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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Default Soft Scoring in Tournaments

So, soft scoring.

For those of you who don't know what the term means, it generally applies to two main catagories - Painting and Sportsmanship. It can also be applied to other minor areas of organising and running a tourney such as having your list submitted by a due date, having your list in the correct format, arriving on time etc.

"Soft scoring" simply means adding or taking away points from your tournament score based on the above, so to take an example from a tournament I recently attended, their score system looked like this:

Quote:
Points for Games

Win: 20pts
Draw: 10pts
Loss: 1pt
Concede: 0pts

Points for Painting

Painted (3 colour minimum): 5pts
Based: 3pts
Detail (highlighting/washing/drybrushing): 3pts
Cohesive Scheme: 3pts
Extra Effort: 1pt

Misc.

9pts for handing your list in on/before the deadline
1pt for having your name on your list
If, after adding all these together, two or more people were tied, total VPs from all games would be used as tie breaker. Sportsmanship was awarded on a seperate basis.

This seems to be a pretty standard setup for small-to-middling tournaments going by events I've been to and what others have said about theirs. This leads me to a few logical questions:

What is the purpose of a tournament?

Well, to my mind, it's to give people a chance to compete for a prize, by being the best player there, with the measure of "best player" being determined by how many games you win, and how much you win each game by. That's a pretty standard definition of a tournament for any sporting or gaming event, and I would hope that most people would say something similar.

So why do our tournaments feel the need to grade you on your painting and behaviour?

No other sporting or gaming event does this. What if football tournaments gave points out for "Grace and Aesthetic Appeal"? What if athletics gave out points for "Being a really nice guy"? Can you imagine?

"But painting is part of the hobby, so it should be taken into account"

If I wanted to be judged (and win or lose) based on my ability to paint models, I would enter a painting competition, not a tournament. In the same vein, if I enter a darts tournament, I don't want to be judged on how pretty my darts are.

"Everyone prefers playing with painted models, instead of unpainted plastic and metal"

Fair point. But surely the best way to make that a certain thing is simply to state "All armies must be painted to a basic standard or you will not be allowed to participate". That ensues that everyone has a painted army, without having it affect the final result.

"No-one wants to play a complete tosser"

True, and I laud the attempt to make good behaviour and sportsmanship a central part of our hobby. However, almost every single other sport does it the other way around - you get points deducted for being a dick, or even banned. You argue with the ref? You get sent off. You foul someone? You get sent off. You are a good player and a nice person for the whole match? You don't get an extra goal for your team. Being a pleasure to play with should be the basic level of entry, not something that can alter who comes first, second and third.

On a side note, when was the last time you saw the "Most sporting" award also go the person in first place? Almost never. That's because for most people, getting their army massacred is a negative experience, while smashing someone else into the ground is a positive experience. Basic psychology says we are more likely to reward someone who gives us good experiences than someone who gives us bad ones - ergo the "Most Sporting" award can often be paraphrased as "The person who got his ass kicked repeatedly, but with good grace" or even possibly "The person we felt most sorry for".

"If you put extra effort into building your army and making it look nice, you should get a benefit from it"

Yes, you get the satisfaction of having all your playing pieces looking nice. You can enter "Armies on Parade". You can have people come up to you and say "Hey, I really like your army". However since we don't give race car drivers points based on how much they waxed and polished, I don't see the need to give you points in gaming tournaments.

"If you don't like it, just run your own tournament or go to ones that don't soft score"

Bollocks. This isn't about me, personally, it's about changing the opinions of people too lazy to do anything except mindlessly continue with the tradition of allowing your ability to paint to interfere with your ability to write good lists, play well with few mistakes on the day, evaluate matchups, and ultimately win games. Why are we the ONLY hobby or sport that insists on factoring a judges personal bias regarding what makes an aesthetically pleasing army into the outcome of a competitive event?

Does soft scoring even affect who comes first?

Well, yes. If you have a W/L/D system like the one above, there are always going to be big leaps in points, for example:

Bob: Won 6 games. 120pts
Joanne: Won 5 games, drew 1. 110pts.
Rico: Won 5 games, lost 1. 101pts

So those are gaps of 10, 9 and 19 separating the top three players. There are 15pts available for painting, and 10pts available for having your name on your list, and submitting it on time, so 25pts in soft scores. If sportsmanship was also soft scored, that would be another 5-10pts.

