November 23, 2017, 04:17:57 PM

Author Topic: Tournament Scoring  (Read 1164 times)

Zuberi

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2017, 02:32:06 PM »
What to do when a game runs out of time? Seems to me like there are two dominant camps, with several sub camps. Makes it hard to please everyone.

First major camp sees this issue as resulting in a draw. Technically speaking, they are correct. Neither mage has managed to win, under the normal definition of a victory in Mage Wars.

The other major camp wants to have a victor. Perhaps this is desired because time running out happens so often. Perhaps it's because the time limits are already so unfair to so many strategies. Whatever the reasoning, if a victor is desired it requires either a tie breaking method or an alternate victory condition (not really much difference between the two). This camp can also make the claim that although neither mage has won, they've also not drawn as far as the rules are concerned. A draw is when both mages die at the same time. Instead, this is an unfinished game.

It may not be possible to reconcile these camps. You're never going to please everyone. Other factors to consider though are how fair the system is, how easily it is understood and implemented, and how consistently it is enforced. Counting it as a draw is super easy. But may be considered unfair to those who aren't able to finish in time. It would skew the meta towards aggression and make people much more focused on fast play.

On the flip side, any tie breaker / alternate victory condition will skew the meta to take advantage of that condition. You're not going to be able to predict who WOULD have won with perfect accuracy, if that's your reason for wanting this method. But, I've seen a very large number of people who seem to want this type of approach and this is the way MW has always gone in the past. The method of comparing life remaining is also super simple and easy, and seems fair. If you consider mage death as a finish line, this is seeing who was closest to that finish line. Fair, simple, consistent, and makes sense.

They both have flaws. But they're also both workable systems. What we're seeing now though, is backlash over strategies arising to take advantage of the tie breaker. This was bound to happen though. If we're going to use a tie breaker, people will play with it in mind. However, it is compounded by the fact that the cards weren't designed with the tie breaker in mind. Restore was designed to be a temporary effect, delaying the game. It is now being used as a finisher to win the game. That's not its intended function, and so could be considered a bit of abuse or an exploit of the system rather than merely planning around the tie breaker. It is defintely overpowered when used in that function.

To address this, we could change tournament rules. We could errata the card. We could ban the card. There's lots of options. None of them joyous, because nerfs are pretty much never something to get excited over. Switching camps to that which considers time running out to be a draw has some appeal, as we no longer have to worry about competing victory conditions. It'd nip this problem square in the bud. If you don't want strategies taking advantage of alternate victories, then removing those alternate victories is the only sure solution. However that is a pretty drastic change and trying to keep things consistent with smaller adjustments also has a lot of appeal.

I made a suggestion to Grizz that if we keep the current tie breaker, we just add an extra rule stating that all disippate effects are destroyed at time. This would stop effects that are meant to be temporary from being used in other capacities. I think I kind of ended up rambling and I apologize for the long post. I'm not sure what my point was other than that this isn't a simple problem with simple solutions, and I think many of the different views and approaches have merit. There's no right way. Just being mindful of what the different ideas will affect and picking one.

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2017, 04:03:40 PM »
this does help describe things really well. i feel there is a simple middle ground here too.

   you can increase the time alottment for matches to give slow builds a bit more time to win, this also helps newer players who may simply play slow because they are not fast making decisions, or slow handling the physical aspects of the game. combine this with a point system that favors wins over unfinished games. calling it a tie for simplicity. give both players the same points for the match, rather than declaring a winner. those points could total the value for a win. say 4 or 6 for a win, and 2/3 for each player for the unfinished match. this mitigates cards or strategies used to eek out extra advantage for rules regarding a winner of an unfinished match.

   like everyone understands, there is no likely solution that pleases everyone. however given the spirit of the game and the intent for it to be won, i would guess many more would side in favor of a system that favors actual wins. as long as it was reasonably balanced to allow for the most strategies or builds to compete fairly.

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2017, 09:34:21 PM »
What to do when a game runs out of time? Seems to me like there are two dominant camps, with several sub camps. Makes it hard to please everyone.

