Blackjack! A new way to score for KoW

Introduction

We are excited to introduce to you the Blackjack Tournament Scoring System for Kings of War, or BJTSSfKoW for short! (Just kidding; we call it Blackjack).

This system was primarily developed by Ken-in-Yorks and Chris Kellahan. Ken is a (very) busy Tournament Organiser (TO) in Queensland, and CK is an active participant/organiser in the Canberra Kings of War scene. Help has been provided by Matt Croger and Tasman Stacey, the TOs behind Clash of Kings Australia.

Current tournament scoring systems either don’t provide enough distinction between matches (W/L/D) or feature swings that are perhaps too wild (20-0 system). In the 20-0 system it is common for very close games that were decided on a single dice roll to end up with scores of 18-2, which is not an accurate reflection of how close the overall game was.

The premise of the Blackjack system is that playing for the scenario win should be a player’s objective, and winning it as decisively as possible, with attrition a secondary, yet still important, factor. Thus Blackjack attempts to combine win/loss + objective scoring + attrition to arrive at a tournament score that is more representative of the game played.

The blackjack scoring system

Blackjack Master Scoring Sheet - this document contains score modifiers for all the current scenarios and for a range of point values (2000 point games, 1000 point games, etc). It is not intended for players to need to refer to the full matrix at a Tournament. It is intended to assist TOs in preparing their tournament handouts, which should look something like this:

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Or you can include all the scenario information on one page like this:

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How to score using the blackjack system

Scoring a game using this system is extremely straightforward. You score for win/loss/draw, then you score any bonus points from scoring a lot more objectives than your opponent, then you score attrition.

  1. 14/10/7 Tournament Points (TPs) for a win / loss / draw according to the scenario played. Winning or losing is still the most important element of a competitive game, and is weighted accordingly.

  2. Consult the table for up to +4/-4 TPs based on how many Objectives the victor won by. For example, in the Loot scenario you can win by 1, 2, or 3 points. If you win by 1 point, you get 0 bonus objective points. Winning by 2 nets you 2 points, winning by 3 nets you 4. You opponent will lose the same amount. This will reward people who focus heavily on the scenario and playing the objectives, and the score will reflect a dominant objective win vs just scraping by.

  3. Calculate the difference in attrition, and consult the table for up to +3/-3 TPs based on that. At 2000 points for example, an attrition difference of <=500 points will result in no modifier, and you will need to have an attrition difference of 1800+ to net the full 3 points.

  4. A player’s ranking is based on their TP total, with players on equal TPs using total Attrition points (not attrition difference) as a tiebreaker.

21 is the maximum score a player can achieve under this system, hence the name of Blackjack. Scoring Blackjack will be a remarkably difficult achievement, requiring you to have an attrition difference of over 1800 points in a 2000 point game as well as holding virtually all of the objective points on offer. It is also worth noting that a player who loses the scenario cannot gain more TPs than the player who won the scenario, regardless of how well they do on attrition.


We have started testing this system within our internal group, and are now opening it up for wider community feedback. We will be further testing this system at casual play nights across Australia, as well as some small tournaments over the next month, gauging its appropriateness for Clash of Kings Australia 18.

You will see that it is not too far different from the 20-0 system, so should be familiar enough to tournament players to understand easily.

What we are trying to achieve

Tournament scores should generally end up closer than a 20-0 system, so folk are more likely to have a chance of coming back from a bad round. Narrow wins will typically result in a 14/7 score, instead of the 16/4 result we tend to see currently.

There should be fewer white washes; fewer 20-0s. In fact, to get a 21-0 “Blackjack” (you must shout it out when you get it!) you’ve really got to be going hard. Theoretically we should see fewer people jumping a long way up the ladder in the final round of competition due to crushing an opponent.


With encouraging playing for the scenario, rather than bare minimum, we hope to reduce the instances of tactical choices such as castling, points denial, plain killing, etc.

It should have some impact on army builds. For example, Ken’s Varangur hammer army (an 8 drop army of 4 Mounted Sons + 1 King on Chimera + Herja + 2 mounted mages) could not Blackjack some scenarios, and would be virtually impossible to Blackjack in most others. If a player is aiming to podium at a tournament using this system, they will need to write a list that is capable of not only securing a decisive attrition advantage but also able to secure a decisive objective advantage.

Example scoring comparison

Here is a quick analysis of Ken’s results from the recent Castle Assault 2-day tournament 18 player in Newcastle. The table shows the scores he achieved under the prevailing Clash of Kings 20-0 system, and what he would have achieved under the Blackjack system:

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You can see that it’s not a major difference, but typically the peaks and troughs are a little gentler. It’s worth noting, the only score that increased, was the scenario that was played out best, grabbing all 3 bounties, as well as a solid attrition difference, the rest were affected because Attrition difference is not as key. Also it’s worth noting the lower TP denial to the opponents over the course of a tournament, as this is considerable. But the biggest difference should be in the way people play over events, with an increased focus on objectives over attrition, and hopefully this will be reflected in more well-rounded lists as well.

And remember, if you score 21-0 you must shout “Blackjack!”, and commiserations to the “Bust” player.

Known considerations

A tournament organiser will need to be mindful of the following:

  1. To ensure a fair availability of tournament points for all players, every table within a given round should use the same number of objectives/tokens as appropriate to the scenario. This may include homogenised points worth of terrain features for Secure across tables.

  2. To ensure a smooth running tournament with targeted handouts for the tables, TOs are encouraged to determine the scenarios and number of objective/token counts before the day. They can be kept secret and only revealed at the beginning of each round. This will avoid needing to prepare multiple lookup tables and scoring variations for each round.

  3. Calculating scores might seem complex at first, but it's really no more complicated than other systems in practice. Just look up the tables and add or subtract the modifiers. Once you have the Tournament Points for the round, and total attrition (still used to determine rank order where TPs are equal), the Table Top TO (TTT) site makes recording them a breeze, and is a highly recommended free resource for tournament organisers https://tabletop.to/

So we hope everyone who tries it, likes it, as we want the game to be as fair and enjoyable as possible. Thank you for reading this far, and we're very open to hearing your feedback.