It was a 40K Tournament, using much of the NoVA Open structure, with the intent of giving our members an opportunity to get a feel for the format. 16 people made it out which, given the bracketing format, was perfect. As we're about as local as it gets, Mike Brandt came by and helped make sure everything went smoothly.
Casey Campbell's Tyranids and Jeff Payne's Space Hogs (Space Wolves) went undefeated. Doug McNaron's World Eaters won the Player's Choice award.
Scores and pairings can be found here.
A bit of a rambling AAR follows:
- The format worked well. I've run a bit hot and cold on it over the past several months, but it undeniably ran quite smoothly.
In terms of matching and the hard side of things, the tournament practically ran itself.
- Concerns about the bracketing approach frustrating some players with early losses weren't unfounded. Several players were (vocally) upset about being matched up against known stronger players. Before the tournament started, they "knew" that they didn't have a chance of winning the event.
That can't really be helped. And, fundamentally, it wouldn't be any different with a Swiss-style tournament save that the "you must be undefeated" expectation is explicit, rather than implicit.
Ultimately, we had three players drop out of the tournament. One left due to frustration over two rough games, another having to leave in the name of spousal appeasement. These two players coordinated their departure, to ensure it wouldn't impact the tournament.
- The third departure had nothing (and everything) to do with frustration. Chris Shriner: at the top table in the third round, playing for one of the two "Undefeated Player" slots was called into work two-thirds of the way through the game.
- The soft score side of things was a disaster, in my opinion. That's entirely my fault.
For me, it's essential to have a soft score component to a tournament. I think they're an important part of the hobby and, therefore, they need to be an important part of tournament.
Unfortunately, because I'd been waiting for an indication of how the NoVA Open was going to handle Appearance and Sportsmanship awards, I put off announcing any system until it was too late. (If you're going to use an objective Appearance checklist, you need to advertise what it is with sufficient time to let participants try to adhere to it.) That meant I had to fall back on the "Player's Choice" approach we used at the last 40K IFL RTT: rank every other player. Weight those ranks. Whoever's ranked highest wins an award.
I can't complain too much about this approach: I've won that award, but the approach is, overall, slapdash and doesn't value enough what I consider to be important.
Furthermore, I 1) didn't allow for enough time for people to look at the other armies and 2) wasn't successfully able to get people to leave them out on display.
Because Game Parlor keeps poor hours (11AM to 9PM), and the NoVA Open format allows for two hour, fifteen minute rounds, time was tight, so I only scheduled a 30 minute lunch break. When all was said and done, I should and could have stretched that out to an hour. We were packed up and done before 8:30 (closer to 8), so an extra 30 minutes wouldn't have hurt us.
Yelling, "Don't put your armies away before lunch" wouldn't have hurt, either.
I'm dissatisfied enough with how the soft stuff came out that I feel like I need to apologize to everyone for it.
- Interesting thing: Mike Gatewood made an unhappy comment about how Doug always wins Best Appearance / Player's Choice / etc. Suggesting that it was a bad thing that one person consistently wins the same award time and time again with the same army. In some ways, that's fair.
But really, I'm completely okay with that. If you're tired of seeing someone win "Prettiest Army" again and again: step up. Make an army that looks better than his, and bring it out. If one player has an auto-win for that, it's certainly not their fault: it's the community's.
- It looks like most everyone who made it out had a good time. That's very important to me.