Tag: Teh Pwn Gaming

Advice: Running an eSports Booth

The other weekend I was in the Twin Cities (MN) for a Teh Pwn Gaming / CSL StarCraft 2 tournament (you can read about it here). It was a ton of fun and I wanted to share a particular aspect about it that might be of interest to some young entrepreneurs out there. Here’s what I learned about running an event booth.

The story begins on Facebook. I was contacted by my friend Evva, the president of Teh Pwn, and she asked me if I wanted a booth for the up-coming event. I was initially concerned about agreeing because my operation is small, obscure, and the opposite of well-funded (one of those grassroots, indie-style operations). Anyways, I pictured myself next to Antec, ASUS, and NOS whose booths were epic, decked out with kick-ass banners and voluptuous women distributing tons of free swag. Needless to say I was afraid of looking inadequate and cheap. But Evva assured me that everything would be fine and it was a great opportunity to network and share my website. So I agreed.

To prepare I ordered business cards, spray-painted some t-shirts, and packed my laptop. It was a pretty low-key package, but figured it would do. However, upon arrival I checked out my setup and realized I forgot some sort of banner. Oops… But we ended up making a banner out of cardboard paper which looked pretty legit from a distance. If you do this, make sure it’s cool within your industry. Fortunately eSports is pretty young so I don’t think it was a big deal.

The best part about my setup was probably the business cards. I would highly recommend getting some. Why? Because you can get a ton of them for relatively cheap and you’ll always have something to give out. If you just bring t-shirts, what happens after they’re all gone? Now there’s nothing for people to look at later and be reminded of your organization. Definitely order some.

Bringing a laptop was another great idea. It helped to physically show my site rather than just explaining it. If you don’t have one, find someone who does and borrow it. If you’re in technology, Internet, web, whatever, you need a device to show off your work.

One thing I wish I would have done differently is buy professionally made t-shirts. The ones we were wearing looked legit from a distance, but up-close looked cheap. I also wish we would have had some extras to give out. The NOS booth ran through all their free stuff right away because people wanted it. And in exchange they Liked them on Facebook and checked in on Foursquare. Not a bad deal in my opinion.

Overall, if you’re thinking about representing yourself at an event. The more professional you can be the better. I’m unfortunately locked down by a small budget so I have to pick and choose, but if you’re not, definitely get everything made professionally. A nice banner, solid business cards, free t-shirts, and a laptop will go a long way. But even if you can’t do that, just go anyways. I still ended up meeting a ton of cool people and networked with other organizations. Don’t doubt yourself, it’ll be fun and everyone is a lot nicer and more supportive than you think.

Other Tags: CSL, StarCraft II, SC2, TPG

Collegiate StarLeague & Teh Pwn Gaming Midwest Meltdown

Date: March 3-4, 2012
Location: St. Paul Student Center, St. Paul, MN

This weekend I had the pleasure of representing The Spawn Room at another Teh Pwn Gaming StarCraft 2 tournament. I had been to their previous 2011 StarCraft 2 Open so I was excited to see another high quality tournament. Along with me were my close friends and fellow SpawnRoomers Mitch “Legacy” Tallman and Joe “Gerba” Ohnstad.

Day 1

The first day was a Collegiate Star League qualifier involving several regional Universities. Registered were the Universities of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Wisconsin-Madison, Case Western Reserve, Cincinnati, West Illinois, Chicago, St. Olaf, Iowa State, University of Iowa, and Mankato State. Needless to say, it was a full-house with a lot of great talent fighting for a spot in the CSL playoffs.

Like many LANs, the day’s matches were delayed due to unforeseeable networking issues. From what I heard, the venue was only supplied with a limited amount of IP addresses. Instead of 12-16 per table, they got 12 overall, which clearly isn’t enough for dozens of players. Fortunately a work-around was implemented and the tournament began a couple hours behind schedule. As usual, LAN mode would probably solve something like this.

