Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rule of 9

Here's today's disclaimer. None of the content of today's post has--to my knowledge--been suggested or discussed or given any consideration whatsoever by the PSP--which means the contents of this post are not a trial balloon of any sort and that I am solely responsible for this content. (Being conspiracy-minded myself I am almost suspicious of my own disclaimer but have the advantage of knowing it's true. You are welcome to judge for yourself.)
When the PSP first began moving away from full on Xball in the direction of Race To the pro game was reduced to game clock or nine points, whichever happened first. The second season it was further reduced to the current standard of seven points. I mention this for two reasons. One, there's been some wistful talk of bringing back halves so that open-ended scoring opportunities will encourage more aggressive play and make the game more fun to watch. Two, that ain't never gonna happen. The reality is the only thing that will speed up points and generate more excitement is fields that compel teams into action--and--paint consumption [paint cost] is already the anvil on which tons of teams, including pro teams are being hammered into oblivion. Playing a game that of necessity requires an uncertain volume of more paint is a non-starter and with twenty pro teams locking up two fields there literally is no time for more so any significant change would mean well, significant change probably in the number of prelim matches played. Hey, the Eurokids already play only three. Is that the future you really want?
But what if the pro game were changed to RaceTo-9 again without altering the clock time? Would that be a viable compromise? Would it open up the games and encourage more aggressive play on the basis that each point is no longer quite so important? I don't know. But if the layouts push the play and the move to 9 reduces the pressure to win every point it might be a compromise everyone could live with. Or not.


Unknown said...

I'm not sure if it would work. A good number of teams, when leading 2 up, would sit back and run down the clock.

A Race To 9 wouldn't be an effective change. The way to encourage fast play is to make the points count.

One way could be to do away with Race To and play 2 halves. Do away with match win points and rank the teams by points won and/or points against. This will force teams to win more points even if they're 10 points ahead because a 1-3 loss could be negated by a massive 10-1 win.

Oh wait.. That's XBall. Ranking them by points won rather than games won would make teams chase each and every point.

Baca Loco said...

If the layout allowed it. I agree.

Halves is not going to happen. It simply isn't and you haven't given any reason why it's better.

As to the value of positive points, I agree. I suggested that change to the rules last off season. Make the third tie-breaker points won after matches won and head-to-head instead of the current point differential. There were at the time concerns over unintended consequences which is a reasonable consideration but with further review might be reconsidered.

Unknown said...

Halves would simply eliminate perceived advantages on either side of the field. Angle of the sun, slight gradients, wind direction, bunker alignment, potholes, mud baths, refs' inconsistency, etc. They could all be real or perceived, almost every sport that could have halves have them.

Curious, what unintended consequences could there be?

Anonymous said...

What about raceto 7, win by 3? This would allow the close and exciting games go longer, and end the blowouts.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I am all for making the game more exiting to watch and play.

And yes, what you suggest would have an impact, but I believe it to be small.... compared to a lot of other things that could be done to achieve more aggressive play.

For instance, it doesn't matter if you play race to 9 or race to 900 - if the field is setup to be slow played, that is what will happen.

Yes, I HATE the MS system with only 3 prelims games and race to 5 - it's way too open to flukes, bad luck, reffing errors, etc.

So, the stuff I'd look at before trying out race to 9:

- Field design
- Keeping field design a secret until the day before the event at noon (fields open for walking)
- Paint limit per point
- Fire rate

Someone is sure to bring up the shot clock, which has been suggested numerous times.

I don't like the idea, because it gives a big advantage to the team up on points, as they can just sit and wait for the opponents to make moves.... while the other team is forced to make moves inside a certain time limit - which is not always the smartest time to move.

Anonymous said...

Something I read in comment on this blog once that I think would be cool (whether it would be feasible is another matter) would be different points awarded depending on how long it takes to hang the flag.

For example: Hang in under 30 seconds is 3 points, under 2 minutes 30 for 2 points and anything over for the 1 point.

This wouldn't force fast play (unless you're down a bunch of points) but it might entice teams to prepare, practice and execute fast plays to mount a comeback or solidify a lead.

It could be pretty fun to watch too. Obviously this would need to be more than race-7 (probably more like race-15 or halves) but I think it would be pretty cool.

As a spectator though I believe that when it comes down to it its exciting layouts that make for exciting games. That will always be the case - no matter the rules of the game.

Mark said...

Minimizing the impact of that "third" team on the field would be a good start. I gotta say it is still pretty intolerable at times to watch a game where no one makes moves, and the only "excitement potential" is whether a penalty will be thrown. This can "appear" to open up the action as the opposing team wants to capitalize as well as save the penalty time for the next point, but it's at best artificially induced, and at worst arbitrary and on a whole makes the game look like the amateur-production it wishes to aspire beyond.

Someone inevitably brings up the real pro sports in discussions such as these, and I'm the first to cringe when they do, but where they swallow their whistles and let the players play (dirty or not) in big moments, at least paintball has the advantage where the officials can (or used to) actively enter the fray and signal/pull eliminated players.

