Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - Feedback Discussion

Right, with that unpleasantness out of the way I want to move onto talk about some of the more positive feedback that came out of the event and how it will be used to shape BW10. Firstly, let me say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to give me feedback. I think this is some of the most constructive feedback I've received. I strive to make Blog Wars the best event possible and I can only do this if people tell me what needs improving. I thank you all for your kind words about the event and for your continued support.

Right, let's get to it.

Refereeing & My Participation
I already mentioned this in the previous post but to spell it out again. I won't be playing at BW10 unless I absolutely have to in the event of uneven numbers on the day. I'll do my best to arrange a local stand-in before the day though to try to avoid it. If I do end up playing it will be with a list that I deliberately tailor to play quickly i.e. minimal models and no complicated rules.

Anyway, I've already started on further streamlining measures and making the rules pack and scoring sheets as idiot proof as possible. Since I'm not playing I'll have plenty of time to answer rules queries but I'll also be volunteering Matt to help out here too. He should be able to answer general rules questions but I can still be called upon to make rulings where there's ambiguity.

I won't pretend I'm not gutted but if the kind of numbers we saw at BW9 are repeated for BW10 I just don't think it's fair on everyone else. It'll make for a more relaxing day for me anyway!

Scoring
I try to make the scoring as simple to understand as possible whilst also rewarding convincing victories more than narrow ones. I certainly need to better clarify a few things so I've updated the scoresheet for BW10 to really spell things out. Hopefully this will avoid any confusion and also help me get the results in quicker. Incidentally I've added a bonus points column to the scorecard to allow people to track the points they receive from stripping hull points from Lords of War (or any other source).

I'd like to tweak the scoring slightly to make wins more important. There's been a situation at the last few events where players who won all three games placed lower than others who hadn't. This was because most or all of their wins had been in close games but it should still be better to win than lose. I'm looking closely at the scoring system Matt has devised for Fluffageddon and I've run the BW9 numbers through to see how it affected things. Here's how it would've looked:


As you can see it hasn't affected things too dramatically but there's a better distribution of players based on their W/L percentage. The scores using the Fluffageddon system are on the far right and obviously the traditional BW scores are in the bright green column. Matt's system still rewards convincing victories but a win is still important. Obviously running the numbers after the event isn't a true representation of how it would've affected standings but I'll be watching Fluffageddon very closely to see how it works in practice.

Either way, you won't need to do anything differently when entering your results as I'll set up the spreadsheet to do it for you. It might just been you feel like the standings better represent your performance though.

Missions
Generally speaking the feedback on the use of Maelstrom in the final mission was good. This is a huge relief for me after printing, laminating and cutting out 900 objective cards! Seriously though, I like the inclusion of Maelstrom as I think it embraces that aspect of the game properly but does so in a sensible BW-style fashion. Incidentally if anyone wants a copy of the BW Tactical Objectives let me know and I'll email you the Word document. You can laminate them your bloody self though!

I had considered including Maelstrom in every game with just the deployment varying so I'd be keen to hear what people think of that. Otherwise I think I'll keep the missions the same for BW10 so that people can prepare for the event knowing what to expect.

I'd also thought about ditching the Emperor's Relic as it's been in use for a while I'd considered bringing Control Freak back in or perhaps coming up with something totally different. I'm loath to do this though as the current mission set is well tried and tested now.

Finally, the mission order was something that people felt might benefit from a change. They felt getting smashed in the first round (or vice-versa) had a negative affect on the rest of the tournament. I don't actually think changing the mission order would help here as it's mostly down to the random pairings in the first round and how limited Swiss pairs is over just three rounds. I deliberately run the kill mission before lunch as it's a nice straightforward start to the day and all that adding up doesn't delay the start of the next round. I like having Maelstrom last too as it's not so predictable and can still have a dramatic effect on standings.

Imperial Knights & Lords of War
I've written a separate post on this here but basically I plan on limiting Imperial Knights to two per army and all other super-heavy/gargantuan Lords of War to 0-1 per army. As I say though, take a look at that post for more info. Personally I like them being in there was it forces people to plan their lists and play their games diffferently. I've added a vote on the of the blog about this and the results are overwhelmingly supportive of my proposed limits (web version of the blog is necessary to see the vote).

