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frostfire

How do you hold a tournament?

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There is going to be a tournament in my local a few months later, actually the first tournament to be. And I, humbly, am one of the organizers.

The tournament is aiming to attract as many players as possible to enjoy the game. We are sending invitations to other clubs too, hoping AoS players of the whole area could participate in the event.

But since our club are a fairly new one and none has organized a tournament before, there is going to be some problems when deciding certain tournament rules,such as the painting requirement and houserules about double turn and summoning. 

So I think I might ask someone who has held an event or has been to a tournament for advice.

Is there any particular houserule in the tournaments you have been to or held?

All sorts of advice and experience will be greatly appreciated! 

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Posted (edited)

If you want to appeal to the most people:

#1) do not use  house rules.  If you are going to use house rules, use something like LVO or Adepticon rules as those are accepted by the tournament community as acceptable.  House rules will put off a lot of people.  Do not modify double turn.  Do not modify summoning.  Do not deviate from matched play standards unless you are using one of the big tournaments as a basis.  Tournament players above all desire consistency in events so that their games are played in the same context.  Many play them to tune lists for bigger events.  If you are using house rules and other things, that context is shattered and the incentive to play is lost to many.

#2) do not enforce painting requirements.  Give an award for best painted by all means but if you require models to be painted you are cutting out a large number of people that have no interest in painting and do not pay others to paint for them.

#3) stick to matched play scenarios only.  

#4) stick to timed games rigidly.  Otherwise you will have games go off the rails and into overtime and it will drag the entire event down.  

Edited by Dead Scribe
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Not rules related but... free food (if you can afford it) always goes down well.

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I run events regularly (narrative, not usually tournaments).  I would recommend avoiding house rules for organized play.  House rules engender confusion and conflict.  A lot of tournaments I see online seem to award tournament points for painted armies, my preference is to unbundle those and have a separate "best in show" award that is voted on by the players before the event begins.  I agree with DeadScribe above that painting rules should be avoided at least for your first outing.

One of the most important things to think about IMHO is the timing of the event.  You'll want to write up a detailed schedule with round time limits, time for snack breaks (and meals if it's going to run all day).

Another thing to consider is your battlefield makeup, do you want fairly homogeneous battlefields?  open terrain?  densely packed?  Are you going to be using the Scenery special rules?

Make sure you have someone one hand to resolve rules questions and that they have read the battleplans in question thoroughly.

Create an event pack and distribute it in a timely fashion well before the event so that players have an opportunity to read it beforehand.  You don't want them having to figure out how the battleplan works on the day of the event.  If you're doing a custom battleplan (which I wouldn't necessarily recommend for a tournament), make sure to clarify even the most obvious details, because someone will be confused no matter what you do.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'll be back if I come up with more.

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You should hold it very carefully, and with both hands. If you drop it you will be picking up models for hours, and most of them will be broken.

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Search for other events, steal the event pack that most appeals to your community.  After you've done one or two, you can think about making your own.

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Posted (edited)

Is it a 1 dayer or 2 dayer?  This can be pretty impactful, because they have different wrinkles in terms of organization issues.  1 dayers are obviously easier, but they have their own unique issues too (I actually think time is a bigger issue for them). 

Food is extremely important.  Ensure that there is a food option available for lunch on tourney days.  Depending on where the tournament is being held (Gaming Store, neutral venue etc) I would see if you could arrange a food truck to park outside for lunch, or if at a store see if they would be open to ordering pizzas and drinks and selling them at a slight markup.  Its less of an issue (depending on the size of your tourney) if it is held in a shopping center or there are a ton of fast restaurant options near by.  But often there is not time for a super long lunch break, and ensuring that there is an option on site can releave a lot of stress and headache.  On this topic, if its feasible an hour for lunch is much preferred.  I have seen tourneys that try to squeeze it in in 30-45 minutes and it has always been chaos.  The longer you can manage the betterthe better.  I have hosted a single tournament (it was back in WHFB) with my club, and similar to yours, we hosted it without any prior experience aside from attending tourney's ourselves.  I can tell you, both from hosting and from going to tournaments, that food can become quite the contentious issue if the tourney organizers make no plans.  Especially if you have out of towners sending info about suggested food options in advance is very helpful. 

