Wednesday, December 8, 2010

40k Tournaments: What is wrong wtih WAAC?

So over at BoLS, they have posted a little something about tournaments, and essentially, how to make them better.

So what happens is you have a tournament, you get a lot of WAAC (Win at all cost) players come to the tournament. That in and of itself is not bad. I don't believe that the image that name conjurs up (not the one to the right) is accurate of many WAAC players. I believe that most WAAC players will do everything within the rules to win. Yeah, sure there are some people that will cheat or slow-play in order to win, but I believe that those people are in the minority. A WAAC player, in my opinion, will be someone that min-maxes his army, uses current meta-game thinking to build an army that he thinks will tear up the compitition.

The problem comes in when you get what have been dubbed, "baby seals" at an event. Now a baby seal is someone who may be new to the game, or someone who is playing a "non-competitive army" because they like it, or because that is all they have access to, or just for the hell of it.

In the BoLS article they talk about how having baby seals in a tournament with battle points can ruin a tournament, and I agree. Nothing confuses me more than when the winner of the tournament was the dude on table 3 that 20-0'ed his opponent, while the two guys on the top table where so evenly matched that their game went 12-8. It seems to me that the person that wins the tournament should be the person that won every single game. Even if they, "clubbed a baby seal" in round one or even in round two, they should start playing people that are more adept and more serious about winning after the first few rounds. At the end, the two people at the last table should be the top two players one of them should be the winner, and the other should be second place, in my humble opinon.

It seems that a lot of tournaments are moving towards a "hard core" system where the winner is the guy who wins more than anyone else. NOVA Open-style tournaments (to name just one) play this way. The problem I see is that if I, as a Non-WAAC player (read "baby seal" if you like) may be discouraged to play after the first round if I get my ass handed to me, even less likely if I lose the second round.

Enter WAR Games Con nee BoLScon. I really like the way that the second day of the con is a consolation bracket (replaced in 2011 with a Rogue Trader Tournament). It allows players to continue playing even if they don't make the cut for the second day of the tournament.

If I were to run a con, I would make mine a mixture of the two. Everyone would start out in the WAAC tournament, but as soon as you lose a game you can move to the consolation tournament. In THAT tournament, you could have more prizes given away ala WAR Games Con such as, "next person to kill an HQ gets a prize," or "first person to reach his opponents deployment zone gets a prize," or even a prize for the person that scores the highest on a knowledge quiz. You could award prizes for best sportsmanship, or best painted and let all the guys that want to smash each others faces in to worry about that, until they are eliminated.

I don't know, I've never run a tournament, I really haven't been to all that many, but it seems to me that this is the best of both worlds, the WAAC players can try their hardest, and the players that aspire to be WAAC players can go and gain some experiance, and still have an good chance of playing a bunch of games and having fun in the proccess.


  1. You have to build events that accommodate all player types, IMO, b/c it's not difficult to do.

    To wit, let's take the NOVA Open's actual style and emphasis, for 2011:

    1) 256 players, split into 16 brackets of 16 on the 2nd day, with prizes for each bracket's 4-0 (meaning, someone who goes 0-4 on the first day will win a prize for generalship for going 4-0 in his bracket on day 2)

    2) Renaissance Man; instead of having the Best Overall go to the WAAC players, it goes to the person with the best combined score weighting Sportsmanship, Appearance, and Gaming equally (33% each)

    3) Random draw prizes to players, drawn from a hat where every loss earns you a raffle ticket in the hat

    4) Narrative, evening, midnight, and weekend-long softer-side / painting events

    The biggest problem with most events is disseminating the information. Just here we have an example of a reference to a "NOVA Open-style tournament" as being more hardcore, when it has the softest weighted Best Overall in the country. It's our responsibility as TO's to listen to all the input out there - help it along with better information when necessary, and listen to it when it's sound.

  2. Sounds like what your describing is a competitive player. Not consider a WAAC by most gamers.

    The author of the article, Sandwyrm, has another article on his blog where he defines what WAAC means to him...

    WAAC isn't a competitive player, but rather a douche who may cheat.


  3. 'So what happens is you have a tournament, you get a lot of WAAC (Win at all cost) players come to the tournament.'

    I don't know where you are from but my experience of tournament playing in the UK and the experiences of my mates lends me to believe that the fear of meeting players who are WAAC is very over exagerated. I have never come across one and neither have my team mates.