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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

Note: the structure and content of this post has changd significantly since its first incarnation; if the earlier comments don't make sense this is probably the reason.

A conversation in the post-tournament thread of Beantown Beatdown V led to the suggestion that a post that compiled a list of the different tournament scoring methods out there would be useful. This is that post. I've started with methods---proposed and used---that I know of; put more in the thread and I'll add them. I'll try and keep the value judgements out of this post, but I hope there'll be some spirited discussion in the thread. I should also note that this is going to be mainly a matter of personal preference; there are no right or wrong answers here.

Rather than list each method in its entirety I've broken things down into three submethods: Overall structure, breaking ties within a structure, and deciding who wins an unfinished game. You can, for the most part, pick and choose the bits of each section and join them together into a coherent tournament structure. I'm only considering two player head-to-head Heroscape though many of the ideas naturally extend to other variants.

From the bottom up, let's start with deciding unfinished games:

Unfinished Games

Usually when a game is unfinished each player counts their points and the player with the highest score is the winner (and the game is tied if the points are the same for each player). Alternatively, unfinished games may be declared drawn without counting points. Each of the following questions has multiple answers---different TDs use different answers for each question. At the end of the next section I classify some recent events according to their answers to these questions.

1. If I have a partial squad or wounded hero do I count the full card's worth of points or calculate some fraction?

A. Use the whole card value. A single Nakita nets you 120pts and a wounded Carr is worth 100pts.
B. Use fractional scoring. If you have one squad member of three remaining you score a third of the cost of that squad (so a single Nakita earns 40pts), if you have a half-wounded hero you score half the points (so, 50pts for an Agent Carr with two wounds).

2. I didn't bring the full point allowance. Do I count the shortfall towards my points?

A. No, you're not controlling those points so you can't count them.
B. Yes, your opponent didn't kill them so they're yours.

3. I brought more than the starting zone limit of figures. Are the units I left off counted towards my total?

A. No, they are considered killed at the outset of the game.
B. Yes, your opponent didn't kill them so they're yours.

4. I mindshackled (or soul devoured) an opponent's unit. Do I count it?

A. Yes, you control it so it's yours.
B. No, you didn't bring it so you can't count it. It does not count for your opponent either as your opponent does not control it.

5. I had the Airborne Elite but they didn't drop (or unsummoned Rechets with Iskra still alive), do I count them?

A. No, they're not on the board so they don't count.
B. Yes, they are still potentially active so count the points. (If Iskra is dead then the Rechets are considered dead too; if all your units are dead then the game is complete and you don't need to be reading this section.)

6. I had a zombie (or similar unit) killed but it came back to life. Do I count it in my points?

A. Yes, to do otherwise would be dumb.
B. No, not only should you not count it, you need to deduct the value of that unit for every additional time that it was killed.

Tournament Points

Beyond using the points for deciding games most tournaments carry these points cumulatively into the tournament in some way. While there is a case for using one method for deciding unfinished games and another for carrying points forward, in practice the above issues are normally resolved in the same way in each case. There are four common choices for taking these points forward (or not):
  • Survival Points: exactly what you calculated above.
  • Kill Points: allowable army size minus your opponent's survival points (intuitively, how much you killed).
  • Point Differential: your survival points minus your opponent's survival points.
  • None: points are used only to determine the winners of individual games.
Sometimes the first three methods are constrained so that your score for each game must lie between 0 and the maximum allowable army size. Sometimes they are not.

Specific Events

Here is how some events have answered the questions above (please chime in with more):
  • AAAAAA, none: GenCon events, most Dallas events.
  • AAAABA, kill points, Madtown Throwdown (NHSD 2008 ).
  • AAAABA, point differential: 3T 2009.
  • BAAAAA, kill points: NE Ohio NHSD 2009
  • BAAABA, kill points: Marlboro vs. The World (Feb 2008, VT).
  • BAAABA, none: Indianapolis Event (Apr 2009).
  • BBAAAA, kill points: Beantown Beatdown V (May 2009, MA).
I'm also interested in how many of the 256 (=4*2^6) possibilities for counting points have actually been used. I suspect that it will quite a few.

Tournament Structures

We now need to fit these games (both finished and unfinished) into some tournament structure. Here are some examples:

Swiss. Swiss is the dominant structure in Heroscape tournaments. At the start of each round the players are sorted into rank order and paired off one with two, three with four, and so on. Some variations allow repeat match-ups, some do not.

Knock-out. Single elimination---lose a game and you're out. A losers' bracket can be added and rejoined into the structure to make it double elimination.

King of the Hill. Just one board in action. Play order decided randomly and winner stays on. You play until you lose.

Rolling Rumble. Each game is played to completion. When a game finishes the two players pair-up with any waiting players; the winner with the highest ranked waiter and the loser with the longest waiter. No repeat opponents allowed.

Ranking

Once an event is finished, and between rounds for a Swiss event, we need to rank the players. This typically happens according to set of criteria applied in a specific order. One such criterion is the points method described above. Here are some other potential criteria.

Number of Wins. This is the most common primary decision criterion.

Strength of Schedule. Usually taken to be the sum of the number of wins of your opponents. Other variations are possible that put a floor on contribution from each opponent or take into account your opponents' opponents.

Win rate. Number of wins divided by number of games played. This one is only relevant when the players have played distinct numbers of games.

D20 roll.

