Sometimes you are just tired, other times you just had enough, and then other times you're just a plain quitter. That is the typically excuses that roll around players heads when they decide to drop out of Tournament.
I know from personal experience, winning or losing, I start to crap out around game 4 of any event. I have used the excuse of my blog to dropout, along with other excuses I could come up with. The biggest factor though has always been fatigue, especially when you are out of any contention for anything. I love Warhammer 40k and in a relaxed environment of friends I can play 10 games in a row. In a tournament, no matter how well run or established, the stress and energy of the room just zaps me.
I know I am not alone in having the same feelings. I grew up on two-day five game tournaments, but something happened in 5th edition. The quest to find a "true winner" created a scenario where larger tournaments went from five games to more. Typically, four games one day and at least three the second day. Bigger yet, if you lost one game you were more than likely completely out of any contention.
Smartly, tournament organizers learned quickly that hoisting up the strict win/loss petard meant a majority of players would be out of the running by the end of round two. Tournament organizers developed different schemes to keep players interested in playing. Brackets, Army Specific prizes, three-day tournaments, all used to keep players from quitting. The various solutions have had different degrees of success. Let us specifically look at two different events resolutions for the dropping problem.
First, NovaOpen where they embrace and even encourage drops. After game six, players can quit and go on to other events without penalty or worry. The NovaOpen understands people get fatigued and can't handle eight games. Then there is the Adepticon model, where the 16 top players are selected by record and strength of schedule to play on day two. This means most players play four games in one day and that is it. One forces players to drop and the other gives the option for drops, but each relies also on the rest of the convention to provide value beyond their grand tournaments.
Of the two solutions the Adepticon solution seems to have the best outcomes. The majority of players know going in they have no chance, thus they sign up for other events without a second thought. Adepticon is lucky because of their size; with so many other things going on, it is easy not feel like you wasted a trip if you lose on the first day.
Even though NovaOpen attacks the problem head-on, players still have to play for two days before they can drop, and left have a Sunday without many things to sign-up for.
Now as NovaOpen continues to grow I am sure they will change things around, but if the strict win/loss is here to stay, why not just go all the way with it? What about single elimination? As long as there are concurrent events for players to enjoy it really shouldn't be a problem. Still, perhaps that is another article for another day.
Instead, all large events run tournaments with in the tournament (soft scores are important) to make players feel like they are playing for something; even that creates only a small subset of players eligible to win something.
Ultimately, the Adepticon system works because you only play four games taking up one day. All other events give you incentives to keep playing, but when faced with a grumpy tired gamer no number of make it rain moments will stop players from dropping. If you are going to run a midsize multi-day event you are better off with just having five games and being done with it. There is a point where fun and competitiveness must be balanced and weighted in favor of the many. Keeping a focus not only on the top 16, but the rest of the participants is a better way to have a healthy tournament along with healthy gamers.
Meat for Meta is rated editorial nonsense. These articles are meant to complain about some group, somewhere, that is playing the game for all the wrong reasons or simply to just make fun of 40k nerd rage.