WA Masters 2017 – wrap up and (not surprisingly) a tangent around the progress of painting scoring at ObSec events.

The weekend of November 18 and 19 saw the third incarnation of the Objective Secured WA 40k Masters 2017. This year we moved the event back to November and 54 players battled it out, six 2250 point, matched points games over 2 days. The lead up to the event was interesting to watch play out as community members were sure they knew who would win. Good natured banter ensued as people suggested that a high performing player who had recently returned to the game was sure to win, others believing that a current highly ranked player was a shoe in. The reality was the combination of the relatively recent release of 8th edition, the caliber of players in the room and the BCP scoring system there were many many players who were contenders.

The event felt like it ran pretty smoothly, the Best Coast Pairings scoring app has certainly reduced the workload for M and I so we had a relatively cruisy day. Sadly I was cooking and serving lunch during Armies on Parade for peer judged painting so I didn’t get photos of the armies set up and I had an issue with the speedlite for my camera (the flash) so I’m not happy with the photos I did get but if that is the worst the event had then that’s not too bad.

How we judge painting and sports is still a contentious issue between M and I. I personally don’t like the way that we currently judge sportsmanship. It is basically your favourite opponent gets 3 points your second gets 1 point and your other opponents don’t get any. While that may be ok for the Sportsmanship award I don’t like the potential ramifications this may have on the Overall award because someone who is a good sport but wasn’t a top 2 favourite game may not receive any sports points towards their overall score. M’s argument is that when players ranked every single player they played against in the past what the TOs found was that, despite their being an explanation on how to score your opponent pretty much everyone got a 10 so it was even less useful than what we have at the moment. My counter argument is that the community has changed over the last few years so perhaps it is worth looking at again or better yet, perhaps there is a different method that we haven’t even thought of yet? This was a hotly debated topic last year and we haven’t made any progress on it yet. Sadly the process we have been through with making changes to how painting is scored this year leads me to think (and I can’t believe I am going to admit this in writing) that M is right and players would give either a 0 or a 10 and there would be very little in between.

Painting scores have also been something that M and I have debated over a lot these last couple of years. I’m like a dog with a bone and wont let it go so if you have been to a few of our events this year that is why you will have seen a few different painting scoring models as we trial different options to see what we think will work the best. Our first Masters (our first event) M went around the room and based on criteria picked what he believed were the best painted armies at the event. These armies were set up for Armies on parade and players voted on what they thought was the best army. We both agreed that this seemed like the best option however we received complaints that players who weren’t selected didn’t think M had even seen their army (he saw every army and had a check list for them all). We then went to a painting score and M would score every army and we received complaints about this being subjective. I personally don’t think that subjectivity is an issue, what is an issue is that with 70+ armies in a room and only 40 minutes for lunch time, M getting around and scoring all the armies during a lunch break was really not achievable.  M came up with the idea that we could give players the painting score sheets and ask them to self score, M could then walk around and look at the score sheet and it would speed up the process.  I had faith in the players that come to our events, they are capable people who can follow seriously complex rules, I’m sure they can follow simple instructions for filling out the score sheets. My faith was ill placed! Despite M explaining how to fill out the painting score in the players pack and my literally walking every single player through how to fill it out it still didn’t work (this is where I fear M may have been correct with his caution at the idea of going back to each player giving each opponent a sports score).  We then went to peer voted. I have a few issues with peer voted, some of them I wont discuss here but one of which is again as stated above with the sports score, when it comes to the overall scores some armies were receiving 50 votes and others none so the painting scores for some were over inflating overall scores and for others didn’t reflect the actual work that they had put into their painting. Finally at Masters we trialled peer vote for the Peer Voted Painting Award and then we had 3 judges; M, myself and a third non ObSec team member score painting. I then entered all of those scores and flagged if there was any outliers (i.e. if 2 of us had given a player an 18 and the other judge had given a 30), if there was an outlier then we discussed it. I then took an average (mean) of the 3 scores and that is the score that the player was given to go towards their overall score.

This was the first time that I had ever scored painting and there were a few things that I found interesting. The first was how nervous players were during that process. I’m not sure if part of that was because I was judging the painting and not someone who plays the game. I get that, some of the players in the room work for GW or have been playing for years or decades and I have only been around for 2+ years and I have made no secret of the fact that I don’t play the game, however I don’t need to play the game in order to be able to judge the painting, I pretty much just need eyes, and I have 2 of them and they both kind of work. M offered training to myself and the 3rd judge and the fact that our scores were all very much aligned is testimony to my ability to critique painting. Hopefully if that was a concern you had then I have gone some way to allay your concerns. One of the other things I noticed was that when I checked in with players ‘do you have a display board’ ‘do you have any conversions that may not be obvious’ etc players became really defensive. If you turn up to an event, you have the correct models, they are assembled and you have painted them to the ObSec standard (which I’m not going to go into here because I have written a full post on it previously but in a nutshell the army must ‘appear finished to a casual observer’) then you are sweet. The reason we ask about conversions, hobby extra’s etc isn’t to highlight that you don’t have it and to shame you, it is to make sure we aren’t missing anything and to ensure you get the best possible score based on the work you have put in!

Now back to the event. Thanks to the guys at Aushammer who taught us (ok M, technology and I are not friends) about Google hangouts we were able to live stream a game per round. If you haven’t seen them you can check them out on our YouTube channel. There was a good mix of games on that table. Please note as we were not a part of the games we can not be sure of the language content.

One of the most exciting events we have ever run was a WMH game where the winner of the event came down to 1 game and it was literally down to mm and seconds. The anticipation and excitement that day was palpable as the two players banged down on their chess clocks. It was awesome. While this Masters wasn’t quite as heightened to the last minute it was incredibly exciting. Sometimes, at events, we know in advance who is going to win because a player is going into the last round is so far ahead that even if s/he forfeited the last game they would still win. This wasn’t one of those events. Going into the last round Owen was the only player on 5 wins, if he won the game the trophy was his. However if Owen lost the last game to Matt then there were 5 players who could potentially take out the event depending on the points difference. The game came down to the wire and it was a close and tense end to the round and Matt was victorious meaning that Owen missed out on Best General but the points difference would mean we would have to wait and see who would actually take it out!

Full results for Masters 2017 are available on our links page however we want to congratulate

Best general (3rd to 1st), Owen Davis, Matt Aird and Tom White

Best Overall (3rd to 1st); Tom White, Matt Aird and Owen Davis

Peer voted painting (3rd to 1st); Aaron Jorre, Jason Stevenson, Tyson Linthorne

Peer voted favourite opponent (3rd to 1st) Jayden Caps (who deserves a special mention given what terrible match ups he got and he still lost smiling!), Evan Eakin, Hock Edwards.

Golden (Wooden) Sprune; Cameron Watt who accepted his prize with a huge smile and grace.

Players Pack Librarian (he who actually reads the players pack and answers the question!) Dean Langford

WA Masters 2017 Winners

We have to say a huge thank you to all the players who made the event a fun, exciting, interesting and enjoyable weekend. We look forward to exciting event schedule for 2018! Photos of the event will be posted on a separate event tomorrow (as sadly I have to go to work now 🙁 ).