FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

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FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by FOCAL Countdown »

It's been a long season but in November we will finally bring it to a close and crown the FOCAL 2020-22 Champion!

Date: Saturday 26th November 2022
Venue: Novotel Milton Keynes, Saxon St, Leyburn Ct, Heelands, Milton Keynes, MK13 7RA (map)
Admission: £10 (preferably by PayPal, please; other means on request).
Doors open: 10am, for 11am start
Organised by: Callum Todd
Presented by: George Armstrong* and Ben Wilson
Games to be played: 7, plus the FOCAL Grand Final
Finishes by: 6pm
Wheelchair accessible: Yes

*If George qualifies for the FOCAL Finals as a top 8 seed, Mark Mills will stand in as co-host alongside Ben.

After a three-year-long season that began in 2020 and was disrupted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic, FOCAL is finally ready to close the 2020-22 season with a year-end showpiece Finals event, and this year it’s coming to Milton Keynes!

While Finals events of previous years have traditionally taken place in the West Midlands, we already have an event in Birmingham on Saturday 13th August 2022, so this year we’re returning to Milton Keynes for the first time since 2019!

Format

As in previous years, the top 8 seeds in our FOCAL League Table at the end of the year will face off in a round robin to earn a place in the 2020-22 FOCAL Grand Final. Meanwhile, everyone else is welcome to sign up and take part in our Milton Keynes Open event, where the champion will be whoever tops the standings after 7 games.

In 2019 it was Callum Todd who became our fourth FOCAL Champion, while Jen Steadman claimed her first FOCAL title in the Molineux Open. Could it be you this year?

Doors open at 10am for an 11am start, to play seven 9-round games of Countdown.

This event uses a classroom-style format, with big screen graphics. This means everyone plays along to the same letters rounds, and everyone will get a turn at picking consonants and vowels for the room at some point.

For the numbers games, you’ll get to pick which combination of large and small numbers you want, in turn in your pairs, from our specially designed five-line display.

For the conundrum, these will be revealed on the screen for everyone in much the same way as on the TV show. We will explain at the start of the day how each part of the contest runs, and give everyone a practice game consisting of a letters game, a numbers game and a conundrum just before the first match.

Lunch & breaks
We will stop for lunch after the second or third match — lunch is not provided but there are plenty of amenities nearby, including a Tesco Express, a Costa Coffee, and a McDonalds.

There will be another short break during the afternoon and, if you don’t make the Grand Final, a chance to recharge your glass just before our showpiece gets underway.

How to book
The entry fee is just £10. To secure your place, send your entry fee to Callum Todd, FOCAL Chair, by PayPal.

Transport
The event venue is less than 2 miles away from Milton Keynes Central station.

Staying over?
We have reserved a small number of rooms at the Novotel itself for when they become available for booking. Keep checking back here for more information on availability and pricing, or contact us to be notified as soon as such information is available.

Alternatively, there are many low-cost hotel options available in central Milton Keynes, all within a couple of miles of the event venue.

Any questions?
Please feel free to email hello@focalcountdown.co.uk.

We look forward to seeing you in Milton Keynes in November!

Attending or organising a FOCAL event is subject to the FOCAL Code of Conduct.

Confirmed entries (6)
Callum Todd^
James Robinson^
Mike Lee
Phil Stanton
Darren Godfrey
Rachael Montgomery

(^ = currently on course to qualify for FOCAL Finals)
Last edited by FOCAL Countdown on Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:03 am, edited 4 times in total.
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JackHurst
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by JackHurst »

As a suggestion you could do fixed players picking as P1 / P2 each game, and rotate those players to cover the top 8 as much as possible.

This would mean 6 of the top 8 players get to play a game as player 1 once and as player 2 once. The other 2 players get to play 1 game as player 1/2.

The players in the open would never get to pick. Makes things marginally worse for the open, but a little bit better for the top 8.
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Graeme Cole
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Graeme Cole »

JackHurst wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:50 pm As a suggestion you could do fixed players picking as P1 / P2 each game, and rotate those players to cover the top 8 as much as possible.

This would mean 6 of the top 8 players get to play a game as player 1 once and as player 2 once. The other 2 players get to play 1 game as player 1/2.

The players in the open would never get to pick. Makes things marginally worse for the open, but a little bit better for the top 8.
Unless you're expecting fewer than 16 entrants in total, why would you give the top 8 exclusive picking privileges knowing this makes things worse for everyone else?
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by JackHurst »

Graeme Cole wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 9:04 pm
JackHurst wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 6:50 pm As a suggestion you could do fixed players picking as P1 / P2 each game, and rotate those players to cover the top 8 as much as possible.

This would mean 6 of the top 8 players get to play a game as player 1 once and as player 2 once. The other 2 players get to play 1 game as player 1/2.

The players in the open would never get to pick. Makes things marginally worse for the open, but a little bit better for the top 8.
Unless you're expecting fewer than 16 entrants in total, why would you give the top 8 exclusive picking privileges knowing this makes things worse for everyone else?
Picking 1 round in a game is pointless. May as well bundle up the picks for some individuals so they get to play at least one proper game with picking.

