DieCon and the Gateway Grand Tournament are now over, and much fun was had by several hundred people. The GT had 45 people in it, and a large variety of tables, with terrain ranging from snow to jungle. One of the boards was a really good city fight board, another in the second day was snow and ice with a river with moving ice flows. There were a few issues brought up about some scoring, but overall things worked out well.
Over the weekend I met new people, played fun games, and made some new friends. I never ran into anyone in the tourney that was being an asshat, or was just not fun to play against. There were issues with personality clashes, but they were kept relatively low key, which was nice as those issues didn't disrupt the tournament.
I had 3 wins (1 of which was very nearly a draw with 2 battle points difference) and 2 losses. Since I never had a chance to test my list before the convention, the only game I had with it was during open gaming the night before which I ended in a 6 round fight versus Black Templars with a narrow loss on a capture and control mission on the city fight board. If it hadn't gone on to the 6th round it would have been a tie.
During the GT I fought a Thundercav list, a Shrike hybrid list, and a hybrid Wolf List heavy on rhino/gh squads with a deathstar of Tcav. The hybrid wolf list was a VERY narrow victory with 18 battle points to 16 bp's. We had a 4 round meat grinder of a fight in the middle of the board that ended with no one controlling the primary objective of an item that only infantry could pick up, he pfisted my guy holding it in round 5 and round 6 stalemated with 3 Tcav left in the melee against 4 honour guard and 5 asm's with 2 furioso's tied up in it as well. Mephiston ran a GH squad off the table over 3 rounds, and kept 2 GH squads and a long fang squad busy trying to kill him in area terrain.
I also played 2 games against the same GT staffer as a spoiler, which shouldn't have happened. I wasn't mad about having to face him twice, but definitely feel that I shouldn't have had the 'buy' twice, and that someone else should have had it and me face another GT participant.
That actually brings up a good point to cover about tournaments. Buy's can happen in odd number of participant tourney's, the issue I have is how it is handled. Should the participant be given a win, yet still have a match against the opponent, maybe with a set battle point amount given? Or should they play the spoiler and get the vp's and bp's for the match with them? Honestly I'm not sure which way is better, the GT went with the second option, but I can completely agree with both ways of doing it.
Another issue that came up had to do with painting scoring, and sportsmanship scoring. But before I discuss that I'll give my opinions and take on paiting and sportsmanship scoring.
Painting scoring isn't a hard science, it can't be, even if you have the list of criterion for the scoring it is nearly impossible to actually max the score. This isn't a bad thing at all. The trouble comes in when you have only one or two people doing the scoring. Since it is a totally objective and highly subjective thing to score one or two people scoring can end up with some large discrepancies in the numbers. In this case we had one person who was very critical and one that wasn't nearly as hard nosed. Not a bad mix mind you. The trouble comes when the hard nosed scoring is done with a glance and maybe a more critical look at one unit or even just one fig. A lot of people complained about the fact that when the hard nosed judge looked their armies over that person literally picked up one fig and looked it over then scored and walked away. Or that he glanced at one unit for a minute or so, scored, then walked away. No asking about conversions, theme, etc. Just zoom in one a portion, score, and go. This, in my opinion, is a horrible way to do the job.
I agree, paint scoring shouldn't take 15-20 minutes per person, but only using 1-2 minutes is pretty rediculous. Plus not bothering to even ask about conversions, theme, why some things are painted in certain ways, definitely not fulfilling the judging job. It only takes a couple minutes to talk with the armies owner to find out important details which can effect scoring, so be willing to spend those few minutes.
Sportsmanship scoring is already a hotbed issue in many locations. Adepticon has done what they could to reduce the issues with their bad/good/great scoring. I actually like that way of doing things. But we ran into an issue which a number of people found hinky with the GT scoring for this area. I will say that the trouble had nothing to do with the 0-10 point system used in the Gateway GT, it had to do with something that fudged not just the Sportsmanship scores, but also the painting scores.
Here is where we discuss the big issues...
At the end of round 5 all participants were asked to fill out a sheet which asked for players choice for best appearance for armies, and for who they felt was the best sportsman they played against. Now, in most cases I've known of, players choice for appearance was a totally seperate category from paint scores. In this case it wasn't, each 'vote' was added to the paint score for said persons army. Which pushed the maximum out of the 0-44 scored range. In this case we ended up with someone getting a 52. Then the number of 'votes' for who they felt was the best sportsman was added to the sportsmanship score from each of the five matches... you see the trouble here. We had 9+ people with maxed at 50 sportsmanship scores (another issue for later but I digress), which with the 'voting' spread into one with 53, several with 52, a few more with 51, and the rest of the 50's at 50. This particular additional score to the judged painting, as well as the boost to sportsmanship above and beyond the match scores from their opponent had a lot of people grumbling about the ways things might have been fixed by friends in the tourney, quite easily fixed, but no way to prove it at all.
In all honesty, players choice for appearance NEEDS to be a seperate category from judged and overall score altering painting scores. And having an additional 'who you think is the best sportsman' vote just throws things into the hinky area. They already got a score, and it is far to easy for someone that never even played someone to give them a boost to their score. If you end up with ties for winner, use some other score to get a winner. Lowest vp total, lowest bp total, etc. Just don't use a mechanic that can be abused by unscrupulous players (I AM NOT SAYING ANYONE CHEATED).
I'll be posting pics later of some of the armies and boards, as well as the pics I ran out of time to work on in photoshop of my own army.
Feel free to give comments about this post, I'd love to hear others opinions!