In my opinion, the ITC has been one of the best things to happen to tournament gaming since the Swiss format! It has invigorated a lot of tournaments all over the USA and has started to impact other countries as well. It has helped to create a lot of smaller tournaments and has helped bring people that live within close vicinity to each other together as they travel to tournaments in their area. It has also culminated in what has become the largest singles 40k event in the LVO. All great accomplishments by the Frontline crew.
The Missing Ingredient
I think one of the missing ingredients is a caste of players that avoids said events. These are the more casual types of gamers. The ones that just play with a group at someone’s house or might play in an occasional league, but never a tournament. I personally think that these gamers are what is driving the GW economy overall as there are a lot of them out there. The tournament gamer may spend more if you compare the average casual player to the average tournament player, but I really think there are so many more casual players out there that their bulk make up a lot of sales in the market. What would really invigorate the ITC is if there was a way to bring those players into the ITC fold.
The Inherent ITC Issue
Probably the biggest issue with the ITC is that it typically endorses a list building style that is counter culture to the casual player. A no holds barred or no list shaming attitude that I think is good in a tournament scene. Especially with how GW has made its list building criteria to bring forth such various monstrosities we see at every tournament. I know that a lot of players cringe at the kinds of lists they will face at an ITC event and think that is a very valid point. Most casual players don’t want to see a double Riptide Wing paired with Daemons, a Necron Tyranid alliance, or even a superfriends list where each character is cherry picked with minmaxness to create an uber deathstar that will wreak havoc across the tabletop and they shouldn’t have to.
While I don’t think we should change the ITC to appease list building issues, but to be honest this is happening to an effect with the voting system, there has to be a way or ways to bring more people into the event aspect of gaming whether it be a tournament or other type of gaming event. One of the great ways has been by adding things like best painted/appearance/players choice and best of faction awards. This gives people a chance to go for something besides just top general. But is that all there is?
The Alternative Events
There have also been concepts to tone down the lists and here are a few:
Highlander – There can be only one! Nice in concept but certain codexes (ie Eldar) will rock this event. I played a Grey Knights vs an Eldar list and it was laughable at the disparities between the two. It still allows people with those complex minds to see the hidden combos and break it.
Comp – Some type of weight system that weeds out the most competitive builds. Again, nice in concept, but can still be broken by many players.
Maelstrom – Great in that any type of list has a certain amount of capability of winning if they believe in the heart of the cards. I love the concept of continual scoring but have played to many games where the game was over on the first turn when my opponent scored 9 points and I scored 0. The best version I have played is The Mediocre’s adopted bastard euro Maelstrom with his Annihilation series. I think his system has some good merit that could bring in some other players.
Narrative – I’ve only seen this played a few times and it certainly requires an extra amount of effort to be done well either in mission design, multimedia presentation, terrain creation, or all of the above. I’m wondering if this kind of event would be the thing that brings out other kinds of gamers but still allows a way to earn ITC points.
The Answer – All of the Above?
Really it comes down to more people putting on more ITC events to snowball this thing into history. More tournaments means more chances to appeal to players and show them what this is all about. Different kinds of events and tournaments will appeal to more players and help grow the economy and make some cool alternative events to choose from as well.
I’m wondering though if the Narrative style of event would be the thing to bring more people into the fold. Run it like a traditional tournament with specialized missions and terrain and storyline to go along with it. I’ve heard that Reece has done a simple pass fail for lists for events like this and it seems like it could be a good way to encourage those casual players that want more than just a beat face tournament.
Yes, it creates its own meta and is dependent upon a good TO that knows the scene and what is and what isn’t broken, but there has to be a way to decrease the cut throat lists that are out there to encourage these guys to come out. They are just as much of our hobby as the hardcore tournament gamer and there has to be a way to get them out of their garages and into our loving ITC embrace.
Anyways, just some ramblings from a gamer that has had this on his mind as of late. What about you? What do you think could be a way to get other gamers into the fold and joining the club?