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  #13  
Old August 10th, 2016, 07:44 AM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

No way to really know what people will bring until it is tried, until then we can only speculate. It sounds worthy of a try. The current format has had a nice run, perhaps it is time for a tweak.

Was there enough judges/volunteers for Learn to Play? That sounds like it would be fun to lend a hand.

Learn to Play AotP sounds brilliant.

Kudos to Fomox and the whole crew.

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  #14  
Old August 10th, 2016, 12:56 PM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

Regarding the alternating Reverse the Whip format:

This proposal was originally championed by @NecroBlade at GenCon 2014. Furthermore, our Louisville group ran this format for our NHSD event that year as well, and we liked it quite a bit.

It was brought up again last year at GenCon as well, and I pitched it to Matthias and fomox directly. They considered it, but weren't exactly moved enough by the proposal to where they were convinced otherwise, but they didn't dismiss it outright either. To Matthias' credit, he said to PM him about it later after GenCon when he could give it proper consideration and reflection. So I did so this past January, but by then I had a little bit of a change in perspective. Here is what I wrote to him:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
At Gen Con this past year, you asked me to send you what I had about my proposal for an alternating Reverse the Whip format.

But, I think I'm going to "reverse" (haha) my position for encouraging a change in the current main event format.

It's not that I've had a change in opinion about the alternating variant, I still believe in its viability. It's mostly due to two reasons I think we should keep things as is:

1) We're starting to see the effects of keeping the format the same these past few years. It seemed to me that more players than ever before attempted to try to sneak by in Day 1 this last GenCon with builds that were anything but A+ caliber, all in the hopes of having a deep run for Day 2. This was lead by a large group of people who I believe to be our strongest players, with many of them going 3-2. So we're already seeing a majority acceptance of the format, and it's achieving what it set out to do: More variety (which is awesome), and less presence of the common/dominant builds. No more "nothing but Q9 and 4th Mass and Stingers" as far as the eye can see. This is the strongest argument for Reverse the Whip.

2) The biggest argument against RtW is that people will still try to make Day 2 as their emphasis, and will hence bring whatever lets them advance past Day 1, taking their chances afterwards. As a result, this really punishes the players who brought an army intended for success on Day 2 should they face such a player on Day 1. I think that argument was applicable two GenCon's ago, but not this past year, and certainly won't be going forward. Here's why -- sad as it may be, our numbers have greatly dwindled. Consequentially, the majority of your remaining Heroscape players will likely be of the hardcore/enthusiastic/dedicated variety. In other words, those who still play at GenCon are far more likely to bring something that plays well on Day 2, not Day 1. Further still, if this is true, then even if you do face such a "Day 1" player, chances are that will be the only one and you can still make it in with a loss. I faced a Stinger/Q9 hoard myself on Day 1 and was still able to pull out the win.

Anyway, my two cents. I say keep things as they are and thanks for all the work.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Those were my thoughts then and I still think them now. Looking over the Top 16 builds that made it to Day 2 proves the argument that RtW is working as intended. But if it's getting stale and people simply want a change, I can say from experience that an alternating RtW would also make for a great format. It's easy enough to test: hold an online tourney and see how it pans out. Make it one of the events at next year's GenCon and see what the organizers and players think. Whatever you end up with, it's win-win.

-Deroche

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  #15  
Old August 10th, 2016, 04:52 PM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

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Originally Posted by Raider30 View Post
@veggie - I'm curious about your thoughts on the main event format. What prevents everyone from 'bringing the cheese'? Then both people are playing decent armies regardless of if the round is rtw or normal, and if more do this than not, do we not end up with a bunch of cheese?

