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October 11th, 2005


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08:50 pm - The Witching Hour recap
This entry is being written at an altitude of five figures of feet between Boston and Atlanta, returning with Meg from a week near Salem, MA to attend The Witching Hour to Atlanta. We spend one more night together, then we part to our homes until next time.

Many things about The Witching Hour were excellent; of particular interest to me was the Quidditch, for which I co-ordinated the referees and the equipment. The refs were excellent in quality, though disappointingly few in quantity; the largest and upmost of "big up"s to Sarah, Lee, Jeremy and Colin, plus all the Snitch-movers. Quidditch was definitely a more interesting game here than it was at Nimbus, and our Quidditch programme was about as cool as the one at Nimbus (the shirts, the House tournament and the general publicity made up for the absence of banners, commentators and other fun stuff that the Nimbus ballroom atmosphere permitted). More people got to enjoy Quidditch, and I think the players did enjoy it at least as much, probably more.

It's highly relevant that we played outdoors on Salem Common, through weather that wouldn't have seemed out of place in the recent Prisoner of Azkaban movie and we pounded the pitch to muddy smithereens. Not the most conducive of weather towards fine passing moves and assured ball-handling, but tons and tons of fun - and somehow letting yourself go to play a fantasy sport from a series of books went quite well with playing as hard as you can in mud, an opportunity which people get far too infrequently. On the downside, I picked up a sore throat and a gloopy nose from being out in the rain - albeit under an umbrella - all day, which rather put a dampener on the rest of proceedings. I suspect that this was not too uncommon. There was no good alternative. In other news, this year's quests were really solid and well-executed - clearly far better than the one I struggled to put on at Nimbus.

There were tons of lovely folk there, some I hadn't seen for far too long, others I enjoyed getting to meet for the first time, and fond thoughts of friends who couldn't be there this time. I felt introverted, sometimes to the point of being uncomfortable, at several points during the events, and unfortunately freaked out somewhat in the charged atmosphere of the Hallowe'en Ball. Fortunately this was quiet and out of the sight of most, but unfortunately it seriously spoiled a night to which Meg had really been looking forward, about which I feel ashamed and sorry. (Next time I'll propose an Internet Introverts "Room of Requirement" where people can bring their own laptops and sit down quietly in a room, not talking to each other - possibly except through contributing to a common LJ post. The silence - except for possibly the occasional Instant Messenger bloip - and the lack of pressure will be comforting.)

There were a number of issues that made the event rather more stressful and challenging than it might have been, as well as unexpectedly expensive. Many of these were out of the control of the very hard-working organisers (to whom grateful thanks and massive fanworship are due) not least the weather. However, there were enough aspects which were ill-conceived that the intangibles made the overall effect of the event for me rather less than the sum of its parts. On balance, I'm glad I went, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been involved as a volunteer, so I could properly enjoy the wonderful environment in which to play in so many ways. I don't feel like going into it any further than that.

One funny thing that happened on the first day - Wednesday's volunteer registration, training and set-up session - was that we stopped at a small Pizza Hut on the main road into Salem. We went in to find probably ten of the twelve booths occupied by parties of schoolkids. There were only two apparent servers on duty and it quickly became clear that this was a school party all enjoying the all-you-can-eat pizza and salad bar buffet. Every time a pizza was placed on the buffet, the hordes dashed out of their seats and set upon it like eagles on a carcass. The highly harassed staff soon dropped all their previous plans and just concentrated on producing as many cheese and tomato pizzas as possible, only for all eight booths to rush out more or less at the same time. (Most of them even paid, which impressed the staff.) Apparently this wasn't a regular occurrence, which is why the staff were unprepared.

Mind you, we've enjoyed our own little slices of all-you-can-eat overindulgence, particularly at a strange and wonderful restaurant called Ryan's which, for one fixed price, can serve you a wonderfully varied meal. I had one cup of soup, one slice of (comfortingly cheap) pizza, one scoop of chicken stir-fry, one ladle of fried potatoes, one taco, one rather dull plate of salad, one spattering of okra, one plate with strawberry jelly, artificial cream, fruit and samples of three different puddingy desserts - plus a make-your-own-sundae station which points out just how bush league the British Pizza Hut's "Ice Cream Factory" is. By and large the quality of the food was highly comforting and mostly mediocre. I also bought Meg a cup containing half a (U.S.) gallon of Coca-Cola from a gas station, just because I could, and also because pumped Coca-Cola is now evidently cheaper than petrol. (Aren't you meant to be able to run a car on the sugars in Coke at a pinch?)

