I've been thinking for a while about the format for BW5 and what can be better. I'd like to discuss a few of the changes and why I'm making them.
With Maunsfeld not likely to stock Games Workshop in the foreseeable future I'm not going to offer vouchers this time around. The prize structure is remaining the same as BW4 with £25 for 1st, £15 for 2nd, £10 for 3rd, £5 for last and then £15 and £10 for the painting comps. There'll also be spot prizes and a raffle again. I'm sure this makes Blog Wars the best for prize support on the calendar! Anyway, the prizes this time will be purchased in advance. Whilst I've tried to avoid this in the past (as its difficult to pick stuff everyone will want to win) vouchers really aren't an option as I'm still chasing people to give them the prizes from BW4.
If anyone has particular ideas for prizes let me know but my logic on it is. If you don't like it sell it on eBay or else find someone who will buy it.
Matchups and Seeding
With what is becoming known as the "Andy Problem" I've been looking at ways of trying to avoid him winning a 5th straight title. As we've discussed before, by hampering him he's not really being beated by his opponents but the tournament itself, which I don't like. Some have suggested this new "Swedish" system where armies are comped individually based on the supposed strength of individual units. Whilst this is fine in the super-competitve tournaments, it feels harsh to penalise people who bring the "stronger" codexes but without the experience. Also, the system isn't perfect and it's still possible to bring something horrible without breaking the comp. Therefore, in short, he can bring what he likes, as can everyone else (except the compulsory SC comp of course).
The problem we've had in the past though is with players getting a totally mis-matched first game. Now there are several ideas to avoid this such as seeding etc. However, if you seed people completely then you either (a) end up with two separate tournaments being played at the same time or (b) give everyone a fair first game but run the risk of a miserable second game instead!
As a tournament organiser at some point you have to accept that you can't please everyone. Whilst I'd love to see someone else win it. If Andy brings his usual strong list and plays it well against the right opponents then he'll win again regardless of any shenanigans on my part. The only solution is for everyone else to make it difficult for him or simply enjoy themselves regardless. I intend to do the latter thanks.
Simplicity & Scenarios
There seems to be a general drive for simplicity in tournaments. 6th edition can be complicated enough without TOs adding in anything to overcomplicate things. One of the things I appreciated by not being able to play at BW4 was that people don't necessarily read the scenarios properly, choose not to play the rules I've suggested or simply forget. This leads to some people playing a very different version of the scenario to others and skews the playing field.
A prime example of this is the Archeotech Horde rule I tried to apply at BW4. The idea was that if you're in a ruin you roll a dice and on a 6 it's an Archeotech structure so you roll on the chart. This was played in a variety of ways. Some people played it for all the scenery, some played it for all ruins without rolling a 6, some ignored the whole thing and a very small number actually did it right when they remembered! Unsurprisingly I'm ditching the idea! Similarly, there's no point trying to force people to play Mysterious Terrain. It's in the book so in my opinion you should use it but I understand why people don't. Objectives should always be mysterious though.
The scenarios from last time were pretty simple, however, as they were just rulebook missions with slight variations. I had thought about making it random missions so that Scouring, Emperor's Will and Big Guns became options again but I actually think the missions are fine as they are. Emperor's Will is a bit boring most of the time and Big Guns/Scouring favour armies with decent FA/HS choices.
As you may have read in my Battle Brothers coverage the scoring system they used was to record the absolute VPs scored in the game. Having thought long and hard about this I think it's actually a reasonable system. It allows for it to be clear who won a game but without ignoring the difference between narrow and easy victories. I've tried a score out of 25 in the past couple of events and again, people get it wrong.
The problems people mention are some armies having more VPs on offer to their opponents. In the two objective games this won't be an issue. In the Crusade game there's 18pts on offer (3pts for each of 5 objectives and 1 for each secondary) and in the Relic game there's a potential 6 VPs on offer (3 for relic, 1 for each secondary). In Purge the Alien the points are, of course, dependent on the army you face. Some will have a ton of units and hence a lot of points available whilst others will have significantly less. This was always the case at tournaments in 5th and people can tailor their lists to recognise this problem. No matter what I try and do there's no way I can make this even. Still, at least by recording the absolute points it'll be clear how close the game was. Again I'd love to hear your opinions on all of this.
Finally, in the past four events I've been asking people to record 5th edition style VPs to help split people. Whilst I'm still a fan of this (because it results in definite separation), people again struggle to get it right and it's a faff at the end of a game to work out.
Therefore the players will be ranked as follows:
- Total VPs Scored
- "Goal difference" as in VPs won minus VPs given away
- Primary VPs Scored
- Seconary VPs Scored
- VPs given away (lowest to highest)
If I still can't separate people after all that then I don't know what to do!! Seriously though, this number of levels and the possible combinations should prevent duplicate pairings.
- The score cards will be better and clearer to use.
- There'll be a proper ballot box for the painting comp so people know where to put them.
- More spot prizes for more interesting things (open to suggestions here)
- The presentation that's running throughout the day will give reminders of the scoring etc as the game goes on.
- Better name badges!
I say this every time, with varying degrees of success, but I really do want to hear from people about what needs to change. I want this tournament to be the best it can be and I hope it shows. If something annoys you or puts you off coming then please let me know.
I look forward to seeing you all again in June and let's hope we can stop him this time!