Thursday, February 25, 2010

The NOVA Open - Hosting a Large Tournament

On August 7 (or August 14, possibly) of this year, we'll be hosting an Independent Circuit Qualifying Tournament for Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy.

This will be a 128 person (64/system), 4 round, single day tournament. Although I've hosted several tournaments, this will be the largest one I've done.

There's a lot left for us to figure out. We're finalizing location (probably the Dulles Expo Center, pending them hitting the right contract mark) and website design before publicizing it too aggressively.

For me, this will be an interesting event to host. My primary focus will be on overall event coordination, and the Warhammer 40k portion, as I am not a Warhammer Fantasy player.

Hosting a 40k event is always a challenge. There's an enormous variety of opinion and personality within the hobby, and it's always important to make sure you address this when you host a large enough event.

This brings up the important question of what a tournament should be, and what standards should be used for it.

So what is a tournament? It's different from event to event, but if we were to take it at its most fundamental level:

A tournament is a competition, involving a relatively large number of competitors, all participating in a sport or game. More specifically, the term may be used in either of two overlapping senses:

1. One or more competitions held at a single venue and concentrated into a relatively short time interval.
2. A competition involving multiple matches, each involving a subset of the competitors, with the overall tournament winner determined based on the combined results of these individual matches.

It is my opinion that #1 most clearly describes the typical 40k tournament, in that there are numerous separate competitions occurring within the event. There are often competitions for best general, sportsmanship, painting, converting, theme, composition, and others. Most often, there's an "Overall" award that factors all of these in to varying degrees, depending on the venue.

These tournaments are almost always also in the category known as a "Group Tournament," which basically means that everyone participates in a fixed number of rounds and/or events, and that the winner is determined based on the overall score they achieve throughout these rounds and events. Nobody gets knocked out, sent home early, etc. Part of the appeal is knowing you'll get 4 games in (although most events settle for only 3).

What is a "real" competitive tournament, in Warhammer 40k?

There's actually no "firm" answer to this question. The only real truth is that for a tournament to be truly competitive, it must be absolutely transparent about what it is evaluating. That is to say, that if Painting is 50% of the score of the OVERALL winner, that needs to be crystal clear well ahead of time. It would be disingenuous not to elaborate upon how things work.

The question for a tournament organizer, then, is "What will YOUR tournament place its competitive emphasis on?" Ah so, therein lies the rub.

It will take evaluation of the subjects of Game Competition, Visual Competition, Soft Scoring, and Composition to come up with an answer, and that's part of what this blog will investigate in the coming bit (presuming there are enough people visiting it to merit that investigation!).

Composition will be first.


  1. Hiya! Found you via YTTH. A tourney in August AND right in my backyard huh? Cool! Any other details? (list size, etc)

    I wonder if my Tyracrons will be ready in time....

  2. Initially you should *anticipate* 2,000 points, with prizes and competition for painting, sports, conversion, theme, etc., but in a separate but equal format to preserve the competitive integrity of the actual gaming.

    This will evolve over time via input to this blog and the development of the event.

    128 slots, 64 40k, probably Dulles Expo Center, August 7 or 14.

    Where you live at?