Another thing to consider if you are planning on enticing out of towners I highly suggest either organizing a hotel block, or at the very least providing information about the closest hotels to the venue and how far away they are.  People can do this for themselves, but it is helpful and makes the event feel more accessible (it also signals that you want out of towners there by providing that info on invites or whatever).

Be very careful and plan the award/closing ceremony in advance.  The award ceremony is far more difficult to execute then one would think, and I have been to many tournaments where it caused a lot of confusion and quite a bit of anger/hurt feelings.  In the tournament I helped host, we calculated everything right but handed our chosen presenter the list out of order in our haste to get it started and it caused a moment of embarrasment as the wrong club winner got announced, and it made it look like we were making fun of them.  It wasn't a big mistake and it was immediately corrected, but it still left a sour taste in one clubs mouth, and it sucked.   Do not rush to the podium however tempting it is to do so.  People will be milling around and if its a single day tournament it will likely be late and people will want to get home.  And if its a 2 dayer out of towners are going to be wanting to get on the road/to their flights and in towners will be fatigued from 2 days of gaming.  Either way you will be under pressure to wrap things up, but plan your schedule around the fact that it is 100% of the time going to take you longer to calculate the final results and double check them then you think.

Be strict with your time limits per round and stick to the schedule.  No matter what people say to try to get an extra turn in, even if its table 1.  In general apply all of the rules as written in the rules pack evenly and completely.  Do not make exceptions even if it seems like it makes sense to or is reasonable.  We made 1 such exception, because in the moment it seemed like an edge case we had not intended, but it was a mistake and we were lucky it did not end up effecting our results.  Same goes with paint judging, be very careful to spell out your rubric in detail and precisely, and be ready to show your work after the fact.  Go by the rubric, even if you realize one army looks better then another subjectively, if you didn't account for it properly in your rubric you have to go by the rubric.  You can only use the eye test/personal preference in ties. 

I agree with others that you don't want to do house rules.  We used comp in our tournament, but that was in the days of fantasy 8th edition and it was a more or less universally accepted reality of the game, and it was a well established comp system that most tourneys in our region used.  AoS does not operate under such conditions, and as such unless you use a major tourney's variation which most are familiar with, stick to the base game even if you don't love things about it.

Other then that I just can't emphasize enough to be consistent, and always support whoever your TO's are.  You have given them final word on disputes, so their decision is final (in that vein make sure whoever you choose really knows their rules).  Also the more money you can put towards the prizes and plaques the better.  People like to be able to see their money in action, and that is where it is going to be most visible.  A cool plaque like a sword or something goes a long way.

 

EDIT: One last thing I highly suggest on top of the crazy long post I have already made, is to request list submissions in advance.  Far enough in advance to give your club time to check ALL of them.  Nothing is more sour then the discovery of an illegal list half way through at a top table.

EDIT 2: Always have a ringer.  If someone rage quits half-way through the event, or someone can't show on day 2, you need someone to fill in.  It is extremely important for that ringer to take a very middle of the road list, play it well, but not be a top table guy.  He is going to be playing at one of the bottom tables if needed and it is important, that the opponent A. have a good time, B. not feel penalized that he is facing a ringer but C. in the unlikely event it ends up affecting results it was deemed a fair game.

 

Edited by tripchimeras
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

If you want to appeal to the most people:

#1) do not use  house rules.  If you are going to use house rules, use something like LVO or Adepticon rules as those are accepted by the tournament community as acceptable.  House rules will put off a lot of people.  Do not modify double turn.  Do not modify summoning.  Do not deviate from matched play standards unless you are using one of the big tournaments as a basis.  Tournament players above all desire consistency in events so that their games are played in the same context.  Many play them to tune lists for bigger events.  If you are using house rules and other things, that context is shattered and the incentive to play is lost to many.

#2) do not enforce painting requirements.  Give an award for best painted by all means but if you require models to be painted you are cutting out a large number of people that have no interest in painting and do not pay others to paint for them.

