Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Tournament ... Circuit? What We've Got, What Should We Want?
OK, so I posted briefly in a Dakka thread yesterday talking about the concept of a tournament circuit, the "rankings" that are going on these days, etc.
First off, let's overview what we have now, both in terms of nationalized "rankings" of players and in terms of the national tournament circuit ...
The GT Circuit Tournaments:
Games Workshop has made a big deal about these being Independent. When you e-mail the overall circuit coordinator and ask him if he has preferences for how you run your event, he very clearly will tell you to run it however you'd like - that it wouldn't be an INDEPENDENT circuit if he tried to influence it! OK, that's cool. If you read my blog enough, you know I personally would rather have a tournament "of the people by the people" than a tournament of GW's design.
So what do some of them look like?
Well, here's just three of the more well-publicized ones ...
I select these three b/c the scoring and format are pretty different between them all. Is there a right or wrong way? Of course not :)
That said, it brings up an interesting question of what really makes a circuit. These events all feed into the Vegas Championships, and those are of a different format from all 3, and in fact from basically every event on the circuit to date. Winners of those formats will compete in a different format for the championship? Really?
So, Data Point 1 = every tournament is different, some are vastly different ... competition level, match-up approach, mission style, scoring style
The other thing at issue is that the various circuit tournament organizers do not generally talk to each other a lot. Caveat - I don't see a lot of communication. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. Data Point 2 = lack of integrated communication across circuit.
There's also a different FAQ, homebrew rule style, composition, etc., at many of these tournaments. Some use the INAT FAQ, some use their own FAQ, some don't have a FAQ ... what's a person to do? What FAQ will be used at the Vegas Championships? Just the GW ones? Data Point 3 = At least slightly different game everywhere you go.
What do these data points show ...
Well, I would simply put forth that they show a lack of any meaningful application of tournament results country-wide outside of the actual tournament itself. You can subjectively argue that a rankings system collating these is valuable (one exists), or that one tournament is more material/meaningful than another, or whatever ... but you can't objectively prove any of it. There's no uniformity or standardization to operate by.
So ... what do I think should be done ....
We all know there are multiple approaches to tournaments, and most people enjoy one or the other a little more. I don't think you'll ever get the country of Type A "I'm right" net-conversing tournament organizers to agree on one style of tournament, and it would be folly to push that - you'd just end up with a lot of butt-hurt-ism.
So what about multiple formalized tournament styles? Are there tournament organizers out there who would be willing to adopt the NOVA Open format, or the Adepticon format, or whatever? Are there readers here thinking about starting up their own even small tourneys who would be willing to adopt and work with one of these types of formats for their own events? What would happen if there were 15 tournaments across the country every year that utilized the NOVA Open's format? Would a rankings system that processes these results independently within a larger / broader series of rankings be more useful, valuable, and objective? Would you be better able to claim that you had a "real" tournament circuit or sub-circuit?
I think it's an interesting thing to think about, and discuss, going forward. It's been on my mind.
I do know that if ANYONE would like to run a NOVA Open format tourney of their own, as few as 8 players as many as 356, let me know ---> I'm happy to even help build you a fancy shmancy tournament packet with your name and group logo splashed merrily across the top of it. More interestingly, I'd love to see in 2 or 3 or 5 years a situation where several REAL circuits are going on across the continent, with a championship for each, and a more laid back "GW styled" vegas championship for the top dogs of each of those. More meaningful, more objective, and perhaps best of all more integrated --> bringing our national community of gamers closer together under a set of rules that for once are finally standardized enough to lessen some of the bitching and web-wide drama that goes on between people over these events and their results.
I'd love to hear thoughts on this subject ...