Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comp and Swiss

Like many of you I am a big fan of the idea of win/loss tournaments. The premise behind this scoring methodology is that players shouldn't be penalised for winning close games against highly skilled opponents. In a battle points tournament the luck of the draw is vital, as getting assigned a weak opponent allows you to race ahead in points 20 - 0 or similar.

The win/loss system cares only whether you won or lost - but hang on a sec, that's not entirely true is it? Some kind of points measure is still recorded, for the purpose of determining the next round's pairings using the Swiss system.

The NOVA open pairs players up (within their win/loss bracket) so that the highest points scorer plays against the lowest - the idea being that those that just squeezed out a win should have to prove their ability against the supposed 'best' player in the bracket. Also they aim to keep the best two players apart until the final round.

A (more?) common alternative is to pair players up so that they play opponents with as similar a score as possible. The idea here is to make the games as equal as possible - but it unfortunately leads to a lot of good players losing a game early in the tournament. This seems unfair to punish their good fortune, and might lead to players deliberately avoiding a big win in order to dupe the system.

Here is an alternative - pair players off within their bracket with players of similar comp. This means that if you take a soft list with a fun theme, you will play similar lists for most of the tournament. Obviously it requires each list to be comp scored, before the first game (so not peer comp!). I would always suggest panel comp as the fairest method.

I have now seen on blogs a couple of tournaments that have used this method for some of the earlier rounds. I see no reason why it could not continue throughout the tournament. The outcome should be that soft lists on average rank higher than they would under the normal system. Any player that wins all their games will still come first - but those with hard lists may well have harder games than they would otherwise.

Assuming that you don't have anything against comp scoring in principal, what do you think of this? Would you play in such a system, and what power of list would you take? I think it would encourage people to take the list they want, rather than having to optimise at the expense of flavour. Let me know what you think...


  1. People would just find ways to better game the comp score to get the nastiest list at the lowest comp possible. More time wasted on list building less time learning the rules and how to actually play the game.

  2. Hi eriochrome.

    I'm coming from the Australian perspective, where most tournaments have a comp component - and it is usually panel based these days. So this is an idea of how comp could be integrated into a tournament without making it very hard for the lower comped lists to win.

    Your complaints are about comp in general, and really I think that thats a personal opinion/attitude that I'm not going to change here :) Thats why I said "Assuming that you don't have anything against comp scoring in principal"...

  3. Looks like someone was wearing their "Sunday Best" when they wrote this post. I hope you don't mind but I featured your article at my blog in my weekly shout out series. Cheers and thanks for sharing.


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