Happily, the shift swaps which meant that there was an unusually long gap between my last visit Stateside and this one mean that there won't be very long at all until my next visit, so I'll get to experience the Goblet of Fire movie and Thanksgiving in good company. Speaking of which, Meg's mother does wonderful sauteed, breaded okra; it has the closest consistency I've yet found in nature to that of tofu. To me, that's a good thing.

Meg is doing the USA Today crossword and a sudoku puzzle in the seat next to me; we're lucky even to be in flight, as inclement weather has closed Chicago and Denver airports, plus the many and varied connecting flights therefrom, and set so many other planes out of position that there have had to be cancellations across the board. Seems that the US low-cost airlines are just as insistent as the British ones on limiting their liability in case of cancellation to "a seat on the next available flight", paying no heed as to whether this will inconvenience travellers and force them to stay overnight out-of-town at their own expense. Fingers crossed that this fate hasn't befallen too many of you.
Current Mood: lovedloved

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Comments:


From:quidditchmaster
Date:October 11th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
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clearly far better than the one I struggled to put on at Nimbus.

That -wasn't- your fault!

Fingers crossed that this fate hasn't befallen too many of you.

The hostel was quite satisfying, and many thanks to both of you for the idea. The communal sense was a nice touch to the end of my adventure. I even played a hard-fought chess game with a German tech convention-goer for 90 minutes!

My grand recap post ought to come tonight or tomorrow -- Quidditch elaborations and all. One thing, however: do you have the list of all final scores? I'd like to compile them the way I did the Nimbus games...
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 11th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC)
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Cool! Glad we were able to help, that we led you to chess and that things all turned out OK. I hope and assume you're back safely in FL now.

I very much doubt there will ever be a list of all final scores - though I would be delighted to be proved wrong! - simply because the only records were in pen and pencil on paper and they got thoroughly soaked. It's quite possible that we may be able to reconstruct most of them, though, but probably not all; for instance, everyone completely lost track of the score between Scrimmageclaw and Hufflepuff in the non-semi-final. The experienced pros won by many, many tens; very probably over one hundred.
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From:baliset
Date:October 12th, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
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Let me tell you, those score sheets had the consistency of one ply toilet paper by the end of the day, despite being stored in a plastic folder thingy. They are probably living out their existence as a large, semisolid pile of mush.

It was great meeting you at TWH! I had a great time on the Quidditch pitch, despite the mud and rain (and glitter, which is still all over my jeans, despite washing them twice). :)

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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC)
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You can't - and wouldn't want to - have Quidditch without glitter. Right, folk?
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From:selkie28
Date:October 11th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
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grand seeing you again, dear. Hopefully it won't be too too long before it happens again, but somehow I have a suspicion it will be. *hugs* have a good flight back.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 11th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
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Thanks very much!

Meg and I kept saying things like "We need to go up to Boston just to spend time and hang out with cool people"; fingers crossed the budget will permit some day.
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From:selkie28
Date:October 11th, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
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*crossed fingers*
From:mr_babbage
Date:October 11th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC)
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>also because pumped Coca-Cola is now evidently cheaper than petrol.

Pound for pound, hamburgers are more expensive than cars though.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
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Do you count the weight of the bun and the salad in your value density calculations, though?

(Should you do so? Some of those serve-yourself salad bars are mighty expensive, considering.)

I think my favourite brigbother line ever remains "Thought for the day. Why aren't quarter-pounders 25p?"
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From:hermorrine
Date:October 11th, 2005 11:49 pm (UTC)
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I felt introverted, sometimes to the point of being uncomfortable, at several points during the events, and unfortunately freaked out somewhat in the charged atmosphere of the Hallowe'en Ball.

Extra hugs to you for this. I'm much the same way and if I hadn't had to go to the ball, seeing as it was one of my team's events, I wouldn't have. It's not the sort of thing I can usually handle, so I spent most of it upstairs in the PEM in the quiet gallery, sitting at a table talking to one person about a variety of things - or hiding from the music, noise, and crush of people, whichever you call closer to the truth. I can handle being around people to a certain extent, but the more people and the more uncomfortable I am with the situation, the more I hate it and want to get away. I had a rather memorable panic attack at a party about 6 years ago now, and since then I've been a lot more careful with what I will do and what I won't, and knowing when I need to go outside or off with just a few people or whatever. I'm sorry that it happened to you, though.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 12th, 2005 12:10 am (UTC)
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"Next time I'll propose an Internet Introverts "Room of Requirement"

Sounds good. :-) I felt good about my time in the Game Room at Nimbus. Not only was I able to help, but I felt, in the end, that I had been 'forced' to meet more people than I otherwise would've felt comfortable if I had been required to approach them.

