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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The reality of playing in tournaments without any soft scores

These days I read a lot about people complaining about soft scores. Okay so for non tournament players you might be interested to know just what exactly are soft score...

• Sportsmanship
You score your opponent on whether or not they were fun to play, it's that simple. Obviously the more arguments and heated debates you have regarding the rules the lower you will score. Now there are also some players that will try to manhandle you and get away with murder... You'll figure this out real fast most of the time but I have encountered some players who will play the game close and then go for the cheat late to win. These kinds of players you need to deal with immediately as soon as you see them pull the first major rules infraction. It's probably best not to sweat little stuff but then again on the other hand if you let them bend a certain rule early on it might come back to haunt you later on at a critical moment. My philosophy is if I am playing a very competitive gamer who plays fast and loose with the rules then I am going to call them on everything. Sure they will ding your soft scores but at least you can deny them the battlepoints and tank their soft scores in return... Heck they deserve it. Now if I am playing someone that wants to have a fun game and is competitive then I'll try to ignore minor issues but if something big comes up we will have to talk about. Ask them to show the rules, the burden of proof is their responsibility!

• Theme/Composition
This one is often hotly debated on the Internet. Basically you grade your opponent on how well their army reflects the background of their race. It's pretty easy to figure out in my opinion. Win At All Costs (WAAC) gamers hate comp because they love broken combinations and as much spam as they can fit into their army. WAAC gamers will just take as much of the best units as possible. A great example to me is daemon armies that take only four five man Plague Bearer squads for their troop choices... It's the least points possible for a highly resilient unit that is great at holding an objective; they have so much other nasty stuff in their armies breathing down your neck you'll probably never ever be able to attack their Plague Bearers.

I love the comp score because it rewards the gamers who build really cool themed armies. You can build a themed army that is also competitive but let's face the facts, WAAC players don't want to be bothered with theme, they just want point & click EZ button armies that crush your face.

• Appearance
These days it's okay to pay someone else to paint your army and receive credit for this soft score at a tournament. That's just the way it is. I had my daemons professionally painted by GMM Studios and I typically have all my vehicles painted by a professional. This score could come from your opponent, the judges or both. I think again gamers that field a beautiful army should be rewarded even if they didn't paint it themselves. Wouldn't it suck if all you saw were quickly dry brushed and sand flocked spam hammer armies? To me that is what the soft scores are all about... Keeping the game a hobby!

I can tell you right now if you ever happen to play in a tournament with no soft scores (e.g., Gladiator, Ard Boyz) you will probably play against some cheaters. This because they know you can't really hurt their overall score and that is why they don't like the soft scores. It's important to be aware of that going into a highly competitive cutthroat style event.

G

32 comments:

Black Matt said...

I couldnt disagree more.

Green Blow Fly said...

That's fine but tell us why. We would like to see what you have to say.

G

Brent said...

Man, soft scores are a tough call. I believe limits are okay, as long as you know about them in advance. I also don't mind rewarding painting and conversions, but I have a differing opinion about two things.

1) Composition. Personally, over the last few years I've changed my mind about this: I'm okay with any legal list a Codex can produce. I tend to think fluff is rewarded off the table for the most part.

2) Soft scores... that are too subjective, that is. I don't mind grading my opponent, but I think it should be limited and strictly controlled. The worst abuses I've seen in tournaments involved friends vote-blocking each other. That can be difficult to overcome.

Your advice about big tournaments is great. I've seen the same things, and my big-event experience doesn't match yours. You've got to advocate for yourself and get a judge involved if necessary.

Fritz said...

Soft scores have no place in a tourney since they are fully subjective. What about my Saim-Hann army? I have 14 jetbikes, 6 vypers, a wave serpent with storm guardians, a fire prism, and a farseer + 5 warlock seer council on jetbikes. 100% fluff and painted Saim-Hann, but b/c I'm running a seer council I get trashed and tanked on comb- even given that fact that you even need one to try and stand up against the newer codexes. Last tourney, out of a possible 20 comp points I got a 6. And lets not even get into comp favoring the home store or particular cubs. Rant over!

