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Competitions Overhaul
 
Old 01 Sep 2009, 18:46   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Competitions Overhaul

Right, as many of our most avid followers may be aware, a few issues have arisen recently regarding the official TO competitions, and we here at Contests HQ have been navel-deep in discussion and deliberation of late, trying to decide the best way to tweak the existing contests format to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of the forum-going public.

Unfortunately, it no longer appears that minor changes are going to cut it any more. Contest participation is at an all-time low despite our best efforts, and we feel that the best course of action here is a major overhaul of the contests format we've been running for the last three years and try something a bit new.

We've gone back to the drawing board and we've come up with a few ideas that we think could work out well. However, contrary to popular belief, neither Hive Lord nor Dra'Tuisich-Novae have ascended to a state of omniscience and omnipotence (yet) and so we've decided to hold an open discussion where we can discuss the future of the Contests with the people whose opinions matter the most - the people who enter them. That's where you lot come in.

We want to hear your thoughts on any ideas we throw out. We want to hear your ideas. So, get posting!

[hr]
This is a list of the issues that we think need to be addressed, along with our own opinions. Feel free to agree or disagree.
  • Frequency and length of competitions
We love having lots of competitions. The more contests we do, the more models we get to see, the more interesting themes we can try out, the more fun everyone has, right?
No. Unfortunately the drop in participation means that contests are running short on entries, being postponed, or even cancelled. We think the way forward is to have fewer competitions, on the basis that the number of people who enter competitions isn't going to change, and so the fewer contests we have, the more people will enter each one. Of course, to make our assumption correct, we have to make sure that we don't lose participants because competitions are less exciting due to fewer categories. We'd need to make sure that if we do run less competitions, the ones that are run are both
A) Accessible to the common-or-garden member and
B) Interesting or exciting.
Careful choosing of the competition themes/categories could ensure that they meet both of these criteria.

Another reason for lack of entrants may be not enough time to prepare an entry. We usually give sufficient warning on the competition calendar which can have have contests up to six months in advance on it. However, either people don't read the calendar, or they decide to wait until the start of the contest before they begin their model. We've postponed a number of competitions because people are "not quite finished yet, give me a couple more weeks and I'll get it done".
We think if we let them know they'll have more time from the word go, it will ensure that everyone who's working on an entry has time to finish it, and will also hopefully encourage people who may be daunted by the prospect of readying an entry in a few short weeks. So, we propose extending competitions from a standard length of one month to two months. This would tie in nicely with the reduced number of competitions - instead of having three contests a month, we could have, for instance, three or four contests over two months. This means that people still have a variety of different competitions to choose from at any one time, and also means that if people want to enter more than one competition at once, they have the extended time to be able to cope with it.

  • Organisation and promotion

We believe that the easier that contests are to enter, the more people will be encouraged to do so. We'd like to make sure that it is perfectly clear how to participate in the competitions and how they are run, and make them as 'user-friendly' as possible.
A lot of people ask for clarifications of rules that the competitions veterans may know but aren't actually written down anywhere. A glance through the 'Welcome' topic will reveal that it is in dire need of updating, so we'd like a re-written Welcome thread which contains more comprehensive guidelines on entering competitions as well as a complete set of rules -or, at least, all of the basic rules we can think of, as there are always going to be issues that come up for individual competitions that need clarifying.
People are always suggesting competitions that we already run, or asking when a specific competition will run when it's already on the calendar. We want to make sure that the competition calendar is kept up to date and make sure people know where it is and when it's updated. The competition calendar should include a brief description of each contest on it with a basic rules outline of what is an eligible entry. This means people can plan ahead if they want to.
We think it's good if people know what we've already run in the past as well as looking at future competitions, so a 'Competition Archive' post should be put in place, to act as a sort of 'Contents Page' for the 'Past Contests' sub-board. This would include links to the relevant topics and possibly how many people entered the contest, for completeness and quick reference purposes.
Another point that is sometimes raised is people asking whether their entries have been submitted - all entries should be replied to with a 'Receipt' PM.

It has been suggested that a 'Mini of the Month' competition is run as a completely open contest every month for a single miniature. The winner of this would have their model displayed on the front page of the new TO website. We're not sure whether this would work out alongside the normal competitions, so we'd like to hear your views on what you want to see on the Website in terms of contest winners.

  • Rewards, Points and Prizes

The 'Competition Points' system has been used for a good few years now, but it's not exactly the simplest system and it's hard to tell whether people know how it works and are actually planning on cashing in their points for rewards at some point in the near future. It's possible that the best thing to do would be a review of the current rewards to see whether they are the best way to continue.

We're also investigating the feasibility of obtaining cash-value prizes for more competitions. We'll keep you updated on that.
  • Competition Segregation

An issue was raised a few months ago where people felt that there was a very obvious split in painting ability between what some considered to be 'professional' level painters, and people of a 'normal' painting ability. It was suggested that instead of the better painters being discouraged from entering because the 'normal' members complained whenever they did, and the 'normal' members getting discouraged because they think they won't have a chance if they enter, we can instead run two parallel competitions, one for each group.

