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Qark

The tournament system needs more rounds so that early round pairings don't dominate the final rankings.

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Edit: Some great comments here. Thanks to everyone who made meaningful contributions to the discussion!



I have three arguments for why the tournament point system is just plain bad.

The first issue is that losing has different penalties for how bad you lose. If you only just lose you can still score 5 tournament points, if you lose badly you only score 1 tournament point. The problem with having a bigger penalty for a bigger loss is that it creates a disincentive to actually play the game. If I sit down and see that my opponent's list has an advantage over mine or I fall behind in the first few rounds I am likely to disengage to try and preserve tournament points. This is incredibly frustrating for the winning player because it deprives them of the ability to score those 9-10 points they need to make it to the top tables but more importantly it makes the game you are currently playing boring. Who wants to play a match where one player is spending the entire game running away and no significant shots are exchanged? I sure don't!

The second issue is that you can win all of your games and not even come close to placing in the tournament overall. A few years ago I placed 6th at a nationals level competition after I had beaten two people in the top 5! I came up against brilliant opponent after brilliant opponent and all of my games were close. I won with small margins of victory and so didn't score many tournament points. Some of my opponents who I defeated then played an easier opponent and won with a big margin of victory giving them enough tournament points to leapfrog me. My placing in the tournament overall was actually hurt because I won my early matches. A tournament system which rewards players that get matched against poor opponents and punishes players that match against good opponents is not a good tournament system.

The third issue is that someone can score so well in the early rounds that no one else can catch them. This situation normally occurs when the field is mostly comprised of experienced players with a few new players mixed in. If an experienced player is matched with an inexperienced one they can score a 10-1 game. If two inexperienced players also match in round one the outcome of that game can also be a 10-1. In the second round the experienced player on 10 points is then matched with an inexperienced player on 10 points and the experienced player obtains a second 10-1 win. This will put them on 20 tournament points going into round 3. If all the other matches in those two rounds are close it is possible that they end up matched against someone on 12-14 points on the final top table. The result is that unless the 12-14 point player wins really really big there is no way for them to win the tournament even if they win the match. And worse is when the 20 point player is aware of this, chooses not to engage, and lose 8-3 on objectives. The top table doesn't actually have a decent game going on which isn't fun for anyone. The 12 point player ends up placing second after winning 3 games, losing the tournament to someone who they won against on the final table.

 

I don't know the best way to solve these issues but I have some ideas.

If the tournament point system must be used, the penalty for a loss needs to be identical no matter how bad you lose. If a loss always scores 0 tournament points people won't be inclined is disengage when things go poorly. Instead they will be inclined to fight it out to try and get lucky and scrape out a win. This change will lead to much more dynamic and exciting games because people won't be actively incentivized to run away. The margin of victory brackets will need some tweaking but I don't see that as being too difficult to balance.

If the tournament point system is to be scrapped there are many more options. The simple one is to move to a x-wing style system where number of wins determines placing with margin of victory (or tournament points) being the second tiebreaker. This change will at least stop those situations where you get leapfrogged because people you defeat have easy match-ups and those situations where you go into the final table knowing you can't win the tournament unless you 9-2 or 10-1 your opponent.

It seems to me that the tournament point system was originally introduced because the round length is so long. A long round means less rounds in a tournament. Less rounds means you end up with multiple undefeated players at the end of the day and you need some way of differentiating those players. One idea is to reduce the number of allowed squadrons to 1/4 of your list (an even 100 points in a 400 point game) and also decrease round length by maybe 30 minutes. Less squadrons will result in faster games. Faster games will allow for an additional rounds meaning less undefeated players.

 

I do not know if any of my suggested fixes are the best solution but I do know there is a problem with the current tournament structure. In my local area people were avoiding tournament play because of this system even before the release drought. Now is the perfect time to fix the tournament system with all the new ships flying around.

 

If you have any potential solutions to the above issues I would love to hear them.

