Ok, so I've hit on this before, but input is welcome and I think it's something of a fascinating after-effect.
Our planned total # of attendees to next year's NOVA Open 40k GT is ... 256.
The GT will encompass, therefore, 8 total rounds. Unlike our space restricted "elimination" of last year, everyone will be participating in all 8 rounds. Here's how it will work:
Day 1 will yield a breakdown of these records:
16 x 4-0
64 x 3-1
96 x 2-2
64 x 1-3
16 x 0-4
Here's the catch and comparison of what normally would happen on the next day for this set of players.
With "standard" seeding continuing all rounds, it becomes suffocatingly difficult for the bottom bracket players to creep back up the standings; similarly, it becomes easier for single lossers to stay high in standings, or wind up "lucky" in a bracket. Here's what I'm getting at.
Player #240 plays against player #256 in Round 5, the first of Day 2. The bottom seed manages to pull off the win, improving to 1-4. The top player in the 1-3 set, player #176, loses his game ... dropping also to 1-4. In theory, the #256 who after a rough day finally got a win, now has to play the #176.
Right back into the rough. But what about a different approach ....
What if the 0-4's only played within their own bracket on Day 2? What if there was a guarantee, therefore, that one of the 0-4 players was going to finish the 8th round 4-4, recovered from his crushing first day playing exclusively among players who performed very similarly (and therefore most likely had fairly comparable lists and skill levels)?
Our totals from above break down rather nicely into 16 same record brackets of 16.
Bracket 1: 16 x 4-0
Brackets 2-5: 16 x 3-1
Brackets 6-11: 16 x 2-2
Brackets 12-15: 16 x 1-3
Bracket 16: 16 x 0-4
So, here's where what I'll generally refer to as Incidental Composition comes into play. It's biasless, and ... well, accurate.
We'll be treating the 2nd day as 16 unique 4-round tournaments, where the 4-0 finisher in EACH bracket earns a generalship award, and where obviously the single 8-0 wins Tournament Champion, to go alongside the Renaissance Man, or our BEST OVERALL. Herein lies the catch :)
As those who've followed the format know, the Renaissance Man is our TOP prize, and is comprised of equal parts sportsmanship, appearance and competitiveness. While this may change to 40% competition/40% apperance/20% sports for 2011, the fact remains that people with gorgeous, well-prepared armies and great attitudes compete for Best Overall, Renaissance Man, even with one-win/two-win/three-win/four-win equivalent records. They don't need to ace all their games to have a shot at it, at all.
So suppose you're a casual player with GORGEOUS painting skills and an awesome, fluffy army ... you're a strong tactician, as strong as the next guy, but you're unwilling to run super powerful min-maxed armies of doom ... even if you get slaughtered on Day 1, you could recover against like-minded and like-listed people through ALL of Day 2. Even if you don't, even if you're the one unlucky fellow who goes 0-8, you'll be playing on Day 2 exclusively against the closest we can get (without subjective input) to like-minded and like-skilled opponents, all of whom had as rough a time on Day 1 as you did.
Plus, even if you DO go 0-4 on Day 2, it's GUARANTEED that one of those 4-0's, and 4 of those 3-1's ... are ALSO going to go 0-4 on Day 2. In fact, 16 different people will, only one of whom went 0-4 on Day 1. We'll definitely be giving that solo 0-8 a prize of some sort, probably an epic one.
More importantly, this enables people to much more reliably and competitively climb back into the Renaissance Man competition by the end of the Second Day of the GT, because you'll be doing it against a uniform and even playing field. Instead of the event encouraging players to either bring the most powerful list possible or be out of it by the end, it encourages you to do the best you can on Day 1, and then be the most skilled, best looking, and best BEHAVED within a properly bracketed set on the second day ... instead of laboring out of a set only to be smashed back down every time you get up into a bracket you simply can't compete with.
I hope this makes some sense ... it's a further attempt at innovation on our part, at trying to work things in a way that appeals to and rewards all player types. It also is an attempt at coming up with a "comp" (not "true" comp, but play-field-leveling if you will) that's not unfair to the best competitors, nor broken in terms of the softer ones (the guys who walk into a "Comp" tournament expecting equivalent lists everywhere, only to get slaughtered by people who ignore the restrictions, or who break them by studying them extensively). Players are all guaranteed 4 rounds against the 15 other players who are CLOSEST to them in both record and rating (battle points ish) on Day 2.
Food for thought and, as always, input :)