First major camp sees this issue as resulting in a draw. Technically speaking, they are correct. Neither mage has managed to win, under the normal definition of a victory in Mage Wars.

The other major camp wants to have a victor. Perhaps this is desired because time running out happens so often. Perhaps it's because the time limits are already so unfair to so many strategies. Whatever the reasoning, if a victor is desired it requires either a tie breaking method or an alternate victory condition (not really much difference between the two). This camp can also make the claim that although neither mage has won, they've also not drawn as far as the rules are concerned. A draw is when both mages die at the same time. Instead, this is an unfinished game.

It may not be possible to reconcile these camps. You're never going to please everyone. Other factors to consider though are how fair the system is, how easily it is understood and implemented, and how consistently it is enforced. Counting it as a draw is super easy. But may be considered unfair to those who aren't able to finish in time. It would skew the meta towards aggression and make people much more focused on fast play.

On the flip side, any tie breaker / alternate victory condition will skew the meta to take advantage of that condition. You're not going to be able to predict who WOULD have won with perfect accuracy, if that's your reason for wanting this method. But, I've seen a very large number of people who seem to want this type of approach and this is the way MW has always gone in the past. The method of comparing life remaining is also super simple and easy, and seems fair. If you consider mage death as a finish line, this is seeing who was closest to that finish line. Fair, simple, consistent, and makes sense.

They both have flaws. But they're also both workable systems. What we're seeing now though, is backlash over strategies arising to take advantage of the tie breaker. This was bound to happen though. If we're going to use a tie breaker, people will play with it in mind. However, it is compounded by the fact that the cards weren't designed with the tie breaker in mind. Restore was designed to be a temporary effect, delaying the game. It is now being used as a finisher to win the game. That's not its intended function, and so could be considered a bit of abuse or an exploit of the system rather than merely planning around the tie breaker. It is defintely overpowered when used in that function.

To address this, we could change tournament rules. We could errata the card. We could ban the card. There's lots of options. None of them joyous, because nerfs are pretty much never something to get excited over. Switching camps to that which considers time running out to be a draw has some appeal, as we no longer have to worry about competing victory conditions. It'd nip this problem square in the bud. If you don't want strategies taking advantage of alternate victories, then removing those alternate victories is the only sure solution. However that is a pretty drastic change and trying to keep things consistent with smaller adjustments also has a lot of appeal.

I made a suggestion to Grizz that if we keep the current tie breaker, we just add an extra rule stating that all disippate effects are destroyed at time. This would stop effects that are meant to be temporary from being used in other capacities. I think I kind of ended up rambling and I apologize for the long post. I'm not sure what my point was other than that this isn't a simple problem with simple solutions, and I think many of the different views and approaches have merit. There's no right way. Just being mindful of what the different ideas will affect and picking one.
I mostly agree with everything you just said zuberi. However remember that the game does not exist in a vacuum. There are multiple values being traded here, not just fairness vs desire for a victor.

In reality the values are as follows: monetary expense, event time, table space, player count, fairness, openness to newer players, ease of tracking/management, the quality of the player experience, and a catch all category for everything else that might become an issue depending on what sort of solution gets implemented.

I think we're all in agreement that for most large cons like gen con etc it's very unlikely that we'll be able to get more table space or time for tournaments in the near future. Not unless AW wants to spend more money, which I would assume for now that they don't. So increasing expense, tablespace or event time is off the table.

I honestly think it's a REALLY REALLY bad idea to trade away fairness under any circumstances for a game like this. Not unless you literally are pidgeon holed into it and have absolutely no remotely better options on net. So trading away fairness is off the table—I hope.

That leaves player count, ease of tracking and management, openness to newer players, and the quality of player experience.

One possible solution is to cap the number of participants at a lower number, like 8 or 10 or something. Increases fairness but decreases accessibility.

