It gives me great pleasure to (finally) introduce the winners of the 2014 Simulation Cup! Before we get to the results, however, I’d like to quickly remind everyone what the Simulation Cup is and how it works. It’s an annual competition that’s normally called the Tournament of Simulations where role play games of different clubs and genres compete against each other in a friendly manner for several awards. This year, each participating sim submitted one mission/episode/thread that was completed during 2014. Each submission was then evaluated by three judges on a specific criteria set. The games receiving the highest marks are now recognized.
Evaluating sims will always be subjective and this is especially true for the Simulation Cup. We’re not here to identify the best sim or sims as this is impossible. Instead, we recognize what we think are outstanding role plays that exude excellence. A different set of judges may very well chose a completely different set of winners. And that’s okay! Each judge rated their assigned sims in the following categories on a scale of 1 to 10 (with a “5” being the average or expected value):
- Originality (interesting and fresh story free of clichés and overused concepts)
- Creativity (multiple unexpected yet believable plot twists)
- Character Development (showing character growth that adds rather than takes away from the story)
- Prolificness (a combination of pace and member participation)
- Readability (easy to read by a non-fan of the genre)
The idea behind this is to rate a sim’s total performance in specific areas rather than their performances in a general sense as has been done past tournaments. The judges’ raw scores were then weighted based on their averages so that the mean final score for all participating sims is a 50–this way games aren’t penalized or rewarded for having easy or hard judges. Each game was rated by three different judges. The top scoring sim in each genre is hereby recognized with an outstanding award (as long as its score is ≥ 50). The next five highest scoring sims, regardless of genre, are hereby recognized with excellence awards in the specific categories. To maintain the integrity of the competition, no games were evaluated by a judge from a competing sim or club. So without any further ado, here are your 2014 Simulation Cup winners:
- Outstanding Original Sim: The Fringe of Star Army
- Outstanding Star Trek Sim: Kepler Station (independent)
- Outstanding Red Dwarf Sim: Blue Dwarf (independent)
- Excellence in Originality: USS Legacy of RPGWriting.com
- Excellence in Creativity: USS Chuck Norris of Independence Fleet
- Excellence in Character Development: YSS Sakishima of Star Army
- Excellence in Prolificness: YSS Eucharis of Star Army
- Excellence in Readability: YSS Byakuren of Star Army
The Chat Division
- No participating sims
Those are your eight winners, selected from 21 initial entrants. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to recognize all of the great sims that participated in the competition. And believe me when I say that there were some really good ones that didn’t make it onto the above list! For that reason, I’d like to thank all 21 fantastic sims not only for participating in the Simulation Cup, but more importantly for providing a great role play experience for their respective players. An excellent performance by all! The individual grade sheets and judges’ comments have already been emailed to each sim’s representative.
I’d also like to recognize our amazing panel of judges: Chas Hammer, Kim Smouter, Lance R. Violator, Misty Diamond, Nugra, Sam Jones & Thomas. They generously gave many hours of their time to serve our community. Each graded 9 different games–no kidding! They all proved to be flexible, capable, and extremely discerning. As you can tell, I can’t say enough good things about them. Well done, judges!
Finally, I think I owe everyone an explanation as to the inordinate amount of time it took to complete the competition. As mentioned earlier, we had seven judges for 21 different games–meaning each judge had to grade nine sims to give each sim three evaluations (21 games * 3 evaluations = 63 judging requirements; 63 % 7 judges = 9 sims per judge). We started with seven judges, but three were unable to complete their assignments. I then found three replacement judges. Unfortunately, all three of the replacement judges were also unable to finish (no kidding!). So then I had to find three more replacement judges. Two of them finished, but one didn’t. So then I had to find one last replacement judge to finish out the competition (that’s correct: seven judges total were unable to finish). The lesson learned is that I simply put too much work on the judges–it’s going to have to be lightened for future competitions. I take full responsibility for that. On the flip side, it’s a real testament to the work put in by the judges who did complete their assignments as they did quite a lot! In addition, this is likely the most fair competition ever held. To my knowledge, no prior tournament has even been able to provide three judges for all participating sims. And finally, the weighted scoring removes any unfair advantage or disadvantage a sim might receive from having a naturally high or low scoring judge. And with that, we’re finally done!
Again, congratulations again to all of our winners! And don’t forget to enter your game in the 2015 Tournament of Simulation, which is still accepting entrants through the end of February.