Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Armies at Blog Wars 8 - The Obligatory Pie Chart Post (now with more pie!)

Unbelievably it's time for another Blog Wars pie charts post! Before I go any further I just need to make a final appeal for the following players to get in touch with me with their army lists. I still haven't heard from John Bell, Luke Capper or Tom Capper. I've emailed a couple of times now but if any of you know them and can remind them for me please do so. Anyway, onto the meat (and potato) of the post.

Army Lists
The process of list checking is always somewhat time consuming but I've noticed a lot more people are now using list building software to generate their lists. Since I use Battlescribe and it's free to set up I might start making it a requirement to submit lists in that format. It would make the whole process easier especially when I have so little time to organise things these days.

The Pie Charts!
Before we get on the to the fresh pies it's worth reminding yourselves of the crusty ones from previous events (BW5, BW6 & BW7). Remember this is the first Blog Wars of 7th edition so the game is in a very different place now. Back in June the filling of the pies was mostly Daemons, Tau and Space Marines. A lot of new books have been released since then with Orks, Wolves, Grey Knights and Dark Eldar all hitting the shelves since the last event. Here's this year's primary/core detachment pie chart (click to embiggen):

As you can see Eldar and Necrons account for around a third of the armies which will be in attendance on Saturday with Space Wolves not far behind. Essentially there's about a 50:50 chance you'll play one of these three factions each round. You'd have to be pretty lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view) to face Tyranids, Tau, Daemons or CSM though.Of the Space Wolf players coming (and I'll also be running them if I play), two of the three are running the Wolves Unleashed detachment whilst the third is bringing a Champions of Fenris list (the only core detachment from a supplement). Similarly both of the Grey Knights players are running the faction specific detachment (of course). I'm pleased to see a couple of Dark Eldar players and even more pleased that one of them is pure DE. With a reduced number of players the variety isn't the same as it was for BW7 and I'm still upset to see a lack of Orks! Both Blood Angels and Astra Militarum have gone missing from last time too.

As you can see from the second pie below (again, click to embiggen) there's now more than half of the field using a second detachment. This is to be expected in 7th edition of course but there's actually only a single player who's taken a third detachment. This is interesting to me as it might make me consider making the army selection criteria different and perhaps saying just two detachments but with less restrictions on what they contain.

It's worth noting that four of the extra detachments here are formations. I'm quite pleased with how this has worked. I wanted to discourage taking two detachments from the same army but formations have allowed people to still partially ally with themselves without doing anything too broken. It's also an increased uptake of formations

After all of the worrying about how many Imperial Knights to allow or not there are only actually two players who are bringing knights and they've only brought one each as it is. My worry is I put too many restrictions in place and I've put people off despite there actually not being much (if any) filth within the lists. There are some strong lists in the field but unless I'm missing something there isn't anything too horrible out there. There's no excessing daemon summoning for example. I'm not sure I dare say it but it's actually looking like a pretty interesting selection of armies from which it would be tricky to pick a standout list. Of course there are stronger armies in there but nothing unstoppable which is always my aim.

As every with Blog Wars there seems to be decent mix of Imperial and Xenos armies as can be seen in this bonus pie chart!:

Roughly speaking that should mean you only play one of your games against power armour which is a total shift from how it used to be towards the end of 5th edition where it seemed like every army was GK, BA or SW! I have to say though that if it weren't for the recent SW and GK books I don't think there'd be even half that many Imperial armies in there.

Special Characters
As ever this is my favourite part of Blog Wars every time around. This is getting to be more and more difficult to justify though as we've lost something like a dozen special characters between the Tyranids, Orks, GK and Dark Eldar releases. That's a real shame to me but the recently leaked Tyranid units have given me hope that they might reinstate some of them over time. Anyway, as ever, Blog Wars requires each army to field a special character. As I've said I'm still waiting for a couple of lists but at the moment there are a total of 18 unique special characters with only a handful appearing more than once. Whilst Coteaz is usually a popular choice he can no longer be in the primary detachment and hence he's slipped out of the running. He'll still be present but it's perhaps nice that an auto-choice like that isn't featuring so heavily.

There's a lot of the usual suspects present though with Eldrad, Draigo and Fateweaver present but there's also a couple of curve balls thrown in like Lelith Hesperax, Lukas the Trickster and Arjac Rockfist (my personal favourite).

