Okay. As promised here’s my response. (And it would have come sooner, but, quite frankly, Jason made me wait for the final results, so I made him wait for my post! :-P)
But, first, a disclaimer (from recent experience): don’t leave Net Benefits for even a few days, unless you really like catching up on hundreds of posts.
That being said, I’ve read a lot of what other people have been saying. The separate judging pool was something I intended to suggest myself. You can still preserve in-game politics through the voting/calling out, but at the point where the judges are not involved with these politics, it will serve to limit their function. You can even explicitly write in the rules that corruption of judges will not be accepted or tolerated. Perhaps some people would still try, but it would be no different from them trying at any other tournament–especially at the point where there’s a social stigma against it (as there is at tournaments).
Moving on to some heavier issues, though. Jason, you said in another thread that you couldn’t understand why people would take this stuff personally, and why they can’t seem to see it as just a game. I can’t speak for others, but I can speak for myself. Specifically, in the past, I’ve been clinically diagnosed with emotional disorders (and, no, I ain’t saying which ones because it’s been my experience that doing so only causes people to ask me about them ad nauseum when I really don’t wish to discuss them). I guess the obvious question is this: is it irrational for me to feel this way? Probably so. Can I help it? Not really. Should I have played the game to begin with? Probably not. Is hindsight 20-20? Feels like it, doesn’t it?
As for another heavier issue, the question of non-NPDA community members being excluded: I think that this is fairly accurate. I watched the other BP and APDA debaters drop like flies the first time they had to debate a non-forfeited round. I was the only one to make it to finals, and only because I have tremendous debate experience elsewhere.
As various people watched my debate rounds, I received compliments on my style–even though I half-assed all my rounds. Several people even told me that they thought I had a strong possibility of winning this whole game (though, frankly, I think these people seem to think way too highly of me). Would I have won it if we used debate rounds all the way through? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The fact of the matter is that we’ll never know because this was not the preferred method by game admin.
This, of course, leads me to a commentary on the end-game method overall. To be quite blunt, I wasn’t overwhelmingly pleased with the decided state of the end-game. It made it far too easy for the other finalists to just write me off in a single sentence, claiming that I’d never played the game.
In reality, I was probably the single finalist who had to play the game the hardest, as I had to not only build the same alliances, but also had to first meet the other players when I didn’t even have the common bond of competing on the same debate circuit. But the audience was all-too-willing to believe that I’d never played the game simply because they didn’t recognize my name. And if you don’t have the name recognition, how can you possibly gain fame (or, in this case, infamy)?
And, now, if you’ve read with me to this point, I think you deserve a cookie for your determination. Quick, grab one from the kitchen! And then come back to join me for one final clarification…
Don’t get me wrong, I did have fun with the game. And I do appreciate the efforts of Jason, Amy, and Patty to put on this game. As I’ve said before, I wish not to discourage anyone else from playing the game just because it isn’t the game for me. The fact of the matter is that many of the people closest to me kept telling me that I was taking this game far too seriously, and taking things way too personally. And they were right. This was not a flaw in the game, but a flaw in myself.
The bottom line is this: I’ve offered two ways that I think the game can be improved (separate judging pool and modifying end-game). This does not, however, mean that the game was unenjoyable in its current form. It just means that I’m egotistical enough to believe that my ideas can help bring a better game. (Either that, or it means that, while I view the game as imperfect, I believe that it is correctable.)
I’m done now.