#3) stick to matched play scenarios only.  

#4) stick to timed games rigidly.  Otherwise you will have games go off the rails and into overtime and it will drag the entire event down.  

 

While I often disagree with Dead Scribe - this is  pretty spot on for a first event.  

Note point 2 depends on your community level of experience. There are lots of people who get pissed off when they pay money to be in a tournament and the guy across from them has grey plastic.  I've received that feedback during the first few years of AoS when my event allowed unpainted in order to  try and fill enough seats to keep the doors open.     There are certainly those who won't come if painting is a requirement, but there are also those who won't come if painting isn't a requirement.     But for the store level one day first time tournament you are trying to get in people new to AoS and the tournament scene - go with allowing unpainted.

Figure out tie breakers and your scoring system both per win/loss result and whether soft scores (sportsmanship and paint)  are part of your final overall winner determination.    Publish it in the rules pack.    There are arguments to be made in either direction again for a first run tournament it's probably easier to do battle only.   However seeing a guy who was a bad sport, with an unpainted army win the Overall might turn off players who wanted to try out tournament play and hated seeing 'That Guy' win.   'That Guy'  (or Girl) is the one who doesn't care about the model aspect of this game, the one who is a 'rules lawyer' pushing the envelope, who is generally looked at by their peers as the guy no one wants to play in pick up play or in a tournament.  You may lose the 'average hobbyists' for future events if they have Negative Play Experiences.    In my experience in a well developed regional tournament scene lots of folks specifically avoid tournament play because they are afraid of running into another version of 'That Guy' often with 'one of Those Lists."     Again though for a first time event it's probably easier to do just battle and then take feedback from your community in what they want to see in the future.

Figure out your tournament software.   I like Warscore http://warscore.net/ which is free and highly modifiable by the user but BCP (best Coast Pairings) is also a well regarded product - it doesn't to my understanding handle soft scores very easily.     If it's a small event you could just do excel or a paper results table.

Count your heads prior to the event - know who is definitely coming, who is probably coming and who is at some level of commitment below that.  You need 4 to do a small 'tournament'   If you have limitations on space and may likely hit it get folks to commit before the folks who pre register get dibs.     If the TO is ringering (playing if there is an odd number of players) decide  if they are eligible to win the thing overall prior to the event and who answers rules questions in a game the TO is involved in. 

Edited by gjnoronh

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Posted (edited)

Big thanks to y'all! Learned so much about organizing an event.

There are several things I can make sure now:

1)Lunch will be severed for free (or at least at a fairly low price).

2)Paintings will not be included when working out the overall, for attracting new players, while we do have other awards for paintings.

3)Time for every turn will be restricted in order to save time.

And I have to learn to use some tools of tournament management mentioned above. They seem to be essential if I want to make the event more accessible.

But I've come to another problem. Lots of players at my places own a bunch of WFB armies, such as Dispossessed, High Elf, Bretonnia who are less competitive nowadays. I was looking forward to the GHB to see if GW would make some changes to these older factions, sadly there is none as it comes out. If we are to get them into the event, it is inevitable to adjust certain rules or there would be no enjoyment for these factions except the memory of getting tabled by FEC or Dok.

What do you think of this? Currently we are considering letting less-competitive factions to have up to 400 extra points. Is it practical?

 

Edited by frostfire

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This extra points hits the above issue. No House Rules. 

Players make tournament lists to play in tournaments, losing because a tournament organiser gave a points advantage to a faction they felt was less powerful means you're less likely to go back.

Picture it this way, you spent hours honing, planning and painting a competitive list, to arrive to find that because Bob thinks Brets are weak all bret players are +400 points. Then Brets win the tournament. Will you leave feeling it was a fair tournment, or take away that you had no chance from the beginning as the organiser weighted it in Brets favour.

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Yep.  No extra points.  No house rules.  You will make a lot of people angry otherwise.  If those people that own legacy armies want to be competitive they will need to pony up and get a competitive meta army, or be ok with using their legacy army and doing the best with what little they can.

