Theme Park Apprentice 8 Feedback Thread

August 12, 2016, 12:35 AM

Another season of Theme Park Apprentice has drawn to a close, and one last time I'd like to thank all of our competitors for participating. Now, as we always do at the end of each season, it is your turn to tell us what you thought of the competition. Don't be afraid to say anything...we welcome all feedback, both positive and negative. We also welcome unofficial competitors, potential future competitors, and spectators who observed this season to share their thoughts.

Originally, I compiled a list of almost 20 questions that I was going to post, but instead I'm going to condense it to these:

1. Did you enjoy Theme Park Apprentice 8, and are you interested in participating in the future?
2. What did you like/dislike about the competition, and how can we best improve it in the future?
3. If you participated in both formats, do you prefer the cumulative park format or the independent challenge format? Why?
4. Do you think the judges were fair throughout and did a good job of running the competition? If not, what do you feel that we did in error?
5. The main new thing we tried this season was tiebreaker challenges to determine elimination if there was a tie. Do you think this is a good way to resolve a tie or would you prefer a simpler, more immediate resolution (such as looking at past performance)?
6. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for future themes in this competition? At this point, I feel that most of the obvious themes have been used, but I want to avoid something that may be too complex for competitors.
7. For those of you who considered competing but decided against it, was there a reason you chose to back out? Is there anything we can do to make you more interested in competing?
8. Lastly, as a result of the situations at the beginning and end of this season, we have considered prohibiting champions from competing officially in future Theme Park Apprentice competitions and instead hosting an invite only competition every so often for champions and/or finalists. Is this something you would be in favor of or against? Why?

As always, feel free to share anything not covered by the questions above as well. These are more meant as specific things we'd like feedback on, but we welcome any and all comments. We can't work to improve this competition without input, so please share any thoughts that you have.

Replies (10)

August 12, 2016, 8:01 AM

1. Yes
2. Extend the challenge period to 2 weeks (go back to emailing them to competitors in advance maybe)
3. Its easier to create a new ride for an already existing place, but the whole of park allows more creativity. Its a toss up from me.
4. Yes, you were fine. The only thing I would have done different was left the decision to allow another week in the final to the competitors.
5. I'm kinda glad I didn't go in one, as I don't think it gave enough time. However it seems to solve the problem well.
6, Just my other thread
8. I don't think there's a need, although may be in the early rounds it might be worthwhile looking at two leagues - old hands and newbies - and eliminating one from each. It allows the newbies to get comfortable without competing against an old hand, and ensures that the early rounds actually are a challenge to old hands too.

August 12, 2016, 8:45 AM

1) Participating may not be the right word, but I certainly enjoyed judging another round of great proposals.

2) I think the Real Life Pass penalty needs to be reconsidered. Perhaps top 50%. It's just not fair to force someone to come in first. Also, there should be specific rules in place regarding using it in the semi finals, where there wouldn't be an applicable penalty in the next round. There should also be specific protocols for a final round drop out.

3) I've now judged cumulative twice and competed once in non-cumulative. I prefer cumulative because it is interesting to watch ideas develop, and is more like actual theme park design.

4) Man, these judges were absolutely amazing! Especially DPCC!! ;+)

5) I think from a judging standpoint it worked, but it definitely limited time for competitors that was already very limited. So I'm not sure.

6/8) I've emailed AJ my idea. It applies to both questions 6 and 8. I'm also still available to run monthly challenges if people have any interest at all.

Edited: August 12, 2016, 10:30 AM

Did you guys post an article saying TPA was starting? I never saw one, and I would have competed if I had seen it, as I didn't even know what it was until I saw the thread for round 2. You might want to make that just a bit clearer in the future, if you didn't write anything. If you did, then your good, I'm just blind

August 12, 2016, 11:18 AM

Kenny, in addition to earlier statements about the timeframe of the competition, we posted an announcement thread for Theme Park Apprentice 8 in early May and then had the entry challenge open until early June. I'm sorry that you missed the start date and weren't able to compete, but I do think we gave plenty of notice about the competition. If you want to compete in the future, note that it will likely be in the same timeframe next year (May-August), and we will make an announcement if it differs.

I've got a few responses to other things and some thoughts of my own, but I likely won't be posting those until tomorrow.

August 13, 2016, 9:12 AM

Andy, I really hope you do indeed post your completed park. I would love to see the finished product!

Edited: August 15, 2016, 11:07 PM

Another season of Theme Park Apprentice is in the record books, and overall I would say it was a pretty great season. I was very happy to see the diversity of parks presented this time, as it does get old when you have a season full of Disney's (insert theme here). Now that I've had some time to collect my thoughts, here's what I make of the competition over the past couple months.

