Become a Judge

Now is a better time than ever to become a judge with Judge Foundry. We certify tournament officials who will bring the highest professionalism, integrity, and skill to events large and small. Tournament organizers see Judge Foundry membership as a sign that a judge has demonstrated the qualities necessary to be entrusted with running an event, and some tournament organizers will exclusively hire Judge Foundry members.

Judge Foundry membership is reserved for those individuals living in the United States and Canada, and members must be 16 years old or older.

To become a judge, follow these steps:

Sign up for JudgeApps

JudgeApps is the community website used by judges worldwide to communicate, apply for events, test their knowledge, share feedback and more. You’ll need an account on JudgeApps to take your Level 1 Exam, and it’s also a good way to find local judges or ask questions of the community.

Find a Mentor

Judging isn’t something that can be learned just be reading the rules – every successful judge had someone to teach them the trade. The first place to start is your local game store – experienced players or store employees may be able to point you to a judge who already frequents the store, or another store in your area. You might consider visiting during a premiere event like an RCQ or Prerelease when the store is more likely to have a judge present.

You can also check the Judge Map on JudgeApps and use JudgeApps to contact judges near you to see if they would be interested in taking on a mentee.

Start a Relationship with a Tournament Organizer

Judges need somewhere to judge, and nearly all Level One Judges will start their judging journey at a local game store. Your mentor can probably help you make some connections with tournament organizers in your area. You’ll need an event organizer to be willing to vouch for you, in order for you to become a judge. This doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy – you just need an organizer to say “Yes, I’d have you help with events at my store.”

If you’re a judge who doesn’t have a nearby LGS, but who still wants to judge, you can also try to receive an endorsement from a senior judge at a large event. This is a less common option, but one that’s available to players to travel to events like SCGCon regularly who might not have a local community. The tournament organizer or any Level Three or higher judge can provide you with an endorsement in lieu of the local tournament organizer doing so.

Judge Some Events

You won’t know if you want to dedicate the time to become a judge until you try judging, even at some very casual events. To become a Judge Foundry judge, you’ll need to run at least one draft, at least one sealed or constructed event, and give opening and round-turnover announcements at at least one event. This could include FNM, a Commander night, or any other casual event, and you can play while judging as long as the tournament organizer doesn’t mind.

While it can be helpful to do this at an event with your mentor present, so they can provide you with feedback, this isn’t necessary. But consider taking some notes on your experience, including questions you encountered, to share with your mentor later.

Receive an Endorsement Review

After you’ve judged a few events, you’ll want to meet with your mentor for a certification interview. Here are the topics on which you’ll be evaluated:

  1. Confidence and lack of major stress or distress giving a ruling
  2. Understanding of Casual Play Philosophy
  3. Understanding of JAR Serious Problems
  4. Ability to create a plan for product distribution for a prerelease
  5. Ability to recognize potential advantage when something goes wrong in a game
  6. Mature behavior consistent with Judge Foundry values

Your mentor won’t test your rules knowledge at this interview – that’s what the test is for. But they might ask other questions to be sure that they’re comfortable putting their reputation behind you. They might also show you how to use the EventLink scorekeeping software or teach you how to set up tables for a Prerelease, depending on your local area’s customs. At the end of the interview, your mentor will either give you feedback on how to improve before they’ll endorse you, or they’ll endorse you for certification, and write you a short review that touches on these topics.

Become a Member of Judge Foundry

In order to test for Level One, you’ll need to join Judge Foundry and pay your first month’s dues. This is because the exam is reserved only for Judge Foundry members, and because, upon successful completion of the exam, you’ll be a fully-certified Level One Judge. The dues are only $5/month, and your first month will be pro-rated based on how much of the month is left.

Take the Level One Exam

At last, it’s time to take the test! Work out a time with your mentor to take the exam. All Judge Foundry certification exams are taken in-person, are closed-book and are untimed. The exam is 25 questions, and you’ll need a score of 70% or better to pass. While the exam isn’t designed to trick you, it is designed to determine your knowledge of the rules of the game and policy for Regular REL events, so study up before you test.

After you finish your exam, your mentor will go over the results with you, including discussing the questions you got wrong. If you didn’t pass, don’t get discouraged – you now know what areas of the rules or policy to study for next time, and you can make another attempt in 30 days.

If you passed, congratulations! You’re now a certified Judge Foundry judge! Let your friends know – this is a big accomplishment. And be sure to let the tournament organizers with whom you’ve been working know that you’re now certified and ready to judge more at their stores.