Tournament Finals Structure Promotes Stalling
Snodig wrote:Sadly, one cannot improve the time management of other players.
Damnans wrote: As I already said on Facebook, poor time management is actually one of the aspects of bad play. And since bad play is not illegal, it is really up to the players to improve their playing skills.
I don’t disagree with your statement, but it sidesteps the real issue.
Stalling is a problem in other games too, like MtG; some players will spend several minutes shuffling or pretending to think something over, just to play the clock.
Oneself playing quickly won’t stop other players from stalling.
Poor time management is legal (because it's bad play), whereas stalling is illegal (because it's cheating).
The former, like other aspects of bad play, are up to the player and their co-players (through advice) to fix.
However, the latter is for the judge to fix, for example, by adding more time to the current game and issuing the proper penalty to the infractor.
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Boris The Blade wrote: Acknowledge VP in the final, even without a GW. Provide some additional prize, or a bonus to player ranking or whatever, but the goal of the game should still be to maximize VPs.
This needs unpacking.
1) The goal of the game is not to maximize VPs. The goal of the game is to win. If you can win by getting 3 VPs (for example), nothing in the game forces you to get 5 VPs. If you are telling people that the goal of the game is to maximize VPs, you are doing something wrong. It is not.
2) The fact that everyone (except the winner) comes joint second was introduced in the final to address specific problems with table splitting and king-making that were considered problematic. The fact that one player could sacrifice their chance of coming first in order to come second, ad everyone else would come third (or however, the bottom three split out) was not at all popular, and caused significant issues and complaints - hence the change. Re-introducing these issues will cause the same problems as in the past. This can get particularly awkward when it affects prizes (whether fixed orders of prizes exist, or they're selected in winning order etc.).
3) Telling players that VPs count does pretty little to de-incentivize players relying on the tie-breaker of previous ranking. Why? a) Whoever is in first place - as determined by the current table state, and previous rankings - would still n general be happy with the game timing out. They win. (This could be the player ranked first with no ousts. Or it could be the player who has secured exactly one oust when no-one else has, irrespective of ranking. etc.) b) Currently, if games are timing out with everyone on zero, all the players who aren't ranked first already have an incentive to score one or more VPs, because it puts them in the position of winning the tournament! They already have an even bigger incentive to score VPs.
There are two major suggestions that have been made in the past, but which have issues with them:
1) The final must finish - no time-limit. This can cause significant practical issues - how do people know when they can go home? Will they miss the last train? If they car-shared with a non-finalist, does the non-finalist have to hang round for hours and hours too?
2) The winner must win, using the normal Table Win rules from the earlier rounds. They therefore can't win with fewer than 2 VPs. This can mean that a tournament has no winner - everyone in the final comes second, if you like. This is potentially interesting, but has a couple of side effects. a) People may try to deny you the win out of spite for a deal broken etc. This may get ugly. This can of course already happen, but it's somewhat easier here, and so may require more interventions from a judge. b) If White Wolf (or Black Chantry, or whoever) want to offer a Special Prize for a tournament like the winner being drawn as the Archbishop of Lisbon in the next expansion, it's somewhat disappointing if they don't get a winner. It's also something of an anti-climax for, say, a continental championship, or other big tournament - dozens of MEthuselahs assembled from around the globe and nobody won.
I would advocate removing the seeding advantage after the seatings have been chosen, not limiting the victory to GW for obvious reasons - time issues for the players and venue, favoring some decktypes over others, etc - but of course it poses the question of ties, either if no one makes a VP of if more than one make one VP. 2 players with 2 VP could happen too but I don't think I've ever seen that on finals.
If no one wins, well, we're all 2nd, we get less ranking points, and maybe prize has to be distributed accordingly.
And the ones who tie with at least 1 VP could be tied for 1st ? Or they would be second and the rest 3rd ? Anyway it works.
On a regular tournament I don't think it's a real problem if there is no winner.
But yes, on Championships and tournaments with a really special prize this could be a problem. So what, no champion this year ? Well, maybe that would mean that the previous year's champion still holds the title. And how bad would that be, really ? Anticlimatic for sure, but not really bad in itself...
And if WW wants to draw an Archbishop, well, either they will choose the most charismatic - then I get my chances - or throw a dice and pick one. Who cares ? The others didn't deserve it anyway.
And those questions put aside, it would be a real incentive for everyone to play. the only drawback I could see is if players who can make only 1 VP decided they don't care to be second (or first ?) ex-aequo and don't play to win anymore... But that would be silly.
I think this would have its merits.
The top seed player will play slowly from start to finish (unless a VP goes away for someone else). People tend to notice it when there is 10 minutes left, but it is true throughout the whole game.
What is annoying is that other players usually play at a slow pace during the first hour too, as if it was a gentlemen's club reunion, or as if the final was to last forever.
One option I like is to hide the time at the table. Players who don't know if they are close to the end tend to anticipate it and play faster naturally, which is better if you want to avoid a time-limit. Also, everybody will be more focused on the speed of the game. How many times did I think "man, this guy is slow but well, there's more than one hour left, maybe it's just temporary. Maybe he'll be faster on the next turns. Also, I don't want to annoy people".
If I don't know there is more than one hour left, I will be more prone to tell him: "hurry up a little please".
Just my 50 cents.
Have a cold long night,
Jeroen van Oort
Dutch National Coördinator
How do you measure time when A is waiting for B's answer while C try to convince B to do something ?
Oortje wrote: Has anybody ever used a clock? Clock is a measuring device, which if operated correctly can give you information of the amount time each player uses.
Let's say you manage to measure it, what do you do next ?