Friday, April 12, 2013

Seeded Tables at Tournaments

One of the things that has always struck me as retarded strange, is the UK's preoccupation of seeded tables at tournaments. Whether it is Fantasy or 40k, the highest two points-scorers going into a round are drawn against each other (assuming they haven't played already at event) to play on Table #1. This continues round by round so that potentially a player could play all their games on the same table - certainly this does happen regularly on Day 2 of an event.

I want to look at two "why" aspects of this. Firstly, why this isn't a good thing and secondly, why this happens at all.

Even a brain dead monkey can see that continually playing on the same table gives the incumbent an advantage. They have had the experience of playing the tables fire lanes, chokepoints etc and this provides a potential advantage when picking sides and in deployment. Admittedly, pre-measuring has reduced this advantage but it is still a key factor in 40k, slightly less so in Fantasy. A random table means both players have equal time to assess these variables. This is further compounded by the UK tournament scene rejecting scenarios. At least changing the scenario would put more pressure on the incumbent to adapt, moreso than continual Battleline on the same table. What I don't understand is why the terrain is never readjusted.

So why do UK tournaments continue to implement such a sub-optimal system? Probably habit - never assign to subterfuge what you can ascribe to laziness. I suspect that having a system that assigns tables on ranking is easy for organisers. It does away with having a draw programme that also assigns a random table. I'm not sure what software they use but even Overlord (developed in 2003/04) had the functionality to create a seeded draw that assign a table that neither person had played on before. For small events this can get problematic in later rounds and Overlord allows you to turn function on/off if necessary - typically in 100 person events this won't eventuate.

The second reason is for want of a better word "pride". You listen to UK Podcasts and you'll hear people saying "well in Round 3 I was on Table 2" and wearing it as though it is some kind of badge of honour. Give you a clue guys, if you're that concerned you should focus you eyes on the only badge of honour that matters - where you finished. What's strange is that they need seeded tables to tell them where they rank throughout the event. Don't organisers post the draw with Battle Points on them....again it seems a simple fix.

In the end it just seems another example of squeezing any variability out of the game. No scenarios, simple terrain and now fixed repeat tables. I'd get bored pretty quick.


  1. I always did wonder about that one while I was there. Occasionally they would swap which table was No 1 for day two but not often.

    Mostly everyone just uses Excel for tournament scoring from what I saw, so I would guess simplicity is the main reason. Certainly noone likes Overlord in the UK and thus it noone uses it, (I believe mainly because VP scoring is always the tiebreaker/prize winner for Bloodthirster etc and Overlord doesn't include any way to record this, does it?)

    1. You may be mixing Overlord and Tournament Overlord. Most of UK would be exposed to the later - the RHQ PPV system - and I understand, but may be wrong, it allows you to collect VPs.

      I've never tried to collect VPs with the older Overlord - that's what I use for my events having been one of the two original beta testers.

      Just checked: yes I believe you can "fix" it so you could - VPs = Votes

    2. Fair enough then, I still know that not many use it much for whatever reason

    3. rotate the tables you play on for sure but tournaments that change the table numbers through the event is majorly annoying!

  2. I much prefer the UK system of announcing who is where (print out 3 lists and stick them up with table, points, opponent VPs etc) as you can work where you are as things proceed. I find the way NZ tournament,in my experience, just read out from table 1 down who is playing hard to follow where you are. Was good to get a rundown of points last round at NZTC.

    When I played on the same table we just shuffled the terrain about or swapped with the guys on the table next to us. I think with 100+ players in 3-4 rooms they need to have fixed table numbers.

    1. You're missing my point John. Yes you have fixed table numbers but those ranked 1st and 2nd might be on Table 1 in one round but Table 17 the next....not Ranked #1 on Battle Points is always on physical Table #1

  3. But if you are on the same physical table bit the terrain has been moved does this not remove the problem.

    I think sometimes table 1 is used as a euphemism for in the top 2 rather than physically playing on table 1. Depends on TO and individuals. When I played Bryan on table 1 we stayed put as it was comfy but shuffled terrain.

  4. You have to remember that the POMS are still at heart are a class society. The first class players expect to play on the top tables that are clearly identified as such. Baggage class players are expected to stay on the lower tables.
    The class system is a wonderful system that has been well tried out for centuries in the UK. Its good to see it alive and kicking on the gaming tables as well.
    You need to develop a bit of cultural sensitivity Pete. Words like retarded, strange and sub-optimal, could have you in front of the race relations tribunal.