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Battime Stories - Czech and Slovak tournament league summary

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The first season of our Czech and Slovak tournament league named Battime Stories has recently concluded, and I thought it might be interesting to share some organizer's notes about the design, goals, and how successful they were. 

Czech and Slovak Malifaux Community

Our local community is rather small, and its centers are mostly connected only by several (mostly) competitive players visiting each other's tournaments. A general problem in our local community is the significant gap between strong competitive players (who play and travel a lot) and casual players (who usually play only locally and often avoid tournaments altogether). Games between these two groups of players are usually very one-sided, and the number of players in between (who can offer challenging games for opponents from both groups) is quite small.

Although the cities where Malifaux is played are not far from each other (around 1-3 hours by car or train to the nearest one), non-tournament games between players from different cities are quite rare, and local communities differ in their gaming habits and preferences.

  • Prague is the only city with a brick-and-mortar store carrying Malifaux items. Although the number of players is the largest here, almost all of them are very casual, playing only occasionally and/or intentionally avoiding competitive events. When our tournament league started, there were only about 2 strong competitive players, none of whom participated in the league in the end (+1 living nearby, who did). One of them organized the opening tournament in Prague, but it ended up with very poor local attendance (only two players). Two players who attended the first tournament in Prague, traveled to most of the other tournaments later in the season, no matter how far they needed to go, which was very unexpected and welcome! 
  • Brno was one of the strongest bastions of Malifaux for a long time, mainly because of its central position among other cities with players. Unfortunately, the local henchman leading the community since the 2nd edition withdrew from the scene due to family matters, and the community crumbled, leaving only a very small number of old players still interested in the game (mostly casually). However, a new group of former WMH players appeared in the last few years and quickly became very active and successful on the competitive scene. They travel a lot to play and enthusiastically take every opportunity to participate in any tournaments around, usually taking top positions.
  • Přerov is a small city not far from Brno with a very small playing group. There is one very strong competitive player in the region who tries to run the game locally with a bunch of friends. They play mostly casually but are excited to play and welcoming to guests. These towns are quite close to Poland, resulting in a very pleasant visit from players from Krakow when the tournament took place there.
  • Bratislava is probably the only Slovak city where Malifaux is played. There are only a few competitive players, with several more playing more casually (rarely more than 1-2 games a month). Its location between Brno and Budapest brings live contacts with players from those cities who appear at each other's tournaments quite regularly.

Goal of the Tournament League

Our main goal in running the tournament league was to connect our communities and encourage more casual players to try tournaments outside their local area. We believe this was vital but very difficult. Usually, it is mostly the strong competitive players who travel to different cities, and when they crush local newbies/casuals, it often feels like there is no reason to travel anywhere else, as those other communities are too strong.. If we had achieved the increase of movement of the lower-end players, it might improve their overall experience because they could play more games on their level with new opponents.

We were well aware that this is not an easy task. Another idea was to find tools that could improve the experience when two players with a huge skill gap meet. This could possibly be achieved when the stronger players focus on other things than just winning a game with the highest possible MOV, ideally somehow handicapping themselves voluntarily.

Naturally, we did not want to lose the competitive aspect of the tournaments altogether and wanted the strong players to test their mettle against each other, preferably in different environments, but did not want to punish players who are not able to participate in all tournaments

Therefore, we came up with the idea of two separate rankings: competitive and community.

Competitive Ranking

An integral part of any tournament or league should definitely be a competition of player skills. There are several very competent players in our Malifaux community, and most of them enjoy hard games against each other.. However, considering the individual possibilities to attend tournaments, the fact that most TOs are also competitive players themselves or different sizes of tournaments, deciding the proper formula was not a simple task. In the end, we decided that each player is awarded the number of points equal to the number of tournament rounds (usually three) plus the number of players below. For the overall ranking, only the three best results would be calculated. As the number of participants differs from 8-18 players, even above-average results in bigger tournaments are valued more than winning smaller ones. This was supposed to encourage even the competitive players to convince their hesitant friends to come.

Community Ranking

We tried to come up with the idea of a separate ranking that concerns different aspects of gaming. We wanted to encourage casual players to participate, to visit different cities' tournaments, and still be engaged with the league system in some sort of competition. Thus, we created a list of achievements, each scoring some points when achieved (the full achievement sheets with all the fancy "trigger names" can be found here). The overall winner would be decided by the most achievement points gained throughout the whole league (not just the best three) as frequent attendance of players was one of our goals too.

Achievements we created were mostly aimed at the following objectives:

  1. Appreciate things that are generally valued in the community, such as frequent attendance (especially outside of one's local city), bringing along new players, helping TOs with preparation, finishing games in time, diversifying factions' presence in tournaments, etc. Hobby-related achievements that show extra effort to improve the theme and aesthetics of the event (such as playing full-painted crews or cosplaying) could fit in this category too.
  2. We wanted to give more casual players a bit of help by listing stuff they usually do, often unintentionally to their own detriment (like playing fixed lists throughout the tournaments, faction or keyword hopping, playing without OOK/versatile models, etc.). New players and wooden spoon players always gained some extra points.
  3. This category overlaps with the previous one a lot, although with completely different goals. These achievements should be aimed at the hardcore competitive players and make them somehow handicap themselves. It would ideally lower the huge gap between them and their weaker opponents and provide some extra challenge for them. Ironically, it is often much more difficult for a competitive player to, for example, play a fixed list, play without any OOK tech picks, or bring something new to a tournament. In addition, there were several achievements directly meant as extra challenges for these players (e.g., playing henchman-led crews, offering their opponent to choose a leader they play, etc.). It was also supposed to provide some extra agenda to competitive players that got some early losses, so they could still enjoy some competition even while playing in the lower half of the table.


In the end, we held seven tournaments between September 2023 and June 2024, with attendance ranging from 8-18 players per tournament. Overall, 29 players attended at least one tournament, including our foreign guests (from Poland and Hungary). Unfortunately, half of those participated in just one or two tournaments. This leads to around 15 players actively participating in the tournament league, which is decent but not spectacularly great.

The competitive ranking did not bring any major surprises, and the podium was taken by the best players around. The community ranking, however, ended up in a much more interesting way. Out of the top 5 players, three (including the winner and the runner-up) are either new or casual players. Their persistence and enthusiasm led to a thrilling competition, and the final standing was not certain until the very end.

Our goal to bring new players to our tournament scene and make them travel more between cities mostly failed with several exceptions. The biggest surprise for me was a relatively new player from Prague, who started the league as an underdog but ended up attending all the tournaments and finished as the runner-up in the community ranking and in the top 5 of the competitive ranking as well!

To conclude, I think the tournament league was a successful event that brought our communities together. While we may not have achieved everything we hoped for, we have laid a strong foundation for future events and learned valuable lessons that we can build upon.

AP1GczOlO7UR-nDabJqQ7oLvLxKthUJr3ZQwQ6zs (tournament trophies)



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