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An idea for change within the NetEA structure.

 Post subject: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:38 am 
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Hello all!

I'm been thinking about how the NetEA lists are being approved and how the community around them work. IMO approving a list is very difficult since it requires 3 groups to do 6 reports. Just to do 1 report with some pictures seems to many a too difficult task judging to what people write here. Over all it seems to me that it's hard to get people to commit to helping out with the playtesting process.

So after thinking for a while, 2 ideas came to my mind:

1. Change the requierments for a list to be approved to the following: "18 battlereports are needed, 1 gaming group may only do a maximum of 6 reports". This is a small change which make it possible for groups to make a small contribution to the approval process (doing a fewer number of reports). It also makes it possible to more than 3 gaming groups to help out with the process.

2. Let the ERC decide what lists gets approved in what order. Put up 2 lists at a time (the more different they are the better, try to avoid putting up 2 SM lists at the same tine for example). when 1 gets approved, another one takes it place. This way people can see a point in helping approve lists that are not their particular favourite one.
Combined with idea #1 i think we could get a more well structured and active list development process and keep the community more active.

Sorry for crappy spelling...

Good or anus as we say in Sweden?

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:11 pm 
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I didn't think there was a minimum-6 requirement anyway...

We've discussed many times about having a "priority list" for approval but it never happens largely because people are unlikely to test lists they don't have interest in, and those who will don't need a list of them to tell them which ones need doing. However I do think the ERC (if they were so inclined) could implement such a thing - it would certainly amuse me. Since it is rather like holding the community hostage I expect it would annoy some people and the ERC are unlikely to go for it.

To be honest I don't think the difficulty people have is with writing reports. I would put it down to:
- playing enough games
- even if you get a few games, you want to play your own army rather than test somebody else's
- wanting to play with the minis you've spent hours painting, rather than proxying a random army
- not wanting to ask opponents to play against an unapproved list
- not wanting to make opponents play a netea list rather than their usual EpicUK
- not wanting to annoy opponents by making the game slower to write notes and take photos
- being embarrassed about putting photos of your minis/board on the forum
- approving the list makes no difference to them (eg if you play EpicUK, or only play friendly games where the "approved" tag is irrelevant)

All of the above apply to me, and I suspect others. The only motivator for me to do battle reports is to help others, which I can do but not very often. Most of my games are in tournaments...

IMO if NetEA wanted to do something to make it easier it should:
- allow all euk lists as valid playtest targets. They are all at least as balanced as netea lists
- drop the requirement for full reports, and replace with a simple 4 question questionnaire: "What were the lists? What was the result? Which bits of the list do you or your opponent think could be an issue? Do either of you feel the army should be denied approval?"

Let's be honest, 18 reports is not going to give us a statistical basis for deciding a list is balanced, it's about trusting players to give an assessment of whether they felt it was balanced. The number is there to give people something to aim for. Sure, detailed turn by turn reports with photos help people to see how the army was played to explain the result etc etc, but they don't actually have a different impact on the approval decision than if those players simply gave their impressions after playing a game.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:44 pm 
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1. is already the case. (at least defacto)
2. is probably better suited to the AC in question but I don't think it'll make any difference for the reasons Kyrt outlines above.

Actually in general, I've found myself coming into agreement (from totally across the table originally) with kyrt's basic premises above. I'm not all that concerned with if you're using EpicUK Ad Mech or not in that playtest. I'd be more concerned that a good spread of factions are being tested however.

I hate to say it but real 'balance' (whatever that really means) pretty much isn't going to happen until AFTER approval anyways (meaning entering the tournament circuit) and at that, sometimes years later (DKoK I look at thee). 18 reports is just more of a finger in the air deal looking for patently stupid/broken stuff and that the list has A. enough interest to warrant existence, B. it has a real actual theme to the army.

Things that I believe that are going to have a bigger impact are going to be for the ERC to stress
-you actually don't have a requirement for pictures. somehow people keep thinking that
-you don't have to have painted models (hell or even models at all) and the lack of reasonable to use proxy chits to leverage for testing
-subACs putting out stress builds for people to try and give guidance on. The ability to break a list is not a skill everyone is going to have (You and Matt and Dave are pretty good at seeing those types of things for instance)

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:49 pm 
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Let's also be honest about research methods here. The weak statistical meanings of these games is a bit of a straw man.

Playtests are not designed to get statistically significant findings. The probabilities involved in opposing unit/fm/army characteristics (unit x hits on a given D6 value against unit y's armor and cover save values, etc.) are going to give you the relevant quantitative results. Frankly you can do the math for that without putting a miniature on the board at all. Playtesting is essentially a qualitative process. Player decisions affect the conditions under which the dice rolling take place. In order to get a good qualitative basis for list approval/disapproval, one must take into account the terrain, tactics, and other factors. Kyrt's questions are a good start, but often AC's are looking for more detailed answers. How the game is played and set up is absolutely important to the approval decision. 18 playtests is indeed statistically insignificant. However, if one looks at a more qualitative approach to research design, that many games spread over numerous groups takes into account different play styles and gaming environments, and hence is highly illustrative of list balance. The play-by-play style of batrep isn't an excuse to attack someone's tactics ("man, you really screwed the pooch in that game") but to give an idea of where things like tactical mistakes and abnormally good/bad luck played a roll in a game result.

Essentially EUK lists are allowed to playtest NetEA, btw. It's up to individual ACs as far as I know. Also as far as I know, since the last kerfluffle on that issue occurred on these boards, there wasn't a spate of approvals. I think that's a non-issue.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:56 pm 
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jimmyzimms wrote:
1. is already the case. (at least defacto)


Since when? Is it official?

