Skullkrusher the Ejected (firstname.lastname@example.org), Coach of the Death Raiders (8-3), writes:
Howdy, sports fans! Much has been made here of late about tournament-winning teams throwing entire leagues out of kilter because of their astronomical ratings.
Here in Western New York, we just completed the AFL-CIO Spike! Open Tournament, and the Dungeonbowl will begin in approximately 1 month.
The Spike! was won by the French Lickety-Splits, an Undead team. Their team rating went from about a 165 to a 185 or so with the win.
Conversely, the runners-up, my Death Raiders team (Orcs) went from a 185 to a 180 -- partly because they sank 60K into Freebooting 2 Goblin Fanatics, and partly because they lost Star Thrower Karg Vyragon, who had 31 SPPs at the time of his untimely demise.
This was our first tournament. I really don't think our teams are that much higher than a lot of others in our league. The Semi-Final Also-Rans are ranked right around this area: prior to their last game (against each other, coincidentally), the Skaven Blood Creek Bombers had a team rating of 165, and the Human Blood Sac's Avengers had a team rating of 157.
A Dark Elf team in our league is also up around 130 or so - he has quite a few good players, and is rebounding from his hideous 10-casualty game against the 'Splits earlier this year. The Oakland Druids, a Wood Elf team, has a team rating in the 140s (and it would be higher if they hadn't foolishly allowed Star Catcher Cliff Branch to die in their game against the Dark Elf Erengrad Deathstalkers).
This, you say, doesn't sound like your league? You want to know how this ever happened? You want to know why the tourney finalists aren't soaring away with the team ratings lead?
Well, here's what happened in our league. I'm providing the key elements I think helped create this balance, and in providing some comments and suggestions, I hope I can help some unhappy Commissioners along the way:
- In the AFL-CIO, each coach is only allowed 1 team.
This may not seem like such a big deal. After all, allowing everybody two teams would probably cause coaches to cut their time in half with each team, resulting in lower TRs (Team Ratings) around the league, right?
Right - to a point. And that point is tourney time, when each coach is only allowed to bring in one team apiece. As a previous poster to this board noted, that "split" caused a rift between the league's "haves" - the tourney qualifiers - and it's "have-nots" - the teams that were left behind when the tournament started.
One solution, of course, is to allow two tournaments - but at that point, you're running two leagues, and the teams should be kept separate.
- Some people just don't want to play some teams.
By this, I don't mean that certain people don't want to play Halflings ;) I should say, rather, that some people don't want to play against some teams.
Like the 'Splits, for example. The Undead team has no less than 6 Dirty Players on its roster - and at least 3 of these, if not 4, have Mighty Blow. In fact, after the "Erengrad Incident," people didn't play against the 'Splits for quite a long time. Only one team played against them in the playoffs - and the Skaven only agreed to substitute for the Dwarves in an attempt to keep the 'Splits out of the Semi's by beating them up (score-wise, of course;). The attempt, though valiant, failed.
"So what?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you what - teams like the 'Splits and the Raiders don't play as many games as everyone else does, that's what. So their team ratings go up much more slowly than other teams' ratings do. Thus, the range of TRs throughout the league stays relatively stable.
- Some people will go to great lengths to play a game.
You're the Coach of the 'Splits. No one will play your team. Your rating is starting to lag behind everyone else's. What do you do?
Easy. You turn to Jon Wooden, Coach of the Oakland Druids, and agree to play him in a game - with no Fouls. Wooden agrees. His team scores plenty of TDs and wins the game - but you score yours because your Mighty Blow and physical superiority simply pound enough of his players off the field. And you still get your casualties.
So you make out with SPP's. Now, a lot of you coaches out there are scratching your heads and saying, "Wait a minute - I thought you just said that because the 'Splits can't find anyone to play, this helps the league keep the TRs in line. Now you're telling me that they can play games, and that this also helps?"
Well, sure it does. The 'Splits won't kill as many players as they would fouling - this is simple point of fact. Which means that Druids don't die - they get to keep playing that greatest of games known as Blood Bowl! :) Which means that their TR stays higher than it would...which helps keep the range in check.
Also, although we haven't been able to test this at the current time, I think the following will hold true: teams that win a tournament are marked. Either everyone guns for them, trying to kill off their best players (if they're Elves or Skaven), or everyone shuns them, opting instead to play against some easier team (if they're Orcs or Chaos or Undead).
(For those who are wondering, Human winners are, I guess, shunned - and those who play them try to kill all their best players;)
In either case, chances are good that if 3 conditions are met, you will have a new champion by the time your next tournament rolls around -
- You bought the game back around the end of summer - and by the time Death Zone came out and you started up a league and got enough games under your belt to organize a tourney, you played the Spike! first.
The Spike! is among the weaker of tourneys. Anyone who started out with the Blood Bowl as the first tournament should probably scrap the whole thing and start with the Dungeonbowl if their league seems severely out of whack. Teams that win the Spike! get some pretty bonuses, but it isn't enough to turn their team into the auto-killer the Blood Bowl Tourney produces as its champion (here, of course, I'm just guessing, since we started with the Spike! and not the Blood Bowl).
- Teams will shun your champion or attempt to dismantle it.
This is explained above. In anyone case, champion Spike! teams should probably get worse - either in net actual worth, or in relation to the rest of the league (like the 'Splits are sure to do).
- Other Coaches believe a tourney win to be a desirable thing.
Maybe they just needed more experience. Maybe they just didn't think winning 200K was worth the 300K' worth of players they figured they'd lose. Maybe anything, but someone just didn't go for the gusto the last time out. Or didn't have what it took to catch the eventual champs. But by the time the Dungeonbowl rolls around...teams are going to start making designs on that 150K...not to mention that free 150K in the form of the Team Wizard...
For myself, I can say this - I had a starting Orc team that was 7 Linemen deep. It had 2 Gobbos. It had 2 Throwers. It had the 1 Star Blitzer, and 1 Black Orc. While I picked up a Blitzer and another Black Orc as soon as possible, the team had a FF that was too low (2), and not enough beef for an Orc team.
I learned my lesson in the Spike! Final. I was planning on buying a Troll after the match, win or lose, but I ditched that plan in favor of developing 2 more Black Orcs. I'm tooling up to make sure I can physically beat on the Undead the next time I play them - which will be at some point during the Dungeonbowl playoffs.
But the point is, everyone learns from their mistakes and comes back stronger. Champs tend to figure that they did everything right the first time - so why change anything? That's why they get beat.
Personally, I don't expect the 'Splits to repeat as champions. I don't see anyone actually playing them between now and the Dungeonbowl (I know the Dark Elves have pledged never to play them again:). Meanwhile, everyone else is playing games - and my team is no longer feared by the great majority after I lost the Spike!, so more money should be rolling into my coffers any day now...:)
Well, after all this loquaciousness, I'm rather thirsty! And I hope this can be of some use to somebody out there.
|21 June 1996||reorganized|
|22 April 1996||reformatted|
|12 April 1995||first published|
|Comments or corrections?|