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Subject: Novice GM Questions rss

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David E
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Spleen wrote:
Small sample size or not, that's what the WBC is. If you want to know who performed better, the average of all results is more accurate, even though such a small sample size is problematic.


What do you mean "That's what the WBC is"?

An average of results over 1 game compared to an average of results over 2 games is not meaningful.

Quote:
The player with one win in one game did better overall than someone with a win and a last place. That's objective fact.


No, it is not. It's an objective fact that 1/1 is a higher average than 1+(any number < 1)/2, but that doesn't say anything about who is the better player. Especially in games, which have an intrinsically high variance. So you aren't really comparing skill.

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if you want to make people who don't play more than one game ineligible to advance, then you are achieving your goal by using the methods that you are putting in place.


As I understand it, they wouldn't be ineligible to advance. But if they were contenders to advance but there were ties, they would lose out to the people who played more games. That seems fair.

Turning it around, why should someone who gets lucky in one game automatically get to advance versus someone who wins one game and plays several others against tough competition? It seems to me that your method would motivate anyone who wins their first game not to play any more, since they are now guaranteed to advance with their perfect 1.0 record.

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That's not fair by any means. Just because someone wants to play 4 games of something doesn't mean that they are better or perform better than someone who played only 1 or 2.


Indeed not. They would still have to score well enough in those games to advance.

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If you are manipulating the advancement procedures to favor the biggest fans of the game, that's not fair. It might keep your regulars coming back, but that doesn't make it fair.


I don't think it's manipulating the advancement procedures to favor the biggest fans. It's weighting the advancement procedures to favor people who play through the entire competition.

I really don't know of any other competitive venue where "Win one game and skip all the others" is favored over "Play multiple games, win one or more, but not all."
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Kevin C.
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How is it fair that someone who finishes last gets to advance over someone who won in the 1 game they played? If you are looking for who performed the best, it's by far the player who played once.


But you aren't just advancing a player that finished last over a player that finished first. That player has a first place finish also, they are equal there.

You seem to be rewarding potential over results somehow. How do you know the player that only won one game is actually better than the other player? They both have a win, after all.

I just don't see how the player that only played once performed "better" than they player that played twice if they both have a win. Where are you getting the judgement of "better" from?


Kevin
 
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Max Jamelli
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Spleen wrote:

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using sports is somewhat misleading though, since each team will eventually play the same number. There is never a tie breaker used for teams who have unequal games played. (at least not that I'm aware of)


College football. Some teams play a conference championship game others don't

College Basketball as well. Some teams play in extra tournaments, some play in weird conference brackets where it's possible that one team could play 2-3 games just to get to the point that they play a team that was seeded higher in their first game.


college football is a terrible example since more people fight about that than those who fight about WBC. Plus it's voted on - that's the tiebreaker. It's also not fair, but it is what it is.

College basketball seeding is also subjective. There isn't a set tiebreaker that anyone knows about. It's based on a couple dudes sitting in a conference room.
 
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Max Jamelli
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Spleen wrote:
sigtaulefty wrote:

using sports is somewhat misleading though, since each team will eventually play the same number. There is never a tie breaker used for teams who have unequal games played. (at least not that I'm aware of)


Almost forgot:

In the middle of a season, hockey does have tiebreakers specifically for this. If two teams are tied in points, the team with fewer games played is considered to be ahead. if still tied, the team with the most regulation and overtime wins is considered ahead. by end of season this doesn't matter, but I thought it relevant anyway.


I mean at the end of the year. No one (should) care about standings midway through a season. For all intents and purposes, semifinals in WBC mark the end of the heat phase (regular season phase). Not the midway point.
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Glen Pearce
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Spleen wrote:
AmadanNaBriona wrote:
Spleen wrote:
Can HMW (endorsed by the board) be improved? Sure. But as long as a 1st, and a last place together is ranked above just a first, there's no way that the ranking you are using is fair.


I don't understand. You're saying that if two people both have a 1st place win, but one of them played two games and one played only one, that it's unfair for the person who played more games to get the spot?


Most certainly. Especially if one of them was a last place result. How is it fair that someone who finishes last gets to advance over someone who won in the 1 game they played? If you are looking for who performed the best, it's by far the player who played once.

