Cascade Reddit AMA Responses

Below is a consolidation of the questions Cascade Games Owner Tim Shields answered on Reddit with links to the original reddit posts. You can see all of the original posts and followup comments from the community at the full Reddit page here.

Are there any plans to move away from convention-based events? Comparing the recent American kotei to similar European events seems to show a much smaller player base for these much more expensive events (understandably). I know it’s organizationally easy for Cascade, but it really is a bad thing for players. I skipped the PAX Unplugged event entirely because I couldn’t afford a hotel, the train ride, and a ticket into the hall.

A: A lot of people have asked why premiere events have been held at conventions and will events be at conventions next year. I understand that putting events at a convention creates an added hardship for players who are not interested in attending the show. And I take that concern very seriously. The goal of holding events at conventions was to help market the games, particularly Legend of the Five Rings. Every time we do an event at a convention, it introduces a new group of players to the game and it has been surprising to me just how many people didn’t realize L5R was back!

I think we’ve an awful lot of work to tell convention attendees about X-Wing, Star Wars: Destiny, and Legend of the Five Rings. So it is my preference to hold as many of the premiere events as we can as stand-alone events and run smaller, more casual events at the conventions we’ll be attending.

I need to consult with Fantasy Flight Games about this, however, I expect they’ll be supportive. The question in my mind is, “Will the players show up for stand-alone events?”



Lotus Pavilion VS TOME. Can you please start using Lotus Pavilion for the NA Koteis please?

A: I think there are a couple of issues that Lotus Pavilion vs. TOME raises. Those issues are: Event Format, Database Errors, and how to share the event with people who are not on-site.

I’m no fan of TOME.

We have been using TOME because, in general, it makes sense to use the software a publisher provides. However, I’m really tired of needing to re-pair and rebuild rounds while discovering new and unique flaws in the software. I need to do more research about Lotus Pavilion, however, it appears to do everything we need.

Events aren’t just for the people in the room playing, they are also there for the entire community. I really like how Lotus Pavilion allows people outside of the tournament to have an idea of what’s going on.

I would also like to do a better job with streaming. It’s expensive to rent an internet connection in some convention centers. The cost can run up to $5,000. But if we can afford it, I would like to see more and higher quality coverage.

Final thought about TOME. We have brought in amazingly skilled scorekeepers for our events. This shouldn’t be that hard. It doesn’t make sense that we need to fly a scorekeeper across the country in order to run a 200 person event. I really appreciate that the scorekeepers were willing to devote the time to helping the community, but we need to find an answer that doesn’t require this.



L5R is a long and complicated game under the best circumstances, and games go to time fairly often. There has been a lot of finger pointing regarding slow play to win games via tie breakers, and the solutions seem a bit murky. Right now, the only options are to call a judge over when you suspect your opponent of slow play, but the only real tool available to judges are to award game losses. Judges are rightly reluctant to do this unless the slow play is blatant enough to be seen while the judge is hovering. Could we look at implementing a system of warnings or some other system similar to what other card games have to combat this problem?

A: Legend of the Five Rings is a game with an amazingly long tradition. Having said that, we’re also starting over in many ways. And one of the many things we need to do is to build up a judge corp and tournament knowledge among players.

This question is an example of that. Judges have many tools to address slow-play including educating players, issuing warnings in addition to game losses. Yes, it’s correct that the tournament documents don’t explicitly address warnings but they also don’t say anything about educating players.

Our goal is to create a large corp of highly skilled tournament judges so that the judges will know how to address every kind of issue that arises in a tournament. This is going to take some time but our first step was to create online judge certification exams for the games we run. Almost 1,000 people have taken the certification exams and we intend to expand the number of people and to release additional tests.

If you want to help the L5R, Destiny, and X-Wing events please take the tests and join our effort to develop a judge corp.



Tim Shields Comment

A lot of people have asked why premiere events have been held at conventions and will events be at conventions next year. I understand that putting events at a convention creates an added hardship for players who are not interested in attending the show. And I take that concern very seriously. The goal of holding events at conventions was to help market the games, particularly Legend of the Five Rings. Every time we do an event at a convention, it introduces a new group of players to the game and it has been surprising to me just how many people didn’t realize L5R was back!

I think we’ve an awful lot of work to tell convention attendees about X-Wing, Star Wars: Destiny, and Legend of the Five Rings. So it is my preference to hold as many of the premiere events as we can as stand-alone events and run smaller, more casual events at the conventions we’ll be attending.