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:20 pm 
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since effectively forever. An no, as I stated, defacto. NetEA is already starved of batreps that ACs are historically NOT rejecting batreps just because they don't have 6 from that group.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:32 pm 
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mordoten wrote:
Hello all!

I'm been thinking about how the NetEA lists are being approved and how the community around them work. IMO approving a list is very difficult since it requires 3 groups to do 6 reports. Just to do 1 report with some pictures seems to many a too difficult task judging to what people write here.


Guilty as charged.... :-[ my issue here is that sometimes I just want to play the game.... usually I at least try to post a summary of my thoughts on the test at hand, I know that's certainly what I look for when I read IF batreps, I'm not too fussed about the play-by-play or even the result, it's the opinion of the players about how much fun the list was, whether it felt balanced, weak, strong etc...

Quote:
Over all it seems to me that it's hard to get people to commit to helping out with the playtesting process.


Indeed.... people are going to play what they want to play unfortunately, and the NetEA project is too big and broad to get all dictatorial and say "we are all playtesting list X until we agree it's done" all that seems to do is make people leave to do their own thing.... I don't know if there's a solution or not, without a figurehead (mostly) everyone agrees to follow the schedule of (like Jervis for example) then it's a bit headless... stuff DOES get done though....

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:34 pm 
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kyussinchains wrote:
stuff DOES get done though....

This is the most important point in this discussion yet.

NetEA is a (never-ending) marathon, not a sprint

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:25 pm 
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On 1), having a minimum and maximum requirement would put me a little more at ease. Say "at least 4, but no more than 6" battle reports per group. Personally, I'm interested in: how you used the list, why you chose what you chose and how those changed from game to game. You couldn't get all three of those from 18 games across 18 groups.

On 2), it's been tried and it hasn't worked. Mainly for the reasons others have listed.

----

If you need battle reports for your list, lead by example and do six in your group. Need more? Barter with people: exchange battle reports, bribe them with miniatures or less savory acts, etc. Reach out to people who have an interest in the list, get opinions before you put something out.

Doing battle reports isn't that difficult. It takes less than 5 seconds to snap a pic after each activation or round of assault. The most time intensive thing is writing the captions, once you find a rhythm that's about 30 minutes. After that, link to the pic-site, post the the lists and give a few thoughts.

All that has never been required though, "should be documented" was the exact language we used. If someone wants to lawyer that, to me it means: the lists used, at least 200 words describing the turn with at least a couple of pics, and thoughts on the list, strategy and other factors.

And yes, we have bent the approval rules in the past. AMTL needed three more reports and the Knight list had reports from across four groups. For AMTL, going back to the community with "nope, you need more reports" wouldn't have helped anyone at that point. It was a "spirit of" versus "letter of the rule" decision.

mordoten wrote:
Good or anus as we say in Sweden?


captPiett just says "Anus or anus" here.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:02 pm 
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It's my feeling that the playtest phase is to root out any flagrant problems with the list by showing how a variety of different groups play and how they interpret rules. Very few people care about that phase beyond the AC and folks who play the list.

However, once you reach the Mythical Approved Status, a lot more folks start caring just because lists can be used in tournaments and both sides have vested interest in breaking things or finding what's broken. That's when we tend to see a lot more discussion about specific points and we end up with more solidly balanced lists.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we removed the playtest requirement entirely and let the AC submit the list for peer review among the other AC's before getting sign off for approval. I kind of think we'd have nearly the same results.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:19 pm 
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Vaaish wrote:
I sometimes wonder what would happen if we removed the playtest requirement entirely and let the AC submit the list for peer review among the other AC's before getting sign off for approval. I kind of think we'd have nearly the same results.


So do I.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:05 pm 
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Dave wrote:
And yes, we have bent the approval rules in the past. AMTL needed three more reports and the Knight list had reports from across four groups. For AMTL, going back to the community with "nope, you need more reports" wouldn't have helped anyone at that point. It was a "spirit of" versus "letter of the rule" decision


But isn't it better then to change the formal rule to make it easier than to make sporadic exceptions when you feel like it? The later is not very democratic either since it happens when the ERC feels like it. My first suggestion makes the approval process more open and lets everyone participate on the same level.
Surely that must be better than exceptions decided by a few?

Sometimes i feel like theres a little much conservatism involved around this game. It's ok to try and update procedures to make them better. Just like we update the lists to make them more balanced and/or better...

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:45 pm 
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good points!

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:13 pm 
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Vaaish wrote:
I sometimes wonder what would happen if we removed the playtest requirement entirely and let the AC submit the list for peer review among the other AC's before getting sign off for approval. I kind of think we'd have nearly the same results.

I think so too, actually. As long as "peer review" does involve playing with the list at least once. It's too easy for a list to look OP but actually be fine in practice.

I'll give you another reason why: it guarantees that non-players of the list cast an eye over it. There are quite a few lists of late that are hunky dory as far as the AC and those contributing to the development (people who own the army) are concerned, but are otherwise widely considered to have issues. That's natural; when you collect the army, you want it to perform well and you want it to be approved. There is no guarantee of anyone in those 18 games approaching it with a critical eye. One game from someone trying to break the list can be worth 10 games from someone just wanting to have fun with a thematic army.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for change within the NetEA structure.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:39 am 
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Quote:
I think so too, actually. As long as "peer review" does involve playing with the list at least once. It's too easy for a list to look OP but actually be fine in practice.


I actually hadn't gotten as far as to figure out what an ideal "peer review" would look like, but that is a very good requirement for it. :)

I agree about the rest. It was pulling teeth to get the number of playtests for AMTL that we got and I think the results of seeing it in tournament play and the discussions brought up as a result have had more benefit to list balance than the majority of playtests needed for approval in the first place.

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