FOCAL 2017

Discussion and announcements relating to unofficial Countdown competitions, held online or in real life. Observation, discussion, reflection, and other stuff ending in -ion.
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Zarte Siempre
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FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:35 pm

Hello ladies and gents, it’s finally time for a bit of an update on what’s happening with FOCAL for 2017.

First of all – it IS happening. We’ve been really pleased with the reaction to the format and how many people it’s engaged to keep an eye on their year-long performance and try and attend as many events as they can. But equally we’re pleased that the individual events have continued to be successes in their own right and stand on their own as much as they’ve been a part of something all-encompassing as well.

In terms of how that will run over the year, we see no reason to change anything. The scoring will be the same. The number of events that can count towards finals will be the same (closest value to 66.7%). The way we bring those scores will be the same, as the website has been one of the great successes of this year. We’re very, very happy with all those things.

In terms of the finals themselves – we don’t know how they’re going to go yet, as they haven’t. We’re confident that we’ll deliver a positive and fun day, and a good conclusion to the “season” – whether it’ll be the optimum way of doing things, and whether there’ll be stuff that we can improve on remains to be seen. More on that as it becomes appropriate.

What we definitely learnt this year is that formality is not effective, for us or for this, so we’ll be making some internal changes as to how this is run. Instead of a formal constitution, there will be a Code of Conduct for organisers, to keep everyone on the same page and include some basic expectations. This is will be posted on the FOCAL website post-Finals, so it’s available for those who want to run an event in future, or who are just interested in what goes on behind the scenes.

You may or may not recall that I was originally running this last year, and gave way to Mark Murray after a few months. Mark didn’t wish to continue into 2017, so I’ve taken back over on the proviso that the whole thing is a lot more chilled and we can move away from some of the unfortunate teething dramas from year one. Until after the 2016 finals though, Mark is still in charge, and all queries should be directed to him.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to announce the calendar for 2017. This calendar will evolve over the coming months, but it’s finalised enough to post. Events in CAPITALS have been booked, and you can safely book things like travel and accommodation for them. Events otherwise listed are probable but not yet certain, and so you would book these things at your own risk. All events are listed with their primary organiser(s). We have some exciting new events, as well as the old established ones, and we’re hopeful that 2017 will be the best year yet.

28th January - LINCOLN (Ben)
29th January – LINCOLN HANGOVER (Ben)
18th February - BRISTOL (Mark)
11th March – MANCHESTER (Matty and Jack)
1st April - LEEDS (Callum)
6th May – LONDON (Jen)
27th May - KINGS LYNN (Mike)
17th June – WATERFORD (Eoin)
29th July – BOURNEMOUTH (Sean)
12th August – MILTON KEYNES (Z)
9th September – Tbc (Tbc)
7th October – Huddersfield (JR and Jeff)
21st October - Dublin (Eddy)
4th November - GLASGOW (Alan)
5th November - GLASGOWONTHEN (Alan)
2nd December – Birmingham (Finals)
Last edited by Zarte Siempre on Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:07 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Gavin Chipper
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:07 pm

Although you haven't specifically asked, I think now is a good time to provide some overall feedback on how I think it's gone.

First of all, I do think it has been a success. I like the idea of putting the events together like this to make an overall championship, and the individual events that I've been to have all been well run and friendly. And this is the main point I want to make.

But there are still some things that I think could perhaps have gone better and could be improved upon.

First of all, despite the fact that as far as I've seen everyone's been nice to each other at these events and the atmosphere has always been good, it's impossible to have been a regular at these events without knowing that relations haven't always been well under the surface with the organisation of it. I have to admit that when I first heard that there was a formal constitution, I thought it was a joke, but in any case, you say that's being dropped now. But I do still think that the whole thing is a bit "over-engineered", and I can't help but think that this at least in part has led to the disagreements that have happened.