I need to consult with Fantasy Flight Games about this, however, I expect they’ll be supportive. The question in my mind is, “Will the players show up for stand-alone events?”




Are there any plans for an L5R LCG Kotei or Grand Kotei level event within the New York / New England area?

A: This season’s L5R events have already been announced. Next year, I would like to have greater geographic range. However, I’m not the person who decides how many Kotei’s are run. If you’re going to GenCon that would be a great time to share your feedback with Fantasy Flight.

I hear the community very clearly, that they would like more events. I like running events! (And so does my team.)

I’m not in a position to make a promise, but I would to.




Back in the CCG Days the L5R Kotei schedule would be posted at the very beginning of the season. Many of us would attend multiple events – I remember 4 or 5 one year myself, not including Gencon. Pretty much all of the serious players within a region would attend anything close enough to justify going to. We realize that this year everything was new, so hiccups are expected.

Do you think that next year we can have the majority of the Kotei hammered out at the very beginning of the season so that we can plan our road trips/flights/hotels accordingly? The more time we have for things like that, the better rates we can get on travel and accommodations.

A: I completely agree. It’s way better to announce all of the events at one time. I hope and we will work to do that.




With a new Star wars destiny set coming out on July 5th, it normally wouldn’t be legal for a premier event (such as a GQ) for 11 days. Is there any chance you guys allow Ways of the force to be legal for the Houston GQ on July 14/15? We’re all dying to play the new cards and this would definitely entice more people to make the drive down. It’s also a rare circumstance of a dead meta with the set having been delayed for months. Please consider this!

Other general questions:

  1. How much freedom does FFG give you with events? Do you work together to come up on format, or they specifically tell you how to run everything?
  2. How much freedom do you have with prizing structure? Does FFG tell you exactly how much each prize should cost, how many tickets you win for doing each thing, etc?
  3. With the Houston GQ event being outside of a convention, is this a format you may do more of in the future? With high convention fees to attend some conventions that the gamers have zero desire for, it would be nice to not have to worry about.



  1. How much freedom does FFG give you to run events?
    Answer: That’s a really difficult question to answer. Ultimately FFG is responsible for the rules and the formats of the event. My team does talk with FFG and make recommendations, however, Fantasy Flight is the boss. If there’s something about a format you want changed, it’s a good idea to let me or my team know. That way, we can talk to Fantasy Flight about it. However, you’re always free to talk to Fantasy Flight directly.
  2. Prizes.
    Answer: Right now Fantasy Flight sets the prizes for all events.
  3. Free standing events
    Answer: I completely understand that many players would prefer to have the events away from conventions.




Thanks for taking the time to do this, Tim. Obviously, all these questions are regarding North American events only.

Do you have an exclusive contract with FFG/ANA to run North American events? Will you running events next Kotei season?

How do you think the first Kotei season went? Are you disappointed with the relatively low turnouts after PAX Unplugged?

Apologies for the long lead-in on this one. Your current model, as you’ve explained very well in the past, is to run events, with few exceptions, at conventions that you’re already running other games at. It does however seem clear from the attendance that while this is something that makes sense from a Cascade point of view, it is detrimental to players, who ultimately are voting with their wallets and just not turning up. The two ‘ungated’ events went up relatively late in the season and therefore can’t really be used as indicative of how successful standalone events would be, but going forward, will there be more standalone events in North America, as players are clamouring for them?

Up to and after the GenCon events listings going live, your website not only said you’d be running L5R at GenCon, but was asking for staff to work it. What happened? Why is the GenCon Grand Kotei the only North American Kotei-level event not being run by Cascade?

Are you happy with the communication between your company and FFG? For example, the pre-event chant has been completely removed from the FFG website months ago, and in Europe it has been specifically stated that it will no longer be performed, but recent Cascade events have still seen it take place.

Looking forward to reading your answers, and thanks again for doing this.

A: You’re very welcome, and I’m glad to be doing this!