I wouldn't be adverse to a recap of the events (by email) as I'm interested in what did and didn't work this time and the differences you found between the indoor and outdoor (despite the conditions) events. And what suggestions/changes/adaptations you have (since their so fresh in your mind) for future matches. :-)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 13th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
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Quick thoughts:

* The three-competition structure worked well and would have worked very well had the weather held up, which would have created much more interest in the non-pro tournaments.

* A mistake was made right at the start by announcing that there would be twelve teams and single elimination - and this was published early, so could not really be changed. I don't think it's wise to fix the number of teams so soon as demand is very hard to calculate, likewise the format. Guaranteeing people a certain number of games in advance is key.

* Not enough refs. The refs we had were great, but they ended up refereeing all day, more or less just like last time, which is not wonderful. Spare refs mean refs can take breaks, can eat and drink, can go to other events and so on.

* Ref training in advance was aborted due to lack of demand, which was a shame. The last-minute ref training we did worked OK, but only OK. It would probably have gone better if, while the refs were refereeing the practice matches, we could have tried to analyse the refereeing - though I can't think of anything that I would have changed.

* It was a real thrill to see teams get much better at playing the game over the course of the day: chaser strategy really improved, some teams used excellent beater strategy and the final had excellent seeker strategy. I thought the Phoenixes were the best team as far as I could tell. (Incidentally, they unpromptedly singled out quidditchmaster as the best chaser they faced, because he could score goals from a variety of angles, and probably the only one who actually did score against them.)

* malachan suggests bigger hoops are required for more goals. Am not sure about this - Gryffindor in the House final showed what could be done. Wouldn't mind slightly bigger hoops if possible, but perhaps hula hoops only tend to come in one size.

* Beaters and bludgers: better than at Nimbus, but not perfect. I would prefer bigger bludgers still, which would move slower - possibly eccentrically, due to filling. This would be harder still to ignore and also harder for it to go out of bounds.

* Seekers: worked better than I was expecting. Haivng only one seeker in the final was a mistake. There was a discrepancy in seeker organisation in that, during some games, (I think) caught-but-incorrect snitches were returned to the bag, and in others, they were not. If we're going to remove each wrong snitch from the game (which I think is wise) then we need more than eight snitches, and we need a longer gap before the first snitch in most of the games. The fact that games can go 30 minutes, like one of the early ones did, is a good thing. I'm still not opposed to trying completely different Snitch simulations.

* Scheduling worked pretty well, but might have been even better still had we planned for games on one of the two pitches to start on the :15 and the :45. Moving the pro final from 5 to 4 was probably a mistake, though a very understandable one to make thinking about people's coldness and wetness, because people still turned up at 5 to see the final, which was bad.

* Referees and snitch-movers were excellent. Pitch was excellent, probably deserves to be canonical. Having someone set up tent within the dotted zone around the outside of pitch two was a mistake. Keeping people back behind the dotted line - reminder at the start of each match? - would have been better.

* If we're going to lower the value of the Snitch from 150, I think 50 is too high still. Consider 25 or 35. (And I was once an advocate of 75 - whoops!)

* Am not convinced about outdoor Quidditch - at least, in the rain. Plus sides: much greater publicity and accessibility/exposure to the public, fun mud. Minus sides: inclement weather and little possibility to shelter, no commentary, no seating, no scoreboards. Scoreboards would have been very useful. I don't think there'll often be a practical available choice between the two, but I think I prefer indoor if possible.

* May return to this later.

On balance, I think most attendees enjoyed TWH more than I did and found the problems to be less problematic than I did. This is good, on the whole, if not good for me.
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From:rhysara
Date:October 13th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
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I'd actually like to see a few points awarded for incorrect snitch captures. Catching some of those snitches was hard and I saw one team catch it repeatedly in the course of one game and then not get the "real" snitch.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 12:23 am (UTC)
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Very interesting thought. I think your proposal would make for a better game, but a less Quidditch-like game; one of the ways in which we are accurate is that we have similar events which trigger scoring, even if not the same scores awarded. One change is that at Nimbus, theoretically, a referee could have punished a particularly egregious foul with points awarded to the opposition, which isn't canonical. It never happened in practice and wasn't missed as an option here. Heck, I can't recall we ever had an actual "minute off the pitch" offence - not to say that they shouldn't be listed as options in the rules.
From:quidditchmaster
Date:October 15th, 2005 01:12 am (UTC)
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We did have a minute penalty at least once to my knowledge: somebody was very rough with a snitchmover and the opponents got a power play.
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From:rhysara
Date:October 15th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC)
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I actually gave out two such penalties. Each within about 20 seconds of the other to opposing teams as I had some very flagrant encroachment into the keeper's box that I really couldn't ignore.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
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Well done, you! And well done whoever gave the other minute penalties, too. Obviously not well done that they were needed, but well done for using them when they really were.
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From:rhysara
Date:October 15th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
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See, I wasn't clueless the WHOLE time, just a good half of it!

