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Bosmer Nightblade

Most sporting opponent......

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I really struggle with this. Most of us don't want to be "that guy" at an event. At the same time, you probably would prefer to win a game than lose. If you're losing, you don't want to come across too negatively, and if you're winning you don't want to be making your opponent's game a misery.

 

I've come back from an event recently where i received 0 most sporting opponent votes. But then over 5 games, i won 4 of them. My gut feeling told me that human nature probably makes it far less likely for someone (especially men, i think, often having that competitive nature) to vote a guy that defeated them as their favourite opponent.

A glance over the tournament results showed me that this theory held true. Of the people who won all of their games, only one received a favourite opponent vote, and the rest of them didn't get any.

Conversely, i looked at the people who received the most sporting opponent votes, and sure enough, all of them had lost most of their games, or all of them.

This makes me wonder two things:

1. How can we make better use of such a soft score at events when human nature seems predetermined to resent those doing well. Or is it enough that if you're doing well *and* against the odds are receiving such votes, then it makes you extra worthy?

2. How can i become a better opponent? Does anyone have any tips on how they do it, or what they're looking for?

In all my games i recall allowing my opponent to do things they'd forgotten, out of sequence. I remember apologising to one opponent when i rolled far more wounds than i should have done. I remembered to take an interest in my opponents' armies, complimenting paint jobs or asking how their games had gone. I also made sure not to be on my phone when my opponent was taking their turn. I didn't gloat or cheer, and i had some honest laughs at myself managing to roll a 1, and re-roll it to a 1, twice in a row ?

In all of the above, I've been sincere. One thing i don't want to do is fake interest all in the sake of trying to get a vote etc. When i complimented a nurgle colour scheme, it really did look awesome.

Despite my efforts though, it didn't materialise in one of those votes. Maybe i was just doomed to fail after winning so many games. Or maybe there's something else i can be doing.

What do you think?

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There’s also ge possibility that the level of sportsmanship was high all over making the choice of best sport a lot harder. 

My best vote this weekend went to an opponent who destroyed my army and was a competitive tactical player, but he did it with character and grace. 

I think it’s not worth overthinking. Most years I get about 3 best sports votes and this year only 1. And I placed only just above the 50% mark. Was I a ******? Was my army bent? I don’t think so, probably there’s just a lot of sportmanlike player there this year. 

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From your description of behavior, you did things exactly right--don't sweat it! It's also a tiny sample size--if someone is the friendliest player in the world, but runs into one person in a bad mood, they're not going to win best sport. 

I think Sportsmanship scores in tournaments are absurd, even though I view being a good sport as very important. Largely because of the reasons you mentioned, people feel good after winning and bad after losing and attribute this feeling to their opponent's behavior. And people can use it vindictively to get back at opponents that beat them, especially when they are supposed to submit their sportsmanship scores shortly after the game ends

It's also too subjective. For example, if someone is constantly asking to go back and re-do spells or abilities from a previous phase they forgot, I'll consider them a bad sport for coming unprepared and ruining the flow of the game. And they'll call me a bad sport if at any point I say "that's enough, I want to be nice but it messes up the flow of the game to keep going back so no more". Because we have different criteria to judge being a good or bad sport. 

 

Edited by Lord_Skrolk
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All you can do is your best.  Out of all the things we try to track, this one is the most arbitrary and (largely) out of your control.  You're either the sort of person who gets lots of these votes, or you're the sort of person who sometimes gets one or two, or you're the sort of person who never gets any. 

And realistically there's nothing that will ever change that.  You can easily change your attitude and behaviour to upgrade from "worst" to "acceptable" but going from "acceptable" to "best" there's nothing you can really do.

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I really think this is why an objective sports rubric is better than the traditional favorite player or basic 1-5 ranking system. I think most people can agree on a few things that make for a sporting game (Did your opponent show up on time, did he have a copy of his list for you to review, did he answer any questions you may have had, simple stuff) and if you just make that a yes or no rubric for each game then sportsmanship becomes much harder to game or to use to denigrate an opponent who beat you. You should likely see pretty similar scores across the event with a few outliers on both ends which is the distribution expected (as I believe most players are generally petty sporting fellas). 

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1 minute ago, SwampHeart said:

I really think this is why an objective sports rubric is better than the traditional favorite player or basic 1-5 ranking system. I think most people can agree on a few things that make for a sporting game (Did your opponent show up on time, did he have a copy of his list for you to review, did he answer any questions you may have had, simple stuff) and if you just make that a yes or no rubric for each game then sportsmanship becomes much harder to game or to use to denigrate an opponent who beat you. You should likely see pretty similar scores across the event with a few outliers on both ends which is the distribution expected (as I believe most players are generally petty sporting fellas). 

