This week brought with it the second instalment of Cryptozoic's annual charity tournament, Chase the Can. These tournaments are held at local stores and rather than paying an entry fee, players are granted entry to the tournament by donating four cans of non-perishable food, which after the tournament are taken to a local food bank.
We did one of these at Chimera Ripley last year, played with starter decks, donated four cans each and... well, it went away and we didn't really think about it. Fast-forward several months and some guy called Aric Jack of Tucson WOW fame appears on the A Question of Gluttony podcast, and mentions the upcoming Chase the Can event and mentions his group's total donation last year.
Compared to our ~40 cans, Tucson WOW donated 580 cans.
Spurred into action, I mention this to Julian and we start to brainstorm methods of enticing more cans out of our players. We discuss being able to buy cheats with cans such as drawing cards, extra mulligans and damage prevention; we both dig through our stashes of WoWTCG gear to come up with something to donate for a prizepool, and we hassle a few heads for their donations too.
In the meantime, a friend does me a huge favour and asks me to donate some money to charity on their behalf in lieu of payment. I take this opportunity to kick start our donation, head off to the local Aldi and pick up 96 cans, already more than doubling last year's total.
A couple of days before the tournament and we'd not come to a conclusion on extracting cans from our players yet - buying extra mulligans seemed to be a winner but it was becoming too late to introduce special rules, and as we were running this event alongside our Feast of Winter Veil meaning there were some prizes on the line, introducing ways for people to "buy" victories became something of a stumbling block. Eventually we decided to just tell people to bring extra cans for more prizes, and waited to see what we felt like on the day.
Rob Hooley (Tomy, UK head of OP) came up with the goods at the eleventh hour though. He's been coming to our Battlegrounds semi-regularly for the past month or so along with AD Fox and a few others, and when he materialised with a tray of chocolate doughnuts and a huge box of mysterious goodies, our prize pool swelled dramatically. It went from a bunch of mats and boxes and small loot to Actual Prizes. Mostly.
|Wednesday's can haul!|
You see, Santa Hooley knows whether you've been naughty or nice, and while many of the presents were what you always wanted, some of them were from your Auntie Mavis.
We had sixteen players in attendance, some regulars, some new players who were giving the game a try from their native Yu-Gi-Oh!, and a couple of international superstars in the form of Gary Stevenson and Yuuri Kuwamura. We played three rounds of Core Constructed for cans - each player starts with four cans, and for every round you win, you take a can off your opponent; each can in your possession at the end of the tournament gets you a promo card (in this case, foil Lightning in a Bottle). We followed this up with two further rounds to close out the Feast of Winter Veil, and the tournament was taken down by Morgan, playing his now-signature Heirloom Hunter deck to a 5-0 record.
We had originally planned to have prizes given out as a reward for beating bounty players - or "chefs" as we called them. Julian, Gary, Rob and myself were the bounty players, but after we all won our first round and got paired against each other in the second, it was decided to just give the prizes out randomly instead! Along with the mats, promos and loot donated by the community, Rob's donations included loot (better than ours), packs, deckboxes, deckboxes containing packs, deckboxes containing decks and loot... the list goes on.
Oh, and in the Mavis Bracket, a fairy for the top of your Christmas tree, a farmyard pairs game and some Dino King starters...
Despite my lacklustre 3-2 finish I was lucky enough to win the random Winter Veil mat, which we held an impromptu auction for - cash for my mat, which will be spent on cans. Rob also auctioned off a mystery prize from his stash, which turned out to be a goldmine - a box of Fires of Outland in French! This auction was won by Steve, who will be bringing the box to our Battlegrounds next week for some comedy two-pack in which none of us can understand the cards. We raised another £42 which I took down to Aldi for more cans.
On the day, we raised 194 cans (well, 193 cans and one jar). The extra donations took me to Aldi and I came home with another 206 cans, taking our total to a nice round 400, as well as helping me get a bunch of funny looks from other shoppers. The cans were donated to Ilkeston's Arena Church, who were quite surprised when I rang them up on Friday to find out what time they closed so I could make sure I got there in time to drop everything off.
|Additional donations from money raised at auction. My fucking enormous shoes not included|
Sadly we didn't manage to beat Tucson's 580 cans but I don't think anyone could suggest that 400 cans for your local food bank is in any way poor. Gary, like a true trooper, has today ventured down to Swindon (about 90 minutes by road) for a second Chase the Can event, and after the success of Ripley's event, there have been rumblings of a post-Christmas event at Chesterfield. Tony, the store owner, raised a great point in that it can be easy to forget about those in need after Christmas, especially as many charity marketing campaigns dry up at that time too.
Hopefully we'll hear of Swindon's total along with Tucson's 2011 total tomorrow, but in the meantime, thanks to everyone who is holding or attended one (or more!) of these events. Heroes one and all, thank you for making your local food banks proud. Merry Christmas.
Sneaky edit! Tucson just published their total. Watch this.