Here's a sports example. If you are comparing two teams records, one team has played 2 games, and is 1-1, and the other team has played one game and is 1-0, which team is ahead in the rankings? The 1-0 team. Every time.


Richard's argument (which I tend to agree with) is that the person who played the extra round of the game has done more to help that game's place in the century, and thus should be recognized for it. Those butt-hours are counted, and in turn can make that tourney award more plaques and laurels.
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Christopher Yaure
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Hey, folks, this thread is titled "Novice GM Questions". Do you want to consider a new thread for the advanced topic of best tiebreak format? As already described above, the novice GM point is to have clear tiebreaks and make sure you have announce them in advance.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
That's not fair by any means.


Also, what do you consider "fair"?

Is it "fair" to try and find the "best" player that played through several rounds of competition or "fair" to give people a shot at the most wood in a week by making advancing in several different games easy for people with such a goal?

If you are looking at the tournament as a legitimate competition rather than as a means to wood, then you would want the person that played through the most opponents to be champion in the end.

There are other legitimate concerns at the WBC, such as allowing people to play the most games possible given the schedule, but I don't think "fair" is a germane concept here.

Kevin



 
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Curt Collins
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natsean wrote:
Quote:
That's not fair by any means.


Also, what do you consider "fair"?

Is it "fair" to try and find the "best" player that played through several rounds of competition or "fair" to give people a shot at the most wood in a week by making advancing in several different games easy for people with such a goal?

If you are looking at the tournament as a legitimate competition rather than as a means to wood, then you would want the person that played through the most opponents to be champion in the end.

There are other legitimate concerns at the WBC, such as allowing people to play the most games possible given the schedule, but I don't think "fair" is a germane concept here.

Kevin





What do you define 'best player' as? Someone who tries more often?

I am looking at a tournament as a legitimate competition, and am not trying to better my own chances through my arguments. I have a strong sense of playing fair, and when I see people advocating for something that screams 'not fair at all' to me, I feel the need to speak up.

What are heats? Heats are not a regular season where players all play a set number of games. Heats are repeated chances to advance to an advanced round. if you went to watch the olympics and one runner ran in 3 different heats and only won 1, would they then be considered better than usain Bolt who won his one and only heat? Of course not. I know that sport doesn't directly translate, but maybe short track speed skating does.

Way too much emphasis is put into manipulating numbers to make your game stay in the century. That's what I seem to be fighting against here. Fairness takes a back seat to getting your game in the century, so you make requirements that encourage or require people to play multiple heats.

You know what would make a great WBC? Lots of SE tournaments where if you lose, you're done. none of this qualifying stuff. You want to keep playing, then just win your games.
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Curt Collins
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sigtaulefty wrote:

college football is a terrible example since more people fight about that than those who fight about WBC. Plus it's voted on - that's the tiebreaker. It's also not fair, but it is what it is.


I seem to see more arguments per person for WBC than college football. Most people jsut flat out hate the system in football.

Quote:

College basketball seeding is also subjective. There isn't a set tiebreaker that anyone knows about. It's based on a couple dudes sitting in a conference room.


WBC ranking is just a couple dudes sitting on a hotel bed. There's no standard. it makes it very difficult for people to know where they stand. BPA made standard ranking systems, and some people decided they knew better and now we have 30 different systems at least.
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Kaarin Engelmann
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And all of the arguing over tie-breakers between players who have won the same number of games is irrelevant except for very large events. For most WBC events, not enough of the top qualifiers show up to fill out the semi-final, so you are more worried about how to rank alternates.

The argument of whether to reward people for playing the same game many times or for winning once and then moving on to other games is essentially up to the GM. There are good arguments for either way. It is not something to become hot about. :-)
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Glen Pearce
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True Kaarin, COB last year wound up being one win & you're in due to 3 upper qualifiers, including a double-winner not showing up for the semis. This year, with 3 heats instead of 2, I predict the semis will need at least a win and a good second, if not 2 wins. Last year's winner of the event was one of the 3 people that got bumped up when they showed up despite being on the alternates list.

And Curt, with everyone involved being gamers, do you truly expect these GMs and their die-hard players to *NOT* attempt to game the system? Besides, some people (like me) would rather have a guaranteed multiple round experience where I can play some of my favourite games extra times over the pressure of SE, win-or-you're-out where a bit of bad luck can eliminate some of the better players...

