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Sports Scoring in Tournaments


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Hi All,

I recently attended the Sydney GT, which overall was a great event. I had a blast, 5 good games. However I was been left with a bit of an unsavoury taste in my mouth, which really has tarnished my whole opinion of the event.

Sports Scores... that old chestnut.

Disclaimer: I scored perfect sports during this event, I don't know if I got a best opponent vote, I have not been that forensic with my scores. I take great pains to have fun games; close, competitive games but fun first.  That being said sports scores are rubbish. They allow for some of the most janky ******. The most janky that I have ever heard of happened over this weekend, being that;

The TO allowed some players to alter the sports that they had given their opponents on day 1, on day 2. Yep, they gave their opponent full sports after their game and then over the course of the night decided that they would drop the score given the next day. I'll just let that sink in...

The reason this change was allowed is that, some players may have been actively or passively intimidated by there opponent into giving them a higher score than they otherwise would have. Now while this may be an issue, allowing players to alter scores submitted is not a good way of handling it. There are other means to achieve that end. What it does allow for is collusion and sports sniping. When I heard that this had happened, and had happened a person that I know to be a good gamer, not just a good player but a good gamer I was left with a very unpleasant taste in my mouth and for me has tarnished what was an otherwise great weekend.

I have never seen nor heard of that kind of adjustment being made in an event, ever. 

So the event used TTT software to manage the event.  The TTT platform does have a visible ladder to review standings, this may have been hidden between day 1 and 2, not sure.  But the round data was visible and you could easily review where people sat in the spread. Clearly this allows room for collusion between groups of players to actively bring down another player's score. 

Has anyone seen this done before in other events, sports scores being changed after the fact? 

Should this be allowed?

Should a significant difference in sports scores for a single game  be looked into? An example being I play a match and score my opponent a 5 but they score me a 1.

Sports scores... that old chestnut.

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The problem is "sportsmanship" is a concept many don't actually understand. Thus even those trying to be honest with scoring a sports score will have trouble. They might base it on if they had a good time; or if the other person was respectful; or if they won the game. They might dock the score if their opponent challenged rules or asked for confirmation of abilities even though those are 100% legal things to do and part of being a good sportsman in a wargame is being observant during your opponents turn and also confirming things in the rules. 

The idea of the score is to encourage good behaviour and to push out disruptive of undesirable behaviour. However in practice most people attending a tournament already have decent behaviour. Most should and will score fairly well for sportsmanship, there should only be minor shifts in the scores with only very exceptional people being an outlier. 

In practice its just messy, people either get confused on what it means; use it to subtly cheat (or in this case quite overtly abuse the system as the scores were able to be changed); or to just throw muck on someone because they lost a game etc....

 

 

Honestly the idea of them is nice, but the execution is messy, esp as its heavily reliant on not the actual sportsmanship behaviour of the person, but actually the person awarding the score itself. 

Personally I'd say its the kind of score that should be issued by a TO after reviewing the entire game, however most events don't have enough officials to have one per game overseeing the match. I'd also say that it could easily be replaced with other, more easily understood concepts or even shifted into a very casual score that has no impact on the actual event scores themselves. 

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I think if it was not included in tournament score it would actually be better at achieving its goal.  People could be more honest when scoring.  People could believe the scores they receive as being unskewed.  It should just be a score that you get to let you know, " hey your great attitude was appreciated." or " there might be things you are doing that are frowned upon".  

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Sports scores are stupid, and wildly subjective.

changing them later may as well be allowed as voting 1 for them not knowing there rules properly or questioning a rule is also allowed.

better solution imo is getting each player to nominate top 3 games in order at the end, and then awarding players bonus points according to that. if someone feels its a bad game they should let the TO know so that they can warn/watch/penalise/ban a player

 

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I’ve said this a bunch already but might as well repeat here. Good sports shouldn’t be rewarded- it should be expected. It should be the standard.

Rather than giving arbitrary scoring that people can ‘game’ we should be instead punishing the bad apples.