Green Blow Fly said...

@ Brent

Sure there are a lot of problems with soft scores and you mentioned one such as block voting. I travel away for the majority of the big events I play in and I hate to see the locals getting the perks and unfortunately it often happens. As you have said it is the responsibility of the TOs to curb abuse. If you removed soft scores altogether then that really helps to limit fringing for the locals but on the other hand you do see a lot of WAAC players advocating against soft scores and often they aren't fun to play. Another thing about soft scores is they can become a game. Why I like soft scores is because I believe they keep the game a hobby instead of purely a competition. To me there is a fine line, if soft scores are too heavily weighted then a tournament can become a popularity contest and I have seen players in the past hand out buttons to everyone or wear big silly hats. So in my mind for soft scores to work the TOs must do their job while the tournament is in progress and they must be carefully weighted. When I run a tournament I keep track of the scores and look for trends; for example if someone is low balling everyone for sportsmanship then I'll talk to them about it and hear what they have to say. Often you will have that game against a TFG, it happens. Properly weighting the soft scores versus battlepoints also helps. Finally the TOs should let everyone know in advance how the scoring works and what to expect. Everything should be visible.

G

MorbidlyObeseMonkey said...

I like sportsmanship and painting scores, but I think comp needs to go. The thing about comp is that it's not about theme at all. I could have a fully themed IG Armored Company and get tanked on comp scores because they are too powerful for someone to beat. Player-judged scores are bad because what often happens is I will beat someone with a weak army like Necrons and then they give me low comp scores because they lost, when really it was because I played better than them or had luckier rolls.

If you have a few judges decide the comp scores then you will see bias both for their buddies and against certain armies. For example, I have seen a judge who was an avid Slaanesh player so he gave dual lash armies high scores on their comp. Things like that are just stupid. Overall, I like the idea of comp but the system is too open to abuse.

Painting scores and sportsmanship are fine and I tend to have more fun at tourneys that use them.

Green Blow Fly said...

@ Fritz

I really like your eldar list and think it well reflects the background for that craftworld, I would give you a high score. If you look at the newer codices it's unfortunate that GW is boiling down army lists... There was a time when you had a Chaos codex that let you field a pure cult army, or you could build an eldar craftworld army. On the other hand you could not build a Tyranid army that reflected the traits of a particular hive fleet. I think GW has intentionally dumbed down the codices to stay competitive with other games such as Warmachine and it has also probably opened up a larger market. The game to an extent has shifted away from veterans and is more accessible to new players.

Sure soft scores as subjective but there are ways to limit this. As an example one way to grade sportsmanship is for each player to rank their opponents, so for example if you played three games then your favorite opponent would get three points, your second favorite opponent would get two points and your least favorite opponent would get one point; this type of scoring helps to curb block voting. In my mind army appearance should be graded by the TOs, not your opponents and there should be a well defined set of criteria that clearly explains how the armies are graded. The players can vote on the Player's Choice award.

Back to composition - I understand why some people hate it and I have discussed why it can be harder now to earn a high mark when playing a list that is dated (newer players might not appreciate these types of lists ). I am currently playing a Khorne daemon army and my soft scores are much higher now than when I played Blood Angels... It's interesting to me because the daemon army is a lot more competitive... It's all perception. The thing is there are the WAAC players, they will score high on battlepoints but not as good on comp. Like I said the game to me is still a hobby and I don't want to see GTs become purely based on battlepoints. Events like the Ard Boyz and the Gladiator are not fun, people come solely to win games. That's why I like Adepticon, you have choices in what you play.

G

Jwolf said...

@ Fritz -

Clearly you got tanked for how overpowered the Seer Bike Council is in combination with Eldar vehicles that can only be glanced due to SMF.

What do you mean - this isn't 2007?

Eldar start at 15 of 20 and move up, in any 20 point system that is fair; sorry you got screwed.

Green Blow Fly said...