But, as has been said before, there is no chance that everyone will get what they want, therefore the GMs of these games must implement the system that they think best for the game, and then let the foot-traffic decide if their decisions were right.
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David E
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Spleen wrote:
I am looking at a tournament as a legitimate competition, and am not trying to better my own chances through my arguments. I have a strong sense of playing fair, and when I see people advocating for something that screams 'not fair at all' to me, I feel the need to speak up.


It appears there are two types of "competitive" WBC players - those who want to play lots of games, one time each, hoping to win a few and advance, and those who want to play a lot of games in the events they like, hoping to advance in the games they spend a lot of time in.

I suppose there are arguments to be made for favoring either one. I favor the latter, you clearly favor the former.

It's certainly not the case that your preference is clearly "more fair," only that it favors one type of player over another.


Quote:
What are heats? Heats are not a regular season where players all play a set number of games. Heats are repeated chances to advance to an advanced round. if you went to watch the olympics and one runner ran in 3 different heats and only won 1, would they then be considered better than usain Bolt who won his one and only heat? Of course not. I know that sport doesn't directly translate, but maybe short track speed skating does.


Now that's just silly. You wouldn't say Usain Bolt is better because his average is 1/1 and the other runner's average is 1/3. You'd say Usain Bolt is better because in his one and only heat he ran faster than the other runner.
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Grant LaDue
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There is one, and only one, hard and fast rule -- no matter what format you choose, someone won't care for it. As such just always remember that it's the gm's choice, so choose what makes the most sense to *you*. Then watch, see how it runs, listen to your players, and adjust it the way *you* see fit. Everyone and his brother can try to tell you what to do, but bottom line is that the gm is the one doing the work, so only the gm's opinion really matters.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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The player with one win in one game did better overall than someone with a win and a last place. That's objective fact.


I don't think that's correct when a player's choice to risk another game or not. That's different from college basketball - teams don't wait until the end of the season to decide if they want to play their last few games or not. And there IS precedent in college football in the pre-BCS era for teams being penalized for ducking the top offered bowl opponent in order to get an easier win (Paterno lost out on a couple of possible National Titles this way). "Bowing out of a round to avoid risking falling in the standings" does not equate to "doing better."

I do agree that Formula De has an issue because, as you said, someone can gain just by showing up and intentionally crashing ASAP. I actually considered doing that 2 years ago after winning my first race since I didn't have time for a full 2nd, but finally decided against it.

But you also have an issue if a player who wants to play all rounds of a game he/she likes is dissuaded from doing so because they can guarantee advancing ONLY by skipping rounds.

It's hard to structure a tournament so that people are neither punished for playing an extra round, nor penalized for skipping one. Out of the two, the latter may be the lesser of two evils, butt can still easily be done poorly.
 
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Curt Collins
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Statalyzer wrote:
Quote:
The player with one win in one game did better overall than someone with a win and a last place. That's objective fact.


I don't think that's correct when a player's choice to risk another game or not. That's different from college basketball - teams don't wait until the end of the season to decide if they want to play their last few games or not. And there IS precedent in college football in the pre-BCS era for teams being penalized for ducking the top offered bowl opponent in order to get an easier win (Paterno lost out on a couple of possible National Titles this way). "Bowing out of a round to avoid risking falling in the standings" does not equate to "doing better."

I do agree that Formula De has an issue because, as you said, someone can gain just by showing up and intentionally crashing ASAP. I actually considered doing that 2 years ago after winning my first race since I didn't have time for a full 2nd, but finally decided against it.

But you also have an issue if a player who wants to play all rounds of a game he/she likes is dissuaded from doing so because they can guarantee advancing ONLY by skipping rounds.

It's hard to structure a tournament so that people are neither punished for playing an extra round, nor penalized for skipping one. Out of the two, the latter may be the lesser of two evils, butt can still easily be done poorly.


Your assuming someone took a risk. A player that finishes last in their first game and then wins their second is often ranked ahead of someone who played in one game and won thier first start. How is there a risk involved there?