A neat idea and gets around the issue that many people don't even understand what a sportsmanship score is all about before we even get to interpretation. Plus because its focused on specific things you can easily identify if someone abuses the system (if a player gets straight 5 reviews for behaviour and then a 1 from someone then either something went wrong in that game or that person who scored is trying to game the system etc.... Or they are ajust a really bad judge of character and such). 

In general many don't understand it; even those who do there's such variation in its interpretation as a word. Plus there's the fact that it can be used to soft punish without any comeback. 

 

 

Honestly the whole idea of the score is just to encourage good behaviour yet its a messy way of going about it .

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Just now, Overread said:

*Snip*

I agree 100% - and I think its gone further off course over the years. People don't get that to be a good sport you don't actually have to be a super guy, just a reasonably fun opponent (i.e. basic courtesy). I'm a big advocate for soft scores but I certainly understand why people get sour on them. I think the more you move towards removing 'emotion' from them the easier they become to manage (and can probably be better leveraged to encourage the actual behavior you want to see). 

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I'm against these sort of soft scores because of all the things mentioned above.  When handing out my votes for 'best sport' I try not to let the result of the game bother me.  I've been totally destroyed by people I'd happily play again and beaten people who, quite frankly, I've no interest in ever playing again. 

It's still not very 'fair' because as we encounter people in life there are naturally some that we get on with more than others.  Those will get my votes but it doesn't mean people who didn't were not nice people.  I'm also in the camp that thinks if a person is being a bad sport then just not voting for them is not good enough.  Whatever the problem is it should be mentioned to the tournament organiser.  They can then take any appropriate action.  If they get a comment about a person from only one of their opponents then maybe best to do nothing but if all 5 of someones opponents feel strongly enough to make a comment then perhaps they should inform that player.  It is possible that a person does something without necessarily knowing it upsets their opponent and if only they knew they could and would be happy to change.

Silly example but I remember years ago upsetting someone because they wanted a 'take-back' and I politely refused.  I come from a scene where we don't do it but they came from a club where it was the norm.  Neither of us were acting outside of our normal accepted routine but it left him feeling unhappy because he felt like he was being cheated.  

If you want to encourage 'best sportsperson' or 'best painted army' or even 'best dressed player' then by all means do it but understand that they are subjective measures and don't combine them with game results.  Winning any of those would of course be nice but for those that don't win it doesn't necessarily mean they are doing something wrong.  I think as long as you are polite, know the rules, engage in the game and try to have fun that is all most people want from an opponent. 

I think someone trying to 'win' the best sportsman title by running through a checklist of 'say nice things about their army - check', 'apologise for rolling well - check', 'commiserate when they roll badly - check', might actually not come across as genuine and therefore actually harm their chances rather than increase them.

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It's a tricky one and very easy to view no sports votes as being non-sporting (which may not necessarily be the case - it may be the people you played against felt a different opponent was "more" sporting).

The challenge is that there are so many different variables throughout 3 ~ 6 games of AoS that can influence a person's choice of best sports - everything from how you feel (excited, hung over, a bit melancholic) to what the weather is doing, is going to make a difference to how you come across to you opponent.  Equally your opponent has the same - what that means if you're feeling really perky and happy and your opponent is struggling from lack of sleep due to a child teething, you may find you irrationally annoy them!

You've also got the complication that many people want something different out of a game.  Some will simply want to win, others want to come away having rolled a lot of dice and some may want a really close game etc.  Being able to determine that when you first shake hands is really important, you should always bring your A game, but if your tier-1 army is coming against a tier-3 newish player, curb your "smash" tactics a little.

Finally you've got the interpretation of what "best sports" is - some people see this as the game they had the most positive experience from, others from how "sporting" their opponent has been - did they let them re-roll that cocked dice?  did they want to micro-measure each distance etc.  Equally, did you make suggestions during the game?  A few "are you sure?" and explain what you might do, can make you come across as pretty sporting - and equally can give you both a better game, this goes into making sure your opponent doesn't feel they're playing a lost cause.  My brother has a wonderful habit of feeling that he can't win past a certain point - a few suggestions and pointers can be enough just to bring him back into the game.

In short, I don't think there's a single answer.  I think going in with a positive attitude and finding out what sort of game your opponent wishes to play is key - something I know I'm not great at later on in an event.  I've played a few doubles games recently and one thing that I've picked up is that I don't get "involved" with my opponent's dice rolling enough - a quick "you can do this" when they're rolling an important armour save they think they may fail and genuine empathy if they fail that 3" charge makes you come across a lot friendlier.  I also know that my "game" face is quite stern - I generally try and apologise if I look like a miserable so-and-so if I'm having to concentrate!

