Sunday, January 17, 2016
Double Trouble - Random Pairings Reasoning
What do I mean by random pairings?
In a conventional doubles event you'd obviously plan an army together with a partner of your choice and show up to play other doubles teams who'd done the same. Armies may be a 50:50 split but some tournaments (e.g. GW's Battle Brothers) allow any combination of points. Either way it's about working together with a friend to defeat other partnerships.
The difference at Double Trouble will be that no-one will arrive with a partner of their choice. Instead they'll get a new partner in each and every round and play against another random partnership. There'll be no Swiss pairs either so it'll be random every time. This system means you'll play with/against 9 different people on the day. That's 3 different partners and 6 different opponents. That sounds pretty dramatic and I can see why it puts people off but please read on to understand my motivation for doing this.
Why random pairings?
Well for starters I've always strived to do something different with my events. At a time when Special Characters were often banned at tournaments I made them compulsory. I've always tried to listen to the players too which I don't think can be said of many tournaments at all. What I hope I created with Blog Wars was a unique event that had people wanting to come back. I think a big part of that was the raffle frankly but I'd like to believe the atmosphere I helped create was a factor too. I originally started Blog Wars as a community event, one that helped bloggers get together to throw some dice. When I moved away from the blogger focus I wanted to keep the spirit going.
Thing is though, random pairings aren't something new. I can't say I copied the idea from anywhere but since I decided to go with it I've noticed a few other events have done it before. So it isn't especially original but I still want to do it. A big part of the reason is it's a great way for people to get into the tournament scene. My first event was a doubles and I haven't looked back. The 750pt limit also helps new players and older ones trying out a new army for the first time.
I love doubles events. I love discussing my tactics with a partner and even like disagreeing with my partner. I enjoy saying "I told you so" even more though! Having four people around a table just feels better than a singles event. There's a lot more banter to be had across the board. Trouble is, not everyone has a doubles partner they can call on for these events. Some people have an odd numbered gaming group too. That made me think why not randomly pair people before the event and then let them figure things out between them.
I changed my mind on that though because what if you and your randomly allocated partner don't get along? You'd be stuck with them for what would be a really long day. Also, even if I allowed people to come up with armies in advance with their new partners they'd probably struggle to find common ground in some cases. That made me think about the random pairings in every round system.
Ultimately I hope that the experiences of Blog Wars have convinced people that I deserve a bit of benefit of the doubt. Whilst I feel Blog Wars ended in great style with two sell out events, it's important to remember that it started from pretty humble beginnings. I had a decent core of regulars who stuck with me though and the event grew through word of mouth and visits to this blog. I hope we can get enough people interested to actually run Double Trouble to see how it works out. If the random pairings thing is a total mistake then I'll be prepared to admit it and go back to a more normal format for subsequent events. I'd like to keep trying to run doubles events for a little while though and leave Matt's Fluffageddon (more on that soon) as the singles event each year.
I know randomness puts people off tournaments. The GW events use random pairings and I know a lot of people don't go for that very reason. Thing is though, Double Trouble, like Blog Wars before it, won't be a serious, competitive event. Think of it like a club night where you bring along your army and you don't know who you'll end up playing with or against. Go to town on your 750pt force and hopefully we'll get some stunning examples of every aspect of the hobby. As ever I want to hear your feedback though.