Also, I've friended you so now you can read all about such fascinating things as my stinky quidditch!shoes. Very exciting.
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From:lord__voldemort
Date:October 15th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC)
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Yes, Isabel, my seeker on the Snakes did recieve a one minute penalty; Funny story, but they were being handed out!
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 13th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. Will keep this for reference. (You do something with the hats? Trying to find out if everyone that was supposed to get one did)

1) 25-35 pts for a Snitch catch eh? :-) Might tweak that a bit, but may just add more snitches and allow for possible longer match times. Might preclude preliminary scheduling though. (i.e. the early rounds start at 10, goto 'x' p.m., where they would definitely end by say 4 p.m. (even if every match went full, and then have the finals at 5 exactly. Each match would begin when the last one finished.)
2) Yes, the team structure and t-shirts, etc... might be unique to this event. It might be better to have a more informal structure as you used at Nimbus or just have 2 teams per house and have them play and then pick their best players to move into the semis. Just have a sign-up sheet ala Nimbus at the event. I would not imagine anyone would prefer to make it this complicated in the future regarding pre-planning.
3) Outdoor Q: Would all depend upon the logistics. Can't imagine having them play it outdoors in the summer in the Southern U.S., but an outdoor location need not be ruled out if they have a primo site...say...The Rose Bowl :-)
4) If outdoors: Need a covered area to contain scorers areas, etc... Even with a sunny day.
5) Hoop size only dependent on distance from end line of pitch to hoop. If it is a reasonable throwing distance, 24" hoops should be fine. You have the stats from Nimbus...what was the scoring avg there? The weather might have affected his aim. :)
6) No matter the game play structure, Q ref training is HIGHLY preferred. This is not a long-standing game like baseball, etc... Even though they have read about it and seen the movies, this version is different.
7) The bludgers I have are 6" dodge balls. You would know if you got hit by one.
8) I couldn't tell what kind of Quaffles you used from the pics I've seen. Did they have any problems holding onto them in the rain?
9) Snitch Movers: Any thought about the flag football idea? Where the Snitch Mover has a small flag inserted into their pants/belt and the seeker has to pull it. Like that you only had one Seeker on the pitch at one time. The snitch bag idea is solid, just need to train the SMs to do it correctly. :-)

Of course, the attendees enjoyed Q more than you, that's the point. :) You had to stand out in the rain all day and all they had to do was wallow around in the mud for 30 min stretches. :-) Won't have to worry about any of this for Lumos as they have Water Quidditch scheduled. (I imagine some type of water polo) Not sure how they're going to swim and carry a bat at the same time. Should be interesting. ;)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 12:20 am (UTC)
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2) Ooh, that's a very interesting thought. Not sure any future HP conference will have the same sort of pro/house/pick-up structure, but it's a good way to doing it.

5) Excellent point. We had 4' keepers' boxes at Nimbus and 8' keepers' boxes at TWH, both times with the hoops about 3' behind the back of the box, which will make a difference. Perhaps 8' is too wide?

Random thought: I wonder why more chasers didn't throw the Quaffle two-handed? Surely that has to be more accurate when shooting for goal.

7) Ours were bigger than that, but I think still not big enough.

8) Size 1 mini-soccer balls - at a guess, perhaps 5" in diameter. They seemed to work OK. The mud-related issues were incidental.

9) Effectively that's what we did, except the flag had to be removed from the seekers' grasp rather than from their belt. It worked OK.

Water Quidditch will at least give us a chance to see how human bludgers would work in practice, I guess... :-)
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 15th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
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Yes, a shorter distance would improve shooting accuracy. :)

Two-handed? No, as far as I can see a two-handed shot would not only not be as accurate you have to remember they are often marked by an opposing player. Even so, the one handed shot would be the more successful.

