Last November my FLGS ran its first big 40K tournament. We run monthly tournaments but this was a 30 player event with a big buy-in and lots of freebies and awards to be had. Overall the event was a success and next month we’ll be hosting a scaled down version of that event.
Anyone who has organized and put together a tournament will tell you it’s not easy. There are a lot of considerations to be made and ultimately you want to run an event where every player leaves happy regardless of how they did at the tables; not an easy task. Amongst the considerations are the scoring metrics: comp, painting, sportsmanship, etc. The metrics you choose give direction to the type of event you’re hosting. Take ‘ard Boyz. The only score that matters, and in fact the only score that exists, is battle points. The goal of the day is to beat face, plain and simple. You also have those ‘hobby’ events where soft scores are used and there are awards for best overall or renaissance man, whatever name it goes by at a particular event.
Now, the event we ran in November, and the one we’re running next month, would be considered hobby events. One of the always touchy subjects is army composition. Love it or hate it you’ll often see it at one event or another you attend. Now, I agree with those that say scoring comp is not a science and it’s far from perfect. It really does often come down to the bias of those creating the rubric for which comp is scored. At my FLGS I railed against it when we used it in our monthly tournaments and we no longer use it. However, at these events I’m discussing we do use it.
What I want to discuss is not the use of army comp, at least not specifically, but what it does and if there’s a better way. I feel that what army comp does do is set the tone of the event, like it or hate it. Usually the goal of comp is to say that the event is less about who has the best list and more about creating a more casual environment for gaming and awarding various aspects of the hobby. I know, I know, fun is subjective…blah, blah, blah. I stand on both sides of the fence with this stuff, it’s not the point. My point is this. Is there a way to create a hobby event without comp but still keep the tone of the event?
Now, Amberclad feels that by using soft scores for sportsmanship and painting is ‘enough’ to set the event as such but is it really? I don’t feel it is. These events draw a particular crowd. The people who generally attend such events do so knowing that ‘cheesy’ lists will be minimal. Comp doesn’t eliminate these lists entirely but there’s no arguing it severely reduces them.
For next month we’re introducing a new award, the people’s champion. The award is given to the person with has the highest soft scores. We’ll have best general (battle points), best overall (all points), and people’s champion (soft scores). Is having an award like people’s champion the answer? Let’s say, which we aren’t doing for this event for the record, we have comp but only use it as a factor for people’s champion. So, best overall would be battle points, sportsmanship and painting (though a new name would seem appropriate in this case), and then people’s champion is sportsmanship, painting and comp. All type of players stand a chance at winning a category, which is always true but you know what I mean.
It seems a partial answer in that everyone is rewarded but with 2 of the 3 categories not factoring in comp it also changes, in my opinion, the tone of the event. However, is it a fair compromise? Hell, does there even need to be a compromise? Those who choose to attend these events do so knowing what they are and thus are cool with the scoring system. If you show up at an event like this and bitch about comp then isn’t it not your own fault for going?
Ultimately though I’m curious if a hobby event can be run that sets the tone of more ‘casual’ gaming and can do so without comp. Thoughts?