Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everything NOT "Competitive" at the NOVA Open -

In another thread, Pissclams (what a name!) said the following ...
pissclams said... once round 2 is over basically 3/4 -2 of the players are eliminated from winning and advancing to day 2..thats alot of people. Is there concern of people just saying fuck it at that point mike ? Ive never played a tournament using this style so im curious to see how it works out.

So I figured I would reply with a whole post, helping to bring to everyone's attention exactly how things work for ... well, everyone!

Basically, this is a run down of the whole weekend, the rounds, the timing, the scoring, the awards, etc.

Starting at 4:00PM on Friday, August 13, the Dulles Expo Center collocated Holiday Inn will hold half price appetizers for NOVA Open attendees and staff, and will be running a 4-8 happy hour. Anyone arriving on Friday is welcome to enjoy these benefits.

During this time, my staff and I will be setting up the Expo Center itself for Saturday's main event ... 64 gaming tables + terrain, our office, prizes, swag bags in position, computers and printers and displays, the works.

At 8:00PM, the Holiday Inn's Hutchison Ballroom will open up (and already be set up with table/terrain/etc.) for Open Gaming, and the Whiskey Challenge exhibition matches. I anticipate roughly 15 tables for open gaming, and 3-4 tables for Whiskey Challenge matches. There will also be a pair of podcasting crews set up and rolling from the center of the room, covering the matches and doing interviews with various players ... so feel free to ask about getting a little airtime with these guys. The 11th Company Podcast and Gamers Lounge are the two podcasts, and both put on EXCELLENT shows.

11th Company Podcast, Blog, and Forums
Gamers Lounge Podcast

There will be a cash bar for this event, plenty of sitting space in an adjoining room with some round tables (we can chuck a few more open gaming tables on those if needed), etc. The hotel also has a nice lobby (though if you wanna hang out there, please be considerate of hotel staff), and there's a solid restaurant and bar that'll still have half price appetizer specials for everyone (or should!).

We close down the ballroom at midnight, and encourage everyone to hit the hay for a big day on Saturday.

Saturday, August 15

As the sun rises over the Washington, DC great metro region, we'll ... well, already be up, but hopefully our gamers are getting a few more minutes of much needed sleep.

Sadly, you won't be able to see the Iwo Jima Memorial from the Dulles Expo Center.

So, anyway ... here's the schedule for the day ... heavy dose of sarcasm at times, enjoy it! It's what's for breakfast!

7:00AM - 8:30AM - People sign in, get appearance scores until go time, Mike wanders around saying hello while his staff slaves away at the sign-in desk, people gasp and oo and ah at their swag bags full of ... um, swag ... and they get to their tables for Game 1 and get set-up, yatta yatta. RULES JUDGES HAVE ON BLACK SHIRTS! REGULAR STAFF HAVE ON WHITE SHIRTS! Feel free to ask the white shirted ones rules questions, but ... you know, don't hold it against me.

At some point right before 8:30 I'll hop on the Mic and be all "HAY GUYS REMEMBER DESE THINGS! THANKS FER COMIN'!" It will probably be more professional than that, but I feel caps-locky today. Kevin will then get on the Mic and do the same for our Fantasy players. Who I'm jealous of, since they'll get to spend a lot of time playing a brand spanking new game.

OK, so 8:30 AM ... the conflict begins!
8:30 - 10:45 = Round I; players will get a 30 minute warning of round end impending; players will have 30 minutes after 10:45 to get their scores entered and handed in

At this point, we'll begin to ADD RAFFLE TICKETS TO A BOX for everyone with a "Loss." Sorry, winners, you don't get raffle tickets yet. If you want them, you'll have to start being beaten.

As 11:15-1:30 = ROUND 2 begins, you'll notice me doing this ...

Mike walked smartly up behind a fellow who lost the last round, randomly selected, and tickle him while spouting a comment such as "coochy coochy coo!" When the irate gamer turns around, saddened at the fact that he didn't crush his opposition (Because that's "all" the game is about, right?), his wrath will turn to joy as Mike hands him a box of free miniatures, or something. Losing = high probability of winning free stuff. This is important note #1 about why you should attend the Open as long as possible.

OK, so Round 2 finishes, and now you have a bunch of people in Fantasy and 40k who are still undefeated, who have a single win and a single loss, and who have 2 losses. We add more raffle tickets to the hat now; 2 for everyone with 2 losses (who now have 3 in the hat, unless they already won something), etc. etc. You can figure that you gain exponentially in the "I might win something" department with every loss. As long as the winners are cutthroat battling it out for the handful of undefeated placing awards, everyone else is cutthroat battling it out for ... I don't know, fun? It's a game, right? I forget sometimes. IT COULD BE ABOUT BLOOD [for the blood god]!

So anyway, let's take a hiatus so that we can go to award discussion, since 1:30 = LUNCH TIME PARTY TIME FUN TIME (and a little bit of "catch up on the appearance scoring, you slackers" time)

Here's what you can win, and how you win it ...
1) Corn
2) Not really, just kidding, but man that cat likes corn
3) Tournament Champion - To win this, you have to win every single game (barring the improbable), and you play on the 2nd day by necessity
4) Tournament Ace - To win this, you need to finish in the top 2 in Fantasy, top 6 in 40k on the first day. You could do this with a loss. Most people will do it undefeated.