- Raider30
The same thing that prevents them from bringing cheese in standard RtW: desire to win the event. If anything, it requires a larger group of people to bring cheese in this than standard RtW, since in standard only 16 people need to bring cheese to power their way to Day 2, and in alternating you need people with cheese to sacrifice in the RtW rounds.
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  #16  
Old August 10th, 2016, 09:26 PM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deroche View Post
Regarding the alternating Reverse the Whip format:

This proposal was originally championed by @NecroBlade at GenCon 2014. Furthermore, our Louisville group ran this format for our NHSD event that year as well, and we liked it quite a bit.
Yep, and @vegieterian18 has laid out the points even better than I could have.

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  #17  
Old August 10th, 2016, 11:00 PM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

All the event GMs did a great job of running the events; they were fair and kept things running on time. I have nothing but praise for the people that GMed the events.

I enjoyed each event I played very much and all of my opponents were fun and sportsmanlike. It was really great to be there again. I love having the Heroscapers community at GenCon because they provide a kind of "home base" in the convention center. When I'm done doing other stuff I always go back to the Heroscape tables, even if I'm not due there for an event yet.

The flex tourney was an awesome idea, but I think the implementation should be changed a little. It should have taken me more than 1.5 hours to become eligible for dice in that event.

I loved that there were learn-to-play events and seeing so many people learning and trying the game for the first time.

The map pool was not great. There were many fun maps that are nonetheless bad maps for double-blind tournament formats. There were really only one or two that seemed to me like they really belonged in the map pool. To be fair, I don't necessarily pick great maps for my tourneys, but I haven't hosted a really competitive tourney in a few years; GenCon is definitely a competitive tourney so I hold it to a higher standard.

More specifically *in a highly competitive double blind context*:
* Wendigo is awful. It is bad for melee and terrible for double spacers. I think it would be a fun map for my kitchen table.
* Vestige looks really nice but is awful for double spacers and any figures that have less range than their opponent's figures on the other side of the ravine down the middle, which is very difficult to cross. I saw at least one game (day 2; R˙chean vs. Cleon) where one player had no incentive to leave his start zone.
* Burial Marsh is not very good either, for reasons similar to Vestige.
* Flash Fire is not bad (I had this map on my table for months a while back and played a lot of fun games on it) but it suffers the same ravine problem that Vestige does. I would call it the 3rd best map in the pool.
* Quasatch Playground was the best map in the pool, although I felt like it favored ranged armies (I played 3 or 4 of my 5 day 1 games on this map, so I should know)
* Fire Isles. I'm not sure how I feel about this one; in spite of all I'm saying I don't think of myself as a map expert. It was the 2nd best map in the pool.

I enjoyed the Planeswalkers event. Hopefully next year we will see a higher point value for it (600? 650? 700?) although I understand and appreciate why it was only 500 this year.

I would really like to see something other than Reverse the Whip for Main Event. There are so many other formats out there that encourage diverse armies; even a non-draft format like alternating games between your army and your opponent's army. I'm not necessarily suggesting that; there are lots of other formats out there. Just about anything out there would be a nice change from Reverse the Whip.

It would also be cool to see General Wars become a minor event (or go away entirely) and be replaced by some other major event with a more funky format. General Wars is fun because it's (almost?) as big as the main event, but it's lame because it is where people bring the cheese. The kind of armies I like to play stand very little chance in that format.

I would for sure like to see at least one draft format (pooled draft, take 2, reverse draft, pod draft, whatever).

It would also be cool to see a really weird format in the list. @kevindola has tons of ideas for non-draft alternative fornats, e.g. before the game, each player gets to take one of their opponent's army cards and all figures that go with it.

In general I would prefer to see a bunch of radically different formats rather than 5 different kinds of 4×X. Not to say that 4× is a bad format, but the events this year had far less variety than they could have so that they could accommodate all those 4× events. It might be neat to see a "mixed format" event that takes the idea of 4× and instead of building 4 armies with the same rules, each army is built with different rules (650 points, unlimited figures for one army, 550 points; 9 figures for another army; all the same general for another army, etc.).

I really didn't like Point Differential, especially without knowing about it beforehand.

I also didn't like full card scoring.