As I understand, you were given the Games Group Hats to give to Dori, Ginni, and the Games Coordinators as my way to thank them for their help even though I was unable to attend. What happened to them?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
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You've asked me this several times now and I've kept not answering... :-)

We gave four of them to the four Quidditch referees, who were refereeing all day, at least in part to identify them as refs. I ended up bringing the last one home myself. They're very cool hats indeed! Thank you!

gwendolyngrace gave me a large number of TWH Games patches to hand out to people - ideally, pick-up players who were doing cool things. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and (worse still) I don't know where they ended up.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 15th, 2005 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I'm nothing if not persistent. :-)

Not a huge deal. Although, TWH paid quite a bit for the patches. Was surprised they didn't sell the extras wherever they were selling t-shirts and stuff.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2005 12:15 am (UTC)
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More quick thoughts:

* Substitutes: hmm, not sure here. I rather lost track of whether the pro teams tended to have substitutes (from Dori's form, didn't most teams have one or two?) and whether they tended to use them or not. I would stick to a hard limit of 1-2 substitutes per team rather than four. Having people move from team to team wasn't wonderful, but can't be avoided altogether - particularly if the rain got to them to the point that they decided to quit. Letting people change from position to position within game is a loophole that I wasn't expecting - but players are pretty distinguishable (the beaters have bats, the keeper is in the box) and we need to make the seekers highly distinguishable.

* Time outs: weren't used by captains all that much, were they? If we have an off-pitch scorekeeper, preferably with a scoreboard, it would make sense for them to track time-outs as well.

* Shirts: extremely cool. Obviously you're limited as to what colour shirts you can produce, so I might have jiggled the draw so that teams with the same colour shirts would meet each other as little as possible. This is fair if it's done before teams are associated with individuals and not necessarily fair if you know who's on which team before you start jiggling. The Quidditch gear that the teams produced for themselves as well was ridiculously awesome too.

* I would prefer - especially given better weather than we had and/or indoor play - to spread the spectators on all sides of the pitch, in order to encourage consistency in delay handling when either Quaffle or Bludgers go out of bounds. In practice, they were handled quickly if they went off on the spectator side and slowly if they weren't.

* Might have been wise to remind the players of whichever sets of rules were being least effective at the start of each match - principally the time-out rules, but possibly others as and when required.

* I don't mean to malign baliset's excellent work, but the hoops clearly demonstrated how useful it was that the Nimbus hoops were screwed together at each intersection for added stability. I think we had similar "too easy to knock over" issues then, though.

* I miss the San Juan Seagulls.

* The Salem Original Old-Time Marching Quidditch Band would have been cool, too, if and only if the weather had been dry. I suspect there are lots of people who can tell me how much marching band in the rain sucks.

See also my Quidditch post after Nimbus; there are some ideas in there which I think continue to stand up in court.
From:quidditchmaster
Date:October 15th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
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When I substituted players cross-position, I made it extremely clear to everyone involved. I announced it in a booming voice, said "POSITION CHANGE," and pointed at each player, said their name and their new position.

I used time-outs in a very strategical way: when I saw my seeker losing the footrace to the snitchmover, as soon as I realized it was a lost battle, if I didn't think the snitchmover would leave play by the time the other seeker got to him/her, I'd call time out immediately. I ended up saving our team from a loss at one point with this strategy.

As for the other issues at hand, I like the current snitch style... however, I think the release of snitches needs to be controlled more. People running off any time they want (as happened) is -bad-; there needs to be a set time (and by "set" I mean "controlled" -- rolling for a pre-set random release time is still "set") when snitches come out. There should never be more than one of them on the field at any time (this happened a lot at TWH -and- Nimbus). There are ways to write mathematical formulae to "fix" the game to have a higher propensity of lasting a specific length of time: why one was not used here is beyond me.

I think the snitch-free period needs to be extended to 8 minutes, and that it should NOT, NEVER, EVER include non-game time. If the ball goes out of bounds, that should always stop the clock; there's a reason why we had the 5 minute grace period in there in the first place, after all...

If we extend the grace period to 8 minutes [of actual game time], I don't see a rationale for lowering snitch value. I pushed and pushed and pushed to use a better system for breaking ties (including the 3-1-0 swiss system and an offense/defense ratio as breaker 2), but current administration was adamant at making a tie go to the snitched team... I disagree with this.

11 feet is a fine minimum distance. Don't lower this. If anything else, make it higher. Also, may want to make the quaffle itself a bit bigger. It seemed a little small to me...