Let's say Joanne and Rico both have the same painting scores, but Joanne forgot/didn't know to submit her list on time. Suddenly she's tied with Rico, and he may very well come out on top depending on how many VPs he garnered during the games - which can be easily affected by matchups (Kill Point games with Draigowing vs Mech IG, for example) rather than player skill.

In another example, you might be tied with someone else on tournament points in every single regard, but for some reason the judges decided to give him the "Extra Effort" point in painting. You would miss out on first place (and maybe second and third as well, depending on how closely tied the front runners are) simply because you forgot to highlight a biker, or you don't quite have a "cohesive scheme" in their opinion, or just because you're playing against last years Golden Demon winner.

With sportsmanship it's even worse depending on how people do it. I've seen people give marks out of ten (which are then added to your score), I've seen the "Voted most sporting" get anywhere from 1 point to 10 points.

Not only that, but if you move away from a W/L/D system (and just go by VPs, for example) then the gaps between players tend to narrow incredibly.

So why does all this annoy you so much?

Because you can have your empirical performance rendered useless by the subjective opinion of someone else.

It's like working your ass off to pass your A-Level Maths exam, but being told by the Invigilator "I think that girl over there is pretty, so I'm going to give her the answers to question 1 and 2" and as a direct consequence she gets an A* instead of an A. Just how cheated would you feel?

You spend two or three days under a great deal of stress, sweating over every decision you make on the table, and scrape win after win against increasingly more difficult opponents, before being told "Sorry old chap, we're giving the prizes to this guy instead because people said he was a little bit nicer than you"... Excuse me if I'm not at my most social while I'm trying to pan someone into the ground as hard as I can. Maybe if you wanted to judge my sportsmanship you could do so while I'm having a beer with my mates over a pool table?

So that's why I hope eventually, TOs will stop soft scores altogether, and instead say "If you want to come to our event, your army needs to be painted and based. If you act like a tool we'll kick you out or knock points off your score." Instead of allowing their personal opinions of your skill with a paintbrush or your ability to smile and make small talk with strangers to affect the result of an event that purports to reward winning games.

What do you guys think?

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Statistically Improbable. Psychologically Inevitable.

Last edited by Sethis; 08-21-13 at 07:31 PM.
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 08:39 PM
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I'd say the both of you have pretty much wrapped it up

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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 11:02 PM
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depends on your point of veiw of the points, you can see them as soft scoring or you can see them as getting ahead of the pack, the way i see it you can rack up 23 points before you have even rolled a dice, how is that a bad thing?, thats a win and bit in the bag just for doing what you should be doing anyway? as for comparisons, its not acceptable for a sports team to show up without the correct kit for a match, but plenty of wargamers are perfectly ok turning up with unpainted models, maybe if you look at the painting points as automatic and if you turn up unpainted you have been penalized by loosing the points rather than gaining them because you did what you should have done anyway.



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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 11:13 PM
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I'm part of the TO group at the Giants Lair (yeah, shameless plug, google it!) and we don't use soft scores in our tournaments. Painting and sportsmanship go into seperate categories from the main standings. We do have a slight soft scoring system in that we have penalties in place for people that don't have their list in on time for checking and/or have it in a format that isn't in our rules pack. The reason for this is that our first big event was a nightmare for list checking. Between 5-6 of us it took 18 hours total to check all the lists. The Northern Warlords GT heat has a slightly different system where they offer bonus points to players that have their lists in on time and so on. This punishes/rewards a player's organisation and cuts down on the TO's admin which leaves more time for other event related stuff and stops us from tearing our hair out in the build up to the day.

Those "soft scores" have their place and have to have an impact on the standings for them to actually work. The painting and sportsman ship ones don't belong in the main list for exactly the reasons you said. Even the "must be 3 colours and based" rule should be enforced as either disqualification or removing the offending models and not some half arsed and completely subjective method that will almost always leave someone disgruntled by the arbitrary decision.

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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 11:31 PM
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The rules of the tournament are there for all to see. If you don't like the scoring set up then don't play in it.

You could always lobby the TO to have the situation changed, if enough object then the tourney can become a fest of dull grey.

The tournies in my area tend to play down the painting aspect so that shit plying uber painters don't win all the time. Everyone gets the average painting score as a minimum.

