Super Bou 3 TO interview

The European Smash summer has certainly been packed this year! The Bous Crew is prepping to close it in style this weekend in the sunny city of Barcelona with SuperBou 3. Aside from a high level competitive ground the crew’s primary focus on site is to offer a chill summer holiday experience that’s characterised by the ‘Bous Spirit’ which the the crew accommodates by booking a complete hostel with a pool and restaurant/bar for the entire weekend to facilitate various leisure activities like a pool on site, beer pong, mafia and an afterparty to cool off.

Enough reason to learn more about that ‘Bous Spirit’ from the head tournament organiser(TO) of the crew, T-BAG. In addition he updates us on the current state of the Spanish scene, their inspiration for the Bous series, how the crew divides the work and avoids TO burnouts, the future ambitions with the SuperBou series and if, given it’s format, a collaboration with Smash Summit could be an option for the future.

Willy'T-BAG'
Willy ‘T-BAG’ – Super Bou Head TO

Willy ‘T-BAG’  – Super Bou Head TO
“Hi! Mi name is Guillem but everyone calls me Willy. Aka T-BAG. I’m 26 years old and I used to work as a sports teacher in a prison. Now I’m considering opening my own business but that is another story. So yeah, let’s say that I’m kind of a sports teacher!

I’ve been playing Melee since I was a kid, but only discovered the competitive scene three years ago. I started attending locals in BCN and wanted to travel to EU majors, so I did. We don’t know how lucky we are as a community to have these players. I main Jigglypuff in Melee because it was fun for me to rest all of my friends. I sometimes play Smash Bros. Ultimate(Ultimate and when I do I play Inkling. But I don’t really play it serious.”

How’s the Spanish Smash scene doing these days?

T-BAG: “ We’re not going through our best moment to be honest.  Spain is primarily divided into three Smash regions, Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona.

For years, Madrid was the community with more tournaments, players, training houses and so on. All of that was because Pablo (Nex) took most of the responsibility for facilitating this. He really enjoyed it but it caused him some health problems because he was overworking too much. He decided to stay involved on the side to give tips or whatever to the ones who took on the role needed. They used to have monthlies and one big event a year but now they only have some small tournaments.

In Sevilla the Ultimate community is stronger, but they have a really good relationship with each other so they run the Redfox saga every year. They don’t have monthlies but their events are really fun tho!

Here in Barcelona it’s kind of the same situation as in Madrid. Oscar de Pedro (Plinci) was doing all the TOing work but got burned out from it. Luckily, few people took the initiative and continued what Plinci was doing.  (@SmashBrosCat) We have a local with 12 setups that we can go to when we feel like it. It’s in the center of Barcelona so it’s easy for everyone to go to for practice or just to hang with other Smashers. We have two tournaments each month. One in the local of SmashBrosCat and other one in MeltdownBarcelona, where we can get drunk while playing Melee!

As as big events are concerned we have SuperBou in the summer and WinterBou in December. The latter one is just for Spanish people because there’s only 30 spots available.”

Has Trif’s dominance of the European scene had an effect on the Spanish scene?

T-BAG:”I don’t think so. While it’s unquestionable that Trif is the best player in Europe under Leffen right now, for us he remains a homie who is just really good at this game. When I see him attending SuperBou or WinterBou I’m more excited about hanging out with him than playing against him. Of course some people will attend an event because he’s registered, but it’s rare in Spain. We are tired of giving our money to Trif though XD”

What’s SuperBou?

T-BAG: SuperBou is more than a tournament *cough cough* Heir.

No jokes aside, SuperBou, like Heir, is a tournament where chilling with your friends and having a good time while you’re drinking some beers and watching cool live Melee action is more core to the experience then competing in the game. We’ve rented a full hostel close to Barcelona’s city centre. The hostel has a bar/restaurant, players can chill at the pool, play beer pong and mafia, sleep in their own room and as icing on the cake are hosting a big afterparty after the event concludes. ”

What defines the Superbou experience and makes it special?

T-BAG: “SuperBou originated out of the desire to hold a chill weekend with the Bous Crew, which were around 20 people, in a mansion with a swimming pool, bbq etc. That idea caught on in the Spanish community and we ultimately ended up renting a mansion for 40 people.  When we sought a venue that allowed us to go bigger you could say Super Bou as a tournament was born.