Because each event takes a bit of money to use for the final etc., it needs a treasurer and a bank account etc. And I think that's where it's gone wrong. Why does money need to be taken from each event? Well, I know that the top eight in the seedings get free entry to the final event so money needed to be taken for that. But I don't think that this is really required or even desirable. People pay for their travel and accommodation at CO events anyway, and I certainly don't think paying someone's entry fee would work as an incentive to get them to come to the final. Nor do I think they should get it free as some sort of reward. This isn't a professional sport, and I don't really see why I should subsidise other people just because they are better than me at Countdown.

And as far as I see it, get rid of that, and you can get rid of the entire bureaucracy in one fell swoop. The end-of-year final can just be run like a normal event - by an individual or two who take money just for that event - other events have no committee or bank account. Then there's no need for any real organisation other than adding up the points and keeping the website up to date. And certainly no need for a bank account and treasurer. It would also mean that CO:Reading and other events that didn't want to get involved in the whole money side of it could be included.

Also, the whole committee thing has been a bit mysterious to us outsiders. My understanding initially was that it was just going to be the event organisers getting together to run this, but it's clear that this hasn't been the case since the committee has included other people. But it has also appeared to be very much a closed shop. How were these people appointed? Do we, the attendees of these events, have any democratic say, or is this purely something that is being run for us rather than run with and including us?

Another thing is the hangover events - Because some events have a Saturday and Sunday competition, they are effectively worth double points. Arguably that's fine because they're two separate tournaments. If the Monaco Grand Prix also had a separate Monday race, I think it would be right to award full points to both races. But F1 is a professional sport and all drivers participate in all rounds. CO events are very different. People can't make all the events, and because of that, it's a massive advantage to someone to be lucky enough to be able to make an event that has a hangover as well. However, I think it would also be wrong to simply discount the hangover. So I think the best compromise is probably to allow each player to only use their higher scoring of the two competitions in a weekend in their end of year total. Since not all events count anyway, this isn't that big a deal. Also, it's still an advantage to go to an event with a hangover relative to another event because you get two shots at a good score, but it's reduced to more acceptable levels.

And last but not least we have my favourite bugbear - the points system. You say it's not changing, but I think it's been shown quite clearly that it's not a fair system. Before any events had happened, my complaints were arguably just theoretical, but there's certainly substance to them now. It was noticeable that because COLIN is a popular event (and also has a hangover) that people who did fairly well there and didn't go anywhere else stayed high up in the table for far longer than they really should have done. Steven Read won the Kings Lynn event but scored the same number of points that James Wilson did for coming 32nd at COLIN! This is insane.

Basically if an event has twice as many people, then under the current system, the average score per person approximately doubles as well. This isn't fair. The scoring system should take this into account and someone performing at a constant level should generally expect to get a similar number of points regardless of how many people turn up. This is why something like a percentile approach would be fairer.

Not that I'm particularly bothered by my own score, but I remember thinking when I was going to miss Milton Keynes that I'd probably be losing out on more points than if I'd missed some of the other events because more people were likely to go. But it shouldn't be like this. A fair points system would negate this effect. I don't really understand the motivation behind this particular scoring system. Yes, it's fairly simple, but that's about it. It's basically as bad as (but in the opposite way) as just giving out 100 points to the winner and then 98, 96 etc. regardless of how many people turn up. The 100-98 system would benefit people at events with few people. And the current system (where you count up 2, 4, 6 from the bottom) benefits people at events with lots of people. Both are equally unfair in their own way. It's a symmetrical situation between them.

Obviously if you have a league, then the best players do better and most points systems are likely to yield fairly similar overall positions in the long run. But unfair systems still throw out anomalies, and it doesn't cost anything to have a fairer system, so why not? If you're worried about horrible decimals under the system I proposed, that's not the only possibility, but also you can always round the scores off for the website. I like how on Apterous some of the stats are rounded to the nearest integer but if you hover your mouse over them, it gives more accuracy.