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You're also going to want to make sure the standard bases are being used.  People showing up with legacy square bases will also make people angry because it gives those people an advantage.

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Posted (edited)

Well, sounds cruel to those lovely models, but still reasonable, I'd take that.

Edited by frostfire

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37 minutes ago, Melcavuk said:

This extra points hits the above issue. No House Rules. 

Players make tournament lists to play in tournaments, losing because a tournament organiser gave a points advantage to a faction they felt was less powerful means you're less likely to go back.

Picture it this way, you spent hours honing, planning and painting a competitive list, to arrive to find that because Bob thinks Brets are weak all bret players are +400 points. Then Brets win the tournament. Will you leave feeling it was a fair tournment, or take away that you had no chance from the beginning as the organiser weighted it in Brets favour.

Not so long ago in whfb this was actually pretty much tourney standard (ETC comp), and Swedish the other primary comp system wasn't so very different in practice.  I kind of miss the days of comp, those systems always did a much better job of balancing the game then GW ever did, but even at the height of 8th edition's broken balance they were controversial so I get it. 

Regardless each of those systems were perfected over time by committees of seasoned tourney players and were widely utilized in a significant portion of major events.

So I agree with you in so much that in AoS there is no precedent for this, no structured and battle tested method to begin with, and no popular player support.  House rules just in general do not work in tournaments.  If its not RAW it has to be an organized and recognized comp system.  No matter how much someone wants it to be otherwise it won't work if you want anyone to come, and you don't want mass confusion over list design and play.

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Posted (edited)

Depends on where your community is, and whether you are running an event where you fully expect to personally know every attendee, or if you are trying right from the outset to bring in strangers from out of town.  If you guys are just now in the ragequit recovery phase, you might need to step back a bit and relax things and do some small concessionary houseruling to ease folks back into the game.  If you're past that phase (most of us here are long past that, but we almost all went through something like it in our own communities 2-3 years ago), then you can start looking at normal 2019 AoS out of the box without any concessions to folks still running legacy armies on square bases.

Edited by amysrevenge

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2 hours ago, Dead Scribe said:

You're also going to want to make sure the standard bases are being used.  People showing up with legacy square bases will also make people angry because it gives those people an advantage.

I'd disagree about square bases.

If someone has legacy square bases ask them to bring (or you can supply) empty rounds of the appropriate size  to be used for determining how many models should be able to pile in.  It's not hard to work out, and if you have a lot of legacy armies in your player base (and clearly @frostfire does!)  then making it easy for folks to show up for the first AoS tournament in the area is the main priority.   

This isn't going to be hyper competitive AoS this is going to be 'gee does any of us actually enjoy tournament AoS, and do we ever want to do a tournament  again. AoS' 

Getting the legacy players who haven't decided if they like AoS in the door for their first tournament is important.  They already are going to have under powered armies (barring Free Guild AFAIK) don't exclude them further by requiring them to rebase.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

This is the key part of the original post:

Quote

The tournament is aiming to attract as many players as possible to enjoy the game

Unless a ton of people in that area are running on squares, allowing squares to appease a handful of people is going to turn a lot of others off big time.

If you want a friendly casual time where the bases don't matter as much, call it a get together or an AOS day, but calling it a tournament brings expectations with it to a large number of people.

Edited by Dead Scribe

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Clarify use (or nonuse) Realm Rules in particular. Last thing you want is people getting into an argument right before anything happens because one refuses to run realm rules.

If doing realm rules, consider doing preset and pre-themed tables, and possibly cherry picking what realm effects are in play. It may be vastly entertaining to suddenly roll Ghur and have Monstrous Beasts in play, but a lot of hardcore tourneyheads will get an aneurysm from it.   

I personally play with realm rules on as much as possible because it adds a lot of randomness to an otherwise entirely too predictable meta. But some people will not appreciate rolling Ulgu and having their entire list kneecapped because everything now works at 8" tops.



 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, I think I'd better make it clear that it is a tournament, not an AoS gathering day or something else. Giving advantage to certain factions doesn't sound like a fair game at all.

Also all models must be in round bases. It's essential apparently.