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In every tournament i participated in where we had a "most sporting opponent" or equivalent, whatever the game it was, my "sport score" was consistently directly opposed to my number of victories.

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You sound like a great guy to play and a good laugh, I don't think there's anything more you can do as you sound like a very decent opponent.

Few things to keep in mind when sports scores come to mind -

You can only affect the vote so much, If a person is in a bad mood in that game for whatever reason you're not getting that vote. It's a subjective thing and there's so many variables! On top of that you only get one vote, so by the sounds of it you're a lovely guy to play but if everyone was also some people might just dice roll it, pick someone who is local or at worst tactically vote there sports. 

Peoples memories are also fickle, if people play you early in the event they might simply of forgot the game.

Basically you sound like a top game, keep doing what you're doing :)

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Don't bother, can't be a good guy for everyone.
Sportsmanship score is a concept I do not understand, if it is intendent to encourage better behaviour then people should talk to each other and organisators if they had unpleasant gaming experince because of their opponent, you know, as adults. If someone can't behave as a decent human being over course of multiple events then ban them from participating , should not be that hard, is it? 
And as a tie breaker it's a very bad concept, winner should be determined by how they build and pilot their army, not oppinions of people, who can't be logical all the time.

Edited by XReN
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I had real difficultly with this at B&G this weekend. 4 out of my 5 opponents were great sports and I could easily have voted for any of them and whilst I did in the end go with someone who beat me I did feel like I was doing a disservice to the others by not being able to vote for them. So it's worth remembering, as others have said, that not getting a vote isn't the same as saying you were a bad sport, it might just mean that their other opponents were equally sporting and they couldn't vote for everyone (or alternatively they didn't vote at all)

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3 hours ago, XReN said:

And as a tie breaker it's a very bad concept, winner should be determined by how they build and pilot their army, not oppinions of people, who can't be logical all the time.

This is a very subjective concept and depends on largely on what you feel the goal of a tournament is. Some tournaments do present themselves as strictly a contest of skill and list construction but for others the point is to showcase the overall hobby (which includes the social aspects). Having sports as a tie breaker (assuming its a good sports system overall) is no better or worse than a number of other methods, if the goal of your event is to act as an overall showcase. 

I think people sour on soft scores because they're often poorly implemented and rarely challenged. If you build a good soft score system then they do in fact as a great tool to encourage people to be stewards of the hobby. As to the idea of banning people - that seems to be the go to for dealing with poor sports but it doesn't have to be. Implementing a well thought out sports scoring system can act as a carrot rather than a stick to encourage people to think about their opponent's play experience as well as their own. Ultimately we've seen what happens when you remove soft scores from tournaments, you end up with the US 40k Scene which as a former member I can tell you isn't tremendously healthy or something you'd like to emulate. 

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58 minutes ago, SwampHeart said:

I think people sour on soft scores because they're often poorly implemented and rarely challenged. If you build a good soft score system then they do in fact as a great tool to encourage people to be stewards of the hobby.

But that is the rub and the trap right there.  Sporsmanship scoring is great in theory, bad in practice.  There isn't a good implmentation.  But some people love the idea so much that they rationalize away the practical problems. 

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22 minutes ago, Lemon Knuckles said:

But that is the rub and the trap right there.  Sporsmanship scoring is great in theory, bad in practice.  There isn't a good implmentation.  But some people love the idea so much that they rationalize away the practical problems. 

I've both played in and run events using a 3-4 question simple rubric and never had any complaints. It removes all possible chipmunking and torpedoing because you can't actually do it (without being caught really quickly).  Again, it is entirely possible to build an objective scoring method for both paint and sports, you just have to re-evaluate the question you're asking. I'm not trying to make everyone be everyone's best opponent - just asking that they show up on time with a copy of their list and willingness to answer questions when asked. Being sporting isn't about buying every opponent 2 beers and giving them dice. 

The counter point is some people are so against the idea of sportsmanship that they rationalize away the problems that result from ignoring or removing it. Before this de-rails the thread I'll bow out. Everyone gets to vote with their feet as it were, if you think sportsmanship is bad don't go to tournaments that use it, if you think its great support tournaments that use it. That's about the only way real change will be affected in anyway. 

Edited by SwampHeart
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36 minutes ago, SwampHeart said:

Before this de-rails the thread I'll bow out. 

No intention of de-railing anything, SwampHeart.  We can be "sporting" in our discussion.

