The Stupid, It Burns: The Sky is Falling!

WARNING: This is one of those giant posts where I get into a fight with another blogger and show has stupid and wrong he is. If you don't like these kind of posts, then check out my commentary on Goatboy's article or come back tomorrow when I dissect Mission 3 of WarGamesCon. You've been warned, so no complaining.

I'm posting this here because Stelek won't let me comment unless that comment also includes an apology on his blog. Since I'm not apologizing, I had to resort to posting my response here. I can promise this is going to be an extremely long and detailed response. If you want to skip around 4,000 words, I can summarize it in two: Stelek lies.

Stelek at YTTH is fighting with me again -- this time about the "negative growth" of our hobby and how major events like Adepticon and WarGamesCon are contributing to its rapid death. Basically, Stelek's typical "the sky is falling unless you do what I say" crap. If 4,000 words isn't enough, you can find the beginning here. In the comments of his article, I responded with tons of reason why every major event is healthy and growing - using actual data to support my position. He responds with sweeping generalization and crazy opinion.

Since he wants to do the Dethron Dick Move thing, I'm all for it. Stelek's are in italics and mine are blue.


"Please note I've been TRYING to bury  the hatchet with both Adepticon and BOLS, but seems some people just can't let it go."

How exactly have you been TRYING to bury the hatchet? By slamming Adepticon  1, 2, 3, 4 and BoLS 5, 6, 7 in your recent posts? I won't even go into the dozens and dozens of comments by you and YTTH readers bashing Adepticon, BoLS, WarGamesCon and individual BoLS writers.

You have a funny way of burying the hatchet. Oh, and I'm not BoLS. I have a blog called Chainfist. Perhaps you've heard of it.

"I can't ban anyone, never could."

Are you completely insane? You banned me and TastyTaste from your blog in April. Here's a quote from your Decisions decisions post: "When I'm unbanned from BOLS, you will be unbanned here."

"You usually put out falsehoods, and unlike SOME bloggers I refuse to edit comments. I firmly believe it is YOUR content, not mine, to edit it would be stealing it from you. I do, however, own this blog and thus have the right (and if necessary, the responsibility) to delete crap. Which is what you usually publish, which is really why our conversations end--because this blog isn't about you and most of the visitors here don't like you or like me talking to you about whatever nonsense you're going on about."

Deleting someone's comment because you think it's crap or nonsense is censorship. You used to think that censorship was a bad thing 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Here's a quote from you from one year ago: "It's well and all to say 'this is my site and I can do what I want', but when you crush dissent because it makes you look bad -- that's a very very bad thing to do if you are really trying to build the community" 16.

Sound familiar? What happened to your vaulted vaunted ideals, Stelek? You give them up when you stopped being the dissenter?

I'm comparing MY real world experience with TWO events I know about and attended, and that's what the point is. I'm sure you'll make it about something else, but who cares?"

With all due respect, you have a history of lying about attending or being involved in events. So, honestly, your "real world" experience is suspect. I'm not just saying that because I don't like you (I don't, of course, but I believe lots of people I don't like). I'm saying this because you are lying about attending Adepticon -- and you are lying to give your opinions more weight than they would normally have.

Want proof? No problem. Let's look at YOUR WORDS regarding your Adepticon attendance:

1. Three Adepticons? On 11/13/2007, you said: "By the way, 15 years + 11 GW tourneys and 3 adepticons.... and I've yet to encounter a good player in a 'tourney' game. Am I making myself clear? I'll take any of my armies against anyone, anywhere -- and I'll win. No one has ever beaten me that I didn't allow them to. Is this me being conceited? Nope, I just know how good I am. I know it comes off sounding like a ass, and I'm allright with it. As they say, the truth hurts." 17

2. No Adepticons? On 3/27/2008, you claimed you never went: "Never have been able to go. It's just too early in the year. Besides, I hate going alone and the people I do want to take cannot go." 18

3. One Adepticon? Then on 4/14/2009, you said: "I only attended [Adepticon] once. I got 68 emails and managed to talk to almost half of those people. They aren't happy with how the Gladiator is run and they don't seem too pleased with the Team Tournament either." 19

4. At Least One Adepticon? This one is from 4/14/2008 as well: "So just a little backstory: I attended Adepticon in year one and found it to be a mess. Same with Necro and a few other Indie events. They were just big rogue traders without much to them." 20

5.  Fake Names? On 8/31/2010 (yesterday), you said: "I've attended several Indy's [including Adepticon] and GT's under a non de plume." 21

Which is it? Three times? One time? Matthias from Adepticon has detailed records of EVERY player that's ever attended an Adepticon. So what was your fake name? Let's look it up. If you were at Adepticon in year one, I will believe you were at QuakeCon.