Another solution is to eliminate the elimination rounds, use "dance cards" with a list of opponents for each player where the matchups are randomly generated in advance, then when you finish a game you check off your opponent from your card and immediately move on to another available opponent on your list. Increases fairness while also making MUCH better use of the time we already have by not making people wait half an hour or so for the longer games to finish. If you use this solution you could get rid of the individual match time limits, and just say whoever has the best win:loss ratio at the end of the tournament time is the winner, with people who've won a greater total number of games preferred over those who've only won a few in the event of a tie. Unfortunately this would make it harder for judges to keep track of because games would not be starting all at the same time. The dance cards would have to be visible to judges at all times, so that judges can keep track of how many games a player has played so far and which opponent they are facing right now. It's not as intuitive to keep track of matchups as keeping track of rounds, but I think it should be doable. Not sure if you would need to hire more judges, or if people constantly changing seats would be a problem.

The third solution is to use timed phases rather than timed matches. It's possible that if you set the right time limit on individual phases, the shorter matches will naturally compensate for the amount of time taken by the longer matches, not to mention that people who take too long thinking during each phase might not be as familiar with the spellbook they're using, so so if they're taking too long to think during phases they probably wouldn't win anyways. This solution would have to be tested however.

My vote is to test solution #3, and then if it doesn't work well enough, try some combination of #2 and #3 and see if that works. Then if it's still not good enough to be tolerable, we can start thinking of some more ideas.

For testing solution #3 we would need at least one volunteer ambassador who can run a series of tournaments. Set a timer for 8 hours each time, and then keep track of how far past the 8 hour mark each tournament goes, and adjust the time limit for phases until it is somewhere under 8 hours. The lower you can get the tournament length to the better, because that way you can have even bigger tournaments take place within 8 hours, not just the average sized ones.

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« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 09:42:12 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2017, 09:41:46 PM »
Adding time is not really a possibility at most conventions. Taking 4-5 hours just for the tournament is already a pretty big time commitment and I will admit that if matches went even longer, I might have to start taking myself out of them because when I'm at a convention, as much as I love Mage Wars and I do, there are a bunch of things I want to do that I already take time away from.

I just don't understand the problem with the rules as they are. KO win gets the most points, timed win gets about half as many points, timed loss gets half as many as that, and KO loss gets none. I would think the most fair scoring system would then be 8/4/2/1/0 with 2 points being the draw and 1 being the timed loss.

And if the problem is specifically Restore or anything similar...plan for it.

Nullify, Jinx, Seeking Dispel, Dispel, or just have it so you're more than 10 damage up on your opponent if you're worried about that card. I get that it might suck to lose that way, but it also sucks to lose to a 10 critical damage boulder when you have 5 armor on and have your opponent down to 2 health remaining and they are guaranteed to die during upkeep, not that I'm bitter or anything about a match I had tonight.

I just honestly don't even know what the issue is. I've been a part of 2 tournaments at MACE, 1 at ConCarolinas, 1 at HoshiCon, a few other random semi-big tournaments, and then a bunch of in-store mini tournaments and Timed Win/Timed Loss has never caused a major issue.

In an ideal world, board gaming conventions would last 2 weeks and we could have unlimited time to complete a tournament with untimed matches, but that's what OCTGN is for really. In person tournaments have a different strategy and you have to prepare for that.

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2017, 10:00:49 PM »
Adding time is not really a possibility at most conventions. Taking 4-5 hours just for the tournament is already a pretty big time commitment and I will admit that if matches went even longer, I might have to start taking myself out of them because when I'm at a convention, as much as I love Mage Wars and I do, there are a bunch of things I want to do that I already take time away from.

I just don't understand the problem with the rules as they are. KO win gets the most points, timed win gets about half as many points, timed loss gets half as many as that, and KO loss gets none. I would think the most fair scoring system would then be 8/4/2/1/0 with 2 points being the draw and 1 being the timed loss.

And if the problem is specifically Restore or anything similar...plan for it.

Nullify, Jinx, Seeking Dispel, Dispel, or just have it so you're more than 10 damage up on your opponent if you're worried about that card. I get that it might suck to lose that way, but it also sucks to lose to a 10 critical damage boulder when you have 5 armor on and have your opponent down to 2 health remaining and they are guaranteed to die during upkeep, not that I'm bitter or anything about a match I had tonight.

