Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NOVA Invitational - Soliciting Input, Sources of Qualification

So, we're starting up the prep for next year's Open convention, and there are a few things we're working through.

One of my areas of concern right now is the NOVA Invitational, and how best to integrate it into the weekend (or whether to at all).

At present, here's the folks who are attending ...

1.  Andrew Sutton (NOVA Open Ace)
2.  Mark Ferek (NOVA Open Ace)
3.  Sam Penson (NOVA Open Ace)
4.  Justin Hilderbrandt (NOVA Open Ace)
5.  Alex Fennell (BFS highest general score who hadn't already qual'ed)
6.  Simon Leen (BFS Renaissance Man)
7.  Dan Matulich (NOVA Open Renaissance Man)

There would be 8, but Tony Kopach's list was 3 points over

The next spots firmly offered are for:
Adepticon - 4 slots
Wargamescon - 4 slots
Bolter Beach II - 2 slots
Mechanicon - 2 slots
Sprue Posse Invitational and Grand Prix - 1 slot each
At-Large Invites - 4 (NOVA Open final discretionary choices)

Spots in discussion w/ event organizers:
Las Vegas Iron Man - 2
DaBoyz GT - 2

That's 29 total, leaving 3 unassigned/ungranted, and a possible up to 4 ungranted (the at-large)

It's important to note - the competitiveness of an event is as important as its format.  Some of the best players around show up to DaBoyz, for example - so even though it is a heavily comp'ed tournament (which SOME folks would consider not a good "format" for competitive eval), the competition level is likely to be quite high, and the quality of the event is also very high.  Whoever gets awarded invites from it is likely to be very worthy of attending any caliber of invitational.

In terms of timing and format, here's my *CURRENT* thought process

The NOVA Open next year runs Thursday PM --> Sunday PM.  The Open GT in 40k is probably the headline event, a 256-person GT running Saturday and Sunday, 4 rounds each day for all players.

So, my initial thought is to go with Thursday PM Round 1 for the Invitational, and then Friday all day (4 rounds) to determine it.  That puts pressure on the attendees to play up to 13 games of competitive 40k over the weekend (5 in the Invitational, 8 in the Open), which might not augur well for their performance or even possibly participation in the Open itself.

So, the question then becomes - hold the Invitational on a different weekend (this can be difficult, harming the venue / etc. of the invitational, and still harming the possibility of those players participating in the Open)?  Change the timing of the Invitational rounds?  Reduce the # of rounds of the Invitational, and use more of a "battle points" approach to break ties between top undefeated finishers (explicitly against all of our principles)?

Also, should it be seeded, and if so, how?

My initial thought would be to come up with a rubric of % of possible competitive score for each player's top performance at a qualifying event, moderately factored by # of attendees at event (so, someone who scored 90% of possible battle points at Adepticon would have a higher seed than someone who scored 90% of possible at Battle for Salvation, due to Adepticon being a 256 field to battle through, and BFS being a 48 person field).   First round random pairing vs. first round seeded pairing is an important question; usually difficult to do, but we'll actually have data to manipulate and use for it in this case.

Input welcome, as well as input from event organizers / players who wish to be invited.


  1. As someone who would potentially like to be invited, I'll say one thing: I can't afford to come down two different weekends. Make the weekend as long as you need, but if you split the invitational up to two separate weekends, I'll only go to one of them (assuming I qualify).

    As for how you set it up, I'd personally prefer it didn't start on Thursday, since that pressures me to also miss whatever in my life is going on that Thursday day to catch a flight early enough to make it there. Job or school, it'll be one more day I have to miss, which isn't great for me (or I would posit, most people).

    Just my .02

  2. I would advise keeping everything on one weekend. We have a very diverse population of players. Getting them together on one weekend is an event. Trying to do that and then have a follow-up on a different weekend would potentially put a pretty big financial and time burden on the people we are trying to honor with invitations.

  3. I'd vote for keeping it all one big event. It's hard enough to get hallpasses for big events, splitting it up would make it more difficult. I'd further wager that having it on multiple weekends would cause players to pick on event or the other.

    Regarding seeding...since it's a rather competitive event, I would think seeding would be required. I do like the idea of stacking your placement in larger events more heavily than kicking butt in 12 man tourneys.

    SWAG formula: 1st/2nd/3rd place = 3/2/1 points. Multiple your points times .1 for every ten attendees over/under the baseline of 100 (NOVA Open-ish). Ex: win 1st at a 150 man, get 3+(((150-100)/100)x.1) = 3.5. Win 1st a 50 man, get 3+(((50-100)/100)x.1)=2.5.
    If a player places at multiple events, add all his scores and that's your seeding score.