Hula hoops are made at 24" and bigger; if the ones we used were too small, there always exists bigger ones.

I'd prefer indoor Quidditch as well... if only because we -know- for certain we won't be hindered by weather.

I think the bludgers this time were -waaaaay- too big. Make them much smaller, seriously!

I will always, -always- support tournaments ran in a swiss-style (you're a games man, I know you know what swiss-style tournaments are) as opposed to single elimination or round robin. It's extremely simple to run pairings after each round according to swiss-style concepts (-not- like the pre-set way we had it at TWH); I was told, however, that it was "too complicated" for people to understand. I don't see how that's possible, given the intellectual levels of the types of people going to a Harry Potter convention, but whatever.

I'm sure there will be quite a bit of discussion about this in the weeks to come, if only because of the sheer number of participants this time around as opposed to Nimbus. I look forward to coming closer and closer to our official, finalized ruleset =)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 16th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC)
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Position changes: your implementation sounds like very good practice to me. Wider question: is it a desirable feature to have within a game? Is it canonical?

Bludgers were too big? I thought the only problem was that they were still being ignored too frequently, though less so than at Nimbus. Please convince me.

Swiss style tournaments: if all the participants have attended an event purely to participate in the tournament, there isn't any competing alternative which might make people want to drop out and if there are adequate time and resources, then I agree with you that Swiss style tournaments are generally the way to go. (So long as they can be run with a sensible number of rounds for the number of entrants; I had to run a 5-round 8-player Swiss a couple of months back, which was getting a bit silly in round five.) However, when resources are limited (fixed time, small fixed number of pitches) and when teams who've played some Quidditch and found that they aren't the best at it might want to drop out and go and enjoy the programming instead rather than (say) trying to improve their 8th place performance to 5th place, elimination tournaments are rather more justifiable.

While Swiss tournaments are good at sorting out the top and the bottom of the order, they're notoriously less accurate in the middle, especially when there's luck in the game people are playing - for instance, a team that goes WWLLL is not necessarily practically worse than one who goes LLWWW, just by virtue of (implied?) strengths of schedule. Sure, they both played a 2-2 opponent in round four with the former team losing and the latter winning, but I don't think it's a conclusive determination between the two.

I don't think there ever necessarily will be a final ruleset for Quidditch and I'm surprisingly OK with that; there's so much that varies from location to location (and availability of equipment, facilities and so forth) that cannot be accounted for in one ruleset that I don't think we'll ever get a one-size-fits-all solution. If we can ever get Quidditch as far standardised as (say) baseball or golf, thinking in terms of games with relatively extensive sets of accepted local rules, we'll be doing well.

How about plans for your own Quidditch tournament? You were looking into this in previous years and you might have more luck attracting interest right now, striking while the iron is hot.
From:quidditchmaster
Date:October 16th, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
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Position change is a desirable feature to have in a game when each team consists of 7-10 players. If we had a full team, with say, 16-18 players, then things may be a bit different. Also, if we -did- have a team of 16-18 players, we'd ABSOLUTELY need to extend Quaffle play far beyond what it currently stands at. It's not canonical, but neither is our game as it is now. We don't have flying broomsticks, and that's not canonical. We don't have self-moving snitches, and that's not canonical...

Bludgers were too big. It's not a matter of size to determine when people ignore getting hit; it's a matter of people ignoring they're hit. At Nimbus, I knew -very- well when I got hit with the ball. Everyone did. Fair play is what needs to be enhanced, not the size of the bludger =)

We ought to come close enough to a baseball ruleset, yeah. We won't agree on -every- element, especially playing the game only 20ish times a year; we have nowhere near enough playtesting for it. However, I think TWH taught us quite a lot, and I don't see us needing more than 2-3 years before we're pretty darn close to finalized...

I'm -not- running my own tournament (outside of an official convention anyway), due solely to the expense factor. I started throwing around the numbers and it's completely infeasible to run an event where the -only- attraction is the Quidditch tournament. Maybe when I make my millions of dollars, I'll fly everyone in and pay for their hotel rooms, but not right now ;)

*will write about swiss below this; comment max size reached*
From:quidditchmaster
Date:October 16th, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
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Now, as for swiss-style dissection:

Working with the assumption that we'll be playing indoors from here on out (after Lumos, anyway), we'll have one room we can use for X period of time per day. I dislike one-day Quidditch tournaments. If we can use the room for two [or even three] days, split-up for 3 hours a day or so, I think the level of skill will increase exponentially. It will also allow the tournament director to make swiss pairings (even if we're running it with 2 or 3 rounds + cut) and announce them for the next day's events.