I wanted to make a quick note on the attendance figures this time around. Since this is the pie chart post here's a quick graph to illustrate things:

There's been a general upward trend to the event's attendance figures since BW2 with a record 38 players attending BW7 (the full 40 tickets were sold). This has taken a fall of about a third for Blog Wars 8 though. The question is, why has this happened and should I be worried about this?

Well, I've been giving it a lot of thought over the past couple of weeks and I think there are a number of factors which may have contributed to the decline in figures. For a start the winter event seems generally less popular which I tend to put down to people wanting to save for Christmas. It's got to me a lot more than that though. With quite a bit changing this time around it's difficult to put your finger on a particular cause but I think the main factors may have been the slight ticket price increase, army selection restrictions and general malaise for competitive 40K in 7th edition.

The ticket price is something I'm very grateful I changed now. Had it stayed at £15 (and assuming attendance was the same) I'd have really struggled to provide the prize support that I've always tried to maintain at an exceptional level. Lower numbers means less sponsorship from the guys at Element Games which means more of the ticket revenue goes into the tournament prizes. The extra ticket income has allowed me to keep all of the spot prizes and still provide a generous raffle though. Without having enough money in the pot I'm not sure I can offer extra painting prizes though and it's too late to announce those now when people would likely want time to work on their armies in response.

The army selection restrictions met with a mixed reception when I announced them and, as ever, I responded to feedback and tweaked them accordingly. I'm pretty happy with the system I've ended up with but I think it could be simplified and some of the restrictions are unnecessary. Hopefully for BW9 I can make things feel more open without just going no-holes-barred. I know of a couple of people this definitely put off but generally I hope people have raised their concerns and things have been adjusted to suit the majority.

The general malaise for 40K is more difficult to control. As I look down the list of people who have ever attended at least one Blog War (of which there are now 100) I can see some names of people who I know are no longer playing 40K (at tournaments anyway). Of course people move away from the hobby but it's still a shame not to see some guys I've known for a long time now. There's a selfish part of me that'd be quite happy if it was a dislike of the current meta that was putting people off rather than something I'd done though.

That's quite enough of the negatives. There's still a great core of players who have been to several Blog Wars now and the three veterans of every single Blog War are all again in attendance (although Chris took some cajoling). There's half a dozen new guys too who I hope will enjoy their first experience of the event. Whilst bigger numbers are great for variety and for boosting the prize pot I actually quite like smaller events as there's a closer atmosphere where people can have a bit more banter without feeling like just a number in a big pool of players.

Depending on last minute drop outs I may or not be playing but I'm hoping I will be so that I can roll some dice with guys I've come to regard as friends over the years. I'll be posting my list up in a couple of days but rest assured it was written a while ago before I read all of yours and I won't be eligible for any of the prizes anyway.

With the changes I've made to the score sheets and a few other little tweaks I'm hoping the day will run smoothly and to time. With that in mind I remind you to get in touch with any queries you have about the missions or general rules questions before the event so that we can just get cracking on the day. Otherwise I look forward to seeing you all for yet another Blog War!


  1. Alex I have sent my army list and Tom's army list across to you now

  2. Alex, I can only say I think it's a great tournament, hopefully this is just a seasonal thing. Last time you had a lot of guys from Red Steel Gaming Club turn up so unless you already do it maybe it would help to get in touch with more gaming groups. Perhaps publicise it a little more, forgive me if you already do. I tried to drum up a little support on some Facebook groups, I'm really surprised there wasn't a rush at the end.

    Hopefully my Blog Wars virgin mates will enjoy the event as much as I do and become fixtures. We've been going to Warhammer World for Throne of Skulls once a year but they always wanted to go twice. I think Blog Wars fills that gap, without costing a fortune. I certainly don't think the price increase is a factor, I still think it's great value, especially when you get lunch thrown in, which has always been excellent.

    The only thing I struggle with is 1850pts which is difficult for me to fit into 2.5 hours. However, I'm sure there are people who can wrap up a game in half that time with those points and it's partly my own fault for fielding a horde army.

    Keep up the good work, I organised a martial arts tournament once, we managed to make a little profit, the second year we had to call it off due to lack of interest so I can sympathise a little with your concerns but this is BW8, you've got this far because it is successful so bring on BW9, as soon as your ready with the logo let me know, it'll be up on my blog! ;) See you Saturday.

