How would you handle this ...

Discussion in 'Professor Forum' started by Master_Prof_Juggie, Apr 13, 2004.

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  1. Master_Prof_Juggie

    Master_Prof_Juggie New Member


    I had a ruling to make the other week & would like to hear from other professors, how they would've handled it. It was during the 8th round of 10, with both players currently in the top 8 standings.

    I had a young player (approx 7 years old), that is above average in skill, call me over for a ruling. His opponent was another player of approx the same level, but alot older (approx 14).

    His problem was in his opinion, the older player had removed damage counters from his benched pokemon & not put enough on the active, in order to hide from his Baltoy attack.

    Upon trying to ascertain the damage that had been dealt out, it appeared the problem may have started 4 or 5 turns earlier. Both players put up strong points when asked for their version (both possible for thier skill levels on why things were done during turns). Obviously, it came down to a he said & they said situation.

    Due to it being impossible to reverse the situation back that far, i ruled that the game continue in the state it was currently in, as both players had made descisions based on the game state at the time of their turns. I also explained & recieved confirmation from the young player he understood why i needed to be called earlier & for him to pay more attention to what the opponents were doing. As you can imagine, tears resulted from the younger player, which took a few minutes of calming to allow play to continue. It ended up being a draw after the time extension.

    2 rounds later, this exact same situation then came up with the same young player against one of our top ranked players (now World #1 unlimited POP ranked player) .

    On this occasion, it again had been 4 or 5 turns go by before i was called. This time, i ruled that it was highly unlikely that the opponent would do the same thing & gave the young player a Match Loss for unsporting behaviour, due to it being the last round. I then explained what had happened to his parents, so they knew what had happened.

    I've never seen him back to any of our weekly tournaments since.
  2. annisarich

    annisarich New Member

    I dont know if Id do a match loss for any of our monthly or weekly tournaments.
    I concider these learning tournaments and lean towards warnings and the ocasional prize swap. Letting them suffer with a hand of 0 if the shuffeled by accident etc...
    I always suffix with ...remember at a premier tourney you would get a ______penalty.

    but your the one who was there. if you think he was pulling a fast one..cheating... then match loss is fine.
    i do take age into concideration here......
  3. White Gryphon

    White Gryphon New Member

    I would have pointed out the unlikeliness of the same situation taking place again to both players, then asked for a possible explanation for that from the both of them, older player first this time. Then if I couldn't get a good enough explanation from the younger player, I would give him a Match Loss, otherwise, someone draws a prize. Dunno who. That plan just fell right through the floor...
  4. Articjedi

    Articjedi Active Member

    I think the match loss was a little harsh, especially when the player is only seven. You could at least have warned him before penalizing him.
  5. jesschow12

    jesschow12 New Member

    to me ,that child was some sort of attempting to cheat

    he should have called earlier when something's wrong,but i guess that a match loss is th best solution
  6. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    Personally, the kid's age would really come into play here.
    I'd Judge it at, like, REL 0.5
    I can just imagine my own 7 year old playing and he would not be anywhere near the level of this kid.
  7. IvesRountree

    IvesRountree New Member

    Very tough call, actually I mught find myself intimidated to punish a 7 year old, but that is the point, if the kid was using his age as an excuse... then you did the tight thing, hope that doesn't happen to me.
  8. Master_Prof_Juggie

    Master_Prof_Juggie New Member


    Thanks for your replies.

    Just as some more background info ... I now know this young player is actually 9 & has been playing at my weekly tournaments for at least 18 months. Over this time he has slowly worked his way up the final standings of each tournament to now average top 16 overall from over 30 players each week.

    The level i apply for my weekly tournaments is normally Rel 1 in the old DCI format, but have been stepping it up slowly as a lead in to our National Champs which i'm hosting in May.

    It has been good to note that from my slowly stepping up the enforcements ... penalties have actually reduced. I still get approx the same amount of judge calls, but most are just wanting clarification of something, mainly from the newer players.

