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Subject: Novice GM Questions rss

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David E
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Spleen wrote:
I'd rather not be a part of this conversation at this point thank you.


Then... don't be?
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Kaarin Engelmann
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I think he wanted to be able to speak or not speak for himself rather than have someone else interpret his thoughts.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
I think he wanted to be able to speak or not speak for himself rather than have someone else interpret his thoughts.


But surely Curt's opinion is open knowledge?

I know I've discussed his preferences (and mine) in a bunch of threads over the last few years.

He is quite unabashed (usually) about what he wants out of his WBC experience. He isn't alone in this either and I think he is entitled to try and get what he wants for his money and time from the week.

I think it is important to bring this up, though, when discussing possible tie breaker and advancement criteria because it goes directly to what one means by "fair."

If your desire is to compete and advance in 20+ tournaments, then you will have a different perspective than someone with a more casual outlook about filling their schedule with games they like and don't mind playing multiple times and opposed to just playing as few times to advance in.

Neither approach is correct, but the preference has everything to do with the argument you will make about formats.

Kevin
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Curt Collins
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I would prefer not to have a discussion about my personal preferences, how valid they may or may not be, or how extreme they may or may not be. In some ways, yes you understand my goals, in others, people really don't.

My feelings toward what is a good format or not do not come from a desire to see myself win. I genuinely feel that the methods I try to advocate are more fair and or accurate. I am OK with playing multiple rounds where it's known beforehand what it takes to advance. I really feel that, especially for newcomers, not knowing what it takes to advance beforehand is confusing, intimidating, and can be very disappointing.

I feel that advancement needs to be clear to everyone, and agree with what I thought was the BPA stance that a standard advancement procedure that is followed by most events would be a major plus. Some very smart people that I have come to respect came up with the standard Hmw and others that get bashed. I happen to agree with the reasoning expressed in the GM guidelines.

If heats are truly another chance to advance, then skipping heats after winning a game should not hurt your chances of advancing. If you want to require people to play more than once, you need to have rounds, not heats. I'm OK with either one, but have a problem with the ambiguous heats that are really partially rounds. I don't think it's the right way to do things.

Despite what people may think, I like and respect some of the people I disagree with on here. Eric brossius is a stand up guy that is fair in his gaming, even if we've clashed at times. I respect him for many reasons. I've stated I felt that rich had his heart in the right place, and I think he does. I respect that he wants to do what he thinks is right. I also happen to think he's a good person. I don't know who everyone I argue with is, but nothing I've said has been meant as a personal attack or to be mean.

Anyway. I felt the need to express my feelings as best as I could before I became a topic of discussion.
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David E
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Spleen wrote:
I feel that advancement needs to be clear to everyone, and agree with what I thought was the BPA stance that a standard advancement procedure that is followed by most events would be a major plus. Some very smart people that I have come to respect came up with the standard Hmw and others that get bashed. I happen to agree with the reasoning expressed in the GM guidelines.


I just spent some time reading through those guidelines, as I am contemplating trying to GM a game myself. So I think you are overstating the case here, implying that there is a single "preferred" way of running tournaments endorsed by the BPA. In fact, there are a bunch of different options, and while the GM guidelines do suggest that certain options are better for (for example) two-player games, or long games, or games with many players, nowhere is it stated that we're supposed to choose one or the other or that there is a "standard." So what do you mean by "the reasoning expressed in the GM guidelines"?
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Rich Shipley
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
I just spent some time reading through those guidelines, as I am contemplating trying to GM a game myself. So I think you are overstating the case here, implying that there is a single "preferred" way of running tournaments endorsed by the BPA. In fact, there are a bunch of different options, and while the GM guidelines do suggest that certain options are better for (for example) two-player games, or long games, or games with many players, nowhere is it stated that we're supposed to choose one or the other or that there is a "standard." So what do you mean by "the reasoning expressed in the GM guidelines"?


I believe we are talking about the standard tiebreakers for heat format tournaments. They are listed twice in the guidelines with this statement in bold both times: "Standard tie-breakers enable players to make more educated decisions about which tournaments to play and whether or not they qualify to advance to later rounds of play."
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Gareth Williams
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Also note that whilst the GM is obliged to write a preview for their event, players are not actually obliged to read it.

So if you do have something unique you are better off making sure that all players are aware of it during the event

And if you are a first time GM I would advise using the standard tiebreakers until you get more confidence and experience with what works for your event

Besides if you use them and people don't like them they will complain about the board, if you come up with something of your own and they don't like it they will complain about you.

++++++++++++++++

On the wider point:

I run a five player asymmetric game where even the best players are not going to do better than .300 or even .250 in the long run. As such I am not going to penalise the loyal players and fans of the game for playing again after they win for not winning again, because no matter how good they are they probably won't.

I might feel differently if I was running a game where there was a clear division between the sheep and the goats and the best players could expect to win every heat so I understand Curt's position.
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The Pariah
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I do think it's important for the GM to have a pre-set list of guidelines and procedure (and then, to stand by those guidelines).

I remember playing in a Formula De final a number of years ago. The rule (from the GM) was -- win your heat, you're in; and alternate will be taken - as needed - to fill the pool to eight drivers. Alternates were organized/seeded based on the number of finish and how far behind the leader they were.

At the final - 7 "heat winners" showed up and the top 2 alternates. The GM initially too the first alternate and that was it. The second alternate complained that he should be able to participate as well -- for, well, no apparent reason, except that he 1) showed up and 2) was going to win.

The GM was vacillating and then, finally, I spoke up. Already concerned about the length of time the final would take (and not thrilled at adding another racer - which would extend the game, conservatively, 10 percent longer), I explained to the first-time GM that he had his policy in place and he needed to abide by it. He finally decided that was right, and the second alternate stormed off.