Anyway, that's probably enough for now!

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:27 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:First of all...could be included.
First of all, yes it was over-engineered. Second of all, it requires what engineering is left. Contributions coming from each event ensure that the finals are a collective effort by all organisers over the course of the year, and allow us hopefully to pull off something that's a little bit more snazzy than the other events. It was a discussion that was had when sorting things out for year 2, and only one person felt it was even worth mentioning - and wasn't vehement in this opinion either. The top 8 will be 8 people who've supported the events across the year, and the scoring system was designed so that this gave opportunity to people who attend regularly as well as who played well to get high up. I suspect this will be even more the case next year, as I know that some of the higher-placed players have just said that they wanted to try and make it this year, but will calm down a bit next. We can't comment or help with people's travel expenses, however we did try and put the finals in the most central place that was feasible to try not to disadvantage anyone. And we also got people a reduced price should they want their accommodation to be a bit swankier than the norm.

But to round it back to the point about the organisation, you're entirely right, but that won't be the case in 2017. I'm confident in that.
Gavin Chipper wrote:Also, the whole committee...and including us?
It was originally just going to be the event organisers getting together to run this. What became evident, was that a couple of things we wanted to delegate, we didn't actually have anyone both happy and capable to do it. At this time, there are two people involved who aren't organisers. Jen, who has made the website awesome and is happy to annoy people on Twitter - and Chris, who can count. They were appointed because we knew them well enough to know that they would be good at helping with those things. If we ever needed someone else who was good at a thing, we would ask the person who was good at that thing. Where we've had ideas on things previously, we've used the Facebook group for event organisers and attendees to put feelers out about certain things, but we're not going to democratise the whole process, because ultimately it's us that has to deliver stuff, and we need to be sure that we're happy with what we're delivering. And ultimately I don't think everyone else WANTS to get involved. I don't think anyone has said to us at any point, with the exception of those who've set up new events for 2017, that they'd like to jump on board and get involved in the running of it. I think people are quite happy not to think about it.
Gavin Chipper wrote:And last but not least we have my favourite bugbear - the points system. You say it's not changing, but I think it's been shown quite clearly that it's not a fair system.
I don't think it's as unfair a system as you do, I *do* think it's simple to understand, I *do* think it generates results that are along the lines of what we wanted, not in terms of specific individuals, but in terms of a balance between skill and frequency of attendance being represented (allowing for the fact as I said, that I think quite a few people have gone for more than they will next year), and I do KNOW that we've had plenty of people comment on the effectiveness of it this year. Not everyone's going to be happy with everything we do, but we're comfortable in this, not just cause we say so, but because the response has been fine. Even if I agreed with you more than I do, I'm not convinced I'd want to piss around with something that's got good public response. Aside from which, if we were to introduce another scoring system, first dibs would definitely go to First Past The Post ;)

Finally, and I can't include another quote in this post, the Hangover stuff. Honestly, whilst I understand the other bits of your message, I think that's a load of arse gravy. Events are going to fall well or badly wherever they are on the calendar for different people. It's just tough shit. At least with it being Lincoln (No Glasgow hangover planned for 2017 at this point) it's the most consistently obvious place on the calendar to plan for.

Anyway, could you not have waited for a few "Woohoo! 2017!" posts before you started Gevinning? You manage to make all of these threads anti-climactic ;)

Seriously though, I probably don't have time to have an endless to and fro on here about these points over the coming days, but am happy to discuss them in more depth oop north at the weekend :)
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Gavin Chipper
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:39 am

Cool. That's fine. I just thought I'd put all my thoughts together before I forgot them! But just to make it clear, even though the negative made up the bulk of the post, I've still really enjoyed myself this year and intend to come to as many as possible next year.

But anyway - Woohoo! 2017!

