Points Available in the Rulebook Missions
It's often frustrating at a tournament to do really well in a game where there's only a handful of points available but get your arse kicked in a high points game. Assuming, for now, that we're going to use the rulebook missions let's take a look at the points available (assuming 5 objectives in the D3+2 missions):
- Crusade - 5 objectives worth 3 points - 15pts total
- Purge The Alien - depends on the armies - anything from 3-20pts
- Big Guns Never Tire - 5 objectives and potentially 3+1 heavy support choices - 19pts total
- The Scouring - 6 random objectives (4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1) plus fast attacks - 19pts total
- The Emperor's Will - 2 objectives worth 3 points each - 6pts total
- The Relic - one central 3pt objective - 3pts total
Note that I've ignored secondaries for now as I'm not sure how I'm going to use them at this point.
There's a hell of a discrepancy between the missions then. We all know winning Relic is often down to First Blood which is essentially a dice roll. Emperor's Will isn't much better as people tend to hug the home objective and ignore the other unless they can make a late game contest. The rest aren't too bad though. Purge The Alien is the only one where the games in a single round can vary from table to table and it just encourages people to take low point armies which isn't much fun to play against and penalises cheap armies such as IG, DE, etc.
Big Guns and Scouring present a similar but slightly different problem in that if you haven't got any soft fast attack/heavy support units to kill then there are less points available. Some armies simply don't have decent choices in these slots either. Thinking of my Tau it'd be great to have scoring hammerheads or broadsides but pretty crap to use Pathfinders to claim an objective. For now let's ignore these missions. Whilst the random objectives in the Scouring are interesting it does favour mobile armies as they can turn things around if they get crap objectives in their table half.
We're left with 4 then. I'd like to keep Purge The Alien in as I think it's at the core of 40K gaming and breaks up the objective missions. The Relic and Emperor's Will can be combined into one mission which is similar to the way we played last Saturday. Basically the Relic will be fixed in the centre (ignoring the movement nonsense that no-one ever uses anyway). This leaves Crusade with 5 objectives as a third mission. We could leave it there with 3 very simple missions that won't create any confusion. However, we haven't really address the scoring inequality.
Levelling Out the Scoring
Let's work on a principle of 25 points being available for each mission. This shouldn't be too hard to achieve. Crusade is dead easy as you just give 5pts per objective instead of the usual 3. Controlling the whole board will net you 25pts but it's not too difficult to score well with just a handful of them in control.
Next up, The Emperor's Relic (working title!), there's three objectives each worth 3 points each but I want to encourage people to push out for their opponent's objective. Let's say then that holding your opponent's objective is worth 10 pts, the central objective is worth another 10 and your home objective is worth 5. This creates what I think is an interesting prospect. You can hang on to your home objective and hope to contest the others but you'll only get 5 pts. You can push up and claim 10pts in the centre without risking your home objective too much but to really rack up the points you need to claim your opponent's objective whilst stopping him getting yours. Sounds like fun to me!
Finally, Purge The Alien. Here I'm just going to blatantly steal the idea that Chris from the Outpost used on Saturday with a slight change. Each army is worth 25 pts if it's totally wiped out. Each unit has to be worth at least one point but depending on the number of units you have there'll be points spare to spread around to make sure the whole army is worth 25pts in total. Let's look at an example based on my Tau army from BW5. There are 15 units (including transports) so that's 1pt each and 10 spare. I could stick them all on the Riptide and make him worth 11pts when he dies as he can be pretty tough to kill or I could make him and Longstrike worth 6pts each as they're both pretty durable. Alternatively, I could make 10 of my units worth 2 pts each.
This points allocation is decided once you've seen your opponents army as that allows you to decide what would be tough for your opponent to kill. Obviously you'll have to write this on your army list so you can't cheat at the end. A potential problem with this system is that players can write units into their list that are incredibly difficult to kill. For example, the immortals unit our opponents gave all their points to on Saturday. Even if you destroyed their flyer they'd walk on from the table edge next turn and be tricky to kill. It also allows people to put all the points on a model that can be hidden or kept in reserve as long as possible. Not perfect then but it's a step in the right direction.
Perhaps it would be better to assign the points before you see your opponent's army i.e. before the event even starts. That way you might decide to put extra points on your flyers but then end up playing an army with lots of anti-air. Still, this brings in issues again where players are just lucky or unlucky with a matchup.
Blog Wars Special Rules
Part of the theme for Blog Wars is the use of Special Characters. I'm determined that this will always be the case. Therefore, we need to look at the rules for the special characters. In the scoring games they'd count as scoring units in their own right. Not a lot of use if they're joined some troops but potentially useful in a squad of Elite terminators for example.
In Purge The Alien the special character must be worth at least 3pts with the excess spread however the player sees fit.
Three missions each worth 25pts each. This prevents the usual problem in Purge The Alien, isn't overcomplicated for people and makes scoring each round easy. There are also enough points available to easily separate players and avoid duplicate matchups.
We can still play for the secondary objectives and still have them worth 1pt each. They could still be the difference between a win and a loss but are unlikely to determine the whole game.
What do people think? Does all this sound reasonable? I'm loathe to write completely custom scenarios as I think people simply don't read the scenarios in enough detail before the event. It's also very difficult to write missions that don't benefit one army too much over another.
As before, any suggestions are gratefully received.