Sunday, October 10, 2010

Team Tournament Results, Battle Reports, and Tournament Scoring

by wienas

It's been a while now, but many of us here at the Back 40k played in a team tournament hosted by the Hive Fleet Indy crew on the west side of town.

I have posted about the event on my own blog, indy40k, and you can check out the specifics there.

Tournament Results
Game 1
Game 2
Game 3

I wanted to talk about something that I touched on in my review of Game 3, and that's the scoring system for the tournament.  This tournament was a team format, but the scoring system has been used by standard tournaments (namely the one I ran back in June).  The teams were scored based on their win/loss record.  The tournament I ran allowed players to tie, but this tournament did not.  I don't think that makes a huge difference, but what this type of scoring does achieve is pretty substantial.  It allows players the freedom to play a fun game without having to utterly destroy their opponent.

In my 3rd game, I felt that my team completely outmatched the other team, who had much less experience and a worse army than we did.  Winning the game was something that was not going to be difficult.  But we could have a good time and not just table the other army because there was no need.  We joked around and had a good time, and made sure that the mission objective was met at the end.  We all had models left on the table, including the young Necron player who had a trio of Penitent Engines rampaging through his force with almost no way of causing damage to them.

What are other peoples' experience with this type of scoring?  Has anyone played this way before?  What are the potential drawbacks of this type of scoring system?

I'll leave you with some pictures of other armies from the tournament (click on the image to see a larger version).


  1. None of the local tournaments I've attended have ever used that sort of system. The players that attend are usually a very competitive bunch and may not appreciate a system where a single winner isn't necessarily chosen. As for me, it sounds like a great way to make an event more fun for beginners and experts alike. I may try to talk my local store into running a smaller point event and using a system like that to encourage some of the less experienced players to compete.

  2. Same here - I've never had the fortune of playing a tournament with this style of scoring... although I tend to shy away from them in general. Mainly due to the powergamey aspect, which I'm not a fan of.

    I'll have to make a note to go to the next one run by people who are setting up something for people to enjoy a day of gaming, rather than a complete beatfest.

  3. I think that this system is actually a better representation of a good general than the more common 20 point sliding scale (massacre, major/minor victory, etc). It stresses generalship over a lucky match-up by putting each army on an equal footing for each game. The 2nd place player has just as much chance to win the tournament as the 1st place player.

    Imagine if the Super Bowl were played that the two teams that accrued the most points over the season would face each other. The 2nd place team would be at such a disadvantage, that it may not matter whether they win or lose, unless they can cover the points difference.

    I see this scoring system as being beneficial for both the competitive and recreational tournament gamers.

    The system does, however, require a tie-breaker. If multiple players end the tournament 3-0, there needs to be a mechanic in place to determine the winner. We usually use victory points, but TOs should feel free to use whatever is the most convenient for them.

  4. i normally don't like events that focus solely/mostly on gameplay. i prefer events that focus on the hobby and having fun rather than simply winning games.

    lets face it: 40k isn't a good game system. that is why i find it absurd that such focus be placed on winning in tournaments where there is so much more to this hobby. people with great themes, attitudes, or pretty armies shouldn't be penalized for being unable or unwilling to win at all costs.

    i understand that there are a lot of people that prefer competitive events, and that's cool, but i'm hoping we can start seeing some hobby events come up in regular rotation.

  5. @Steve: That's a great point. The consensus in this area is that people don't seem to like tournaments where their battle score can be modified by how well (or poorly) they paint their models.

    We commonly use a "separate-but-equal" system that scores and awards battle, painting, and sportsmanship as individual categories. In the tournament that I ran, the sportsmanship prize was equal in value to the prize given to the best general.

    I would like to see the return of an overall prize to the person with the highest overall score.

    To me, a competitive event doesn't need to be all about battle points. It just needs to provide a system where players can be fairly judged only by their battle scores, without it being modified by their painting and sportsmanship. Spreading the prize support amongst the categories should do a decent job of ensuring that there is a good amount of fun and hobby at the event as well.

  6. I agree with pretty much everything here but will give my opinion as well. 40K has in my opinion 3 types of players.

    #1. Purely competitive that wants to win and doesn't care about how their army works. (Hypercompetitive)

    #2. Purely Hobbyist that truly enjoys painting, background stories, fluff, etc. more than playing competitively. (Non-competitively)

    #3. Hybrid Competitive/Hobbyist. Someone interested in both aspects at some level of equality.

    We at Hivefleet are trying to grow the game by incorporating all 3. We started a few tournaments after reading success stories from Nova, along with failure stories from many other locations. In our club, the main group is mixed as such:


    These are the main players that are playing pretty much week in and out. We have more I didn't include. Since I have been playing 40K now for coming up on 2 years I am starting to change from Hyper to Hybrid as my painting gets better, and I learn more. The types of tournaments we are trying to throw out there is meant to try and satisfy the hyper and the hybrid. Win or Loose, instead of table your enemy to be in the top 2. Win or loose instead of major, minor, etc. We also like to give out big prize support to attract both hybrid and hyper, so haven't really focused on an Overall Winner. I really enjoy the tournaments where my ability to win and my ability to have the best painted army and win are seperate. There is no way I can compete in an overall winner category in a tournament where Sandwyrm, Scott, and I are all 3 undefeated. My painting will never be as good as theirs. So if I really want to win it all, what must I do? Either have alot of money to pay someone to paint it for me, or try and learn and get some help here and there, and when I am old enough to forget how to wipe my bottom. Either way, I personally see us getting more new people into our hobby by the competitive or hyper route and eventually they will turn into a hybrids.

