With all the recent discussion (including today) of how FFG organized play continues to fail us, I’ve been thinking about how we as a community can improve the situation. I have an idea that I think could help the competitive Game of Thrones landscape and I’m looking for feedback from the community. I’m also looking for people who would be interested in helping organize and run it.
The idea is to create a season-long player of the year competition for Game of Thrones players. Each season will end with the two biggest tournaments of the year - the world championship in Minnesota and the Tourney of Stahleck - and the next season will begin immediately thereafter.
Players will accumulate points throughout the year by playing in all different types of events, with more points being awarded for bigger and/or more prestigious tournaments. The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the season.
Why a player of the year competition?
The best way to grow a game is to get people to play more. That’s the goal here. Other games use ratings systems as an incentive to play, but a PotY competition has some advantages over a strict rating system. First, you never lose points in a PotY system, so there’s never a disincentive to play. You only ever gain points, and the more you play, the more you can gain. Second, the seasonal aspect gives newer players a chance to compete on the same level as players who’ve been playing for years. There’s no long-term accumulation of points… every season is a new competition.
In addition to giving players a reason to play more, a player of the year competition would also be a great way to keep people engaged throughout the year. Seeing who and what deck won a regional is usually pretty unexciting, but if that win catapults the player up the player of the year standings, things get a little more interesting. And as we get closer to the end of a season, every tournament takes on even more importance. Having a seasonal championship would give us all something to follow throughout the year that (hopefully) feels like it matters.
Because of the differences in how the game is played around the world, it makes sense to have separate competitions for different regions. To start with, I propose having a North American player of the year and a World (non-North American) player of the year.
In addition to having multiple regions, we’ll have multiple levels of competition. To start with, I think we’d have an advanced level and a beginner level. A player would specify a level he or she wants to compete in for the season, and that player would then only be eligible to win that level.
The purpose here is to encourage newer players who don’t have a chance of competing against the best players in the world.
There are countless different ways to do the scoring, but I see two key questions to answer:
How do points scale as tournament size increases? Of course larger tournaments should award more points, but how many more? We want to reward success at big tournaments while also preventing those tournaments from completely dominating the PotY result.
How are points distributed within a tournament? Are they concentrated at the top or distributed more evenly throughout the standings? Finding the right balance is tricky.
Does anyone have any insight on the above questions? Is there an established scoring system used by other games?
The North American winner wins a plane ticket to Stahleck and the World winner wins a plane ticket to Worlds. Just kidding. Sounds pretty great, though, right?
The truth is that I really have no idea what the prizes will be. My hope would be to eventually persuade FFG to officially recognize the winners in some way, but in the meantime, we’d have to make do with the usual community-provided prizes… custom playmats, tokens, etc. I’m open to suggestions here.
To make this work, we’d need to create some infrastructure that doesn’t yet exist for Game of Thrones. Players would need registration numbers, and we’d need a system that allows tournament results to be entered. We already have a couple great tools that are similar to this (agot annals and jousting pavilion), so it can obviously be done.
If anyone is interested in doing any work on this end, please speak up.
As a player, what is your general reaction to this idea? Would this add to your enjoyment of the game?
Is anyone interested in helping make this happen? What can you do to help?
Just to give some context here: I realize the above idea is ambitious and unlikely to succeed without significant interest and support from the community. It’s definitely a longshot. But after such a disappointing year from FFG organized play, I feel like the long-term success of the game is largely going to be dependent on us, the players. I know there are people working on a series of player-run tournaments, which I fully support. The hope is that having a PotY competition would help encourage players to play in existing tournaments like those, and the result will be a bigger, better community.