Someone who refuses to play a second game because they are afraid of not making the next round is just as much in it for the wood(the same people that are fair game to be criticized for anything and everything at wbc) as someone who wants to play as many different games as possible. Deferring to the first is not the lesser of two evils, is just favoritism and in some cases ass hour manipulation by the GM.
 
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Richard Irving
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Spleen wrote:
Deferring to the first is not the lesser of two evils, is just favoritism and in some cases ass hour manipulation by the GM.


Curt, on behalf all WBC GM's, I demand you apologize to all GM's for that remark.

I have never seen a WBC GM manipulate the system to favor a specific player.

They decide on the rules that they think will be best for tournament and apply their tournament rules as fairly as possible based on the results of the games played. Personally, despite my request above, if you finish in the Top 16 in Castles of Burgundy or a qualifying position in Merchant of Venus, according the prepublished system that I, as the GM chose, for those games, you will advance.

Period.

Sorry, but HSW & HMW produce these perverse results:
First & second would finish behind first and nothing.
First & third would finish behind first and nothing.
Those are not acceptable results to me, and as GM, I chose a system which avoids those results.

You may have minor argument about first and fourth (in a our player game) vs. first and no other results being equally deserving of any remaining spots. Unfortunately for the first & no results player, that player will finish (to be sure) marginally behind the first & fourth in the system I use. Sorry. The first & no result player was pipped at the post.

Even if the 1st & 4th player was blown away in his losing game, the first 1st & nothing player did not show they have a better second-best result--if they had tried, they may have finished worse. (They both have equal best results, the next tiebreaker is therefore applied.)

If both players finish in the Top 16, or if enough qualifiers don't show up to the semifinal and I have to use enough alternates to reach the first and no result player's name on the alternate list and they are present at the semifinal, the first and no result player will be entered.

Period.
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Curt Collins
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rri1 wrote:


Sorry, but HSW & HMW produce these perverse results:
First & second would finish behind first and nothing.
First & third would finish behind first and nothing.


You have an odd definition of perverse.



I would say your version results in these perverse results:

A 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th, then a win beats out a win in one try.

That is simply not acceptable, and isn't reflective of a fair system.

To use those rules of advancement favors the big fans of the game that show up and play four heats over a player that won without needing multiple attempts. You might be listening to these small few super fans of the game, but just because they are big fans doesn't mean they played the best in your tournament. You may want to see the super fans win as much as possible, but that's not being fair to everyone.

I demand an apology from you for jumping down my throat when I'm just trying to talk about a system for scoring.

I'm done with this thread, this isn't worth continuing.
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Michael McKibbin
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The philosophy I've tried to embody in my advancement structure is: A player can always try to improve their position by playing in additional games, but they will not hurt their chances of advancing by doing so. To that end, I've decided that only first and second place finishes will factor into the final rankings; third and fourth place will not. A player who wins their first heat is welcome to play in another heat to try for another win or second place finish, but if they finish 3rd or 4th it will neither help nor harm them.
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David E
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Spleen wrote:
Your assuming someone took a risk. A player that finishes last in their first game and then wins their second is often ranked ahead of someone who played in one game and won thier first start. How is there a risk involved there?


In that case, there would not be. But we were talking about the first case, where I win my first game, and then if I want to advance, it's in my best interests not to play another game, even if I want to.

Quote:
Someone who refuses to play a second game because they are afraid of not making the next round is just as much in it for the wood(the same people that are fair game to be criticized for anything and everything at wbc) as someone who wants to play as many different games as possible.


Hold on. I don't think anyone has said it's wrong to want to win wood.

What people are objecting to is a desire to arrange the rules for maximum benefit to one's own wood-seeking chances, even if it diminishes other people's enjoyment.

Disincentivizing players from playing multiple rounds of their favorite game would fall into that category. Sure, they could say "I don't care about wood," but I think very few players wouldn't like to win.

Quote:
Deferring to the first is not the lesser of two evils, is just favoritism and in some cases ass hour manipulation by the GM.


Are you actually alleging that GMs who choose rules that don't happen to favor you are showing favoritism and manipulation? That's quite an accusation.

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That is simply not acceptable, and isn't reflective of a fair system.


It is not acceptable to you. It's a perfectly fair system, it's just different than the one you'd like.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
I have never seen a WBC GM manipulate the system to favor a specific player.