    This brings me to another point ... the Floor Rules say the Head Judge rules to their discretion. How do PUI know that i rule the same as you when it comes to the same penalty ?? I'm guessing most of you would base your rulings on the DCI penlties, which is what i do.

    It could be interesting to hear some of the rulings made at the Worlds ... players use to one style of rulings, getting something different.
  9. mysterioustrainer

    mysterioustrainer New Member

    Hmm wait until Stadiums, Origins, and Worlds I have seen some incredible choas at previous events.

    My advice to others, keep your head clear and think by the book. If you have to act like a Vulcan.

    Juggie it sounds like you did the exact right thing.
  10. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    PUI should (should, I say!) have penalty guidelines out soon (soon, I say!).
    But since most of the people at PUI have WotC backgrounds, I would expect it to be similar to DCI guidelines in intent if not wording.
  11. DaytonGymLeader

    DaytonGymLeader New Member

    So would I, however, there's a big "we don't want to look like DCI" trend going around in ALL the non-WotC TCGs right now. Only time will tell.
  12. ukpokemonpro

    ukpokemonpro New Member

    Now why would you not want to benchmark yourself against the best?

    Think Mercedes and Lexus!
  13. Feraligatr

    Feraligatr New Member

    Master_Prof_Juggie I agree with how you handled the first situation. I think the second occurrence was a bit harsh since this was not a best 2 of 3. Before my tournaments start I go over some ground rules and one of those is to make sure to bring over a judge at the time of the question. I let the players know that if they wait a few turns then it is too late to do anything. When the second occurrence happened I would have talked with both players and if I felt the player was in error (based on this scenario) then I would have issued a severe procedural error/prize swap. Of course if the other player only had 1 prize left it would have been the same result. Hopefully the player will come back and continue to play. It would be a shame if the player quits due to one specific situation that was not due to a judge’s inexperience or trying to use favoritism.

    As far as rulings sometimes it just comes down to judge’s discretion and experience on how to handle the specific situation. World’s will be interesting this year because I remember judging in the 10 & Under at the last one and there were some interesting situations we encountered (i.e. some cards legal in US and not Europe, not enough interpreters on hand for translations, etc…).
  14. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

    This is definately a matter of trying to investigate who's telling the truth. If both players are saying different things (he said, she said), you really need to see if 1) one of the players is lying, or 2) they just saw the same situation differently. As a judge, you really need to show interest in BOTH sides of the story. Instead of just listening to each side of the story, show that you're VERY interesting in resolving this dispute by 1) looking at the playing field and hands, 2) looking at the discard piles, 3) asking the players to separately (without interupting each other) telling what happened the last 4-5 turns.

    I find too many judges who don't want to be bothered with investigating a dispute. First and foremost, you really need to ascertain if someone is NOT telling the truth. With a little investigation, you can almost always tell if someone is not telling the truth. Only after you investigate and STILL can't determine the truth, then do you make the ruling you did (continue playing without rewinding).

    Crying and whining, by itself, is not Unsportsmanlike. If indeed the player threw a tantrum, then I can understand the Game Loss penalty, irregardless of whether it was a 1-game match or not. The prize-swap penalty during the WOTC days was generally reserved for Unintentional acts (i.e, Severe Procedure Error), not for Intentional acts such as Unsportsmanlike conduct.
  15. Feraligatr

    Feraligatr New Member

    SteveP I agree that disputes need to be investigated (I did not mean to infer otherwise). The reasoning why I say what I do is to impress upon the players that the question/issue needs to be raised at the time it happens (this can be difficult for players sometimes when they are "in the heat" of the battle). When 3,4,5 turns have passed it is very difficult to rewind especially when decks have been shuffled, pokemon KO'ed, etc...

    Also after reading the initial post several times it sounds like this was the first tournament where this happened with this player. If the player did not receive any warning on the first occurrence and then on the second occurrence gets a game loss only due to raising the same question with a different opponent (no yelling, cussing, etc was indicated in the post on the second occurrence) I can understand why they would be upset. IMO I would have done the following:

    1st occurrence – Same process/ruling as was done.
    2nd occurrence – Investigate and if judge feels player raising the issue is wrong, issue a severe procedural error/prize swap and inform them the next time will be a game loss.
    3rd occurrence – Same as #2 but this time with a game loss.
  16. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

    You know Feraligatr, I wish I always had the luxury of being called over to judge on something immediately after it happened. It's reasonable to ASK your players to catch errors immediately. However, it's NOT reasonable to EXPECT that to happen everytime. When it doesn't happen immediately, judges can't just "throw up their arms."