Since it is a tournament, there is inevitably going to be difference between strong army and less-strong army. I could cope with that.

Edited by frostfire

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7 hours ago, frostfire said:

Yeah, I think I'd better make it clear that it is a tournament, not an AoS gathering day or something else. Giving advantage to certain factions doesn't sound like a fair game at all.

Also all models must be in round bases. It's essential apparently.

Since it is a tournament, there is inevitably going to be difference between strong army and less-strong army. I could cope with that.

I know Deadscribe has strong opinions on rounds vs squares - it really isn't essential.  Except for piling in where you can use blank bases.  But you know your player base  sounds like you were worried about folks with legacy  armies earlier in this thread being able to compete.   If that's not a big chunk of your player base you don't have to worry about them.

Contextually I run the largest AoS tournament in the NE USA we have always allowed square bases.  Since AoS launched we've never had a problem where someone  felt it was a competitive advantage.  We do require someone to bring blank rounds for Pile In purposes to measure.  The serious players switch, the new to AoS guys are on the bottom tables and getting stomped by and large.

   We have  however had complaints where someone had a ROUND  base that didn't seem to be the right size (GW has changed the sizes for some units up and down since AoS launched or initially didn't have round base sizes listed) and opponents felt it gave their opponent a competitive advantage. 

 

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Posted (edited)

You can run a poll in a competitive forum and ask how many competitive tournament players would prefer you use the listed standard bases and how many would be ok with letting people run non standard bases if you feel that I'm somehow the minority.

I know that adepticon wrestled with that same subject and it seemed the vast majority of the attendees did not want to see wrong sized or square bases.

So for your area I would run a poll to get the exact numbers.

Allowing squares but not allowing different sized rounds is highly illogical to me because squares allow for the same type of competitive advantage that smaller rounds do.

Edited by Dead Scribe

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Unless of course you actually require people using squares to use the right round sized base for piling in - which I've said in every post on this subject.  Most rules packs don't require that of wrong sized rounds.  

Wrong sized rounds cause the same competitive advantage potentially (or disadvantage) but isn't a drum you are beating on.  Less rules packs are specific on that.  

Reminder per OP's goals  "The tournament is aiming to attract as many players as possible to enjoy the game. "

Seriously it's a one day tournament at a local store if they get 8 people I'd very proud of the start.   It's not some sort of competitive death match with money on the line.   Does anyone think someone taking switfthawk agents with squares is going to be able to  be wielding a competitive advantage against DoK on rounds? 

 It's also possible that at the  first in the area level  1-2 players means the difference between having a tournament or having 3 people show up and not being able to have much of a three round tournament.  

 

I ran a 58 registrant  AoS event and a 110 person 40K event at Da Boyz last year - I think there's about 10% of that that would  consider themselves 'highly competitive gamers.' The other 90% are there to drink beer and have fun playing with man dollies. 

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Thats where a local poll comes into play, because in my area the number of highly competitive gamers is much higher than 10% that wouldn't care.

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Posted (edited)

It's the first time they've ever had a tournament in the OP's  region.  Exactly how many serious tournament players ( who have apparently never attended one) could there be?   I suppose   someone who hasn't played at a tournament ever or hasn't podiumed at a large event may think of themselves as a 'serious competitive gamer' but maybe they are misunderstanding what their skill  and experience level is. 

Would your local  highly competitive gamers be worried about someone using 25 mm rounds instead of 32 mm rounds?  If so why haven't you advised the OP on specific guidelines for managing that issue.    How about someone using an original metal Blood Thirster that is around the height of a current SCE Decimator they've got it  on the current round sized base but  with true line of sight they can hide it behind a 2.5  inch tall hill quite unlike the current thirster.  

Again the square vs round is an oddly specific  competitive modeling and basing concern to primarly focus on given that there are a lot of potential serious competitive concerns that can come up in a toy soldiers game that has had a lot of changes in the  pieces over the last 30 years.    In a large tournament  that dates back to the start of AoS the only real issue we've run across is wrong size round.  Our rules pack is specific for how to deal with that and squares.  

Edited by gjnoronh

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