1. Timing & Day
The idea behind 2hr 30min games was that people wouldn't feel so pressured to finish on time which would aid the friendlier feel of the tournament. As far as I'm concerned it worked pretty well. I don't think there were many games that needed the full time but also there weren't many that didn't get to a full compliment of turns be it 5, 6 or 7. The only issue with this is that 7pm was quite a late finish for a Sunday and it did make it a long day. There are two obvious solutions to this. Firstly, make it a Saturday and secondly shorten the games. I'm far more keen on the former than the latter! I know there were quite a few first timers at Blog Wars and perhaps some who hadn't played the game much so I'm keen not to alienate them by making it too much of a rush.
Therefore I'm not going to do a Sunday again if at all possible but I don't intend on changing the game length. The other thing I'd like to do (if a bit ambitious) is try a weekender with 5/6 games over a whole weekend. The wives and gfs might not like it though. However, if we all went to a pub in the evening (dunno if the Maelstrom bar opens late on a Saturday?) then the social side would improve.
How would people feel about this? Would you prefer shorter games? Were the breaks between games long enough? Would you be up for a full weekend?
I played a very enjoyable tournament (also at Maelstrom) that had slightly different missions and a different way of doing GPs. Basically it borrowed some of the 4th ed missions and the GPs were based on how successful you were at achieving them. For example in Cleanse (where you must control table quarters) you got 1 point if you won by 1 quarter, three for winning by two quarters and the full 5 for a tabling. The games were 1500pts and there were then 5 points for tabling the other army, 3 pts for over 1000pts margin and 1 point for less. That meant each game had 10 points available but requiring a tabling to achieve that. It really made people push to kill that last unit and there wasn't an annhiliation mission so that solved the KP issue. The only problem is that it means objectives might get ignored in favour of just going for the tabling but I guess that's the same whatever the mission.
The reason I went with the rulebook ones is that everyone knows them, it's less effort for me and there'd be no confusion about my wording in custom scenario descriptions. I've got a lot more time spare at the moment (since I'm never gonna plan another wedding) so I'd be quite up for coming up with some scenarios (or more likely stealing them from somewhere else).
Anyway, I think we're all agreed that the rulebook scenarios aren't much fun if you get crap combos like spearhead and c&c or dawn of war and..... anything DoW sucks! By avoiding these missions and probably anything using KPs I think we can make it more fun for all and reduce the risk of people playing the same opponents.
What scenarios do you guys like? Have you found any at other tournaments that worked well? Should there always be objectives with annhilation as a secondary mission? How should it be scored?
3. Number of Players
Not so much I can do about this because it's really down to you lot. What I will do is a lot more work on publicity for the event. I'll put it on Unseen Lerker again and mention it on a couple of forums. The downside to this is that we might attract the WAAC crowd. To this end I'll definitely keep the compulsory special character. I think most people saw what I was trying to do and embraced it. I think those that did had a lot more fun than those that threw one in last minute (maybe that's just me though?). I think it encourages as many as it puts off but I think the kind of people it attracts are the kind we want and vice versa. Special characters are what sets Blog Wars apart and I'd like to keep it that way.
The other option is that I just leave it to word of mouth (or word of blog at least) and plan it further in advance so there's more time for people to plan. I think if it's a Saturday then more people will show up too. That or a full weekend will make people feel a long journey is more worthwhile.
Word of mouth or forum spam? Keep it blogger only or open it up to anyone? How do you feel about the mandatory SC?
4. Soft Scoring
I've never been a fan of points for "sportsmanship" or painting quality as I don't think it's ever likely to be honest when you're filling it out with your opponent stood at the other side of the table. It's a waste of time and doesn't really add anything so I'm keeping it out.
The painting competition was pretty good but I think it could've been better if I'd had some labels for each player making it easy to tell which army was which and also given people more time to set them up. Well that and actually bothering to mention they needed to set them up in the first place! I admit I'm a gamer before I'm a hobbyist but I still think it's an essential part of a tournament.
Does anyone out there actually like it? Could the painting comp be a bigger part? Should there be a sportsmanship award?
5. Prizes and Awards
I liked the categories for the awards as there weren't soo many that it became an "Everyone Gets a Trophy" day but I wish I'd put a bit more effort in here. I'll definitely make some certificates (if not trophies) for next time. The store credit I'll definitely produce vouchers for to make it easier afterwards but I'd like to keep it as a prize. It keeps the venue sweet too as you're spending cash while you're there. The discount also helps boost the prize money.
I liked the raffle but wasn't soo keen on the prizes. I'll put some more imagination into it next time. I've already got some ideas but I'll keep them under wraps for now. Suffice to say they're better than the finecast models people didn't want/need!
The ticket price I think was about right. Again, I wouldn't expect to make any cash. I was flattered that there was a whip round for me but it'd be like a restaurant including a service charge if I was to make it from ticket sales. I might, however, allocate a portion of the budget for "event supplies" so that I'm not out of pocket at least! I'm not sure the lunch was worth £7.50 but it wasn't bad, might discuss this with the venue and see what we can do. I'd rather more money went into prizes than catering but with more numbers we'd have more bargaining power.
Finally, I want to contact some companies and try and scrounge some free stuff, something I didn't get round to doing this time.
6. Other Bits and Pieces
The reason for two scorecards were in case (a) people lost there's i.e. you'd hope both hadn't lost them and/or (b) to ensure that both scores agreed in case anyone was trying to buff their scores. What didn't help was when BOTH people put the wrong thing making me look daft in the prize ceremony!!! What I will do is print them on thicker paper/card next time so they aren't so flimsy. Might even make them look a bit better!
I'll bring a better laptop next time so I can have the score on the big screen with perhaps some reminders of the scenario scoring system so that no-one can claim that's why they lost!
Name badges (read sticky labels) is something I though about but never got around to doing. I like the idea and I think it'll help Maelstrom out with the discount so they know people aren't just chancing it. The "Who's Who?" over lunch would have to be done by someone other than me since I won't have time if Sunday was anything to go by.
I think I ought to have a spectator ticket. There were a few guys who came just to watch which is fine but it'd be good for them to chuck in a few quid for the lunch (not sure if they helped themselves to buffet or not since I wasn't there long) but it couldn't hurt to offer the option. I'd hope the spectators this time would play next time anyway.
We set up the scenery in the morning. It's difficult to tell how good or bad it is until you start playing but I reckon the rule of thumb that it should cover 25% of the surface when packed together is a good one. Line of sight blocking is a good playing field leveller (well not literally) so it stays but perhaps only on half the tables or something.
A new logo. I can't tell you how sick I am of the thing. Looking back there's way too many posts with it on so I'm going to put some effort into making a better one. Watch this space!
Any ideas for improving the "meet and greet" side of the game? Would you feel stupid with a name badge? What could I change scenery-wise (if anything)? How was lunch?
There WILL be another Blog Wars I promise. It WILL be bigger and it WILL be better. The only question that remains is when? Sooner rather than later but I'm thinking Sept/Oct sort of time. Let me know what works for you and I'll try and go with the majority. I'm already looking forward to it and my mind is racing with ideas so trust me your ticket price will be worth it!