"So you've forgotten what the internet was like back in 96? Nobody announced shit, hell I was there and didn't know about it until I went to the offices of iD (to yes, try and meet JC) and was told he was not available but might show up for Quake Con later that day."

First of all, QuakeCon did a ton of work getting the message out. I was working at Maxis in '96 and I knew about QuakeCon. Quake had just come out a few weeks earlier and everyone was playing it -- the sell-in for that game was unreal. I think they sold like a million units. QuakeCon was ALL over IRC at the time, which was the most effective way of reaching Quake players in '96.

Secondly, what a loser. You flew to Dallas with your monitor and computer, went to the id Software offices and asked to see John Carmac? What are you some kind of crazy stalker?

"I call getting 650 guys to crate their computers across country (which generally cost you 50$ for monitors on the plane and 50$ for the computer since NEITHER fit properly in the overhead--they made you stow it back then and who knows about now) a minor miracle. 

Dramatic much? While I am sure a handful of people flew to QuakeCon, I sincerely doubt 100% of the attendees jumped on a plane.

There were five million people in the DFW metro alone in '96. If you widen your net to a 3-hour drive, it increases to around ten million. So finding 650 people near Dallas interested in playing one of the most popular games at the time probably wasn't too tough.

"It's the same format. It's boring as shit. It's not competitive. What more do you need us to tell you? We expect more than being bored?"

I guess you were TRYING to bury the hatchet... in their backs.

In the next section, I argued with Stelek that growth was an indication that an event is healthy. His argument is ONLY doubling in size is actual "negative growth". So I listed some things that might also be considered an indication of event health, including measuring: new major game systems, repeat attendees, revenue, games played, square footage and/or happy attendees.

Here are his responses (my comments are in blue).

Lots of Growth?: "No. The growth isn't big enough, edging out smaller events with your name doesn't make you a success." 
So growth doesn't count if you have a recognizable brand name? It only counts if no one has heard of your event? How does that make sense? Adepticon has a brand name because they are an established and popular event. WarGamesCon changed the name and dropped the association with BoLS and still managed to double in size.

New Game Systems?: "No. Cannabilizes players from other systems. The miniature wargamer crowd is finite in the US. Most people are aware of this, including the game companies." 
What are you basing this on? Both Adepticon and WarGamesCon offered new gaming systems and still managed to grow dramatically with both 40K and Fantasy. So where was the cannibalization?

Repeat Attendees?: "No. Means there aren't other events compelling enough to compete for your large player base because all of the other events are simply pale shadows of yours."  
So people only come back to Adepticon and WarGamesCon because other events are crappier? Like there's a gun to your head forcing you to go to an event. How does that even make sense?

Revenue?: No. Turning a profit is nice, but should not be one's goal.
I'm not talking about goals. I'm talking about measuring an event's health. Thanks for the non-answer.

Games Played?: "No. What do "1,000 tough games" matter when the competitive players think you're full of scrubiliciousness? Do you even get this? Take off the tinfoil hat."

So you are saying that the vast majority of wargamers are "competitive" players that are unsatisfied with current events? I think you are vastly overestimating the group of players that find Adepticon and WarGamesCon as "too uncompetitive" for their tastes.

Square Footage?: "No. I can rent a huge space too. Hell I could probably get a few hangars up at hill air force base, what's that prove? The air force has lots of space sitting around doing nothing? lol"
Clearly, I didn't wasn't referring the square footage rented, but the square footage devoted to game play. Being intentionally obtuse is funny, isn't it?

Happy Attendees?: "Yes. Now can you get NEW attendees in the door, that don't go to Indy's. The answer is still no. Making that yes, a sad by it's lonesome yes."
Over 65% of WarGamesCon attendees this year were new attendees. Our fastest growing demographic is new attendees from out-of-state -- 85% of attendees from out-of-state were new attendees. That indicates they want to attend an event like WarGamesCon so bad they'll get on a plane.

"Why don't you mention anywhere that GW canceled their GT season and every time this happens, Indy's grow? Wait, am I lying again--or are you, through omission?"

Even if that was true -- instead of idle speculation. It's not even relevant. What does it prove? That people like official events more than un-official ones? That the GTs had the best dates? How does it prove there's "negative growth" for events? You are just spewing crap.

"I haven't? I've specifically said GW itself says tournament attendance now is lower than it was a decade ago. Probably something to do with our available player pool being cut in half. Pull your head out. Read the blog more or something. I've been mentioning this for a while now, and I've verified this with GW and independent sources in the industry. What, you think Privateer Press and Battlefront players grew on a fucking tree?"

Okay, if "GW said it" then there should be a statement somewhere. Shoot me a link to GW's statement on tournament attendance. Something to support that "player pool being cut in half" comment would be nice too. I'll even take a comment from someone who used to work at GW, like Dave Taylor.

Again, your blog isn't the most reliable source of real information. There's lots of opinion and speculation, but not a lot of "truth".

