No surprise we have a 3 to 1 majority in the “player” poll, Obviously Plastic Legions is “B player” style blog, as with exception of Battle Reports I don’t offer a ton “A player” content here so the people that do stop by here have interest in B content. I put the smart ass 3rd option for those the really feel they dont fall into either as I know there are out there. Yes, I am using the Spy vs Spy theme here because it seems just so appropriate.
When examining solutions and compromise let assume that breaking us all down into two basic player types covers the majority of people with the caveat there are always those in between or on the far edges but at heart they’ll still fall into an “A” or “B” slot when it comes to whether they’ll want to pay to play in a tournament. Let’s look at a new model that can simply be used as food for thought or in my own case what I’m going to use for an event I like to do next year. My goal is to appease both types of players you need to make both side feel equally as important. I'm not going to get ultra specific here but talk about new way to look at standard concepts and leave the future details up to the specific event.
Sportsmanship is most misunderstood concept in the tournament scene today. The way we are currently using it, It presumes everyone is raving a-hole and we are designing checklists that itemize how well someone behaved themselves on a given day. The current standard is to give everyone "X" amount of points that can only be taken away or give people of check list of things that should be requirement. Someone said to me recently “There is a lot to be said about a tournament player with a fully painted army who acts like a normal human being” Sad, but true. I say no more! We should not need to be worrying about hiring security guards to oversee games with toy soldiers. The ultra competitiveness of GW tournaments is one thing, but its gotten out of hand. Sportsmanship must be removed as “+” on your net scoring, being a good sport should earn you nothing as a base score- its expected. Being a Jerk will only earn you negative points, a forfeit or show you the door. lets take Sportsmanship as a category "off the table" in terms of a Soft Score and replace it with two different ways to punish people who cannot behave themselves and reward those who go above and beyond to give their opponents great games.
The card system-
I fully endorse the yellow/red card system used in the
Favorite Opponent- This is a great way to award the player bonus points for those who conducts themselves above and beyond the norm . Favorite Opponents points should be earned, not given and be additional points on a soft score. Details again I'd leave up to specific tournaments, Net scoring for giving your opponent a great game is a much better way to look at a Sportsmanship "soft score" than giving everyone "x" points for things that should be mandatory. Overall I see Sportsmanship as the smallest part of a soft score. The points should be well earned by the best players who see gamesmanship and fair play as important as anything else.
Beyond the stark contrasts of need for Composition in both 40K and WFB, lets keep two very clear points in mind. One- GW admittedly does not write rules for balanced tournament play, they write rules to help sell models. and -Two-we are trying to create a tournament atmosphere that encourages fair play, fun and diversity. Without accepting those two premises, I admit there is no need for Composition ever and may you find peace in "Gladiator" and "Ard Boyz" events. The rest of us need to find something that works.
Lets look at comp in a new way, not as punitive measure against those who want to bring hard lists but as a HANDICAP to encourage people to bring diverse lists. a Prejudged Composition score should be used as a handicap score, once your handicap determined, it should be used to seat your opponents always matching you up with closest handicap. A handicap as a positive on overall score will encourage non-cookie cutter lists and diversity for a better event. There are already plenty of events for meta-gaming the army books and in the spirit of a grand tournament, variety is key. Lets see it all and what better way than to give players a handicap that is a basis for a soft score. Again I'd leave up to the Tournament Organizer to base their player handicaps on the ability of the players to follow the composition guidelines of the event. Whether your using a WPS baseline in WFB or running a narrative based 40K event. Handicaps will encourage list other that most current 3 Codex/Army book power builds.
I’ve spoken tons on painting in the past, if you're running any kind of grand tournament the 3 color standard/ based is mandatory as an entry requirement. Again the problem begins with giving away Painting points for just showing up with the minimum. There should be judged paint with the the three color minimum being the lowest rating. No more full points for 3 color painted and based..its total cop out a slap in the face to the B player. Combine your judged base score with opponent rated paint scale on how well above the standard your army is and you have a real paint score. These points should be open to professionally painted armies as well. Great looking armies (no matter who paints them) bring a lot to the character of the event. As always Best Painted Award should not be open to pro painted armies and should be a separate contest for the hobbyist.. Since all your earned paint points go toward you Soft Score and overall, this should help bring non-painters with pro painted armies "out of the closet "so to speak.
I do reject the notion that people who bring sub, or non -3 color armies to events be allowed to play. If you want to participate in a grand tournament you need to step up. In short come up with an overall basis for a paint score based on player and judge feedback. Great painted armies add to the caliber of any events, Painting is a cornerstone of this hobby and should be appreciated as such.
A NEW MODEL
Most people accept the premise that in any Tournament that Soft Scores should never be worth more than Battle Points. The problem again comes with how do you create meaningful soft scores that attract "B players" that are not just giveaways in terms of extra or "empty" points, Lets look at a model that lets "A players" relish in what they do and gives "B players" a little extra for bringing what they bring to an event.
Battle Points, Objective Points, Paint Score, Favorite Opponent Points, Handicap
Using these 5 categories, Battle and Objective being "A player" scores and Paint, Favorite Opponent Points and your Handicap being your "B player" score is a great baseline to determine an overall winner, if you use these 5 categories correctly it's clear the person with highest point total is actually the overall winner., The B player points are not giveaways but well earned as votes from your opponents while the Handicap is determined by what kind of list you brought based on the rules of the tournament.. In this model I envision Objective points being very hard to get, and a feather in the hats of the best "A players". The Best General award being the highest BP + OP score. I'd recommend 70/30 ratio between A/B scores..Allowing "A players" to overcome low "B" scores while enticing "B players" with a chance to be competitive. Will this work? and is it any better that what we are already seeing?, I think so- as recently its clear soft scores have become purely punitive for A players or total joke when it comes to the B player. Down the road a bit I am going to go into details on Tournament I like to run in 2010 based on this model, so more on that soon.