Holy smokes, there has been some insanely intense debate on them there interwebs lately, on a number of subjects too. I’m not sure what is polarizing the community more, the Grey Knights or renewed discussions of soft scores (specifically Army Composition).
The Grey Knights I can totally understand. Myself, I am very conflicted about them, as I mentioned in the previous post. I don’t want to really get into that again just yet, but I want to re-state my feeling that there’s a lot of good and a lot of crap mixed together in the new minis and rules. Time will tell how effectively we can shift the ratio towards the good and away from the crap.
Composition though, wow. I think this is a case of a vocal minority seriously overreacting to the suggestion of including Comp in tournament scoring, in some way/shape/form. The comments that appeared on Nathan’s brief “In Defense of Composition” post are a little bit insane.
The gaming club I belong to, Out of the Basement Gaming, is known for leaning towards soft scores in our tournaments. Winning matters, it’s worth 50% of the Overall Score, but clearly there’s more to the hobby than just winning or losing and we try to reflect that in our system. And because many of our members have felt that Best General is one of the less desirable trophies to win (I will explain this in a second), we have tried to use Composition to have a subtle influence on this trophy as well as the Overall rankings.
OK, so why is Best General a less prestigious award to win? Simply put, you win Best General if you’re only good at one thing: Winning.
Let’s break down the scoring system for most tournaments. Approximately 50% Battle Scores, and let’s assume 16.7% each for Sportsmanship, Painting and Composition. Bonus points usually apply to the soft scores (ie. Best Painted, Best Sportsman, Player’s Choice, etc.). If you smoke the competition in all of your games and have decent soft scores, 9 times out of 10 you will win Best Overall.
People who win 100% of their games either have some mix of social and artistic skill, winning them Best Overall, or their soft scores suck and they win Best General instead.
I felt a little bad when Jordan Murphy got booed at Fracas when it was announced that he won Best General. It was his friends booing in jest that started it all (he was playing a stereotypical Demons of Chaos try-hard list in 7th Edition Fantasy, he probably deserved it!) … but when the other people started booing I think they might have meant it. And that’s a problem.
With our club’s events, we wanted to make sure that every prize we give out was something people would want to win. What did we do? We included a slight “handicap” in the Best General rankings to include Composition scores. This was not a huge effect, but it was a multiplier effect that ensures that someone who goes 5-0 with Massacres and a complete douchebag list will lose to a person who goes 5-0 with Major Victories and an inoffensive list. That’s all we wanted, to give people a reason to find the balance between being competitive and reasonably fun to play against.
Our Composition Score is (or at least was) a hybrid system, where it’s still a checklist but we left room for personal opinion as well. 3/5 points could be guaranteed by following the rules (stuff like taking a healthy amount of Core/Troops and avoiding spammed identical units/characters). The other 2/5 were earned at the pure discretion of your opponent (ie. is the list balanced/fair and is the list reasonably fun to play against). Our Painting score was actually done in a similar way to make it harder to zero-bomb someone.
8th Edition Fantasy definitely makes this more difficult, as there are so goddamn many ways to build a nasty army that making a checklist is 10x harder than before. We’re exploring our options for our event (which takes place at the University of Alberta on the Canada Day long weekend every year for those interested).
Thoughts? Opinions? Jihads to declare? I want to hear them. I might just laugh and ignore the crazy/unfounded comments though, as I have no desire to get into a massive flame war with people who have no intention of changing their mind, even in the slightest way.