Simple system- if you’re reported a ‘bad sport’ once, the TO has a quiet word. If reported a second time TO reviews ( to avoid collusion of trying to dock people) and gives the player a penalty against their event score and a yellow card. Third time, review and red card. Your tourney is over. Simple, clean effective.

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While I like the concept of a sportsmanship score to keep people from being idiots, I also feel it should not have any bearing on the overall score of a game

Edited by Gaz Taylor
tweaked wording as this is a family friendly forum ;)
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On 10/3/2018 at 8:37 AM, Origin said:

Hi All,

...Should this be allowed?

Should a significant difference in sports scores for a single game  be looked into? An example being I play a match and score my opponent a 5 but they score me a 1.

Sports scores... that old chestnut.

I’m the Sydney GT TO. I’ve explained to you why scores changed and the process that took place. I took extensive time out privately to chat with you in detail  

If you’re still unhappy, please don’t attend any of my future events. 

Most other players really enjoyed themselves. 

Edited by MrCharisma
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2 hours ago, MrCharisma said:

I’m the Sydney GT TO. I’ve explained to you why scores changed and the process that took place. I took extensive time out privately to chat with you in detail  

If you’re still unhappy, please don’t attend any of my future events. 

Most other players really enjoyed themselves. 

You might have your wires crossed Coach, you and I have not had any conversations regarding this matter, as it did not happen to me. 

As written in the original post, I attended the GT and scored perfect sports. I had a great time, with 5 great opponents. And I would hate to think I was not welcome to attend future events because the I think idea of sports scores being changed retrospectively deserves some discussion. 

Feel free to Pm me if need be. 

But as I said, I had a great time and personally thanked you for your efforts. 

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I've said plenty in the other thread that I think is well worth looking up and reading if you haven't.  

But I'd suggest plenty of folks misunderstand how soft scores work in events.

They don't change your Battle Points (the table top results of the game) at all. The game results are the game results.  

They do (if used) mean that an 'Overall' (or 'Total  Hobbyist' or "Renaissance")  winner may be determined on more then just Battle Points.

For players who don't value those soft scores (or think they shouldn't be included)  - just ignore them and focus on Best General.  

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Origin said:

You might have your wires crossed Coach, you and I have not had any conversations regarding this matter, as it did not happen to me. 

As written in the original post, I attended the GT and scored perfect sports. I had a great time, with 5 great opponents. And I would hate to think I was not welcome to attend future events because the I think idea of sports scores being changed retrospectively deserves some discussion. 

Feel free to Pm me if need be. 

But as I said, I had a great time and personally thanked you for your efforts. 

If this isn’t who i think it is, then I retract my statement and apologise for a haste response. 

I’ll send you a PM later to dig into this further with you. 

At a very high level, any sports scores that were changed mostly went up... rarely did they go down. The change happened before the round started, and a private discussion happened between myself and that player on why they felt the reduced score was appropriate. 

If I agreed, that score would be adjusted according to their wishes. If i didn’t think it was fair (ie the player had a poor experience because of a hard list, not becauee the player was a poor opponent) then that change was denied. 

This was a rare occurance... and happened before the round started. 

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9 hours ago, MrCharisma said:

I’m the Sydney GT TO. I’ve explained to you why scores changed and the process that took place. I took extensive time out privately to chat with you in detail  

If you’re still unhappy, please don’t attend any of my future events. 

 Most other players really enjoyed themselves.

I want to say that "If you’re still unhappy, please don’t attend any of my future events. " is not a productive way for TOs to approach criticism. Arbitrary sports scoring is an issue globally... and the problem needs to be continually talked about. I don't think it will be fixed until GW posts an article (like they did with sidemissions) stating that scaled scoring is not effective. 

Best game vote is a much better system if you want to implement sports scores. Handing out warnings after a reasonable complaint and ejections after multiple reasonable complaints is better yet.

TOs can and will learn as more players voice their displeasure with 0-5 sports scores. I make it a point to point out to a TO that if there is no consequence for giving everyone low scores that will be my intent going into an event... Changing the scores later only exacerbates the problem. Sports scores have easy fixes... take a look at B&G and Facehammer for fairer ways to implement them. 