“Team TSR” spent the first day of the event meeting the other sponsors and casually talking to various people at our booth. I met Evan from Fancy Pants Gangsters, a local Internet broadcaster, Nick and Dennis from Antec, Elling from Asus, and Robert from Device Unknown. They were all really friendly and great to talk to. I want to give a special shoutout to the Antec for traveling from San Francisco for this tournament and bringing a ridiculous amount of swag to give away! That’s some eSports dedication right there. I also had the pleasure of chatting with Dan, the NOS representative I met last year. His booth was decked out with free give-aways, NOS energy, a console gaming area, and some lovely girls helping gamers choose the right beverage. Overall it was a great setup for the sponsors and definitely an improvement over last year.

The matches were pretty solid from what I saw, although it was a little difficult to follow. Since games displayed individual player names, I had no idea which teams were actually competing. And as for someone who only watches big SC2 pro tournaments, the CSL format was a little confusing at first. Of course after reading the description on the site it made sense, but personally I’d prefer a more standard 1v1 bo3 winners-losers bracket.

The production quality was again very high for a regional tournament and is probably the highest you’re going to find around this neck of the woods. The only two problems that persisted the length of the event was variable sound and stage lighting. From our booth, it was somewhat hard to hear the casters and often times we got lost trying to figure out what was happening. This problem isn’t easy to solve however. If the speakers were too loud, the players may hear the casters narrating their games. Ideally, we could have watched the stream, but unfortunately the University wireless was too slow. The other main problem was the lighting on the projector screen. It was too high and washed out the image. Had that been lowered or removed, the screen would have been much clearer. I’m assuming this was the case because the casters needed light?

Day 2

Day 2 launched the Open tournament. This was what we were really looking forward to since familiar names were competing. Players like redground, Nozick, EroSennin, stips, storm, PsychonautQQ, JaPz, happyhobo, and Ssok were listed among many others. There were also some “known players” registered: puCK from Convergence Gaming and Everize from Team Dynamic, Complexity’s goswser was listed but couldn’t make it (non-cash prize pool?). In total, there were 56 registers players, down from approximately 73 that registered last year. After talking with a few it sounds like many were focusing less on StarCraft and more on school and jobs right now.

Matches began with a round robin that guaranteed at least 6 games for every competing player. This was a really smart idea on part of TPG for two reasons. One, every player got to play their money’s worth of games, and two, the spectators got a chance to see who the top skilled players were. It was fun watching the results and picking out who was likely to make it through.

After the round robin, they proceeded with a tiebreaker series for all 4-2-0 players. This was a little confusing because according to Challonge, the top 8 were already chosen using the “tiebreaker score”. This decision, while offering more exciting games, ultimately resulted in two problems. First, the two 4-2-0 players seeded the highest, now had to compete again for spots they probably should have had automatically. Luckily for them, they ended up both winning that bracket and securing their spots. And the second problem was that it took so long that the top 8 losers bracket had to be dropped to save time (although consolation matches were played off stream). Either way it resulted in good matches, but ideally the top players should have a chance to come back after a loss.

Top 8 ended up consisting of: Everize, Sports, Moa, Moosegills, puCK, Daydream, sTrike, and redground. They each fought a bo3 elimination round leaving Everize vs Moa and puCK vs redground. Everize was probably favored over Moa in terms of skill, but both had a lot of support in the stream. As for puCK and redground it’s hard to say. Redground is like a local hero and clearly a talented player, but puCK is rostered on an official eSports team. The next bo3 went underway and resulted in explosive cheers from redground’s station. He went 2-1 over puCK and would face Everize (2-0 over Moa) in the finals. puCK and Moa would also play a series resulting in a third place win for puCK.

The finals were pretty awesome from a spectators POV. Everize started the series with a relatively quick 2-0 over redground, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with an easy win. It seemed like his drop play and constant harass was just too much for redground to deal with. But he wasn’t ready to give up quite yet and turned the tables taking two games from Everize. As each moment passed by, people began to get more excited as they saw the almost impossible opportunity for redground to take the tournament. The final match was pretty back and forth at the beginning and looked promising for both players. But unfortunately redground’s army couldn’t stop his opponents and the series ended 3-2 in favor of Everize.

Overall this years event was solid and an improvement in almost every way. The mini-MLG setup gave it a very legitimate feel and allowed spectators to mingle amongst the players. The games, especially the top 8, were exciting and well casted (from what I caught). The layout for sponsors and partners was excellent, the staff was friendly and helpful, and the coordinators were constantly at work. In fact, the biggest shoutout I want to give is to Evva and everyone who made this possible. Events like this are invaluable to helping build eSports and introduce new people to the scene. Thanks for all your hard work!


