Fantasy Flight games announced the Galactic Qualifiers (GQs) just a couple of weeks before PAX Unplugged (PAXU) in Philadelphia. The article had all the pertinent information – tournament structure, prize wall, location. But what the GQs could mean for the game’s present and future didn’t hit me until well into PAXU.
Let’s back up a bit. The organizers of the GQs at PAXU, and I believe all but one or two in the US, is Cascade Games. If you come from a CCG background you probably recognize them as the organizers of Magic (the Gathering) Grand Prix events, but if not then chances are you have played in one of the 10,000 or so tournaments they’ve run across numerous other games. If you are unfamiliar with Grand Prixs they are the largest open invitation event for Magic, with prizes mostly leaning toward cash prize pools and invitations for the Pro Tour on the line.
I started to connect the dots when we walked up and saw the prize wall for the GQ. Our game’s promos have been fairly hit (Phasma acrylic) or miss (Jet Pack…really?), but none of those promos come close to what sits in the GQ prize display. Those spot glosses are amazing and the official photos FFG has put out just don’t do them justice. I didn’t have much to complain about prize-wise until the GQ but I feel like the game hasn’t had “real” prizes until now. Even the printing and material quality of the playmats seems to be a marked improvement from the Lure of Power playmat prize given out in a few events this past year. FFG was clearly stepping up their prizing game.
The last nudge I needed to get the whole picture was just playing out an entire GQ and then talking with the players and organizers at the end of the day. The GQ had a huge turnout, hitting around 100 players every day of the convention. The turnout surprised everyone – only Magic had a greater sustained number of players throughout the convention and Destiny had a huge number of players register the day of events. The large player base brought with it a great level of competition.
All of this came together and I realized that these GQs could be Destiny’s first steps toward the Grand Prixs and PTQs for Magic. Big prizes (not Magic big, but a step in the right direction), large player turnout, high level of competition, a spot at Worlds – all put on by one of the industry’s primary organizers of large scale events.
This all has me VERY excited and prepped for rampant speculation. How far is FFG willing to push and grow the GQs? Establishing them at almost every convention with sizable player bases and respectable promo prizing is a great first step. But what about a year from now, or two years from now, or five years from now? Can FFG continue to grow the game, player base and competitive formats to the point where GQs have the turnout and prize pool to begin rivaling the big guys like Magic? Will players be willing to put out larger registration fees in order to support larger prize pools?
But maybe you don’t care about that and you’re just wondering if it is worth hitting up a GQ near you. The answer is a resounding YES. Get out there, have fun, win some prize tickets, do your best to climb to 6 and 0, and if you scrub out go chill out and play it casual in the Escape Pods – it was hands down the best weekend of Destiny I have had yet!
Hey, the Crew launched a Patreon -if you like what we do, head over and throw a buck our way. Next week I’ll be putting out an article on what to expect and how to prep for a GQ – including travel tips like how to trick your snoring friends into sleeping in the hallway. Until then you can start prepping for the next GQ at PAX South in San Antonio – registration for Destiny events is open now!
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