New Detachments e.g. Necron Decurion
I'm keen to hear your thoughts here but basically I think the Necron Decurion and Eldar Warhost as probably worse than some of the other things that aren't permitted at Blog Wars. The Decurion in particular can make an already powerful army nearly unstoppable. As I say I want to hear people's thoughts but I'm inclined to say that the detachments themselves won't be allowed but the formations within them will be. It remains to be seen how bad the SM and DA versions will be.

There was a suggestion about a BW-specific FOC but I think that creates more problems than it solves and I do my best to limit the amount I change the rules by. You may not believe that to be the case but it's true.

Allies
There was talk of banning allies at Blog Wars. I'm a bit of a codex purist and not generally a fan of allies. I know that some people claim their army needs allies to make it competitive but is that just because other armies are using them so the standard is generally higher. Clearly armies like Eldar, Necrons, etc don't need allies anyway but will that just mean they rise to the top with ease? I'll add a vote to get to a consensus so please give me your opinion (again web version of the blog is necessary to see the vote).

List Vetting
I do my best to try and filter out the truly dirty lists but inevitably some slip through. There were comments about a couple of lists this time around. It's difficult to decide where the level is really as a lot depends on how the list is played. There's also a large element of who plays who. Some armies will find some lists to be unbeatable whilst others won't see the problem.

All I can say is that I'll make every effort to ensure the armies at Blog Wars 10 are in the spirit of the event but I also rely on you guys to do the same. The playerbase seems better good at self-regulating and I hope I can trust you to continue to do this.

Painting Competition
I'd like to try something different for BW10 and the painting competition. I introduced a Best Conversions prize at BW9 that I'd like to keep but I'd also like to have effectively three separate competitions. Everyone will be able to enter the Best Special Character but players will chose whether they enter their army for Best Painted or Best Conversions. There'd be three separate areas for displaying the entries into each category. I like the idea of all of the characters being displayed together and I think it'll help people who focus their energies into a single model that would otherwise be lost in their army that isn't to the same standard.

This may be a little controversial though so I'd like to know what you all think.

Food
Finally, it seems that Subway went down pretty well. The venue used to supply their own food but I simply wasn't happy with the standard and I was quite relieved when the owner said the in-house cafe had closed. I know Element Games (the shop in the venue) is looking to start something of their own but in the absence of that I will be going for Subway again.

I think it helps to have cold food as then it doesn't matter if we run over or if it's late arriving. Subway is also good because they can easily cater for specific dietary requirements. Incidentally I'll be asking everyone when they buy their ticket to let me know about dietary requirements from the out set.

Conclusion
Right, there's plenty there to be going on with. I want to hear people's thoughts on anything and everything in that list and any extra things you think I've missed that need addressing. Nothing is set in stone yet but BW10 tickets will be going on sale soon so I'd appreciate hearing from you ASAP.

Finally, I'm intending to get some more of the BW custom templates made up. Someone came to me on the day and said they had access to a laser cutter to make these cheaper than I'd paid this time. I think it was Nathaniel but whoever it was please get in touch so I can sort these sooner rather than later.

22 comments:

  1. First off Alex I admire and appreciate your openess on every matter.

    Secondly I think in your and our efforts to try and keep things balanced each player is finding things they think are broken. I have no issues with any formation but my last game vs necrons with effectively a 4+ re rollable save or better was extremely disheartenning to go against but at the same time I know it was first real game vs the new necrons and will be ready next time.

    Have you seen some of the ETC missions they have objectives, maelstrom and kill points in every game but weight which one is worth more each round so regardless of the mission or the forces involved each player can try to do something.

    Lastly I would like to offer my services for list checking.

    Thank you.

    John

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    1. I know the ETC missions used a combination of objectives but I think this overcomplicates things for a tournament like Blog Wars. I know that having a single mission in each round means the match up is more important but I like the simplicity.

      I'm happy enough with list checking. This time around I'm going to insist on Battlescribe so I have to worry less about the points adding up correctly and all the options being legal. I know it isn't perfect but it certainly makes things quicker.

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  2. Hi Alex.