38 minutes ago, SwampHeart said:

 I'm not trying to make everyone be everyone's best opponent - just asking that they show up on time with a copy of their list and willingness to answer questions when asked. Being sporting isn't about buying every opponent 2 beers and giving them dice. 

I have zero problem with what you describe.  But at that point, are we really talking about sportsmanship scoring, or are we simply talking about tournament rules?  Show up on time with a copy of your list.  Fail to do that and you are penalized.  The concept of penalty actually makes much more sense to me. 

40 minutes ago, SwampHeart said:

Iif you think sportsmanship is bad don't go to tournaments that use it

I definitely don't think sportsmanship is bad.  I try my damnedest to apply it in all walks of my life, and teach my son to do the same.  I love the good sporting nature of this community in particular, and think that the norms are pretty well entrenched and appreciated.  My point about theory and practice is that it really seems to miss the mark when you try to codify it into a scoring system and put it into practice.  But maybe there are ways to make it work.

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1 minute ago, Lemon Knuckles said:

I have zero problem with what you describe.  But at that point, are we really talking about sportsmanship scoring, or are we simply talking about tournament rules?  Show up on time with a copy of your list.  Fail to do that and you are penalized.  The concept of penalty actually makes much more sense to me. 

Ultimately the sportsmanship score at that point is a penalty. Given a 4~ question rubric that is largely built around 'following tournament rules' you'd expect the vast majority of your players to score right around maximum points so anyone who doesn't follow the rules as it were is a punishment (you lose points towards your total). All it is is a question of reward v. punishment and then deciding how best to accomplish it without it becoming a significant time sink for the organizer. 

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I've also seen something like the 4-question scheme before.  But what does it accomplish?   Be careful with the goals.

You have a 50 player event, and 48 people score 4 out of 4 x 5 games = 20/20.  Good games, everyone!  2 people score 3/4 once after a bickering unpleasant game with each other, end up with 19/20.  (Worst case, one or two players read the pack wrong and deduct points incorrectly and you have to chase down the anomalies).

You have encouraged/required a minimum level of courtesy at your games - this is good, and if it was your entire goal, then mission accomplished.  You have not made even baby steps toward awarding a prize for "Best Sportsmanship" (the topic of the thread), and again if that was not your goal, then no harm done.  But if it was your goal, then you need an additional metric (favoured opponent?  Seems like the best bet).

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I think sportsmanship awards are important because people should be celebrated for being great fun to be around and game with. I’m largely for separating wins/painting/sports because I think all three things should be held as equally important aspects of the hobby. I’ve won sportsmanship awards and I’ve won best overall and I even won painting at adepticon last year for WM/H. I do agree that a rubric can help. It’s important to define what is being asked and to express expectations. 

 

I do do want to address the OP as well though. Someone pointed out that no votes for “best sports” doesn’t directly translate to “bad sport.” It can mean a million things but most likely it just means the event was full of fun people. In the same way that losing the game doesn’t always mean you’re bad at the game. Too many variables. Hell, someone could have thought they voted for you but ticked the wrong box. It’s definitely imperfect but I still think it’s important. 

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If being sporting is only to win an award, what's the point? A true sportsman isn't remotely thinking about the 'Most Sporting' award when they are being sporting.

I'm not saying that in favour of or against the award. Just an observation. Maybe don't think about it so much and just be sporting whether there's an award or not.

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1 hour ago, The Mysterious Mr B said:

Maybe don't think about it so much and just be sporting whether there's an award or not.

This is what I do.

I made the topic because once the tournament was over, I could see a column in the results for most sporting and saw I had 0.

In this tournament, only a minority of players got 0, and I wondered what I had done differently.

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1 hour ago, Bosmer Nightblade said:

This is what I do.

I made the topic because once the tournament was over, I could see a column in the results for most sporting and saw I had 0.

In this tournament, only a minority of players got 0, and I wondered what I had done differently.

Our of interest what army do you play? some armies like LoN are just less "fun" to play against (who knew bringing back 30 Grimghasts wasn't going to be fun) and most of the time don't go votes. 

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6 hours ago, The Mysterious Mr B said:

If being sporting is only to win an award, what's the point? A true sportsman isn't remotely thinking about the 'Most Sporting' award when they are being sporting.

I'm not saying that in favour of or against the award. Just an observation. Maybe don't think about it so much and just be sporting whether there's an award or not.

Haha came here to add the same two cents. If someone is being a good sportsman only to get the points... 

lets say it like this. The door to door salesman is almost always super nice, but you just intuitively know it’s just for his own benifit. Wouldn’t score him as very friendly because of it. Exceptions of course apply ;) 

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