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The Dragon's Den
How Tough is Your Group?

By DeQuan Watson - 07.15.05

Wow, that title brings some bad images to mind.  I mean really.  The idea of gamers seeing themselves as tough...  Think about it.
You'd go into a store and walk into the back room only to hear "Beat It" playing and see two gaming geeks tie their hands together with a small rope and each would be carrying a knife in their opposite hand.  OK, that's not very likely to happen.  And yes I know that all gamers aren't weak geeks.  I'm a geek, and I'm in pretty good shape.  But honestly, I knew this one guy named Darian that played Legends of the Five Rings and WWE Raw Deal.  That guy was massive.  He looked like a professional wrestler.  And he was good at both his games.  Good thing too.  I hate to see him when he's angry.  HULK SMASH!
OK OK.  I know.  I'm being silly here.  And I've strayed far from my point.  You guys will just have to bear with me.  I've had a crazy week.  I'm been prepping to get to a wedding this weekend.  I've had to make some arrangements for rental cars.  I've had to help my fiancée get out with setting up for a MASSIVE (and I truly mean MASSIVE) Harry Potter party.  And to top it all off, I had to help a crash victim out about two hours ago.  No lies.  Honest truth.  I drove the lady to the post office and to Kinko's.  It was the right thing to do I suppose.
Anyway, now that I've sufficiently wasted your last couple of minutes, let me get to my point.  Many times, players ask me how they can tell where the level of their local area is at in comparison to other areas.  This is a really good question.  I didn't immediately have an answer to this either. 
So, the last time I was asked, I went to Sonic and got one of their great cherry lime-ades.  I rolled up my window and turned up the air conditioner (it's hot down here in Texas in the summer).  I put my John Cena CD in the player (My Time Is Now is a very fun CD.  I know the guys a pro wrestler, but give him a chance, you'll dig it if you are into rap/hip-hop).  I thought long and hard.  Since this is something that was really bothering my readers I wanted to provide them with an answer.  I didn't want to leave them stranded.  What would be the best method for determining this? 
You can't compare yourselves to each other.  That doesn't do any good.  And more often than not you already know the pecking order for the local group of players.  Nothing to be solved there other than solidifying your bragging rights and pumping each others egos (or squashing them).  So it obviously calls for the involvement of a second group.  That's when I had a great idea.
Unfortunately, Regionals has just passed us by.  It would have been a perfect place for this.  It's a very simple plan even.  Almost too simple.  It surprises me that knows one has come up with something like this before.  I think I can even here and now call this the DeQuan Comparison Method (tm).  You read it here first folks.  That makes my ego feel good for the day :)
Anyway, the way to do this is simple.  Take at least five players from your area to a large tournament.  Large can be justified as any tournament involving sixty (60) or more players.  So in most areas, a Pro Tour Qualifier would do fine as well.  In this sampling of five or more players that you bring, you would ideally want three of them to be better players from our area and one or two of them to be players of lower skill level.  This will give you a more accurate representation of the entire group.
Keep track of everyone's records throughout the day.  Once you gather up everyone's records, you can get an overall group win percentage.  For instance:
Player 1         7-2            78%
Player 2         6-2-1         67%
Player 3         5-4            56%
Player 4         4-5            44%
Player 5         1-5(drop)    17%
Overall           23-18-1      55%
So, if this were your group, you would be middle of the road.  Not an overall success, but far from a failure.  To be even more fair, you can drop the highest and the lowest of the five players and just use the other three for a more accurate number.  This would give you:
Total Record     15-11-1     56%
That's pretty much the same.  So that's more than fair to assume that the group is a decent set of players.  Now the way to figure out how your group stacks up is simple.  Take another other group of players in the room that come from the same area, town, or store and get their records.  Try to use the same number of players as you did for the sampling of your area.  Compare the percentages.  The higher group is likely better.  If nothing else, they were, at least on THAT day.
I don't think this is something that should be used strictly for bragging rights.  Use it test yourself and your friends.  Use it to see your progress.  Obviously, anyone can have a bad day, so these numbers don't represent play skill or anything.  But it does give and accurate detail of who was more prepared and who put up better numbers.  So these numbers can be telling of other things such as your level of preparation and knowledge of a format.
I hope this is useful to all of those who have been asking. 
Until next time,
DeQuan Watson
a.k.a. PowrDragn
PowrDragn at Pojo dot com

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