6) Renaissance Man - The last award with any potential negative impact due to "losses," and I'll take some time to explain this and re-explain our scoring mechanisms ...

First, we work in percentages. There's no accumulation of an unstoppable margin ... your score will fluctuate somewhere between 0 and 13 at all times competitively, and somewhere between 0 and 3 for the purposes of Renaissance Man. Here's how it works ...

For Renaissance Man scoring:
(% of possible competitive score) + (% of possible sportsmanship score) + (% of possible appearance score)

That's it. So competitiveness is only 33% of the Ren Man scoring. Because of the way competitive scoring works, people will score basically either a 0-5%, 25-30%, 50-55%, or 95-100% kind of bracket on their competitiveness, largely related to just their record, and moderated by the margin of their victories / losses.

"Heart of Gold" (kinda like sportsmanship) is scored as such:
At the end of the day, you will be REQUIRED (on pain of death, rawr) to rate your opponents from the day 1-4. You will not be able to assign the same rating to more than one player. So basically, one person will be your "favorite," then next fave, third fave, fourth fave. We don't say "least fave" here, but you get the picture.

The "average" percentage then, for sportsmanship, will be between 45-65% (the lowest you can score is a 4/16, which is still 25% ... the range being 4-16/16 ... so the median is more like 10, not 8) ... and that's equivalent to scoring "max" on a checklist at any normal tourney ... so if you get that, not a bad thing, not a score-breaking thing. A small handful of people will be so golden hearted and pure of spirit that every one of their opponents rates them as their favorite for the day. Having done this before, there's a pretty steady curve of ratings here. AND they usually identify the true jerks while they're at it ... and the truly awesome and memorable opponents. Just understand going in that if you score in the mid-range on sports, that's not a knock.

Real jerks can have their sports score actively adjusted by judges. This doesn't necessarily impact competitiveness, b/c this score is divorced from the purely competitive rankings and awards, but getting your sports score artificially lowered can screw you out of Renaissance Man ... so don't be a superdouche.

Appearance score is ... almost done, but expect a checklist style approach, where you score points out of possible, and that % of possible represents your appearance contribution.

Because everyone will score a minimum on appearance and sports, and there's no real "minimum" on competitive, doing well competitively will give you a higher boost than the other two ... so the scores will all be "normalized." No worries.

Our competitive scores are done as such:
(Win%x10) + Goal1% + Goal2% + Goal3% ... so the % of possible you've gotten in each of the three rotating mission goals, and the win% x 10, adds up to your rating at all times. Easy enough.

The Renaissance Man in each system is one of our Vegas tickets.


6) Heart of Gold - As above, this is the highest sports scorer; appearance + competitive will be used to bust up ties ... we may also give at least SOMETHING to people who lose on tiebreak

7) Well Beyond Crayon - Best painted mini

8) A Miniature Frankenstein - Best converted mini

9) Greater Than the Sum - Best army overall appearance

When the dust settles on the end of the 2nd round, most of the above prizes will still be up for grabs, and we'll still have well over 40-50 boxes of minis or gaming supplies or neat things to hand out. You'll each have 10+ goodies you got in your swag bags, and almost everyone will have AT LEAST 2 more games in front of them.

More importantly, while we'll be advancing the top 8 40k finishers and top 2 Fantasy finishers to "organized" play on the 2nd day ... we'll have as much room and as many gaming tables as we can possibly spring available for use on the 2nd day for everyone else. Heck, maybe a little input and we could organize some actual "organized" play on that day as well. Suffice to say that your ticket enables you to attend the 2nd day and PLAY, plus hang and enjoy whatever extra stuff we can wrangle up for everyone. So while you won't be participating in further "organized" finals evaluation (to figure out Tournament Champ trophies), you won't be kicked to the curb with "no more gaming for your $50" either.

OK OK, so let's go to the rest of the day ...

Round 3 begins at 2:30 PM ... and random boxes of goodies start flying around the room. I'd dress up like Santa Claus, but I'm not big enough or facial haired enough at the moment ... OMG, JOE - YOU, YOU CAN BE SANTA. You guys will know Joe at the end of the weekend. Anyway, so right ... round ends at 4:45PM.

Now you're either 0-3, 1-2, 2-1, 3-0 ... and life's ok ... final round is upcoming, half the field still has a shot at making it to the next day (all the 3-0's, any of the 2-1's) in an organized sense, and of course everyone else can still play the next day in open gaming ... plus everyone else is escalated in terms of shots at random prizes, and aren't mathematically erased from contention for the Renaissance Man award. Ayup.

5:15PM - 7:30PM, and the last round is over. The dust settles, appearance judges are solving last minute questions (if they were slackers all day), and we're tallying the results and figuring out who is getting what.

