Monday, October 8, 2012

League Night: Herding Cats

We have (mostly) completed Round One of the current league.  Things have not been boring.

Red Fish, Blue Group.
Current Standings (W-T-L Pts VP Diff)
Blue Group
Guard         3-0-0 6pts +14
Eldar           1-0-2 3pts +1
Tau              1-0-2 3pts -7
Guard          1-0-2 3pts -8

Black Group
Necrons            3-0-0 9pts +10
Tau                   1-0-1 3pts -1
Space Marines  0-0-2 0pts -4 
Orks                 0-0-2 0pts -5

Mano a mano, gunline a gunline.
White Group
Grey Knights     1-1-0 4pt +5
Space Wolves   1-0-1 3pts -3
Orks                 0-1-0 1pt +0
Chaos Marines  0-0-1 0pts -3

Red Group
Blood Angels  3-0-0 6pts +9
Tyranids         2-0-1 6pts +1
Orks               0-0-2 0pts -2
Orks               0-0-2 0pts -7

Blue Group had a runaway winner, but the final game saw the winless Eldar player win big over the Tau.  This forced a three-way tie, which had to be broken by VP differential.  The size of the win swung things, and the Eldar squeak through.  Black Group also had a runaway winner.  One game is supposed to get played this Monday, between the Tau and Marines.  I'm expecting the Tau to win, but you know how dice games go.  Red Group was an easy one.  The Orks lost both opening games, so the Blood Angels and Tyranids played to essentially see who would win the group.  Finally we have White Group.  White Group embodies a problem I'm going to talk about in a minute, but it is easily filled with the most intrigue.  I've been told that all the games have or will be played, but pretty much everyone is eligible to win this thing.  The deadline is Tuesday, so we'll see what happens.

IG+Fortress=Win.  Who knew?
I do have my doubts about White Group completing the course.  They are a microcosm for one of the problems with the league as a whole, and, perhaps, for gamers in general.  Thursday is league night.  How the heck do you pin people down for this thing?  Life does happen, and gaming doesn't exist that high on the priority list, but the commitment level seems to be very lacking.  I've had to be pretty quick on my feet as far as setting up games against ringers (which is why the game totals don't add up).  With a league of 16 people, we should filling up tables, no problem, but we only had five playing league games, and not all of them were complete league pairs.

I need to find a way to incentivize attendance, rather than disincentivizing forfeitures.  Perhaps I'll award points for attendance in future leagues.  I don't feel comfortable changing the rules now.  I've always been taught you finish with the same ruleset that you started with.

Having seen the dedication of other groups in the area, it's disappointing not to be able to match it.  I worry that some of that is on me being too rigid, but on the other hand, maybe I thought the group was ready for something it wasn't.  I don't know that this sort of league is the right ruleset for the group.  It may be elegant if you're sure you can pull it off, but a loose group of casual gamers are never going to make it work.  I am pretty sure that's what I have on my hands, which means I have to abandon some of my preconceived notions about what makes for a "good" league, in terms of competition, balance, and functionality, and sacrifice it for a "good" league, in terms of generating enthusiasm and providing a background for people to gather.  I'm pretty sure I've got an idea for how to pull that off too.

In the meantime, how to make what we have now work?