I think we need to cut to the top four next time, too. Top eight was way too high of a cut for 11 teams. Granted, the "group" system pretty much required it, since group winners alone advancing would be extremely unfair; perhaps next time we can use true swiss pairings across the contestant pool...

Say we have 16 teams. This is a nice number to use, because we still managed to get 11 when we had to pay $30, and if we're using a room in a hotel that is already booked, we shouldn't have to pay extra to play in the official tournament. 16 teams, assuming we can only get one pitch at a time, and two rounds of swiss, will look as follows:

8 matches in round one
8 matches in round two
2 matches in top four
1 match in finals

19 matches * 30 minutes = 9:30. Split this as 4:00 and 4:00 for the first two days and 1:30 for the last day (or, if need be, the morning and evening segments of day two -- swiss round two from 10:00 - 2:30 and the semis/finals from, say, 8:00 - 10:00).

Now, assume 16 teams, three swiss rounds, and two pitches:

8 matches in round one
8 matches in round two
8 matches in round three
4 matches in top eight
2 matches in top four
1 match in finals

2:00, 2:00, 2:00, 1:00, 0:30, 0:30, or 8:00. Eight hours that can be split in a similar fashion to the above example... 11:00-1:30 and 6:00-8:30 day one, 11:00-1:30, 4:00-6:00, and 8:00-9:00 day two.

I allow an extra half an hour for each segment because this will allow for any unforeseen errors, and in the finals segment, for the tournament director to explain the rules to the spectators, choose an announcer, and make the gameplay itself more interesting: referee announcing the penalties on the microphone, announcing all stoppages of play and the reasoning behind it, et cetera.

I think either one of these systems will be much better to use. It increases the level of play on a tournament scale, and ought to make the players themselves happier, since they won't have to miss as many panels as they did on Saturday. They'll be asked prior to pairings if there's any panels they absolutely cannot miss; with this information, the tournament director will give out game times accordingly. The people who come to these things aren't stupid; in fact, they're generally much smarter than the average person. I'm sure the TD will be able to "understand" how to do swiss pairings and whatnot... and if not, I'll always be there to assist =)

Oh, and as to your critique on swiss and it's usefulness here: consider the alternatives. Single/double-elimination? Swiss is superior on all levels. Round robin? Perhaps, but not with the sheer number of teams we have. Swiss-style, assuming it's ran correctly (and I have no doubts in the ability of a TD to run it correctly, given the admin board approves it *grumblegrumble*), is vastly superior to any other form of tournament we could come up with.

I disagree with the breaker system used at TWH, however. Points For:Against ratio should've been breaker 2, NOT simply Points For. Also, catching the snitch should not have been the thing to break a tie in the elimination segment. Unless we change snitch value to 25 or 35 as suggested (or hell, even simply listing it as 51 for TWH would be "fairer"), I don't see why snitch capture should give your team the win, given a tie.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 15th, 2005 01:56 am (UTC)
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"I think we had similar "too easy to knock over" issues then (at Nimbus), though."

Only once. :-) And it was on the first shot of the game when the cop from S Cal barreled over a hoop and just knocked it off it's footers slightly. Still, that scared the $@(*#& out of me because I was worried they wouldn't hold up a made even a stronger point after that to have the keepers avoid contact with the hoops. If they could say for sure that they wanted a specific type, we could make the stands out out piping and then wrap in some padding (either the padding be colored or paint it) to avoid the keeper hurting themselves on it. The PVC is fine and relatively inexpensive, but it does add a bit of drama. The reason I have extra PVC, extra screws, and an electric handy at all times. :)

It might be good to actually try out Snitch Mover/Seeker interaction methods...in a real practice rather than tweaking the last tourney's methods and then hoping it works the next time. Maybe one of these 'leagues' that spring up can come up with a plan that works effectively so that you only have to adjust it based on timing (i.e. how long/short you want a match to last).
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 16th, 2005 06:34 am (UTC)
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The other way to adjust things is the size of the H-shaped base; the bigger the base, the harder to knock over - plus the less wieldy to transport, of course. I think the sizes and proportions were very similar to the Nimbus ones, but with thinner pipe used at TWH. The hoops tended to fall down and/or deviate from vertical far more than they did at Nimbus, probably due to the presence or absence of screws.
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From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 16th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
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"adjust...the size of the H-shaped base"

