Monday, January 24, 2011

Competitive Tournaments == Laid Back Gamers

Haven't had much to post about recently. New project at works has taken up my attention, plus building my Tau and running the escalation league has left me too little time to write any rants about little plastic men. Speaking of the escalation league...

Now that the league has started I don't have to worry too much about it. I set up the rules so that players can essentially self run it. I only have to step in to stir things up occasionally to keep things interesting. Justin and Scott are racing for the top spot, so the first big team battle should be ready to go in a few weeks. It's looking like the Chaos players are well on their way to unleashing a devastating ancient weapon if they keep up their digging in the wasteland. The order players will need to step up in the spaceport and forge if they want to have any hope of mounting a credible defense if the first big game.

I'm very pleased with how the players are approaching the league. I haven't heard any of the bickering you usually get from 40k players about fairness or cheeses. Of course that may just be because as the organizer, I can't complain about my own event. I think some of it has to do with setting expectations, but I think a lot has to do with our tournaments taking the competitive edge out of our group. By having fair competitive tournaments, we don't have as much to prove during our regular friendly games.

That's right, I think our highly competitive tournaments are making us more laid back gamers. Competitive people set out to test themselves and prove something. If all your measurable ways to test yourself don't prove anything, then you don't really accomplish anything. I think battle point tournaments leave many players feeling untested. You can end up in 4th place undefeated without ever having played the guy who was awarded first. I think that Win/Loss tournaments feed our instinctive reptile brain in a way that battle point tournaments don't. At the end of a W/L tournament, you are left with the feeling that the spot you won was the the spot you deserved. Even if that spot is a 4 way tie for 1st place.

But, how does this make us more laid back? If we are feeding that part of our brain that needs competition a full delicious feast, we are less likely to go looking for snacks in between our meals. A well fed competitive player has no need to eat up poor little kids in 600 point league games. Knowing that another good competitive tournament is coming up lets us save our appetites as well.

There's been some complaints filtering in about our next Hivefleet Indy Tournament because we end the day without a clear number 1 player. It's hard to make a rational argument that that is not a big deal to someone who has never played a W/L tournament. Our instinctual expectation in a competition is that there is a winner at the end. You have to experience a W/L tournament to realize that you don't need to have a winner to feed your competitive nature. You just need to have tough fights where you skills are adequately tested and your results are fairly rewarded. What you don't want to do is declare someone the best without making them prove it. That will just ruin the meal. A hungry competitive nature will look to feed itself anyway it can.