"1) The majority of players from last year for the most part skipped attending again, because, LIKE ADEPTICON, you offer nothing supremely compelling. If they are going to make a trip once a year, they are going to the BIG NAME and that ain't you--it's them. Unless they tire of Chicago and want to see Texas, then they'll go to you. Why this isn't obvious to you or them, well I'm guessing egos but hell if I know. It's sure as shit obvious to everyone else. I didn't call you Adepticon Jr. first you know. I just picked up on it, because it applies so well. It's not meant to be disrespectful, it's just true."

Are you some sort of idiot? For the tenth time, over 75% of last year's attendees came back to WarGamesCon. The last time I checked 75% is the MAJORITY.

WarGamesCon, like BoLSCON the year before, was a huge success. We doubled in size. We added team tournaments - we had 56 teams for a tournament that started on Friday morning. We added Warmachine and Flames of War events. We had five events running for three full days.

But even with that growth, we are still a long way from Adepticon. I don't mind being called Adepticon Jr. -- Adepticon is a fantastic event and I'm honored by the association.

"2) It's BOLSCon. Stop calling it Wargamescon already. You aren't a fucking wargames convention. Anyway, what you are telling me is--BOLS attended, BOLS is a bunch of EDIT rock stars, but only 50 locals EDIT showed up? See how much of a red herring that is? Well, you tried it so I figured what the hell, I'll throw some EDIT at the wall and see what sticks!"

The event is WarGamesCon and is not owned or operated by BoLS. It's a completely separate event. Events were run for 40K, WFB, Warmachine and Flames of War -- there was even a packed (and awesome) painting seminar by Dave Taylor. Seems like a pretty awesome "EDIT wargames convention" to me.

But it doesn't bother me when you call the event BoLSCON. It's not true, but BoLS is owned by one of my best friends and you won't hurt my feelings with the association.

Austin has a very energized wargaming community, the vast majority of local players were volunteering instead of playing. We didn't count volunteers or organizers in our totals.

"So folks who played in the casual scene and OWNED the shit out of it, also clubbed baby seals at your casual event. Well, woopdeeEDITdoo for you Mkerr. I'm bashing with complete accurate balls-on information, buddy. That's why you are here trying to counter the truth of it all."

That "bashing baby seals" comment is nonsense -- it just proves you don't understand Swiss-style tournaments. Each player is matched against an opponent with the same score.

Let's compare that to your experience in the NOVA Open (an event that didn't use the Swiss-pairing system). You were randomly matched against a player that had never played in a tournament before.22 No foul, it happens in the best of events. But by beating this new player by a huge margin (1,638 to 528), you were the Player #1 going into Round 2 23. Because of the pairing system the NOVA Open uses, you were paired with Player #44 (out of 88 players).

There were more than 40 players with better records you could have faced - but you didn't. You played the player who barely won -- the guy who won with the SMALLEST possible margin of victory. That doesn't feel like a "competitive" pairing. That feels like, what's the phrase, oh yeah, "clubbing baby seals".

However, if you were playing at WarGamesCon, you would've been matched against Player #2. He's probably not a "baby seal". And you probably would've had a more challenging - a more competitive - game. But instead you played Player #44 and win by another huge margin (1,330 to 560). 24

"Why don't you mention how badly the missions were fail at BOLSCon this year?"

There were no very few complaints about the WarGamesCon missions from the attendees. Tons of praise; no few complaints (the complaints we received were centered around the lack of missions where kill points where the primary objective). Secondly, I'm doing some analysis of the missions to look for balance problems. I'm sharing the results with my readers on Chainfist -- the data so far doesn't support your "missions were fail" theory. 25 26 27

"Why don't you mention the leaders clubbed so many seals so EDIT hard you had to raise the cutoff point for the 'losers' column because the AWESOME PLAYERS you say you had, COULD NOT POSSIBLY CATCH UP WITH THE WINNERS. Right, more truth omitting. Yay."

Again, you show off your staggering lack of understanding. At WarGamesCon, the leaders clubbed each other. That's how the Swiss-system works. If there were any baby seals (like the new tournament player you faced in the first round of the NOVA Open), then they clubbed each other.

But there is some truth to your second comment. I made a mistake when I broke the 2009 BoLSCON Championships into two equal-sized tournaments. We fixed that this year. Let me explain:

Last year we saw our largest number of drops on Sunday morning. There were four things factoring into a dropped player: a) hang-over, b) slept through alarm, c) desire to play in narrative events and d) poor performance the previous day. I realized after Round 4 when I was doing the Sunday pairings, that if we pushed more lower scoring players into the Consolation bracket, we'd have fewer drops on Sunday. It worked like a charm and was the exact right thing to do. I only wish I'd realized it last year.