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:50 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:Cool. That's fine. I just thought I'd put all my thoughts together before I forgot them! But just to make it clear, even though the negative made up the bulk of the post, I've still really enjoyed myself this year and intend to come to as many as possible next year.

But anyway - Woohoo! 2017!
Better ;)
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Matt Morrison
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Matt Morrison » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:52 pm

You two are so cute.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by James Laverty » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:51 pm

Zarte Siempre wrote: Events in CAPITALS have been booked, and you can safely book things like travel and accommodation for them. Events otherwise listed are probable but not yet certain, and so you would book these things at your own risk.

1st April - Leeds (Callum)
So my clever idea to book a hotel in Leeds for the bank holiday weekend wasn't so clever after all :(. At least I can get a full refund.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Thomas Carey » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:34 pm

James Laverty wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote: Events in CAPITALS have been booked, and you can safely book things like travel and accommodation for them. Events otherwise listed are probable but not yet certain, and so you would book these things at your own risk.

1st April - Leeds (Callum)
So my clever idea to book a hotel in Leeds for the bank holiday weekend wasn't so clever after all :(. At least I can get a full refund.
can i just say that i fucking love whoever decided to move leeds so it's not in term time <3333
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:13 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:People pay for their travel and accommodation at CO events anyway, and I certainly don't think paying someone's entry fee would work as an incentive to get them to come to the final.
Actually I think I was wrong here - the top 8 do get their accommodation paid don't they?

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Mark Murray » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:31 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:People pay for their travel and accommodation at CO events anyway, and I certainly don't think paying someone's entry fee would work as an incentive to get them to come to the final.
Actually I think I was wrong here - the top 8 do get their accommodation paid don't they?
No!

Top 8 get entry paid only

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Anthony Endsor » Sat Oct 08, 2016 7:10 am

Yes that's right Gevin. The top 8 get put up in a luxury hotel, where they are waited on hand and foot, free massage and spa, and then chauffeur driven to the event in a limousine. They then get free entry, free unlimited access to the bar and all facilities, followed by a meeting with a top celebrity of their choice. Amazing what a raffle and a cake sale can achieve :lol:

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Heather Styles » Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:44 pm

Hello,

I would like to ask some questions in response to what seems to me to be, essentially, a litany of self-congratulation.

How many people has FOCAL has engaged to keep an eye on their year-long performance and try and attend as many events as they can? How do 2016’s attendance figures so far compare to last year’s, for example?

Is it accurate to say that FOCAL has been all-encompassing when Countdown in Reading was not a FOCAL event?

Have you considered asking event attendees whether or not they see any reason to change anything? Are people really happy to keep paying more so that the top 8 can have free entry to the finals event, for example?

What do you regard as FOCAL’s great successes of the year apart from the website?

Does the bank know that you’ve scrapped the constitution? If so, are they happy with that?

Would you not feel more comfortable being elected rather than self-appointed to run FOCAL?

Might it be that there are too many events now? Is two weeks between Huddersfield and Dublin a sensible gap, for example?

Would you like to retract the statement that when it came to delegating work to non-event organisers that you didn't actually have anyone both happy and capable to do it?

How do you know that no-one else wants to get involved unless you ask them?

Heather

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Thomas Carey » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:00 pm

I'm happy to get involved - by having a great time at most of these events! Thanks everyone for running this again, much appreciated! :DDDDDDDD
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Mark Murray » Sat Oct 08, 2016 7:05 pm

Heather Styles wrote:Hello,

I would like to ask some questions in response to what seems to me to be, essentially, a litany of self-congratulation.

This wasn't a litany of self congratulation. Rather a positive message.

How many people has FOCAL has engaged to keep an eye on their year-long performance and try and attend as many events as they can? How do 2016’s attendance figures so far compare to last year’s, for example?

I don't have the statistics to hand. There are new events lined up for next year which is a direct knock on effect from Focal and speaking from Bristols event specifically, there was a higher number of attendees this year

Is it accurate to say that FOCAL has been all-encompassing when Countdown in Reading was not a FOCAL event?

