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Article: Tournament Musings @ Dust-War.com


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#1 em_en_oh_pee

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:44 AM

 I have recently put up an article on Dust-War.com and figured I would see what people thought. I have been mulling over how best to run a larger-scale tournament for Dust Warfare. 

One thing I didn't mention in the article was the possible want to include a "Sideboard" or alternative list option. Something like a three platoon format, where one is the "main platoon", with two secondaries chosen before the players start (like Warmachine/Hordes).

Has anyone had any practical experience with Dust Warfare tourneys yet?



#2 Shadow4ce

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:31 AM

 Interesting read. I'm in the early stages of developing a format myself, having TO'd a ton of events over the years.

I'd come to the same conclusion - Swiss format. 

Timewise, what I'm most leaning towards right now is chess death clocks set at 40 minutes each. If a player runs out of time on their clock, they lose. IMO, any other timing mechanism can be to easily gamed, or is to restrictive. I've lost tournaments where my opponent dragged out a turn till dice-down, knowing he controlled the tie-break, and if he finished his turn I was two activations from winning outright. Timing every turn makes it difficult in the 2nd and 3rd turns to get everything done, unless you set the limit ridiculously high. 

I'll have the players start their clocks when they begin with the battle-builder, ensuring that won't drag out. I'm going to allow 10 minutes prior to that to set up terrain, and then as TO, I'll come around and finish putting terrain down for them if they're taking too long. I'm leaning towards just one list allowed at the first event. If time isn't an issue after this event, I'll either allow multiple lists, or give players an additional 5-10 minutes on their clock, and they can choose their lists while the clock is running.

I mulling over setting the clocks at 45 minutes, have them start the clocks as they place terrain, continue them through battle-builder, then allow them to pause the clocks to deploy, then start up again. 

One thing's for sure, I'll test it out ahead of time with my core players to see what they think. 

 


#3 Shadow4ce

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:33 AM

 Interesting read. I'm in the early stages of developing a format myself, having TO'd a ton of events over the years.

 
I'd come to the same conclusion - Swiss format. 
 
Timewise, what I'm most leaning towards right now is chess death clocks set at 40 minutes each. If a player runs out of time on their clock, they lose. IMO, any other timing mechanism can be to easily gamed, or is to restrictive. I've lost tournaments where my opponent dragged out a turn till dice-down, knowing he controlled the tie-break, and if he finished his turn I was two activations from winning outright. Timing every turn makes it difficult in the 2nd and 3rd turns to get everything done, unless you set the limit ridiculously high. 
 
I'll have the players start their clocks when they begin with the battle-builder, ensuring that won't drag out. I'm going to allow 10 minutes prior to that to set up terrain, and then as TO, I'll come around and finish putting terrain down for them if they're taking too long. I'm leaning towards just one list allowed at the first event. If time isn't an issue after this event, I'll either allow multiple lists, or give players an additional 5-10 minutes on their clock, and they can choose their lists while the clock is running.
 
I'm mulling over setting the clocks at 45 minutes, have them start the clocks as they place terrain, continue them through battle-builder, then allow them to pause the clocks to deploy, then start up again. 
 
One thing's for sure, I'll test it out ahead of time with my core players to see what they think. 



#4 Shadow4ce

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:35 AM

 Sorry for the multiple replies. My Internet modem wigged out just as I hit send, and these forums do very weird things with cut & paste text. 



#5 wrkrparasite

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 03:07 PM

After thinking about it for a few days, I realized that death clocks won't work for Dust Warfare because games are scored at the end, not as they go like in Warmachine. For example, in Key Positions and Assassination both players would have no way to score Superiority Points because the objectives are only revealed at the end. The fact that these objectives require a definitive end to the game means that the clock can't be gamed; the game needs to end before it can be scored. I think that timed turns with a single or flexible extension would keep things moving along at a nice clip. 

Also, I think that the battle builder and player placement of terrain are both important if you're going to do a single-list format. That gives players some agency to try to play to their lists' strengths.



