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Food for Thought: Side Events

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Azrael

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Post 18 Sep 2018, 12:19

Food for Thought: Side Events

Hi everyone,

Just to promote discussion (at others' behest ;P), I decided to post an idea that likely warrants a bit more discussion regarding side events.
This was originally thought of by someone (Ginny maybe?) during the Big Player Cut Off Debate of 2017 - and I thought it was an interesting idea, so I figured I'd bring it back up.

The heart of it is this:

When you register for ZLTAC, you may pick two "true" side events (excluding whatever's done with Juniors, Masters & Womens)
["True" being open side events, non-exclusionary, freely available events - non-exhibition.]

The events you can choose from:
- Solos
- LOTR
- Doubles
- Triples

The Pros of this:
- Halves every pool, increasing wiggle room, time, etc.
- Increases competitiveness, as you'd only play the events you'd like / you're good at.
- Increases seriousness and legitimacy, as there's less of the "I'm at nats so I guess I'll do everything" attitude.

The Cons:
- Less player involvement in pools
- What if you're awesome at 4 events? :(
- More, probably.

For example: If I had to pick, I'd pick doubles & triples - as I get to play with interstate / other people. LOTR I just play because I'm there, and solos for maze knowledge.

If a side event's numbers fall below the "We should run a pool for this" threshold, then we either cancel the event, or substitute it with something else.


What do people think? :)
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Post 18 Sep 2018, 22:20

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Not keen on the idea.

If I had to drop two, it would be LOR and triples.
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Azrael

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Post 19 Sep 2018, 07:57

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Captain Vegetable wrote:Not keen on the idea. .


Why is that?
I aim to misbehave.

"Hey... Isn't P&C in Melbourne?" - Pal, 2012 (On Subtlety)
"And I will pay $50 to get out of Jail again, because this game is a ****" - Vector, 2013 (On Monopoly)
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 09:07

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Unsure what the point of this is.

Event size is already being handled with the team cap so we don't need more help with the schedule. Side events don't scale in the same way as team events so we can handle a lot more people without a problem.

People already have the option to sit out their least favorite events if they don't want to. It seems bizarre to force people to skip one or more events when we have people who realistically have a shot in every event.
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 13:57

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

I think what Tim is aiming at or indeed what a few people have mentioned - two weeks is a long time for this comp to run.
Even with team caps its a long time to be away.

The idea has merit, it allows people to concentrate on what they consider themselves to be good at.
Interestingly enough it could also show what the group believe are more important to them.
Example: If you did this and had 90% of people put in for solos and on 10% went in for doubles. Would you then say doubles is no longer required ?
Or simply accept that, continue to run doubles and doubles becomes a really quick comp?

There is always another discussion I heard last year ... (No I did not start it, I joined it.)

Prenats 1 and 2 could become the side events? (An interesting idea, not one I think would be taken up, but hey food for thought.)

Then it moved to a comparison conversation ...
When it comes time for the main comp that's what we go to.

The comment was made... " When you go to a Major Competition, any of them, lets say Soccer. You go to play Soccer, not Soccer with a Game of Cricket, Tennis and Hockey put on as side events."

Whilst this is true there are some that see the comp we have a more of a social event - so these extra events are a part of that social structure.
Personally, either way works for me I enjoy the challenge, enjoy the social side and I have the time to do it.

Some people are concerned at the length of the overall competition.

So yeah Tim and Co. have a good idea there if you are looking at further reduction to the overall time.
... and so it begins ...
... perhaps after we enjoy a good drink!
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 15:02

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

If you have to drop people for time. Drop the bottom half.

Cutting out half (semi randomly) doesn't make it more competitive, it takes out half the contenders. Example: CV would sit out triples and LOR, two events he could get trophies in (and has done so before).
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 15:22

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Yeah that's one idea.
No individual will ever be right.
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 16:24

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

If I was still attending Nats I wouldn't be happy with this suggestion for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, in the past I've made finals in solos, doubles and LOTR (top 5 anyway). Why should I have to drop an event I like and I'm competitive in?

Secondly, as has been mentioned, these events provide a social side to the comp. The size of the teams events, and the cascade model, means that some teams/players will barely see each other across the comp. The "open" side events means (almost) everybody mixes because they have to be onsite at the same time, at least for the early rounds. We shouldn't dismiss the social side of our Nats - I'm pretty sure it's been a major contributor to its success compared to other countries.
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 16:27

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Wraith wrote:If I was still attending Nats I wouldn't be happy with this suggestion for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, in the past I've made finals in solos, doubles and LOTR (top 5 anyway). Why should I have to drop an event I like and I'm competitive in?

Secondly, as has been mentioned, these events provide a social side to the comp. The size of the teams events, and the cascade model, means that some teams/players will barely see each other across the comp. The "open" side events means (almost) everybody mixes because they have to be onsite at the same time, at least for the early rounds. We shouldn't dismiss the social side of our Nats - I'm pretty sure it's been a major contributor to its success compared to other countries.


