I'm confused by the use of the term "free-for-all" in this context. It sounds like you're describing lone wolves with an undetermined scoring system. Because I've been writing theory, I personally have strong set definitions of what things like "free for all" are. Not trying to nit-pick, but I've always seen "free for all" as a no-team, no-score soakfest game family...the most common in soaking, but the least organized. The only real way to score such a game is relative wetness...is that really tournament quality?
Anyway, I would not do lone wolves in a tournament unless in very low quantity or in partnerships / duels. With 10-20 individuals...you're going to get people making natural and temporary alliances with each other. All it takes is simple body language, so it's not even something you can have a ref target without great effort. I fought in a major Nerf war today, our round of 6 teams of 2 showcased this phenomenon quite well. Even if you make a conscious effort to avoid allying...it happens anyway. A player trapped between two others will be shot by both, and both will ignore each other even if they are relatively close in position.
Rather than that, why not with 30 individuals use the 1-1 or 2-2 dueling system and just put many of them in motion at once? Like a tennis tournament with singles or doubles on a dozen courts at the same time. That way there is no allying and there is a limited ability to cheat. Less tactical opportunities, but this is an individuals scenario, not a team one...individual tactics are much different than team tactics and teams would have to be handled in their own format. If partners, they'd be placed at random...they wouldn't have to know each other or even be able to fight well together. It is both balanced and fun to have the challenge of working with a total stranger of abilities unknown to you in order to outwit and defeat a similar enemy partnership.
Now for scoring, I'd prefer OHS over OHK, even for a duel. In an OHK duel, the better player only wins some of the time...you can simply get lucky and then it's just done. In an OHS duel with a reasonable time limit, the element of luck will not save you - one kill won't automatically end it. The score could end up being 3-2, or 4-1 for example...the better player wins most of the time. It is like backgammon, my most favorite of board games. In a 1 game set, a beginner can take on a master and win. In a 5 game set...the beginner is absolute toast. People usually control for firepower, numbers, experience...but do they think of controlling for luck? It can screw up these things like any other tangible variable.
As for the scoring target itself...well let's work through it:
- Size of the stream can be controlled. You can simply provide the guns for the tournament and pick a standard that has, for example, 5x as the smallest nozzle. This will not control for droplets of water or the stream spreading, and is
- A physical target must be large enough that it cannot be covered up by an arm or by crouching. Placement on a shirt would work best, preferably both chest and back open to be hit.
- Said target must control for sweat. 10 minutes of fighting in super-90 degree weather is enough for a person to be drenched in sweat, even if they do not have a large frame.
- Said target must not damage clothing, nor leave marks/residue.
- Said target should be cheap, easy to make, easy to mount, and stay mounted during vigorous activity.
Given that, I'd say a target should be a "thing" that is attached, but it still doesn't resolve the disputes over how wet. The direct hit system can lead to disputes just as easily as fist-sized or other type. Basically, a combined honor/ref system could work. In Ridgewood, we required the shooter to physically see the shot hit the player. Assuming that tournament players will do anything to win, refs should also be required to see the shot hit the mark...if a dispute that the ref didn't see...then no kill. That means that the refs must do their job well...
As a sidenote, refilling stations, I wouldn't make that the only way to refill. If you do, you naturally limit the amount of fighting, players will be conservative and will not take risks as they would if they are allowed, say 1 bottle per person. The refill station result would be boring and low scoring in comparison to where at least one refill can be made from any point on the field at any time. Especially with individuals...how would you have people refill at one place when the numbers are small...
marauder wrote:You have to explain things in terms that kids will understand, like videogames^ That's how I got Sam to stop using piston pumpers