Co reading chose not to be a part of FOCAL. Focal committee members made up the bulk of the attendees at the event so I am not sure what the point you are trying to make on this is?

Have you considered asking event attendees whether or not they see any reason to change anything? Are people really happy to keep paying more so that the top 8 can have free entry to the finals event, for example?

After this year might be a better time to ask attendees to give an informed decision on whether it was worth it to do it as we have done. As Zarte said, you can never please everyone so we will see what the majority of people think. The side streams at events also raised generous amounts of money and everyone knew what the money was being raised for. I speak from experience of Bristol and MK here having been at both events and gauging the majority's reaction. Granted, it is only a litmus test but would back up waiting until the event is done this year than raising what ifs 2 months before the event we are putting together

What do you regard as FOCAL’s great successes of the year apart from the website

Putting on a final event to round the year off
Encouraging attendance to events from regulars as well as new people

Does the bank know that you’ve scrapped the constitution? If so, are they happy with that?

Struggling to understand the relevance of this

Would you not feel more comfortable being elected rather than self-appointed to run FOCAL?

I think anyone who is willing to put their own time and effort into making this work is fundamental to this being a success. Elections of people who have been forced to work together has shown that a labour of love becomes 10 times harder.

Might it be that there are too many events now? Is two weeks between Huddersfield and Dublin a sensible gap, for example?

We will only be able to see this in action next year

Would you like to retract the statement that when it came to delegating work to non-event organisers that you didn't actually have anyone both happy and capable to do it?

What is there to retract about it?

How do you know that no-one else wants to get involved unless you ask them?

The organising of next years event is going to be different to this year and if Zarte didn't agree to pick up the reins of it, then FOCAL would probably be no more. there will be much less of a need for anyone else to be involved and I am sure that Zarte is intelligent enough to ask people that if he needs help
A

Heather

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by JimBentley » Sat Oct 08, 2016 7:09 pm

To be honest, all this bitching that seems to be going on makes me all the more relieved that I never got involved - aside from taking part in Ben's Lincoln events - in the first place. I was quite enthusiastic about holding a Middlesbrough event a few years back but jeeeeez...thank god I didn't, if this is the way things are conducted.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Heather Styles » Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:03 am

Jim, I was part of FOCAL but I'm not now, thankfully for them as well as me, to be honest. If you are enthusiastic about holding a Middlesbrough event, please don't let anything I've said discourage you. There are a lot of good intentions behind FOCAL.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:31 am

Mark Murray wrote:
Heather Styles wrote:How do 2016’s attendance figures so far compare to last year’s, for example?
I don't have the statistics to hand. There are new events lined up for next year which is a direct knock on effect from Focal and speaking from Bristols event specifically, there was a higher number of attendees this year.
I do have the statistics to hand. Overall, on average, there's been nearly a 20% increase in attendances from 2015; attendances have increased from 27 on average last year (and across all years) to 30 this year; the year's only new event so far, CoLeeds, also had 30 players - again, surpassing the average event attendance. Some events have seen attendances fall, but with the exception of St Albans, these have largely been just a couple of players going AWOL. In contrast to this, CoRea - the only event not affiliated with FOCAL - saw a 33% fall in attendance.

We're also currently on track to get more newcomers to FOCAL events (36 so far, and 3 first-timers already signed up to Birmingham) than there were newcomers coming to all events last year (37). At least some of these would never have got involved without FOCAL's existence: at Huddersfield yesterday, there were 2 people who had only found out about it having been contacted by the Twitter account, and one person who wouldn't have been there if not for me sharing the FOCAL website on Facebook. All three of these players genuinely loved it, and both Twitterers said they were really keen to get to another event soon.

Tl;dr: they compare favourably.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:21 am

"I would like to ask some questions in response to what seems to me to be, essentially, a litany of self-congratulation."