    I think the decurion style detachments are a little too powerful at the mo, as not every army is on the same level as a standard necron or eldar army, let alone one running a decurion. I would like them to be not allowed at least until more codexes have been released to have more of a level playing field (although we are playing 40k.....level playing field? :D )

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into these events. They are the only tournament I attend purely beause of the friendly atmosphere, rules pack and all round awesome running of the event :)

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    1. Oh and yes it was me that approached you about laser cutting some stuff

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  3. Hi Alex, thanks again for putting on such a great event, I had a real blast. It's a shame you won't be able to play in the next one.

    My second game was against a Necron Decurion and it was not fun ( http://standwargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/blog-wars-battle-report-game-2-necrons_10.html ). Even though I ended up winning the game and my opponent was fantastic, it just felt hopeless from turn one onwards as no matter what I threw at them, they would just not die. Had I faced the army in the first or third game, I reckon I would have had an even more miserable time. I just got exceedingly lucky that I faced it in the relic mission and was able to get a win (through sheer luck and jamminess).

    Fortunately, I didn't end up playing any superheavies on the day, but I didn't want to. I still think 2 Knights are one too many, but I understand that some people like to use them. I'm not sure anyone had fun playing against three of them (except Pete and his necrons who were chewing through them).

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  4. Hey Alex,

    As a Necron player im probably bias on the view but here is my 2 cents. Even though i acknowledge how strong the decurion is, I still feel it is manageable if you tackle them correctly. Both John and Nathaniel knocked me down to about 1 squad left by the end of the game.
    Personally feel there was lists which were more of a struggle to play against that the Necron Decurion. Dont even think there is enough anti AA in my book to stop they nid player for example.
    If you did decide to hit formations, would prefer to see it on every army, than just a more common one seen.

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    1. I agree. For me the shock and lack of knowledge of how durable a ducurion is was due to my lack of knowledge. In future I will have better plans.

      For the next BW I go to I really want to run the marine battle company!

      John

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  5. Hi Alex,

    Can't wait for BW10. For me, BW9 was a resounding success because I had fun losing. Always a great sign I think :)

    Almost everything here is absolutely fine by me. 2 Knights allows freedom without giving anyone room for formations which are often very powerful. I can honestly see people wanting to spend points elsewhere and maybe only having 1 knight (as there is no extra benefit having 2). Great choice IMO.

    As for allies, maybe just further restrict it to Battle Brothers only? I only say this from a Blood Angels PoV as we have our 7th edition codex and could very much do with an allied force to plug a couple of holes. If not, I will just have to think even harder about my list!

    Other than that, I am just looking forward to my second BW!

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  6. Hi Alex I'm a necron player as you know and I think personally that the necron and Eldar formations are far to strong for most armies with the exception of imperial knights . I won't be bringing my necrons to bw10 as I really didn't enjoy or have much fun in any of my games. All my opponents spent much of the games bemoaning how good or bad the decurion was and that never makes for a fun game. In fact my second game which Michael mentioned above was terrible he even mentioned giving up on turn 2 😏 I really don't get any pleasure in making my opponents feel so disheartened so I've packed my necrons away and am buying 5 imperial knights lol no I'm not my imperial guard are getting dusted off again .
    I plan to bring my guard to the next blog wars . I think 3 maelstrom missions would be great . I believe the maelstrom game has brought new life and fun to the 40 k games and I won't play any other missions at the moment. I think you can win a game of 40 k in maelstrom when u have clearly lost the war. It involves more thinking and tactics so ur stupidly hard lists can still lose the game. So I'm for 3 maelstrom games please. The scoring thing: why don't you give an extra say 3 vps for winning each game maybe that would work? And maybe give everyone a vote for or extra pts for most interesting ? Fluffy list / army or the most enjoyable game for whatever reason . I know gw do this at tos and I hate it cos it affects the scores too much but if it was only a point or 2 then maybe it would encourage more friendly lists? Or maybe a prize for most interesting list etc? Just a thought 😊 .
    So in conclusion yes ban formations necron Eldar etc maelstrom yes or at least get rid of kill point one . Food subway great . Maybe look at time limits 245 or 3 hr games might be better ? Thanks Ben