@ Jwolf

There was a fairly big Indy GT I was at last summer and a kid playing dakka ZillaNidz received a very low comp score from the TOs. There was a lot of venom spat on the local forums about his low comp score but interestingly enough he ended up taking second place for the best general award. I got to play him one evening and he is a very good player. The TOs are more on the fantasy side so it was unfortunate for him that he received the low comp score or he might have placed higher.

Anyways I talked about the sportsmanship scoring system where you rank your opponents. You could also use this for comp as well. That is how I ran the scoring at a GT I ran last year and after going over the final tallies I think the scores accurately reflected the various armies. You could also require players to review their opponent's army list prior to the start of the game and grade comp but the logistics are harder and people might need to see the synergy of an army in play to see how it really stacks up on hte table.

G

Laen said...

I have not really started into the tournament scene. But coming from the 'new to tournaments' stand point, I would want my army rated on its comp and how I played. I put a lot of thought into my lists and would hope that others would see them with the light that I did. Sadly, that is not always the case from what I'm reading here. But I know now that I want to stay clear of Gladiator and Ardboys tournaments. I want nothing to do with games that will lessen the experience I want when I'm playing this game with friends and fellowing gamers a like.

Just my thoughts on the matter...

Green Blow Fly said...

@ Laen

I'm glad to hear your take on it. I am going to play in the gladiator this year and then I'm done with purely competitive events... They are just not fun.

G

MorbidlyObeseMonkey said...

Yeah, I don't really enjoy the Gladiator either but if I'm gonna fly all the way to Chicago I'll play all the 40K I can while I'm there.

Green Blow Fly said...

@ MOM

I hope to see you there in chitown. I'll have Green Blow Fly on my tag so you might be able to spot me in the crowd. I'll probably wear my White Sox jersey with Green Blow Fly stitched on the back one day there as well.

: )

G

MorbidlyObeseMonkey said...

Unfortunately I'm not going this year. My brother is getting married. Last year was my first year and I only went because I was going to Chicago around the same time anyway, so I thought hey why not. Chicago is sooo far from Vancouver. :(

Aldonis said...

Yo G,

I pretty much agree with you - but I'm a fluff bunny at heart so keep that in mind. For years I ran real "comp friendly" armies at tourney's - made it into top ten at Dallas GT but most time was top 25'sh overall. Took a "power list" to Baltimore in 2007 and got into the top 6. I've won Sportsmanship with my fluff bunny lists and with my Power lists. At the end of the day it comes down to being a decent person and having fun - most people are the same way and enjoy that more than won/lost stuff.

I think it might not be such a bad idea to get rid of overall and just have the big categories - Best General, Best Army (could even do this by race/faction like Adepticon team), Best Painted, Best Sportsmanship, and whatever else. Then people have specific categories that they like that they can compete in - and take away a lot of the crap for overall.

Just a thought....

Green Blow Fly said...

Al I might just try that at my next Carolina GT, it's not on the circuit btw.

G

Eric said...

I find it interesting that pro-comp folks attempt to downplay the importance of winning on their own part. So I submit to you:

Obviously, you're having trouble taking on certain lists. That's okay, some can be pretty tough. But I think that people are selling everyone short if they believe that these can't be reasonably overcome. A little (or sometimes a lot) of thought and effort can disprove the existence of an "I Win Button".

If you would only believe yourself capable, you could have a chance to win; instead of implementing rules that might give you a chance to win.

And that's my point. Why are people so concerned about what kind of list wins? If winning is not important, then why not take it in stride?

Aside:
It just seems that you're suggesting that some people "are not playing the game right". Its a rather unfair characterization.

Karl said...

How could you think that having someone else paint your army makes you deserving of points for it? Just because you can afford for someone else to do the work doesn't mean you should be rewarded for it over other gamers who took the time to actually personalize their army, instead of acting like having redundancy in your force makes it impersonal.

Green Blow Fly said...

@ Eric - You are putting words in my mouth. I have played in events with comp and beat other armies considered better than mine. You don't seem to understand why I have advocated comp. Soft score are a check to balance battlepoints.