I totally agree it has been a major contributor to the success Wraith, couldn't have put it better.
The total length / time of the competition is the baseline question though.
... and so it begins ...
... perhaps after we enjoy a good drink!
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 16:50

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

I don't like it. If I somehow ever managed to win solos, it wouldn't be the same if other elite players opted out due to scheduling. I want to beat everyone.
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 17:02

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Ibo wrote:I don't like it. If I somehow ever managed to win solos, it wouldn't be the same if other elite players opted out due to scheduling. I want to beat everyone.


... come get me in Masters ... eeeerrrr ... Veterans.(Just in case.)
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 19:14

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

The thing is it doesn't MAJORLY fix any problem. Yes, reducing the number of players in the pool reduces the duration of the side event, but it doesn't halve it. You get diminishing returns after a point.
Probably easier to just cut a whole bunch of people early to "get rid of the non-competitive/social players" that are typically there to have fun, and then the more competitive (or lucky) people will be competing against each other at the pointy end of the comp. We've already been going down this path for a while including harsh cuts to Round games and reducing the number of "lives" bottom teams get in Format-D to save time. We already parallelise LOTR as best we can.

The biggest time sink we have at the moment is Doubles Round 1. Yes, reducing the number of players there would make a huge difference... of maybe an hour or two over the 100 hour week.

As blasphemous as it is, if you actually want to cut a huge amount of time, get rid of Cascade 2, or make it a thin cascade. They're the games I enjoy the most, but they only have a minor effect on the final ladder placings at the end of the day.
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 19:20

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Drayke wrote:The thing is it doesn't MAJORLY fix any problem. Yes, reducing the number of players in the pool reduces the duration of the side event, but it doesn't halve it. You get diminishing returns after a point.
Probably easier to just cut a whole bunch of people early to "get rid of the non-competitive/social players" that are typically there to have fun, and then the more competitive (or lucky) people will be competing against each other at the pointy end of the comp. We've already been going down this path for a while including harsh cuts to Round games and reducing the number of "lives" bottom teams get in Format-D to save time. We already parallelise LOTR as best we can.

The biggest time sink we have at the moment is Doubles Round 1. Yes, reducing the number of players there would make a huge difference... of maybe an hour or two over the 100 hour week.

As blasphemous as it is, if you actually want to cut a huge amount of time, get rid of Cascade 2, or make it a thin cascade. They're the games I enjoy the most, but they only have a minor effect on the final ladder placings at the end of the day.


Big questions in there Drayke ... interesting.

No room for "Dump all the side events and just play the 5 man ?"
(Only asking.)
... and so it begins ...
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 19:22

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Actually I would be keen on hearing ... "If I were Emperor!"
Doug does this so well.
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Post 19 Sep 2018, 21:45

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Drayke has got it right. Dropping the numbers in side events doesn't do much for the overall length of the competition. The side events run really lean already.

Lets look some numbers
A 37 team competition (2019 cap) takes 222 round robin games + 148 cascade games. This works out to a total of 370 games or 92.5 hours (not including finals).

Imagine we drop the cap to 35 teams
We now only need 199 round robin games + 140 cascade games. This works out at a total of 339 games or 84.75 hours

Dropping two teams would save us 7.5 hours. This is approximately half a day, longer than some entire side events.

Lets see what happens if we drop 10 players from solos.

Each player plays two games in round one, with around 20 players in a game. This means reducing 10 players from round one will make it one game shorter. Recharge is a similar scenario, except each player only gets one game, so on average dropping 10 players will reduce it by half a game (sometimes 1 game sometimes 0 games).

We don't have to consider round 2 and beyond for solos, because increasing (or decreasing) the size of round one no longer modifies the size of round two and beyond, the cut just gets easier or harder.

SO what do we have:
Dropping 10 players (2 teams) from teams event saves 7.5 hours
Dropping 10 players from solos saves approx 15 minutes.

It's incredibly misleading to talk about cutting side events as a solution to fixing the problem of the comp taking too long. To get any serious changes we need to look at the main event.
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Post 20 Sep 2018, 16:04

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

I don't know if this has been suggested before, so sorry if I'm bringing up an old idea, but wouldn't a potential solution be to put side events before the main competition instead of switching between them throughout the two weeks? This means that people could choose to save themselves a few days by skipping some or all of the side events, and people with no problem spending the whole two weeks at the site don't miss out on anything.
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Post 20 Sep 2018, 17:36

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

One thing to remember is a lot of teams already come early for training. So skipping the side events means you also skip training. A lot of players also see side events as a good source of getting more maze time, which is another reason to come early for them as well.