True. With a larger footer, you would need to move it further from the end line though, otherwise the keeper has a greater chance of knocking it over accidentally. The 1' lengths are sufficient for stability and the two screw locations keep the upper portion from swaying. However, if I had the choice (along with the idea of making hoops that were permanent) I would contrive some type of hinge for the hoop connection so that if a Quaffle hit a hoop directly (rather than a glancing blow or a miss), the hoop itself would sway back and then swing back forward on its own rather than damage the hula hoop. If a keeper completely demolishes the PVC structure such that the screws are torn out, it is an easy fix just to pop the PVC joints back together and put screws in a different location on the PVC. However, if the hoop breaks...that's a bit more work. Not impossible, but that's why I have the extras. Not to replace the broken, painted pieces, but to use temporarily while the original is repaired.
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From:waistcoatmark
Date:October 12th, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Aren't you meant to be able to run a car on the sugars in Coke at a pinch?

I think you'll find that should be "ruin" a car. sugar and petrol tanks are not a good combination. Unless you're a mechanic who needs some practise at sucking air in through your teeth.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 28th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC)
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sucking air in through your teeth

The "teeth hairdryer", my boss calls that.
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From:longtimegone
Date:October 14th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC)
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I'm so glad you'll be back soon! I'm going to look at hotels for you guys soon for that weekend.

Internet Introverts "Room of Requirement" where people can bring their own laptops and sit down quietly in a room, not talking to each other -

That would be nice. :)) Seriously, I think the O_O-ness of the week would have been taken down a few notches with a few moments like that a day. I think my heart was beating 157247823 times a minute until yesterday. Trips with so many people key me up in a way that makes me very unproductive when I get home.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 28th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Meg and I have booked somewhere now at a decent rate, plus got a very good rental car rate. Fingers crossed that it turns out to be decent enough; only three weeks to go now. In fact, I expect to touch down in three weeks and twenty minutes' time, so it'll be only about three weeks and four hours until we get to see you again. Looking forward to it!
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From:longtimegone
Date:October 29th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC)
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I think that hotel is pretty nice. :D I cannot WAIT until the two of you get here!
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From:slytherincesss
Date:October 15th, 2005 10:25 am (UTC)
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Hi, Chris! It was lovely to meet you at TWH, and although we didn't get to chat much, I enjoyed talking with you when we did have the chance. I hope it's okay that I've added you to my f-list! :D

I felt introverted, sometimes to the point of being uncomfortable, at several points during the events, and unfortunately freaked out somewhat in the charged atmosphere of the Hallowe'en Ball.

Well, and also you weren't feeling very well toward the end of TWH, and that always exacerbates one's need to have some personal space, IMO. I am an introverted person by nature, although one might not guess that about me at first glance -- quite often I just reach the point where I need time and space to myself!

(Next time I'll propose an Internet Introverts "Room of Requirement" where people can bring their own laptops and sit down quietly in a room, not talking to each other - possibly except through contributing to a common LJ post. The silence - except for possibly the occasional Instant Messenger bloip - and the lack of pressure will be comforting.)

I would so go to this. When longtimegone came to visit me in March of last year, we laughed at each other because we still continued to use Y!M, even though we were in the same room.

:)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 28th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! It's taken me long enough, but it was wonderful to meet you too - though utterly bewildering, with such an incredibly high density of fun new folk to meet in such a little time - and I have added you back. I hope you're feeling at least a little bit better now!

There's something about IM that just feels more comfortable for saying some things; I think it might just be the smilies. I've tried pulling a :-/ in real life but it just looks, well, sillier than the iconic version does.
From:gryfndorgrl
Date:October 17th, 2005 07:54 pm (UTC)

my thoughts

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This was the most fun I had in my entire life. My only problem was lack of consistence with the ref's-which you're going to get regardless of the sport, I know. But I did see many people get penalized for "aggressively getting the snitch" or what have you, and then towards the semi finals and finals, it was totally allowed by the same refs. And maybe have some points for catching the "wrong" snitch would work. There were many teams who caught numerous snitches and then lost because the other team caught it only once, but it happened to be the "right" one. BUt you all were awesome! I thank you!!! OUTDOOR Q would be the best!!!!!!!
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 28th, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)

Re: my thoughts

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Glad you enjoyed it! People were getting tired towards the end of the day, both players and referees. That's probably a good argument for trying not to hold everything in the same day and giving people a good chance to rest between matches - see Nick above - but that poses its own set of logistical problems.
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From:sylvertongue
Date:October 24th, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)
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Happy birthday!
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 28th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
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Thanks very much! :-D

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