Is it time to tweak the 7-man format? For some the answer would appear to be yes. More than an All*Star gimmick could S7 revitalize the 7-man format?
Before I go any further you need to go here and see what JB (Junior Brown from XSV) has to say about S7. His post is most of the way down the page. He lays out the basic game and the changes so I don't have to. (Thanks, JB.) He also makes clear it's a work in progress.
So what's the point? I'm fine with trying to improve the format but I'm also curious as to why. Why now? And why like this? The obvious answer is that almost two years into the NPPL 3.0 experiment there is little evidence the existence of the league is increasing competitive player interest in the 7-man format and breeding new 7-man teams. At least not in encouraging numbers, numbers that show progress. Other than returning to 2005 what can the league do? They hold events in Vegas and on Huntington Beach. They brought back the All*Star game, offer player parties, improved reffing, offer assorted perks and very nearly ignore what passes for gun rules so all the true believers in true semi-auto have a place to compete and still they have to supplement 7-man play with pump and 5-man entries. What's a league to do? Oh, yeah, fiddle with the format.
This is problematic too however. Especially when it appears, at least initially, that the changes being considered are moving the game closer to the game played by their primary competitor, the PSP. Right now there are clear and bright dividing lines between 7-man and Race 2. Format changes that move closer to Race 2 run the serious risk of conceding the format war--in favor of the other guy. Will it benefit the NPPL 3.0 in the long run to jump on the Race 2 bandwagon while insisting their version is better? Maybe it will. Maybe no coaching, a different shaped field, 7 players instead of 5 and Wild West gun rules are what the players want--but if so there is little to no evidence supporting the idea. And none of the modifications offered by S7 address the crucial issue--there are very few places left to practice whatever version of 7-man the league might decide on even if an influx of interest suddenly appeared. The only real future 7-man has is one that rebuilds a grassroots interest in the format.