That is not what he alleged. What he alleged was that GMs structure things the way they do in order to get more player-hours. This claim is accurate to some degree. That's why the formula had to be changed a few times and the exact details kept secret, and why there's a clause in the WBC Official FAQ saying "While heats are a useful format device to increase the opportunities for people to play in an event, they are not without cost. GMs tend to schedule more and more heats in an effort to increase their entrant levels. If every one of our 150 events had 4 heats, we would have 600 starting times, just for preliminary rounds. This would severely tax the conference facilities, decrease the size of each heat, and increase the chance that those who qualify to advance to later rounds would not show up to play in those rounds. The bottom line is that an event which takes four heats to draw 20 players is NOT more popular than one that draws 16 without heats". In addition to scheduling more heats, requiring multiple heats for advancement also will tend to increase player-hours.

There are plenty of other valid reasons to play extra rounds too, especially in 2-player games where you don't have lots of losers all at once from a single game. And these are World Boardgaming Championships. To be Champion, it's reasonable to say you have to play so-many games before advancing. But I think it's inevitable that there is some "We'll get more seat-hours this way" thinking that goes into formats. People want their games to have more laurels, and especially want their games to stay in the century.

And I do think the use of "Heat" for everything but continuous Swiss play or a continuous elimination bracket can be confusing. If it's not "win a Heat, you're in the next round", then really they are just rounds, not heats, but I'm not too worried about semantics there as long as I'm clear how things work.

I also think that the Previews should make some of the implications more clear, for established events especially. Stuff like "generally when the event has drawn from # to # of players, it has meant that players needed at least X and Y to advance", or "NOTE: aggregating VP from all rounds played will mean that any rounds you skip are effectively 0 VP."

Quote:
You're assuming someone took a risk.


No, I am not. I'm saying that it's fair that someone should need to.

Quote:
A player that finishes last in their first game and then wins their second is often ranked ahead of someone who played in one game and won their first start. How is there a risk involved there?


There isn't. That's what I was saying. All of us should be able to agree, there is a LOT of subjectivity here. It's NOT as simple as "3+ player games should always only go by average finish." There are a lot of situations that intelligent people can reasonably disagree on (and this is even with just going by finishing position, not even bothering with %-of-the-leader type stuff).

Is 1st-1st-4th-4th better or worse than 1st-2nd-2nd-4th? Is a single 1st better than a 1st and two 2nds?

I do think it's pretty clear that in a 10-person race, a single 1st is probably better than a 1st and a 10th.

Quote:
Even if the 1st & 4th player was blown away in his losing game, the first 1st & nothing player did not show they have a better second-best result--if they had tried, they may have finished worse. (They both have equal best results, the next tiebreaker is therefore applied.)


The issue with that is that if you win, you can show up and mail it in and that still counts for something. Merely signing a name on a sheet of paper can qualify one for advancement.

Quote:
It's a perfectly fair system


Well, I think we've established that no system is perfectly fair, since flaws have been identified in all of them. There are some out there that, IMO, are flawed more than others, and could really use some fixing. Thankfully it's not any games that I would hate skipping anyway.

Quote:
The philosophy I've tried to embody in my advancement structure is: A player can always try to improve their position by playing in additional games, but they will not hurt their chances of advancing by doing so. To that end, I've decided that only first and second place finishes will factor into the final rankings; third and fourth place will not. A player who wins their first heat is welcome to play in another heat to try for another win or second place finish, but if they finish 3rd or 4th it will neither help nor harm them.


That's a pretty good way to do it. It fixes the issue with games like Formula De and Here I Stand where even showing up and playing awful will automatically vault you over everyone who had a conflict and didn't play, but it also means someone who wants to play their favorite game (or has nothing else they want to do during that time slot) won't be punished for trying.
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Max Jamelli
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It's a wonder that anyone would want to try to be a novice GM after reading through this.

