Sunday, May 1, 2011

What a Weekend... (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Pt 1).

What an amazing movie. That reminds me, when is True Grit out on DVD...?

Man, I've got lots to talk about. Let's start at the beginning.

This weekend I ran a Rogue Trader Tournament. We had a pretty small turnout but honestly that just made it really easy for me so no complaints on that front.

The last tournament I had taken far too long in determining the winners of the tournament. This was almost entirely because of the extremely labor intensive process of manually inputting the Sportsmanship scores for each player.

Unlike "normal" sportsmanship scoring, we had players rate their opponents 1st, 2nd and 3rd favorites. This largely prevents chipmunking and other shenanigans, and prevents one person from tanking your sportsmanship scores.

Anyways, as with many things, what is best in the overall scheme of things as far as providing a fair and fun tournament experience for the players is not very convenient for the organizer. This means that I have to wait until after the final game to collect and input the Sportsmanship scores. This is further complicated by the fact that I don't have the names of the players and have to reference them all by number.

Needless to say it was an issue, and I decided to do something about it. So I wrote an additional worksheet in my Excel program that would allow me to quickly input the scores in from the reporting player and then have the worksheet tabulate the scores for the players receiving the scores based upon the player's schedules that I had previously input.

I also tried to get clever and make the program such that I could use it for more than three rounds if necessary.

Well, in all my cleverness I made an error in one of my formulas. Unfortunately, it was the formula that provided the "Overall" score. So everything else was great, paint, sports, etc. but the overall scores were really off. And not like in an "everyone's score is lower but they are all ranked the same" but in a "no really, this guy did not win Overall" way.

My number one goal is to ensure that the outcomes of my tournaments are fair and transparent. I messed up. To make matters worse, in my haste to get the awards announced in "record time" I neglected to do my customary "reasonableness checks" to ensure everything looked ok.

I call that "the perfect storm." Technology failure combined with human error = major fuckup.

So I announced the winners. And they were wrong.

Thankfully, one of the players quickly noted that something had to be awry. He had scored the exact same on Paint as the announced Best Overall, had a perfect Sports score (and in fact had been awarded Best Sports a moment ago)... and he had also won one more game than the person I had just called as the Overall winner. Woops.

Now that I was looking at the results critically, I could see they were clearly wrong. I was seeing the relevant inputs (win record, sports and paint scores) and the outcomes were just not right. I looked closer at the formula and saw where I had screwed up and quickly fixed it. In fact the player who had taken Best Sports should have been Best Overall, the former Best Overall should have been Best Painted, the former Best Painted shouldn't have been awarded anything, and the real Best Sports had received nothing. I called this the "one winner, one prize cascade of doom" effect. Screw up one thing and the whole mess gets unravelled. The only thing that was right was the Best General, who had won all three of his games (and we had exactly eight players) so had won the title fairly, no doubt about it.


So I knew I had to make it right. After triple checking the math I called everyone back over. I explained what had happened. I apologized to everyone and explained that anyone who had already received prize support would keep it, and those who had received less than they earned would be covered by me out of pocket.


So that was point one of the three things that I would like to talk about from this weekend. Oh, in case you were wondering, this was "The Bad," leaving the Good and the Ugly yet to come. But this is long enough and I am tired and need to finish up dinner.

The moral of the story kids, is don't let others pressure you to rush something that needs to be done right. Equally important, don't let YOURSELF pressure yourself to rush something that needs to be done right. Double check, verify, and if you can at all help it don't try and run a tournament alone, have someone else there that can check your results and ensure you aren't going off half-cocked.

That's all for now, folks.