When 40k Tournaments come up, there are certain things I prefer to see, as I decide if I will attend or not. Location, Ruleset (which includes comp, missions, pairings), and opportunity cost. SandWyrm and I have spelled out some of the things we like to see as we plan an event. In planning an event, you honestly get to choose how you feel to BEST do your event. When choosing to go to someone Else's event, you're not so lucky.
I'm a gamer. I play games. Games are fun to me. Gaming also implies competition. I don't mind competing with people. There are a few rare games that don't rely on one group competing with the other. (Shadows over Camelot, Forbidden Island, and Arkham Horror are a few I recall that are co-op) My wife really likes those games, and I do as well.
40K isn't a Co-op game. It's designed for two people to play against each other. One person wins, one person loses. I prefer to only have to know who won, and who lost. In a competition, winning or losing is what matters. In the spirit of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), winning or losing is the measurable outcome of the game.
40K is not like the GRE or ACT, where relative ability is possibly measured. 40K can measure who beat whom. I feel trying to get into how much someone beat someone else is beginning to attempt to split hairs, and introduce a different game into a 40K competition.
I suppose if you want to compose a different game (Battlepoints+PaintPoints+SportsmanPoints) to play superimposed on a series of games of 40K, go right ahead. A tournament system can be as complicated as a TO wants it to be.
A ranking system can be devised, but also needs a lot of data points (games), and preferably a standardized game (no weird missions, like anything that DeepStrikes is worth 3x it's KP's, or BattlePoint tourneys vs. W/L tourneys. If the ranking system is based on BP's, what's to stop people from making outrageous missions to boost their buddy's scores?) Without standardization, the ranking system can quickly skew to favor people, and then fails to be a representation of what it's meant to be: a ranking for the skill of generals. I don't think a ranking system should expand to include Paint or Sportsmanship. Do Separate rankings for Sportsmanship and Paint.
I used to like going to BattlePoint tourneys where the goal was to read the missions ahead of time, design a force to best compete at the released missions, and maximize the number of points you could squeeze out of your opponent/mission/paint score combination.
The thing was, those tournaments were pretty much the only game in town. If you wanted to compete, you had to play in a tourney with Comp, home-brewed missions, and do everything you could to accumulate the most points (through painting, and sucking up to your opponent). Every aspect of the day is competition. Even down to how nice you are to your opponent is a competition (bring cookies). Of course, your opponent could still decide to be a jerk, and rate you low on Sportsmanship points, It's a subjective score after all.
Comp was supposed to 'level' the playing field, so only the 'best' generals (with their handicap lists) would win, and the prizes went to the people who got the highest combination of Battle Points, Sports Points, Composition Points, and Painting Points. This would show you who the Ultimate 40K
One thing that always got me was the practice of paying to have your army professionally painted, to get higher scores, and therefore place higher at tournaments. Then One could tie or minor victory their first game, so they play easier opponents to crush during the rest of the day (maximizing their point totals), and then win best overall, without actually having to play very challenging opponents in the pairing system.
I've come to appreciate a much simpler concept for tournaments. Multiple categories of scores, jockeying and playing the game of the tournament system to maximize your totals at the end of the day, is TOO COMPLICATED. I'm not saying a BP tournament system with multiple score categories is wrong, it's just not my cup of tea. (I prefer warm Chai with a half teaspoon of sugar, or Irish Breakfast straight)
I think a BP system with layers of scoring, and swiss-pairing according to BP's, allows for an unnecessary layer of game superimposed on the tournament system.
I like to see the aspects of the Hobby separated out, as distinct elements. This means a Painting competition, and a tournament of games. Perhaps a Separate Sportsmanship award (if needed)
I hear Painters and Hobbyists complaining about how at events, The Hobby Aspect isn't appreciated. I think Hobby should be celebrated, even though it's an aspect I'm not fascinated by. (I don't honestly have an abundance of time for modeling and painting)
There Should be a Painting (and possibly even a Conversion) Contest at every event. I Suppose you could come up with a scoresheet to evaluate every entry for complexity and skill. You could also have a few 'experienced' artists evaluate each category. Category? Sure, why not?
If we're celebrating all aspects of the hobby, why not have a category for a troop, transports, and a Heroic figure?
Painting your own stuff should be rewarded, and rewarding.
Sportsmanship is good to have too, but is a quality I think that should be expected of people who attend a tournament. I think Sportsmanship doesn't need to have a prize, as it's hard to standardize judging how nice someone is. You can vote on a best sportsman, but what's to stop Scroodge McDuck from bringing more cronies allong to vote for him? You can have a dedicated judge for sportsmanship... really? Shouldn't we just expect people to behave? (aka Don't be a dick)
I think the Judges of the event should be given Cards. A Red, and a Yellow card. 3 Yellow Cards is an ejection, and so is 1 Red card. Gentlemanly conduct is expected at all time.
I haven't worked out in my head what conduct garners a yellow vs. red card. I think most definitely striking at or threatening your opponent is a Red Card.
It's possible You could work out some system where prizes are garnished for incurring yellow cards.
Games. I want to see Win/Lose evaluations. How badly I beat someone shouldn't matter. What matters at the end of the day should be who won the most of their games. Crushing your opponent doesn't matter in W/L. The margin of victory is unimportant. I've found more people to act in a more civil fashion when they just had to win, not grind their opponent's bones to make their bread.
Does W/L stop people from being Jerks and pulling dirty tricks? (WAAC behaviors) no, it does not. Any competition will have people who persist in attempting to cheat (like paying someone else to paint your models in a paint competition) heh. Paint at all Costs.
For W/L to work well however, you need missions that are difficult to tie. Mike Brandt (MVB) at Whiskey & 40K, of NOVA Open fame, has put forth a good deal of thought on the subject. And done some playtesting. I've put in my own thoughts as well.
I like having Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary objectives, with VP's for tie breaking, and swiss pairing according to W/L record.
5 Objectives (one in the center of the board, and one more in each of the table quarters) As MVB states, in his playtests, this objective favors Multiple Small Unit forces, as they can spread out, and contest/claim a lot of stuff.
Table Quarters (amount of Pts. per quarter decides winner) This actually is a disadvantage for MSU armies, as they're going to be in areas where Bricks can dominate, and outweigh them
Kill Point %. I really like doing a 4+1 or a 3+2 KP mission. As Dodger3 will point out, a lowered KP mission favors MSU too much. It's pretty easy even with a 3+2 mission for an MSU army to hide KP's in reserve, or in tanks.
On the converse, a regular KP mission heavily favors Bricks too much. I'm toying with the idea of using KP% (and winning means you beat your opponent by 20%). I think it might more accurately represent the amount of casualty.
Another idea put forward by MVB, is the margin concept, where to win a KP mission, you must win by 3 KP's. This does serve to balance high KP forces against Bricks, and not make a KP mission an auto-loose (like when I bring 23KP's of WH up against an 8KP army. I can kill 90% (simplified) of his army, and all he's got to do is kill 40% (simplified) of my army to win with straight KP's.)
Then there's always good 'ol Victory Points. They serve best as a tie breaker, I think.
I'd love to see tournaments that are as fair as possible to all entrants, that encourage separate competitions for all aspects of the hobby. Tournaments should be as objective as possible. Leave subjective voting to stuff like American Idol, and Popularity contests.
Also, don't restrict what people can or can't bring and play. That impinges upon their right to show up to an event and have fun with what they feel like bringing.
Let's make tournaments about who wins the most, and Paint about who wins at painting. Then, give out an award to the person who scored highest in the two competitions.
at least, that's what I'd like to see