#6 Shadow4ce

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 05:53 PM

wrkrparasite said:

After thinking about it for a few days, I realized that death clocks won't work for Dust Warfare because games are scored at the end, not as they go like in Warmachine. For example, in Key Positions and Assassination both players would have no way to score Superiority Points because the objectives are only revealed at the end. The fact that these objectives require a definitive end to the game means that the clock can't be gamed; the game needs to end before it can be scored. I think that timed turns with a single or flexible extension would keep things moving along at a nice clip. 

Also, I think that the battle builder and player placement of terrain are both important if you're going to do a single-list format. That gives players some agency to try to play to their lists' strengths.

I disagree  with your assessment of Deathclock not working. If anything, it works better, and forces folks to take risks to get to the objectives in those scenarios. How do you propose the games end if they keep going on timed turns only, and folks have a few turns where they don't get to activate half their army. With Deathclock, the person whose clock runs out loses, period. Superiority points are awarded by units destroyed, and the winner gets full points as if they achieved the scenario win. The game ends in a timely manner, and folks get to have one or two important turns where the time really matters. It more closely mirrors a casual game without taking off the pressure to be decisive. 

Battle-builder and terrain placement were included in my proposal, so I'm assuming that paragraph was in agreement with me. 



#7 Azrell

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:43 PM

 Death clocks wont work because you can run your opponents time down with your reactions. 



#8 Ariano

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:09 AM

 If the clocks are chess clocks, the ones which stop your time countdown and start the one of the opponent if you press the button, well, the solution is quite simple:

you turn, your time is running, you move, you are in a position wherein a reaction trigger happens, you ask your opponent "do you react, yes or no?", if your opponent says yes, you press your clock button and HIS time starts running, not yours, when he finished his reaction he has to press again to bring the time countdown back to you.

I promise, he will fast as lightning :)

btw, have you ever watched a quick chess tournament ? the guys hit the clocks like their lives depend on it.



#9 Cannor

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:54 AM

You don't need chess clocks. Just set the round time to, say, 50 minutes, and when time runs out the player currently activating a unit must finish their activation. After that, the game is over. Also, ask players to play reasonably quickly, and maybe even deduct points for slow play.

 



#10 Shadow4ce

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 04:20 AM

Cannor said:

You don't need chess clocks. Just set the round time to, say, 50 minutes, and when time runs out the player currently activating a unit must finish their activation. After that, the game is over. Also, ask players to play reasonably quickly, and maybe even deduct points for slow play.

 

Which works if players aren't manipulative competitive a$$hats. Unfortunately, at tournaments, they are. Therefore, the TO has to make discretionary judgement calls. Nothing sucks the fun out of running a tournament more than DQing a guy for manipulating the clock. Reality is , you can only judge actions, not motives. I almost DQ'd a diabetic once who was taking long turns. Fortunately, as I started to question him, he snapped out of it, tested his blood sugar, and we got him some juice and he was okay. 

 

Trust me, I've ran a lot of tournaments for a lot of games. Chess clocks are the best tool ever for keeping folks from manipulating the clock while still keeping game length reasonable so the trains (rounds) run on time. 



#11 Denied

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 04:34 AM

Azrell said:

 Death clocks wont work because you can run your opponents time down with your reactions. 

 

This is my stance on Death clocks as well. Thanks to the reaction system of this game you would be able to run down your opponents turns by reacting to things and even if your not actually reacting but going wait "hmmm I may want to react" then its still your opponents turn to act.

 

I think their are other more creative ways to encourage players to finish their games. Dust so far seems to be a nice system for simply being fast games so it isn't difficult in my opinion to encourage players to finish on time. I would simply state at the start of a tournament if players can not finish their games in the allotted time then neither player will receive points for it and then on top of it I would give incentive points to the players who do so even if a player is loosing if they finish their game on time they can at least get some points and feel good about it.