This season had, in my honest opinion, the best group of competitors we've ever had. However, due more to a collection of unforeseen events and adherence to the rules rather than the complacency of top competitors, we wound up with a somewhat underwhelming final. Douglas and Realdonaldduck, I do not mean to undervalue your work in any way, and I feel that both of you did an excellent job. However, I think it is impossible to deny that Andy was one of the top two competitors this season, so not getting to see his park was a bit disappointing. Andy, I hope you will still post your park, and if time permits I will still write a full critique for it.

Going forward, the main thing that needs to be addressed is preventing a situation like what occurred this season from happening again. At multiple points, I feel that the stronger competitor was eliminated more due to a game mechanic than due to the quality of their proposal, and this is something I would like to avoid. Particularly if we use the cumulative format again (which is likely given that it appears to be preferred), I think it may be time for a non-elimination competition where competitors are evaluated on their cumulative performance. This would also allow us to run the competition with fewer competitors, preventing a situation like what happened this season where the competition is in danger of cancellation. While the exact mechanics of the system would need to be worked out, I feel that this is where we need to go next.

Finally, we have the issue of returning competitors. I have nothing against people competing more than once, but I also think that we need to ensure that the game is accessible to new players in order to ensure its continued survival. If the same group of people continues to compete over and over, eventually it will die out because the interest is gone. While I do want to keep everyone involved, I also think we may need to have a competition limit to keep new players interested. The veteran competitors could then compete in a special invite-only All-Stars season held every few years. Naturally, there will be some discussion required before the eligibility requirements are changed.

In the next couple days, I will be posting an archive thread that contains links to every challenge of this season, as well as every past season's challenges. If you want to see how this competition has evolved over time, this will be a valuable resource. Other than that, I'd like to thank everyone for their participation in Theme Park Apprentice 8, and I hope you'll all consider returning the next time this competition is run (likely a similar timeframe next year).

August 15, 2016, 6:19 PM

The issue I have with the invitational is competitor drift... wheras being able to participate keeps me coming back and visiting (When TPA is off I do visit a lot less).

I'd suggest we instead look at a split league for the first few rounds, old hands would compete against old hands, and newer competitors would compete against newbies. The exact split would need to be looked at, but I'd say at least a top half finish previously makes you an old hand.

In round one, the newbies would all have a free pass - they'd be required to submit, but progression is guaranteed. Not so for the old hands, one will be eliminated.

In round two, one from each would be eliminated, and again in round three.

From round 4 onwards, all competitors would compete with each other.

August 15, 2016, 8:57 PM

Chad, that is something that may be worth considering if we can get a large enough group of competitors, but we'd probably need at minimum 10 (with at least a third new) to do a full length season with that format. To make the split fair, it would probably be best to put winners, finalists, and anyone playing for the third time (or more) in one group, anyone playing for the first time in the second group, and then divide the remainder as needed based on past performance.

If we didn't have enough new competitors to do two separate groups, another option would be to give all the new players guaranteed entry while requiring returning players to audition. The judges would then select which returning players get to compete based on the audition challenge. If desired, the new players could all be given one save valid up to a certain point to ensure they won't be rapidly eliminated at the beginning.

No matter what happens, there will also be the option for veterans to play as unofficial competitors. They would still submit proposals and receive critiques, they just wouldn't be eligible for the title at the end.

August 16, 2016, 9:08 PM

I have to say, I loved the overall competition. Heres my suggestions, in the future, give everyone one total free pass that can be used to either skip a round for any reason and advance guarenteed, or save them from elimination. Then if you have a tie for elimination, ask them to pick their 2 strongest works and judge based on that. If you judged me based on Wicked Tsunami, I'd be eliminated defenitly, but if you judged me on my 2 strongest, Demolition Day and South Central District, I'd have a better chance. I understand that this is a bit confusing so if I need to clarify anything, comment below

August 19, 2016, 8:33 PM

Sorry this took forever to post.
1. Yes; yes.
2. I liked the cumulative competition. It gave a lot of flexibility to competitors because they could choose a land to add on to. Timing was great. I didn't have major conflicts that prevented me from submitting a well thought out proposal. I think it would be improved by posting the tentative dates for each of the weeks for clarity, and so people can plan on real life passes as needed.
3. While both formats require research, the independent attraction format definitely required more. There is a difference between prior experience of the competitors, so I think that the cumulative format leveled the playing field a bit.
4. The judges were okay for the most part. I think this season's judges took more time to post critiques, however. The critiques should be posted before the results, regardless of delay.
5. Having participated in two tiebreakers, I think that this is a much better alternative than the point system.
6. I liked the idea of adding resorts and perhaps a transportation venue.
7. I would just make it very clear who is competing and who isn't by posting a list.
8. I don't think that champions should not be able to participate again. They should be able to if they choose. That said, there could be certain designations for smaller competitions, like "rookies only," "champions only" as listed.
I liked this competition. While I was only barely hanging on in the beginning, I think I gained some more skill in proposal writing. After carefully reading judges' critiques, I'm starting to consider their job too haha.

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