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In events I’ve attended that I’ve liked how the sports score was implemented, this is how its been done.

Players are assumed to get full sports (5/5); if however they feel it’s worth giving s low score; the aggrieved player must tell the TO and the TO may refuse behind the scenes (ie the Sports score was not warranted.) This score is incorporated into the final result (as everyone gets full points for this component; only the ones sanctioned by the TO get a hit - the TO is encouraged to speak to the player who got dinged for sports to ensure that they change their behaviour.)

At the end of the tournament; players are asked to nominate up to 3 opponents for best player. This is seperate to the scoring for the event.

One of my favourite events that encourages a softer approach actually has the Sports trophy bigger than the first place.

Sports has a place, but needs care to ensure it does what it’s supposed to do.

As for someone giving a 1and their opponent a 5; there could be three reasons of it.

One is a player who thought their opponent was a pain so scored them a one, and their opponent a scored the other a five as they thought from their perspective the game was fine.

Another is known as Chipmunking, the guy who scored a 1 for his opponent as he really wanted to win and deny the opportunity for his opponent to get a decent score.

The final reason; the guy scored a 1 because he lost the game and felt hard done by.)

In all cases; it’s up to the TO to ensure that all scores given are appropriate (and in the bigger picture, it’s very rare that there is a feel bad experience in regards to Sports scoring.)

 

 

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For my events I do binary scoring per round the language varies but something along the lines of 'did your opponent meet the sportsmanship standards for our event' Yes or No (which are spelled out in the packet.) The  players then nominate their first opponent after round 4. Round votes are 2 points, and best opponent is 3.  We had experimented with geometrically increasing sports score penalty in the past but it wasn't worth the excel programming hassle.   I tend to (but don't always) confirm with players if there is a negative vote.   Partially so I know if I have to be watching someone the rest of the event and also to be sure someone understood the question.     

The effect is almost all players receive full marks for their round by round sportsmanship score a few will receive a small bonus for a single best opponent vote and a few players might receive best opponent votes from more then one person.  Average (and almost all) scores is thus 10-13, maximum theoretically is 24 (but no one has gotten close) highest I can recall is probably 16-19   and minimum theoretical is 0 but the lowest I can recall is probably     8.  This is with 0-20 point Battlepoints per round in a 5 game event. 

Which gets to one of my favorite  points on soft (and battle) scores  - the most important issue isn't how many points are available, it's how much variance you expect (and have built into the system) to have between the top score in the room and the average score and the bottom score.    You could make sports out of 100 points but if the variance from top to bottom achievable and probable achieavable score is only 2 points then it's really only a '2 point' measure.  Same with battle.   If a round is worth 25 points max but the lowest score possible is a 10 you have added only 15 points to your top player vs your worst.    End result is battle has less ability to differentiate then a '25 point max' would imply.

 

 

 

 

Edited by gjnoronh
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5 hours ago, gjnoronh said:

 The effect is almost all players receive full marks for their round by round sportsmanship score a few will receive a small bonus for a single best opponent vote and a few players might receive best opponent votes from more then one person.  Average (and almost all) scores is thus 10-13, maximum theoretically is 24 (but no one has gotten close) highest I can recall is probably 16-19   and minimum theoretical is 0 but the lowest I can recall is probably     8.  This is with 0-20 point Battlepoints per round in a 5 game event. 

This is a terrible system... If this tournament was a tournament I was attending my club and I would collectively vote for each other if we play one another, hand out 0s to non-club mates and 5s to club mates.

5 hours ago, gjnoronh said:

 I tend to (but don't always) confirm with players if there is a negative vote.   Partially so I know if I have to be watching someone the rest of the event and also to be sure someone understood the question. 

What is there to confirm? I understand your sports system... it is open for abuse and until it is corrected it will be abused? Is your event a large one? At a small local event I would explain to you in person first that this system is a terrible idea and would ask you to fix it. If it was a large event then I would expect you as a TO to have a good grasp on systems that promote abuse and those that do not and would have no qualms giving low scores if this is the system you choose.

