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The Tiger Roars
Guest Commentary

Running a Tournament by Paul Hill
Paul Hill, aka GNOMEIn organizing and running a tournament such as "For the Sword!", I try to adhere to two base concepts and a goal that was always in my mind. The first concept is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). The second concept is the Six Ps (Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance). The goal, of course, is for everyone to have fun!

Getting started
It is best to keep the elaborate plans for less formal settings. Donít worry about a campaign feel for a tournament. Donít worry about "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys." In fact, the only separation you may want to look for is if you have particularly inexperienced players, it may be a good idea to have them play against each other in the first round. It helps keep them interested because the more experienced players donít trounce them, and it keeps the more experienced players from being bored and frustrated playing against the newbies. 

The first round of the tournament should be random draw. You can assign everybody a number, or have all the players roll dice. It doesnít matter. The key is to have everybody playing. After the first round, players advance by what is commonly known as Swiss Pairing. Winners play other winners and so on. This will allow your better players to move towards each other for the last round "Playoffs." Three rounds of play are enough to decide a winner in a small 8-person event. Four rounds works for 10-16 players. You can fit more players in but you will definitely need a more detailed scoring system to account for more winners than 8 or 16 player events would yield. 

Scoring
It is best to simply use a Win/Loss/Draw system. I use a Win, Partial Win, Partial Loss, and Loss system. This helps to give some separation between players. 

Score each player 0 points for a loss, 1 point for a partial loss, 2 points for a partial victory and 3 points for a victory. As an additional separator you could use the current round as a multiplier to the score. This will allow a player to take an early round loss and still compete for higher placement in the later rounds! So, a Round One victory is worth 3 points but a Round Three victory is worth 9! As long as all the players understand the scoring system and it is applied consistently, just about any will work. 

Writing down the scoring system and having it published is a good idea. Of course, all of these systems require one thing: no player can be forced to take a "bye" round! Have a store army or a ringer army ready to play in case somebody has to go home early. Donít make it a killer army, just one for the opponent-less player to play against. If a player does not have another tournament player as an opponent, score him a win for the round, or a partial victory. Remember your goal! You do not want any player to feel like he lost the tourney because he had to take a "bye."

Prizes
Figure out what you want to award prizes for and what the prizes will be. Typical prizes would be First Place, Best Army and Best Sportsmanship. In all cases, a player should win only one prize! Donít let one person go home with everything! Cash or credit prizes are nice but sometimes it is just nicer to have a trophy. 

Best Sportsmanship is easy: ask all the players to rate their opponents on a scale of 1 to 10, and highest overall score wins Best Sport. For a Best Army prize, you have to decide how you want to judge the competition. It may be best to have a non-participant judge for appearance (of course, this would-be expert has to know how to paint/convert himself!). For a composition score, I use a strict chart designed to reward a well-balanced force and preclude any argument by having it decided in advance, before any armies are turned in, what would do well for composition. Each army starts with a score of 10. There were bonuses and gigs based on composition as described below.
 

Adjustments
Description
+1
Army has more Troops than any other single type (Heavy Support, Elite, Fast Attack)
+1
Army is 50% or more Troops
+2
Army has at least one of each unit type (Heavy Support, Elite, Fast Attack)
+1 
Army has a Name. Example: ďBlack Templarís Second CrusadeĒ is fine; ďBlack Templars 1500 Point Tournament ArmyĒ is not.
+2 
Army has a Theme. A great example of this is the Fighting Tigers. Pre-produced armies canít get this award: GW has already done all the creating for you!
-1
Army has more Elites choices than Troops
-1
Army has more Fast Attack choices than Troops
-1
Army has more Heavy Support choices than Troops
-1
Army is Ulthwe, Blood Angels, Black Templars or Space Wolves
-2
Army is Biel Tan or Iyanden

The gigs for specific armies may seem arbitrary, but think about the advantages Ulthwe, Blood Angels, Black Templars and Space Wolves get. The composition gig is small and the armies are easier to use than others similar to them. The Iyanden and Biel Tan gig is almost mandatory because they are allowed to take Elites and Heavy Support as Troops, allowing them to circumvent the Composition Chart. 

Judging and Refereeing games
It would be great to have a non-participant judge for rules questions and clarifications. But this is not always possible. If you donít have a Judge you need two referees. A referee cannot call rules for his own game! The refereeís opponent may call the other referee at anytime to resolve a rules question; the second refereeís call stands. 

Also it is probably best to avoid "house rules." During the "For the Sword!" tourney, we had a minor problem with this. Normally at our store we allow Voluntary Fall Back, but an experienced player that was new to our store got caught out when he shot a unit and it voluntarily fell back out of assault range. Neither player was really happy with the resolution there, so I recommend staying away from "house rules" or other optional rules. Also make a list of all rules clarifications/conventions available to all players. Remember that different groups deal with situations differently. 

Related Pages
"For the Sword! Tournament

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© Copyright Paul Hill, November 2000. Used with permission.
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle