Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Mystified On Tour :: Annual Review 2012

The Northern League is over for another year and my congratulations go to the winners and my thanks go to the organisers and our various hosts in 2012.



As an end of year review I thought I'd compare 2012 with previous years:
Year Position Points Rounds Wins/Games Av. Pts/Game
2010 25/26 24 2 1/4 6
2011 20/26 53 3 2/6 9
2012 07/19 114 4 4/8 14

On the face of it we've made a bit of progress especially given that the six teams above us all played in five rounds compared to our four. This is important because the final placing is by total points scored. Had we played at Derby, we would only have needed 9 points from two games to finish fourth!

If you are interested, I've created a spreadsheet from the final results table on the web to look at few things in more detail:
  • As noted above the top six teams played in all five rounds. If you use the average points per game the placings change markedly (rankings #1 & #2) but they are skewed by a couple of teams that only played one or two rounds but scored really well.
  • If you only place teams who played in at least three rounds the placings change again (ranking #3) although two out of the top three remain their places.
  • The number of teams playing in the ancient & medieval Field of Glory competition declined from 26 (2010 & 2011) to 18 this year. Some of the decline is due to the first ever renaissance Field of Glory competition which attracted 10 players in 2012.
Last year I commented that we had two consistent failings: losing one round really badly and not scoring enough points when in a game we were clearly going to lose. So what changed?
What went well?
  • We certainly didn't have a disastrous round this year and for the most part we scored better in defeat. We scored 29,19,17, and 27 when winning (average 23.0) and 6,6,6, and 3 (average 5.25) when losing.
  • We were placed third in the first round for our first ever Field of Glory competition trophy.
  • We won with all three classes of army allowed in the Northern League winning half our games overall (twice a many as in 2011) and more than doubling our 2011 points total.
  • On two occasions we beat higher class armies: we beat class one armies (lots of superior stuff) with a class two and a class three army.
  • For the final round we decided to use a class two army for the second time this year in an attempt to improve our score with this class of army; we scored 30 up from 23.
  • In one game we recovered from a very bad start to break our opponent. This suggests we can absorb punishment and strike back.
  • The only tactical shift we made was that, in mid year, we started to use flank marches to discomfort massed foot armies.
  • Our games always ended within the time allotted and one army was always destroyed. This comes from our style of play: we are always looking for a result (see below).
What didn't go so well?
  • We lost with all three classes of army allowed in the Northern League. We usually won the first round suggesting we found it difficult against the better players.
  • In a couple of games we failed to put effective pressure on our opponents. In some instances our opponents ran away and we failed to catch them. In others we spent too much time setting up decisive moves that never happened.
  • In a few games we (and especially me) should have realised we were in for hard time and curbed our aggressive instincts. Playing for a strong draw or close loss would have gained us more points. This year we tended to "go for it" far too much especially after winning in the first round.
  • Generally, once we suffered significant losses we never recovered (bar one game - see above). All our games were decisive but not always in our favour.
  • We struggled to score more than 6 points whilst losing. The best you can get is 9 but we never got more than 6. Some of this is due to the scoring system but mainly it's our fault.
What needs to be done next year?
  • To state the obvious, we need to win two games in a day. Failing that, win one game and get some sort of draw in the other.
  • Must get some practise in playing the patient game and running away from vastly superior or awkward opposition.
Having said all this Graham and I are currently discussing what to do in 2013. So far it looks like we'll only be playing selected rounds in the Northern League and trying other weekend competitions be they singles or doubles.

We are willing to travel (up to a point given the price of petrol) but we haven't decided which competitions to enter so I'd be happy to receive suggestions and reviews of your favourite competition as comments.

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