  7. "lets face it: 40k isn't a good game system. that is why i find it absurd that such focus be placed on winning in tournaments where there is so much more to this hobby."

    I disagree with this. 40k is not a perfect game system by any means, but it is more balanced now than it has ever been. It isn't second edition where Orks get virus bombed the first turn. The only thing that holds balanced armies back in 5th edition is the ability to deal with armor 14. With that exception, all the armies can compete in a tournament environment.

    I also don't understand how having a tournament that has a focus on winning the game is a detriment to the hobby aspects. Tournaments are an occasional thing, and I spend much more time painting my armies that I ever spend playing in tournaments. I probably spend more time painting that I spend playing the game in general. I also spend more time socializing with people in a polite fashion than I spend playing. Not wanting these elements scored in a tournament(at least in the popular battle point format) doesn't mean I don't appreciate other aspects of the hobby.

  8. saying that 40k v5 is better than v2 isn't saying much. i'm not saying it isn't a fun game, but it isn't a tactically challenging game. 40k is yahtzee, not chess. there are better tactical games out there that work much better as competitive games. having tournament systems that place so much emphasis on winning tend to skew the armies and players quite a bit.

    look at 'ard boyz. a bunch of people reading this played in round 2. did anyone have a truly enjoyable game against someone they didn't know? if so, do you think it likely to happen again in that setting?

    with so tournaments seemingly trying to be a scaled down 'ard boyz event, it makes it difficult for disparate gaming groups to regularly play each other outside of a competitive event.

    tournaments might be rare, but its also one of the few times people get to play games with those outside their normal group. with such a focus on winning, the games aren't always as enjoyable for each player as they could be. with less emphasis on game wins, then maybe these players could have a more relaxed and enjoyable time.

    i know several players that rarely, if ever, play in tournaments simply because of the reputation that competitive play has gotten. there are also some people that rarely win either because they have 'fun' armies, or because they just don't get to play much.

    maybe the answer is to have more hobby events that are more like open play days, but without prizes there isn't much reason for people to make the effort to show up. i'd love to play some of the g2d4 guys more often, or even get down to greenwood for games, but without an event of some kind i find it hard to justify the effort of a 60-90 minute drive just to play a single game or two.

  9. 'ard Boys's problems are not entirely due to it's competitive nature. The ratio of barrier of entry to reward is far too low, and GW doesn't due a appropriate job of managing the event to ensure balance and fairness. I'm a competitive player and I refuse to play 'ard Boys, not due to the idea of the event, but because of its continual mismanagement.

    'ard Boys carries a lot baggage, and a competitive tournament format does not have to be the mess that is 'ard Boys. Competition does not excuse bad behavior. That's why tournaments have rules and impartial arbiters. 'ard Boys excuses bad behavior by not holding players accountable for their conduct.

    For me, tournaments are about competition. If you are not trying to figure out who the best player is why have a tournament? You can have a competition no matter the rules used, so long as every player agrees to the same rules. It's a bonus to the competition if the rules are fair and balanced. And yes, there is a lot of random chance involved in 40K, but I find that mitigating chance is an important part of playing 40k competitively.

    Of all the miniature games I've played, I prefer 40k as a system for competitive play than all the others. I find warmachine and other skirmish level games are determined by knowledge of unit combos over tactical skill. The main problem with CMGs are that they are CMGs. And any other game doesn't have the player base to put on tournaments. FoW is as good as 40k as a competitive system, but suffers from many of the same problems.

    I think there should be more non-competitive events. It's just easier to put together a tournament than to pull off "The Battle for Omicron-Seti 5" mega battle, so people try to make tournaments into something they are not. I think tournaments should be something to celebrate good game play and tabletop generalship. We should put together other events to celebrate theme, painting, and espirit de Warhammer.

    Having separate scores and equal rewards for paint/sports/battle is probably the best compromise between our two ways of thinking.

  10. I really like the W/L type of tourney. As said, there's not AS MUCH emphasis on beating face.

    I can just win, and that's enough.

    I also like having Game, Paint, Sportsmanship separated out, and given equal prize support. I think if you want a hobby event, you've got to try to emphasize the parts of the hobby equally.

    It's difficult to deal with when you've got people who all come to the event with different expectations, and different preferences for emphasis.

    I think it's easier to do events that can satisfy the gamer, and another to satisfy the painter.
    A Sportsmanship competition is an oxymoron.
    Satisfying Fluff nuts is tough.

    Then you also face the old mindset that 'competitive gaming' = Win at all Cost.

    I think some of the W/L takes care of that, as does having a separate Paint comp.

    If Sandwyrm wants to show up primarially for the paint competition, and not really play very hard, that's fine. I'm as likely to show up and play hard, and not paint spectacularly, therefore not really competing at painting.
    we've both got different things we want out of an event.

    I think some of the best we as a community can do is to present multi-faceted events that can satisfy a broad range of hobbyists (gamers, painters, nice guys).
    I think we've started going in a good direction.

    'ard boyz is where some guys go to give competitive gaming a bad name, and go out of their ways to cheat to win.
    Until GW changes some things, it's going to stay that way.

  11. Agree with Farmpunk. We have started to move in the right direction here and in the 40K community overall I believe. This is great for us to discuss these things as it strengthens ideas for a possible GT here as well. If anyone would get off their bumms and get in the discussions.


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