MACE and Prezon flap

Blown completely out of proportion

Back before MACE 2006, Ryan Jackson, owner of Above Board Games, suggested a feeder tournament for the PrezCon Settlers of Catan
championship tournament. I thought it was a good idea for MACE, so we set the wheels in motion to plan the tournament. This is the first event of the long list of events that I started planning for MACE.

As time went on, I secured a Tournament Director, advertised for it across the internet, got Prezcon to add our link, added their link to our web (in special events, but no in the general links which was an oversight on my part). Things developed slowly, but I tried to continue to work hard in getting the word out about the tournament and Prezcon as well as the sponsors.

The tournament prize was going to be a paid trip to Prezcon. The winner would get a paid con pass and paid hotel for the weekend. We figured that was going to be around $200. That might be a little less because I think we got the days wrong on the tournament but regardless that’s the number we worked with.

My goal was to make the tournament fee as affordable as possible to make it attractive. $10 was my ceiling. I figured we would probably get 10 people at least so we needed another$100 from somewhere. I talked both Justus and ABG to pay $50 to sponsor it. All we needed now was at least 10 players.

We got it all in writing between ABG and Justus, but my mistake was not getting in writing with Prezcon. This is all I got from Prezcon…


—– Original Message —–
From: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
To: “Ron McClung”
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 7:03 AM
Subject: RE: Settlers of Catan sub-regional event at MACE?

We are proud to accept your champion into the Regional Event!

Justin Thompson

> [Original Message]
> From: Ron McClung
> To: <kingmaker961@earthlink.com>
> Date: 3/28/2006 4:42:58 PM
> Subject: Settlers of Catan sub-regional event at MACE?
>
> Hello,
>
> My name is Ron McClung and I am the Gaming Coordinator for
> MACE 2006. I spoke with you on the phone. Our information
> is below..
>
> MACE 2006
> High Point, NC
> November 10-12, 2006
> http://www.justusproductions.com
>
> I was approached by a local gaming store in my home town of
> Fort Mill with an idea that involves Prezcon. The store is
> Above Board Games and the store owner is a friend, Ryan
> Jackson.
>
> 833 Stockbridge Drive
> Fort Mill, SC
> e-mail: aboardgames@…
>
> Will Prezcon be getting the Settlers of Catan Regional
> Championship again? What the store was thinking is running
> a feeder into your event at MACE, with a prize being a hotel
> stay and ticket to Prezcon (fees and sponsorship would cover
> the costs)…
>
> Is this something you would be interested in? All we’d need
> is some reserved seat in the tournament for our winner.
>
> Ron McClung
> Gaming Coordinator
> MACE 2006
>
> PS: my cell phone is 803-517-****


The only other correspondance we had was about the rules of the tournament. They seemed to not need anything else from us and really did not seem to care too much about what we had to offer. Mayfair was the same way.

I ran a little experiement event at ConCarolinas in June which only got 6 people. But because that was kind of planned last minute and put on Sunday, I was actually kind of encouraged. So we committed to the tournament at MACE.

Prereg was not great. We got two. By the time the con came around, no one had mentioned any interest in the tournament and it did not appear that anyone was coming specifically for the tournament. We placed the tournament in a prominent point in our schedule (sat morning from 9 am to 5 pm) and dedicated a room to it completely.

Jeff and I had already discussed that we really needed 10 people to break even on this. Both sponsoring parties agreed that we would not make it an official feeder if we did not have at least 10. Instead, we would give out a cash prize out of hte entry fees. It was looking like we were not going to get the 10.

And in fact we did not. We got 8. We told the TD ahead of time that if we don’t get 10, the prize was going to change and he was finw with it. At the final round, I checked with each and every player to make sure they were cool with it. None of them even knew about Prezcon or had plans on going. ALL players were fine with the cash prize.