Edited by Qark

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A binary w/l system requires a lot of rounds to produce an undisputed first place:
(especially at tournaments with higher attendance)

Number of players Vs required number of rounds

up to 8                               3 rounds

8-16                                    4 rounds

16-32                                 5 rounds

32-64                                 6 rounds

(If you're looking to make a top8 cut you can generally shave 1 round off that,  whereas for a top4 cut you'd really want to play the full number of rounds.)

 

Really nothing short of just playing 200pt task force battles instead of 400pt armada is going to assure that the required number of rounds are played.  (& even that might fall a bit short)

If  you don't play the prescribed number of rounds with a binary system then you're going to run into variations of all the problems you describe,  just as bad but from a different angle.
You're going to get people with perfect w/l records,  but bad tiebreakers because their opponents have performed badly,  or people who have bad MoV because they didn't table all their opponents.  And with a binary w/l system combined with increased tournament length you are going to get people dropping from the tournament after a couple of rounds if they don't feel they are in contention (this is bad because it can produce awkward cross-pairings) (also because people dropping from the tournament is always bad).

 

I actually quite like the way the current system rewards you for knowing when to disengage & preserve your forces.

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I don't have any solutions to offer on the tournament scoring system.  While not perfect for some of the reasons you stated, personally I think it's the best available option and solves more problems than it creates. I do, however, have a suggestion for your local players who are avoiding participating in Armada tournaments due to their dislike of the 10-1 scoring system – play in a Rebellion in the Rim campaign instead!

It's still a meaningful competitive event, your LGS can award promos through campaign participation/victories, and it avoids the 10-1 scoring system entirely. I find RitR campaigns are a fantastic way to play Armada. They tick all the boxes of tournament play, but also add in teamwork, long-term strategizing and fleet escalation. From your post, you sound pretty upset about what should (hopefully) be an enjoyable gaming experience. Perhaps a change of pace would be more fun?

If you're still focused on the competitive aspects of Armada, maybe think of campaign play like an ongoing league vs a one-day competitive event? In this way it's more like the scoring system you want. Because you're playing a larger number of games, the randomness of big victories vs narrow wins and/or player match ups doesn't effect the overall determination of who is the better player/team.

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3 hours ago, Ginkapo said:

Understand that and the bitterness will go. 

 

2 hours ago, Formynder4 said:

annual cry about tournament scoring

Woah there. I am neither bitter nor upset, all I said is that I think things could be done better. My argument was logical and well reasoned. You can and should disagree with me, but make an argument as to why. No need for this.

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3 hours ago, namdoolb said:

Really nothing short of just playing 200pt task force battles instead of 400pt armada is going to assure that the required number of rounds are played.  (& even that might fall a bit short)

If  you don't play the prescribed number of rounds with a binary system then you're going to run into variations of all the problems you describe,  just as bad but from a different angle.
You're going to get people with perfect w/l records,  but bad tiebreakers because their opponents have performed badly,  or people who have bad MoV because they didn't table all their opponents.  And with a binary w/l system combined with increased tournament length you are going to get people dropping from the tournament after a couple of rounds if they don't feel they are in contention (this is bad because it can produce awkward cross-pairings) (also because people dropping from the tournament is always bad).

This is a valid point. I think for 16 players or less going to 1/4 squadrons and decreasing to 100 minute rounds would work because then you can do the required number in a day. It may be a problem in larger events but I think a top cut solves the issue because then you aren't required to win every round to make the elimination rounds. I think swiss + cut works quite well for x-wing and I don't see the dropping out issues you have described in those events.

3 hours ago, namdoolb said:

I actually quite like the way the current system rewards you for knowing when to disengage & preserve your forces.

If this was a real battle then that becomes very important, no doubt. When I am playing a tabletop game I want to have fun, and my opponent deciding they can't win and spending 6 turns running away isn't my idea of a fun game. On top of that by actively trying not to engage they can force a close game, lowering my chances of doing well in the event overall.

2 hours ago, Yipe said:

play in a Rebellion in the Rim campaign instead

We are talking about doing that. I think Ill enjoy it. I might go poke the guy who was organizing things and see whats going on there.

