Monday, February 14, 2011

What do you look for in a tournament?

by Wienas

So we've had a pair of tournaments locally here in Indianapolis in the last week. Sadly, I was unable to attend the event at Games 2 Die 4 last week, but I had a great time this past weekend at the event run at the Game Preserve South.

Games 2 Die 4 run very consistent events. There may be some things that I don't care for as much, the the overall quality of their events is consistantly very high. Nate tried a few new things this past weekend. Some of these things I really liked, some things seemed to bog down the event unnecessarily.

I'd like to open a round-table discussion about what people look for in an event. I'd like to hear from local players, especially those who were able to attend one or both of the most recent events. What did you like? What would you change? What would you like to see added in the future?

I'm planning on running a tournament in July, and would appreciate the input from the local gaming scene. Also, any players who may consider coming from out of town for an event should weigh in as well, as I'm hoping to be able to facilitate a fairly large crowd (around 50 people).

Thank you for your commentary.


  1. I think that the important elements of a tournament are: fairness, balance, consistency, and continuous improvement.

    Fairness, in that no players receive any favoritism. Don't enforce a local style of play. Don't give the missions out to certain people before the public. Don't make the outsiders feel like outsiders.

    Balance, in that the format and the missions don't preclude any honest army list from winning. It's OK if someone losses because they put together a bad list. It's not OK if someone looses because the missions punish a good army list that you don't like.

    Consistency, in that, if you say your going to do things one way, you follow through. Last minute changes should be avoided, or better have a very good explanation.

    Continuous Improvement, in that you should take criticism well, and try to make every event meet the above criteria better than the last.

    However, as someone involved in the running of the G2D4 tournaments, I'm not exactly unbiased.

  2. Sportsmanship:

    I like some of the ideas going around from Farmpunk and others regarding possibly using a card system for sportsmanship. After being present at the first three events this year I have to say I was surprised at the overall attitude of the players. I'm not the only one to notice it either. Several players who quit going to events because of bad attitudes said that after playing this weekend are excited about attending more events. I was pleased to tell them of my experience at G2D4 and at the Lafayette GP. Both of those events this year had really great guys and the atmospheres at both were very welcoming to guys looking to just have some fun playing 40k. I used a system that awarded each player five points and then deducted points for certain specific behaviors. With the exception of one player in one game everyone got all 5 points. While I feel like being a good sportsman is important and players should be penalized for being D-bags perhaps more of a direct penalty system would work. I would really be interested in figuring something out and exploring other options further.


    This weekend players were allowed to choose separate classes to play in. For the most part this went very well. In the future I have thought about doing it again. I think next time though I will make the veteran class more focused on battle scoring and leave initiates to more of combined scoring system that rewards them for playing the game and generally just having a good time. I would be interested in what others think or thought about the different classes.

  3. One important thing I failed to mention in my last comment: Keep it simple.

    In software engineering there's an observation that says that for every 25% increase in problem complexity, there is a 100% increase in solution complexity. I think something similar applies to tournament formats. Any small rule you add to a tournament format will have a much more drastic effect when applied to all the interactions that are possible in a game like 40k.

  4. @strungmuppet: I really liked the different classes of players. It allowed the casual players to get some fun games in alongside the competitive players without worrying about the "tournament mentality" stigma that a lot of events carry. It also gives the competitive players new armies to look at and new paint schemes for inspiration.

    @CaulynDarr: I'm a big fan of consistency and transparency. As a player, knowing what to expect from an event beforehand and getting just that is one of the biggest factors in creating a successful event.

    Speaking of successful event, I was talking to ScottyDont this weekend asking when you were going to run another team tourney. Any ideas?

  5. We'll have to figure that out. It probably won't be one of our quarterly tournaments. Expect sometime in second half of this year if we are to have one.

  6. Smooth play day!! LOL By this I mean that the people that are running the event are keeping the event moving and at least close to on time as well as staying on top of any rules issues that may pop up or any other type of confusion. Its sad when you go to a event and the people running it seem to not really care or act like its a bother they are doing so. (insert sad panda here)

    After that good sportsmanship and fairness. CaulynDarr pretty much explained it for me.

  7. For our tournament season from the Hive Fleet Indy go kind of like this:

    Off Cycle-Spearhead in March
    May quarterly tournament
    August Grand Tournament (50 player 2-day event)
    November quarterly tournament

    We will discuss this among ourselves and possibly do something in between May and August.

    Hope this helps.

    As far as a tournament I agree missions should be fair for everyone. I believe pairings should be randomly drawn in front of anyone who wants to watch. I will do this at my next tournament which I will run in November. I will most likely run the doubles tournament this time. Greg did a great job in the last one.

    I also cannot stand tournaments that exclude any type of normal army build. Such as no special characters. No offense, but if you don't want to play with Fateweaver or Marneus Calgar, go back to last edition.

    A form of win-loss is my preference. If I play with battle points, one thing that should never happen is an undefeated player gets jumped by a player with a loss regardless of comp scoring.

    I also prefer starting earlier than later.

  8. I think CaulynDarr put forth a great, concise collection of attributes I look for. Balance, fairness, and consistancy are all really important when you're trying to run a competition.

    Then again, You guys have read my thoughts on tourneys. I like fair, W/L tourneys, preferably with NOVA Style missions (because I think they're pretty fair to all forces). I think good Sportsmanship should be expected from all participants, if you're not playing nice, you need to go play alone.
    I like to see paint and conversions rewarded in their own competition. Put those skills on pedestals alongside playing the game.

  9. Was there any aspect of either of these last two tournaments that you would have liked to see changed?

    Me personally, I prefer an earlier start time than what the HFI crew practice, but I understand why they do it. The way that the prizes were distributed at the tournament last weekend was interesting, but it took too long.

    Anyone else have any criticisms?


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