    1. Oh, and if I'd known you were using Battlescribe I'd have sent the file. Definitely a good idea to use it.

    2. Well I'm not overly concerned. I'm my own worst enemy really. I didn't get things going quickly enough this time so there wasn't really much time to buy tickets. Consider the BW7 tickets went on sale in February for June and this time it was August for October. That's half the time! I try not to overly publicise it as I prefer word of mouth as then you get a bit more of a tight-knit feel.

      I agree 1,850 is a struggle in 2.5 hours some time. Perhaps I should drop it to 1,750 for BW9 but I'll try and pay close attention to it this weekend and see how many are struggling to keep to time.

  3. As a member of Red Steel Preston - I did let the guys know that it was on again, but they aren't coming this time; James has had his army GK army wiped out by the new codex (tbf part of that is his fault having a weird monkey-based list) so now he doesn't have a legal army to play with and Ben (the head of Red Steel) had a bad experience at BW7 (we talked him into taking a friendly list and he got paired up against 3 filthy/poor combos and had a pretty crap day) and wasn't a fan of army restrictions - which led to the other guys not coming.

    I've not been to the gaming club in at least 6 months though - so hopefully I will be a bit more active for BW9 and try and get a better turnout from them.

    1. I think I played James last time in the final mission. He couldn't score anything with his monkeys as I think they were too fragile to hold the objectives. He ended up with one lone assassin alive on the table that my Tervigon just couldn't kill thanks to his Invul saves and my inability to hit something with a higher WS. I ended up scoring nearly maximum objective points while this slap fight carried out for the entire game. The final socre was 27:2, probably not much of an incentive to go back into the fray either :(

      You can't always go to every tournament. It was fun with you guys there last time, although sometimes it can be odd with a large group who all know each other at an event - we've seen that at Throne of Skulls when gaming clubs arrive en-masse. It's psychological warfare when 15-20 guys turn up in all the same shirts, they obviously mean business! ha, ha.

      Maybe there needs to be more of a connection back with the blogging community. Although it's not a requirement, it was the reason for Blog Wars in the first instance, or so I believe. Maybe we need to mobilise that community again because in Alex's words this was set up 'to determine once and for all (or at least for this year) who is the mightiest blogger of them all!'

    2. It's a shame about James as he's been a pretty regular feature at BW but he was struggling with his monkeys at BW7 so I'm not surprised and the codex certainly didn't help.

      Ben emailed me to complain about the army selection restrictions. He wanted to bring an Ad Mech list which I'd have love to see but he was basing it around 3 Imp Knights I think which was perhaps unwise when at BW7 they weren't allowed at all! I tried to suggest ways he could still run it but I think his mind was made up. I know he had a crap day at BW7 but he made a point of saying it wasn't anything I did, he was just unlucky with his pairings.

      You're right about the blogging connection. Maybe I ought to start contacting some of the other bloggers out there and seeing who's up for it next time.

  4. Quite Sad I'm missing this one nut my new job kicks off properly this Wednesday.

    I would of used Harald Deathwolf and his drinking buddies.

    1. Sorry you can't make it John, maybe next time eh?

  5. Replies
    1. This makes me think of Weebl and Bob (points if you get the reference)

  6. On a more serious note, i know that its one of the three national 40K GT heats in manchester this weekend. Whilst it may not be totally the same demographic, 2-3 people have said to me that they're attending that instead - i did pump it on a couple of FB groups im part of. Some of the Leicester guys have fallen out of love with 7th as well, I agree with you Alex that i think thats a bit of a factor.

    Id be up for using battlescribe, or something like that. Me and Dan will be there from probly about 5 on friday just to beat the traffic, if anybody wants to join us let me know - can either get in some practice games or forge a narrative of somesort. or just share a couple of drinks.

    1. That's definitely going to have an impact. In fact that was what happened to my martial arts event. We were hosting a national beginners comp on behalf of the national body but another event that featured a well respected visiting expert got more support. Which was odd because it was different audiences, much like those who will be attending the GT looking to win as opposed to those attending BW8 for the fun...

    2. Hey mate,
      My damn smart phone funked the first reply...
      Anyway, I'd enjoy a beer and a brawl in the evening. ;-)


    3. I always try to avoid scheduling clashes with other tournaments but when you're booking a year in advance it get's a little tricky. A lot of the crowd going to the GT won't be particularly interesting in my little tournament anyway though.

  7. Is anyone travelling from Nottingham on Saturday?

    Graham S.

    1. Can't give you a lift there, but more than happy to throw you out as we go past on the m1 on the way back :)

  8. You're too kind! It's ok, was just wondering if anyone wanted to lift-share.


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