MACE was a HUGE success and we had a lot of fun. I was wore out and it wasn’t long before the holidays were keeping me busy. Work, writing and family stuff distracted me from a lof of the post MACE work I should have done. I unfortuantely forgot to tie off the lose end of this PrezCon issue. They e-mailed me the next month and I told them what we had donee. Apparently they did not get that e-mail, and e-mailed me again, a little more insistant. He was looking for reasons to make it more of an issue, bringing up the lack of a link in our general links (not seeing the link in the special events).

I told him what we decided to do. He was not happy about it, somehow seeing it as us screwing him over when he had nothing at stake in this situation.

Here is the sequence of e-mails…

—–Original message—–

From: “Justin Thompson” justin@floorsareus.com
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 19:07:51 -0500
To: ron…
Subject: MACE Gaming Inquiry

I guess you didn’t have a champion in your Settlers Event? Ok, I guess this didn’t work for you? PrezCon won’t have a feeder player in the Semi-finals right? You won’t be taking a Hotel or Pre-Reging a person right? If you are I need to know ASAP! I am still burning about us not having a link on your
site. You can savage this if you want. We are getting to ready to put together our Pre-Reg book and would like to include the Champions Name and talk about your event. Also we need your ad for the booklet 4 ½ x 3 ¾ black and white. I need that ASAP!

Justin Thompson
Convention Director
kingmaker@prezcon.com
434-531-9191

—–Original message—–

From: Ron@…
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 09:13:53 -0500
To: “Justin Thompson” justin@floorsareus.com
Subject: Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

I’m sorry, did you not get my previous response? I guess it got lost in the ether of internet. I truly apologize. I thought you had gotten my provious e-mail. I don’t think I got a bounce notice. I did however send you e-mail when you e-mailed me the first time. I am sorry that I did not get back to you sooner than that.

MACE & Above Board Games (our sponsor) needed 10 people to make the tournament official and we told people that upfront. We did not get 10. We got 8. They chose to accept the prize in cash rather than the Prezcon package.

As for a link… you did have a link where it was pertinent….

http://www.justusproductions.com/gaming/special.htm

GO down to the Settlers tournament and you will find the link.

I will add it to the general links today. I don’t always think about the general links and in fact, if you click on some of those, they are dead. I felt that I put the Prezcon link everywhere where it mattered. In the game description and the special events page. It appeared in at least two places. Plus we had your ad in the program I believe (Jeff, the manager of the con handled the program, so I don’t know for sure).

If you still want an ad, I can get Jeff to send you one today.

Ron

—–Original message—–

From: “Ron McClung”
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 11:34:31 -0500
To: “Justin Thompson” kingmaker961@earthlink.net
Subject: Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

> Ron, It would have been nice if someone would have
> told us that you had a minimum number.

I apologize then. I wasn’t aware you needed to know every detail of our tournament. All I got from you was “we’ll make room for your winner” or to something like that. If you wanted more details, then you needed to tell me. I got the vibe that you did not want any details… just the name of the winner. Perhaps things should have bene laid out in detail, maybe even a semi-formal contract.

> Mayfair is expecting someone to show from your con.

Mayfair did not seem very interested in our tournament when we talked to them. We had hoped ot get some support from them, but we got nothing but a cold shoulder from them each time we mentioned it to them via e-mail and phone. We have more then a few contacts within industry and get more then enough support from them. Other companies are more than willing to support touraments if we say we are running one. Mayfair did not.

> I am just a little upset that we gave you the opportunity
> to host this event and advertised it for you and your event
> drew 8? It sounds like somebody is pocketing some money here.

You can suspect whatever you want, but I don’t appreciate someone accusing me of stealing money. EVERY last dime went to the winners. MACE prides itself in integrity and honor. We don’t wear it on our sleeves, but both Jeff and I are Christians and run our con as God would expect – with integrity and honesty. No money was “pocketed!”

> If we agree to send someone to GenCon we pay the
> whole amount not a portion.

I am sorry. Neither Justus Productions nor Above Board Games could afford to pay the difference if we did not make the minimum 10. Both sponsors agreed to the cash option and in fact, the winners were OK with it also. They in fact told us they had no plans on attending Prezcon due to distance.