But the Bous’ Spirit, the heart of the Super Bou experience, stems from that chill weekend trip with friends with people socializing. At Super Bou players approach Melee with very chill attitude rather than a frustrated one which makes it particularly special I think. Some people didn’t even play Melee at some SuperBou’s because they were too busy enjoying the moment and chillin with everyone.”

The Winterbou venue
The Winterbou venue, follow the same formula but with less emphasis on competitive play and of smaller scale

What inspires and drives your team to host SuperBou in its current form?

T-BAG:”The passion have for Melee and the desire to provide that feeling you get when you spent a weekend with all the homies that you can’t see in person that often. Mixed with relaxing drinks makes it the best mix ever! We really enjoy providing this. We follow and watch every tournament since we “are” part of the scene. We put a lot of passion in providing SuperBou and we really feel happy and proud when we see the result. When a tournament ends and somebody says: “pheeew man, this tournament has been so nice, I really regret not attending last year….” That’s a feeling you can’t pay for.”

How has the event evolved over the past years?

T-BAG:”When we started we wanted to start small,  scale up slowly and learn as much as we could from our first events. We aimed to double the capacity year after year and sought to host a tournament that could handle 512 in about 5 years time. The first year we were with 40 people, last year we had 64 and this year we aimed for 128 but we’re over 200 attendees already. We didn’t expect that much support from everyone and are enthusiastic continue moving forward. Let’s see where we’ll be in two years..”

You’ve booked a full hostel for the event. Can you explain a bit about how you approached and confirmed that booking?

T-BAG:”Three years ago, we were searching for a mansion to spend a weekend with the bouscrew with a swimming pool, bbq and more. More people from the Spanish scene liked the idea and wanted to come. Someone had to take care of all the paperwork and so on, so I took that responsibility. We ended up renting a mansion for 40 people with a swimming pool, bbq and lots of beds. It was the perfect venue for us to spend a weekend there.

Afterwards we sought something bigger to grow as event. It had to have the same facilities but should be able to house more than 200 people. We visited over 10 hotels and hostels but the SuperBou venue was the one we liked the most. It has 220 beds, a swimming pool and a lot of other stuff.”

Super Bou 3 Venue
The Super Bou 3 venue, the INOUT hostel

What aspects of that approach would you recommend to fellow European TOs?

T-BAG:”My advice is to never stop improving and learning. And don’t miss the chance if somebody wants to help you.”

Has SuperBou’s summer holiday approach proven attractive to international players?

T-BAG:”Barcelona in terms of holidays is a tourist claim. But in my opinion it’s not so much about Barcelona but the attendees. They are the ones who make this event special. The first two editions weren’t in Barcelona and were a little bit “underground” but people really enjoyed being with the homies in place where you can play Melee, drinking beer and going to the swimming pool at the same time! It can be done in Barcelona or could be hosted in any other chill city.”

Can you talk about staffing and organisation a bit? Who are involved and how have you divided responsibilities?

T-BAG:”All of the Bous’ Family is involved. We are a group of 15 friends who are taking the Barcelona scene to the next level. We have 4 tournaments organisers(TOs). Manu, Alex (kpi), Dani (Dagomsa) and myself. We also have a lot of  help from David (Animaster) who is not a Bou member (yet).

We don’t have a hard hierarchy but I try to be a little bit of the “Head TO” and organize a little bit of everything like talking to everyone, calling the venue, intermediate, asking if the job is done, etc. We have split the work so none of us get burned from their involvement. 

The rest of the Bous are helping with whatever they can. Most of them volunteer at SuperBou, which means 10+ people helping which is awesome. One of them does  the media stuff. Which is really helpful because none of the TO’s knows how Photoshop works.

Also Pablo (Nex) is doing an amazing job with all the publicity. He didn’t want to get involved at all but did want to help, so he was keeping European TOs informed on Discord, was the Spanish European Figurehead for the Melee scene in the European Smash Backroom and raised awareness about the event on all the discord servers. Thanks again Pablo Emilio Escobar!”

Is staff getting compensated and if so, in what form?

T-BAG:”The ones who are helping us like Pablo or the players who run the ProjectM(PM) and Ultimate bracket are getting the venue fee covered.

In general terms we don’t try to make money from the venue fee. We try to get everything covered and avoid a loss. In terms of breaking even SuperBou 2 was a bad tourney. There were some troubles with the venue and they raised the final price a few weeks before the tournament so we couldn’t cancel it. We had to pay for that out of our own pockets. While we expect to not end up in that situation again we’re being more cautious this time so that while we’re not earning money we do break even..

