Monday, 19 May 2014

Fun but Unfulfilling?


I had planned this for my ramble this week, but I wanted to get these thoughts down on paper (monitor?) while it was fresh in my mind. I understand the subject wont be of too much interest to the gang, but as fans of games and game systems, the underlying topic might.

Myself and Anthony toddled along to the Netrunner store champs 2014 at tabletop yesterday. I felt it was a good excuse to get some games in as i don't get to play it much otherwise.

The experience was largely positive, the players were all friendly, the decks were varied, the games were all fun. But something about the competitive format just didn't sit right with me.

For those that aren't aware, the original competitive play model for the game was thus:
Each round, both players get 1 game of each role, if 1 player wins both games, they won the round with max points. If both players win 1 game, the winner of the round was determined by who scored the most points in the game they lost. So for example, if i played in round 1, i lost my game as the corp 7 points to 3, but won my games as the runner 7 points to 2, i won the round but not with as many points as someone who won 2-0.
There is an obvious problem there, what happens if my deck isn't built to win by scoring agendas? well, tough?
Therefore the tournament format was pre-determining what sort of decks were going to be successful and influencing player decisions on what decks to build and run.

So they decided to change the format. Now its still paired via swiss, but the standings are determined by games won, not rounds won.

That seems like a perfectly logical change, however, what basically appears to end up happening is most of the field end up on the same points totals having gone 1-1 in most of their rounds, and one or two players are the cream at the top having managed to score one or two 2-0 wins.
In yesterdays final standings, if i recall correctly, it was something like 6 players out of 11 on exactly the same amount of points.

Again, that sounds fair enough, the guys that can actually get a 2-0 win or two are probably the best players. But i feel that sense of victory and accomplishment is missing for everyone else. Back in my days at competitive magic, winning a round or two gave you a buzz even if you just finished in the middle at 2 and 2. Battling to multiple 1-1 draws, despite that being the norm, just doesn't give the same buzz.

I am glad we attended, i did enjoy the process of playing the games, and that should ultimately be why you play, But the difference in the feel of the whole experience compared to other game tournaments did get me thinking. I honestly cant think of a better system without extending the length of the rounds significantly to force the players to play more matches per round.

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