Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ghostkeel Winner & Apologies for the Absence!

First off, apologies, it's been over two weeks since I last posted. This has been for a combination of reasons. The most significant being that me and my wife got hooked on Making A Murderer so we've been binge watching that of the last week or so. I've also been trying to get some hobby stuff done, particularly on scenery. Well, we've finished the show now and we're back to our usual watching habits so hopefully February will see more frequent posts than January (or the latter part at least) did.

Speaking of the hobby work, I'll try and post some stuff up on that soon. I'm hoping to do quite a bit of work on it this week so I may even have some finished stuff to show you guys. I'm basically working towards adding more scatter terrain to my meagre collection of Winter scenery and then starting work on my desert board which will be the next scenery project. Somewhere in between all that though I've got to get two Imperial Knights up to a decent standard for a Doubles event in March. I really can't see that happening but maybe with judicious airbrush usage I might get further than I think. Worst case I can borrow Matt's but I'd rather use my own.

That's all I've got for today but I'll leave you with one thing. Tickets are now on sale for Double Trouble which takes place in June. You can read more about DT here, where you can also find details of how to get your ticket(s). Anyway, like my last event, Blog Wars, Double Trouble will feature a raffle with generous prizes. One of the winners at BWX was Jonathan Lyness who won a Tau Ghostkeel. Jonathan sent me a couple of pictures of his Ghostkeel that I thought I'd share with you guys. I'm trying to get some pictures of the Stormsurge which Ian Plumpton won which I'll share with you if I get them. Anyway, here's Jonathan's Ghostkeel:

PS. A couple of people had told me they'd had trouble viewing the blog and it was causing their browsers to slow down/crash. I've changed a couple of things that will hopefully fix it but would appreciate the feedback about whether it's worked or not.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Double Trouble - Random Pairings Reasoning

I've noticed in the comments on the Double Trouble posts that there are some people who are put off by the random pairings system that will be in use at the event. I wanted to talk about it in a bit more depth today to hopefully convince people to come along and give it a go.

What do I mean by random pairings?
In a conventional doubles event you'd obviously plan an army together with a partner of your choice and show up to play other doubles teams who'd done the same. Armies may be a 50:50 split but some tournaments (e.g. GW's Battle Brothers) allow any combination of points. Either way it's about working together with a friend to defeat other partnerships.

The difference at Double Trouble will be that no-one will arrive with a partner of their choice. Instead they'll get a new partner in each and every round and play against another random partnership. There'll be no Swiss pairs either so it'll be random every time. This system means you'll play with/against 9 different people on the day. That's 3 different partners and 6 different opponents. That sounds pretty dramatic and I can see why it puts people off but please read on to understand my motivation for doing this.

Why random pairings?
Well for starters I've always strived to do something different with my events. At a time when Special Characters were often banned at tournaments I made them compulsory. I've always tried to listen to the players too which I don't think can be said of many tournaments at all. What I hope I created with Blog Wars was a unique event that had people wanting to come back. I think a big part of that was the raffle frankly but I'd like to believe the atmosphere I helped create was a factor too. I originally started Blog Wars as a community event, one that helped bloggers get together to throw some dice. When I moved away from the blogger focus I wanted to keep the spirit going.

Thing is though, random pairings aren't something new. I can't say I copied the idea from anywhere but since I decided to go with it I've noticed a few other events have done it before. So it isn't especially original but I still want to do it. A big part of the reason is it's a great way for people to get into the tournament scene. My first event was a doubles and I haven't looked back. The 750pt limit also helps new players and older ones trying out a new army for the first time.

I love doubles events. I love discussing my tactics with a partner and even like disagreeing with my partner. I enjoy saying "I told you so" even more though! Having four people around a table just feels better than a singles event. There's a lot more banter to be had across the board. Trouble is, not everyone has a doubles partner they can call on for these events. Some people have an odd numbered gaming group too. That made me think why not randomly pair people before the event and then let them figure things out between them.

I changed my mind on that though because what if you and your randomly allocated partner don't get along? You'd be stuck with them for what would be a really long day. Also, even if I allowed people to come up with armies in advance with their new partners they'd probably struggle to find common ground in some cases. That made me think about the random pairings in every round system.

Ultimately I hope that the experiences of Blog Wars have convinced people that I deserve a bit of benefit of the doubt. Whilst I feel Blog Wars ended in great style with two sell out events, it's important to remember that it started from pretty humble beginnings. I had a decent core of regulars who stuck with me though and the event grew through word of mouth and visits to this blog. I hope we can get enough people interested to actually run Double Trouble to see how it works out. If the random pairings thing is a total mistake then I'll be prepared to admit it and go back to a more normal format for subsequent events. I'd like to keep trying to run doubles events for a little while though and leave Matt's Fluffageddon (more on that soon) as the singles event each year.