What is there to watch for the rest of the event? What is the consequence for this behavior?  Will you really ban an entire club? I doubt it.

These are important considerations, only a bad TO would be steadfast with a bad score system.

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2 hours ago, svnvaldez said:

*Snip*

This is a really interesting response and one I'm curious to know more about. Why would you choose to abuse the system?  Is it it prove a point regarding its abusable nature? Or is it to engineer the best chance at winning? Given either of these answers should TOs effectively always expect the worst in their attendees? If the answer to that question is yes then do you think its healthy that the game is moving in that direction? 

I've been war gaming for about 16 years now and I've been playing in tournaments for probably 14 of that. I don't seem to recall issues like this when I was younger (and its entirely possible I was simply blind to their occurrence, or that the internet has simply served to magnify these concerns). I often wonder why people would intentionally abuse soft scores if they know it isn't good for the community and growth of the game. The idea simply would never cross my mind, but I acknowledge that not everyone thinks the way I do or sees the game the way I do.

 

Edited by SwampHeart
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On 10/5/2018 at 6:31 PM, svnvaldez said:

This is a terrible system... If this tournament was a tournament I was attending my club and I would collectively vote for each other if we play one another, hand out 0s to non-club mates and 5s to club mates.

What is there to confirm? I understand your sports system... it is open for abuse and until it is corrected it will be abused? Is your event a large one? At a small local event I would explain to you in person first that this system is a terrible idea and would ask you to fix it. If it was a large event then I would expect you as a TO to have a good grasp on systems that promote abuse and those that do not and would have no qualms giving low scores if this is the system you choose.

What is there to watch for the rest of the event? What is the consequence for this behavior?  Will you really ban an entire club? I doubt it.

These are important considerations, only a bad TO would be steadfast with a bad score system.

Apparently you missed that it's a binary system per round a simple yes no question. That's a bit odd as it's the same system I  presented in the other thread that you also responded. to a few weeks ago and the first sentence  of my postmakes it clear it's a binary system.   There is no 0-5 scoring in this system.   

But as I pointed out in the previous thread on this topic:  If someone is willing to lie to the TO to hurt their opponents score on sports and improve their own chances of winning why won't they do the same on Battle?  Opponent goes to the bathroom move your key models a few inches.   If your opponent doesn't recall the exact turn or how many turns they have been on an objective lie to them.   Fast roll dice and then miscount your results?   Add an extra model here or there to hordes (32 vs 30 Bloodletters who is counting?)    I'm not sure why you'd go to all this effort to lie to dock their  sports score (after you've apparently already beat them if you are micro jockeying to get the overall win) when there is so much more you can do to lie to win the actual match.    

If you are playing multiple club mates and are conspiring to get the overall win then why not lie about the results on the table?  Give someone max win and max bonus points if they are in best position to win?  Or fake the game and give each of you a tie if that's what it takes to keep both of you are in the running.     A players ability to lie to optimize their chances of a win isn't unique to sports and in almost tournament systems cheating about battle results is going to have a bigger impact then cheating your opponent of their deserved sports score.   

 If you are determined to do all you can with sports abuse to get the overall  you can go to the TO and swear up and down your non opponent did a truly egregious act of cheating or behavior that gets them kicked out.   Hide someone elses iphone and wallet in their stuff for example.    Again if someone is willing to cheat and  lie about sports whats to stop them lying about about anything  else at the event? 

If someone scores someone else negatively I'll often ask what their opponent did as mentioned so I can watch their games.  Often when I check I find that people misunderstood the sports question (particularly if they are pretty drunk or a newbie.)    If someone appears to be lying to give multiple opponents an undeserved  negative score (never happened for me yet) I'm not sure what I'd do. I'd have to think about giving them the boot from the event and asking them never to come back and over riding their score.  I've got a 30 person wait list  right now for my sold out event if I have to boot and ban a player and an entire club I'm quite comfortable doing that.  

