Thursday, April 8, 2010

We can't forget So-crates

I have been thinking about tournaments a lot lately, and what might be wrong with them. I came up with the following (long) system that I think would work reasonably well as a scoring system. It has worked in the several tournaments I have run at Armoury Games, but here are the details:

The process of scoring games at a tournament is not easy. There are a lot of things to keep track of, and the layered objectives for each game add to the complexity. I propose that we look at an alternative system that might shave off some of the complexity by breaking everything into it’s component parts and assigning a point value similar to the basic army lists. In short, keep it simple, and don’t forget to think like So-crates!

The basic annihilation mission gives us the core of what I mean. Each unit in the game is assigned a point value, and that value is modified by any gear given to the unit. In tournaments we set a “point value” or PV for each player’s army at the tournament. For simplicities sake, let us assume it is 1500 points. At the core of each round’s scoring is the point value of the army, which is then modified by the objectives for each mission. So you have 1500 points for the army, and another 500 points for the three mission objectives allowing a total of 2000 points to be scored each round. At the end of the tournament, this sub-total is then modified by the player’s sportsmanship score and painting/composition score. In a perfect world this would be 4500 points, the objectives for three rounds at 500 per round, plus 200 for paint, and another 300 for sportsmanship. This will tally a maximum 6500 points available for the tournament.

As an example a round might break down like this:

Mission: Attrition, hell, go for the jugular

Primary: Score more kill points 250 points

Kill highest cost HQ 150 points

Kill highest cost troop selection 100 points

Random Game length, Spearhead deployment

You score the point value of the models killed, plus the above points, and turn in the total at the end of the round. So you play a 1497 point Blood Angels army in round one. You kill all but his chaplain with a jump pack and 6 of a 10 man tactical squad with the plasma gunner surviving. This breaks down to 125 for the chaplain, and 74 for the marines (16 each plus the plasma gun). If you total that you get a kill total of 1298 points. Then add your objective points, for this example we assume two of the three. (the surviving marines were the expensive troops), you then add 400 points for a grand total of 1698 out of 2000 possible for the round.

In an objectives based mission it might look like this:

Mission: I’m in charge and that’s my toy and you can’t have it!

Primary: 3 objectives, hold more than your opponent 250 points

Secondary: hold all 3 objectives for one total player turn, (only score-able once) 150 points

Tertiary: Kill all of the enemies HQ units 100 point

Variable Game Length, Dawn of War Deployment

Again you score off of the point value of the units you kill plus the objectives. In this game you play a 1500 point Tyranid army. Here, it is possible for both players to score one of the objectives, but not for both to win. Let’s assume the Tyranids managed to swarm across the board and hold all 3 objectives on turn 2, but by the end of the game you have pushed back and hold 2 of them. If you killed 1427 points and the expensive hive tyrant, but never hold all of the objectives at one time, your score would look like this: 1427 for the kills, 250 primary, 100 tertiary, total 1777 for the round.

At the end of the day, the tournament organizer simply tallies the points for the three rounds, adds the sportsmanship and painting/composition scores to get a total for each player. Highest points wins.

The advantage to this is that we do not need a separate battle score, and there is no looking up the margin of victory on a chart at the end of a game to see how many points were scored. There is no layered scoring, and a player can keep track of his own score easily if he wants to.

While this method has drawbacks, most of these can be easily fixed by making sure every player has a detailed army list that is printed and easy to read, and is clear on the point totals for that player’s army.

What the So-crates method does is streamline everything down into one set of points to tally. Each player is responsible for having that clear army list, and being able to do simple math. If the score for a round becomes unclear for any reason, due to player error in calculating a score (this should be double checked by the judge at turn in) then the round is invalidated and both players involved get points for a draw, ie. 1750 for that round.

The guys over at Central Ohio Battles have a nice system they are testing out as well. I sent this all to them as a possible alternative to start a discussion on what we all think might work as the BEST, and most fair scoring system for tournaments. The idea is to maximize fun by eliminating the arguments and general vagueness that some systems have. Let us know what you think, here, and over on their blog at .


  1. The biggest reason I refrained from this type of big number system is the margin of error. With some of the cluster at the GT with a relatively simple system, I really liked the concept of KISS system. Even with those people still get things buggered

  2. Well I like this system as well except that it is still much more benificial to just kill the enemy rather than hold onto objectives, which then leads to "power lists" that have only one thing in mind kill the enemy. It almost invalidates the whole troops scoreing aspect of the game completely because I will just kill more of your army rather than hold objectives, I will just keep you from holding them as well by eliminating your squads. It reminds me alot of 3rd ed where the only thing that mattered was Victory points, troop choices were aslways at the two that was required, and then people just loaded up. Where as now you have to take into consideration how your going to claim objectives in 66% of the games, and how many troop choices it will take etc etc. I think finding a new way to score has merit and should be worked on, but in doing so be careful not to revert the game back to an older set of rules by eliminating, or watering down some of the core values of the new rule set. Just my thoughts.