You're welcome to hold that view but it's not one that I share.

"How many people has FOCAL has engaged to keep an eye on their year-long performance and try and attend as many events as they can? How do 2016’s attendance figures so far compare to last year’s, for example?"

Jen has covered this one quite well already.

"Is it accurate to say that FOCAL has been all-encompassing when Countdown in Reading was not a FOCAL event?"

Yes. FOCAL encompassed all of the events that got involved with FOCAL. Contextually, it's entirely accurate.

"Have you considered asking event attendees whether or not they see any reason to change anything? Are people really happy to keep paying more so that the top 8 can have free entry to the finals event, for example?"

I've spoken to plenty of people. Have I asked every single person whose attended an event this year what they think? No, I haven't. Do I feel I've asked for the thoughts and feelings of enough people to represent a good enough proportion to make decisions? Yes, I do.

"What do you regard as FOCAL’s great successes of the year apart from the website?"

The number of newbies that have attended events. The number of people attending events generally, which has raised the total attendance, and total unique attendances to a new record level. The social media presence that these events now have which are generating more attention. The fact that at this point of the year, the event organisers involved are happy with things going in the direction they are for 2017.

"Does the bank know that you’ve scrapped the constitution? If so, are they happy with that?"

No idea - I discussed it with Chris, and left that in his hands.

"Would you not feel more comfortable being elected rather than self-appointed to run FOCAL?"

A couple of months ago, it was becoming evident that FOCAL may well die as no-one was putting themselves up to lead it going. I sent all the organisers my plan of what would be my vision going forward, and said that I was happy to lead it, providing these things were all accepted. I said I wasn't going to be in any way offended with people disagreeing with me, and would support someone else's leadership if they felt things should be done in a different way. My ideas were unilaterally accepted. As far as I'm concerned, the backing of the entirety of that group is more than enough justification for me to be leading FOCAL in 2017.

"Might it be that there are too many events now? Is two weeks between Huddersfield and Dublin a sensible gap, for example?"

Possibly - but we'll only find out if we try it. The two events you mention have reasonably different attendee bases, and both of the organisers were spoken to to find out whether they were happy to go ahead with this plan, and both were. If it doesn't work, we'll have a rethink for 2018.

"Would you like to retract the statement that when it came to delegating work to non-event organisers that you didn't actually have anyone both happy and capable to do it?"

Not really.

"How do you know that no-one else wants to get involved unless you ask them?"

I'm assuming that your gripe here is the scrapping of public election type things for 2017. I was actually in favour of keeping those, contrary to your seeming beliefs. It was others involved that said they'd spoken to enough people to think it was a bad idea, as people genuinely didn't seem to have any interest in getting involved. That decision was made before there was any sign of me taking this over for 2017. Other people will be more than happy to verify this for you I'm sure.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Heather Styles » Sun Oct 09, 2016 1:20 pm

Hello, thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. I know some of the questions I put to you were quite challenging, but I didn't feel they should go unasked. Jen, I thought numbers were slightly down overall, but I'm glad to have been proved wrong on that. There are things I could still quibble, but instead I'm going to try to shut up and let you guys get on with running FOCAL however you see fit. You can't please all the people all the time, after all. Zarte, well done for having united all the organisers behind you, and if that's as much democratic legitimacy as you and they feel this project needs, then who am I to argue. I know that a lot of what you have done has been for the good of the wider community, but there is still the risk of FOCAL becoming something run largely by the elite and for the good of the elite, which I think would be a pity. I genuinely wish you well and hope we can start to put the disagreements of the past behind us. Heather