To answer your questions in order:
1. Do we have an exclusive contract?
Answer. Currently, yes.
2. Will we be running Kotei’s next season?
Answer. I believe so.
3. How did it go?
Answer. Pretty good. We put a lot of time and energy into developing staff and that helps lay a solid foundation. We tried several approaches to events including: holding events at different types of shows, and holding stand-alone events. I’m really impressed with a lot of aspects of the community including the sportsmanship and the passion (although sometimes the passion gets a little tense and directed at me πŸ™‚ )

Our two biggest challenges are judge quality and communication. We’ve started a lot of steps to improve judge quality and we’re going to be working on communication more and more. Hopefully this AMA helps. Please know that you can always get ahold of us at []( and that I read every email.

  1. Are you disappointed at the turnout?
    Answer. I always want more players.
  2. Will there be more stand-alone events this season for L5R?
    Answer. Yes. I answer this question more in-depth here:
  3. Why are you not running events at GenCon?
    Answer. Fantasy Flight decided that they wanted to run that event themselves since they are going to be attending the show.
  4. Am I happy with the communication?
    Answer. Communication can always be better. Running events for multiple games in multiple cities is hard. There will be communication breakdowns and that’s something we work to improve.




GenCon / Destiny question –

Will Cascade Games be running the pod type events? Is there anything in store besides what is on the GenCon event listing?

(some have mentioned gencon/destiny, i just wanted to echo this specific question, thank you!)

General question about your spread of support – Will you be adding Star Wars Legion events to other conventions?


A: Fantasy Flight is running the events at GenCon themselves.

I like Legion. I don’t like driving terrain all over the country. Somehow I need to find an answer between the two.




How were the events in Houston and Seattle? Will there be more Cascade Games Weekends or are these events going to be tied to cons forever?

A: Seattle was fine. I would have prefered more players. I’m hearing a very strong desire for stand-alone events. I want to give you what you want.




Lol. Tim is from Cascade, not FFG. Questions about games/rules/distribution are outside his area. Maybe if you ask about events you’ll have a chance of getting answers.

A: I’m happy to collect the feedback from the community and bring it to the right people at Fantasy Flight.

However, you’re right. I’m not the decision maker. All I can do it be a strong voice for the players.




Consider implementing video streaming for Elimination Rounds for any Grand Kotei and Koteis where it makes sense

A: We’re working on it. However, streaming is very expensive and my priorities are increasing the judge quality and focusing on our communication with the players. If anyone in the community wants to stream the events, please reach out to us at [](


I don’t really have a question, I just want to thank you for doing this. Everyone I’ve talked to from cascade has been super nice and every event I’ve attended run by cascade has been great.Keep up the good work and thanks again!A: Thank you, I really appreciate it. Hope to see you at an event soon!Q:MahiFish
There have been recent concerns about scaling at events for L5R, and the Clan challenger system. Specifically, at Origins there was a case where the cut resulted in a Top 2. The third place after Swiss was Challenger for their Clan, and fourth place was skipped over based strictly on strength of schedule. This seemed a bit awkward to many of us, and we were wondering if there are other ways of doing cuts that are being considered in the future.I will talk to Fantasy Flight about this.The system is currently clan-based, not purely record based like other card games. I understand this creates some unusual situations but L5R isn’t just another card game.Also, consider playing Unicorn!





L5r Questions:

What’s going on with the Hall of Honor?

Have there been any Glory Points for “impressive displays of loyalty?”

A: I particularly like the paper cranes.

They’re hanging in Meg’s office right now! (She loves them.)




Are their any plans to bring a kotei to Canada?

A: Yes. I love Vancouver, BC. Any excuse I can get to go to Calgary to see the cheesy dinosaurs in the zoo and the best dinosaur museum in the world at the Royal Tyrrell Museum is good with me. I really like the international flair of Toronto.

So yeah. I want an excuse to go to Canada.

Let’s see what happens next year.




Are the ticket costs of the Destiny GQ’s being looked at to make the other prizes that are not spot gloss more appealing?

A: Can you send me an email at []( to talk to me more about this directly.




Thanks for sharing your time and energy with us, Tim.

1) How do you help judges (have a great time judging)? – First time I’ve seen a statement like this; sounds very cool.

2) Please feel free to correct any misunderstandings or confirm/deny anything here:

I’ve never explored judging in an official capacity, but I’m often tapped by locals for rulings checks because I can be a walking encyclopedia of technicality. πŸ˜› Haha. But, seriously, sacrificing competition and a chance at prizes and glory to volunteer (for swag, presumably) seems like a tough call–my thanks to the ones who do and help make these events possible.