Those two things combined to subtly (and sometimes not-subtly) change the way people played the game, and also encouraged players to keep battering away at an opponent and refuse to accept a concession. Although I never personally saw a refusal to accept a concession, there was one concession that I only accepted because my opponent said we would not count his last figure as still being on the board. I don't like that dynamic.

One of the questions on @dok 's survey was something like "I don't care about event formats, I'll play any sort of Heroscape." While I do care about event formats, I will play any sort of Heroscape. Next year could be all 4× or all scenarios or Reverse the Whip for every event and I would *still* want to come and play Heroscape with the Heroscapers community. You guys are awesome to hang around with and I love playing Heroscape with each of you. I couldn't ask for a better community.

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  #18  
Old August 10th, 2016, 11:37 PM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

Really missed you this weekend, Gordon. In the future, please let your friends and family know that Gencon weekend is off-limits for weddings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deroche View Post
It's easy enough to test: hold an online tourney and see how it pans out. Make it one of the events at next year's GenCon and see what the organizers and players think. Whatever you end up with, it's win-win.
I'm happy to see someone try the format online if they like, but we only run RtW when it's our Gencon prep event. But if the organizers take successful online events as a sign of whether a format can deliver variety, then there's a large range of formats we've run that clearly show that. I've argued for take 2 more than enough - I'd be happy with it just as a side event.

For a main event format, I actually now prefer reverse draft over take 2, anyway, and I think it better addresses some of the concerns of the organizers. Going through vegie's arguments:
  1. No incentive to bring the cheese. One person did bring cheese in Thursday Night and they got shellacked in both their games. The overall spread of the 11 armies in that event was just as wide as the spread in the main event - maybe wider.
  2. Chances to play your army or your opponent's army in every round.
  3. Everyone has to be comfortable playing with or against their own army (unless they just resolve to bid it into oblivion to get it every time).
  4. No advantage to bringing stuff like Mezzos or rats or unique squads that tend to help you win on points on day 1.
I'm less upset with RtW than I've been in previous years because the metagame has mostly settled down and there are fewer total cheese builds you need to dodge on day 1. But still, they're out there, and I think reverse draft handles this much more elegantly. It's also a lot faster than regular draft.
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  #19  
Old August 10th, 2016, 11:50 PM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
More specifically *in a highly competitive double blind context*:
* Wendigo is awful. It is bad for melee and terrible for double spacers. I think it would be a fun map for my kitchen table.
* Vestige looks really nice but is awful for double spacers and any figures that have less range than their opponent's figures on the other side of the ravine down the middle, which is very difficult to cross. I saw at least one game (day 2; R˙chean vs. Cleon) where one player had no incentive to leave his start zone.
* Burial Marsh is not very good either, for reasons similar to Vestige.
* Flash Fire is not bad (I had this map on my table for months a while back and played a lot of fun games on it) but it suffers the same ravine problem that Vestige does. I would call it the 3rd best map in the pool.
* Quasatch Playground was the best map in the pool, although I felt like it favored ranged armies (I played 3 or 4 of my 5 day 1 games on this map, so I should know)
* Fire Isles. I'm not sure how I feel about this one; in spite of all I'm saying I don't think of myself as a map expert. It was the 2nd best map in the pool.
I pretty much co-sign this. I'd be happy if those first three maps weren't used again, while the latter three maps are all worthy Gencon maps, even if I don't necessarily love everything about them.