@ Karl - When I played in the 2007 GW circuit people could and did take pro painted armies receiving full credit. In fact one army won best appearance at each of these events they attended with the same pro painted Ultramarine army. This has been standard practice for several years now.

G

Eric said...

I reread the article, and I'm not sure what words you believe I'm putting in your mouth.

You made reference to:
-point&click EZ button armies
-spamhammer

Yet, you admit that someone can beat these armies. You've done it yourself, right? So, maybe its not about fairness.

What exactly is your definition of THEME? This is a word I see thrown around quite a bit. Your system would say that a good "theme" involves not taking similar units. But what if a player's theme was all about taking similar units? (All biker army, 6 Dreadnought army, etc...)

This is the point where you would say that as long as they are not kitted identically, they still have a theme. But what if the player's theme did involve a few of them being the same? At this point, they no longer have a theme?

Why exactly is it more "themely" for someone who takes three of the same Heavy tank to give one extra armor, and another a hunter-killer missile? Here's an interesting thought: The player still has spammed that particular tank, but they paid a few more points to do so, didn't they?

Its fairly evident that you do not like players using identical units, a conclusion I feel confident in with your references to "spam". This along with other similar comments, reads to me as though your hinting that there is a right and wrong way to play 40k. It really does feel as though you are suggesting, without outright saying it, that the type of list-building you like to see is the "right way" to play. You don't like list redundancy, okay. But could you please explain how it makes the game not fun for you, when others utilize it?

Also, why do Battle Points need to be offset in a tournament? If someone wins, they win. Aren't there usually separate awards for painting and theme?

Green Blow Fly said...

Theme is dead as a proverbial doornail.

It's not as easy now to build a well themed army that is also highly competitive... CSM & CD immediately come to mind. Sure you can take Khorne Havocs and Tzneetch bikers but come on let's be honest... No one does. Khorne Havocs are actually a great unit but people would rather take outflanking Chosen or three squads of three Oblits... That's just the way it is. People love their spam and net lists require practically no thought.

Let's look at daemons... How many mono god deamon armies do you see? The Epidemis list is the only one that's reasonably popular. I love my Khorne daemons, I think they have great theme but it's not popular at all. People will tend to design their army to be competitive over having a strong theme. It's all well and good to talk about all teh merits of theme and I have always tried to adhere to it but if you look at most any tourney that has theme as a category most players end up in the middle or below, at least that is what I have seen.



Why not all BPs? Bolter Beach has a BP only tourney on Friday for people who like that kind of thing.

G

G

Eric said...

So you're saying that players need to be "encouraged" to bring the units that YOU would like to see? I'm really asking this question, it seems like you're not quite coming out and saying the ideas that your comments appear to represent.

Are you implying that there is something wrong with chaos armies that are not mono-god? Where exactly are you going with that?

Are you concerned that you will constantly see the same few "power lists" (or variants thereof)? I'm not sure if you've noticed, but the recent codex books are doing a good job of providing lots of variety, so that the book can endure. Look at the SM book. almost two years old, and we're still coming up with builds from it. The Imperial Guard and Tyranid books are built the same way. Expect the number of possible different armies you'll see to jump exponentially as all the codex books are finally updated.

I'm sorry if my multitude of questions are annoying, but I'd really like to get some concrete clarification here.

Is it necessary because YOU don't have fun when you see these lists?

Does the quality of other folks paint really kill the fun? What if they're not a very good painter, but they tried really hard? At least they painted their own mini.

If its really important that more people have better paint, why can't more people also use better lists? I just really want to know why these things are wrong. And if they are not wrong, per se, then why are you so against them?

Green Blow Fly said...

“So you're saying that players need to be "encouraged" to bring the units that YOU would like to see?”

I never said that Eric.

“I'm really asking this question, it seems like you're not quite coming out and saying the ideas that your comments appear to represent.”

I think you are trying to read too far into what I have said.

“Are you implying that there is something wrong with chaos armies that are not mono-god?”

I never said that either.

“Where exactly are you going with that?”

