Infinity National Team Challenge 2015

intc logo - blackLast year the Exeter Inquisition club (http://exeter-inquisition.org/) hosted the first ever Infinity National Team Challenge. The day itself went about as smoothly as anyone could have hoped – the timetable was adhered to, no games had to be cut short (though a couple started playing into overtime cunningly described as a break between rounds), and everyone left for home on time with a prize of some description (which I think surprised some of the lower scoring teams). Overall victory went to “The Turnips” from Reading, led by the self titled Grand Turnip Overseer himself, i0003. Bonus points go to their themed HVTs (Highly Valuable Turnips) that were specially prepared for the event. Both runner-up spots went to the Pigmar Wargaming Club, who entered two teams – Bacon and Ham, captained by Wintermute and Lupine respectively. Bonus shout-outs to Team AmazingStoke who had matching T-shirts, The Compelling Argument who came to the event with around 20 games of experience between them, having started playing only recently, and Vertically Propelled Johnny Rockets who had by far the best team name 🙂

In the end, we had 6 teams (18 players) facing each other for the title. The way that the team element factored in is as follows:

Team Pairings / player match-ups
The teams are paired randomly in round 1, and using swiss matching in rounds 2 and 3. After the teams are matched, the Team Captains roll a WIP 15 face to face roll, and get to choose Team Initiative or Team Deployment. Team Initiative gives that Team Captain the choice of which players play each other in that round (player factions are public info). Team Deployment gives that Team Captain the choice of which tables in their designated zone these player matches take place on. After that, the games progress between the players as per standard ITS rules.

Scoring
I am not a fan of the ITS method, using Objective Points as the primary sorting qualifier. It is my opinion that a win should be worth more than a loss, and dislike the fact that a high scoring game with a 10-6 score giving the loser a better place than a hard fought victory scoring 4-3. To this end, the event scoring worked with Rounds, Games, OP, VP as the sort method. A Team got a Round win if they had more Game wins than their opponent in a round. It should be noted (with interest) that with 1 exception, the results as sorted by my method coincidentally had OP descending correctly as if sorted by the standard method. Also note, that to keep the ITS rankings “pure” the results were submitted to CB using the official sort method, ignoring team affiliation.

The missions played were:
*Highly Classified – Extreme Prejudice, HVT Inoculation, HVT Designation, Sabotage.
Nimbus Zone
Supremacy

*With this mission, the primary classifieds were picked prior to the event, but not made public until the round was starting. The reason for picking the classifieds rather than the random draw was twofold:
1) Having everyone play the same 4 objectives makes the results more comparable than games where people have played wildly different objectives. Yes, for a gaming night I have no issues with the random draw, but for an event where scores are to be compared, then I feel that there needs to be a common set of objectives, so that everyone is playing the same game. You might as well otherwise have people roll for random ITS missions and compare the results of one table playing Lifeblood and another playing Beacon Race.
2) As explained in the following paragraph, I was recording a lot of information for this event – and having 4 boxes that players could tick on the results slip used up a lot less space and was much easier to record.

I have attached the tracker spreadsheet I created to manage this tournament at the bottom of this post, and logged as many variables as I could on the day. From this information, I have inferred some statistics. Bear in mind this was only 18 players, so the sample size is still pretty small, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. This spreadsheet also contains links to everyone’s lists, and will tally up with the images of the tables to show which side each player was playing on (potentially important for looking at individual initiative/deployment choices).

Table images (and other random event pics) can be found here: http://exeter-inquisition.org/gallery/intc-2015. When looking at the table specific images a couple had additional scatter added after I had taken the photos when people started arriving with some extra scenery, though the layout remained generally the same. Some notable differences – Zone 2 Table 2 had more barriers placed on the walkway, Zone 3 Table 3 one of the rooms was moved over (badly photo-shopped in the overhead views). If in doubt of particularly bad fire lanes, look at the general gallery for images of games in progress to see what changes were put in place. With regards to the overlays – these are just rough indications of the objective locations / nimbus zone / deployment areas. Not an exact science as things will have been nudged to make room for objectives and the overlay scaling and skewing is just best-efforts and not necessarily correct.
Thoughts behind some of the decisions:

I wanted to give some meaning to the Team part of the event, more than just aggregated scores, and still keep the Infinity feel. Expanding the Initiative and Deployment choices to the Team just seemed a natural fit. I was concerned that picking the tables could be the far more powerful ability, but that doesn’t seem to be backed up by the numbers so far.

We had a couple of repeat match-ups on the day, with the first being accidental, but was allowed a second time as unlike a singles tournament you aren’t necessarily facing the same opponent twice. In hindsight, I feel that the occasional chance of a rematch could enhance the club rivalry that I am interested in trying to cultivate.

We had a total of 9 tables divided between 3 types – Urban, Rural, Outpost. We considered each Zone having one of each type, but ultimately decided to stack the Zones (1 had 1 Outpost and 2 Urban, 2 had 2 Outposts and 1 Rural, 3 had 2 Rural and 1 Urban) with the idea being that this made it less likely for someone with lots of visors (for example) to be stuck on the same table type all day. The diversity in table type was deliberate to make sure that people had to use the terrain rules – all too often these are forgotten or deliberately not used! A summary of terrain and house rules can be found here: http://infinitytheforums.com/forum/topic/31116-infinity-national-team-challenge-291115-exeter-uk/?do=findComment&comment=740013

We grouped the ITS missions into similar styles and picked one from each style to en
sure each round had a different feel. Highly Classified (Free-form – similar to Annihilation), Nimbus Zone (High objective focus – similar to Emergency Transmission), Supremacy (Area control – similar to Frontline). The one “category” of missions that we avoided were Objective Room missions for the reason of scenery requirements, and the need to re-arrange each table between rounds.

Let me know in the comments if you manage to deduce any other interesting statistics from the raw data! 🙂

Download: Tracker

Round 1 Go!

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