Monday, December 02, 2013
Building A Better Blog Wars - Lessons from BW6
Whilst I enjoy tournaments where the scenarios are completely unique, what often happens is that players write their lists to exploit some unforeseen loophole. It's how 40K is played I suppose but I was keen not to stray too far from the rulebook missions when creating the Blog Wars scenarios in the hopes of having a fairly level playing field (if such a thing is possible).
I think the Purge the Alien variant that I ran actually worked for the most part. I decided to make it the first mission of the day as, although people were probably half awake, the round would be followed by lunch so there'd be time to crunch those numbers without delaying the next game. This would've worked had I not messed up the scores for the stand-ins. Having an old school VP (let's call them Blood Points/BP to avoid confusion) based first mission meant the scores were more varied and people were less likely to end up with identical scores and/or duplicate matches. I recorded the raw number of BP in the spreadsheet so that if all else failed I could use it as a tie-breaker. I was tempted to make people record BP in every game but no-one likes adding all the numbers up and I think once in a day is enough. I know they're a ballache to calculate but hopefully people can see the need for it.
The "Emperor's Relic" mission seemed to achieve it's aim of making people push for the central objective and/or opponent's objective rather than sit back and play for First Blood like the Emperor's Will encourages. Perhaps that's just my perception though, how did everyone else find it? There's very little to say about Crusade as it was essentially the same as the rulebook mission but with 5 VP per objective but I think it was a good way to end the day. Having a mission with a large number of objectives encourages people to tailor their lists accordingly and hopefully not just rely on cheap scoring units to do their objective grabbing.
Generally speaking the scenarios seemed to work well. There was the tabling issue of course but I've explained why I believe it works despite it's many detractors. I think the missions were pretty straightforward and with the exception of a few exceptions (see below) I don't think there was anything to cause problems.
The idea this time around was to have all of the rounds be worth 25 VP each. In practice this didn't totally work thanks to the wonder that is 40K. The first mission in particular had a number of units which caused problems. Tau Ethereals give an extra VP when they die, Lone Wolves give up points when they survive, Bjorn gives up multiple VP if he dies, Tervigons and Portalglyphs create extra points, etc. etc. Some of these also affected the objective games but they were more of a problem in the Purge the Alien mission.
There'll always be exceptions to the rules, it's the way 40K is made. The difficulty is in deciding how to incorporate these into the scoring without making things too unfair. Despite the theoretical 25pt limit there were a couple of games where more points were scored. I'm not really sure why people were spawning termagants in a game based on Blood Points but each to their own. Before the next event I need to go through all of the books and try to identify any possible bonus points that could be scored so that I can list them in the rules pack to clarify everything before the event. It's difficult to know if people were adding the 150 bonus points on for killing the special character but next time I'll probably alter the score sheet so it's easier to see.
I think in round one I ought to consider giving the scores with a decimal place. This will help differentiate better between the scores and should clear up why someone seems to have an identical score but actually places above someone else.
I've changed my mind a few times about whether to allow Forge World or not. For now at least, I'm going to keep things as they are and not permit it at Blog Wars 7. Despite the "official announcement" that people seem to think is necessary for it to be legal in 40K, I actually believe it is perfectly legal to use it in regular games of 40K. I'm not the only TO to stop people bringing FW units and I hope people can understand the reasoning. I may have to review this when the new expansion comes next month but I can't see me changing my mind.
I'm having difficulty deciding about the Inquisition codex and supplements at the moment. On the one hand I love them from a fluff perspective but they make the game even more complicated than it already is. I think BW7 may be the last time I allow supplements depending on how well they work and what new ones are released between now and then. In the same way as FW models, you don't want to stop people bringing something fun and fluffy but I want to minimise the amount of dirty combinations that are possible without specific comps.
Despite a couple of notable failures on my part, I know what went wrong and I know what I can do to stop it happening at Blog Wars 7. I've already put work into improving the scorecards and spreadsheet to make the scoring smoother and more reliable.
The main thing I need right now are comments from you guys. What worked, what didn't and what should I be doing that I'm not or vice versa? If you don't want to comment here then by all means email me. I'll be announcing BW7 shortly so keep your eyes peeled for that.