Three Keys to a Successful War Gaming League

Greetings, commander! Today we’re going to talk about leagues.  Specifically we’re talking about store or club sponsored leagues (the most common in our world of miniature war gaming).  What we’re going to talk about is the three key things to running a successful league. Guess what? It’s got nothing to do with what restrictions you put on army lists or anything like that. They’re about the management of the league and really keeping your players informed of the overall state of the event in a timely fashion.

I know.  Yawnsville, right? Well, these things aren’t terribly sexy but when I was looking around at various leagues, campaigns, and the like I found a whole lot of failed events and they all failed because they just petered out. Players lost interest.  Updates stopped happening. Results weren’t updated. It can be hard to run a league all by yourself – especially when you’ve got other things clamouring for your attention.

So here is an outline of three keys to running a successful miniature war gaming league. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Warhammer 40K, Warmachine/Hordes, Flames of War, X-Wing or whatever because these things aren’t tied to the game rule set.  Oh! And I’m also going to elaborate on how using iToysoldiers as a league manager can help with these things.  Cool, eh? So without further ado… The list:

Stick to the schedule

It’s been said that punctuality is the politeness of kings and in the case of a war gaming league it’s totally true. This is the biggie.  If you let everything else go you must keep the league running on time. Post round results and new matches at the very beginning of each round on a regular schedule. Post the results of individual battles as soon as humanly possible.

The cool thing is that if you’re using iToysoldiers to manage your league we handle all that for you. Each round starts exactly on time. Match results show up as soon as the players enter them. Pairings are generated and players are notified within nano seconds of the new round beginning. The best bit? It’s all automated. Once the league has started you don’t have to do anything and it’ll just keep running – on time.

Sometimes you have to be the bad guy

This is a tough one – especially for a store sponsored league. You certainly don’t want to alienate players by enforcing rules in a draconian fashion. But sometimes you have to. If players don’t get their battle in during the designated time you might be tempted to give them an extension. Don’t. There’s other folks who’re waiting for their matches and extending a round can frustrate other folks. Yeah, the players asking for an extension may be annoyed but… so will everyone else who’re waiting for the next round. There’s really no way to win when you have to be the bad guy because someone’s going to be unhappy but if you’re consistent in your application of the league’s rules then at least you can say, “Hey! Them’s the rules.  Sorry”.

Using iToysoldiers for your league manager is a pretty easy way to get around (some of) this. Let us be the bad guy. All the math, matches, and scheduling is handled by the site so you don’t have to be the bad guy. You can just blame us. We’ve got thick skins.

Don’t mess up the math

Nothing’s worse than one of your players coming up to you after the league and pointing out that you made a math mistake that changes the results. You have to make sure that you’re being complete and accurate as you enter in player results, calculating victory conditions, and ranking players appropriately. One little mistake can bring all sorts of pain.

Thankfully, iToysoldiers has this covered too. Our league manager does all the calculations, tie breakers, pairings, and all that for you so you don’t have to spend any time worrying about it – let alone actually having to enter in the data since the players handle that bit.  Computers are really good at handling math related tasks and iToysoldiers has been running leagues for quite some time now.

Do you have some other thoughts on running a successful league?  I’d love to hear about ‘em.  Feel free to comment away.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers