Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Next Blog Wars.....

It may seem premature to be thinking about the next Blog Wars when the first one is still fresh in everyone's mind but that's exactly why I want to do it now. If we can flesh out the next one and get an idea when we fancy doing it then I think we can make it even better. Based on the responses to the earlier post there's a few things I think I can improve on. I always (rather cheesily) said it was a tournament by bloggers for bloggers but the first one was more by blogger singular. The more feedback the better Blog Wars 2: Battle of the Bloggers (that's the name deal with it!) will be. Please try and respond to the questions in red.

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?

2. Missions/Scenarios
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.

What sort of things do you want as prizes? Does the store credit thing work (if improved a little)? Were there too many/not enough prizes?

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?

Conclusion
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!

12 comments:

  1. First off, looking forward to the next one.

    I think the SC should stay - it was a good touch and did make people think as it can be tricky to get some of them in. Also think people might have a bit more of a play around with various other combo's.

    2 day event with plenty of games would be good if we got a really big sign up - if the numbers are much the same then probably just the 1 day 3 game event is fine. Saturday is certainly preferable. Would be good for the 2 day, as I imagine most of us would stay in the same area/place and could have a couple of drinks after the event.

    Missions wise - bit of a convo going on at SoS over the nova "tiered" system to ensure winners, which is cool. Might be an idea if we have a few of us play them at our local club/game nights and see what we think!

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  2. Oh crap -

    soft scores/paint scores are ok - as long as you have 2 "winners" - best over all and "full on champ" so to speak, for example, Ven would never have won best overall with his *cough* 3 colour min, where as someone like Atreides would probably have taken it - but then that throws up another issue of the likes of who judges it etc...

    It could be used, but with the actual army/SC comp I dont think you need it overly.

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  3. yeah, mines looong to, I'll email it :)

    tl:dr Good job ;)

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  4. 1. I really liked the 2.5 hours for the games, you could take your time and still manage to go the full 7 turns (which all my games did). I'd really not like to see the time shortened. If its a single day, I'd still think 3 games is necessary, or you could do a 2 day event with a 3/2 split and still finish much earlier on the Sunday.

    2. Funnily enough I don't mind the basic rulebook missions, yes some of them aren't as fun, but they make you think more and try to be more creative to get the win. I'd like it to not be too different from basic rules as there aren't many tournament goers in my FLGS so I'd struggle to practice anything too different.

    3. I'll do whatever I can to help bump up the numbers, although keeping it to bloggers and their friends might also help to keep away some of the WAAC players. Might be a bit exclusive though, but as with the one just gone, it could also encourage people to start blogs of their own.

    4. I liked having an award for the painting, and I'll repeat that I think it might be nice to be able to vote for a favourite opponent (so there is no negative voting to get back at an opponent that beats you) to recognise playing in the spirit of the tournament.

    5. I've got no issue with wearing a name badge as it helps you find those people you comment on more easily. Lunch wasn't particularly special and not really worth 7.50 if you ask me.

    Sorry, that's another epicly long reply. It was such a good tournament and I'm really looking forward to the next one, I'll definitely be there.

    Cheers, Andy

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  5. Hey Alex, really looking forward to the next Blog Wars...

    Definitely think that a 2 day event would be good if we can all help to boost numbers.

    With regard to scenarios myself and Adam spoke to a few guys who had been to a tournament at Maelstrom the day before Blog Wars who had been to an X-Box achievements tournament where making achievements were worth points encouraging people to do crazy things in the spirit of the game rather than trying to destroy your opponent. I.E: charge your entire army in a single assault phase worth 20 points or killing your psychic character by causing back to back perils of the warp worth 50 points.

    I liked the mandatory special character idea as it definitely makes for more interesting army lists.

    I also personally think keeping Blog Wars for bloggers and friends of blogs helps to make it very different from other tournaments out there...although from a logistics/commercial viewpoint it can limit your audience...

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  6. I like the one day event, 2 days take a lot out of you.

    How about a blog award maybe a small and big one so the small would be up to three members and you take the average score of the best two and the large would be 4 plus and you rank best four.

    I really enjoyed the mandatory special character especially as no one really took just the most obvious one. We didn't see 3 or four Maggie Thatcher armies.

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  7. Getting 50 points for dieing to perils would make it worth it lol.

    Not a bad suggestion - putting in "crazy" stipulations would certainly force things like that. SC vs SC combat gives double VP's to the winner or something even as simple as that.

    I am shocking at coming up with creative rules.

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  8. What about a Special Character arena of death over lunch or something similar to get us all gaming on the same table.

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  9. Glad to see a 2nd Blog Wars already being planned :)

    Heres my 2pence

    1. I found the timings fine, all my games ended around the 2 hour mark. I think you could try and shorten the games (maybe 2 hours for the first 5 turns and 30 mins for 'overtime'?)

    A full weekend sounds interesting my self and O'Shashar are only about 40 mins away so we would probably drive through each day.

    The breaks where fine

    2. Some of the battle missions are good basis for custom missions, I quite like the rulebook missions and set ups. The scoring system you mentioned seems good I think it will make things interesting.

    3. Definatly keep the special character as this stops pure tournament lists from turning up. Other then that I don't mind who comes, I would rather play someone who plays strict then cheat.

    4. The painting competition was good, allowed people to look at other peoples armies out of game time. I agree either making labels for the players or asking players to make their own labels would help

    5. The prizes where fine, as you have said with a little more time to organise you would have had actual vouchers, which I think is the best prize for the winner and the venue. The raffle was good, the shop had limited finecast for you to buy. Maybe small vouchers for the raffle winners, or prizes such as terrain/paints/gaming stuff (dice?)

    6. During registration you could do the meet and greet and name labels would be nice. A spectator (lunch only) is a good idea. We brought someone along as he wanted to see what it was like first, but the next one he will be coming as a player.

    sorry for the long post :)

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  10. I felt that the Special Characters were a terrible idea, because this punishes certain armies while rewarding others.

    Notice how the strongest armies were ones that would always want to take those special characters anyway?

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  11. @Adam Thanks for your comment but if you think about it what part of any tournaments' rules doesn't reward some whilst punishing others? It's the nature of the game. If I said "no duplicates" like some tournaments do then it'd be the same issue.

    The dark eldar army did particularly well because of the special character but only because it was a well thought out list. The tau player would probably have done even better without Farsight!

    The difference between the guard lists was that some had just thrown Marbo onto a standard tournament list but the guy who came second had written a list from the ground up to include Straken.

    It was more about thinking about how an SC will affect your own army and writing your list accordingly than it was about people doing so well because "they'd probably take them anyway".

    There are plenty of competitive tournaments that don't have any list restrictions but then the people who build characterful armies don't do well because the rest just take multiples of the good units including an SC is just one of the ways to tackle the issue.

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  12. Alex, it was a great job.
    1. SC is a keeper. Sets it apart even if mine just died!
    2. Bloggers and friends only i think is best otherwise you'll scare away bloggers and invite WAAC.
    3. Lunch not worth 7.50 howevernice enough all the same.
    4. One day event i prefer. That frees up time to travel up north and to visit Warhammer World etc.
    5. Name Badges defo, and the best painted awards good, labels needed.
    6. Periodicity of more than every 6 months I think may take away from the event? Just becoming a games night for locals rather than a national bloggers get together. Just IMHO.
    Thanks for a great event. All @weemen.blogspot.com

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