We've been discussing powergaming and WAAC a lot recently, and with some good, civil discussion. There's been talk lately about resurrecting an Indy 40K tournament league, and whether Battle Points or W/L is a superior method. This all plays into something I've been ruminating for a while: Making Missions for tournaments.
I strongly prefer Win/Lose with Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary objectives, and Victory Points as a tie breaker.
Why this format? I think triple objectives separates the levels of players quickly. It really doesn't take too long to figure out if you'll end up playing to tie the first objective, to win on second objective, or even the third. Also, if you get a vet playing a relative green player, once the vet knows he's won the primary, he doesn't need to grind the greenhorn's bones into dust to make his bread. If the Game's soundly won, getting in the last turn isn't as critical. Milking your opponent for every possible point doesn't matter. The game can shift from being a competition, to being a more friendly game.
Whereas in Battle Points, it's about beating people as badly, and soundly as possible. In the end of a BP tourney, it's not uncommon for the top people to only be separated by a few points. Hence, to truly compete at that level, most people will bleed the greenhorn dry, then beat the corpse to get every drop of point out of the game. I've done it. In retrospect, it's not so much fun for me, as I leave the table feeling dirty, and unsporting. I know it's not so much fun to be bled dry either, I've been there too.
|Battle Points can lead to dirty games, and dirty tricks|
So to promote a 'more balanced' and friendly game, BP systems score comp and sportsmanship. Thereby adding more competition, and more bickering over a few points to enter into the system. Another level of 'game' superimposed onto the game of Warhammer40K, we showed up at a tournament to play.
It seems a little counter-intuitive to go with less points, and strip down what really decides who's the 'best' general. If you want to compete, shouldn't a tournament be about competing over everything? I don't think so.
For me, the most enjoyable tournaments have been the W/L tournaments I've been to. I applaud guys who do W/L, and separate out Painting, and Sportsmanship into separate prizes. It's really such a simple thing to do. What it ends up doing is actually removing milking people for points, which removes a LOT of minute rules arguments, and loosens the atmosphere of a tourney.
When I'm not worried about how many points I have to get, I enjoy playing a lot more.
For instance, ScottyDon't and I have run into each other head on at tourneys since I moved to Indy. At first, when we were beating heads about Points, and competing to the 9's for everything to get a higher BP score, we both had the impression that the other guy was a COMPLETE AND UTTER BAD MAN.
When we started playing at the W/L tourneys, something's different. We're both more relaxed, and can play a game to see who wins. We're not fighting over every little move, and every rule. I like playing ScottyDon't when it's just W/L. It's fun, and very challenging.
but I digress.
make them W/L. How do you do that? make missions that are tough to tie.
I've come to love a SIMPLE system of making missions.
When I come to a tourney, I don't want complex rules, and narratives to read when I 'm setting up for my next game. I don't like having to capture figures, and escort them, and figure out how the new model behaves, and where they would run, and if it takes a full turn to 'claim' them.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
I like the 5 objective mission idea. One objective in the center of the board, and one objective in the center of each table quarter. It's simple, and not hard to play objective denial with an elite army, it also plays well for troop heavy armies.
I also have come to love the 4+1 Kill point mission. With this setup, you assign 4 KP's to your army, and your opponent assigns one. Horde armies still suffer from having weak KP units, and deathstar armies still need to be mostly eliminated to give up all of their points.
Why not straight KP's? because it severely hoses a lot of armies into non-competition. Defeating certain builds with rules, or Mission design isn't what we're trying to do. We're trying to make balanced missions everyone can play out of every codex.
Table quarters is simple, units straddling the border count as being in the quarter the majority of their unit is in. if it's equal, controller chooses. A player claims a quarter if he has more VP's in the quarter.
With 5objective, 5KP's, and table Quarters you get missions that are balanced for a wide variety of armies. Switch around the order of the 3, and there's a whole new stress to the overall mission. Yeah, this is a 5x mission style. Similar to what MVBrandt did for NOVA Open. I should nod to He who should not be named. His idea was for a 5KP mission. Spaguatyrine Changed it a little bit to be 4+1 KP's.
If you're tied with all 3 objectives? count Victory Points. At the end, VP's will show who lost more to achieve the tie. The winner will be the person with more of his army left.
This yields 6 missions. All should be fairly balanced.
Sprinkle liberally with different deployment (spearhead, pitched battle, Dawn of War), and you've opened up 18 missions for people, with little need to playtest the heck out of screwball missions.
SandWyrm, Spaguatyrine, and I have played these a few times. I've been really liking the feel for them.
simple, straightforward, yet complex missions.