Hi all, you may have seen that my Las Vegas Open coverage this year was greatly helped by using the Best Coast Pairings app (an event organisation and management app for tabletop games). Previously I’ve had some reservations about the app, however the team behind it have made significant improvements to it which addressed these concerns and added many new useful features. So I wanted to write this piece going through what it offers for those players and event organisers who may not be familiar with it.
Now, before I begin, I just want to make it clear that this is not a paid or sponsored piece, nor an advertorial. The Best Coast Pairings team provided a couple of teaser stats as part of my LVO coverage, but otherwise all the information I received was from my own use of the free and subscription versions of the app. I have also previously used both Best Coast Pairings and Tabletop.TO as an event organiser myself.
For more Las Vegas Open 2019 coverage, you can check out:
- the event preview
- the lists
- the Day 2 results and Top 8 Knockout preview
- the final results and top lists
And, as always, check out Dark Fantastic Mills for great 3D printed terrain perfect for wargaming. Its super versatile and light so worldwide shipping is inexpensive. Use the “aos shorts” discount code for a further 10% off the already decent prices.
Best Coast Pairings app
So let’s start with the basics. Best Coast Pairings is an American gaming app company. It has a partnership with Frontline Gaming, the major American games website, media company and organisation behind the Independent Tournament Circuit (ITC), probably most famous for Warhammer 40,000.
The different BCP apps
Best Coast Pairings has three different free apps: a Player app, a Tournament Organiser app and an Event Suite app. All are available on both iOS and Android and require an internet connection to work. These apps are supplemented by a paid subscription service which unlocks some features (which I’ll explain below). Let’s look at each briefly:
- The TO App: The TO app, funnily enough, is the main app used by tournament organizers to run events. All features are free and Best Coast Pairings intends to keep it this way.
- The Event Suite App: The Event Suite is more of an enterprise app used by game stores or organizations like Frontline Gaming that is used to manage multiple TOs of a store, or circuits and rankings like the ITC.
- The Player App: The app used by players to manage their experience with events. As we will get into, players can input their scores, check in, see pairings, etc. The base app is free and there is a subscription service available for viewing lists and results from all events (not just the ones you attend or sponsored events).
Game systems supported by BCP
Best Coast Pairings supports 25 different games currently from 15 companies. This support includes customisation of the software for the scoring, pairings and placings approaches used by these different game systems.
Players can enter the total points they earned from the game in points. So regardless of your scoring system (for majors, minors, secondaries etc), the app can record the results. Tournament organisers can also choose the secondaries and tiebreakers (such as kill points or secondary missions). I’m also informed that Best Coast Pairings are adding the option for tournament organisers to select different scoring metrics and determine in which order they break ties (for instance, you could do Secondaries, then Best Sports, then Strength of Schedule). If a tournament organiser needs further customisation, they can contact Best Coast Pairings directly.
Ticketing via BCP or third party
These apps allow event organisers to run their events from ticketing to final results. The organiser creates an event in the TO app which creates an event listing in the app and on the Best Coast Pairings website.
Players can then find information on the event, sign up and purchase a ticket using credit or debit cards (or cash on the day).
Best Coast Pairings will handle refunds and ticket transfers. The standard processing fee is 5% plus .30 for each ticket sold which is subtracted from the funds that are deposited. Ticket funds are released 3 business days after the player has paid.
However, if you want to run your own ticketing (via Paypal, or a service associated with your venue for instance), you can set the event to free in the app and still use all the pre-registration features (such as self-check-in and list uploading). So you don’t have to use the Best Coast Pairings ticketing service to get the most out of the app.
NB: I have not used the ticketing feature myself. I’m interested to hear how other TOs have found this feature, or if you tend to keep ticketing separate (for instance, through a ticketing agent associated with your venue).
Player Registration: self check-in
At the event, players can check-in remotely (thereby reducing the amount of registration time needed at the desk before people hit the tables). The online check-in is tied to the event start time and the GPS location for the event (so late players can’t avoid a penalty by checking in from the freeway several miles away).
If a player has not checked in (i.e. not shown up) the player will not be paired into the next round. Organisers can also drop players at any time from the roster or add them in if they show up at round 2 or 3 for instance due to travel delays. The app will pair the newly arriving player into the event and automatically record losses for the previous rounds.
