The Las Vegas Open has grown exponentially, especially the Warhammer 40k Championship event. With almost 1000 players this year the event is near capacity for the space it is in, and it continues to be the largest single Warhammer 40k event in the world. While that is amazing there are some insane logistics involved in such an endeavor, and resting on your laurels repeating the same thing each year isn’t really an option. To that end, we, the Judges and TOs for the LVO, have made changes every year to improve the event. From how the tables are organized according to terrain, to the Code of Conduct and Chess Clock rules. This year one change we’re putting in place is a change to the structure of the judging staff itself. In years past players have assumed there was a single “Head Judge” for the event when we always approached it with a committee mindset for major decisions. The idea that we were all, in our own right, Head Judges and would confer on anything major. That format works really well for us and we are keeping the committee mindset for big decisions, however the idea that there was a higher authority to appeal to continued to persist among the players. In the past it wasn’t too big a deal, in fact, it was often amusing when someone would demand one of us by name stating they wanted “the head judge”. Every time the judge that player named would walk up to the table, hear the player out, then confirm the other judge(s) ruling. With the event having grown so large though this needs to end.
The problem is actually multifaceted. The first problem was the use of the term head judge, the second was the prominence of one judge over the others in posts, on Facebook etc. and the third was a lack of knowledge about who the judges are. To this end we are doing the following: there is no “head” judge for LVO, we have senior judges and judges only. It’s a two-tier system, next, this article is to let you know who the Senior Judges are and what that means. This year we are adding some members to the judging staff, however, those judges who have been a part of the team in years past and have been an active part of the LVO/ITC judges team throughout the years working on things like the Code of Conduct, Chess Clock rules, ITC Missions, and other items that are sent our way have the position of Senior Judge. If a Senior Judge gives you a ruling, that ruling is final and there is not a higher authority to appeal to. In order for that to work though you need to know who the Senior Judges are. So let’s jump in and introduce them.
First up are Adam, the Grognard, Solis and Daniel Ruiz who have been LVO judges since the third Las Vegas Open, LVO 2016, where Reece and Frankie decided they needed an independent team to run the 40k Championships. Adam and Danny are seasoned players and judges who have judged not only the LVO for many years now but also local events in Southern California. They are also part of the TFG Radio team. Adam is routinely a “gun for hire” as a judge. He judges/TOs the Hammer of Wrath in Pasadena CA, Battle for Los Angeles, and has helped with Slaugherfest and the Gentleman’s and Ladies Major in Vegas. Both Adam and Danny have been part of the LVO/ITC Judges group since it began.
Daniel Ruiz is our go-to English language expert. Seeing as how he is an English Professor this seems like a fitting role. His years of playing competitive Warmahordes has also seasoned him to the more cutthroat, and bidding oriented, nature of judging competitive miniatures events.
Matt, Gorknmork, Root is a great Warhammer 40k player who has won many awards and events over the years. From Adepticon, the ITC, and Las Vegas Open to other events as a player Matt has achieved a lot in Warhammer 40k. Matt helped judge the Las Vegas Open in the past, in addition to being an important member of the LVO/ITC Judges group, and we are happy to have him back this year as a Senior Judge.
Jason Horn is a TO and Judge from Middle America. He runs the Iron Halo and Lord Marshal series as well as running multiple live streams of events across the United States. You can hear Jason on the Flying Monkey podcast as a rather frequent guest. Any episodes he is a part of or streams he runs are well worth tuning into. Jason joined our judging staff for the LVO last year and he stayed on as part of the LVO/ITC judges group, we are glad he is coming back as a Senior Judge this year.
Chris, Brother Captain, Morgan from the Forge the Narrative podcast joined the LVO judge staff the same year I did. That year he judged just the first day but Chris has judged the entire event with us all the subsequent years. Besides having been on FtN as long as I can remember Chris is also an accomplished player and helped get the Tournament scene in Utah up and going before fellow LVO judge Thomas Hegstrom Oakey picked up those reigns. Chris has been a member of the LVO/ITC Judges group as long as it’s existed and he is an important part of the LVO Senior Judges too.
Thomas Hegstrom Oakey cut his teeth as an LVO judge/TO last year. He not only helped us judge the 40k Championships but he was in charge of the entire 40k Friendly at the LVO 2019. He did double duty and also provided a lot of quality support with the hobby scoring as well for the 40k Championships. Thomas also helps run a few events in the Utah area and is an accomplished Hobbyist. He still holds the distinction of being my opponent in the most enjoyable game of 40k I ever played, where he completely destroyed me round 4 at the Hammer of Wrath GT the final year of 7th edition. This year not only is Thomas joining us as a Senior Judge he is committed entirely to the 40k Championships but not to worry, the friendly will also be in other equally capable hands this year.
Mitch Pelham has been a fixture of the 40k community for years. Besides running/judging multiple events such as The Storm of Silence, TSHFT, Harvester of Souls, and The Merry Slaaneshmas Mitch is a valuable member of the Best in Faction Podcast. Mitch was literally drafted into service as an LVO judge last year at the LVO when we ended up one man short, he jumped in and performed his role as a judge exceptionally well despite not having been in on any of the conversations around the creation of the Code of Conduct or our pre-event logistics. We were happy he agreed to stay on as a member of the LVO/ITC judges team and now as a Senior Judge at LVO for this year.
Lastly, we can turn to myself John, SaltyJohn, Weyermuller. I have been writing articles for Frontline Gaming so long I believe I have the second most published articles behind only Reece himself. He recruited, or Shanghai’d, me into service early on, probably because I annoyed him at every Bay Area Open he’s ever run. So when the first group of independent LVO judges needed to add someone Reece knew he could depend on me. I am also a So Cal native and member of the TFG Radio crew, but I help run far fewer events than Adam or Danny. It has been a lot of fun being an LVO Judge for the last few years and I look forward to this year as well and the new role we all share now as Senior Judges.
So those are the Senior Judges for the Las Vegas Open. Going into the event just know that if one of the Senior Judges makes a call at your table that’s final. There is no higher authority to appeal to at the Las Vegas Open 2020. The usual video that I do on behalf of the judges, the PSA from the LVO Judges, has taken longer to put together than normal. You can expect both that video and another important announcement by early next week, also we are making an attempt to put all of this information in a single location for easy access. I hope to see you at the Las Vegas Open 2020, come by and say hello if you get the chance!