Why change the rules?


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion


Originally each voter got one vote per round. Now it looks like we can choose up to five votes for this round. Why the change?

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Erik and I discussed it. We didnt want to have 5 with a massive amount of votes and then say 6 more with a good chunk of votes and then tiny amounts for the others that would round out the top 16. I'd hate to be picking between 12-16 because one has 24 votes and the next three have 23. That would suck. More votes means more chance to get a better distribution of preferences and more fully flesh out the top entries.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Note, too, that based on further discussion and some feedback from the authors themselves, we changed the rule so that they cant comment in their own thread other than to say "thanks" and "vote for me."

First, we didnt want an arms race of providing "design comments."

Second, we just couldnt find a way to give good rules for what could and couldnt be said--since we cant allow contestants to expand on their submissions once submitted. Since we couldnt give clear guidelines, it seemed better to say "say nothing." Frankly, I think the authors prefer this.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Clark Peterson wrote:
Erik and I discussed it. We didnt want to have 5 with a massive amount of votes and then say 6 more with a good chunk of votes and then tiny amounts for the others that would round out the top 16. I'd hate to be picking between 12-16 because one has 24 votes and the next three have 23. That would suck. More votes means more chance to get a better distribution of preferences and more fully flesh out the top entries.

My strategy in this contest was based on the fact that the voters would only get one vote each. When was this rule changed and where was the change announced?

I just read the rules for round two and this is what you have posted there:

How do you figure out who wins?

Beginning December 5, the submissions and the judges' comments will be posted in a forum on the RPG Superstar messageboards. They are then subject to open commentary by members of the paizo.com community, during which time registered users may vote for their single favorite submission. The voting period will end on December 11, and the 16 submissions with the most votes will be revealed on December 12. At that time, the 16 contestants will be given their task for the next round.

(emphasis mine)

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

This morning, and just recently when the submissions were released for public viewing.

I dont see how this affects your strategy. If you were expecting to get their only vote, you certainly can expect to get one of their 5 votes.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Just for the record, I think that doing it with 5 votes is a better way of doing it than with just one, but the concept of my first round choice was based entirely on the need to stand out to get the number one vote.

In other words, I was going for the kind of cult-hit entry rather than the mainstream blockbuster.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I hear you. We think 5 is better, too. And I'm glad you say that.

But you have to agree my logic is sound: if you were going to get their one and only vote by going out there with it, you will definately get one of their five--in fact, this will likely get you MORE votes under that same theory.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Clark Peterson wrote:

I hear you. We think 5 is better, too. And I'm glad you say that.

But you have to agree my logic is sound: if you were going to get their one and only vote by going out there with it, you will definately get one of their five--in fact, this will likely get you MORE votes under that same theory.

With one vote each, the voting distribution breaks down like this. 32 entries. 1000 voters. Say 10 of the entries stand out and end up getting 800 of the votes, and 5 of those entries stand out over the others and get 500 of the 800. Split evenly the distribution would be something like ...

Top 5 favorites: 100 votes each
Next 5 favorites: 60 votes each
Next 22: About 10 votes each.

Say a fringe entry could greatly appeal to about 3% of the voters, and its underdog status would compel them to vote to make sure it went to the next round. That would be 30 votes, enough to stand out over the standard deviation of the bottom rung entries that all split the vote.

By giving everyone 5 votes, you change the 1000 to 5000. Now assume that the fringe entry still only appeals to 3% of the voters, and since they can each only vote once for the entry, the entry still only gets 30 votes, but the "next 22" all get about 50 votes each.

It does make a difference in strategy. I'm not insisting that you change how you are doing things. In fact, I am going to go on the record as saying that I think you should have gone with multiple votes from the beginning, and I am going to endorse your change in the rules.

However, it is a material change in the rules of the contest and perhaps you will understand how it may adversely affect some of the "niche" oriented entries, and give an advantage to the mainstream ones.


Clark Peterson wrote:

I hear you. We think 5 is better, too. And I'm glad you say that.

But you have to agree my logic is sound: if you were going to get their one and only vote by going out there with it, you will definately get one of their five--in fact, this will likely get you MORE votes under that same theory.

Logic is sound as stated, no doubt. It's just a bit troubling to change course again mid-contest. Surprising lack of stability in the contest that might be a part of how it's playing out in such an interactive forum and relatively closed community [no one is gonna take any issues to the AP here ;) ].

Though I kind of expect that fluidity in a freeform forum as this one. Very interesting to examine my own negative reaction to this level of flexible rules.


I also agree with Erik A's logic; though I'm also partial to his entry, I admit.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

We are always working to make this competition the best it can be. That may mean changes. You saw it in round 1 a bit. Less in round 2, but this is a change, for sure. We think 5 votes improves our sample and spread.

And guess what, we will likely make changes in future rounds too. :) Dont know what it will be yet, but I'm sure we will change something.