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:10 pm

JimBentley wrote:To be honest, all this bitching that seems to be going on makes me all the more relieved that I never got involved - aside from taking part in Ben's Lincoln events - in the first place. I was quite enthusiastic about holding a Middlesbrough event a few years back but jeeeeez...thank god I didn't, if this is the way things are conducted.
It's all fine really. Honestly. The individual events always go well and everyone enjoys themselves. Yeah, there have been a few disagreements behind the scenes, but as an individual event organiser, you wouldn't have to get involved in that. See you in Middlesbrough.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by JimBentley » Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:16 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
JimBentley wrote:To be honest, all this bitching that seems to be going on makes me all the more relieved that I never got involved - aside from taking part in Ben's Lincoln events - in the first place. I was quite enthusiastic about holding a Middlesbrough event a few years back but jeeeeez...thank god I didn't, if this is the way things are conducted.
It's all fine really. Honestly. The individual events always go well and everyone enjoys themselves. Yeah, there have been a few disagreements behind the scenes, but as an individual event organiser, you wouldn't have to get involved in that. See you in Middlesbrough.
Don't forget, this hypothetical event would be part of my "Countdown Club" and hypothetical dwarfs with hypothetical silver platters of cocaine would be circulating and there'd be a big orgy at the end. In fact, the actual playing of the game would be almost entirely incidental.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:20 pm

Zarte Siempre wrote:28th January - LINCOLN (Ben)
29th January – LINCOLN HANGOVER (Ben)
18th February - BRISTOL (Mark)
11th March – MANCHESTER (Matty and Jack)
1st April - Leeds (Callum)
6th May – LONDON (Jen)
27th May - Kings Lynn (Mike)
17th June – Tbc (JR and Jeff)
8th July - Nottingham (Ben)
29th July – Bournemouth (Sean)
19th August – Milton Keynes (Z)
9th September – Tbc (Tbc)
7th October – Huddersfield (JR and Jeff)
21st October - Dublin (Eddy)
11th November - Glasgow (Alan)
2nd December – Birmingham (Finals)
By the way, what's with the 9th September date? Is it just that you want there to be an event then and haven't found anyone/anywhere to have it yet, or is it just that there is concrete stuff going on but nothing's been finalised yet?

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:41 pm

Somewhere in the middle. Someone messaged us interested in hosting one, and we were also trying to convince someone else to host one somewhere else. We don't think the first will happen, but if the second can we'd definitely like to hold the space for it, because we think it'd be a pretty cool one.

If it doesn't happen, then we'll see if anyone else has an urge/location in mind.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:18 pm

Today brought a change to the running order. JR has decided to focus on Huddersfield for 2017, whilst Jeff's summer efforts are switching to helping Sean get Bournemouth off the ground.

As a result, Eoin's fledgling Waterford event has taken the June slot. Double the Irishness for next year.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by JackHurst » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:16 pm

Well done on a successful year. I had a great day at the event I came to. See you in LDN ;)

I do think Gevin's suggestion about charging entrants for the final event makes a lot of sense though. There is no need to do it because anybody keen enough to go to enough events to qualify will obviously be happy to pay for themselves in the final too.

You get the benefit that it takes away a lot of admin and also gives individual events a lot of independence.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Julie T » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:10 am

Zarte Siempre wrote:Today brought a change to the running order. JR has decided to focus on Huddersfield for 2017, whilst Jeff's summer efforts are switching to helping Sean get Bournemouth off the ground.
That's a shame. :(

It was great having CoStAl as an event so close to home. Doubt I'll manage Bournemouth as it's too far for a daytrip despite being a proper coastal event ;) .
I'll have already had my summer holiday so difficult to justify staying over.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:17 pm

Julie T wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote:Today brought a change to the running order. JR has decided to focus on Huddersfield for 2017, whilst Jeff's summer efforts are switching to helping Sean get Bournemouth off the ground.
That's a shame. :(

It was great having CoStAl as an event so close to home. Doubt I'll manage Bournemouth as it's too far for a daytrip despite being a proper coastal event ;) .
I'll have already had my summer holiday so difficult to justify staying over.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:36 pm

Alan has decided, much to those of us who were present's delight, that Glasgow will once again have a hangover for 2017, so that's now been added to the list.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:26 pm

We've got some updates...