    Regarding warnings before game losses, yah, I agree on that. Warnings are important. Hopefully, we're not hearing the WHOLE story and MPJ DID give some kind of warning.

    Once again, let me reiterate how I feel about the prize-swap penalty. With most of our Colorado tournaments being best-of-3, I seldom use this penalty. Nevertheless, I'd NEVER use it for an INTENTIONAL infraction. If this young player threw a tantrum, AND was warned to stop, then a game-loss penalty was appropriate. Too many judges think that game-loss penalties should NEVER be given in 1-game matches, except for severe penalties like cheating and collusion. I beg to differ. I say that prize-swap penalties should only be used for UNINTENTIONAL errors. JMO.
  17. meganium45

    meganium45 Active Member

    Steve, I would agree with your statement, that most judges will not want to give game loss penalties in one game matches.

    I am one of those judges.

    I believe in tracking the warnings which a player has during the day on their score sheet, and if a problem recurs, it will be a prize penalty. In a situation where you cannot tell, I will issue a warning to both players, explaining what happens if the infraction happens again.

    This needs to be uniform, as do the 2 of 3 game rules....but that is for another topic.

    Talk with you all soon.

  18. Master_Prof_Juggie

    Master_Prof_Juggie New Member


    Thanks again for your replies. Just to cover some of the comments ...

    YES a warning was given to both players & YES, both instances were investigated throughly (seperate stories, discards, hands, rewinding each card as it was played ...).

    Even now thinking it through, i feel the young player was trying to cheat, but i had no strong evidence to prove it. After all, it is remotely possible, both times, it did happen as he said.

    I actaully stepped away very breifly (approx 30 seconds) to consider my ruling, while watching for their reactions & manner after telling their sides. Both times the opponent was clearly shaken from their normal demenour while playing. Maybe it was because the younger player had just caught Them.

    The prize swap was considered, but i felt this was not appropriate due to it not really solving the problem, as was DQ for cheating. I felt that because this had obviously rattled the opponents (the second opponent wanted to forfiet rather than continue playing him) & i was unable to distinguish a clear truth, on the evedience presented, the Match Loss was my best option.

    Maybe i was wrong, but having not been involved at very big tournaments (99 players my biggest as HJ), I haven't recieved the guidence of a more experienced Head Judge. Thats the down side of being from New Zealand or even the South Pacific Region, where i'm the only Professor (WotC or POP) that i'm aware of.
  19. SD PokeMom

    SD PokeMom Mod Supervisor Staff Member

    I don't see any problem in how this was handled.

    Sad to say, but there are players...even in -10...that I ALWAYS have to keep a special eye on at tourneys, because of this very type of repeated 'failure to agree on reality' situation...and these are NOT new or inexperienced players.

    Very quick, unexplained (not announcing which attack they're using, not showing/announcing trainers/supporter played, etc.) play, anticipating the opponent's move, rushing the other player through their turn, not using damage counters or using the same die for damage AND flips...watching the other player forget to place prizes then demanding a penalty instead of reminding the opponent to set them; trying to make a case for something that allegedly happened turns ago when I do one of my 'walk-by's instead of raising their hand as soon as it occurs...which always seems to happen when the player is down on prizes to a less-experienced player...

    *sigh* I guess the point I'm trying to make is that AGE is not necessarily a mitigating factor with this type of sloppy gameplay, when one knows a player has a history of this type of borderline behavior.

  20. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

    I think we're all on your side MPJuggie. Sounds like you did an excellent job of "sleuthing" this one.

    Like SD PokeMom says, younger players can be troublesome. In fact, I find just about every example that -Mom sited occurs the most in the younger players.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2004

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