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  7. I would be pro detachments - Michaels game proves its all about playing the mission sometimes. and id say that the Decurion is actually a good hard counter to super heavies/LOW/big things. I think one of the things that we've always had to live with is the codex cycle, for instance I played with Space Marines at BW9 and they were creaking a bit, but I played against eldar and did ok in the end. I think that a generalship can make a lot of difference - two lists used by different people will make a massive different, jus tin terms of priorities and deployment, before you even roll any dice!pulling of draws against super heavies has become a speciality of mine ;)

    The necron one is bad ass, but would people be complaining if it wasn't so good against knights? it basically ignores the advantages of LOW/gargantuan creates and forces them to take their own medicine. that's partly why id leave it in, it means that people who are investing points in knights need to think about how they are going to deal with those shenanigans!

    playing SM, I can see that theirs could be really good, but also there is a tax in the auxiliary slot that means that at 1850 its gonna be difficult to get much filth in there. At what point do you draw the line - what if somebody wants to take the new skyhammer detachment? I know id be frustrated if id bought it and could field it (though its not like I couldn't use the models! im also actually vaguely considering using it anyway so I cant claim to be neutral on that)

    I would encourage the allowance of allies of all levels ( I know I said this in the other one!) because I think that otherwise some armies just aren't playable - eg knights, sisters, but also because others are designed to ally with each other (the ad mech and skitari for instance). again, very much my preference as I relaly enjoy the ally system.

    I also really like the order that the missions are at the moment, which is a separate point to mission design I feel. I think having a quick smash each other up means that you really do separate the armies that can kill each other out, and it means that they are then possibly at a disadvantage if they cant play differently.

    id say it was also important to not play maelstrom for all of them. There is an event that's coming up later in the year that im considering because I like it, but im being put off because there are 3 levels of bookkeeping and victory points. I want to play the game, not spend all my time recording stuff and trying to remember where I am at all the levels of the game. In my games there are enough delays for bookkeeping anyway, leaving little time to forge a narrative.

    I like the idea of rewarding victories (obviously!), but at the same time, I accept that you need to win big to win. its only 3 games, there isn't enough time to thin the whole field out that much. what I think is more important is a clear understanding of whichever system is used, and that's partly the gamers responsibility.

    all in all, thank you for all you do :) I came away happy as usual and that's the biggest thing for me :) ill be coming to the 10th one regardless, they are always the first thing in my diary just because of the people as much as anything else, and I think that is a massive credit to you Alex.

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  8. First, great event overall.

    Second, I agree with one LoW limit.

    Third, Id only restrict allies by only allowing second detachment to be an allied detachment as set in the BRB and maybe odd detacjments like an assassin.

    Fourth, Id personally keep the current mission format as maelstrom relies a fair bit on luck of the cards and doesnt favour certain armies so 3 might be overkill.

    Fifth, in regards to formations it may be best to see how future codex releases go before outlawing decurion.

    Overall Alex you created a fun event and thats what matters. If a change in points structure is needed so be it as long as the fun ethic doesnt change in my personal opinion :)

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  9. I think everything you say here is fine Alex, I really want to come back for BW10 although with what I'm not sure. Have you considered Maelstrom for all missions? In my experience it has totally revolutionised 40k for me and army selection becomes less about what damage you can do to your opponent. Cheers Ben - Red Steel Preston

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  10. Seeing that with the new fluffy scoring system I'd have jumped 15 places I guess it's an important metric to include in the scoring. I'm all for enjoying BW in any format, my only issues remain about length of time of the game but again having a horde army makes that difficult - that's my choice and clearly other people are finishing their games and it's maybe no fun waiting around for slowpokes like me. That may be resolved anyway if I manage to get the Dark Angels done...

    My only other feedback is I hoped it would be called Blog Wars X because it looks cool but I think we're already seeing BW10 bandied around for that not to catch on :(

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    1. For goodness sake Dave. Way to spoil the big logo reveal!

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    2. Well I didn't reveal it was going to be red so you can't blame me! ;) I was totally convinced by your misinformation tactics, I'm right naive, you could have strung me along, I'd have been fooled all day long, ha, ha!

