This is a continuation from part one in this series, where I go through and respond to all of the major objections that people have raised to the idea of running Win/Loss style 40K tournaments. All of which were aired after people read my previous post on Why Battlepoints Are Gimping Your Tournaments here on theBack40k, and it's later appearance on BoLS.
Objection 4: In Win/Loss, You Can't Recover From A Bad Game And Still Win.
or... "I Like BPs Because They Measure How Well You Did In A Game!"
True, but that sword also cuts both ways. With Battlepoints, It's possible for a lucky player to get so far ahead in the rankings that nobody has any hope at all of taking him down.
Like I did at BlueMoon's Tourney last spring:
BMG Tourney Report, Game 3
Between the comp and everything else, I had perfect scores in the first 2 games. Which meant that nothing short of losing by a massacre would have knocked me out of first place for the tourney as a whole. In fact, if the scores for the first 2 games hadn't been capped, I could have sat back and had a beer for the last game and still won the whole thing. That's not right.
As for BPs allowing you to measure the skill of the players, that's an illusion. Because unless all of your players are of the exact same skill level, you're just measuring the luck of the draw.
As an example, let's imagine a small 16-player, 3 round tourney where we have 3 pretty good players (Orcas) and 13 weak to middling players (Seals). Massacres get 3 points, Major Victories get 2 points, and Close Victories get 1 point.
Shamu beats 2 baby seals and an adult seal. For a total of 8 points (3 + 3 + 2). Willie beats 1 baby seal and 2 adult seals, for 7 points (3 + 2 + 2). Corky beats 3 adult seals, for 6 points (2 + 2 + 2).
Shamu takes 1rst, Willie takes 2nd, and Corky takes 3rd. But none of these players ever had to fight another Orca. So we don't know if Corky would have actually beaten Shamu if given the chance. Sure, all 3 finalists are good players, but their rankings tell us nothing about their relative skill. Instead the best seal-beater won. So the final results are luck-based.
That's the best case. Now for the worst:
Shamu beats 2 baby seals (6 points), and faces Corky in the final round, losing the game (0 points).
Willie beats 2 baby seals and an adult seal (8 points).
Corky beats 2 baby seals (6 points), and narrowly beats Shamu (1 point), for a total of 7 points.
Willie wins the tourney! But is he really the better player? It looks to me like he just got luckier than his two friends, who were punished for drawing each other. In a Win/Loss event with 4 rounds, Willie would still have to beat Corky to prove he's good enough to deserve first place!
This series has focused a lot of attention on the unfriendliness of seal-beating to the seals; but we also need to think about the validity of the competitive results. If I attend a BP tourney with Farmpunk and Spangy, it's a crap-shoot as to who will win the day. Leaving us with very little to feel good about if we win and lots to gripe about if we "lose".
Things are actually better for me if soft-scores are included, because I'm a good enough painter that I'd have a huge advantage over the other 2 guys. But while that helps me gain the "win", it still says nothing about my relative skill as a player.
Objection 5: Double Elimination Would Be Better!
I won't argue that. But double-elimination for a series of games that each last at least 2 hours can't be done in a weekend. So it's not really a solution we can consider. The idea is better suited to some sort of long-term contest where players are matched up by the organizer and play each game at their leisure.
Objection 6: Not Having A Single Winner Isn't Acceptable!
I think this is the best anti-W/L argument, as most people attending a tourney expect there to be a first place winner at the end of the day. But if that first place win doesn't mean anything because the format is deeply flawed, what's the point?
You can be dishonest, and go through the motions of running a large 16+ player event in 3 rounds; crowning a "winner" at the end of the day. But what's the result of that? The undefeated competitive players end up feeling cheated (especially if a player that lost a game "won"), while the seals go away demoralized because they were blown off the table repeatedly instead of simply being defeated. You lose both ways!
So let's be honest instead. If we can't have a single undefeated winner in X number of rounds, let's just reward each undefeated winner equally. No awards for the 2-1 players. Just a prize for each undefeated player. Going undefeated becomes the goal of the tourney instead of trying to "win" a flawed system. The rest of the field can still try for door prizes or best painted/overall.
Really, where's the evil in that? No, it's not perfect. But it's honest and a better system than what we have now.