Sloop Blackjack is a recurring event organized and hosted by Feylind and Peeteegee, who are collectively referred to as the "Midnight Riverboat Casino". While they are both primarly homed on Midnight, they usually stage a Cobalt edition the week before the "official" one, as a shakedown cruise for new rules or ways of running the event.
How it Works
The way Sloop Blackjack is played is quite simple: Teams of five players, aboard sloops, and starting at a designated island, have two hours to pillage, attempting to hit, but not exceed, a target of 21 000 PoE in the booty chest. In the first season, PvP was strictly forbidden, but in the second season, teams were permitted to PvP other boats in the event crew, to much success. This will likely be included in future seasons.
Most commodities are disregarded entirely from judging: only the PoE in the booty chest is counted. The exception is the Ace commodity, which is announced just before the event begins, and is worth either 1000 or 11 000 PoE, at the team's discretion. The Ace commodity was Rambutan in Season 1, paint on Cobalt for Season 2 (any color), and Tellurium on Midnight for Season 2.
Launched for season 2, a website was used to streamline registration and information about the event. Additionally, the new registration mechanism required that teams must read the full rules before being permitted to register. While this reduced the number of participants in season 2, the average booty total was in fact higher, which seems to indicate that more competitive teams were attracted by the new system, while less competitive teams were unable to, or chose not to, register. It is likely this system will be reused in future seasons.
Sloop Blackjack does not have a "grand prize", but rather a prize list. The team who finishes in first place (closest to 21 000 PoE in the booty chest without going over) gets to pick first from the list. The team who finishes in second can select any remaining prize, and so on down.
Every season, including the Cobalt editions, has featured one prize consisting of five renamed sloops (one per team member), and despite no stated grand prize, the team finishing in first place has always claimed them.
Other prizes have been provided by the organizers, the OMs, or donors. The organizers made a specific effort to improve the quality of the prizes for the second season, after lacklustre secondary prizes from season one left many disappointed. (For example, where stilettos were given as prizes in season one, poniards were used in season two. Instead of gift certificates, unique trinkets such as signet rings were provided, and so on.)
Another new concept for season two was the raffle. A major flaw with Sloop Blackjack when it comes to prizes is that donations are nearly impossible to solicit and incorporate... since there are five players to a team, even though a throne would be an incredibly good prize, it's not much good to the four other players on that team. As such, a raffle was implemented in season two, both to encourage teams to finish and try their best, but also so that donations could be accepted and better-incorporated into the event. Any team member who completes the event, even if they're disqualified for going over the two-hour limit, is elegible to win a raffle prize.
It's unsure if and where season 3 will occur. The Midnight Riverboat Casino generally likes to give themselves a buffer of several months in order to conduct fundraising and formal planning. This buffer is signifigantly longer than that used for most events, but also tends to result in a much smoother and enjoyable experience for participants and for organizers. As such, if Season 3 happens on Midnight or Cobalt, it likely won't be until Autumn of 2006 at the earliest.
However, there has been talk of arranging a Viridian version of Sloop Blackjack, which would be organized by another group with the support, systems, and consent of the MRC. It remains in early planning.