Of course, this raises a few questions - How do we (fairly) decide who goes into which category? Will the rewards for each category be the same? Will we get enough entries if we try and split up the already-depleted number of entrants? Will people purposefully hold back so they don't get put into the upper category?
We aren't really sure about the answers to these, so we'd be interested on hearing your opinions on this too.
  • Committee

It would appear that our resident Sealmaker Timjim has gone into retirement, so we're looking for someone who can make the reward seals for the competitions and distribute them to the winners. If we can get the template for the seals we have been using, to keep them the same, it would be good. This is a pretty minor commitment in itself - especially if we choose to reduce the number of contests - but as a committee member it would be good if you could help out with the other stuff that needs doing, including judging of contests where required, help in making the calendar, answering queries from members, and so on. This post needs to be filled as soon as possible. If you are interested in the position, please send a PM to either Hive Lord or Dra'Tuisich-Novae.
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 18:53   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

If you are going to run competitions bimestrially then why not stagger them? So you could run two competitions September-October, 2 in October-November, 2 in November-December etc.

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Old 01 Sep 2009, 18:59   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

The idea of running competitions for 2 months sounds good as it gives a fair amount of time to submit entries.
Increasing the amount of info in the main rules and in each competitions rules would be helpful. e.g. in the Super-Heavy contest specifying that Gargantuan Creatures are allowed, and saying (in FA comp) that it has to be a FA in the codex (under FA entry, the Grey Knight question comes up to mind)
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 19:31   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

I agree with most of the assessments so far. Pushing contests to two months should help get more entries, as well as reducing how many competitions there are being held at once. I really have nothing to add other than it makes sense to me.

I like the current reward point system, however the problem with it is that the information on who has how many points is held in a big thread. Those of us who have been around for a while know this but no doubt newer members are fuzzy on it. My suggestion is that the points be tracked on each person's profile so they can easily see how many they have, making them more likely to actually use them. FT, if we go this route then I have an SMF mod that works perfectly for this type of thing.

As for the segregation part, I feel it's honestly just too hard to try and make that work. When it comes to art of any kind it's too subjective to try and label. We certainly have some very talented painters here but it's not like we have so many of them that enter each month in each contest to completely rule out entries by more average, and even beginner, painters. We all want to win, it's human nature, but if you don't enter then you can't win and you never can be sure if the "pros" are entering, so in the end you're just screwing yourself by playing self-conscious about your talent.
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 19:40   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor{DoH}
I like the current reward point system, however the problem with it is that the information on who has how many points is held in a big thread. Those of us who have been around for a while know this but no doubt newer members are fuzzy on it. My suggestion is that the points be tracked on each person's profile so they can easily see how many they have, making them more likely to actually use them. FT, if we go this route then I have an SMF mod that works perfectly for this type of thing.
So are you meaning something along the style of the warning system (if you undertsnad me) so that competition heads can increase the number of points/decrease the number on a members profile, except members could see their own points? If this is what you're thinking Thor then it's a good idea
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 19:41   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

Ya, like underneath your Karma on the side bar or something, that would be cool
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 19:43   #7 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Master Sorck
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor{DoH}
I like the current reward point system, however the problem with it is that the information on who has how many points is held in a big thread. Those of us who have been around for a while know this but no doubt newer members are fuzzy on it. My suggestion is that the points be tracked on each person's profile so they can easily see how many they have, making them more likely to actually use them. FT, if we go this route then I have an SMF mod that works perfectly for this type of thing.
So are you meaning something along the style of the warning system (if you undertsnad me) so that competition heads can increase the number of points/decrease the number on a members profile, except members could see their own points? If this is what you're thinking Thor then it's a good idea
Pretty much. Good way of looking at it. When you track something in a thread, like the current system, the thread just gets longer and more cumbersome to deal with. Plus, people begin to forget it even exists.
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 19:48   #8 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

I like thor's idea. And it would encourage people to enter rather than have a nice 0 on their profile.

I lost my faith in the competions as the out of the last 3 I entered 2 were cancelled and 1 was delayed 2 months. I was really pissed off about the specialist games as part the reason I had them auroras was the competion and then it was cancelled (18).

I think that the minimum entries should be 3 not 4 as quite a few contests are being cancelled with only 3 entries.

Also as for competition seals I will probably be able to do that but Ill have to check I can get the templates (should be easy, really easy).
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 19:59   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

Mini of the month- (i remember talking about this with FT, SILK and the librarians) we were thinking of a similar procedure but picking one of the 1st place entries and displaying that, if we had 2 comps/2 months then all 1st place entries (in paintoing comps) would have a month on the mini/month area

Quote:
We want to make sure that the competition calendar is kept up to date and make sure people know where it is and when it's updated.
You could simply add the date for when it was last updated in its title, and have a news item detailing when it was last updated
Quote:
The competition calendar should include a brief description of each contest on it with a basic rules outline of what is an eligible entry. This means people can plan ahead if they want to.
IMO this would be really useful as on many ocasions I've wanted to plan ahead, the army contest is one of those I've been thinking of entering but it doesn't state game system, FOC charts or points values (i got this from the past contest boards though)

Quote:
I think that the minimum entries should be 3 not 4 as quite a few contests are being cancelled with only 3 entries.
Maybe, if there are only 3 entries then the contest should still have voting but only have a 1st/2nd place prize as so not all entrants are rewarded.

[quote]I think that the minimum entries should be 3 not 4 as quite a few contests are being cancelled with only 3 entries. [/qoute] Just the man for the job
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Old 01 Sep 2009, 21:34   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Competitions Overhaul

Agreed with what is said above e.g. 2 month period for competition entries (though some of us might be impatient about it) and that you can't really categorize 'pro' and 'newbie' painters (it will just discourage more people not to enter and who's to judge who's the 'pro' and who's the 'newbie'?). I say scrap the idea of Competition Segregation.
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