There are definitely benefits to grouping the side events though, especially with the team cap coming in, if all the side events were on the weekend for example, then people not playing teams could just show up for side events without taking a week off work.

The way we structure it now probably makes the most competitive finals - because the finals for every event are played near the end which maximizes maze time, but I agree that re-ordering it can definitely create a nicer schedule for some people.
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Post 20 Sep 2018, 17:56

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Popeyes wrote:One thing to remember is a lot of teams already come early for training. So skipping the side events means you also skip training. A lot of players also see side events as a good source of getting more maze time, which is another reason to come early for them as well.

There are definitely benefits to grouping the side events though, especially with the team cap coming in, if all the side events were on the weekend for example, then people not playing teams could just show up for side events without taking a week off work.

The way we structure it now probably makes the most competitive finals - because the finals for every event are played near the end which maximizes maze time, but I agree that re-ordering it can definitely create a nicer schedule for some people.



Good ideas..
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Post 20 Sep 2018, 19:24

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Popeyes wrote:One thing to remember is a lot of teams already come early for training. So skipping the side events means you also skip training. A lot of players also see side events as a good source of getting more maze time, which is another reason to come early for them as well.

You can partially fix this by putting allocated training after all the side events are finished, to make sure you can still get some training if you come a few days late. I agree that it is useful to get extra maze time with the side events, but at least this way you would have the choice available to sacrifice maze time if time off is an issue.

Popeyes wrote:The way we structure it now probably makes the most competitive finals - because the finals for every event are played near the end which maximizes maze time, but I agree that re-ordering it can definitely create a nicer schedule for some people.

There is also the option of having the finals for the side events at the usual time, and only put the first few rounds before the main competition (as these rounds are where most of the time is used). This does mess up your other point about being able to play side events without playing the main comp, but I'm not sure how common this is so it may not be a huge issue.
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Post 21 Sep 2018, 07:46

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

I think playing just side events is going to get a lot more common now that we have team cap. Especially in 2020 when the cap is reduced. I reckon we should set up the schedule to make it easier for these people, since side events can handle growth much more easily than the main event.
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Post 21 Sep 2018, 17:59

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Popeyes wrote:I think playing just side events is going to get a lot more common now that we have team cap. Especially in 2020 when the cap is reduced. I reckon we should set up the schedule to make it easier for these people, since side events can handle growth much more easily than the main event.


Quoting just the above for brevity, but you make some really compelling points (as does everyone else thus far).

I think you're right - we have very few people that come just for side events ... usually backup players and local players for whatever site's holding nats, but that definitely could change with the team cap, like you said.
It's a very good point RE: Competitiveness and scheduling of maze time. Side events on the weekend / beforehand is deffo an interesting concept.
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Post 23 Sep 2018, 13:50

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Some interesting ideas

However the problem is naturally dealt with through the team Caps system . (Remembering that we are going down to 33 teams in Darwin).

The design of team caps system allows for the titles to maintain its structure and format within the same timeframe (including side events). Think of Nationals prior to Albury with 30-33 teams.(Bendgio, Brisbane, and Adelaide).

As demonstrated in a previous post from popeyes, capping systems on side events are very ineffective at saving time. The balance of sacrifice to reward in side event capping system often results in the systems hurting the social/competitiveness /integrity aspects of the competition without really saving much time.

Moreover, reducing teams will also naturally reduce numbers in side events.

It is important for the integrity of the comp that the structure and format stay consistent.
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Post 24 Sep 2018, 15:02

Re: Food for Thought: Side Events

Mad cans wrote:Some interesting ideas

However the problem is naturally dealt with through the team Caps system . (Remembering that we are going down to 33 teams in Darwin).

The design of team caps system allows for the titles to maintain its structure and format within the same time frame (including side events). Think of Nationals prior to Albury with 30-33 teams.(Bendgio, Brisbane, and Adelaide).

As demonstrated in a previous post from popeyes, capping systems on side events are very ineffective at saving time. The balance of sacrifice to reward in side event capping system often results in the systems hurting the social/competitiveness /integrity aspects of the competition without really saving much time.

Moreover, reducing teams will also naturally reduce numbers in side events.

It is important for the integrity of the comp that the structure and format stay consistent.


Having spoken to several others, I don't believe that the problem is "Naturally" dealt with through the team caps system.
I do agree it has an impact - how much we will actually see over the next two years or so, I agree it takes time to gather and see the relevant info and facts, so time will prove out.

It may well prove to be a natural solution, given the time to show it.

The fundamental question remains, as mentioned above "Balance" " social/competitiveness /integrity aspects of the competition"
Some would argue, not myself at this point, should we be looking at cutting all the side events and take it away from the social comp it is ?
We all enjoy the way it is, but will that stop it from being a sport or growing ...?

Awesome discussion by the way and some really great ideas.
... and so it begins ...
... perhaps after we enjoy a good drink!

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