My event has been running 12 years is consistently  the largest event in the Northeast US for 40K and AoS and has been featured on the Warhammer Community advertising.  We are over 230 registrations total for this year for all systems.  Every year I have people from roughly 1/4 of the US  map  attend.    I've been playing Warhammer for 28 years and in that time have won at least one each of  Best General, Best Overall, Best Sports and Best Painted at events larger then 30 people.  I've placed  5th in a 150 person GW run  national grand tournament and won best team at that event.     I've been running 20+ person tournaments for over 20 years.  I currently run about 5 events of various sizes a year and help out with multiple others.   I used to part of the Direwolf FAQ team in sixth, seventh and 8th ed  that worked directly with the GW head rules designer to help identify FAQs for WFB .   The goal in part behind the genesis of that Direwolf FAQ group  was to standardize rules to help tournaments run smoothly and consistently.   I've had 20 years on the most competitive GT region in my country and have seen the internet arguments about how to score tournaments consistently since essentially the dawn of the Warhammer discussing internet.   I understand your posts and thought process I've seen this same  discussion for decades, are you sure you've read and understood my posts and thought processes?      

But my bonafides don't matter.   I'm assuming you must also have many years of  warhammer experience if you are able to show up  to an event and tell your host (who is usually volunteering their time so you can have a good time) what they are doing wrong so they can change it on the day of the event.    You don't have to like my sports system.  You don't have to like sports scoring.    Run the event you want to have (I'm assuming you run large events.)   There is a reason soft scores are in my event (well detailed in the previous thread) but they don't have to be in yours.   

I posted my system again as I think understanding the underlying math and assumptions may help other TO's.  Different TO's may have different objectives and may like a different system.  The key for them is to understand how the math works and pros and cons of various approaches (including not using sports.)      The player who is willing to lie to maximize their chance of winning an event probably has different objectives then my own for an event and unsurprisingly may not find my (or possibly any) sports system meets their desires.  

Edited by gjnoronh
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On 10/2/2018 at 5:47 PM, Overread said:

The problem is "sportsmanship" is a concept many don't actually understand. Thus even those trying to be honest with scoring a sports score will have trouble. They might base it on if they had a good time; or if the other person was respectful; or if they won the game. They might dock the score if their opponent challenged rules or asked for confirmation of abilities even though those are 100% legal things to do and part of being a good sportsman in a wargame is being observant during your opponents turn and also confirming things in the rules. 

The idea of the score is to encourage good behaviour and to push out disruptive of undesirable behaviour. However in practice most people attending a tournament already have decent behaviour. Most should and will score fairly well for sportsmanship, there should only be minor shifts in the scores with only very exceptional people being an outlier. 

In practice its just messy, people either get confused on what it means; use it to subtly cheat (or in this case quite overtly abuse the system as the scores were able to be changed); or to just throw muck on someone because they lost a game etc....

 

 

Honestly the idea of them is nice, but the execution is messy, esp as its heavily reliant on not the actual sportsmanship behaviour of the person, but actually the person awarding the score itself. 

Personally I'd say its the kind of score that should be issued by a TO after reviewing the entire game, however most events don't have enough officials to have one per game overseeing the match. I'd also say that it could easily be replaced with other, more easily understood concepts or even shifted into a very casual score that has no impact on the actual event scores themselves. 

That’s because most of the people in this hobby probably didn’t actually play real life sports growing up, at least based on the massively obese clientele in my local GW.... 

Also it’s a pretty common trope that “nerds” are unathletic and get bullied by jocks (athletes). 

Sportsmamship doesn’t really come up outside of Sports in schools or anything. 

Anyway here’s the Wikipedia definition of sportsmanship, “Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairnessethicsrespect, and a sense of fellowship with one's competitors. A "sore loser" refers to one who does not take defeat well, whereas a "good sport" means being a "good winner" as well as being a "good loser"[1][2] (someone who shows courtesy towards another in a sports game).“ 

PS even though I was on swim team, track & field, wrestling, baseball, soccer and the football team I’m still a pretty sore loser with a rage problem. 

Im seeing a therapist. Trust me, it’s not you it’s me. 

 
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