So, I held my first Critical Hit tournament yesterday, using the Match Play variant.
In the weeks leading up to the tournament, I posted regularly in our Facebook group, presenting one card in each post. The posts contained a picture of the card, the text, and some sort of comment: tips on situations where it could be useful, a discussion on relevant card interactions, or humorous hypothetical stories involving the card and named members of the community. The posts were often commented on with good questions.
There were 27 contestants, and we played 5 qualifying rounds followed by semifinals and finals. The tournament went really well, especially considering it was our first try. I have to give a lot of credit to the cards, which were easily understandable for the players, so I seldom had to be called over to explain or make decisions.
I ran the tournament using a hastily prepared Google spreadsheet and random.org. For next year (the players seemed to both expect and hope for this to be a yearly thing from now on) I will improve on this a bit, since it was a bit too easy to make manual mistakes and mess things up. Still, it worked well enough that nobody complained or were left waiting around too much. I even managed to participate in the tournament without it being stressful.
In sum, it was great fun. I had multiple people come up to me and say they had been a bit skeptical and expected the card stuff to be complicated and distracting from the fun of pinball, but they had a blast almost right away.
Some random details: Everyone started with two cards. You got an extra card if you finished 1st or 2nd in your group. You also got a card if you completed a pingolf-ish objective posted on each game. A card was also given to the person finishing last in one random group each round. (A bag of Maoam Pinballs candy was awarded to a random 3rd place finisher each round, to surprising merryment and applause.)