#12 wrkrparasite

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 05:26 PM

Shadow4ce said:

wrkrparasite said:

 

After thinking about it for a few days, I realized that death clocks won't work for Dust Warfare because games are scored at the end, not as they go like in Warmachine. For example, in Key Positions and Assassination both players would have no way to score Superiority Points because the objectives are only revealed at the end. The fact that these objectives require a definitive end to the game means that the clock can't be gamed; the game needs to end before it can be scored. I think that timed turns with a single or flexible extension would keep things moving along at a nice clip. 

Also, I think that the battle builder and player placement of terrain are both important if you're going to do a single-list format. That gives players some agency to try to play to their lists' strengths.

 

 

I disagree  with your assessment of Deathclock not working. If anything, it works better, and forces folks to take risks to get to the objectives in those scenarios. How do you propose the games end if they keep going on timed turns only, and folks have a few turns where they don't get to activate half their army. With Deathclock, the person whose clock runs out loses, period. Superiority points are awarded by units destroyed, and the winner gets full points as if they achieved the scenario win. The game ends in a timely manner, and folks get to have one or two important turns where the time really matters. It more closely mirrors a casual game without taking off the pressure to be decisive. 

Battle-builder and terrain placement were included in my proposal, so I'm assuming that paragraph was in agreement with me. 

Totally in agreement on battle builder and terrain. Still not seeing death clock, though, so help me understand.

Unless I'm missing something (and I might be, so please let me know if I am), there are two potential outcomes on death clock:

  1. Someone clocks out and loses, or
  2. Someone tables their opponent.

Neither one of those outcomes take scenario objectives into consideration. There is zero incentive to pursue said objectives when the only way to win is to clock your opponent or kill everything on the board. 

All that being said, this entire discussion will be rendered moot when FFG inevitably releases rules for running tournaments.



#13 Shadow4ce

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 06:33 PM

 Death clock doesn't change scenario objectives at all. It just provides a finite, yet known, maximum amount of time you can use to make your moves/attacks over the course of a full game. If scenario has a 5 round limit and neither player times out, then the winner is determined by scenario rules. Which should happen 95% of the time (unless you're running a high-pressure tournament, or have a very short timeframe to complete it in and are setting unrealistical times).

death clock doesn't mean you play to the death (table your opponent), you still play the scenario as always. The reason it's called death clock is you lose if your clock runs out. I've only seen two types of players who allow it to happen…

1.) Players suffering from, "analysis paralysis" - Usually because they don't know the game or their units well enough, or occasionally, because their opponent really put them in a no-win situation.

2.) Players who have zero situational awareness and don't pay attention to their time. 

 

Other than adding an additional lose condition (running out of time) Death Clock has zero effect on scenario objectives or turn limits.  The best way to win is to attain your scenario objectives as always, just make sure you don't lolly gag in doing so. 

Once typical average game lengths between experienced players are figured out, it's pretty rare to have someone clock out in a tournament who actually has a legitimate shot at winning it. Although, until the right time is found, there will definitely be growing pains. I'll run several, "For Fun" tournaments where all participants get equal awards before running a serious prize one, so I have a good handle on the right time to set the clocks at.

Reactions are going to be mighty interesting if folks forget to switch the clock to the reacting player and back, so that'll be illuminating. Denied made a valid point, but I think the rules handle it well in it not being sporting to give your opponent time to react, it's equally cheesy to hem and haw over whether you will or not when asked. If it becomes an issue, I'll implement clock pausing so it's obvious who's really debating a reaction and who is just messing with their opponent's time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#14 wrkrparasite

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 01:45 AM

Shadow4ce said:

 Death clock doesn't change scenario objectives at all. It just provides a finite, yet known, maximum amount of time you can use to make your moves/attacks over the course of a full game. If scenario has a 5 round limit and neither player times out, then the winner is determined by scenario rules. Which should happen 95% of the time (unless you're running a high-pressure tournament, or have a very short timeframe to complete it in and are setting unrealistical times).

death clock doesn't mean you play to the death (table your opponent), you still play the scenario as always. The reason it's called death clock is you lose if your clock runs out. I've only seen two types of players who allow it to happen…

1.) Players suffering from, "analysis paralysis" - Usually because they don't know the game or their units well enough, or occasionally, because their opponent really put them in a no-win situation.

