Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tournament Review: A-Kon 2011

Since my batreps (which I totally forgot to take pictures of....I know!) are going to take a few days to get written up I'm throwing this up here first.

I want to start this out by saying I had a really good time. The TO's were approachable and good guys. There were actively out amongst the tables and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Every opponent I had seemed like a great guy that I had good, fun game against and they seemed to think the same. I also want it to be clear that I knew the format going in and have 0 problems with the results of the tourney. So with that said let's get down to business.

Venue: Good, once we found it. It held in the Marriot at the convention center in Dallas. Our actual location was great even if finding it originally meant wading through the costumed and sometimes unwashed masses. But once we found where it was we got to avoid that treat to our senses on day one. There was plenty of food options near by and we were tucked aside a little so there weren't a ton of the several thousand A-Kon attendees wandering thru which can always be a problem at enormous Cons.

Terrain: Excellent. There were actual line of sight blocking terrain. There was terrain that could give LR's saves. It was definitely 25% on every table I saw and played on and they were very clear that all terrain was area w/4+ which cut way down on the time needed to talk about terrain. You'll see the terrain in Dash's photos since he did remember to take pictures for his batreps!

Prize Support: Good. Everyone is getting tac-templates and all in one templates from Gale Force 9. The top spots also got some decent loot including Battleforces, credit to a store in Houston that will mail them their product, some credit to various 3rd party bitz companies. For the turnout I was impressed with the loot given across the winners.

Turnout: Not so good. There were 34 people on day one with 3-4 dropping on day 2. Meaning by the end of the tournament here were around 30ish people playing. It's probably the smallest 2-day tournament I've been to in a long time. I think the lack of turnout was mostly related to lack of buzz generated but I think it'll be much better next year. First year events are always tough.

Format: This one is going to take a little bit. First I'll describe how the format worked and then I'll explain the issues I currently see with it and how I personally would tweak it. Bear in mind I knew the format coming in. This isn't a complaint, just a look at the format and my thoughts.

So this tournament was a 7 game tournament over 2 days. 4 on day one and 3 on day two. All rounds were 2.5 hours (more than enough time so this is good) and it was a 2,000pt tournament. Day 1 was strictly win/loss with the same idea as Adepticon (3 overall objectives, most objectives wins) but without the ability to tie as it went to a straight VP tie break. Day 2 was 3 battle point games. Day 1 was strictly to seed for day 2 since they broke the tournament into two brackets on day 2. Day 2 was a total reset from day 1 meaning the only point to those 4 games was to determine which 15-16 dudes you would be competing against on Day 2.

The scoring breakdown worked like this:

-80 Possible Sports
-80 Possible Paint
-72*3.45 Possible Battle Points

Only the battle points from day 2 counted toward the possible battle score for the event toward best general/best overall. What this means is that it was basically a 2-day RTT since you played 4 games to determine which RTT group you would play with. Also with the low number of players it meant quite a few 2-2 players from day one wound up in the top bracket. The TO's were basically trying for a best of both worlds approach with the straight w/l and BP's but I feel like they might have done it backwards in this case.

Possible Solution:
I think that if you are going to mix BP's with Win/Loss make day 1 the BP event, 4 games. Then, based on how many games you have for day 2 you take the corresponding number of players for that bracket. Meaning 3 games=8 players, 4=16. Then you have straight win/loss and only one possible winner for the "best gen" award. I'm honestly not sure how you would workout the Battle Points portion of the Best Overall at this point so I'm honestly inclined to lean to one format or the other and not a mixture of both. While I think win/loss makes for much less tense games since people aren't trying to curb stomp their opponents you can do a pure BP system though you won't need as many games in this case.

The problem as I see it is in a pure win/loss or bp's would probably have had a different outcome on either Best Overall or Best General. However it this format did allow for a sort of "come back" which is good from the viewpoint of the TO's based on our conversations. But I do think this format simply won't work if they wind up having more than 32ish people for day two. Why? 3 Games just doesn't spread the field enough and makes it far more match-up reliant and all to likely that some of the better players can avoid each other.

Scenarios: Alright. I say alright because 3 of 4 missions on day one had special rules that could heavily impact the overall outcome of the game which sometimes can make things unfun for some players. Also the set turn length of 6 turns. I had a good time with it but I wonder if my 4th round opponent would have lost if Night Fight hadn't falled on turn 4 for us or exactly what the result would been for my round 3 opponent without the Warp Rift rule (one infantry unit can deepstrike to anywhere else on the table per turn) that I used once to move my lonewolf into assault range for turn 6. Knowing when the game ends is huge and allows you to play for it. I personally would say full random game length (which would have lost me game 7) or 6 turns w/7 on a 4+ (and I had this opinion before I would have one on turn 7 in my last game..hehe).

Also the missions on day two were fine with the exception of again set 6 turns and mission 3 on day two which was designed to be a drawfest. To me this made it very, very match up dependent. You can find the full list of scenarios here: https://sites.google.com/site/therailheadrumble/sample-missions

Overall it was a good event. It was well run. The TO's were open to talk about all aspects of their event. It's likely that unless work keeps me from it I'll attend next year as well.