"So why do our tournaments feel the need to grade you on your painting and behaviour?
No other sporting or gaming event does this. What if football tournaments gave points out for "Grace and Aesthetic Appeal"? What if athletics gave out points for "Being a really nice guy"? Can you imagine?"

Ever heard of a "Best and Fairest" award ?

How do you think an NRL team would get on if their strip wasn't washed, or was torn or they all just wore what ever shorts they wanted ?

I'll tell you, they would forfeit any points from the game.
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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitsandkits View Post
thats a win and bit in the bag just for doing what you should be doing anyway? as for comparisons, its not acceptable for a sports team to show up without the correct kit for a match, but plenty of wargamers are perfectly ok turning up with unpainted models, maybe if you look at the painting points as automatic and if you turn up unpainted you have been penalized by loosing the points rather than gaining them because you did what you should have done anyway.
Kind of. I view:

- Arriving on time
- Submitting your list on time and in the correct format
- Having a painted army and dice etc
- Being friendly to your opponent

As being the basic minimum requirements to allow you into the tournament at all. So why affect the outcome of the tournament on those factors? Why not just say "Sorry, if you don't follow the rules we disqualify/penalize you"? In the same way you don't routinely reward your child for basic civilized behaviour, you shouldn't reward the fundamentals of attending an organised event; it should be implicit.

And painting points are hardly automatic, depending on how stringent the TO feels like being. I've heard a firsthand account of a tourney in England where you got points for WYSIWYG *but* to get all the points you had to have things like every single Marine wearing grenades somewhere on their person, because that's the equipment they have in the codex entry. The result was that only people local to the club (or had been before to one of their events) knew about the rule and had bothered to comply with it at the model building stage, ergo tilting the table in their favour from the get-go.

Likewise if I'm not an amazing painter (I do good tabletop standard, but I wouldn't call myself an artist) then I can easily miss out on some of "details" that are awarded points by judges.

So to follow your suggestion of having the painting points as default, how about you simply imposed a sanction of "For every unpainted or unbased model in your army, you lose 1pt"? That way, so long as your army is finished (no matter the standard) you're on a level playing field, and don't need to panic about that one guy you forgot to highlight.

90% of people think they are above average.

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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-21-13, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Magpie_Oz View Post
The rules of the tournament are there for all to see. If you don't like the scoring set up then don't play in it.

You could always lobby the TO to have the situation changed, if enough object then the tourney can become a fest of dull grey.
As I said in my first post: Bollocks. Please re-read it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie_Oz View Post
Ever heard of a "Best and Fairest" award ?

How do you think an NRL team would get on if their strip wasn't washed, or was torn or they all just wore what ever shorts they wanted ?

I'll tell you, they would forfeit any points from the game.
No, I haven't. Because I couldn't really care less about Team Sports. I assume it's some kind of "Man of the Match" award for being a good participant? I'm not saying "Don't have a painting score" or "Don't have a sportsmanship score". I'm saying to segregate it from the scores obtained by actually winning games.

To use your example, an NRL team wouldn't get any points if they turned up wearing whatever, but on the other hand, does a judge compare their handsomeness, tans, shiny white teeth and immaculately ironed clothing to the other team, and decide to award a Try to the team who is best presented before the game begins? No. Because although you need to wear a uniform to compete, the competition isn't about who is best dressed, it's about who plays the game better.

90% of people think they are above average.

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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-22-13, 12:20 AM
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Sethis i wasnt really talking specifics just pointing out that you can veiw the points awarded for painting in a different way, but yes you could penalize people for unpainted armies or as the tourney organiser your could kick a player in the nuts for every unpainted model, but essentially the desired outcome is the same what ever method you use, which is to stop people turning up with grey models which for many players is a huge turn off to play against, but as people tend to pay a fee to enter these things its not really good for business to disqualify or deduct points from a person paying to play, however if you offer them the chance to get there army ready and list up to scratch prior and reward them for doing so your more likely to get a good return of spending players.

But hey whats it really matter, there are strong feelings both for and against but ultimately if your in the tourney the rules are the same for all entrants, if your not a strong painter and you feel unduly penalized talk it over with the TO or dont enter.

personally i agree that painting should be a requirement for entry but not carry any weight when it comes to competitive play and results.



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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-22-13, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
As I said in my first post: Bollocks. Please re-read it.
What is bollocks is reading the rules for a tournament, entering the tournament and then complaining about how the tournament rules work.