2.) Players who have zero situational awareness and don't pay attention to their time. 

 

Other than adding an additional lose condition (running out of time) Death Clock has zero effect on scenario objectives or turn limits.  The best way to win is to attain your scenario objectives as always, just make sure you don't lolly gag in doing so. 

Once typical average game lengths between experienced players are figured out, it's pretty rare to have someone clock out in a tournament who actually has a legitimate shot at winning it. Although, until the right time is found, there will definitely be growing pains. I'll run several, "For Fun" tournaments where all participants get equal awards before running a serious prize one, so I have a good handle on the right time to set the clocks at.

Reactions are going to be mighty interesting if folks forget to switch the clock to the reacting player and back, so that'll be illuminating. Denied made a valid point, but I think the rules handle it well in it not being sporting to give your opponent time to react, it's equally cheesy to hem and haw over whether you will or not when asked. If it becomes an issue, I'll implement clock pausing so it's obvious who's really debating a reaction and who is just messing with their opponent's time. 

See, I told you that I needed some help. For some reason the Warmachine part of my brain made death clock and five rounds mutually exclusive. I am now onboard. 

As far as reactions go, the active player declares activation or executes activation and as soon as there is an enemy unit eligible to react, the active player asks the responding player if he/she wants to react. If the answer is yes, you flip the clock over. If the responding player hems and haws, you flip the clock over.  



#15 Shadow4ce

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 03:41 AM

wrkrparasite said:

 

If the responding player hems and haws, you flip the clock over.  

Love this!



#16 ninjaray

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:14 AM

 Yeah anytime someone is using up your time, flip the clock. They get to use their time instead.

Also I thought you set up terrain after the battle builder, so you could run a pregame timer for battle building and terrain set up, then after X time, have everyone start their Deathclocks. Starting the Deathclocks during Battle Builder and terrain set up is a little silly to me, but an overall timed set up sounds cool, then if people are running late, let them eat into their deathclock time. 



#17 Shadow4ce

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:32 AM

ninjaray said:

 

 Yeah anytime someone is using up your time, flip the clock. They get to use their time instead.

Also I thought you set up terrain after the battle builder, so you could run a pregame timer for battle building and terrain set up, then after X time, have everyone start their Deathclocks. Starting the Deathclocks during Battle Builder and terrain set up is a little silly to me, but an overall timed set up sounds cool, then if people are running late, let them eat into their deathclock time. 

 

 

I like this idea as well. It'll make determining appropriate DC time a quicker exercise as well, only having one variable (actual scenario play) to deal with. 



#18 em_en_oh_pee

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:06 AM

I think terrain should be set up by the TO before the tournament to be fair and balanced. I know its part of the game to create strategic terrain placement, but I think that isn't needed and would just add time to an already long tournament day. The Battle Builder should be timed - simply to keep people from wasting time. I think 5-10min is plenty to get to an agreement, write the results (and objectives) and submit them to the TO. 

When it comes to death clocks, I like the idea - as well as having a pause option (for asking about Reactions as well as useful bathroom breaks or whatever). What do you guys think about turn extensions like in Warmahordes?

Also, how long are the average 300AP games taking folks right now?



#19 Shadow4ce

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:25 PM

em_en_oh_pee said:

I think terrain should be set up by the TO before the tournament to be fair and balanced. I know its part of the game to create strategic terrain placement, but I think that isn't needed and would just add time to an already long tournament day. The Battle Builder should be timed - simply to keep people from wasting time. I think 5-10min is plenty to get to an agreement, write the results (and objectives) and submit them to the TO. 

When it comes to death clocks, I like the idea - as well as having a pause option (for asking about Reactions as well as useful bathroom breaks or whatever). What do you guys think about turn extensions like in Warmahordes?

Also, how long are the average 300AP games taking folks right now?

Leith Deathclock, turn extensions are built in. You need more Tim in turn 3, use it. Just don't leave yourself with 3 minutes for turns 4-5, lol. 






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