I actually like Fire Isles a lot and think it's a good map that drives the action well. My only complaint is that it's so tight that matches can be heavily influenced by who can get early attacks into the startzone. But maybe that's not a bad thing to have in a map pool.
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  #20  
Old August 11th, 2016, 01:08 AM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

I rethought the RTW propositions, and I thought of a compromise: The first 4 rounds on day one are normal and the last is RTW, and on day two the opposite where all but the last round are RTW. This has the following advantages:
  • It stops people from bringing armies good enough to be sure to make day two, as you have to beat it at least once, but also makes sure people will want to bring an army they can win with at least 3 times. Although I think, like @dok said, the metagame evened out so this wasn't much of an issue this year.
  • It encourages losers (like myself) to stick it out for all of Day 1, so everyone can do RTW at least one game and have an easier win.
  • A newbie like we had who brings Deathwalkers or other low tier armies and is not that experienced (Or someone like Matthias who likes going 200 points short or bringing an entire army of Chainfighers) will have a chance to at least have one easier win, but not wreck the rankings as much as if we had 3 games with your own army and 2 RTW, as was proposed before.
  • It makes the last game of the tournament be with the armies the person brought - which I just think is a more classy way to do it.
  • It can be adjusted more easily if we wanted to drop a round out of either day.
Thoughts?

I also would like to see a return of some kind of draft format, whether something like bring 1000, daft 500, or a take-2 cut the cake, or pod (1/2 army) draft.
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  #21  
Old August 11th, 2016, 02:06 AM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

I'd like to see Valkrill split from Utgar in General Wars. Maybe have Valkrill as a wild card that can be used with any other general, or have them rotate factions (Utgar in '16, Ullar in '17, Aquilla in '18, etc.)

I much prefered point differential to SOS for tiebreakers, it would improve with partial card scoring.
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  #22  
Old August 11th, 2016, 05:54 AM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

It was a fun event as always. To keep things short(er), I'm going to throw out a generic, "Thank you" to both all the organizers and also all of the players. Despite my thanks being generic the event was anything but. It was a terrific!

I GMed the Main Event this year along with the always-happy-to-see-him @Retlaw . For this post, I'm going to concentrate mostly on that event.

Computer or no computer. Veggie asked about if it was easier without a computer. I think it probably was (with exceptions noted in next section about point differentials), but only because of software issues we've had. The computer does bring advantages where long-term I think it is the place where we want to be once we've got software nailed down. Computers can handle pairing with reduced chance of errors, and perhaps more importantly can ensure each player sees a variety of maps. (I'm going to dust off my previous attempt at addressing the problem, but make no promises...) Also, once you've got things entered into the computer, you can more easily report back results to the forum, which was a great value-add for the community from prior years.

All that said, if we end up no-computer next year, I think that's OK.

Point differential. Pairing according to PD was a bit of a pain during the main event mostly because it did delay turnover times between rounds. Doing the extra calculation is easy, but it does make pairing correctly more complicated and when you have games going to time the complication/delay comes exactly at the point where everyone is waiting for you to get the next round launched. I'd vote to drop PD from pairing consideration and just use the player's record (with otherwise random pairing). It's good 'nuf. PD is OK as a 3-2 tiebreaker, but there are ways we could streamline calculating SoS even in a paper system. If we did it only for the 3-2 players, we could still determine the top 16 in a quick fashion, and I think SoS is the preferable tiebreaker for getting to Day 2.

I'm a bit surprised there isn't more discussion in this thread of pro/cons of PD given how much I heard about it at the event. For a lot of discussion on PD, see this 2007 Gencon wrap up thread (disguised as the SSS thread). (Side note--I was also surprised at the amount of discussion of players being unsportsmanlike in that old thread. That just doesn't seem to be a big issue in 'scape these days...or even in the whole time period since I joined the community. Yay for us!)

Going to time. Above I mentioned games going to time. Players had 600 points/18 figures and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of games that went to time, expecting more. There were some every round, but it was manageable. We didn't start any of rounds 2 - 5 right at the top of the hour, but the planned schedule was kept to reasonably well. Retlaw did a great job continuing to process sheets coming back solo when I was making the rounds near the end of each round.