I just honestly don't even know what the issue is. I've been a part of 2 tournaments at MACE, 1 at ConCarolinas, 1 at HoshiCon, a few other random semi-big tournaments, and then a bunch of in-store mini tournaments and Timed Win/Timed Loss has never caused a major issue.

In an ideal world, board gaming conventions would last 2 weeks and we could have unlimited time to complete a tournament with untimed matches, but that's what OCTGN is for really. In person tournaments have a different strategy and you have to prepare for that.
Im not sure what it is you don't understand. The current rules penalizes people for playing playtyles that would be perfectly viable if not for the time limit. This severely limits spellbook design space for comeptitive events and puts some mages at an unfair advantage or disadvantage on average. Mage Wars Arena simply is not a 75 min game on average. It usually takes more like 1.5 hours on average. And that's only on average. A natural game of Mage wars between experienced players using good spellbooks takes anywhere from 30 min to 3 hours, although the vast majority of natural games between experienced players are between 1 and 2 hours. A hard 75 min cutoff just doesn't work with that. Not everyone who has been complaining about this is inexperienced or unskilled at the game, so saying that "better players play faster" isn't enough to explain it.

If you still don't understand that then I have no idea what I can say that will make you understand, except that in MTG person1 says X is OP, and then person B says X is not OP because there is a card that you can use to counter it! Your argument here strongly resembles that one and is wrong for pretty much the same reasons.

The health of a metagame is not a binary value that turns on when a particular card has at least one counter and off when it has no counters.

This is especially true in mage wars because of the spell point system, as demonstrated by the problems we were having with the wizard and his tower before the errata. People could still counter the wizard, but only by over-investing spell points to deal with him specifically and leaving themselves vulnerable to other non-wizard strategies.

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Zuberi

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2017, 10:18:43 PM »
@Sailor Vulcan: I don't feel like we are talking about exactly the same things. My commentary was entirely on how to handle matches that run out of time. None of your proposed solutions address this at all.

@DevilsVendetta: By choosing a winner via the current tie breaker at time, it encourages play styles that wouldn't be seen in a normal game and has started to involve using cards in ways that they were not designed or balanced to be used in. Restore is the current poster child for this problem. It is a comparable life swing to Drain Soul. However, it is only 5 mana instead of 16. That's a big difference. The reason why it is so much cheaper is because it's supposed to be temporary, which isn't the case when it's used in this fashion. The fact that it can be cast in advance and you can reveal it when needed makes it even easier to abuse like this, since you don't have to anticipate when time will be called. Grizzly seems, to me, to be primarily concern with this use of cards against their intention and wanting to tweak the rules as slightly as possible to account for it. Others, however, see this as endemic of a bigger problem with the way tournaments are handled and have taken the opportunity to voice their concerns.

Chief among these concerns is coming from an entirely different camp, or school of thought, who think that timed matches shouldn't count as a win at all, but rather a draw or at best a partial win (which seems to be how you think they're currently handled). Currently, a win is a win. The points system is only used when two people have an equal number of wins. Otherwise a timed win is as good as a kill. If you have 3 kills and I have 4 timed victories, then I've won more matches than you and I advance. However if we both have 3 wins, then we look at the points and timed wins THEN count as less. Only then. Grizzly can correct me if I got any of this wrong.

Which is basically saying that their solution to the misuse of cards is to completely get rid of the tie breaker, or at least significantly devalue it, so that there is no reason for people to play for a timed victory, and thus won't use cards towards that end. You either kill your opponent within time or you're screwed. A valid approach, but a significant deviation from the current system.

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2017, 10:31:21 PM »
In all the tournaments I've played, I've never seen one player with a strategy to play for timed wins. Now when the time limit is approaching, they'll adjust some strategies but I've never ever seen anyone play with the idea that they will delay the entire match to win that way. If that was the case, I'd throw on a sunfire amulet in the first round and then just put 30 walls and steep hills in my book to block line of sight and stay in my corner.

And I'm not exactly sure of the way scoring works at a tournament if 4-0 with 4 timed wins is better than 3-1 with 3 KO wins and 1 KO loss, but if it is, maybe there's a compromise to be made there that the 2 best records and the 2 most points advance and if there's any overlaps, you add a quick match to get the right number of people for the semifinals and finals.