CSL Bracket Swiss Bracket Tiebreaker Bracket Top 8 #1 Top 8 #2

Stream VODs on Twitch

TPG Facebook / Twitter / TSR Facebook / Twitter

Other Tags: TPG, StarCraft II, SC2, CSL

Shout Out: Teh Pwn Gaming

Here comes another intermittent Website Wednesday post. This time we’ll be looking at the Teh Pwn Gaming Club, a student organization hosted on the University of Minnesota campus. You may recall them from a previous article I wrote covering their epic Starcraft 2 tournament. Well it seems only appropriate now that I write up one of these mini-articles since we recently began exchanging links. If you navigate your way over to the Friends, Partners, and Sponsors page on the right, you’ll find their link and a little description about them. Check it out!

Now for a quick history lesson. ;) Teh Pwn Gaming was founded May 3rd, 2010 by Evva Kraikul and Nicolaas Vanmeerten. Since its inception, the club has hosted a variety of successful events with games like Starcraft 2, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Super Smash Bros Brawl. Often times with kick ass swag and prizes for the tournament winners! But their gaming isn’t limited to just modern platforms, they also encourage gamers to hook up and play on consoles as old as the original Nintendo! So no matter what kind of gamer you are, TPG will surely fit your needs. And if that’s not enough of a reason for you to join, maybe taking a peak at their sponsors page will change your mind. Teh Pwn Gaming has managed to tie in some major deals with NOS Energy, Microsoft, Major League Gaming and more! Very impressive indeed. So hurry and take a look at their meeting information, get connected, and plan for some of their upcoming events! (Plus maybe we’ll be lucky enough to bump into each other at their next big event!).

You can also connect with Teh Pwn Gaming on Facebook and Twitter. Cheers!

Other Tags: TPG, UMN, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, StarCraft II, SC2

Collegiate StarLeague & Teh Pwn Gaming StarCraft 2 Open

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending another regional Starcraft 2 Open tournament. This time hosted on the beautiful University of Minnesota campus by their own Teh Pwn Gaming club. It was a great time and well worth the 4 hour drive!

The Venue

The tournament was located in the Science Teaching and Student Services building, on the ground floor. There were three rooms, one for diamond players, one for master players, and one for spectators. The spectator room was circled with large HD televisions, each with groups of comfy computer chairs and tables. Two large projectors, situated on either end of the room, gave an even grander display of the games and really made it feel like a top tier event. There was even soft blue mood lighting which looked really cool and gave just enough light to walk around safely, but not enough that it drowned out the vibrant colors of the TVs. As for speakers, they were all over, so no matter where you were you could hear crisp, loud commentary. It really was a perfect setup.

The diamond and master players rooms were also really nice. Similar in design, these rooms were much quieter and darker. The players sat around circular tables and had a comfortable playing space. They also had projectors for displaying the scores and schedule which I thought was really handy. Between these two rooms there were 73 officially registered players, give or take a few that were M.I.A. Of that number, there was an even split between diamond and master skill level with a fairly equal representation of race. I talked to some of the players expecting to hear nothing but protoss match ups, but was surprised to find that quite a few had been playing mostly Zerg. Unfortunately towards the end of the tournament the remaining majority were Toss. Oh well.

There was also a small room for the newbie tournament. I didn’t spend any time here so I’m not really sure what went on; all I can tell you is that there were about 17 players competing for the small prize pool. The finals were then eventually cast during the master/diamond break period. It was fun to watch and I overheard some players saying that it calmed them down and took their minds off things. I’m guessing it probably felt good to watch them make obvious blunders and laugh about it.

Finally the sponsors. In attendance we had a NOS booth, equipped with all the NOS we could drink, some hotties working the counter, and a few friendly staffers. Unaware just how much energy these things packed, I downed my first can quickly and spent the rest of the night with shaky hands. It was awesome. They also had support from Major League Gaming (MLG) who provided some killer prizes (some even for the fans)! Myself and a few others happened to win free spectator passes for MLG Columbus in June! There were also local sponsors like Oak Street Textbooks, the Student Union and Activities organization, the Minnesota Student Association, and MTech. It’s great to see organizations such as these helping out a grassroots Starcraft 2 tournament like this.

