Monday, April 29, 2013

40K Battle Brothers - Tournament Aftermath

Once again, Matt and I were down at Warhammer World this weekend for the 40K Battle Brothers (which replaced GW's doubles events). After toying with taking a Tau/GK list, we tested it out against Graham and Andy from Claws and Fists and decided that it wasn't as good as we thought. Therefore, we returned to our old faithful Titanic Fenrisians (GK/SW) with the following list:

1500pts of Titanic Fenrisians
Coteaz
10-man Strike Squad (Psybolt, 2 Psycannons)
2 x 3 Warrior Acolytes
1 x 4 Warrior Acolyes
Nemesis Dreadknight (Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator, Greatsword)
Nemesis Dreadknight (Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator)

Wolf Priest (Saga of the Hunter, Plasma Pistol)
Rune Priest (Runic Armour, Jaws, Lightning)
10 Grey Hunters (Plasma, Melta, Wulfen, Standard)
9 Grey Hunters (Melta, Wulfen, Standard) in a drop pod

Not a huge difference from the previous incarnations of our doubles army. The thunderwolves are gone sadly but they're replaced by a Rune Priest and the Purifiers are swapped for a full strength Strike Squad.

As you can see, some lists would be no problem for us whilst others, particularly flyers, would be almost impossible for us to beat. Flyers don't bother us too much though as they're mostly geared up for killing either other flyers or else ground vehicles. The only exception being Heldrakes with baleflamers which would totally decimate our army if we met them in multiples.

After our previous issue with an army list error I made sure I checked this thoroughly. For those wondering, Space Wolves can still have two HQ when taken as allies (see FAQ). Pretty sure I haven't missed anything else.

Results
As you can see from yesterday's post we somehow managed to win the event! No-one was as shocked as I was though! We knew we'd done well of course but we've been in that situation before and come away with nothing thanks to the scoring system.

We'd been talking to some friends of ours (who we met/played at previous doubles) who'd been scoring similar numbers of points to us. Nick, one of the organisers said during the ceremony that it'd come down to favourite game votes. We knew we were 2 VPs behind at least one team who'd won all five games like us and had been told we'd received favourite game votes by one of our opponents. When they announced second place we were sure we'd missed out again but despite them spelling it wrong it was amazing to see Titanic Fenrisians appear on the screen as champions!

As you might recall from one of my other doubles events write ups I had a massive whine about the inclusion of favourite game votes into the overall tournament scores. In a previous event this had dropped us from 2nd to 4th as we hadn't had any votes. This time around we managed to achieve 5 out of 10 votes somehow despite winning our games. This gave us the win over second place who'd scored 3 votes. I have to say a huge thanks to our opponents who voted for us because quite literally we couldn't have done it without them.

Favourite Game Votes
So have I changed my opinion of fave game votes as they allowed us to win the tournament? Short answer, no.

I can understand that the atmosphere that GW want to create is one where people don't feel put off from coming because they're worried about power gamers. It therefore makes perfect sense from their perspective. However, I think there are other ways of minimising the competitive element. At the end of the day it's a tournament and we know from bitter experience what it's like to have a near certain podium finish taken away in that manner.

Battle Brothers uses VPs (6th style) as the scoring system. Some people don't like this as it can mean you annihilate all but one model but still lose the game. Personally I'd say that it's clear from the start how it'll be scored so people should play in a way that minimises the chance of that happening. The favourite game votes are worth 3 VPs each meaning there's a whopping 30pts available on top of the usual VPs. That's huge. In fact looking at the score sheet that's the difference between 1st and 25th!!

So they're worth too many points but the other issue is that it's almost totally out of your control. Sure you can try not to be too anal about rules but whether someone enjoys the game against you is totally random. If you have some jammy rolls that might piss them off. You could have a fantastic, close game that was a lot of fun for both sides but the guys you play give it to their first opponents because they bought them a beer. Not to mention not everyone votes! Granted this time it looks like the vast majority did but that doesn't mean to say people didn't vote for their mates etc.

It feels like no matter how well you play your games you're still at the mercy of an effecitvely random system. I suppose you could argue that's 40K in general though.

Conclusion
I know what some of you are thinking. Only I could win a tournament and still bitch about the scoring system! Fair enough but I think it'd be pretty hypocritical of me to whine about it when it works against us but sing its praises when it works for us.