A: It’s my real pleasure to be lucky enough to play a role in this community.
1. How do we help judges have a great time judging?
Answer: It’s really hard. Judging is work. It’s also fun. Some people love it. I try and make it worthwhile for my judges by demonstrating my respect for them. Respect for the judges starts with paying them. But, I know judges don’t work for the money. I do my best to communicate in every interaction I have with judges just how much I appreciate what they do. I ask my team to do the same.

I understand that without the judges there are no events. What I would ask of you is to support your judges. And if you are ever motivated, it sounds like you could be a great judge.




Q:crawwurm Do you or FFG have any plans to make sure that each GQ day will qualify individuals? I believe there have been at least 3 different GQ’s that failed to qualify on at least one of the days. Kind of kills the purpose of a qualifier when they dont always qualify, don’t you think?

A: I understand your point and I intend to talk to Fantasy Flight about this.




What do you intend to do to encourage larger US participation in events when you compare it with EU events?

A: I don’t think of this as terms of US vs EU.

The primary job for marketing these events falls to Fantasy Flight. My part is to do a better job selecting locations early and communicating better with players.




Does FFG require your prize support to only be their promos for L5R tournaments? Or are you able to supplement that if you so desired? πŸ™‚

A: In theory, we could augment the prizes. My challenge is to make the events work financially even though our costs are quite high since we pay our judges hourly.

If you have cool ideas for prizes, I would love to hear them.

I don’t think money is a cool prize. It’s not in the spirit of the game and I would really prefer ideas for unique items.

I was thinking donated/discounted items via external sponsorships or the like, versus you guys throwing more money at the tournaments directly. πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely reach out with some random ideas sometime!

We have been exploring that idea for the last several months. I am hopeful, but not certain.




Thanks for taking questions!

Curious if you have thought about changes to the format for the GQ’s for destiny, specifically the double elimination. It feels horrible to scrub out after 2 or 3 rounds, especially if there is a con ticket cost and anything beyond reasonable local travel involved. I knocked someone out after round 2 at adepticon who had driven several hours and that was the only thing he was there for. The win felt really bad. Sure, there’s the pods but:

They feel grindy after the first one or two. It’s basically play as fast as I can so I can earn tickets for the spot gloss promo cards.
They really don’t seem to encourage formats like draft. Why would you do a draft pod (which are fun) but slows down your rate of ticket acquisition.
They kinda feel like a money grab. Any thoughts of just offering the spot gloss cards up for sale like the playmats? Maybe similar to how FFG ran promos at worlds. One punch on your tag for each main event registered for. It’s not like you guys benefit directly from the ebay/facebook aftermarket on these things. Just a thought. πŸ™‚

Anyways thanks for running the events!!

Any plans on running Imperial Assault at these events?

A: I appreciate your ideas.

Not to be picky, but we don’t sell the playmats to the public. They are only for competitors.





Do you know of any cards coming out in elemental cycle that will cause a headache for rules enforcement? Is there any cards that will be coming out that you know of and can share?

A: I don’t have access to cards before the community does.





I live in Vegas and my friend and I have been trying to find out how to set up a Destiny GQ in Vegas. There are plenty of cons here and we’ve already had a few completely missed opportunities. My friend and I run Destiny at our local stores and we’ve been keeping the community alive here in Vegas as best we can. We’d really like to set up a GQ, and feel that because of Vegas’ location it would be a perfect place for it, as it’s a common destination but also because there are plenty of gaming or nerdish conventions. My friend has contacted FFG OP repeatedly to try to find information about how to try to get one going, but to no avail. If you would be able to contact me (if you’re interested), I can get my friend involved and hopefully we can work something out.

There is absolutely nothing online that shows that Cascade Games is the exclusive GQ runner, so hopefully this information helps you to find a way to communicate that.. None of FFG’s news posts or any post related to GQs or OP have mentioned Cascade Games at all (at least from what we’ve seen). It would be really cool if there was a way to have FFG communicate this in some way.. or to have some sort of contact form to get in touch with you guys? This thread is a cool idea though, thanks for doing this!

Thanks for your time!

A: I’m sorry, but at least right now we are the only organization that runs these premiere events.

I am absolutely interested in holding an event in Vegas. I have a lot of pride in breaking the world’s record for largest TCG event. That event was a Magic tournament that drew thousands of players. It would be awesome to do something similar for Fantasy Flight.

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