  4. As someone who also hopes to pull down an invite (though work may prevent me from attending any event except for Adepticon on that list) I'd say a single weekend is the only really viable option. I think it would be the same thing for anyone traveling farther than 8 hours of driving distance. And Thursday makes it even harder on people as they'll have to leave early enough thursday to attend.

    An option maybe is a shorter game time? I mean all 32 attendees should be excellent 40k players and should be able to play swiftly so maybe 5 games on Friday that are 2 hours each? Or maybe cater lunch so that food can be grabbed in the 10 minutes between rounds and still do 2.25 hours? Just some thoughts as to how you can fit it into one day.

    On a side note I'll be applying for an at large invite if work prevents me from attending the listed events (except for Adepticon which is my present to myself).

  5. I'll be very interested to see what you come up with for the initial seeding. I am working on this for BB II now. Having talked to some other TOs it sounds like most large events tend to cater forward random seeding. I know you don't want all the top players ending up in one bracket so there is that and it's important. Like I said I'll be very interested to see what criteria you decide upon using. I like the fact that a random seeding is the most fair and provides no bias. There may well be players who dont have the time and/or money to play in lots of events to buff their overall record heading into NOVA for 2011. But also as said you probably dont want to end up with the best players all lumped together in one bracket. I think we could easily refer to this as the quasi science of bracketology. If we look at college basketball for a good comparison we see that the NCAA does indeed use a power rating system to determine the initial pairings then much like your original system winners from the higher seeded brackets go on to play against other teams from lower seeded brackets. If you use a rating system to power rank the players you will need an airtight set of criteria to rank your players. I think this is easier for the NCAA due to the nature of the sport and how the college basketball season unfolds unfolds over the course of the national schedule. I think you are already looking ahead with the intent tonuse the results from other large events to rank your player base. I think in 40k it will be much easier for a relatively unknown player to win through the first day's rounds and pull some upsets. Plus it could just be better to continually play higher ranked opponents since it will help to keep the lesser known player on top of their games. The higher ranked players supposedly draw easier games during the first day and might be prone to become a bit overconfident thus losing their edge.


  6. Steve - Please note that there's the NOVA Invitational, and the NOVA Open. The Open is random seed first round - no seedings or rankings of players at all, that's the main GT.

    The Invitational, for which I gave Bolter Beach II a pair of invites, is an invite only event that you must qualify for; because of this, we actually have a functional data set with which to work to possibly seed.

    I noticed this a couple of places you advertised - they are TWO events, one is the invitational, the other is the Open GT.

  7. Hulksmash touched on my idea a little bit in that he said you could make the games shorter, although I think you would have to reduce the point totals of the armies in order to ensure there's enough time to actually finish the game.

    I also think that you should make it all over one weekend. Yes that requires that you start it on Thusrday, but there has to be a compromise somewhere. You either have to take a couple days off work/school to get there on thursday, or you have to come for 2 weekends. Your pick.

  8. Starting this thing on Thursday might severely limit our options for volunteers, who will likely have a hard time doing three days.

  9. I sure wish I could play in hte Invitational .



  10. So that is Tony's punishment eh?

    Make the games fast and furious, two hours at the most, as suggested. 10 minute breaks between games. Do it Friday. Keep Thursday PM open for open gaming, demo gaming, early registration, general kibitzing. Staff will need time to set-up, and the arriving players will want time to get their sea legs after travelling.

    You may need to shrink the playing field to a sweet sixteen, rather than a 32 player field. Or have staggered starts for the Open on Friday. Or give the Invitational players a first round bye at the Open. Work the brackets. It's only math. .

  11. It's Nick Nanavati also known as yermom online. Having just qualified for the NOVA invitational at mechanicon, I have a few things to say.

    13 games in a weekend is an enormous turn OFF. I played all 7 at BFS and felt like garbage durring the last 2. There is absolutely no chance of my attendance in both tournaments if they are on the same weekend.

    That said being that I now have the option of playing in both the competitive drive in me almost will not let me miss the invitational. What other tournament will let me play head to head with the other 31 best players in the country (certainly not vegas or ardboyz). And if it came down to it I would most certainly go only to the invitational. A 5 round GT between the best players will lead to no easy games meaning that they will be absolutely drained by the days end.

    On a more personal/biast note, my attendance in the OPEN is almost guaranteed to be a no go, because my girl friends birthday happens to be on that Saturday. Now I might be crazy enough to drive 4 hours Thursday morning play in the invitational all Friday and head back home Friday night. But that also sounds unappealing. So from a personal stand point I'd appreciate if the tournaments are on seperate weekends.

    I think as a competitive event you will get much better results if the events took place on different weekends aswell.

  12. Hmm, I smell taking your girlfriend for a romantic weekend in our Nation's capital ... starting on Saturday ;)

    Thanks for the input, Nick :)

  13. Heh, the Open falls on my Anniversary. I'm going to owe my wife BIG TIME. :)