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Help organizing a tournament
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Old 14 Mar 2008, 08:10   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Davis, Ca
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Default Help organizing a tournament

I'm planning on running a tournament and would like to know if anyone has any advice or suggestions? Anyone run a tournament before and encountered problems? Have you been to a poorly run tournament?

I live in a college town which lacks a proper gaming store. (If you live in or near Davis, Ca you are welcome to come!) I basically had to build a new gaming group when I moved here, and we haven't seen any new players in a few months. So a few of us decided we'd run a casual tournament to meet as many new players in our town as possible.

Here's what we've decided on so far:

1000 Points, painting not required
We want to be accessible to as many players as possible.

Minor Prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Best hobbyist and Best overall
Just like we want to be accessible to as many players as possible, we want to be sure everyone has as much fun as possible. Some people enjoy 40k for the painting, modeling, and fluff, so we want to give at least one prize for that, and they're included in best overall.

3 or 4 rounds of Swiss
As I understand it, this means everyone gets to play the whole tournament, and there is mathematically a clear winner/loser assuming we have enough rounds for the number of players. We're planning on up to 12 players due to space, so 4 rounds? I wish we could get away with 3 somehow... Maybe 3 + a final game between the top 2?

I've already read a couple of suggestions. (one from an old post I found searching here and one from another forum)
Be strict about game time limits
Start with Grand Tournament Rules

These both sound like good suggestions. We'll be looking closely at the GT rules and using any that don't conflict with our goals. I think that's all. Any suggestions?
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Old 14 Mar 2008, 09:00   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

Have a look at the WPS rule sets, they take their tournaments seriously and try to maintain a level playing field:

http://www.players-society.com/

Never been to a GT to be able to compare systems, but I have been to a couple of tournaments based on the WPS system.

My advice: Make sure your tournament rules are clear and unequivocal. You won't necessarily be able to prevent people bringing "beard of cheese" armies (and you may not want to) but make it clear what people are and are not allowed to bring.

I ran a tournament recently where people were supposed to bring "raiders" themed armies. Virtually no one did, despite there being a Composition score based on it. Unfortunately I was also fairly lax on identifying what army lists were and were not allowed, hence one guy brought a bio-titan! I kid you not. Actually it was kinda funny, but it irked some, I can tell you. So the moral of the story is, keep it open to encourage more people to turn up, but not so open that you end up playing Apocalypse instead of 40K.
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Old 14 Mar 2008, 09:09   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

Although I've never put on a (serious) tournament, I can offer a few bits and pieces of advice:

Have a official- someone who is familiar with the game and not playing in the Tourney. Use them to settle rule disputes, check to make sure army lists are legal, etc. The more impartial the judge, the better.

Make sure that there are snacks and drinks available in the general vicinity of where the battles are happening. Basic logistics, but something that can be overlooked. If there are no places in the vicinity selling refreshments, buy some 12 packs of soda and sell them off for $.50 a can or something.

Consider you prizes carefully. Not everyone would want a box of space marines or Eldar or Orks or whatever, but a gift certificate to a local hobby shop is generally a safe bet. Plus, you might be able to get said hobby shop to sponsor you and give you some of the prizes for free, which is a nice bonus.
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Old 14 Mar 2008, 14:29   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiznti
Make sure that there are snacks and drinks available in the general vicinity of where the battles are happening. Basic logistics, but something that can be overlooked.
Great peice of advice. I've gone to tournaments in the middle of nowhere, and if you don't bring a lunch you're screwed!

Also I cannot stress this enough:

Post a schedule of the days events.

No matter WHAT HAPPENS, DO NOT stray from that schedule. This is like the single most important thing in a tournament. All it takes is one guy to make the tournament last 50% longer if organizers don't enforce a schedule. Also if you don't have a posted schedule your players have no way of knowing what's going on, and they don't like that.
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Old 14 Mar 2008, 16:20   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

I would advise compiling a tournament pack. You can compile from whatever, taking bits from the GT rules or WPS or just plain making it up yourself. It should include the following (minimum):

~Date, Time and Venue (obviously, but try to include an actual address and consider putting in some directions on how to find it using the closest landmark (i.e. railway station or bus depot, that sort of thing)
~Tournament Rules (i.e. what armies are allowed, adjudicator's word is final, that sort of thing, best to base this on an established rule-set)
~Prizes available (a brief description of how these will be awarded gives the players something to aim for)
~Itinerary, i.e. start time, lunch-break, finish time. Best to set a time limit on the rounds and to factor in some extra time for running round like a hair-brained idiot collecting in slips etc. A clear idea of what people will be doing and when will give them less ammo for complaint.