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I don't have any solutions for the scoring system either (I actually enjoy the way it is currently done), but I certainly do not want to see overall wins take precedence over quality wins.  If that were the case, you would just have another problem, in that people may just destroy a squadron or a flotilla before disengaging for simply a "Win."  Player strategies under a new scoring would adjust specifically to that system and I think it is a huge assumption that it would be better than the current one.  At least in all the tournaments I have organized or played in, the cream has risen to the top (over multiple games), which is the point of the current system.

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I feel that the current scoring method works well, as we currently have binary examples of armada in elimination cut gameplay. A large majority of these games end up being 5 turns of circling and a last minute squadron skirmish to try and pip some small number of points. I have found in my own experience very few examples of complete running for 6 turns. 

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I'm actually fine with the current system as it gives a tournament a separate meta game that you play over all of your matches in trying to maintain your tournament points. While I understand it can be frustrating trying to chase down an enemy that disengages thus denying you a 10-1, I would say it would be more frustrating to know things have gone off the deep end and you have no chance of gaining anything for that game. In that instance one loss would basically kill your day and make the other games almost superfluous. With the way it currently stands I can at least go all Fabian and keep my ships (and tournament standings) in the field with a 6-5 loss rather than running them into a suicidal situation that I know I can't win by turn 2 or 3.

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Armada has a built in solution to the disengagement problem:  missions.

 

Bid to take second player, have point scoring missions as your selections, and the enemy MUST engage you or they will lose horribly.

 

Of course you’ll have to build your fleet around this, but it’s a viable strategy.

Edited by Maturin

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2 hours ago, Admiral Calkins said:

If that were the case, you would just have another problem, in that people may just destroy a squadron or a flotilla before disengaging for simply a "Win."

 

2 hours ago, Vipcard3 said:

I feel that the current scoring method works well, as we currently have binary examples of armada in elimination cut gameplay. A large majority of these games end up being 5 turns of circling and a last minute squadron skirmish to try and pip some small number of points. I have found in my own experience very few examples of complete running for 6 turns. 

 

8 minutes ago, Maturin said:

Armada has a built in solution to the disengagement problem:  missions.

These are arguments that make me reconsider my position. Thanks for your constructive input! I still think a range of 1-10 points creates scenarios where match ups govern tournament outcomes more than player skill in some cases. Would simply reducing the range down to 1-5 help with my initial problems without creating the problems from the quoted comments?

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7 hours ago, Qark said:

The second issue is that you can win all of your games and not even come close to placing in the tournament overall. A few years ago I placed 6th at a nationals level competition after I had beaten two people in the top 5! I came up against brilliant opponent after brilliant opponent and all of my games were close. I won with small margins of victory and so didn't score many tournament points. Some of my opponents who I defeated then played an easier opponent and won with a big margin of victory giving them enough tournament points to leapfrog me. My placing in the tournament overall was actually hurt because I won my early matches. A tournament system which rewards players that get matched against poor opponents and punishes players that match against good opponents is not a good tournament system.

 

What you are looking for, here, is scoring based on ‘strength of schedule’.  Roughly - beating a player who has an otherwise good day is worth more than beating someone who is doing terribly.

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7 hours ago, Qark said:

The second issue is that you can win all of your games and not even come close to placing in the tournament overall. A few years ago I placed 6th at a nationals level competition after I had beaten two people in the top 5! I came up against brilliant opponent after brilliant opponent and all of my games were close. I won with small margins of victory and so didn't score many tournament points. Some of my opponents who I defeated then played an easier opponent and won with a big margin of victory giving them enough tournament points to leapfrog me. My placing in the tournament overall was actually hurt because I won my early matches. A tournament system which rewards players that get matched against poor opponents and punishes players that match against good opponents is not a good tournament system

While that is an often irritating feeling that is a side effect of Swiss, this is not the designed intent. The designed intent is the same as an ELO rating: it's trying to pair you with evenly matched opponents. Win a lot, it'll pair you with someone else it computes has won "as much", and same for losses. As the number of rounds approaches infinity, with rematches, you should eventually end up playing the same couple of opponents over and over again because you are of approximately equal skill. In order for strength of schedule to truly show this as @xanderf suggest, you need a fairly large number of games so that you aren't also seeing the chance part of matchups appearing in SOS as well.

