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ITC 2017 Feedback

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  • The general air of camaraderie amongst players and organizers - especially in lieu of the tragic events that unfolded shortly thereafter, multi-national team events showcase exactly the open, accepting, fun and friendly culture we should all be trying to promote.
  • The venue - Alcohol w/ table service on site.  Easy lodging within walking distance.  Delicious curry down the street.  Supple toilet paper.
  • Judges - having judges nearby at all times allowed play to continue smoothly.  It was very easy to get a snap decision from a judge and continue playing rather than get bogged down fiddling with a laser or looking something up.

The BAD:

  • Confusing and inconsistent rules on information sharing.  It wasn't clear what was and was not legal with regards to information sharing.  I agree that a match is between two players and at no time should any player give advice or in any way interfere in a game they are not part to.  However, not being allowed to discuss results and potential implications of them during rounds removed a tactical aspect of the game, and was essentially unenforceable anyway, especially for those teams which spoke any language other than English.  I'd simply establish more consistent rules here, and focus on allowing as much communication as possible, and only dissuading actively helping a player during a match.  This also applies to standing - there is simply no good reason to keep pairings from players, and not knowing how we were doing definitely nullified any attempt to play tactically, or even have fun discussing it.  This isn't international soccer, and no one here would take a dive anyway - let us have the info!

The MEH::

  • The Pairings.  This merely gets a meh instead of a bad as it was the first time out, and you had to try something.  Overall however, I thought the pairing process provided little functional utility towards the success of the event, and in many cases detracted a bit from both the tactical and personal enjoyment.  I fell on one end of the spectrum, simply because with Gremlins in my bag and Stake a Claim in every pool but one, I ended up playing the same strategy 4/5 rounds.  I guess the on upside of this pairing process was to make it go incredibly quickly, as players soon realized they could just assign the desired master to each scheme pool, and with some strats being so tilted, often the decisions were incredibly obvious. It also limited the options to take advantage of the 'unlimited' format in terms of what could be bring - I had Nellie in my bag to deal with scenarios the Gremlins would struggle in, but she never came out, as we were able to take the easy route an optimize each round.  A few things I would think about for next time:
    • I think you need to decide upfront whether or not there should be significant down-side risk to the pairings, and then design from there.  If there is no downside risk, then players will simply 'pre-optimize' their faction/master selection, and that will drive the entire process.  I'd personally like to see a significant downside risk as well as upside reward, so that pairings 'matter', but that is up to personally opinion.
    • Availability of information.  I personally liked the impact knowing the opposing master had on crew selection, however, as it wasn't known until the pairings were essentially completed, it did not play in the pairing process.  I'd consider having all masters announced at the start of the round so that that info could also influence pairings. I'd also consider leaving schemes unknown, so there is still some 'wow-factor' in the crew selection process.  When you know everything going into the round, you tend to pre-select your crew.  
    • Spread of schemes and strats.  Having such a drastic spread in strats and schemes creates info overload and players basically pre-select everything to their strengths.  This balanced well against the non-event that was pairings - you always got the pool you wanted, so it wasn't an issue.  However, if you shake it up and do something different, consider making the scenarios less extreme.  I would consider different strategies but all the same schemes. (Perhaps revealing schemes after the pairings are done?)
    • Number of players on a team.  I'd grow the event to 7 players - one for each faction, or even 8 with crossroads seven.  Larger teams, with info sharing of course, make the event even more interesting.

If your intent was for the pairings to just be pablum, pair based on record and save us the time.  If there is an intent to have pairings be a key part of the event, present some risk/reward to it!  I'd personally prefer that risk/reward be based on the match up, as that is two sided and both teams can influence it, instead of simply on the strat/scheme available.  This would also allow players to show their skills at improvising in sub-optimal situations, instead of playing their best list on there preferred table.  

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