Thursday, October 30, 2008

A viable tournament format?

This discussion came up on a small warhammer mailing list I'm on. If i was running a tourny, here's how I'd do it.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never run a real warhammer tournament. That being said, I have run other tournaments, and organizing is something which I greatly enjoy. Furthermore, I have a gut feeling that our annual “nitz-in-your-face” gathering of warhammer buddies at my house will eventually turn into Iowa’s first major tournament… we shall see.

That being said, if and when, I run a tournament, here is how I’d like to do it. As seasoned tourney goers, I’d love to hear your feedback on this system.

Battle Score – 100 battle points + 10 bonus points = 110 points possible.

Each game is worth up to 20 points. I would use the Aussie system I discussed previously whereby each player starts with 10 points a piece, and every 150 points you win by increases your share of the 20 points by 1 point. Furthermore, I would have players vote for the best tactician they played against. Each one of these votes would give the player a bonus 2 points, so if you played 5 games, the max score you could get would be 10.

I really think this system has merit. I disagree that it would discourage bad players and cause them to have a bad time. In fact, I think the better declination of scores would mean bad or new players would be much more likely to face others at their level sooner in the tournament. A player who lost 8-12 in the first round would not be playing a player who lost 0-20. The current system of 5/10/15 makes it much more likely the new/bad player could still play a much better player than themselves in the first round… not to mention the guys who sandbag game one to get in an easier bracket. Also, with my overall points system, one loss will not sink your whole tourney.

Sportsmanship Score – 100 points +10 bonus points = 110 points possible

Each game your opponent will give you a sportsmanship score between 1-10. This score will then be doubled, so you will receive a score between 0-20. In addition, each player will vote for the best sport they played against. This will garner that person an additional 2 bonus points. Again, with 5 opponents, the max score a person will receive is 10 points for this.

I like the 10 levels of declination for sports. Giving a specific idea of what each level should entail with a brief narrative should help people decide what to score each other better. Granted, sports scoring is never perfect b/c guys can tank each other, or a lot of guys just drop 9’s and 10’s, but I’ve used a 5 point system before and to me, it doesn’t offer enough options or flexibility.

Appearance Score – 50 points +10 bonus points

Again, this would be determined by the organizer, and scored during a break. I think there are a lot of good scoring guides for this out there, and I’d simply steal one. Each player would vote on the best themed/painted army they played, and this would be worth 2 bonus points per vote, so again, the max you could get in this category would be 10 points.

Composition Score – 50 points + 50 points +10 bonus points = 110 points

For comp, I would have 3 sets of scoring. First, 50 points would be assigned by the organizer. If I were doing this, I’d get a loyal band of henchmen who are well versed at using stealth cheese to help me comp out an army. If there were time, I might even give people who turned in a list well in advance a chance to redo a list to improve their scores… but this would depend on time. The other 50 points would be scored by the opponents. It would be a 10 point scale, and they could adjust it by +/- 1 after the game. I like this plan b/c it helps regulate the craziness that is comp scoring. If I’ve never played a tomb king army, how can I comp score it? This way, players get some imput, but only half. In addition, each player votes for the best designed army they played, and that army gets 2 bonus points… so each person could max out at 10

Ultimately, this leads to a tournament where the max score possible is 390 points. Battle scores account for 28%, Sports is 28%, Appearance is 15%, and Comp is 28%. Overall would be decided by highest total score. In addition, I’d award these awards
Overall – top 3 – total points of all scores
Best Warlord top 3 – Battle score + Comp scores
Best Sportsman – top 3 – Sports + Appearance
Best Tournament player – top 3 – all bonus scores (and bonus only) added together.

If I had prize support, I’d never give it to winners since I think that adds too much competition, and is counter-productive to the vibe most tourneys are striving for. I’d make all prizes drawings open to everyone. A random prize can make a day of getting your ass kicked much better. Winners would get a plaque/trophy.