My point was they are not popular.

“Are you concerned that you will constantly see the same few "power lists" (or variants thereof)?”

Do you see the same few “power lists” when you play?

“I'm not sure if you've noticed, but the recent codex books are doing a good job of providing lots of variety, so that the book can endure.”

Did I say otherwise?

“Look at the SM book. almost two years old, and we're still coming up with builds from it.”

Don’t you mean variations on the same builds?

“The Imperial Guard and Tyranid books are built the same way.”

Mech IG is considered top tier while the new Nidz are unproven as yet. Everything in the Nid codex is very balanced while IG has a lot of MOAR WIN going on. Have you noticed that Eric?

“Expect the number of possible different armies you'll see to jump exponentially as all the codex books are finally updated.”

Exponentially??? That is total bull hockey. Maybe more but nothing even remotely exponential.

“I'm sorry if my multitude of questions are annoying, but I'd really like to get some concrete clarification here.”

I hope my feedback above helps you and it makes you a more content person.

“Is it necessary because YOU don't have fun when you see these lists?”

What lists exactly are you talking about?

“Does the quality of other folks paint really kill the fun? What if they're not a very good painter, but they tried really hard? At least they painted their own mini.”

:D

“If its really important that more people have better paint, why can't more people also use better lists?”

Wow how subjective can you get with that one?

“I just really want to know why these things are wrong. And if they are not wrong, per se, then why are you so against them?”

You just don’t seem to get it, do you now Eric?

G

Eric said...

"Do you see the same few “power lists” when you play?"

No, I do not, and we've never instituted additional rules to make it happen. In fact, none of the Space Marine players have remotely similar armies.

And yes, I do think its something close to exponentially more builds. If every codex update can DOUBLE its number of really effective builds, then we achieve that. I believe that the last few books have given at least that, if not more. Hopefully the trend continues.

I'm asking you some very honest questions. You've painted certain aspects of the game in a very negative light, and I would just like to know the reasoning behind it.

You admit that "spam" lists are not really an "EZ button" (or that they are at least beatable), yet haven't really given a concrete reason why they need to be discouraged. You obviously don't like them, but I'm just wanting to know why this is something that needs to be enforced.

GW already gives us a set of rules regarding force composition. Can you please just give me a few real answers as to why these are not good enough?

Green Blow Fly said...

@ Eric

“And yes, I do think its something close to exponentially more builds. If every codex update can DOUBLE its number of really effective builds, then we achieve that. I believe that the last few books have given at least that, if not more. Hopefully the trend continues.”

Eric do you have any idea what exponential means? For example the exponent of 7 is 1,096. You obviously don’t understand basic math.


“I'm asking you some very honest questions.”

No you are not. You try to put words in my mouth and are misleading.


“You admit that "spam" lists are not really an "EZ button" (or that they are at least beatable), yet haven't really given a concrete reason why they need to be discouraged. You obviously don't like them, but I'm just wanting to know why this is something that needs to be enforced.”

Eric spam lists are the closest thing to a spam list for most people. Look how popular are lash spammage armies. I don’t discourage them. I don’t enjoy playing them. Why do you think I want to enforce anti spam laws? Do you suggest I contact my local congressman?


“GW already gives us a set of rules regarding force composition. Can you please just give me a few real answers as to why these are not good enough?”

I guess you are talking about the FOC and our soft score system for BB? I am correct?

G

Eric said...

I grossly misused the word exponential. You got me. Yes, it would be linear growth. It doesn't change the fact that doubling or tripling the amount of effective builds with each update is a substantial increase.

"You try to put words in my mouth and are misleading."

No, I am trying to understand the point to some of your comments, particularly under the bullet point "Theme/Composition". your statements are actually pretty vague there. Would you care to qualify/quantify the relationship of list to theme, as you see it?

I'd just like to get a direct statement from you, instead of something general or vague that I have to ask questions about. Likely, you'll only respond yet again to these questions with "never said that".

"Eric spam lists are the closest thing to a spam list for most people."

This makes zero sense.

