Bounty/Prize Splits and “Bribery”

So, if you check out the results of the Emerald Championships, you’ll see a little bit of offering to split bounties and/or prize support during the elimination rounds. This has kicked up a minor fuss. Two questions:

1) Is it “bribery” to offer to split prizes and/or bounties in order to get people to concede to you?

2) How many people care? It’s easy to drop this sort of split into the category of bribery – how is “if you concede, I’ll give you all the product for winning” not in some sense ‘bribing’ the other player to concede? But this sort of thing goes on all the time. I can’t even count the number of times that a Kotei has been decided by the guy who doesn’t care about the story prize and/or can’t use the GenCon qualification conceding in exchange for some or all of the prize support.

Although there are some who object to prize splitting (or prize giving away), most people don’t seem to have an issue with it (unless they’re forced to think of it in terms of bribery, at which point there’s more shift against it). It’s against the text of the rules, I think, but I don’t even know if it’s against the “spirit” of the rules because it goes on anyway and it doesn’t generally seem to be an issue.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that everyone is against players being allowed to just break out a roll of $20 bills and start peeling them off until the other guy goes home.

Which gets us to bounties – including the alleged situation at the Emerald Champs T4. Normally, I think that most players would include bounty splits along with prize splits in the “not a problem” category. But what if the player offering the bounty split is the player who offered the bounty in the first place? Is it kosher for a player with a chunk of cash to offer a bounty for his Clan to win, play that Clan, and then if he makes the T4/T2 start offering to “split” that bounty? Is that “splitting a bounty?” Or is that just a risky and awkward way of having the option of bribing players? Should people not be allowed to offer bounties for tournaments they’re playing in? Does it matter if there’s any real chance you’ll actually make the cut?

5 thoughts on “Bounty/Prize Splits and “Bribery”

  1. Had I know that the Crane had a major bounty beforehand, I would have made sure that the bounty for Mantis was bigger. I personally would have enjoyed seeing a Mantis in the finals again this year (and as well as they have done, still no wins).

    As far as the ‘bounty/prize splits’ and ‘bribery’, I feel that if it is actually done in good faith (not in bad faith like say I know I can’t win against your deck 75% of the time, let me see if I can get you to concede by offering you this) then I am OK with it.

    As far as the situation in story goes, I think story team should always take this information into consideration. I would find out what character David Winner and Will Brewer would have picked had they won and involved some story time for them when the new Emerald Champion finds evidence that the David Winner’s choice ‘bribed’ Will Brewer’s choice to make it into the finals. Unlike Magic, this situation can cause for epic conflicts within the story of the game thus making Legend of the 5 Rings legendary.

  2. The actual event may or may not have been intended as bribery… I honestly don’t think this was a conscious attempt at bribery or anything underhanded. BUT if AEG decides that this is acceptable, we’re going to see it happen again, and next time, it might very well be intentional bribery. There will be player in a future tournament willing to put a nice bounty up for his clan, then offer the bounty he’s “winning” to the other player in exchange for the story win.

    Something like this was pretty much inevitable, since AEG doesn’t allow bribery, but they do allow bounties for winning. But really, what can AEG do to make things 100% waterproof? What prevents players from agreeing on something in the back of the store, or through discreet text messages? I don’t envy AEG having to make some kind of a ruling on this situation.

  3. I mean, it hasn’t been THAT long since open bribery was allowed, and in the end I tend to think it removes a lot of the distastefulness if it’s just flat out obvious and open. You played your way into a spot where someone might want to offer you a bribe; if giving up the chance to win a major event like that is worth the money to you, then it makes both people involved directly in the match better off. In this case, he was playing with a borrowed deck, and while I don’t know his financial situation at all, that could easily allow him to get to more events.

    Some of the big bounties over the end of last Kotei season were used to get groups or people to Gencon who otherwise couldn’t have gone. Yes, to some degree that just impacted the story decision rather than the actual winners of the tournaments, but since actual winners of tournaments have certainly been determined for story purposes before I don’t really see the harm in it being decided by bribery, or because someone feels they owe a favor, or anything of that sort. So long as there’s not total coercion, open it up and make it all fair game.

  4. I don’t know if allowing open bribery is ever going to be a popular decision. There’s just something that ‘feels’ distasteful to people about it, especially so in a game where you’re mostly playing for story prizes.

    However, I definitely understand the logic… If it’s going to happen anyway, and there’s no way to prevent it, why make it illegal?

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