Take note: new items now available in the Judge Foundry store

Greetings judges,

I’m here to chat with you today about merch from the Judge Foundry store.

This is going to cover two things – the new merch we are adding this wave, and talk about some of the changes we have made from wave 1 to wave 2.

New Merch

We have two new items, a judge notebook and a red judge pen.

They will be available both separately and as part of a package deal.


Judge Foundry Notebook
Judge Foundry Notebook

We spent a lot of time looking at different notebooks, and know that whatever we pick won’t be perfect for everyone, but I do want to chat a bit about the notebook we picked here.

This is a medium sized, lined hardcover notebook.  It’s a little too big to fit in a front pocket.  From testing it will fit in a back or side pocket on cargo pants pretty handily.  It’s 8 ⅜ x 5 ¼, and has 112 sheets of paper.

It has both a marker and two bands, which let you keep multiple places easily for notes on the floor while also having an option to keep it closed.  It also has a pen loop.

There is an inside back pocket to store things, which can fit cards or smaller note pages like time extension slips very easily.

The objective was to make something that you could use to take longer notes on the floor, store a handful of useful items, and have a lot of pages for note taking across multiple events.

The multiple marking methods let you have easy access to things like a back sheet with IPG/penalty notes or mark out your team’s schedule while also keeping your current page of round notes marked.


Judge Foundry Pen
Judge Foundry Pen

These are Sharpie S-Gel pens, red ink, 0.7mm.

I’ve used these for a couple of events now, and they write very smoothly and cleanly across all normal paper, and mark up the Judge Foundry tokens quite well.

William Geiermann mentioned that the cartridges are exchangeable with the Pentel EnerGel cartridge, so if you like the feel but want a different color,  a different line width, or a refill these are what you need

New Item Pricing

We are pricing the pens at $13 USD/$21 CAD for a set of four pens.  This is largely to make sure that if people buy a single pen we aren’t totally getting beat up on shipping.  (The cost of shipping is baked into every item.  No need to figure it out during checkout.)

The notebook alone we are pricing at $27 USD/$48 CAD for one notebook.  This covers our cost, shipping, and fulfillment/storage.

We do want to make sure these are reasonable to get into people’s hands, so we are offering a combo deal, $40 USD/66 CAD for one notebook, five pens, and two stickers, which gets them into your hands with the shipping and fulfillment costs combined together.

Merch Changes

After wave 1, we did have some lessons learned.  Notably, we lost our shirt on vests, and invested in the wrong shirts.


Rob shows off the Judge Foundry vest. Photo courtesy Commander Arcade.

The vests are my hobbyhorse and I really want them to exist, but they aren’t cost effective at the number we sold.

I wear mine a lot, I’m proud of Judge Foundry, and I like how it looks.  (You can see me wearing it in the latest Commander Arcade video in the still above, for instance.)  But we only had four people order vests.  The cost per-item from our imprinting supplier goes down as we order more items, and we set the prices based on getting at least 10 of any given item.  The costs for the vests drop very rapidly based on the number ordered, and our per-unit cost was close to $20 higher than we had priced for due to how few we sold.  We fulfilled them, but it was at a loss.

I do really like these, and want them to exist, but we have to figure out a way to make them cost effective.  Either we would have to raise the price approximately $20 (from an already fairly high cost) or we can push people to demand them and buy them all at once.

I prefer the second method, so we pulled them from the storefront.  Please reach out to me and let me know if you are interested in buying one, so I can gauge interest.  My assumption is that we will offer them approximately once a year, likely in the winter.

Black Button Up Judge Shirts

Some judges provided feedback about the shirts in our previous order.

Historically, judge shirts were produced with a range of thicknesses, including ones that were very thick. Some members requested the “thinnest judge shirt” from history – a 3.3 oz 35/65 cotton/poly blend. Unfortunately, that shirt is no longer being manufactured.  I looked at the weight of the options from our supplier, and had a couple of options very close to the thinnest historical judge shirt.

My core requirements in a shirt were that they come in both men’s and women’s cuts, with sizing to fit most judges, including tall variations, and that the shirts be comfortable to wear for a long shift at a crowded convention or hectic tournament.

What I chose was a 4.5oz weight 55/45 cotton/poly blend, with men’s and women’s cuts, with sizes including talls and going up to 6x in both the men’s and women’s cuts. There was a second option I elected to not go with, which is a 3.3oz weight 55/45 cotton/poly blend.  This fits most of the requirements I listed above, but the sizing only goes up to 4x.  Since I could not match the original shirt exactly, I decided the slightly thicker shirt was worth the additional size range.  It’s very important to Judge Foundry to make sure everyone has the ability to get a shirt that fits them.

There was a compromise option I had not considered, however.  We could go with the thinner shirts for everything but 5x/6x, and if we need 5x/6x order enough of them to get to our order minimum of those, and hold them in stock until more are needed.  I dislike holding stock for shirts, and it raises the per-unit cost for the larger sizes quite a bit for us, but it enables us to both get the thinner shirts requested and also enable everyone to get shirts that fit. We won’t be charging more for 5x/6x shirts.

So this is the change for this wave – no pricing change on shirts, and the material will be a bit thinner and crisper feeling for everything but 5x/6x.  It also will not have the white stone in the shoulder area.

The Future of Merch

We had 72 orders in wave 1, and it was a full day of fulfillment for Dan Milavitz and me to pack everything up and get it out.  It felt good to get everything out to everyone.  We had a couple of nametags that got missed on our order (we have the problem fixed for this upcoming wave, so that should not happen again.)  We also had some delays on getting patches, but those went out fine as well.

We want to keep these coming, so we can give everyone the option to get a nice judge uniform they can use locally or at larger events.

If you have feedback, we are for sure taking it into consideration, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing it with both board members and local judges who I can test out materials and physical items on.

Feel free to drop a line to me either via email or discord, and I’ll chat with you about products and what Judge Foundry can do to make them best for our members.


  • Rob Mckenzie

    Rob McKenzie is a judge from Minnesota, active since 2004. He is the former Regional Coordinator of the USA North region. More recently Rob has been working frequently with Magikids, the largest Magic focused nonprofit in the world, doing promotional and learn to play work.

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