"Look how popular are lash spammage armies."

It may be touted on forums, but how many do you ACTUALLY SEE, as in on the table? Then again, I'd hardly call two of something spam.

"I guess you are talking about the FOC and our soft score system for BB? I am correct?"

If you're intelligent enough to catch my misuse of the word exponential, then you certainly already know what I was asking you. Please answer the question.

Green Blow Fly said...

"You try to put words in my mouth and are misleading."

“”No, I am trying to understand the point to some of your comments, particularly under the bullet point "Theme/Composition". your statements are actually pretty vague there. Would you care to qualify/quantify the relationship of list to theme, as you see it?””

You have some communication problems. First off you are very rude. Second you are condensing. If you make it obvious you think someone is wrong then don’t be so shocked if they tell you to go fuck yourself and the horse you rode in on.



"Eric spam lists are the closest thing to a spam list for most people."

Typo – spam lists are the closest thing to a good list for most people.

"Look how popular are lash spammage armies."

“”It may be touted on forums, but how many do you ACTUALLY SEE, as in on the table? Then again, I'd hardly call two of something spam.””

I played like three lash spam armies last year in the Ard Boyz and I see them at every tournament. I go to a lot of tournaments. Florida is a mecca.

"I guess you are talking about the FOC and our soft score system for BB? I am correct?"

“”If you're intelligent enough to catch my misuse of the word exponential, then you certainly already know what I was asking you. Please answer the question.””

How come no one is talking about Battle Royale???

G

Eric said...

I've certainly not tried to be rude. I feel like you're talking in circles to avoid answering my questions.

Furthermore, I can't possibly think that someone is "wrong" about something until I know what their exact stance is. I still haven't gotten that from you.

You do a real good job of saying things without actually saying them. You indirectly make claims about certain kinds of players, and even just swore at me (real mature). Yet you can always fall back on "not what I said". While shady, kudos to you sir.

Frankly, if Florida is a Mecca to other folks like you, I'll keep hiding in my own corner of the state.

I'll probably not post here again, as we'll only succeed in more circle talk from you. Have fun posting articles about how others ruin the game by affecting your own chances of winning.

Green Blow Fly said...

Look Eric you have said yourself you are annoying. I am catching a lot of flak now from people such as yourself because my GT with Yuri has soft scores. Here is why we have soft scores:

1) It is popular in Florida. Necro had it every year. They would score you on comp without providing any rules how you were scored and your first three rounds were paired based on comp.

2) I think soft scores check and balance battlepoints. This is the main reason for me why I want soft scores. Go back and read my blog for me details on this subject. I have played my share of assholes in Gladiators and Ard Boyz. Not everyone comes to a GT to crush face five games. Eric it is not all about you and your view. My comp system is simple and not very restrictive.

That is about it. I would have thought you would know by now. You think you know all about me but from what you have said I know you don't really know a thing at all.

G

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

"you have said yourself you are annoying."

Not what I said.

"it is not all about you and your view."

Never said it was.

"You think you know all about me"

Never once said or even implied such. If I did, I wouldn't need to ask so many questions.

"I have played my share of assholes in Gladiators and Ard Boyz."

I can understand Sportsmanship, but I've been discussing list/comp/theme with you. I'm sure there are fluffy players who are bad sports, just as there are competitive guys are are real fun to play. Friendly and competitive do not have to be mutually exclusive. I'm trying to understand why many players can't reconcile friendliness and competition, without the assistance of a ruleset.

I apologize to any of your readers who have wasted precious time perusing this exchange. Its quite obvious there are things that I do not know, hence the questions. Sadly, the most I can get from you regarding anything specific, is a statement reaffirming that there are things I do not know.

How is that supposed to help?

Green Blow Fly said...

Eric

Comp sportsmanship and appearance scores provide a check & balance to battlepoints. I posted that in the OP and it addressed your questions regarding comp. You view comp as punishing players but comp can just as well be seen as rewarding players. There's two sides to it. My problem with you is that you have twisted what I said to suit your own version of the game.

G