8:30/9:00 rolls around, and it's AWARD TIME! After which, it's BAR TIME! At 10:00PM, after we've handed out all but 1 trophy/award per system (Sunday's Tourney Champ), it's off to the Holiday Inn's Bar (same parking lot as the Expo Center) for a 10 till ??? fest sponsored by various alcoholic beverage dispensers, and the bar itself. We'll have most of the place to ourselves, including the whole restaurant after 11.

We're working on getting some extra swag to give out for various things at the post-tourney event as well ... so again, see this theme of "longer you stay, more stuff you could win." You're either winning all your games, and so still competing for the win-based prizes, or you're losing games and getting awarded random prizes while still in it for the non-competitive prizes, or you're at the bar afterward getting random stuff and what-not ... either way, the longer you stay, the more swag you get, and one would think the more fun you have.

The long story short is this:
  • You're going to get a significant portion of your registration fee back in "goodies" from the swag bag.
  • If you don't go undefeated, you've got a good shot at randomly winning $25+ value prizes from a variety of sponsors, including GW. Your shot improves the tougher the day gets for you.
  • The majority of our trophies and prizes are handed out for reasons other than or only partially in union with your competitive performance.
  • You get the chance to open game Friday and Sunday regardless of your performance.
  • Finally, as we expand in future years, we'll be adding way more space, and way more gaming opportunities - for all types of players, for more days. Our policy mandates that if you say "screw it" and quit the tournament early in a huff (for reasons other than personal issues / job / family / etc.), we won't be able to invite you back in the future. Which means you miss out on coming back to future Opens and eventually Conventions :)

For all those "hardcore" competitors coming, also keep this in mind - there are people watching this event who are *sure* you are nothing but mean jerky WAAC douches. I think they're quite wrong. I think jerks are jerks, nice guys are nice guys, and there's no correlation between the personality and the skill. The same retards might as well accuse every professional athlete to ever make the hall of fame of being a douche. What, Cal Ripken, Jr. is a WAAC douche b/c he's intensely competitive? Give it a rest. Attending the Open and a tough competitor? Win or lose, tell the community of condescending douches who call YOU a jerk where to stick it, and come have a GREAT time at a weekend FULL of fun things to do.

Not a tough competitor, and coming to the Open? Well, the VAST majority of our prizes, activities, etc. are for YOU. We've worked hard to provide a format for the "best of the best" to prove it ... to keep playing until somebody beats them down. But our energies and time have been spent making sure EVERYONE who attends gets plenty of opportunities to game, plenty of prizes and swag, and has a great time.

Besides, 'till the last minute, like we've done all year ... give us your feedback and input. I want the event to be BETTER every day, and I want it to be heavily based upon what YOU the attendees want. Our format, our events, our prizes ... everything is based upon feedback, not "my whim" or the whim of our staff. Keep making that the case ... make it a tournament and convention of the people attending.

Here's a question for ya'll too ...

On Sunday, we have X open gaming tables. Free for all? Sign-up-after-day-Saturday-list? OR priority to those with the lowest records and/or least prizes on Saturday? Or perhaps ya'll would like us to organize an apoc game, smaller combat patrol style tourneys, etc. ... we have the ability to do a lot of these things, and can probably stretch a lil bit of prize support as well. Let's hear input.

There you go pissclams (I can't get over your username), give me a paragraph, get an essay.

- Mike

PS - No matter your own experience, know that my own personal view of the tournament is that EVERYONE attending is my constituent ... is my supporter here. You've spent your good hard-earned money to come to my event, and I have every intent of doing all I can to make sure EVERYBODY has a good time, win or lose. If you're frustrated about something, concerned about something, whatever - come talk to me. I'm not there to stare at the top tables and see who "winz it all!" I really don't care ... I heard a cry in the community for a format that would allow us to actually see the "best" of a tournament's attendees, and that's all that part of it is about. The rest is for EVERYONE, equally. Hold me to it, and make me earn what you've invested (well, kinda, I'm not exactly making money on this) ... we're doing all we can to make sure everyone has fun. We owe it to you :)


  1. <3

    I read that, and the brain juice flowed. What *I* want from the Open (irrespective of the fact I won't attend) is the NOVA FAQ to be updated LIVE.

    If a Judge makes a call, make it precedent for the rest of the event. Review it afterwards, sure - but ensure it stays the same throughout the weekend. Nothing worse than different perspectives taking away something you were previously able to do/vice-versa.

    I'll leave it to you how you would organise such a thing. ;)

  2. your chances of winning raffle prizes increases linearly as you lose more, not exponentially, you nublet

  3. Incorrect

    After your first loss, you get 1 of your name added

    After your 2nd loss, you get 2 more of your name added (3 total)

    After your third loss, you get 3 more of your name added (6 total)

    After your fourth loss, you get 4 more of your name added (10 total)

    Well, not exponential still, but not linear either!

  4. WOW.... mike all i can say is this looks to be an awsome event. Im flattered you took the time to post such an epic reply. Maybe i can spin this grain of sand into something for ya ;)


  5. ohhhhh i didnt know you got a ticket for each loss every round. I thought it was 1 ticket for each loss

  6. Isn't it nice to have a tournament when the organizer actually thinks things out great detail.

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