The improvement you give to those who get it is nice. The "worsening" for the rest is negligible. If I went to a bristol style event. I couldn't care less if I get to pick letters 1 or 0 times.

Also, since this event is geared as the "Focal Finals" i think it's acceptable for it to be the one occasion where the format of the event is slightly preferential to those who have qualified as top 8.
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

I see the logic behind wanting the Top 8 to have more picking power for the Finals but I think that would alienate the Open players a bit too much. It's important to stress that the Finals event isn't all about the top 8, there's still a fully fledged event going on for everyone else too! Taking their one letters pick a day away from the Open players, little as it might be, would be a bit harsh I think.

I will try make it though so that when a Top 8 player does get to pick a letters round, their immediate opponent also picks a round in the same game, so any advantage gained by getting to pick a round is equalled out. Unfortunately this would be too complicated to apply to the Open as well as the fixtures will be Swiss-drawn rather than predetermined, so at least the Top 8 might benefit from this one little tweak to the picking procedure, without anyone in the Open missing out as a consequence.
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Callum Todd
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

Also: going to have a look into options for booking somewhere for the 'afters' for this event: meal, etc. If people could indicate how likely they are to join in any post-event meal, and any post-meal festivities, that would help me estimate numbers for any bookings that need to be made. Cheers!
Mark Deeks wrote:Callum Todd looks like a young Ted Bundy.
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Adam Dexter »

Noticed rooms are now bookable at the Novotel.

Looks lovely - are we going to be able to avail of better rates than shown online (around £125 for the Sat night)?
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Callum Todd
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

Adam Dexter wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:02 pm Noticed rooms are now bookable at the Novotel.

Looks lovely - are we going to be able to avail of better rates than shown online (around £125 for the Sat night)?
The event manager at Novotel is holding a small number of rooms for us and told me he will be able to provide details on rates around late July/early August so will let you know as soon as he tells me the price.

If you're keen to get something booked early, maybe book whatever looks best value atm on a flexi rate so you could cancel if the Novotel deal is better?
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Peter Clarke
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Peter Clarke »

Is there going to be a Facebook page for the event out of curiosity? It would be good to have one IMO as there could be people who don’t use or read this forum. I’m just thinking in terms of promotion 😃
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

Peter Clarke wrote: Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:22 am Is there going to be a Facebook page for the event out of curiosity? It would be good to have one IMO as there could be people who don’t use or read this forum. I’m just thinking in terms of promotion 😃
Way ahead of you Peter! :) link
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Peter Clarke »

My bad 😅😂 I even previously clicked on “Interested” too 😅
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Adam Dexter »

Callum Todd wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2022 8:52 am
The event manager at Novotel is holding a small number of rooms for us and told me he will be able to provide details on rates around late July/early August so will let you know as soon as he tells me the price.
Waiting with anticipa.............tion

Guessing there's no update as yet?
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Fiona T »

Aye problem is the cheaper rates are non-refundable, and going up!
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

Update on hotels:

Have chased up the event manager, I have an initial quote that I've requested a few more details on, will bring you the full picture as soon as he gets back to me. From initial look it appears that the event hotel isn't going to be able to compete with the likes of Travelodge on price, but if you do wish to stay at the Novotel you will be best using the deal he's sorting out for us.
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

Hotel prices:

The event manager has offered us the following rates:

£75 Friday night (25th Nov)
£107 Saturday night (26th Nov)

These are for single rooms only. Double rooms would be an extra £10 per room per night, and Breakfast would be an extra £12 per room per night.

To get this special rate we must book at least 8 rooms (I think it should count as 2 rooms if someone were to book for both nights).

If anyone who is interested in this rate could please let me know ASAP so I can determine if we have enough interest to pass the 8 rooms threshold, I'll let the event manager know how many rooms to hold for us. You can then either book by contacting him yourself (I will pass on his e-mail address), or through me. Cheers
Mark Deeks wrote:Callum Todd looks like a young Ted Bundy.
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Fiona T »

Callum Todd wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 5:06 pm Hotel prices:

The event manager has offered us the following rates:

£75 Friday night (25th Nov)
£107 Saturday night (26th Nov)

These are for single rooms only. Double rooms would be an extra £10 per room per night, and Breakfast would be an extra £12 per room per night.

To get this special rate we must book at least 8 rooms (I think it should count as 2 rooms if someone were to book for both nights).

If anyone who is interested in this rate could please let me know ASAP so I can determine if we have enough interest to pass the 8 rooms threshold, I'll let the event manager know how many rooms to hold for us. You can then either book by contacting him yourself (I will pass on his e-mail address), or through me. Cheers
A specially expensive rate?

Booking on their website gives me £144.40 for the two nights, saving £38.60 on the special rate.

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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Fiona T »

Cheapest at the moment seems to be Premier Inn Milton Keynes Central (Avebury Boulevard) hotel at £80 for the two nights - but parking not included and is crazy expensive...
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Callum Todd
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Re: FOCAL Finals 2022 and Milton Keynes Open

Post by Callum Todd »

That's odd, I looked at their website just last week and the prices were quite a bit higher than the screenshot above. Will look into it and see what's gone on.
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