The Floor Judge's Toolkit

Greetings! Fall is in the air and the Regional season is on the threshold. You've spent all summer working on your rulings and mechanics knowledge. Much to your satisfaction, you passed your Level 1 test and have been able to get in contact with the local TO to judge the upcoming regional tournament. Congratulations are in order. While some may say it is no big deal to have your Level 1 certification, the time, effort, and desire to judge at a regional is definitely something worthwhile. This will be a memorable time indeed.

While there are numerous articles and threads around here about judging, most of them focus on the "software" or the mentality involved with judging. While this is very important, there is also a "hardware" side to judging a tournament that needs to be taken into consideration.

There are a few items that I like to wrap up into the Floor Judge's Toolkit. These items, combined with your spirit and willpower, I believe will make your judging experience that much more successful. All of these items, minus 1, can easily fit into a pocket or two and shouldn't hinder you while on the floor at all. Without further ado pack up the following:

A "backpackers" Water Bottle
This is the only item that won't fit into your pocket. I know water is typically provided at the event, but often enough they are either in cups or in those small 8oz bottles that get lost and consumed rather quickly. This larger bottle can be stowed in a corner in the judge's area, hold vastly more, and is easily recognizable by you and everybody else. Put your initials on it and bring it back over and over.

A Dose or Two of Headache Tablets
Trust me on this one. With the size of the event, the noise of the even, and the continuous walking around to check rulings, your head can be taken for a spin. If you haven't eaten in a while and the room heats up, this is a prime candidate for a headache. You don't want to be making rulings calls with your head pounding. I often take one of these about a third of the way through the tournament as a preventative measure so I don't have to wait for the medicine to kick in.

A Pen
You may have to put your signature on a result slip or two, and you don't want to be scrounging for one. I keep it nice and handy in my ear. If you forget it, I'm sure the TO will have a few extras you can borrow. Just don't become a pen thief. I have a subconscious habit of being one 8^D

4 Quarters
Tournaments will often run later than planned. If you don't have a cell phone and need to let your ride know to come late, you're good to go. Similarly, if your stomach is gnawing at you and you have a break, you can use it to pick up a candy bar or peanuts from the vending machine.

A 5 Dollar Bill
There's no guarantee that a meal will be provided by the TO. I know 99% of the time a meal is provided, but be prepared! Besides, they may accidentally order chicken sandwiches and it turns out you're allergic to chicken. 5 dollars is usually enough to get you a basic combo meal or a hamburger and fries at your local burger joint. Plus you have your water bottle from earlier, so no need for a soda. 8^D

The Latest Yu-Gi-Oh Rule Book
This slides nicely in your back pocket. There are still plenty of newcomers to regional events that lack the knowledge of the basics. Additionally, there are some "seasoned" players that forget simple things like if you set a Quick-Play spell card, it becomes like a trap for activation purposes. If you don't have one, it's worth the $12 - $15 to hit up your local Wal-Mart or card shop and pick up a starter deck that contains one. The newer starter decks are pretty good as is, so you'll get some good cards out of it.

A Printout of "Popular" Rulings
The metagame is always changing, and people are always trying new cards out. Being a certified judge indicates you know quite a lot about the game, but it doesn't require you to know everything at all times. Keep a lookout locally and online for the cards that are showing a lot of popularity and are most likely to show up at the tournament. Use RONIN, or go to the UDE FAQ site and print out the rulings for about 10 of the cards you see being used. Don't make the printout too thick, just something that will fold nicely into your pocket. That way when a question comes up about one of the cards, you can easily answer and provide a backup if the duelist is still skeptical. Similarly, you can pull the rulings up quickly if you're not sure if a certain scenario applies to it.

There you have it. Half a dozen things (not including the water bottle) that you can carry with you on the floor and make your judging experience that more efficient and enjoyable. One more item you might consider would be a printout of the Card Errata, found on the UDE site. There are still a few people that drift in with older versions of the card, and it helps to show them the new print when it comes to rulings questions. Last I checked, this document was about 16 pages, so it might be a little large to fit in your pocket.

I hope this helps gets you off to a great start in your judging endeavors!
And one day in the not-too-distant future, judges will be able to carry a PDA or Cell Phone with Ronin built right into it. But alas, that is still only in the future.

Good article. A hardware need is something overlooked. Some of this is actually pratical for a competator in a regional event and not just a judge. Last event I went to there wasn't enough moola to cover the pizza we all bought. Good thing I had an extra five to cover it, because I was the only one not playing and couldn't bother the others while they were playing.
Not to mention the initial expense of doing so (buying PDA).

Buy PDA, or 2 to 3 Boxes (depending on PDA) of TCG Product... Hmmmm. Soooo tempting!
Something I always have at hand are a bunch of dices...
There are too many players out there that even don't have dices to decide who goes first...
Sure, you can do stone, scissors, paper, but to some players, this doesn't come to their minds. ^^

Away from that, there are enough Spell counter - effects or cards that count turns like Swords of Revealing Light and stuff like that.

So if you're able to borrow some dices, this could also help some of your players that tend to forget them... :)

Great article, I don't take medicine, but I'm now considering buying some for my fellow judges at the next big events. ;)

soul :cool:
Wonderful suggestions. Personally though, I carry a copy of the UNpopular rulings or the ones that I know I haven't boned up on like I should have (Last Turn comes to mind) as well as the rulings from the latest set (usually sent out on the judge's list a day or two before the Pre-Release)

If I can't seem to round up those rulings to take with me I try to carry my patman. What's a patman? A very sophisticated piece of organic material well versed in obscure cards that hardly anyone plays. It's kind of like a Pokedex on legs and it's constantly evolving <smirk>

<pondering> Saaay....this just gave me an idea for another article <tapping chin> Thanks Dillie-O!
Oooh! I like those ideas guys! You mind if I add them to the list. I'll make sure to put credit where credit is due. I can't wait to see the patman!
Hmmm... PDA friendly Ronin would rock. I'd finally get more use out of mine than just as a calendar and calculator.
How about a big stick so that all judges could speak softly and swiftly deal with the professional arguers and explainers...
yea this is a big help i'm judging my 2nd regionals tomorow and i'm bringing all the things you said it would of helped the first time if i did and soulwarrior right i'm bringing dice and counters too for scapegoat actually i'm bring pennies i'm know at these event for playing in pennies if i play so i think those would work better as counters
Turns out i couldnt get them :( and also we only had 2 floor judges including myself :( but i didnt get a headache :) other than that the event went smoothly we had 84 people so it was a ok turn out for henderson so thanks again by the way do you judge in vegas or henderson?
Phantom6 said:
Hmmm... PDA friendly Ronin would rock. I'd finally get more use out of mine than just as a calendar and calculator.

Actually, if the venue in which you hold the tournament has Bluetooth, your PDA can probably use the netrep, or at least the UDE site's card rulings. I used to do that at church with our wifi on my PDA until I got RONIN on my laptop.