Rising Stars

A couple weeks ago I attended the Twin Cities Open (TCO) and met some great Starcraft 2 players. When heading over to this event I was really hoping to see some of them, but only expected a few at best. To my surprise all the best players from TCO were setup and gaming when I arrived. So let’s talk about the top players of this event and why you should keep an eye on them.

Ssok was our champion that night. His wicked fast APM, impressive unit micro, and unique strategies dominated player after player and put him in the spotlight after defeating Nozick for first place. He has a long history, plays vigorously, and has what it takes to be the best. I would definitely keep an eye out for Ssok on the ladders after you GG to his massive Protoss army.

Nozick was another impressive competitor and fellow TCO attendee. I’m not entirely sure what it is about Nozick, but the man is a beast at Protoss. He’s calm and collect when he plays, he knows the game well, and puts up some amazing fights.

EroSennin was a new face for me, but apparently he’s been around for quite some time. I talked to him shortly before his third place match and he said he’s been playing Brood War for years and reached a high enough level that he was occasionally taking on pro caliber players, competing for WCG qualifiers and reached a B- rating in iCCup. He definitely has the confidence to play well and showed it at this tournament. Definitely a top contender for the next SC2 Open.

MGRedground was another player I recognized from TCO. He’s currently playing for Mobility Gaming, a small eSports upstart trying to get a quality team together to compete in large tournaments. Redground is a solid Terran player with excellent theory and a lot of confidence. Every conversation I’ve had with him, he’s been upfront and honest about the matches. He knows when he can win and will make sure it happens.

Ack and FrozenHobo are two others that really stuck out in my mind. They had the room roaring during some of their matches and showcased some really great talent. I believe both were in the top 8 as well.

I also feel compelled to give Hollywood another shout out because it’s always a pleasure watching him do work against his competition. He’s the amazing, 14 year old Zerg player I met at TCO and again at this event. His dad was there as well, helping him out and showing support through the entire event. It always warms my heart to see such passion and support for something like this.

Finally I want to give a shout out to the other TCO competitors that showed up: RebelJHawk, JaPz, Stips, PsychonautQQ, Storm, and Happyhobo. If I missed anyone I’m sorry, let me know and I’ll throw you on the list. Otherwise next time make sure to seek me out and let me know you’re there. I always love hearing from the players!

Shout Outs

Before wrapping this article up I want to give out a few non-player shout outs. These are some people that I met, did an amazing job and deserve credit for their actions. Thanks for providing and/or contributing to an awesome event!

First I want to recognize the casters who did an amazing job all day long. I was really impressed with the quality of conversation, insight, and energy these guys had. Especially since Siraz was the only one who had done this kind of thing before. Scott ‘Obsidian’ McGrath and Cody ‘Courbple’ Swede (I hope that’s right) were new to casting but stepped up magnificently and performed like pros. Definitely take a moment and show these guys some support!

Next we need to acknowledge Evva and Nick who were in charge of the entire events operations. These were the delegates that showed up to the TCO event to scout for players and tirelessly maintained the event on Saturday. And not only did they run the event, but they were nice enough to spend some extra time talking to me and answer a few questions here and there. I really appreciate that and felt very welcomed by them. So thanks Nick and Evva for putting on a great show and making things happen. Before I jump onto the next shout out, I’d also like to tie in one for Teh Pwn Gaming club and the CSL team for contributing as well. I’m sure this was a team effort with plenty of planning and coordination. Thanks to all you guys!

Finally I want to say thanks to Daniel McIntosh and NOS for getting so involved in the eSports community and more specifically Starcraft 2. More sponsors means more money which leads to big and better tournaments. And of course, more NOS. Thanks for keeping us powered up and showing your support!


I haven’t found a link for the brackets, but as soon as I do I’ll provide them here.

NEW: Replay Pack

NEW: Teh Pwn Gaming on Justin.tv

Official event post on CSL (with link to Team Liquid)


Teh Pwn Gaming club website

Teh Pwn Gaming Facebook page

Facebook Event post and relevant discussion

Spawn Room Facebook images

Other Tags: CSL, LAN, NOS, StarCraft II, SC2, TPG, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, UMN

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