Because of the change, we had almost no drops from the Championship bracket -- which was greatly improved from the year before. So while you are wrong about the whole "COULD NOT POSSIBLY CATCH UP WITH THE WINNERS" drama, you are right that we made a change to improve the event. I have to give the WarGamesCon organizers (in particular Jwolf and Darkwynn) credit for recognizing an easy way to make an already fun event, more fun.

"Except, everyone I've spoken to says otherwise--both for the BOLSCon and the Adepticon 'competitive' events. Nobody said it wasn't fun, Mkerr. I salute all of you for putting on a fucking awesomesauce fun event--and for putting Goatboy into the mix. Now, who said it was competitive? Other than the casual lovers?"

This is another instance of you stretching the truth. Since "everyone" you spoke to called it non-competitive, give me the name of one WarGamesCon attendee that you talked to. Just one. And I'll be happy to follow up with that player.

You can't because you are lying. Again.

"Hell I love me a fun game, but in a tournament I don't enjoy or think highly of casual players getting me max points so I can slowplay, social engineer, and 'not lose' my way to victory. You call it whatever the fuck you want. I'll call it what it is, FUN AS HELL, and NOT COMPETITIVE. No matter how many baby seals come from out of state, nor how many seal clubbers show up to beat the crap out of them."

I just love your completely unfounded accusations. You forget I have tournament data sitting in front of me. The results sheets are stacked in nice little piles next to me.

(this is what actual data looks like)

So let's address your accusations individually:

1) Baby Seals: Every player was matched against an opponent with the same overall score. That means they faced the next best player in every game. For six rounds. Only weak players faced weak opponents.

2) Slow play: Overall, over 80% of WarGamesCon games were completed. Those are 2,000-point tournament games finished within the two hour limit. Players in the top 10 finished more than 90% of their games. The winners finished more games than the average player. No slow play exploit.

3) Social Engineering: "Social engineering" in context refers to milking Sportsmanship to gain an advantage in a tournament with soft scores. Players in the top 10 averaged a 7.0 Sportsmanship score for the entire event (out of a maximum of 8). The average for every player was 7.2. That means the top 10 players averaged lower than average Sportsmanship scores. There was no social engineering going on.

4) Not Lose to Win: The winner of the Championships averaged 38 battle points per game for seven straight games. He captured 80% of the total points available in EVERY single mission - for two days. That's a lot better than "not losing". 

You'll note I responded with actual data collected from the event. No opinion. Actual numbers refuting every single one of your accusations. I'm eager to see your response, lol.

The next bit of drama is centered around a statement I made about the guy that won the NOVA Open. Stelek talked about the "non-competitive" players winning WarGamesCon; players who have racked up wins at major events over the last few years. The overall champion, Ben Mohlie, was the Captain of the first-ever team from the United States to attend the ETC (the European Team Championship). These guys are well-known,  respected and ultra-competitive players. In contrast, the NOVA Open was won by a 16-year old named Tony Kopach using an illegal (2,003-pt) army list.

My comment was: "The NOVA Open was won by an unknown 16-year old boy with an illegal list".

A completely true statement, but my use of the word "boy" set him off. Here are his remarks:

"Wow. When aren't you a slimebag? Is it on Thursdays? EDIT me.
I never expected to see an 'ism' on my blog, but Mkerr, you are the first.
I need to get to more NOVA Opens, and avoid closed-minded people such as yourself.
Please don't bother replying unless you include an apology to Tony.
God damn EDIT, who the EDIT do you think you are?"

Since he had no answer to my question (how can you call an event where an unknown 16-year old wins "more competitive" than an event where well-established and respected players win?), Stelek has to resort to fabricating some kid-bashing in my comment.

First of all, my comment wasn't "age-ism". I'm a father and I make video games for a living. Of course, I know younger players can excel at any game. But it's rare to see a young and unexperienced player win a "competitive" event. (For clarity, I believe Tony is an less experienced player not because he is 16, but because few experienced players would make a rookie mistake of bringing an illegal list to a major tournament).

In any case, I wouldn't call an event won by someone with an illegal list a "competitive" event. Fun, maybe. But a competitive event has to be fair and all players have to follow the rules.

Secondly, how hypocritical can you be? Your blog chock full of "isms". You drop evil gay bashing and sexist remarks like they were half price at the hate store. Just a few minutes of searching found you using pejoratives like "gay" 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, "fag" 37, 38, "cunt" 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, "bitch" 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, "whore" 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, and "retard" 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70 in your posts and comments. Or are you saying it's okay to bash gays and women, as long as you bash all ages? You are seriously a piece of work.

And don't bother replying unless you include an apology for lying so much. Two can play at that game. :)

>> I want to thank those of you that stuck around to the end. And extra points if you followed any of the links! Maybe I'll create some The Stupid, It Burns: YTTH Drama patches to hand out!

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