Saturday, November 8, 2014

Indy Netrunner League

I recently finished running my first Netrunner league and thought I’d share about the experience. This is essentially a session report that covers 12 weeks. We have a pretty solid group of players here in Indianapolis playing at Game Time on the Northeast Side. We’ve had 3 leagues previously, before I volunteered to run the latest one. Personally, I had a great time playing in it. These LCGs are best when playing in a group of people who also take them seriously enough to build decks and when that group is big enough you don’t have to play the same 2 people over and over. Our league achieved this!

The Organization
Place & Time
We try to be consistent in our playing. That is the first and most important thing. So we play every other Monday night from 5pm – until the store kicks us out around 10 or 11. That is right, I said 10 or 11. Game Time, the store we play in, allows us to stay that late. With a variety of players, many of whom have families, having the 6 hour flexibility very important. It makes it more worth it for someone to drive a decent distance to know they can play for 5 hours.

Cost & Prizes
Your first visit to the league is free. We want new players and are always willing to teach folks. If you decide you like it after that, then it is a $10 charge for the whole league. This last league we gave out 3 season kits, 3 data packs, and a core set. The top players on the achievement side split 1 game night kit, the top players on the competitive split two of them, and then we had a couple random prizes for htose who didn’t finish in the top in either of those divisions. Also, there is always bragging rights.

Achievements & Competitive Divisions
We broke the league down into two different divisions, which players could attempt to win one, the other, or both. Our achievements division had 30+ achievements possible as both corp and runner. The idea behind them was to make them a side game, essentially not doing what you would normally do and thus jeopardizing your victory by attempting the achievement. The Competitive Division was just that. Whoever won the most games over the league won the division. You can only play another player in 3 matches (Corp & Runner) throughout the league. Get the most wins, get the victory. I created some simple sheets for players to keep track of who they played for the evening, the results, and any achievements that occurred.

The Results
You can see the Excel Sheet for our League here:

Overall, I think the league went pretty well. We had 19 people participate over the course of it. This league lasted 6 nights (which is 12 weeks). We had two guys charge at the achievements really hard, one of which got all of them by week 4 I believe. I’m not sure our eventual Competitive Division winner ever played different IDs than Noise/PE. Since people we keeping track of their wins/losses, I asked them to write down their ID as well, which led to some interesting stats. It seemed each week we always had at least 10 people show up, rarely fell below 8 people playing at once, but rarely got over 14 people playing at once either. Everyone seems to be very accommodating and until the last night itdoesn’t feel nearly as competitive as regular tourneys. In general Netrunner tourneys aren’t overly cutthroat in my experience anyways, so I think it has fit well. A shout out to Karl for dominating the achievements division and to Travis for getting the win in the competitive division!

Going Forward

First off, scoring for the competitive division can be wonky. With the league only meeting 6 weeks, even if you only miss one or two of those weeks, you won’t have a shot to win. Though not across the board, in general, the more games you play the better chance you have at winning the league. I’m considering doing an ELO rating for next league or a winning percentage with a minimum number of games/weeks played. The ELO sounds the best to me, but at the same time, would be much more work on my end. I wish FFG had a tourney/league system!

Second, the achievements are a tough thing. I really liked having each ID as an achievement, that led for a lot of variety while people were attempting achievements, but then many people just stopped trying to get achievements at all. It is a lot of work building 6 new decks a week. I think I played Quetzal 6 times during the league other than that I didn’t play the same deck twice. So perhaps a weekly achievement model will work, just so long as it is planned out.

Third, the length of the league. Meeting 6 times seemed long, because we only meet every other week. Going to weekly I think would dilute our player pull too much, so I’m considering dropping it to 5 weeks, which is 10 weeks in real life. This would bring about faster conclusions and then we can have a tournament that last week, perhaps seeded based on the league.

So there you go, our latest league and how it went. I’d love to hear suggestions or comments from others out there that have played in a league, run a league, our would like to play/run in a league.

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