I really enjoy this work so I wouldn’t mind working as that in the future.”

How did you tackle marketing the event this year? Why have you taken this strategy?

T-BAG:”I gave Pablo (Nex) all the trust. He had a lot of experience doing marketing and it’s something that I find annoying to do. We wanted to open a shop-rewards-campaign with Smash.gg, bous and huge design clothes but it was too much to arrange for this year. We’ll hope if we can set it up for SuperBou 4!”

How would you like to see marketing evolve in the European competitive Smash scene?

T-BAG:”More money involved. We need sponsors, bigger tournaments and so on. But that’s a lot of work and people are lazy as hell.”

Which international players can we look forward to at Superbou?

T-BAG:”So far we have Trif, Ice, Prof, Over, Amsah, Baxon, FA0, Setchi, Schlimm, Pipsqueak, Frenzy… which looks pretty amazing! Most of them just registered when we opened the Smash.gg and to some of them I just said “Hey do you want a cold beer? CLICK HERE!” “

European August Majors of 2019
All European August Majors of 2019

Considering the close proximity of European majors in August, would you be in favor of more of a united approach among European TOing teams of major events?

T-BAG: ”Definitely! This summer is a mess, if you ask me. We’ve tried to avoid disturbing other tournaments assuming there was just Awakening planned in August since Heir had retired, but then Fête appeared. In my opinion this just means that WE (As European TO’s) need to talk more and negotiate everything. We can’t have three Majors in 30 days without having anything else in terms of Majors during the remaining 335 days. A Major in June, July and August would be amazing! Maybe next year we can split the months and fill up a big summer in Europe!

But, in my opinion, for now we need a better organisation as a European TO’s and move beyond just being concerned with our own tournaments. Sharing is caring.

SuperBou offers plenty of local entertainment and leisure facilities for entrants. How does the ‘Bous Spirit’ carry over to the viewers at home and can they experience from the event apart from viewing the competition?

T-BAG:”What you can regularly expect from most European tournament livestream, cutting edge quality from GeekyGoonSquad with the best players in Europe competing for the prize. Standard fair but probably that’s what makes attending SuperBou special. You can watch a cool stream, observe intense matches and drink with cool people at home. But to truly feel that ‘Bous Spirit’ you have to be there in person. All the entertainment that we offer is on site. Maybe that’s why our streams are not that hype enough though..”

Have you ever considered making that more hype by reaching out to the Beyond the Summit team to co-host an European edition of Smash Summits on Spanish soil?

T-BAG:”Actually, that was our first idea for a tournament but I think it’s really hard to setup in Europe. As I said a few questions ago you need a lot of money or sponsors to do it well.

Our idea was to hold a big separate event, with 512 entrants or more with the top 16 being invited to a mansion in front of the beach afterwards to play out the finals. To do so you need a lot of money for renting the house + meals + a big prize pool but as you’re inviting 16 players you need a different way of affording that rental and the facilities. Combine that with the knowledge that a top 16 of European players draws a far lower viewership then events in the States because viewers are used to a Summit where there are a lot of upsets, hype matches and good mafia.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not underrating European players, but we all know that our max viewers were around 6k during Heir 6 and that was with a few americans + the big Leff.

This means that if we want a Summit in Europe, we need to work really hard for it to prove a worthwhile investment that offers something fresh from what’s already offered from the events in the States.

We definitely are open to the idea though, @BeyondTheSummit, wanna talk about it? :D”

Trif at Smash Summit
Trif(middle) at Smash Summit, an invite only event in Los Angeles with a large focus on the viewing experience and quality of life of its invitees

Over the past years we’ve seen an increase in retirement and breaks of TOs of major events, the most prominent example is Team Heir’s Kone retiring due to family obligations but more recent examples include Willz (Fête) who has announced a break and G~P (Albion) who retired from TO’ing entirely.

SuperBou is already at its third edition. What is the staff of SuperBou doing to avoid potential burn-out issues and react to retirement of core staff?

T-BAG:”First of all, I think that everyone should be more grateful. Most people don’t know how hard and stressful being a TO in a tournament can be, even if it’s just a small tourney with 32 entrants. So to just say “Hey TO, thanks for everything, the tournament was awesome! Thanks for your time.” would actually be a good start.

Kone did what every TO wanted to do. At Heir 4 Manu and I were talking to him, asking for some tips because we were just starting. We follow almost every word that he told us there and so far it’s going pretty well.

