This will be a long post with hopefully a similarly long comments section but please stick with me and give me some feedback at the end.
I knew there'd be a problem with people getting games finished which is why I kept the round lengths at 2.5 hours despite having 1,500pt battles instead of Blog Wars' 1,850pt games. I'd intended to add a box on the score sheets to get some idea of how many turns people were getting through but it slipped my mind. Were people getting to the end of their games? None of my games got to turn 5 but that was probably more my fault than anything else.
It's a difficult thing to fix. The nature of the event means that the pre-game stuff takes a bit longer than usual. I don't want to simply increase the round time. I'm sure if I made it 3 hours then everyone would get 5-7 turns in comfortably but there'd also be people in finished in 2 hours and were hanging around. The nature of the event means that it wouldn't matter so much as you could go and watch other games etc but it'd make for a very long day adding 90 minutes on over three rounds. That'd be a pretty late finish and even longer day for those with a commute home afterwards.
I think the way to do it then is to simplify a few things and streamline stuff as much as possible. One idea I had was to make the deployment the same in each round. Obviously this would favour some armies over others but knowing that you're getting before the event would mean you could tailor your list to compensate. I could also have objective markers in fixed positions on the table before you start. That'd cut out a roll off and time placing the objectives. You'd still roll off to see which side you ended up on and therefore have some control over where the objective nearest you were in relation to your army and useful cover. Speaking of which, I could also pre-classify terrain but obviously that's time consuming when I'm usually in a rush to get everyone registered and the event started.
Actually, since the A or B pairings are random I could have an A side of the table and B side of the table. Would cut out another roll off and potentially swapping sides. It's still a 50:50 chance which side you'll be on and if objectives are pre-placed it wouldn't be as important to choose.
I could also merge the roll off so that you just roll off once. You can then choose to deploy AND go first giving your opponent the choice of deployment zone or choose your deployment zone but go second. Obviously Seize would still be in play.
Ditching Warlord Traits completely could be useful too but as I said at the start of the event, some armies rely on a particular trait for the list to work. Not sure that's an option really.
Finally, I could potentially publish the matchups before the day and even the army lists. That way you'd cut out the explanation of your armies to your partner and opponents. Obviously there might be a couple of things to clarify but generally speaking your games would start quicker. Only trouble with this is that if I have some last minute dropouts the pairings might change on the day.
As I've mentioned above. Do you think that having the same deployment in each round would make things easier or would it be less interesting that way? Would your army be particularly screwed by a Dawn of War in every game?
The deployment in the last game was a bit of an experiment. There were certainly a couple of issues with it. Where do reserves come in? If it's the long table edge adjacent to your deployment then your units arrive behind one of your enemies. When doing the alternating deployment do you have to decide the order before anyone deploys or can the team going second get back a bit of an advantage by responding like they would in a normal game?
I thought the objective cards worked out really well. Gambling for more points for controlling an objective for two turns was a nice change. Sometimes it paid off for us but on other occasions we should've just cut our losses. Are there any cards in there that you really don't like? Could any of them be tweaked slightly to either make them better or just clearer in wording.
Do you like having two concurrent missions? Since the pairings are random I didn't want to change the mission in each game. At least you can write your army list knowing what you're getting from the scenario in each round. I'm considering going back to a more traditional combination of VPs and BPs with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. That way you'd know who'd actually "won" each game. On the other hand the current system helped to minimise the importance of each game and create more relaxed games.
The use of FW units has always been a bone of contention for me. I'm really not a fan of them. I own a couple of models but more for the miniature than to actually use them in games. I think they're a level of complexity that's simple to remove from games. I'm not going to go into my feelings on the subject too much but I'd love to hear from you guys about whether you thought they were had a particular impact your games.
I'm toying with the idea of limiting them to one unit per army OR a full 30K army. I'd rather that than an outright ban I think. With no superheavies they probably aren't that bad and at this points level there little you could really take that'd be that devastating.
Coming from comments on my battle reports it seems that people thought that Summoning was a bit OTT at the event. To me knowledge there were only a couple of lists making use of it but I agree in principle that it was perhaps a bit too much. The trouble is that if you were picking the full 1,500pt army you'd mostly likely have some way of dealing with it built in but since you're only picking half it ends up being luck of the draw whether you get an army that can deal with it.
As Xachariel pointed out in the comments, Summoning actually breaks the army selection criteria of no more than two of any given unit. Obviously from a list point of view it doesn't but there's the potential to spam, I dunno say, flaming chariots. I will say that at least in my game, our list flattered the chariots and against other armies they wouldn't necessarily be so successful. Equally, we came incredibly close to killing the lord of change in our first turn and it was only because of a 4++ from the warp storm that we didn't manage it. The point is there are counters to it.
This is going to be one of those things where some armies would have no problem dealing with it but others would be severely hampered. I'm loathe to ban Summoning completely as, like it or not, it's part of the game. Personally, I hate it but I don't really want to extend the list of restrictions any more than I have to.
Short of banning it there are a few possible options for restricting its use. I could say that only a certain number of warp charge dice could be used for summoning each turn (or over the course of a battle) but that wouldn't stop some armies depending on wargear etc. I could say that the no more than two of a unit thing applies throughout the games. If you had two units of plaguebearers you couldn't summon more (or could only do so when they were completely destroyed). Maybe a cap on the number of units that can be summoned per game would be better. Let me know what you think. I do feel that if we limit summoning, there'll still be something that dominates in this particular format. Ultimately, as I discovered every time at BW, 40K isn't balanced and it's a fool's errand trying to fix that.
How do you think this worked? Personally I loved it but I was pretty luck with my partners. I'm not sure my opponents were all particularly well matched but there's little I could really do about this. I'm keen to keep the system though as I think it sets the event apart and creates a much friendlier atmosphere.
Did you prefer having 9 different people in your games or would you not mind if you'd played with/against the same people in later rounds? Basically next time I've got a ready made table selection assuming I had 32 people again. Wouldn't be hard to add others in either.
I could definitely have done things better here if we'd been in the proper room. I'd have had tables ready cleared for laying your armies out and ensure these were well lit! I personally thought having several different categories made things interesting but maybe you lot disagree. Having only two entries in the conversions competition was a shame but that's really just luck of the draw with the people coming along. In previous events there's been several entries.
Having the character and vehicle/monster categories was a nice extra I thought. Perhaps at future events these could be merged into a Single Miniature category. I don't want to simplify the painting side of things too much though as I'm keen on rewarding people's efforts.
Do you think the extra time allotted for setting out your armies was necessary given the size of the armies involved. Personally I thought it delayed things. I can see the point when we're talking 1,850pts but it shouldn't take long to lay out 750pt armies. One idea would be to find out in advance which particular category people are going to enter? That way I could print up labels for them and you'd know there were some armies missing if you got to the tables early. I could also hand out the voting slips after people have eaten too. Of course, you might change the category you want to enter based on the competition.
I think this is the main talking point to come out of Double Trouble and for good reason. I'd started to write down my feelings in this post but I've decided to make it a post all of it's own on Friday. Come back then and give me your feedback please.
I like to think that my events are some of the best on the circuit in terms of organisation and definitely prize support. I want to keep that going and I want you guys to keep coming and enjoying the experience. I could quite happily run the event again next year without changing anything but I believe Blog Wars improved dramatically over it's five year run and I'd like to think it would take less time to get there with DT as I've already had so much experience.