This is how I’d do it. Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Victory Points at a tournament

I was listening to podhammer this weekend [you can download it at] and at the end of another great show titled "pew, pew, pew," Jeff was kind enough to answer an e-mail I had sent him. The e-mail concerned scoring in Aussie Tournaments. I had heard him and guys discuss on multiple occasions their tournament games and how they had faired. What confused me was when they got around to discussing victory points, they mentioned a 20 point system. Each of the players would get some combination of points, so that the total value of the points awarded would be 20 (ie: 20-0, 16-4, or 10-10 for example). This is much different than any tournament I had been to.

American tournaments award points on a set basis. Traditionally, a victory is worth 15 points, a draw is worth 10, and a loss is worth 5. In addition, there may be certain scenerios that allow a person to accrue bonus points. Usually the number of points determining victory is around 400.

As Jeff explained, the Aussie system is much different. Each game, both players start with 10 points. For every 150 points a person wins by, they gain an additional point, while their opponent loses a point. So, if player A beats player B by 340 points, then that would be a 12-8 victory. If player A won by 99 points, it'd still be a 10-10 draw. And if player A won by 1500 points or more, it'd be a 20-0 victory.

This system has two great advantages I can see immediatly. First, it does a much better job of declinating the participants. For example, lets say player F wins his first two games by 1500 and 1700 points respectively. Player G wins his first two games as well, the first by 420 points, and the second by 600 points.

Under the American system the standings would look like this:
Player F - 30 points
Player G - 30 points

Under their system, the standings would look like this
Player F - 40 points
Player G - 26 points

Their system seems to offer a much more realistic view of how the competators are actually doing.

Secondly, the Aussie system seems to encourge better game play. First of all, the hit and run armies that try to get 500 victory points and then play points denial can still win games, but will never have enough battle points to find themselves on the podium. This system encourages aggressive play. In addition, no matter how bad the situtation turns, both players have insentive to keep up the fight. Even if I find myself down 1000 victory points with no shot of winning, smart tactics and good decisions might allow me to eek out a 2,4,6, or even a few more battle points, rather than just resigning myself to a loss and 5 consolations points. This encourages people to keep playing and finish games, and also can help mitigate some horrible luck. When a guy loses the game in the first turn due to some henious roll, he may not be able to win, but he can at least battle back and try to secure some points. To me, this creates a game that has competative and meaningful elements throughout the game, regardless of how earlier turns may have gone.

What do you think?

Whats in a name...

I was trying to think of a good name for my blog, and this seemed most appropriate. This is a blog about my favorite hobby, Warhammer. I am not convinced that I will have much to say that is worth saying, but I frequently like to type out my thoughts on warhammer to my friends scattered through the country, and then then send them via e-mail. I thought this way, my friends could avoid long posts from me in their inbox, and instead check my blog. If, along the way, I picked up a couple strangers that enjoyed reading my musings as well, so much the better. Additionally, I was hoping this might inspire me to think on and write about my favorite hobby a bit more.

I chose the name "combat resolution" because its my favorite aspect of the game. I have heard some people complain that its not the overall wounds done in combat that decides who wins and loses in this most critical of warhammer phases, but rather various modifiers. They often say that its stupid and complain that wounds, and only wounds should decide the outcome. I have to disagree. First of all, on a minor level, as a historian at heart, I am keenly aware that many factors went into deciding the outcome of a battle, and unlike a sporting event, the final "score" didn't necessarily matter. In game terms, I like that combat resolution does two very important things. First off, it limits "herohammer." By this I mean, no longer can the uber-lord of destruction roam freely around the board and smoke people. He may do 4 or 5 wounds to a unit, but if he attacks a unit with a full 3 ranks, a warbanner, and outnumber, he is beaten before the combat begins. I like this. In addition, it allows for a great deal of tactical planning in-game. The randomness of dice rolling adds a nice element to the game, but I enjoy playing the game in a manner that allows me to calculate the odds and combat resolution, and thus be reasonably confident of success. Much like poker, I enjoy trying to get stuck in when I have the best of it. And like poker, the random element then provides the drama of the game.

Birth of Combat Resolution

I took a stab at starting a blog about a year ago. It was a failure, not least of which was because I forgot my blog address. I am hoping that I am smart enough to remember "benhammer." We shall see.