> I think we need to be compensated in some way for
> the loss of the admission fee and hotel commitment.
> I am not mad at you directly just wondering why we the end
> user are the folks losing out!

End users? Meaning Prezcon? Or the players? Who is more important here? The bottom line is there was no obligation to you for anything, so you lost nothing. If you are worried about one person and two or three room nights, then talk to the con manager, Jeff Smith (justusprod@aol.com). I’ve tried to handle this as professional as possible, but accusing us of stealing money crossed a line.

I made one mistake and that was not getting back to you soon enough. I was not aware that you were so dependent on our one winner. I got very little communication from you about it, so I assumed that our winner was inconsequential to you in the grand scheme of things. I apologize for not getting back to you about it. I did respond to your first e-mail, but it apparently got lost.

I do hope you understand our situation some how and wish you the best success with your con. I do not expect to do this again next year. We may have a tournament but it will not be linked to Prezcon. I do hope we can continue to have some level of relationship, for the sake of the gaming community in the South and the gamers within. I welcome any ideas that would benefit both our gamers and yours.

Again I am sorry this seems to have blown out of proportion. I do hope we can salvage something out of this and part ways amicably.

Ron McClung

—– Original Message —–
From: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
To: “Ron McClung”
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

You know I am sure you are a very nice person and you are working to make your event a success are we. I will now explain to you what we expect as
compensation for our lose. YES lose. The Pre-Reg fee of $50 is money lost. The hotel expects so many hotel rooms and the winner would have had to stay at least 3 night. We make a small return on this worth $18. We plastered the front of our site with your info for a full 26 days leading up to your event. I guess that is worth at least $32 in ad costs to our convention since we didn’t post any thing else during that time. I will forgive the $32 since you asked nicely and we did it so we would receive a pre-reg….Oh we didn’t get that either. Hummmm. If you would cut us a check for $68 and mail it to PrezCon Inc. P.O. Box 4661 Charlottesville Virginia 22905.

As far as you pocketing the money what I meant was if you took in 8 players to play this game x the money received plus all the money spent at the con during the event with dealers and other stuff like food and you see what I am talking about.

Oh how much did you pay the winner $25? I would like the name of the player and contact info so I may invite them free of charge. We will stand behind your commitment even thou you won’t.

—– Original Message —–
From: “Ron W McClung”
To: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 1:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

Like I said, talk to Jeff about money.

Ron

—– Original Message —–
From: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
To: “Ron W McClung”
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 1:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

Ok Ron dont ask Prezcon for anymore help and don’t expect ad in our booklet Your link will be dropped from our site. I guess helping people isn’t in your nature.

I still need the guys Name and contact info so I can invite him free of charge.

You keep the money you seem to only care about that.

Justin

—– Original Message —–
From: “Ron W McClung”
To: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 2:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

What part of “Jeff handles the money” don’t you understand? I don’t own the con, I just run the gaming. Jeff owns the con. He would be the one to handle the money. If you are so cowardly that you can not talk to Jeff, then you must not want the money bad enough and must have been just looking for a way to sap off another con?

I have no financial stake in this. I don’t care about the money. As stated, I care about the players and the gaming community. That’s what MACE is all about. I can give a rats-butt about the money. You are the one demanding compensation, so it’s obvious that all you care about.

As for “pocketing anything” BTW, we got no… repeat none …. additional attendees to our con because of this event. All who played are people that would have come anyway. I know all of them and they are regulars. So there was no money to pocket outside the $10 fee we charged for the tournament and all that, as said, went to the players as 1st and second prize.

I did not feel like I really needed to share that but you are the one accusing us of pocketing something, so I wanted to make it clear.

Because of your complete unprofessional approach to things, I assure you, I will not be dealing with PrezCon nor associating it with MACE’s good name ever again.

I had no intention of this turning into something as ugly as this. All I did was make the decision to drop the prize package and substitute it with cash (which all players preferred) and forget to e-mail you soon enough about it. But I want this clear… you turned this ugly by demanding money. I was willing to work this out amicably, but you are the one who got testy about this.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with how you chose to approach this.