The challenge is that Swiss does not allow rematches, so you can actually overplay if you have more games than opponents at certain brackets thereof. Conversely, with too few rounds for a given number of opponents, luck does have a significant factor in the form of matchups. That said, those winners are still players who were able to force the match strongly in their favor, whether because their opponent decided to fight, or they had the tools and the skill to make the battle happen anyway.

For myself, I would not read overly into the results of a three round tournament with more than about 20 people. A system like NOVA or GenCon or Worlds is a much more harrowing experience that is much more likely to break through the statistical noise.

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1 hour ago, Qark said:

 

 

These are arguments that make me reconsider my position. Thanks for your constructive input! I still think a range of 1-10 points creates scenarios where match ups govern tournament outcomes more than player skill in some cases. Would simply reducing the range down to 1-5 help with my initial problems without creating the problems from the quoted comments?

I don’t think changing the scale will do much...1-10 is the same as 1-5, just divided by 2.

 

Wait, that’s not right.  Well, you know what I mean. ;)

 

Ultimately more games is the solution.  Whether you want to shorten a game of  Armada, or make the tournaments have two days of Swiss (there are a few glorious examples of this)...more games will allow better sorting of the field.

 

Any other solution has its own pros and cons, with no “best” answer.  You just have to pick your poison.

Edited by Maturin

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First of all, I'd say no system is perfect.  Every system is going to have strengths and weaknesses.   At some level, you have to decide that you're going to accept the weaknesses so that you can enjoy the strengths.   A good tournament system plays to the design of the game.

 

Armada is a chess- like game.  Some people enjoy the cat-and-mouse of a chess game, one that has 3 outcomes: win, lose, draw; one that can be easily thrown over a span of 3 moves.  Armada is, of course, not chess.  It also takes longer to do a good Armada tournament than the typical chess tournaments.  If Chess is often 4-5 round Swiss, Armada has to do a casual tournament in 3, and only the larger ones in fewer rounds.  In straight W/L, you can't get a tournament winner.   My sense is that the Armada scoring reflects the kind of game Armada is.  It isn't merely straight win or loss, it is a game that has more gradation to it than chess.  So it ends up measuring the collective set of your decisions all the way back to the point of list design to how you play it every aspect of it on the table.

As a point of weaknesses, sometimes you can win all of your games and not win the tournament.  Sometimes you can lose a game and still win a tournament.  Sometimes you get better draws than others.  While another system might make those weaknesses go away, it has to live with other weaknesses.  And if this system conditions a certain kind of play, another system conditions a different kind of play.  W/L can mean you look for the one squadron kill or the favorable set of squadron kills, and then jet.  The total clash of fleets matters less.

One of the best solutions I've found to dealing with the scoring system is simply to care a lot less.  It is a game after all.  The camaraderie of the players matters a great deal.  in the end, I've had some moments that have been deeply unfortunate, and probably just as many or more that have been deeply favorable.  But I've had a lot of fun with lots of excellent people.  Those people and that fun are irreplaceable.

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For many of the reasons stated above, I agree the current Official Organized Play system is better than straight up W/L, but you could always run casual tourneys anyway you like. 

I'm not sure if the current points structure could use a revamp...10-1 is rough maybe the minimum should be 10-2? or 11-3 so if you do lose badly you're not completely out? 

Or maybe Round One the worst you could do is 3, then Round Two is 2, and Round Three is 1? 

I haven't crunched the numbers so I don't know if that would be better at all and while it would feel good for players in the 1st round it would be pretty crap for players in the 3rd round. 

Maybe locally you could also try to have the 1st round matches paired off by experience level? But then I'd just run more casual tourneys until people got used to the structure/game/experience. 