I know randomness puts people off tournaments. The GW events use random pairings and I know a lot of people don't go for that very reason. Thing is though, Double Trouble, like Blog Wars before it, won't be a serious, competitive event. Think of it like a club night where you bring along your army and you don't know who you'll end up playing with or against. Go to town on your 750pt force and hopefully we'll get some stunning examples of every aspect of the hobby. As ever I want to hear your feedback though.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Double Trouble Update - Army Selection, Scoring, Deployments and Tactical Objectives

Here's the promised update to the DT rules pack. I've already incorporated these changes into the DT page but here's a bit more detail about some of the decisions.

Army Selection
I've decided that each army should be a single detachment or formation only. This means that detachments that require more than one formation will not be permitted. This is for a couple of reasons:.firstly because not all armies have access to this method of bypassing the single detachment restriction but also because there'd only be Tau and Necrons that could field detachments of this type with the restriction that a maximum of 2 of each unit can be taken. For example, the Gladius Strike Force requires three tactical squads in the Demi Company.

There were some questions about AM Infantry Platoons which struggle with the max of two of each unit thing. My proposed solution is that you may take two Platoons but each may only include three infantry squads (allowing six per Force). The other components of the Platoon would be excluded from the no more than two of a unit rule. I really want to hear feedback from AM players to know whether this seems fair or not. Likewise from non-AM players too! I think it's a tricky one to get right because I don't want to penalise a single faction too much.

Let's remember that we're only talking about 750 pts so I don't think any of these restrictions are excessive. I'll post again soon with some example armies for each faction that I think are balanced. There's still plenty of scope for variety and with the inclusion of FW stuff there'll hopefully be some interesting stuff in play.

It seems there was some (quite understandable) confusion regarding the scoring. Since the pairs are random in each round it didn't seem right to offer a prize for the doubles team with the best score. That means the prizes will be individual. In each game both players in a doubles team will receive the same score. Here's an example of how it'll work (in an 80's maths textbook style):

Arnold and Barry are paired together in the first game and play against Cyril and Darren. Arnold and Barry win the game 30-12 with a BP score of 1500-750. Arnold and Barry both receive 30 VPs and 1500 BPs giving them both a total of 60 tournament points (BPs are converted). They then go onto their next games. Arnold is now paired with Eric who scored 25 points in his first game. They lose their game together 8-20 and 1250-1400. That gives Arnold a total of 93 points (60 from his first game + 8 + 25). 

It may seem complicated but since Excel will be keeping track all day and there's no Swiss pairings to figure out it will actually be very simple. You still need to try to win your games to win the tournament and you aren't likely to do that without working with your partners throughout the day.

I've added the deployment types to the DT page. The first game is simple Dawn of War to break everyone in gently. After that it gets a little more interesting but hopefully it all makes sense and will work in practice. I wanted to avoid Hammer and Anvil as the venue doesn't really lend itself to it and I think it favours certain armies too much. Again, I'd love to hear what you guys think.

Tactical Objectives
Here's a list of the Double Trouble custom tactical objectives that will be used in every mission:

I wanted to increase the deck from Blog Wars' 18 cards to 24. This is because DT will use them in every game not just one so there should be more variety this way. I didn't want to add any more than this because I wanted people to feel like they could get a grasp of what was in the deck so they could play their games with a vague idea of what might come out next and plan accordingly. I've renamed a lot of the cards to minimise any copyright complaints but I'm sure you can tell that some are based on the standard GW missions.

The other big thing was to try to encourage people to play together rather than it being a 4-way scrap. The objective missions therefore require a specific numbered objective to be claimed by one Force for 1 VP or, if the other Force can also control any other objective you get 2 VPs. I hope that you can all appreciate what I'm aiming for here at least.

Right then, hit me with your thoughts, suggestions, complaints and errr...praise? I'm keen that DT should be the same as BW in the sense that the playerbase has a big say in how it works. I'm conscious that a lot of this seems complicated but hopefully when you start testing things out you'll see that it's actually pretty straightforward. Nothing is totally set in stone, if people think there's something especially daft up there then let me know and I may take it out or change it.

Speaking of which, I may tweak the odd thing here and there once Matt and I get chance to playtest some of this stuff ourselves. It's difficult to sit there and come up with these things and consider every possible scenario and how the rules will affect particular armies. As I've said before, I intend to write some army lists up on the blog to give people an idea of the kind of thing that's possible within the army selection framework. In the meantime, please please please comment or email your feedback. Thanks in advance!


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