As for sending you contact information for the winner… if I get around to it, I’ll think about it. It is the holidays after all.

Oh yea, Merry Christmas. :-/

Ron

—– Original Message —–
From: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
To: “Ron W McClung”
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

Ok so your a flunky I got it! You need to read the e-mail I just sent you. I told you I didn’t want the money just the name of the player who you awarded the money to. I am done talking to you. I need to talk to the winner of our feeder tournament so I can invite him at no charge to attend our event. I don’t backout on folks when we make commitments to them. Yes it will cost us money and it will be gladly given. You know why? Because we care about the hobby and the players who are in the hobby. You Sci-FI Cons just use gaming to rake in extra money. You could care less about the hobby. We care about the tournaments and who wins them. When we started this I thought you were a gamer not a flunky. It would be nice if you showed some back bone and ponyed up the info I am asking you for. Some time in the future you can tell your kids about the time you screwed Prezcon. I am sure the story will allow them a small laugh. Just to let you know Prezcon has been around for 15 years and a PR campaign to let folks know what kind of Company you run will be forth coming. I know you could care less ..I know I am the coward right…..Just send me the info and I will never ever talk to you again. If you don’t send me the info It will really look as if you pocketed the cash…….and how much did you pay the winner? Hummmm

—– Original Message —–
From: “Ron W McClung”
To: “Justin Thompson” <kingmaker961@earthlink.net>
Cc: <justusprod@aol.com>
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 3:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: MACE Gaming Inquiry

> Ok so your a flunky I got it!

That’s me 🙂

> Yes it will cost us money and it will be
> gladly given. You know why? Because we care
> about the hobby and the players who are in the hobby.

Good, glad to hear it. Then we are on the same grounds.

> You Sci-FI Cons just use gaming to rake in extra money.

ummm… we’re a gaming con, 100%. I do other sci-fi cons, yes, but I put most of my energies into MACE which is 100% gaming. And I am a gamer. Long time gamer. I am even a gaming writer to some degree.

> We care about the tournaments and who wins them.

We do too and if someone protested about the way we set the tournament up, we would have worked it out with them. But no one protested. We stayed oriented to the player and what they wanted. Simple as that.

> When we started this I thought you were a gamer not a
> flunky.

Didn’t know they were mutually exclusive but whatever….

> It would be nice if you showed some back bone
> and ponyed up the info I am asking you for.

Still deciding if I even want to subject this guy to you and your con.

> Some time in the future you can tell your
> kids about the time you screwed Prezcon.

I screwed you now? Wow, this is great. You had no obligations to this event, no committments other than a chair for the winner and I screwed you. Wow. You paid no money to us, gave us minimal to no support (short of a link) and I screwed you. Must be that new math I’ve been hearing about.

> Just to let you know Prezcon has been around for 15 years
> and a PR campaign to let folks know what kind of Company you
> run will be forth
> coming.

I am sure that will go well along with the rave article we’re going to recieve in Dragon or Dungeon magazine (I forget which one he said, he does both) that the editor in chief is going to write about us. hmmmm, I wonder who I would put more clout in?

> and how much did you pay the winner? Hummmm

We charged $10 fee to play. I think it was $60 to first place and $20 to second. I don’t remember the specifics. My TD would probably remember.

We may even did a first, second and third prize, but we had so many tournaments going on that weekend, I can not remember.

Sorry, had to respond to all that. I feel better now.

Ron

Take all that how ever you want, but in my view, this Justin guy is trying to be difficult. I am not impressed with him if one player would make or break his con. Not sure I want to send any of MACE’s attendees too it if he’s going to raise this must stink over one player. It’s sad. Very sad.

UPDATE: After some time, and a nice email from Jeff, this guy backed down. He just sent a simple e-mail saying please disregard his statements prior and wished us luck. Hmmmm… someone must have gotten to him. Either way, you can be assured we won’t be dealing with him ever again.

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