With all lists now in and checked it is time for the first round draw to be revealed. The usual ‘nearest historical date’ pairing, but slightly modified to avoid the North Shore boys being paired against each other. Some good reference material, some perhaps not so good and then there’s Cam’s……………………
1. Al Donald (AWC) – Early Hoplite Greeks 479BC (Reference: Movie “300” – what else?!)
2. Andrew Fergus (AWC) – Thracians 200BC (Reference: French TV doco about “Seuthès l’Immortel, les Secrets d’un Roi Thrace” – The Immortal Seuthès; secrets of a Thracian King)
Our friends down at the North Shore Wargaming Club (NSWC) look like they have been sneaking in some DBMM240 practice for the tournament this weekend…
Three games were played at the NSWC’s first November meeting and another 4 games at the following meeting (this weekend just passed) – sounds like some serious preparation down at the NSWC! Check out the NSWC Site for the results…
Round Robin and knockout competitions have been found wanting in wargames competitions, perhaps the most popular draw has been that known as ‘Swiss Chess”. However, recent discussions with CWS members and observation of the smallish numbers of competitors in many competitions have persuaded me that;
- The “Swiss Chess” system is not well understood;
- That “Swiss Chess” is not always the best system to use, especially where competitors do not outnumber available rounds by many.
Explanation Of The Swiss System:
The basic idea of the Swiss System is to cater for large numbers of competitors in a tournament of few rounds, allowing all to play in every round, yet retaining the knockout idea of providing a dramatic finish by matching the best two performers in the final round. This is achieved by progressively pairing players on the same or nearly the same cumulative scores. So far, so good.
In a preceding article Ion Dowman clearly demonstrates the correct way to run a Swiss Draw tournament. One of the important factors in the Swiss system is the “Pairing” of opponents, and consequently how participants are ranked based on their results during the tournament. I would like to make some further observations and comments on this.
An issue that I personally consider significant is whether a Win is of greater value than two Draws? I believe it is, the reason being the artificial constraints imposed by the tournament environment which prevent all games from reaching their natural conclusions. This effectively means those players who are slow (whether intentionally, or unintentionally), who use the Fabian tactics Ion alluded to, or who compete without a reasonable knowledge of the rule set being used can often end up ranked in the middle of the field at the conclusion and having won perhaps only one game! While those who play to complete their games in the time allowed (and perhaps win two games in 6 rounds) are effectively penalised in comparison!
All to often we play games with little thought about victory conditions, usually just to shoot ’em up and she’ll be right! However with a little effort and time before each game it can be given much greater depth, and consequently be more challenging and interesting to the participants. I would like to suggest some ideas for how this can be done.
Many wargamers play their games in isolation with little “purpose” behind them, the recent suggestion that a gamer’s tactics would change if their opponent got to ‘hit’ each element they lost with a heavy hammer is all too true, and it is this ‘strategic’ purpose that is lacking (we would all be very cautious if playing with the above rule)! The ideal situation to impose this ‘purpose’ is the campaign, this always puts an all new perspective to things, the opponents in a battle may not have the same objective for instance. Unfortunately 99% of the time we do not have the luxury of participating in campaigns (which is a pity) and so we need some way of creating these constraints artificially, one system I have come across is in one of my many rulebooks; “Washington’s Wars”. These rules were designed for French & Indian war action and the American Revolution, disappointingly the rule mechanics and effects on the table did not match the impressive packaging! The rules did however include one good idea about victory conditions and it is a variation of this that I will present below.
Or Why Ancients competitions are better for using win/draw/loss ranking systems.
Probably the 2nd loudest “discussion” at NatCon (held in Auckland, Easter 1997) was the ranking system used in the DBM competition. Some players had thought that ranking’s in the Swiss Chess draw would be determined by accumulated victory points, and were surprised to find that win/draw/loss was being used. Clearly the umpire and/or organisers stuffed up badly by not telling players exactly what variety of “Swiss Chess” was to be used, but why all the angst?? Isn’t one “Swiss Chess” system the same as any other? Not in this case!
A brief summary of the two systems:
DBM awards players from 0 to 10 victory points per game, so you just count these over the course of the competition, and the player with the most points wins.