Number of players. I haven't done the math, but ticket sales felt strong. We might want to consider bumping back up to 28 maps. GBob had an idea in the 2007 wrap up thread that I wonder if it could be resurrected in some fashion should we end up with unused maps due to events not selling out--8 player mini-tournaments that launch whenever they fill. Keep in mind, the number of scape players that attend gencon does place a limit on whatever we do (you can't magically fill seats if the players just aren't there), so these are only useful if we've got players who want either 1) a very short event, 2) more flexibility in start time for an event, or 3) another alternative to the other formats currently happening. Below is how it ended up being structured in 2008. I suspect we'd have to do it differently these days.

Quote:
Event Description: Damnation Alley. This event is open to all players. 8 man heats. This is a single elimination event. Players bring their own 450-point pre-made army, Army Cards, dice, Order Markers, Wound Markers, and any special tokens required. 24 hex start zones. Glyphs will be announced prior to the event. No Marvel units allowed. New Alleys beginning approximately every 60 minutes during scheduled event time. Last heat starts at 5pm each day. Top player in each heat receives a prize.

GBob's description of how it works. You buy a ticket to Damnation alley. We will start a new 8 man mini tourney every hour that day starting with the 11 am one. Every hour after the first, we will gather eight more ticketed players and send them through the alley. The eight players will be seated at the first 4 maps and imediately start playing. The 4 winners from that round will move down to the next set of maps (there will be 7 total), while we seat an additional group of 8 players. The day will proceed like this with each group of winners advancing down the table to the next set of maps.... That is the Damnation Alley. So feel free to buy a ticket and show up whenever, but remember that it is first come first serve, and that we take named tickets in priority over generics. We will likely have a sign up sheet going each day so you can reserve a spot.
I found no 2008 wrap-up thread and thus have no idea if these were successful or not. Anybody remember? They were not repeated in 2009, but found at least a couple of people mention that they wished they were. If we didn't have these listed as official events, we could apply generic collected for them towards unsold seats of the events that were running whenever we were able to launch one of these mini-tournaments.

Alternating RTW? I like the alternating RTW in theory, but don't think I do in practice, at least for a main event that is both timed and we want accessible to casual players. I watched every day-2 RTW round and at all levels (16, 8, 4, and even a bit at 2 players), there was a decent length pause before some games would start as players pondered how to play what was before them. All of these 16 players were experienced players. With less experienced players in the mix it will be an even bigger issue.

In the past I believed the Main Event format should be changed. However, I think Deroche made a very astute observation that some of the downsides of RTW are attenuating year-by-year as the meta for event has become better defined. Simply sticking to it as a format has solved some of its problems which kicks the format up a notch in quality from where it was previously.

At a different event, different player pool, I'd go a different direction, but I'm digging it as the Main Event format at Gencon more than in previous years. Not saying I couldn't be persuaded that others are better (or that we shouldn't consider changing some Main Event constraints that keep providing some of the push for keeping RtW as the format), but let's face it--9 hours playing on a few maps is not enough to determine who really is playing best on a given weekend, at least among the number of players the event draws. That would take a lot more. However, it is usually enough identify quality play, and that's perhaps the best we can hope for.

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Last edited by Xorlof; August 11th, 2016 at 10:26 AM. Reason: clarity
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  #23  
Old August 11th, 2016, 08:18 AM
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

I was very sad to be unable to make it this year, but I hope you all had fun! I guess the Orc's Heavies vs. Matthias' Knights match will have to wait till next year .

Also, @infectedsloth , I heard you will be hosting tourneys about 40 minutes away from me? Please let me know when they are.

Very sad to not be able to hang with the great HS crew this year, can't wait till next year!
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  #24  
Old August 11th, 2016, 01:17 PM
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Location: PA - Pittsburgh
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Re: FeedBack and thank you's for 2016

Thanks to everyone who helped out again this year, I love seeing Heroscape continue and I love to see familiar faces every time I come. The special dice were amazing as usual and the tournaments were run very well.

I have a request to whomever has the info, can we see the results and armies of the various tournament winners? I always love seeing that information. I understand that it is still early so no pressure.
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