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  11. It was a very well run event again, so thanks for all your hard work Alex - and thanks for sorting out my dairy free lunch - very much appreciated! :)

    One thing I would ask though, is how hard should our lists be? I bring a pretty soft list it seems and get my ass handed to me in every game, but at the 2 BW events that I've been, to I've faced some lists that wouldn't get you a second game at the local club level.

    TL:DR I'm finding it hard to pick a list that fits what I assume the spirit of the event to be and not be tabled

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    1. To be honest that's the problem I always have when checking lists. It's not about whether a list is too powerful in itself but whether it's too powerful in the context of the other lists at Blog Wars.

      There's inevitably some that I misjudge but this often has to do with who they get paired against on the day. For example this time I had to compare things to the lists with 3 knights. By that yardstick a lot of other lists that would normally be too strong were fine.

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  12. Instead of using a BW10 FoC how about just forcing the use of the standard CAD FoC from the core rule book, doesn't get any simpler of fairer than that, and should solve a lot of the issues...

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    1. Some codexs can't have a cad like harliquins or skitari who have no hqs

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  13. I agree with all your points Alex and really appreciate you reacting to feedback.

    I attended Throne of Skulls this weekend the supposedly friendly/fluffy tournament. They allowed everything! It was ridiculous, the use of superheavies and forge world (to a lesser extent) made the power level unbelievable. The only fun I had all weekend was listening to new excuses people made for bringing ludicrously powerful armies.

    I also doubt they will take notice of the feedback they are asking for. I have no wish to play Apocalypse which is what the game has become when not managed.

    I also notice I would have jumped twenty places with your new scoring system. In reality I would probably have been handed my arse in my second game but I can now reclaim bragging rights with my mates.

    See you at BW X

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  14. Tess tried to post this but it wouldn't allow it for some reason:

    Hey Alex

    Firstly can I add my thanks for all the work you do in making Blog Wars such an enjoyable and memorable event, it really is appreciated. This was the best one yet, with a tremendous atmosphere and a good mix of veterans and newbies, it was great to catch up with a few peeps I'd got to know previously and my 3 opponents were all fantastic to play against.

    I don't usually tend to care too much how an event is set up as regards to missions and list specifics, but I do have a few thoughts on Blog Wars as we're in a contemplative mood as a group. As far as the missions go, I think you should add a secondary, objective-based element to the first, either using maelstrom or one of the book missions. Kill points reward the low model-count, Big-Killy-Deathstar type lists and penalise more msu-type lists; adding in a secondary objective-based mission can even the playing field, even if winning it scores less points than the primary, kill-stuff mission. It would probably mean you having to ditch the whole Blood Points thing tho.

    Despite having run DE allies for a while I'm pretty much a One Codex Man, but I think it would be a huge step backwards to contemplate banning any level of alliance other than maybe Come the Apocalypse; restricting it to Battle Brothers won't stop the Pain, DE web-way portals for Wraithguard will still be a thing, Draigo chaperoning grav centurions is still on, etc etc. Allies have been a part of our game for 3 years now, many people use them and enjoy the added flexibility and options they bring; banning them now would seem like running back to 5th edition.

    Superheavies? Meh, I know what Fire Dragons with Battle Focus and Wraithguard with D weapons can do to them, but I do understand that many people find playing against them unpleasant so I think the restrictions you've proposed for BW 10 are an admirable compromise.

    I'm sad to see people complaining that the Eldar Formations are too overpowered; are we talking of banning the Decurion-style 'Super Formation' or the individual components? Because let's be clear, the Craftworld Warhost gives the staggeringly OP bonus of a guaranteed 6" run to already fleet units, whilst the new Marine Battle company thingy gives out 300-500 points in free transports, and I'm not even going to start on the Necron Decurion. Even the daughter formations that make up the Warhost aren't that powerful, other than perhaps the Aspect and Wraith Hosts, and if we start banning individual Formations like those then there's an awful lot of others in various books we could look at. The secret sauce with the Eldar book lies in the units themselves. I think people need to remember that not all Formations are created equal.

    I appear to have gone on at length for which I apologise:)
    TL; DR I'm pretty sure you'll make the next 'Wars as enjoyable as the last, I was really glad to see you put the issues out there for everyone to vote on with the polls, and I can't wait for the next one.

    PS Jonathan you're on mate! See you in November.

    Tess

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