Judge! I have a question!
So, you’ve been at events and must have some seen judges in their black shirts, but have you ever thought about becoming a judge yourself? Have you wondered what’s involved in the role of being a judge at an event? Please allow me give you an idea of how this process works, and who your local contacts are!
Who I Am
Since this is the first time I’m writing for Union County Games, I think introductions are in order. My name is Joe Gillard and I’m a Level 2 Judge from Taunton, Somerset. I have been a L2 for a year now and have accumulated a wealth of TO and judging experience over the last four and a half years. I’m always happy to answer questions about the wonderful world of judging as well as any inquiries about running tournaments (from weekly FNM to 60+ players at a GPT).
So, who do you need to speak to about judging? Well, that’s a good question. You should talk to a local judge, as they are here to help! It might also be a good idea to note who your area captain is. Our regional coordinator, David Lyford-Smith, has set up a network of L2’s that are responsible for specific areas of our region. Contacting your most relevant one would be a great place to start.
• East Anglia - Edd Miles
• Ireland - Mark McGovern
• London - Ray Wat
• Midlands - Andrew Quinn
• North East - Alex Roebuck
• North West - Ryan Brierley
• Scotland - Stuart Lauder
• South - Gareth Tanner
• South Africa - Savvas Themistocleous/Anastacia Tomson
• South East - Michael Chamberlain
• South West - Joe Gillard
• Wales - Norman Ralph
They will be able to help you on your way either by mentoring you themselves, or helping you find someone local to you to learn from on your quest for knowledge.
The Learning Curve
Getting the knowledge and experience is fantastic focus in the process of becoming a L1, and a great place to start would be at your local Friday Night Magic. It’s a local tournament that you can play in as well as judge, which means that you can enjoy the games while helping others. Even without an official level, you’ll quickly acquire a lot of experience as a judge and learn a lot about how tournaments are run. Remember; always be friendly to others, even when judging. Everyone appreciates a smile.
Learning about the basic rules is a great place to start. There is a lot of knowledge stuffed into the basic rules document, and covers most of what you need for the L1 test. Once you have mastered this, you will have to learn how to reference the larger rules documents as you progress. You’ll also need to know a little bit about policies. You can start by looking at the JAR – the Judging at Regular document. These are the rules and policies that we would use at FNMs and casual events to make sure that we operate a fair event. Once you have both the rules and the policy down, you’re pretty much ready for the test!
The L1 test is preceded by an interview with an L2, in which we make sure that you are completely ready for the test. We do this by asking you some on-the-spot rules and policy questions to make sure that you know what you’re doing. Once we’re happy and confident that you are ready, you get your test. I will cover tips for testing at a later time, since there are a few good techniques (other than being 100% ready for it!) that can be talked about.
Where to go from here?
And there you have it. You’ll be well on your way to becoming a level 1 judge in no time at all. I’m always available for a chat about this; you can find me on Facebook (/yuukiyatsushiro), Twitter (@JaceGillard), or even via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here are some useful resources to help you on your way!
• http://apps.magicjudges.org/- this is the international judge forum.
• http://blogs.magicjudges.org/o/- the official resources.
• http://wiki.magicjudges.org/en/w/Main_Page - judge wiki!
• http://yawgatog.com/- hyperlinked version of the comprehensive rule, great for looking up references quickly.