These elements can now be joined together into a tournament. For example, the first event I ran was a Swiss system with number of wins as the first criterion, points as the second criterion (using answers BAAABA) and a D20 roll as the third. GenCon Championship Day 1 uses number of wins as the first criterion, strength of schedule as the second and D20 roll (actually computer randomisation, I think) as the third.

I think that most of the events can now be described using the language here---TDs are welcome (and encouraged) to use any parts of this post when describing their events.

Final Remarks

That's what I have so far. I'm sure there is much that I've missed. Let me know and I'll update this post.

Is there sufficient flesh on the descriptions to allow them to be cut-and-pasted as tournament guidelines? One of the aims of this post is to help tournament directors set up and run their events smoothly.

What methods are used in your area? I'd like to list a few examples, with links, for each of the systems.

Finally which is your preferred method? Why?

Last edited by ollie; October 15th, 2009 at 08:49 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:16 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

I got confused by the flowers.

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Originally Posted by fomox View Post
(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

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Originally Posted by Jexik View Post
I got confused by the flowers.
Sorry---a mathematician's habit. It's much easier to talk about stuff once you've given it a name, but during development you need to name a lot more stuff than actually needs its own name so assigning arbitrary names along some theme is common.

If it helps, I've heard daffodil points described as "survival points", both tulip and rose points as "kill points", both marigold and pansy points as "point differential" and any and all of them as "victory points".
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:25 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

How about this method: I show up, I win!

"Well, either it allows a magic-user to cast the various Bigby's Hand spells, or it's a +2 backscratcher. So far we're not sure which."
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

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How about this method: I show up, I win!
We can call it Taeblewalker's Method For Tournaments That Only Taeblewalker Attends.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

It seems to me that in practice, Rose points and Tulip points are the same. If there's any difference, it would help to explain that. Also, Marigold and Pansy would come out to the same number.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

I thought undropped daffodils normally count toward your opponents roses?

(there has got to be a hybridization joke in here somewhwere)

Also I'm a little hazy on your description of king of the hill. Is that like 20+ people playing on one map?
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arp12 View Post
It seems to me that in practice, Rose points and Tulip points are the same. If there's any difference, it would help to explain that. Also, Marigold and Pansy would come out to the same number.
The crucial difference between rose points and tulip points is what happens when someone brings less than the total allowable points. With tulip points you get that shortfall added to your total but with rose point you do not.

When used to decide an unfinished game, I strongly believe that tulip points (equivalently daffodil points) are superior: whoever has the most points on the board should be delcared the winner. Those that advocate for rose points say that you need to actually kill units to earn the points. I can see this as an argument when carrying the points into the tournament structure, but think it gives the wrong answer when deciding individual games. This distinction was one of the primary points of contention that led to this thread's creation.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:46 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkmage7a View Post
I thought undropped daffodils AE normally count toward your opponents roses?

<edited to answer what I think you're asking>
I've always played that if you have units surviving and an undropped Airborne Elite then your AE are, for all scoring purposes, alive. I agree that if the rest of your army is wiped out before the drop then the AE should be counted as killed. Is this not universally the case?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkmage7a
Also I'm a little hazy on your description of king of the hill. Is that like 20+ people playing on one map?
There was one small map on which two players could play. Everyone else played fun games until their turn to play the current "king" came up. (I think, I wasn't there.)
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by arp12 View Post
It seems to me that in practice, Rose points and Tulip points are the same. If there's any difference, it would help to explain that. Also, Marigold and Pansy would come out to the same number.
The crucial difference between rose points and tulip points is what happens when someone brings less than the total allowable points. With tulip points you get that shortfall added to your total but with rose point you do not.

When used to decide an unfinished game, I strongly believe that tulip points (equivalently daffodil points) are superior: whoever has the most points on the board should be delcared the winner. Those that advocate for rose points say that you need to actually kill units to earn the points. I can see this as an argument when carrying the points into the tournament structure, but think it gives the wrong answer when deciding individual games. This distinction was one of the primary points of contention that led to this thread's creation.
I would find it simpler to be presented this way:

Tulip and rose points are lumped into "kill points". Note that within this system, there are 2 sub-systems, which either do or do not count points in the army that figures aren't filling.

Daffodil points are renamed "remaining points" or "survival points".

Marigold and pansy points are lumped into "point differential".
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arp12 View Post
I would find it simpler to be presented this way:

Tulip and rose points are lumped into "kill points". Note that within this system, there are 2 sub-systems, which either do or do not count points in the army that figures aren't filling.

Daffodil points are renamed "remaining points" or "survival points".

Marigold and pansy points are lumped into "point differential".
I agree with that, with the exception that if possible I'd rather come up with a different name for tulip points. "Kill points" referring to both tulip and rose points has led to confusion in the past. I haven't managed anything satisfactory yet though. Suggestions welcome!
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Old July 17th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Re: Tournament Scoring Methods: A Census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkmage7a View Post
I thought undropped daffodils AE normally count toward your opponents roses?

<edited to answer what I think you're asking>
I've always played that if you have units surviving and an undropped Airborne Elite then your AE are, for all scoring purposes, alive. I agree that if the rest of your army is wiped out before the drop then the AE should be counted as killed. Is this not universally the case?
That is a fair interpretation for determining a tie breaker. I've never heard of it that way though. I always played it the game ends (for whatever the reason) units not on the board count as killed. There is merit to either way. Although is would be interesting if there where 490 points worth of units to play that didn't start on the board? and the game went to time? I guess my point is that either rule changes the playability of those units and should be made clear before the game.
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