I'm not saying the rules are perfect and can not continue to be fine-tuned, I just don't think a massive overhaul needs to be done since in my experience the tournaments I've competed in have been amazingly run and judged and I've heard the same about tournaments I haven't competed in.

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2017, 04:23:01 AM »
@Sailor Vulcan: I don't feel like we are talking about exactly the same things. My commentary was entirely on how to handle matches that run out of time. None of your proposed solutions address this at all.

@DevilsVendetta: By choosing a winner via the current tie breaker at time, it encourages play styles that wouldn't be seen in a normal game and has started to involve using cards in ways that they were not designed or balanced to be used in. Restore is the current poster child for this problem. It is a comparable life swing to Drain Soul. However, it is only 5 mana instead of 16. That's a big difference. The reason why it is so much cheaper is because it's supposed to be temporary, which isn't the case when it's used in this fashion. The fact that it can be cast in advance and you can reveal it when needed makes it even easier to abuse like this, since you don't have to anticipate when time will be called. Grizzly seems, to me, to be primarily concern with this use of cards against their intention and wanting to tweak the rules as slightly as possible to account for it. Others, however, see this as endemic of a bigger problem with the way tournaments are handled and have taken the opportunity to voice their concerns.

Chief among these concerns is coming from an entirely different camp, or school of thought, who think that timed matches shouldn't count as a win at all, but rather a draw or at best a partial win (which seems to be how you think they're currently handled). Currently, a win is a win. The points system is only used when two people have an equal number of wins. Otherwise a timed win is as good as a kill. If you have 3 kills and I have 4 timed victories, then I've won more matches than you and I advance. However if we both have 3 wins, then we look at the points and timed wins THEN count as less. Only then. Grizzly can correct me if I got any of this wrong.

Which is basically saying that their solution to the misuse of cards is to completely get rid of the tie breaker, or at least significantly devalue it, so that there is no reason for people to play for a timed victory, and thus won't use cards towards that end. You either kill your opponent within time or you're screwed. A valid approach, but a significant deviation from the current system.

So far I'm pretty sure we ARE talking about the same things. The solutions I proposed potentially could address that but would need to be tested to make sure they work. The idea is to PREVENT matches from going to time as often as they currently do if not just stopping that from happening altogether, without breaking the game or requiring more table space or event time. I'm not sure what wasn't clear about that.

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2017, 05:13:31 AM »
Try to answer this question:

How do you want to resolve a match that goes to time?

a) Keep the rules as they are
b) Switch to a scoring system of some kind
c) Roll the dice!
d) Something else

Some of us already talked about this. I want Mage Wars to be about killing the other Mages and did propose a scoring system (and have tried it) where an kills was worth more than a timed win. And worth a lot more than a small timed win.

For b) to work i think you have to give up on both the semi-final and the final. Else you have to come up with someway to determine a winner in the semifinals. That´s true for the finals as well, even if currently the final is "unlimmited time"


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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2017, 11:32:23 AM »
I honestly didn't know this was as big an issue as it appears to be. Tournaments need space and time, all that costs money. This isnt MtG or academy that play in one zone on one spot and can be played multiple times in an hour. Its a bit bigger than that in the most literal sense.

I did not see one game get stalled. Nor one mage sandbagging or loading up on restore, bull endurance, gator toughness, and sunfire amulets (though that sounds like the way to do it). In fact if that is your aim priestess would be the mage for you and i don't even think there was one at Gencon.

For what its worth i believe that a kill should count higher I  point value than a timed win and the way Griz is currently handling it is quite the elegant solution. If we see 90 percent Holy mages at the tourney next year well then we may have a problem but i think it worked out pretty well.
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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2017, 11:51:06 AM »
I'm reading this and there's a lot of good points on every side. So I'm a tell you what I'm thinking right now. I'm thinking I'll increase time limits at Gen Con by about 15 minutes while keeping the championship untimed.