Advice for novice GM - be the alpha dog. You make the rules. If people want to argue about your rules, remind them to are the GM and made the rules. Everyone gets the same opportunity to run an event.
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Peter Stein
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hgman3 wrote:
Based on my experience it may take a year or two under your belt before you get the advancement formula where you want it. A lot of the advancement formula depends on how many participants you have in the event, how many people typically show up for the knockout rounds, how many players the game will accommodate, etc. I used the suggested tiebreakers my first year. It worked OK, but I've tweaked the formula a bit for my sophomore effort based on my experiences from last year and discussions I had with participants. For your first year it's more important to have a system of advancement which is fair, that all participants are aware of before about before hand, and which you stick to. Once you have a better feel for the event you can change it to your liking.


My first GMing stint was Kremlin in 1995. I've GMed at least one game every year since then. From what I saw above, this sums it up best. Pick one the first year and tweak it if needed after that. And don't be afraid to ask some of your regular players for advice/input.
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Glen Pearce
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sigtaulefty wrote:
It's a wonder that anyone would want to try to be a novice GM after reading through this.

Advice for novice GM - be the alpha dog. You make the rules. If people want to argue about your rules, remind them to are the GM and made the rules. Everyone gets the same opportunity to run an event.


Absolutely and 100% agree.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
It's a wonder that anyone would want to try to be a novice GM after reading through this.


It's a rehashing of basically every possibly implication of every system of advancement. If that's intimidating, then being a GM and choosing a system of advancement that works for a particular game might not be the best choice.

Were I to GM a 3+player game I'd want to read through a thread like this to make sure I didn't miss any unforeseen implications of my decisions.

Quote:
Advice for novice GM - be the alpha dog. You make the rules. If people want to argue about your rules, remind them to are the GM and made the rules.


Maybe it's just tone not traveling well over the internet, but "I'm the GM, so there." won't get one very far and will just turn people off.

Something like "This is how it's going to be for this year. If you have ideas for the future I'm always open to improving, but keep in mind nothing will please everybody. Send me an email after WBC, or talk to me after the tournament, but right now nothing will change in the middle of the round and I need to focus on GM'ing what's happening right now."

If you don't have time for even that because you have rule questions to answer, a long line of people to deal with, scoring to do, etc, something like "I'll consider it later but this isn't the time" will do and this is where if I were an AGM I'd step in and handle the talk if the person rudely insisted on having their soapbox right then (but this is, I think, very rare).

Basically the key point is if the person is
1) Arguing over some rule you already made.
2) Needing a decision on a rule that was ambiguous or left out

#1 can be postponed but #2 will have to be dealt with and inevitably someone will be unhappy. The best way to prevent #2 is to be comprehensive. Already know ahead of time what you will do, and have it written down somewhere.
* Will you split up team members if this is their team game?
* Will you split up family members, friends, or gaming club members?
* What if the standard advancement tiebreakers still don't give you a good number of people (e.g. you have 13 people show up with 2 wins, and 4 people with 1 win and 1 second place)?
* How are you going to handle time constraints if a game is going slow? Does this allow a winning player to game the system by purposefully slowing down so other players have fewer turns to catch up?
* Will players with a board set up always get to play on their own board? What if it's the semis and you suspect certain people are setting up their own boards to avoid each other until the Finals?

Quote:
Everyone gets the same opportunity to run an event.


Well, yes and no. Technically true but I'm not sure if it's the best response to someone who has issue (valid or not) with a GM.

For one thing, you can't be a GM if you can't commit to WBC early enough. For another, you shouldn't be GM'ing a game you don't know well enough. And finally, someone responding to a ruling they thought was unfair by deciding to submit their own form for that game next would probably not get the event, and if they did would probably be looked down upon for it.
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Andrew Drummond
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Returning a little bit to the initial subject, one thing that a new GM should be prepared for is how to handle games going slower than anticipated.

The first game I GMd was a late night game, and one of my 16 tables was going slower than the rest. To avoid the table running long, I adjusted their winning condition to be shorter (essentially I had them play to 35 points rather than 45).

This upset one of the player greatly and he came to me after the event to complain. I apologized for inconveniencing him, but he still chose to harass me multiple times through the rest of the week regarding that decision.

While I know now that I should have approached the CD about that sort of behaviour, it also came from me not having a plan in advance on how to adjudicate slow players.

Just another thing to be prepared for.

(And as a side note, I really did enjoy that first experience as a GM and have happily GMd events since. One poor sport doesn't ruin your time)
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