- We're launching an initiative for 2017 called Bring A Buddy, to encourage attendees to bring along brand new players - be it their other half, their friends, family, work colleagues, total strangers... Basically, as long as that person/those people mention that you referred them (preferably with the payment), we’ll put £1 into a prize pot, as long as they’ve not been to an event before and play the whole event. We’ll also enter you into a draw to win the whole prize pot at the end of the year! This is open to newbies too; if you decide to go to your first event and bring other people with you, you’ll get entered into the prize draw. Organisers are also eligible, with the exception of myself and Zarte.

- We have details for 6 events in 2017 so far, and all are open for sign-ups. They are:

LINCOLN - SAT 28th/SUN 29th JANUARY: https://focalcountdown.co.uk/upcoming-e ... ncoln2017/
BRISTOL - SAT 18th FEBRUARY: https://focalcountdown.co.uk/upcoming-e ... stol-2017/
MANCHESTER - SAT 11th MARCH: https://focalcountdown.co.uk/upcoming-e ... ster-2017/
LEEDS - SAT 1st APRIL: https://focalcountdown.co.uk/upcoming-events/leeds/
LONDON - SAT 6th MAY: https://focalcountdown.co.uk/upcoming-events/london/
WATERFORD - SAT 17th JUNE: https://focalcountdown.co.uk/upcoming-e ... ford-2017/

- Last but not least, we now have a blog on our website! It's an easy way to simultaneously disseminate info onto Facebook and Twitter, reach people on Wordpress more easily, and provide rolling announcements of new events or updates on already-announced ones. If you scroll to the bottom of the homepage, you can subscribe to our updates by entering your email address!

Looking forward to seeing you all at this year's events - let's get those numbers up! 8-)
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Heather Styles » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:37 pm

Focal personnel, please stop contacting me indirectly. If you have something to ask, then ask me, as any reasonable adult would.

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:24 pm

A scheduling update:

MK has been forced to move slightly, due to the owners Mother having her 60th birthday in the venue on the usual day... I know - inconsiderate, right.

However it is now confirmed for 1 week earlier - the 12th August. For some people this may be good news - but hopefully it's not bad news for too many other people.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:46 pm

Presumably the piece of paper I've got with all the FOCAL dates on will update automatically?

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Mark Murray » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:38 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:46 pm
Presumably the piece of paper I've got with all the FOCAL dates on will update automatically?
I am sat here thinking "not him again" :p

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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:45 pm

Another scheduling update:

Glasgow (and it's Hangover) has moved to be a week earlier - it will now take place on the 4th and 5th November.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:47 pm

Forgot to post that the standings after Lincoln are available on the website! See the current top 8 and have a look at the full standings spreadsheet.

There's just over a week until Countdown in Bristol (18th February) - to confirm your buffet lunch, sign up by Monday!

And don't forget our Northern heartland events in Manchester (11th March - inaugural event!) and Leeds (1st April - not an April Fool).
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:56 pm

Nottingham has changed to Nottinghamshire, but is now alive and well. I think Ben will be announcing very soon.
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:30 am

A mildly unfortunate announcement:

Due to varying unhelpful circumstances, the Nottingham(shire) event has had to be cancelled. I also understand that there will be no more reincarnations of it, at least, not run by Ben.

Several of us have done at least one Nottingham, and will have fond memories of it, so it's a pity to see it leave the calendar, but best that it's done a few months in advance. Thanks Ben for the good times :)

(This will not affect Lincoln, which will continue as normal in 2018)
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Re: FOCAL 2017

Post by Ben Wilson » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:43 am

I can confirm the above post- unfortunately, my days of organising events in Nottingham (and surrounding) has come to an end, but I will happily support any future events that take place in Nottingham(shire). There are still five spots left on the CoNot trophy, after all. :-)

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