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1 hour ago, xanderf said:

What you are looking for, here, is scoring based on ‘strength of schedule’.  Roughly - beating a player who has an otherwise good day is worth more than beating someone who is doing terribly.

You get +1 TP for each full 10TP your beaten opponents each score?  So, for example, You beat players A and B, lost to C, but your score 22 TP (say a 10, an 8, and a 3).  A scored 18 points from games when all is said and done, and so you get +1 TP for that, and B scored 9, so you get 0 for that, so you end the tournament with 23 BP, but player C ended with 22 also, but beat you, so they get +2 points for your 22 points (plus points from their other wins, if any), and so would still beat you in the tournament without going to MoV.

Could work, but adds another layer of complexity, and thus more work for the TO's and confusion for players.  But what it would do is keep players on the top tables of the final round from really being able to figure out just what they need to clinch it, as it would still leave variables that can't be accounted for, unless one player is way in the lead.

Edited by Admiral Theia

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Coming into this game from X-Wing WAAAAAAAY back when it first game out, the tournament scoring system was actually my favorite part of the game.  And it still is.

It gives you an incentive to play as well as you can in every game you play.

it builds community because not only do you have to watch how you are doing, but you're watching the other games around you to see where the people you know are relative to you.

You can fight for a 5-6 "loss" to maximize your own points even when you don't have a chance.

You can fight for that last bit of MOV to push you up a point, or fight to protect it to keep you from moving down a point.

But most importantly it keeps us from seeing fleets built that turtle up in a corner and don't do jack squat for the entire game to get a 0 MOV "Win" for having 2nd player because they'll never crack middle of the pack.

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11 minutes ago, Admiral Theia said:

You get +1 TP for each full 10TP your beaten opponents each score?  So, for example, You beat players A and B, lost to C, but your score 22 TP (say a 10, an 8, and a 3).  A scored 18 points from games when all is said and done, and so you get +1 TP for that, and B scored 9, so you get 0 for that, so you end the tournament with 23 BP, but player C ended with 22 also, but beat you, so they get +2 points for your 22 points (plus points from their other wins, if any), and so would still beat you in the tournament without going to MoV.

Could work, but adds another layer of complexity, and thus more work for the TO's and confusion for players.  But what it would do is keep players on the top tables of the final round from really being able to figure out just what they need to clinch it, as it would still leave variables that can't be accounted for, unless one player is way in the lead.

AFAIK it was either Star Trek: Attack Wing or X-Wing that did have SoS as an early part of its scoring system.

IIRC, it was a simplified format, and only used as a tie-breaker, but a tie-breaker that came up often.  IE., you scored pure wins and losses (again IIRC, 2 pts for a round win, 1 pts for a round loss, 0 pts for a round missed or forfeit/disqualification), and then tiebreakers by 'Strength of Schedule' (in this system, your SoS score was a simple total of the combined MoV of all the players you played against for the day).  An imperfect system, in that if you knew you were going in to an event you were likely to pull a 3-0 day with, the ideal goal would be to win all your games by the smallest margins possible (but still win) and hope you were matched against the best players around that otherwise all had a 2-1 days (only losing your game with them) with huge margins.

So...ups and downs to it.

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1 hour ago, BiggsIRL said:

Coming into this game from X-Wing WAAAAAAAY back when it first game out, the tournament scoring system was actually my favorite part of the game.  And it still is.

It gives you an incentive to play as well as you can in every game you play.

it builds community because not only do you have to watch how you are doing, but you're watching the other games around you to see where the people you know are relative to you.

You can fight for a 5-6 "loss" to maximize your own points even when you don't have a chance.

You can fight for that last bit of MOV to push you up a point, or fight to protect it to keep you from moving down a point.

But most importantly it keeps us from seeing fleets built that turtle up in a corner and don't do jack squat for the entire game to get a 0 MOV "Win" for having 2nd player because they'll never crack middle of the pack.

It's what I love the most too, and in fact is what disappoints me the most about Legion (aside from the scale).  Heck, I just won Prime yesterday, first place of 26, with a 5-6 loss on my last game.

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