In some ways I feel like justice has been done for the time when it went against us. We genuinely did our best to be friendly despite doing horrible things to our opponents' armies. All of the games had something cool happen which made them memorable but I'll be writing in more detail about that over the next couple of days.

For now, I just want to say another huge thanks to our opponents for giving us 5 memorable games but I'd also like to thank the staff (doubt they'll read this), since no matter what they do to try to make the event better people still bitch. It's a great event that I'm determined to attend as often as I can. We've got a title to defend after all....

18 comments:

  1. Me and my mate were the ones who came 3rd in this tournament, and we had no favourite opponent votes. We took Grey Knights with Space Wolves, although we had 3 pods and no strike marines. In most of our games, we had a lot of fun with our opponents, apart from two games. One because the other team took a negative stance towards us from the words "Hi, my name is Jon."

    This is the 2nd time me, or a friend of mine has been denied 1st place in a GW doubles tournament due to favourite opponent votes. The problem with FOVs is that if you go against someone with a competitive, and you have a themed army or are new to the hobby, you will have a bad game.

    Still, I had a weekend of gaming and me and my mate didn't concede a single VP to our opponents over the weekend. This is probably going to be my last GW doubles tournament, as the format is getting too old now. The club I am part of too, will also be moving away from the GW doubles scene.

    I still love the campaign weekends mind.

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    1. I second Jon's comments. It's a massive shame as I love the atmosphere up at Warhammer World, there really isn't any other place like it!

      The format really puts me off - it's £45 odd + travel, but I'd be willing to pay that if it weren't for the favourite opponent votes, the random games (you could end up playing 5 teams who barely know how to play the game) and the fact that it's not really a doubles event at all (it's just any old 1500 point list).

      Still - the atmosphere almost makes it worth it! It's always been an awesome weekend whenever we've been up there!

      As an aside - have you considered running a From the Fang/Blog Wars doubles event? It seems to suit the community feel you guys go for much better!

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    2. Don't really agree with your comments Jon (read my post below). If you get drawn against a themed army and you have a competitive army then you are less likely to get a favourite game vote, but you will presumably get a lot of VP's from the game and in most of the game types that normally counts for a lot more. Also seeing as you gave away no VP's over the tournament it seems likely that you did meet a lot of 'themed' armies!!

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    3. It really all depends on what you expect to get out of the weekend. We've been in a very similar situation to you guys in that we should've come 2nd but due to lack of votes we placed 4th. That was at a time when they were still using Swiss pairs which meant we'd had a really tough final game (although we did this weekend too).

      After that we very nearly stopped attending these events. It's incredibly frustrating to lose out on an award because of something that's inherently random. However, when we'd calmed down and thought about it we decided that we'd continue to attend because we've never found another tournament with the same atmosphere.

      Whilst I agree that the format isn't really "doubles" any more, it's still fun to have 4 people round a table and be able to discuss tactics with a mate.

      This is the reason we use the list that we do. We could certainly build a more horrible list but we'd have no fun doing it. It's the reason we'd never take Necrons, they just aren't much fun as an army. Our list is by no means weak but it's certainly not all-comers. It's the units we wanted to use because they're fun for us to control.

      Tournaments are always about luck no matter what pairing system is used. The first round is usually always random and has a huge bearing on the rest of your games. Even once Swiss pairs comes into effect it can still give you some easy games when two "fluff" gamers have met in the first round and one has thrashed the other.

      We've been to this event and seen some horrible guys win it without scoring any fave game votes. That's certainly not what GW want to promote. Personally I think the current version of the event is probably the best it's been for a while. No matter how bad fave games are they're better than the ridiculous secret missions they had before.

      I know all of this is easy to say given that we won but as I say we've been on the other end of it.

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  2. Congratulations on the win guys, I was there to see you pick up your trophies, great job winning with your list as it is not total cheese like the necron scarab farm and the 3 heldrake and Valkyrie lists. I was a little annoyed with the tournament this time unfortunately we only won 3 games but lost 2 due to what can only be described as cheating. Even in one of the 3 games we did win a guard player decided his snipers could shoot his sniper rifles at 48" with any 6s to hit giving ap1 on top of the usual rending costing my team 4vp which would have propelled us much higher up the table. Next time someone tells me jump infantry are not infantry so can't be targeted by jaws I will hit them over the head with arjacs hammer and next time someone puts a grey knight terminator in a rhino I will simply walk away! Idiots!

