Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another FOB Rankings System Upgrade

Not to be outdone by Ben Curry suggesting enhancements, Jack has done one for me.

If you click onto a given tournament in the Rankings you will now see what scores from that event are being used in people's individual ranking.

This means you can click on an upcoming event and see what points are being protected by a person.

Thanks Jack.

The Signal & The Noise - Nate Silver

I am currently reading a book written by American statistician, baseball modeller, political pundit, Nate Silver.

Besides creating some very successful baseball models, Silver came to national prominence in the US for correctly and very accurately predicting the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections. 

For those that are unaware, in the lead up to both elections the right wing media were adamant that the polls predicting Obama's victories were wrong and that the race was neck and neck. It wasn't and Silver called them on it. In the end he was virtually 100% correct. 

In the book he discusses how human behaviour interacts with maths. Do 10 polls on a subject and if nine show one thing and the other something else, people (and media) will seize on the outlier and assign it more significance. 

So where does this intersect with Wargaming? Well one of the points Silver makes is that people are generally overconfident in their predictions. I reckon this is a trait evident in wargamers. Check out forums, podcasts and dare I say it blogs and you'll find an environment that is strongly confident in its views. 

The tournament reports on podcasts contain little in the way of objective analysis of success and failure - instead assigning results to general all round "awesomeness" or unbelievably bad luck. Generally good luck or opponent skill gets dismissed pretty quickly. 

Over 15 years of internet interaction with Wargaming I believe that the number of truly objective commentators I have come across could be counted on one hand - in Fantasy I'll give hat tips to Charles Black and the Polish gamer Furion. 

A classic example of this overconfidence in ability is when a community goes to an international gaming event for the first time e.g ETC. Generally they will overstate where they will finish because they are basing their prediction on irrelevant info - performance in their own jurisdiction - while ignoring important information - the skill and experience of other teams. You see a reality check hit pretty fast. The next step is important. Do they dismiss the result as an outlier (a lot do) or do they use it as fair reflection of that particular environment. Similarly if generally you finish 10th to 20th and one year you finish 3rd or 4th, is this a freak result? 

Anyway the book is an excellent read that combines stats with psych. I love this shit. 

FOB Rankings Model Update

Over the weekend Jack updated the rankings model in response to a suggestion from Ben Curry.

Now if you click on the "Tournaments" link on the individual rankings pages as well as giving info on the date, numbers and rounds for an event, it also indicates the winner and winning army.

Tauranga Open WHFB - 27/28 Septemper

The Tauranga Open is on at the end of September in......Tauranga.

This will be similar to past years - No Comp, six rounds - and will be held at the Tauranga Citizens Club (hopefully they will have cleared the balloons after the NZ First General Election Wake the previous weekend).

You can access the players pack here

So get out there and support Blair Garrett and the Tauranga Club. Every year this event receives great feedback.

This weekend will be a great weekend of the Hammer - the Masterton Marauders have their inaugural Cracks Call the same weekend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Nottingham, We Have A Problem"

Besides the GBP 4 million they spent on a webstore and Kirby's view on 3D printing.....this really worries me:

"We do no demographic research, we have no focus groups, we do not ask the market what it wants"

I'm starting to join the dots.

This is Great News(tm) ??????

GW's full year results out. And they are terrible....not just bad but I'm pretty sure Malcolm Tucker would view them as a F#$k$*g Bona-fide Omnishambles.
Here are the headline numbers (2014 v 2013):

Revenue: -9%
Operating Profit (pre exceptional items & royalties) -24%
Operating Profit -43%
Earnings per share: -51%

No dividend is going to be paid. And it looks like the new website cost $4.5 mio GBP.
Revenue down by 9% but Cost of Sales the same
Australian sales down 22%, Australian Operating Profit down 26% to GBP 557k
In the Strategic Report GW admit they do no demographic research as they control the niche??!!??

Tom Kirby is stepping down as CEO (acting) - though I'd suggest he failed that description but wants to stay as Chairman.
Scariest thing of all is the ramble included in his spiel:

Trying Too Hard?

I was listening to a few podcasts last night and came across something that really triggered a response.

The podcast covered a recent tournament where one of the specifics was that you could bring a piece of terrain to place on tables in your games.

Now from what I gather most people brought a hill or a fence or a wood or a marsh. You get the picture. That's fine until you get someone who actively sets out to game the system.

They brought a Wizard's Tower. Now if you don't know what that does it makes your Wizard a Loremaster in each Lore they know. Okay, generally in tournament games it is a bit broken. At Nicon last year the TO decided to place one on a table I played on and suddenly all my Horror units knew Gateway (not wonderful for my opponent).

However knowing this the player involved brought Kairos Fateweaver who gets to pick spells from the eight lores. By choosing one spell from each he effectively becomes Loremaster in all Battle Magic Lores. Suffice to say, it's a little bit of a leg up.

Now in situations like this I think TOs need to show a little bit of backbone. Clearly this is an "unintended consequence" and is not going to be fun for his opponents. I know in this case I'd be inclined to say "well done, you broke the have a gold star". However I would not allow the player to use it - despite it being probably being legal in the Players Pack. If they insisted I'd happily refund their entry fee and suggest that this "probably isn't the tournament for them".

There's an old wargaming meme that you see on the internet forums in relation to WAAC play - "Punch him in the nuts and steal his army case". It immediately came to mind in this case.

Obviously your mileage may vary but to me this is a clear case of less about player ability deciding games and more in the discovery of combos.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Internet Tuesday - Secret Weapon Tablescapes Kickstarter finally about to deliver. I say finally as it is about 9 months late for my pledge and 4 months on the last goals.

Here are all the completed tiles waiting in the Chinese factory.

The printed boxes that have caused the latest delay....the box printer wasn't big enough and then order wasn't large enough.

The boxes with variety stickers - looks like Ruined Temple to me.

Local staff packing the boxes. Thirty six of the Urban Streets tiles have my name on them. Pack them safely!

The packaged product in its box ready for shipment and/or sale.

The tooling masters. As I understand it there are 56 separate tile dies.....what chance copies have been taken?

Team NZ ETC Dice

This one is especially for John Willenbruch....who throughout the year has been unusually interested in our dice.

Gaming Dice

All the team have ordered Tiki dice in some quantity. Stocks of Kiwi and Fern dice have also been replenished (secured). These are all the standard 16mm size.

Turn and Gift Dice

These dice are 30mm (Gifts) and Turn Counters (50mm).

They haven't come out too bad. Unfortunately they had been held up by UK Customs who demanded a ransom of GBP 130 to release the order. With lurks like that I'm surprised Scotland wants to leave.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Miniature Monday - Some Movement

Yesterday picked up a paintbrush for the first time in a few weeks and started base coating my Sisters of the Thorn.

I have previously base coated the stags and posted pictures a few weeks ago. I'm hoping to get them to tabletop standard before I leave for the ETC this Sunday.

My other hobby time was spent practising ETC Matchups with our coach James Milner ahead of the event which is now less than two weeks away. We've got this working really well - the only question is whether we perform as we have forecast.

I am very hopeful that we can improve on the previous couple of years' performances - and we are targeting 16th place or higher. A lot comes down to draw and a tough Round 5 or 6 matchup can push you down if you experience a blowout. Our aim is to limit the potential for those blowout results hence the prep on matchups.

I also picked up the latest White Dwarf Weekly. Great if you like Space Wolves (No) or 40k flyers (also No). Hopefully that's the end of the Sons of Fun-Loss.

Edit: Of course not - still have the Codex to come