Sharing thoughts on a few items:
Number of people - I am in support of an expansion to 24. Regardless of 16 or 24, I have a second post below on a suggested format change.
State declarations or restrictions - I am against anything that puts restrictions or forces declarations of which state you are competing in until the entire results of that year are complete. Anything that forces a person to declare early in the process introduces a potential negative incentive not to go for events that are out of state. I live in Philadelphia, and there was recently the very first event in Delaware held two weeks ago. There were some Delawarians, but people from PA, NJ, NY, MD, and VA showed up for the event. There's still regular ol' WPPR points to go for, but there's now there's an extra incentive of the potential for a DE tournament. If I, or many of the others, were "locked in" to a state, it's less of an incentive to go if SCS is what we're chasing. The fun (and the value) of the current system that it's all positive right now. Every event is helping me gain something in some kind of standings, whether it be my Top 20 card, or the SCS where every event counts for something.
I am in support of a structure that rewards regionally-based performance or splits a state into sub-regions. That being said, I am having difficulty in determining a way to achieve this that does not add a great deal of overhead in determining how a state is broken up, how many sub-regions a state is assigned. That being said, here are a few thoughts that I am sharing:
The first thing that we have to consider is how many spots will be in Nationals? Right now, one state gets one spot, right? The premise of splitting up states into sub-regions implies that each State would then get multiple spots into Nationals, correct? Do you determine the number of National spots and divvy up the extras to specific states, or is it a bottom-up approach that says if you make a certain criteria, you've earned extra regions and we add those up to determine the number of spots for Nationals.
Let's assume that you pre-determine the number of spots for Nationals. Let's say you determine that it's "Every State with enough tournaments gets at least one, and we're going to give out 25 extra spots", similar enough to how the number of representatives are determined in the US House of Representatives.
You then have the fun task of figuring out who gets those extra, and my proposal is that it's based on the aggregate number of points earned by the state in the year prior.
Let's pretend it's something like the following:
CA - 10,000 pts
WA - 9,000 pts
TX - 8,000 pts
PA - 7,000 pts
... etc, etc.
DE - 100 pts
Then, you award the extra spots in proportion to the states that have earned the most. CA and WA get three regions, TX and PA get two, etc., and you run down the list.
I don't know what those state totals look like and how distributed the number of points are by State.
At that point, the State Rep (or Reps at this point?) get to declare their regions. PA gets a Pittsburgh and a Philly. When you register an event moving forward, you declare not only a State, but a sub-region if it applies to that state. The event organizer declares which sub-region it counts for, and it needs to pass a "smell test" where events that are in the Philly suburbs shouldn't be trying to claim that it's a Pittsburgh event and vice versa. This gets re-evaluated once a year based on the prior year's performance
What I think this doesn't address is where there is a high number of points in a state, but not enough geographic regions to warrant extra spots. Let's say CO "earns" two spots, but it's really just the Denver region. What about the opposite? Let's say Ohio only "earns" two spots, but how do you split Cincinnati/Columbus/Cleveland?
Any way you slice, it's going to add extra work to determine sub-regions, decide which regions those are, and extra leg work on the part of the tournament organizers and the IFPA.
Another reaction is to say, forget about sub-regions, we're only going with state lines. I should then focus on a Philadelphia-regional set of events or introduce some kind of City Championship concept and hope that we're putting together enough high-value events to get people to qualify for States.
Yet another reaction would be to petition your sub-region for US statehood, and while putting together your marketing materials your sole platform is "so we can have our own State Pinball Championship".