Create a tournament that doesn't give points for painting and sportsmanhip. The whole point of putting those things in is to make the competition open to a wider sector of the hobby community.

If you want an exclusive "Combat Only" tournament then, like I said, make one.


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Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
No, I haven't. Because I couldn't really care less about Team Sports.
Then why mention it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sethis View Post
I'm not saying "Don't have a painting score" or "Don't have a sportsmanship score". I'm saying to segregate it from the scores obtained by actually winning games.

To use your example, an NRL team wouldn't get any points if they turned up wearing whatever, but on the other hand, does a judge compare their handsomeness, tans, shiny white teeth and immaculately ironed clothing to the other team, and decide to award a Try to the team who is best presented before the game begins? No. Because although you need to wear a uniform to compete, the competition isn't about who is best dressed, it's about who plays the game better.
That's because you can't compete at all if your uniform doesn't meet a particular presentation standard.

That is what it is all about. Tournament organisers want to present their competition as something with a degree of prestige some thing to be proud to be associated with. However so as to not lock out the hobby to new starters or less advanced painters they make it a sliding scale so everyone has a chance rather than just "not good enough, your not allowed" which is how a great many other sporting events works.

Case in point. Before this hobby I used to participate in Motorsport, specifically very small time Rally Cross. Before each race my car was examined for safety and presentation. If either wasn't up to standard I simply was not allowed to compete, END OF. Letters to big, undercoat showing, DIRTY (from last event), you got time out of your allowed maintenance time to fix it or see ya.

Also if I stopped on the course to help another competitor I received a time bonus, not so I would win but so that I wasn't disadvantaged by helping out someone else.

They are all just basic methods by which we move a competition away from WAAC and more into a fun time for all.

There is nothing soft about getting points for spending HOURS painting you army to look fantastic.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-22-13, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie_Oz View Post
What is bollocks is reading the rules for a tournament, entering the tournament and then complaining about how the tournament rules work.

Create a tournament that doesn't give points for painting and sportsmanhip. The whole point of putting those things in is to make the competition open to a wider sector of the hobby community.

If you want an exclusive "Combat Only" tournament then, like I said, make one.
I can't seem to rephrase myself so that you understand me. This isn't about what tournaments *I* choose to go to - it's about the entire global tournament scene and why I think it's flawed on a basic level. For example having a painting score doesn't make the competition open to a wider sector of the hobby community, if anything it just penalises people who aren't as good at painting as someone else. If we were talking about painting competitions, then fine. But we're not. We're talking about gaming competitions. It's exactly the same as saying "Adding a gaming tournament to determine the winner of Golden Demon would open it to a wider selection of the hobby community" which is pure nonsense.

Quote:
Then why mention it?
You mentioned it... not me. I was just saying it would be ridiculous if the winners of a major sporting event (team or otherwise) were determined not by winning at the sport, but by how well tailored their uniforms were.

Quote:
That's because you can't compete at all if your uniform doesn't meet a particular presentation standard.
Exactly. And our minimum standard should be "three colours, based".

Quote:
However so as to not lock out the hobby to new starters or less advanced painters they make it a sliding scale so everyone has a chance rather than just "not good enough, your not allowed" which is how a great many other sporting events works.
If you can't manage three colours and based, then I'm happy with not allowing you to compete. What I disagree with is giving someone bonus points because they've been painting for 25 years compared to someone who just started, and allowing those points to affect the results obtained by winning games.

Quote:
Case in point. Before this hobby I used to participate in Motorsport, specifically very small time Rally Cross. Before each race my car was examined for safety and presentation. If either wasn't up to standard I simply was not allowed to compete, END OF. Letters to big, undercoat showing, DIRTY (from last event), you got time out of your allowed maintenance time to fix it or see ya.
That's what I'm saying. Three colours, based, or no-go.

Quote:
Also if I stopped on the course to help another competitor I received a time bonus, not so I would win but so that I wasn't disadvantaged by helping out someone else.
That's why we have a sportsmanship award, seperate and distinct from the tournament winner, with seperate prize support.

Quote:
There is nothing soft about getting points for spending HOURS painting you army to look fantastic.
No, I appreciate it's something that takes dedication and skill. That's why we have painting competitions. That's how you seek reward for doing a good job with painting, not by entering a gaming tournament.

90% of people think they are above average.

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