of the stores had added a scheduled event, but it had already taken place that past weekend with a mighty attendance of FOUR players… they played ONE game, and crowned a winner.

If the store had posted that event on Unrivaled a couple weeks prior, your favorite gaming group whose blog you’re reading would have filled a car load of players and been there to compete. However, it is possible stores don’t want to advertise these events to benefit their own local players and loyal customers, mainly because the winners of each event represent that store at Regionals and the Grand Finals. Remember those sweet prize figures I mentioned above? Well, the stores receive those prizes as well if their champion wins, which could entice local stores to rig their events. To be clear, I’m not saying THIS IS happening, but the possibility is certainly there unless Unrivaled are doing some behind the scenes policing that a $250,000 prize pool should warrant.

I truly believe Unrivaled’s motives are a genuine attempt to bring more exposure to table top gaming, but there does seem to be a lot of room for improvement. For example, if you wanted, you could still apply for your store to be sanctioned by purchasing the kit for $250, despite the fact they’re already into Satellite season. Unfortunately, the kits only come with one copy of each game. What do stores do when 20 players walk in on the day of the event? Take turns playing with the one set? It is a recipe for disaster unless the store has the foresight to ask any players to bring their own copies of each game to the event. As a player, I encourage you all to take the initiative and do that anyway.

To find an event near you, visit unrivaled.com and scroll to the bottom of their home page to find a sanctioned store near you!

On behalf of all of us at Unorganized Play, happy hunting and see you at the Grand Finals!

~ Chubbs

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