Its like that first time in Survivor when the reshuffled the tribes. Hey, my game strategy didnt contemplate that!


Clark Peterson wrote:

We are always working to make this competition the best it can be. That may mean changes. You saw it in round 1 a bit. Less in round 2, but this is a change, for sure. We think 5 votes improves our sample and spread.

And guess what, we will likely make changes in future rounds too. :) Dont know what it will be yet, but I'm sure we will change something.

Its like that first time in Survivor when the reshuffled the tribes. Hey, my game strategy didnt contemplate that!

True, but historically competition thrives on stability. It's a level playing field because we all know the rules up front and trust they'll stay the same.

Why the BCS waits till after the season to tweak itself (every single year).

Or why I make my son write down the rules to his latest card agme creation, so he understands that you don't chnage things midtsream to work better for you.

It's a trust issue. The changes might be intended to do good, but when you threaten teh stability of compeition, you come out with something other than the intended effect.

I could list other examples, but it gets to the point. My concern is trying too hard to do good and spoiling the very premise you're likely trying to protect.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

A valid concern, of course.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

amusingsn wrote:


Say a fringe entry could greatly appeal to about 3% of the voters, and its underdog status would compel them to vote to make sure it went to the next round. That would be 30 votes, enough to stand out over the standard deviation of the bottom rung entries that all split the vote.

A fringe country might benefit from this format more than you think. While I would certainly have to debate casting my sole vote for a extreme country, I have far less issue rewarding chances and creativity with one of my five votes.

The Exchange

This is a much better way of voting from my point of view because I can choose five much more easily than one.

Cheers for the change


Mm, I was expecting three votes but five is nice, much better than just one...bit like a while ago we had that voting about favorite campaign world, and FR and GH did get a lead while fringe votes did divide over several more offbeat campaign worlds...and worlds which I and others considered second-best or third-best got almost no votes at all.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Aotrscommander

Clark Peterson wrote:
Frankly, I think the authors prefer this.

I'd have personally preferred to be able to explain myself, but that's probably because I like to here the sound of own voice...um...see the sight of my own...typing? (That metaphor kinda doesn't work in this format does it...) I just like explaining stuff, what I can I say. An I one of those sad hacks who'd actually enjoy reading the design commetary.

Incidently, while I'm here, important Paizo personages, in the increasingly likely even I've arsed up my chances of getting to round 3 (or even if I do) would it be acceptable or even welcomed if I were do to a more traditionally loquaciously voluable write-up of Kerpiquan and post it up here? (Once the round is over, obviously!) I'm getting that I sort of disappointed people my not doing the job in full (and I'm probably going to be driven by my own creative drive to do it for my own campaign world anway). I feel more like I've somehow let, you, the readers down a bit with my entry, so doing that would make me feel a bit better! (I didn't want to post this query in my own thread, as it might be taken as trying to butter everyone up, which is not at all my intention.)

Liberty's Edge

amusingsn wrote:


In other words, I was going for the kind of cult-hit entry rather than the mainstream blockbuster.

For whatever it's worth, I would definately not be voting for your entry if I only had one vote - in my humble opinion there are simply better and safer entries. However, now that I have 5 votes, I am strongly contemplating voting for yours.

For me, an idea like this shows extreme creativity - but it also shows an obvious attempt to be noticed and different, with no real promise of a follow through (not saying you won't - but I don't know that from this entry). I'm not likely to take a risk on that if I only have one vote, but am more likely to with more than one - and I'm noticing a similar vibe in the discussion on your item. I am no expert, but I have a gut feeling that the rules change very much helps your entry.

EDIT: deleted some stuff. I might have been a bit harsh. I know this is a tough game to play, and the rules change probably threw you. I'm glad for the change, I don't fault the judges or Paizo for changing them (it's a learning curve for them too), and I honestly think it works in your favour.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

If I had only one vote, it was the Stained Dwarf Land all the way.

But I have more, so the puppies for one of the extras.

This format benefits the oddballs more than it does the mainstream, I guarantee it.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Clark Peterson wrote:


First, we didnt want an arms race of providing "design comments."

Second, we just couldnt find a way to give good rules for what could and couldnt be said--since we cant allow contestants to expand on their submissions once submitted. Since we couldnt give clear guidelines, it seemed better to say "say nothing." Frankly, I think the authors prefer this.

For the record, that was a REALLY good call - every country would be on its thirteenth, maybe thirtieth, page by now if you had left the rule as-was.

Plus, you would have spent seventeen hours a day searching every one of the submissions for "over the line" commentary, and then you would either be:

(a) sending out dozens of "warning" mails,
(b) disqualifying people left, right and center,
(c) accused of favoritism and corruption, or
(d) all of the above.

You made the right decision, and I applaud you for it.

/I do, however, also HATE the rule, because I am thirsting to respond to many comments in a way that brings physical pain to my skull. Flames . . . on the side of my face . . .

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