List Submission through BCP
One of the most exciting new features of Best Coast Pairings is plain text list submission. Increasingly in Age of Sigmar, event organisers are requiring players to submit lists via a plain text export from Warscroll Builder or Azyr. This is usually for ease of list-checking and also to aid compiling the lists for distribution to players and spectators in a list document.
Options for stats and analysis
Now players can upload their list in a plain text format to Best Coast Pairings. Not only does this put the list in a clear and readable format within the app for everyone to see, but it also means that the people at Best Coast Pairings can do some cool stats and analysis. For Las Vegas Open, we could see quickly what were the popular factions, spells, artefacts, traits and more. All because the lists were in a standard plain text format. This is a significant improvement on previous versions with pictures or non-OCR’d PDFs of lists.
The Best Coast Pairings app will automatically assign pairings for the first round of your event (and then every round afterwards once scores are loaded).
By default, the app randomly sorts players for the first round and then operates under a battle-points Swiss pairings system (i.e. 1st plays 2nd, 3rd plays 4th etc). The app can also separate team and club mates so that they don’t play each other in the first round (nothing worse than travelling for a tournament and ending up playing the same guy you play every week at home). The event organiser can either re-draw the round (at the tap of a button) or manually assign match-ups in particular cases (for instance, if a couple of players have grudged each other for the first round.
At the moment, Best Coast Pairings assigns pairings as follows:
- Wins (if the organiser wishes, this step can be skipped).
- Battle Points (i.e. total from battleplan result, major victory etc and any secondary missions)
- Points Destroyed
- Strength of Schedule
As mentioned above, more options are coming for how pairings (and even placings) are determined by the app.
Historically, Best Coast Pairings has struggled with dealing with “soft scores” such as painting and sportsmanship. However, I understand that Best Coast Pairings are aware of the issues here and are working on developing a new system for how soft scores are recorded and handled.
The Event Rounds
The app has a customisable round time countdown clock that is displayed in both the app and the web version. This allows players (and the TOs/judges) to easily check how long is left in each round, regardless of whether they can see the any big screens at the venue.
Player score-entry: verifiable
After each round, the players can enter their scores directly into the app. The scores are verified by each player in the match-up (so there isn’t a risk of a mistake, unintentional or deliberate, by one of the players). This certainly saves on TO data entry between rounds.
Live updates and CSV export
All the scores are live-updated in the app so you can see the standings as they are during each round. And the event organiser can export a CSV at any point during the event (should you also want to be manipulating the data, running a back-up or doing stats as you go).
All a player’s information in one place
During the event, you can click on each player, see their list, every match-up in each round, their strength of schedule and their results throughout the event.
Results and ITC Rankings
Throughout the event, the live placings are available to see in the app. However, should you wish to keep the suspense for the final award ceremony, an event organiser can hide the placings for the final round (or at any point before that too).
If the tournament organiser wishes, the event’s results can be submitted to the ITC Age of Sigmar player rankings.
BCP Subscription Services
Finally, I mentioned that the Best Coast Pairings app is supported by a subscription service. So what does the subscription get you for USD$4.99/month:
- Expanded search through the entire backlog of Best Coast Pairings events (not just those you attended or the sponsored large events)
- Viewing of every submitted list
- Exclusive rewards program from the Frontline Gaming store which you can redeem on discount codes in their store, or on tickets for Best Coast Pairings ticketed events. For example, for two months of being a subscriber you get a 10% discount at the Frontline Gaming store
Further features, including a full List Search function are being added shortly. You will be able to search for lists you want to find and see their event placings, so you can quickly see whether the fabulous list idea performed well. Not only that, you can search for lists based on location and will be able to see the winning lists in that local meta. Want to know how the East Coast meta compares to the West Coast? Here is your answer.
So that’s the wrap for now. Best Coast Pairings have made some exciting new changes and initiatives that will help all of us that are part of the Age of Sigmar event scene (whether as players, organisers and commentators).
If there are particular features about other apps or services, such as Tabletop TO or Warscore, get in touch and let me know.