(As an aside, I was called out in the post-con geeklist by the second alternate - apparently, I was "scared" that he was going to win the race, which is why I lobbied so hard to not include him. Ignoring the fact that I didn't even know this person, I also submitted that - someone so formidable *probably* would've won the heat, thus ensuring his placement in the final automatically).

Not coincidentally, my own involvement and enthusiasm for tournament games began its significant decline right around that time.

Have good and sound policies; and make sure you follow them.
 
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Curt Collins
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I had originally written out everything that I remembered, but that's really not even worth typing at this point. Blaming anybody for something that happened in 2007 has no value. It's ten years in the past. So I've revised this and shortened it in an attempt to offer an unfortunate situation as a lesson for new GMs


That situation was that a certain someone was told that he was qualified for the final since he had 2 2nd place finishes. This was after all heats had been completed. When it came time for the final, the other alternate convinced the GM that his two 2nd place finishes along with a third finish which was worse than 2nd place were better than 2 2nd place finishes.

From the 2007 event preview, the tie breakers were:
1. Win in first Heat entered
2. Most wins
3. Win in second Heat entered
7. Average finish in all heats entered
8. High random number drawn

(This is copy pasted from the 2007 event preview and is written this way. It goes from 3-7 with no 4,5,or 6 tie breaker)

The lesson here would be not to tell anyone anything right after the heats are over. Go back to your room, or wherever you are entering data and doing seeding and make your list. If someone is asking if they are in, tell them that you will post the qualifiers and alternates on the kiosk before the final. Make sure you do this though. Post the list of qualifiers and alternates. Also make sure to note any qualifiers that have said they will not show in advance.



The GM was being influenced by multiple people pulling for different things. He settled for a die roll to let one of those two be the 10th player.

There are two people you need to be listening to, and neither of them should be any party that is claiming or trying to claim they have a spot in the semi or final. Those two people are your assistant GMS. In an extreme case, a board member or the convention director.



The result was a new player, excited just to be at WBC for the first time was told erroneously that they could not play in a final that they had qualified for. Not having been there before, that new player had no idea what they could do, but knew that they had been cheated.



The tie breaker rules should have been consulted in this case, and the lesson for a new GM is to have those tie breakers in print with you at your event. Have them either as a hand out, or posted on the kiosk, or some manner that makes it very clear to the players what it takes to advance. Once you have those tie breakers on your preview, they are set in stone. You can't change them based on an argument by one of the players, or really based on anything. They are what they are.


Names were never used in that post con geeklist, though it was certainly saltier than it needed to be. That guy from 10 years ago now was pretty immature for their age. Hell, he still is in many ways, but things aren't quite so bad as they were back then. (I hope) The situation was not handled well. It may be really late, and at this point I don't even care who was in the right or not. I left you, Chris Palermo, with a bad taste in your mouth over something that was just dumb in the grand scheme of things. A young hothead got upset at you and took that anger out in a way that you might expect a child to do, not an adult. I formally apologize to you for the way that I acted. I'm sorry that you felt the way you did as a result of my actions.

my last bit of advice here is this: You are probably going to encounter some people that don't have the most developed social skills. Gaming tends to attract more than it's share of people like this. This isn't to say that most people aren't decent socially proficient nice people, but the nice ones don't always stick out. Being clear and up front about everything before a situation such as this occurs is best for everybody, but if something does come up, don't just watch as the situation escalates. Make a firm decision and end the argument there. Don't let an situation grow. I've heard of much worse situations than this that started off with a disagreement and grew into a story of why someone never goes to WBC.

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Christopher Yaure
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For the novice GM, here is a piece of advice I recently shared with a soon to be first timer at WBC:

Remember, IJADG (It's Just a Damn Game).

And almost all of us appreciate the GMs almost all of the time.

142 days until the best 9 days of the year!


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The Pariah
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Curt -- a few things:

First, you were right - you didn't use my name in your post-con geeklist (but, nor did I use yours here) But, you're right, I knew you'd see it.

Second, your recollection might be better than mine. I remember that your name wasn't the "first" one on the list (but, now that you mention it, maybe a die WAS rolled? And, if so - that's more sucky than the alternative (although, I still agree the GM needed to keep it to 8 (or 10) racers total. In retrospect, he probably should've accepted *neither* alternate; that would've been even "fairer." I do remember I wasn't lobbying for either alternate, specifically; but that if the GM was gong to include one, it be ONLY one (so we might still finish on time). It was never personal.

But, third:

Spleen wrote:
That guy from 10 years ago now was pretty immature for their age. Hell, he still is in many ways, but things aren't quite so bad as they were back then. (I hope) The situation was not handled well. It may be really late, and at this point I don't even care who was in the right or not. I left you, Chris Palermo, with a bad taste in your mouth over something that was just dumb in the grand scheme of things. A young hothead got upset at you and took that anger out in a way that you might expect a child to do, not an adult. I formally apologize to you for the way that I acted. I'm sorry that you felt the way you did as a result of my actions.



I'm floored by this. I fully expected to come back here for a fight (and, truth be told; was kinda looking forward to it. Now I have to just kick small animals, instead!)

I completely accept your apology (and, in all sincerity, I'm really impressed).

Rest assured, while my tournament gaming did decline - there were *many* reasons. But, I even misspoke about the timing. In 2007, open gaming was 31% of my plays; but that number declined to 26% in 2008; before jumping up to 58% in 2009 (and then continuing to increase up to 82% in 2015. Like most things in life, everything goes through phases.
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