Food and Drink is very important, but if you don't have the resources to put it on, just make it clear in the pack that players should ensure they provide for themselves (especially fluids... it can get very hot and sweaty in a room crowded full of gamers!)

Terrain is also an issue... you know roughly how big it's going to be and presumably you have the tables, so just make sure you have enough. If not, make it clear in the pack that people should bring one or two pieces of their own scenery.

For all the above, some kind of written document is the best way of getting it out to people

Adjudication (as mentioned above) should be done by someone who is not playing in the tournament and is therefore fairly impartial, but you may need someone else to handle the logistics of totting up victory points on a computer... it's very hard to do both yourself, although on the scale of 12 people you might manage it.

As an example, I recently ran a tournament for 30 people entailing three 1500 point games in one day. I had a team of four people helping me out. As I was the only one who had a good working knowledge of 40K I had to adjudicate, I had a guy on the computer and three guys sorting out the food (we catered). Additionally I drafted these guys in to vote on best army etc, so they got to swagger around judging stuff when they weren't occupied fulfilling their roles. As you're planning one that is roughly half the size, I'd suggest two to three people to run it... but it depends on what you decide to provide.

Anyway, these were just a few things I learned, hope they help.
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Old 14 Mar 2008, 16:29   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

I recommend 3 games. After that some people can start to feel burnout. Also I have noticed that you get more players with 3 games vs 4 games.

I recommend using GW's RT scenerios. They seem more balanced compared to using scenerios out of the back of the book.

Schedule a lunch break, or have it where players can have something delivered. Pizza is always a group favorite.

Be firm but flexible with time limits of games. If a game is almost over, and the final turn, or half turn will make a difference then allow it to be played. Unless one of the players has a history of taking way to long to play.

Maybe have painting be a small part of the score 5pts or so. That way the players that have a fully painted army gets rewarded while those that are just getting in or don't have the time are not hurt completely by not being painted.

Swiss is a good style of tournament.

The first pairings are random. After round 1 the two highest scroes play each other, and so forth. After round 2 the new two highest play each other and so forth. This prevents a bottom player from playing the best player and getting an easy victory after round 1.

This to note is you do not want the same people playing each other, so sometimes the #1 player will play #3 but this does not happen at the top alot. Middle players can fall into this, but is normally not a big issue.

I would also recommend having Sportmanship be one of the prizes. It gives another reason for players to keep it friendly.


Hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 17 Mar 2008, 04:50   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

3 games is generally good, but keep in mind the number of players you expect to have.

Enforce the bringing of actual lists, and give them at least a cursory check by someone familiar with the army. Cheating, honest mistakes, and confusion are greatly decreased by this.

Make and enforce clear rules for the following: Terrain, missions, proxies, forgeworld/other restricted models.
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Old 20 Mar 2008, 21:36   #8 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: Help organizing a tournament

Well thank you everyone. I think these suggestions are exactly what I was looking for!

While we had already thought of a few of these, most are new and even the one's we had thought of we're happy to see others agree with. Responding to everything individually would be hard to read so here are the major additions to our tournament plan:
  • We'll be checking out the Warhammer Players Society and GW's Rouge Trader rule sets
  • We'll write, advertise, and enforce clear rules about: Terrain, missions, proxies, Forgeworld/Imperial Armor/special characters/other restricted models.
  • I won't be playing, in order to organize and judge.
    As needed I have several other people willing to do the same.
  • We will sell some food and drinks for cheap.
  • Our prizes will be small amounts of cash.
    We're holding the tournament because there ISN'T a decent hobby shop to sponsor us. Who is going to argue with coming to a free tournament, having a good time, and getting $20 if they happen to win? Thankfully my gaming group is sponsoring the whole thing in order to meet new players so the cost of our few prizes is being spread around.
  • We will write, post, and stick to a schedule.
    The schedule will definitely include "running round like a hair-brained idiot", as well as breaks between games, and time for lunch.
    In order to be fair about time limits, the best way I can think of is to call TIME! 20 mins early. If each player's number of turns will be balanced by finishing the current turn then you have 20 mins to finish it, and don't start another. If they won't then you have 10 mins to finish the current turn, then the other player has 10 mins for a turn, stop after that.
  • We'll compile and distribute a tournament pack
    It will include everything Extartius suggested. We'll email it to everyone and provide printed copies at the event.
  • Players must bring Army lists.
  • Painting and Sportsman ship will included in the prizes somehow.
  • Games will be 3 rounds of Swiss.

I definitely think my tournament will be better by incorporating these suggestions. Once more...
Thanks Everyone!
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"What exactly are those?" (Talking about Dark Eldar Jetbikes)
"They're like wyches that move 12 and assault 6."
"So they're slower than normal wyches. That's fine. You can have as many of those as you like."
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