Battle Brothers is the new name for the GW run 40K doubles event at Warhammer World. The format has changed a little this year in that rather than 2x 750pt armies you instead share 1500pts however you see fit between you. You can either take a full FOC from one codex or else use allies. It's a bit less restrictive than the old way but it does feel like it stops it being doubles. Still the joy of it is having 4 people around a table which makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Not being any sort of tactical genius means that when I play solo I tend to not put too much effort into winning. When I've got someone to bounce ideas off I tend to find we perform better together.
In the past we've had some issues with the scoring system. I have to say they've gone in the right direction this time. Previously you simply gained points for win, draw, loss and then there were secret missions to add to your score. The secret missions were horribly biased towards some armies and with only 2 each a game there still wasn't much to separate scores.
They've now embraced the 6th edition VPs so that you record your absolute score rather than just a win or loss. This means that you've got a much better chance of being able to separate the teams out in the final scores. Sadly, they still insist on including Favourite Game votes into the totals and what's worse they've made them worth 3pts each. That means a potential 30pts extra if everyone you play votes your's as their favourite game. I've talked before about the random nature of this and its inherent problems (i.e. not everyone votes, people vote for their mates and you're not likely to vote for someone who crushed you). It leads to a situation where the guys who win aren't necessarily the best generals! In the case of this weekend the guys who finished 2nd should've by rights been 1st, 4th should've been 2nd and worse 9th should've placed 3rd! The most shocking is the guys in 23 should've jumped 10 places to 13th because they didn't score any fave game votes!!
At the end of the day GW are keen to make this a friendly tournament so you can understand their intention is to encourage people to try to make their games enjoyable for their opponents. If you go to the tournament in the knowledge that it isn't a harsh competition and don't worry about your placing too much then it isn't a big deal.
Speaking of encouraging friendlier games. GW took the unique step of making the draw for all 5 rounds random. This makes perfect sense in a friendly tournament but is a bit crap for less experienced players. In swiss pairs they might get a crap 1st, and maybe 2nd, game but otherwise will be playing opponents at a similar level. By randomising it completely there's the potential for them to have to suffer several games against opponents who will demolish them. From out perspective it was great because it allowed us to avoid some of the "top tier" lists for the whole weekend. None of that second game on Sunday on table 2 shenanigans like we had the last two times!
We've attended four of the previous doubles events and despite the usual issues with GW tournaments (i.e. high cost and lack of prizes) we've consistently enjoyed them. I think this is down to the atmosphere. So many people packed into the room makes it much more fun I reckon. They'd put slightly more effort into organisation because we got a name badge each (proper plastic not like the crap ones at that shitty Blog Wars event :P) and an event pack with our first table number, score card, colour copy of the rules pack and.... a free pen!! This is pretty shocking for GW who are soo tight at these things that they print the results for 119 teams in a tiny font to fit them on a single page. You might say they're trying to save the rainforests but I'd say its cost saving!
I was surprised they'd put the time and money in to give us packs and it was a welcome change. Presumably the money they saved by doing away with the secret missions went on the packs!?!
You'll be able to read more about this in the full battle reports over the next couple of days but here's the problem in detail so that it doesn't spoil the flow of the battle report (why is there always something? - it must be us!).
In our second game we had our opponent bring a stormtalon on then attempt to use the guns on it at a dreadknight who was very close to their table edge. We said that the weapons wouldn't be able to hit as the dreadknight was outside of their 45 degree fire arc. We produced a neatly folded bit of paper to act as a guide for the size of the fire arc. Our opponents said that the weapon could actually turn 45 degrees to the left and 45 degrees to the right based on the wording of the entry in the rulebook. Here's the entry from page 72 of the rulebook (click to make it bigger):
As you can see from the diagram the hull mounted weapon on the Leman Russ has a 45 degree field of fire. Even if the diagram isn't 100% accurate the arc clearly isn't 90 degrees. We showed them this and then had a discussion about what weapons were hull mounted. We said the codex has to specifically say that a weapon is turret or sponson mounted or else it must be hull mounted. This prompted a call to the referees who agreed that the weapons were hull mounted. Our opponents then asked the referee about the fire arc. The last line of the paragraph next to the diagram reads "Additionally, assume all hull-mounted weapons can swivel horizontally up to 45 degrees". Both our opponents and the referee argued that this allowed the weapon to turn 45 left or 45 right giving a total of 90 degrees. We said it was 22.5 degrees each way i.e. 45 total and the argument continued. In response to this the ref who came over went to fetch the head ref to settle the matter.
Having been pointed to the correct page the ref agreed with our opponents that it was 90 degrees total and hence the weapons could be fired. This to us was clearly wrong so I tried to state our case to which I was met with "I'm not interested, I've said what the rule is so drop it" from the head ref. Repeated attempted to explain our angle on it (pardon the pun) were met with refusals to even listen. We therefore had little choice but to give up and let the shooting go ahead. Of course this meant that the lascannon, multimelta and mindstrike missiles managed to kill off the dreadknight (Matt failed his invulns).
I'll talk in the battle report about how significant this was but the main problem here is that the referees clearly don't have a good enough grasp of the rules. I had a chat with Nick Bayton at the end of the weekend about it and apologised for arguing so much with the head ref. The issue I had was his attitude more than anything else but Nick's response was that they try to get these disputes settled as quickly as possible. He said that they aren't really there for rules queries but rather players should work it out between them. This is fair enough in theory but if you know you're right, it's not that easy to use the "Golden Rule" and just 4+ it or something.
Anyway, I'd be interested to see what you guys think. I'm glad I've got that bit out of the way so the battle reports don't sound as bitter. It's worth pointing out the arguments with the ref we actually had a good laugh about the whole thing with our opponents Sean and Darren. Fair play to them for being understanding about my attitude. I think Sean could identify with it! Anyway, sadly those guys finished 1 point above in the overall rankings which makes it grate even more.
Right onto the cheerful battle reports!!