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    1. For me that's more of an issue than fave game votes. The referees really need to know their stuff better so you feel its actually worth getting them over. Luckily we have a pretty good knowledge of the rules and are usually able to find the page of the rulebook or bit of the FAQ to support what we're saying.

      We regularly employ the "most important rule" though and 4+ things that we can't decide on, rather than get a ref involved.

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  3. Congratulations Guys! Shiny, shiny trophies!
    I've never done a GW doubles event but have done a few Throne of Skulls. As a 'fluff' player I do like favourite army votes, it really helps my scores! However 30VPs is WAY too much even in my (biased) view. A small amount of VPs (maybe 10 overall)would prevent the 'evil' players from winning out over a skilled but fair player (which I think is the point of FA votes) but they shouldn't have as big an impact on the overall standings. I never enter tournaments to win, rather for an excuse to play a ton of games and have fun so I dread facing the all-out-to-win players (of whom there are very few) and FA votes curbs their rules lawyering somewhat if they still want to win.

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    1. I agree that they're worth too much but for GW the key thing is fair play rather than all out competition. They're never going to change the system as to them it's more important to reward nice players than competitive ones.

      I've had far more miserable games in the "fair" independent tournament scene.

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  4. You have to remember that the tournament itself is now much more random due to the decision by GW to run it with random pairings. And although you could moan about having a higher position snatched away due to favourite game votes, you could also argue that had me and Alex had easier opponents our tournament VP score would be much higher. Or if other opponents had more difficult lists then their VP score would be lower. There is a massive amount of luck involved in this tournament and part of that is favourite game votes but I believe that the 'luck' effect of favourite game votes is tiny compared to the 'luck' effect of the random pairings system. At the end of the day if they ranked it how they used to then the likely-hood is that only one of the top 3 teams would have walked away with a trophy/certificate. Also at least you can try to do something about favourite game votes (bribe/beg/grovel/threaten....) whereas nothing can be done about which random opponent you end up drawn against, and no list is good against everything (unless you play dirty cheating rules Necrons of course).

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    1. For legal reasons I'd like to point out we didn't bribe, beg, grovel or threaten any of our opponents about fave game votes. We were as shocked as anyone else to receive them.

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  5. Hi there, I had the pleasure of losing to you guys in the final game of the Battle Brothers. And by "pleasure" I absolutely mean it, that was not just my favourite game of the tournament, but possibly my favourite game i've played of warhammer 40k.

    You guys were nice, friendly, put up with a lot of my noob questions (i've only played 8 games since 2nd edition, including the 5 games this weekend) and taught us lots of tricks and how rules really worked. It was a really fun game with lots of risk and reward and it really felt it could go either way up until your rune priest did exactly what I feared he would do when you explained it at the beginning and used his world wolf thingy spell to instant kill my sorcerer lord.

    Like you said at the time, it's hard to get favorite game points when you win all your game, but I was more than happy to give the points to you guys, as you deserved them for both the game and for being nice chaps.

    Thanks again for a great game, and hopefully one day we'll have a rematch!

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    1. You and your team mate certainly didn't play the game like you were "noobs". It was very close to being my favourite game of 40K too. It was too close to call right up until the final turn when it swung in our way thanks to my dirty Jaws of the World Wolf.

      Always happy to play a rematch if you're ever "up North" again although Nottingham really doesn't qualify as North.

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  6. So did you give the warrior acolytes, did you just take them stock standard.

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    1. Just the standard model for 4pts. They're just cheap objective grabbers that allow us to afford dreadknights.

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  7. Well done lads, its good to see someone winning with a good attitude and a fairly average army. This was our first tournament and we finished a respectable 39th out of 104 winning 3 losing 1 and drawing 1. Had a fantastic time, great games, great banter and good food! Were a dice roll away from winning a fourth game and had we known a bit more about the Tau we could have done better in the game we lost. It was pleasing that we did not come up against any 'Cheesy' armies(though I did see a fair few)and everyone played in the spirit of the game. Definately going to go back, great incentive to paint!! I agree though that favourite game votes are too highly scored(one point rather than three would be better) but I understand the principle behind it. I noticed one team gained 24VP's for this but were hammered in every game bar one, which seems a bit of a sympathy vote. Overall fantastic weekend

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    1. The team who got 24 would've had the full 30 but we played them and voted for our final game opponents instead! Felt awful cos they gave us a vote despite us tabling them!

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