And just how does a major on the Dallas layout equal a major on the MAO layout? If a paintball referee uses the same criteria for a major penalty how can a league abide by an average 3 point swing at one event and a 1 point swing at another? How does it look for a team to come up from the challengers bracket, then blow through their prelims in champions, then be suddenly plagued with penalties in the final game? No fanboy here, just how does it look (big picture-wise) as an aspiring serious sport?

Baca Loco said...

I think all those things already are accounted for as teams switch ends on odd points.

As to unintended consequences I don't know. At that time it was an issue because the idea occurred to me last minute so I hadn't done any follow-up or had any real chance to consider what might result. So it was more a matter of not risking making an unthought thru change.

801 Anon
While sounding cool that would in random situations negate the game clock and make scheduling untenable.

No doubt layout design is the critical element.

750 Anon
It would be very interesting to experiment with something like that. My primary concern, at least off the top of my head, is that such a system would tend to magnify the impact of penalties--which is something we're trying to minimize and that the current tie-breaker system would limit the possible utility of scaled points anyway.

Your comments require a separate post or two.

Fullbore said...

I hate it when teams just get down on their knees and hold tight locking it down, just waiting for the action to come to them. Anything to encourage front players to actually make the effort to gain ground makes the game more exciting. However, when layouts, and formats reward conservative play we are doomed to watching from the sidelines in lawn chairs!

As the cycling fraternity would say - Rule 5

Nick Brockdorff said...
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Nick Brockdorff said...

Often the fronts are fine on all teams, but it's the lack of backs that are able to move, which kills the speed of the game.

Too often you see a front, head down, pulling 2 guns.... and yet, all his teammates are just sitting.... even the guy with no gun on him.... sometimes because he is a bad player, sometimes because the field setup does not allow him to move anywhere playable.

The fronts that make a lot of kills, are the ones that have proactive and aggressive players behind them, because otherwise they never get to do anything.... but those back players only shine, when they have places to move to.

For instance, it was a joy to see Marcello Margott play back at the last PSP event.... It was the first time I understood what the hype is about.... if the fields keep playing that way, he should keep playing back!

Anyway, this is getting WAY off subject, sorry.

Inebriation, World Cup soccer semi-final and VFTD is a bad combo :D

Michael Brozak said...

Nick -

Wouldn't the Shot Clock still impact both teams seeing as how they both have to clear zones or loose bodies?

How's this? Run the transmitter wiring for each zone under the turf that the PSP is going to implement next season, Then use the New Markers that will have a "shut down" receiver in them that will systematically shut down once time expires in each zone. Only a player with an active marker will be able hang the flag or activate the point ending buzzer.

Anonymous said...

When will the jet-packs be ready?

Nick Brockdorff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Brockdorff said...

Michael: We are talking about two different things.

I am talking about the basic idea of points being limited to a certain time (or a win prior to time).

The idea you are talking about is making zones on the field off limits at certain intervals, which is overly complicated and logistically unfeasible IMHO.... not least when considering I prefer us all to play the same game, top to bottom, in paintball.

However, irrespective of what system you want to implement that limit the length of a point, you create a scenario where it will always pay to be defensive, as soon as you are up on points.

That is also true today in theory, but much less so because of the potential longevity of a point.... and the physical limitations to how much paint you can carry and shoot.

In what you suggest, the benefit to defensive teams is is amplified, because players have limited spots to move to (in your system it will not make sense to move sideways or back), so it becomes even easier to just contain players until the clock eliminates them.

I'm sorry, I'm all for creative thought.... but we should look for the simple solutions to adjust our game, before we go overboard with radical and complicated ideas.

Michael Brozak said...

Nick - you can't be defensive when you are forced to move - being up on points won't eliminate having to move because of time.

Nick Brockdorff said...


It doesn't matter that you are eliminated, if your opponent is eliminated too, as long as you are up on points.

Thus, denying movement becomes more important than movement, for the team in the lead.

Michael Brozak said...

Nick -
None of it really matters - there will always be a rebuttal to change or any creative thinking for that matter. People are resistant to change we all know that. Heck we can't even get a positive response with regard to the limiting of paint that a team can carry on the field per point. quite frankly until we see some things change our game will continue to be stagnant and will never go mainstream. As for aggressive layouts if there is a way for a team to sit on their heels, even if its slight, they will.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I don't agree with you buddy, sorry.

This sport is full of creativity and innovation - just look at all that has changed the last 15 years!

However, it's not all ideas that are great, and that particular idea of yours is not a good one IMHO.

Michael Brozak said...

Not sure what part you are in disagreement with - all or part?

Anyway its neither here nor there,

As for the changes over the last 15 years - Have they in anyway given mainstream society the impression that what we do is nothing more then a hobby? Heck I was at a roller skating rink this past weekend and the sign on the wall referred to roller skating as a sport... huh? and paintball isn't? I guess we fight the battles we can win right?

Also for the record I do value your opinion as I do Paul's, You guys have been around this sport far longer then I. Take care!

Michael Brozak said...

Oh and please don't think that the ideas and my comments were meant to be serious (tongue and cheek) - just wanted to hopefully get folks to start thinking and not be so closed minded about change. Heck it could trigger that one soul that has the "answer", to actually present it and give it some change. Are there any truly bad ideas if it motivates change for the better?