Last year I overworked for SuperBou 2 and it was truly stressful for me. In response, we split the jobs. Everyone has a job to do with a deadline to it. If the work isn’t done within that time, we meet and discuss why it wasn’t possible and find a solution. Talking about everything, trying to find solutions and avoiding to be frustrated within the team helps a lot. Everyone of us have a full time job and it’s hard to find time to meet so everyone has their task. Once a week we meet and show what we did, what our progress is and how can we plan our next steps.”

Do you have advice for European TOing teams facing similar issues?

T-BAG:” There’s three primary things I would like to advice:

1) If you want to start with TOing, start with locals, small tournaments and scale up slowly. Don’t try to do a 1024 entrants tourney at the first try because it will be a mess. Follow the steps of one tourney that you like and try to mirror it. By growing step by step will get you a lot of experience and you’ll see what people like and how you can improve your tournament by just adding or deleting little things.

2) You have to be ready to “pay” for things you aren’t able to do. For example, we don’t have a designer in our TO team, so I put a call out for help in the Spanish community we offer them a free venue fee. Always be grateful to the people who try to help. If someone comes to your local 30 minutes before the venue opens and help you unpack and puts up all the stuff, say THANKS to them. This could be really obvious, but means a lot for someone who just wants to help.

3) Don’t be mad at your TO team. EVERYTHING must be talked about before so it does not become a problem along the line. “

What’s the ambition with SuperBou on the long term?

T-BAG:”On the long term, my personal ambition would be to create something really big like Dreamhack or something similar. Because I really like the types of events that share a lot of games and not just accommodate Melee or the FGC.

For Smash at SuperBou in general terms, our long term plan is to just keep doing what makes us happy and keep playing Melee until we die. We’re aiming to host a 512 players event within two years.  Probably the worst part will be seeking that PERFECT venue where we can have a lot of space for the tournament while still having a huge swimming pool and the ability to hold a crazy afterparty. It might sound ridiculous but searching for THE venue is something that is making us crazy!

But yeah, mainly we just plan to keep growing as much as we can year after year and avoid doing something strange. Our idea is to continue hosting a tourney where Melee is “less important” but we do have SICK Melee at the same time.”

Where would you like to see the European Smash scene in two years?

T-BAG:”Unified. We, as European community, need to grow up together and avoid disturbing each other. I’m not saying that because of the mess of this year’s summer. I’m confident we can be a strong community with really good tournaments. Fête and Awakening are awesome tournaments and if we manage to work together, we can really make it into a huge European Smash summer next year.

I would also like to see more events during the winter though and more tournaments in the small communities such as Belgium, Italy and so on. I really enjoy traveling and having a Smash tournament is such a good excuse to justify it!!”

When would you call SuperBou 3 a summer hit?

T-BAG:”We think it already is. The first moment that we met with the venue owners we knew this year would be amazing. The venue is incredible and what they offered us was something that was between our average expectation. We aimed for 128 players but we went over and are full cap now. When those 128 players signed up we knew it would be a summer hit!”

What are you looking forward to the most at SuperBou?

T-BAG:”If I could, I would teleport myself to Sunday right before top 8 starts! Pools and top 32 are on Saturday.. there is a lot of work to do on Friday and Saturday as a TO and almost all the work is “done” before top 8. So when you reach that milestone moment is what I enjoy the most as TO.

What I also look forward to is giving a big welcome on Friday to everyone who’s arriving and waving at all the homies!”

Thanks for taking the time for this interview. Any closing comments you’d like to say to the community?

T-BAG:”Just thanks to Pablo (Nex) again for everything he did and everyone who supports the SuperBou series. It wouldn’t be the same without everyone involved. Big shootouts to the TO team that’s making this possible.

And I lastly would like to say…BOUS BOUS BOUS BOUS BOUS BOUS BOUS!

We wish you the Bous crew the best of luck with hosting the event this weekend!

You can tune into SuperBou 3 all weekend on GeekyGoonSquad. Below is the full schedule. Times are in CEST.

SuperBou 3 schedule
Full SuperBou 3 schedule

Thanks go out to Lexane Sirac of SmashAdvice for proofreading. Super Bou graphics were provided by Bous crew, T-Bag’s picture was provided by himself. Photographs from Winterbou come from the Winterbou album. Photographs from the venue come from a compilation image by the Bous crew, the source images can be found on the INOUT website. Summit Picture is a screengrab from BeyondTheSummit’s Twitch channel.

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