I'll also continue to keep lines of communication open on this topic while diligently following the results of other big events around the world. I follow tournament results any way of course but I'll keep a special war for this topic as it relates.
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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2017, 01:15:59 PM »
Just wanted to say that i think Zuberi summed up the entire thread really well. I look forward to seeing how different tournaments runners results are of how they try to tackle the problem.
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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2017, 02:31:14 PM »
I can recommend the system Thesaris explained. It is bulletproof!  8)
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theasaris

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2017, 06:23:32 AM »
Hello all,

we have had a lengthy discussion at the German Nationals as well, which led to the majority of players (~24) and judges involved come up with a new scoring system which has in the mean time already been tested at a few organized play tournaments in Germany.

A time limit of 90 minutes is in effect. After 90 minutes both players note their remaining life (current total life minus damage). Points are then scored as follows:

2 + x if the opposing mage is dead
1 + x if own mage has more life remaining
1 - x if opposing mage has more life remaining

x equals the difference in life remaining between both mages divided by 20 to a maximum of 1.

* If both mages are dead players score 1 point each.

Hello theasaris :). That system definitely looks interesting, and is similar to the way Star Wars Armada tournaments are scored. How has it worked out in your tests? Has everyone been pretty happy with it? I have very little experience applying that kind of system to MW.

So far there have been two smaller tournaments using this system (5 players and 8 players). While the vast majority of players was quite happy with it, there was also some criticism. I would like to point out some of the implications of this scoring system:

- A win by mage death is not always equal: Killing the opposing mage with zero damage taken scores 3 points, while a mage kill where the own mage has e.g. 10 life remaining scores 2.5 points.

- Close matches that could be decided by the next attack and end by mage death are much better represented.

- A loss by mage death can be more rewarding than a loss over time: The losing player can score up to 0.95 despite getting his mage killed, while surviving with a life difference of 20 or more to the winning mage scores 0 points.

- Close wins over time can score almost equal points to both players: If there is a difference of only 1 point in life remaining (whether both are at nearly full health or close to death), players score 1.05 and 0.95 points.

- After 4 rounds of Swiss pairings (regular tournament standard), a player with 3 wins by mage death and 1 loss by mage death can have a higher score (max 9.95 points) than a player with 4 wins over time (max 8 points).

- Instead of dealing the death blow a healing spell can be the better strategic choice. This brings with it a significant risk of forfeiting a sure win by mage death though, if the match is already close to timeout as the other player could use the time and flee or heal as well.

- An aggressive strategy that has the mage taking some damage (most melee strategies) is at higher risk of scoring fewer points than a strategy that has the mage stay in the back and let creatures and conjurations do the damage dealing.


Some of these implications can and have been pointed out as obvious disadvantages of the scoring system and have caused some debate already. Nevertheless, the majority of players involved so far believes that the trade-off with regards to the benefits is worth it.

I would greatly welcome other local groups to try out this scoring system too! The more data we can collect the better!
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 06:25:29 AM by theasaris »

Arkdeniz

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Re: Tournament Scoring
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2017, 08:00:23 PM »
Intriguing discussion, this.

Another option for scoring seems to me to have been ignored.

Eliminating the enemy mage is still a straight out win, of course.

But don't measure a time-out victory by the difference in remaining life.

Instead, keep track over the game of how much actual damage has been scored against the opponent's mage from all sources. The winner would be the mage who has caused the most damage, irrespective of any healing or life gain.

I see three reasons why this might work:

1) It follows the ethos of win-by-elimination, and rewards those players who are endeavouring to kill the opponent.
2) It rewards the offensive tempo. Mages who have to step back and heal/restore/defend rather than attack are clearly on the back foot, and thus the opponent has the tempo advantage. In rugby, the sport I follow, there are many instances where the referee will award a free kick or other advantage "to the team going forward", that is, the side holding the tempo. I think this could be considered for board games/card games like MW.
3) It will not necessarily encourage crazy over-aggro or over-defensive builds, either. Defensive plays like aegis or armour are useful, in that they will reduce the damage made by the opponent in case of a tie, but without aggression and attack you will not win. 

That's my two cents worth. All it would take is a piece of paper and pencil to record damage caused overall. 
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"The only winner in life is Death, and I am Death's master." - Asharus the Necromancer