Sunday, January 27, 2013

Battle Brothers Tournament (40K Doubles) Report - Overall

I'll throw up battle reports on our progress at this weekend's Battle Brothers event and the best painted stuff over the next few days. For now I just wanted to give me general thoughts about the event. The battle reports will have some proper pictures but for now I'm too lazy and tired to put them in!

Tournament Format
Battle Brothers is the new name for the GW run 40K doubles event at Warhammer World. The format has changed a little this year in that rather than 2x 750pt armies you instead share 1500pts however you see fit between you. You can either take a full FOC from one codex or else use allies. It's a bit less restrictive than the old way but it does feel like it stops it being doubles. Still the joy of it is having 4 people around a table which makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Not being any sort of tactical genius means that when I play solo I tend to not put too much effort into winning. When I've got someone to bounce ideas off I tend to find we perform better together.

In the past we've had some issues with the scoring system. I have to say they've gone in the right direction this time. Previously you simply gained points for win, draw, loss and then there were secret missions to add to your score. The secret missions were horribly biased towards some armies and with only 2 each a game there still wasn't much to separate scores. 

They've now embraced the 6th edition VPs so that you record your absolute score rather than just a win or loss. This means that you've got a much better chance of being able to separate the teams out in the final scores. Sadly, they still insist on including Favourite Game votes into the totals and what's worse they've made them worth 3pts each. That means a potential 30pts extra if everyone you play votes your's as their favourite game. I've talked before about the random nature of this and its inherent problems (i.e. not everyone votes, people vote for their mates and you're not likely to vote for someone who crushed you). It leads to a situation where the guys who win aren't necessarily the best generals! In the case of this weekend the guys who finished 2nd should've by rights been 1st, 4th should've been 2nd and worse 9th should've placed 3rd! The most shocking is the guys in 23 should've jumped 10 places to 13th because they didn't score any fave game votes!! 

At the end of the day GW are keen to make this a friendly tournament so you can understand their intention is to encourage people to try to make their games enjoyable for their opponents. If you go to the tournament in the knowledge that it isn't a harsh competition and don't worry about your placing too much then it isn't a big deal.

Speaking of encouraging friendlier games. GW took the unique step of making the draw for all 5 rounds random. This makes perfect sense in a friendly tournament but is a bit crap for less experienced players. In swiss pairs they might get a crap 1st, and maybe 2nd, game but otherwise will be playing opponents at a similar level. By randomising it completely there's the potential for them to have to suffer several games against opponents who will demolish them. From out perspective it was great because it allowed us to avoid some of the "top tier" lists for the whole weekend. None of that second game on Sunday on table 2 shenanigans like we had the last two times!

Tournament Organisation
We've attended four of the previous doubles events and despite the usual issues with GW tournaments (i.e. high cost and lack of prizes) we've consistently enjoyed them. I think this is down to the atmosphere. So many people packed into the room makes it much more fun I reckon. They'd put slightly more effort into organisation because we got a name badge each (proper plastic not like the crap ones at that shitty Blog Wars event :P) and an event pack with our first table number, score card, colour copy of the rules pack and.... a free pen!! This is pretty shocking for GW who are soo tight at these things that they print the results for 119 teams in a tiny font to fit them on a single page. You might say they're trying to save the rainforests but I'd say its cost saving! 

I was surprised they'd put the time and money in to give us packs and it was a welcome change. Presumably the money they saved by doing away with the secret missions went on the packs!?!

You'll be able to read more about this in the full battle reports over the next couple of days but here's the problem in detail so that it doesn't spoil the flow of the battle report (why is there always something? - it must be us!). 

In our second game we had our opponent bring a stormtalon on then attempt to use the guns on it at a dreadknight who was very close to their table edge. We said that the weapons wouldn't be able to hit as the dreadknight was outside of their 45 degree fire arc. We produced a neatly folded bit of paper to act as a guide for the size of the fire arc. Our opponents said that the weapon could actually turn 45 degrees to the left and 45 degrees to the right based on the wording of the entry in the rulebook. Here's the entry from page 72 of the rulebook (click to make it bigger):

As you can see from the diagram the hull mounted weapon on the Leman Russ has a 45 degree field of fire. Even if the diagram isn't 100% accurate the arc clearly isn't 90 degrees. We showed them this and then had a discussion about what weapons were hull mounted. We said the codex has to specifically say that a weapon is turret or sponson mounted or else it must be hull mounted. This prompted a call to the referees who agreed that the weapons were hull mounted. Our opponents then asked the referee about the fire arc. The last line of the paragraph next to the diagram reads "Additionally, assume all hull-mounted weapons can swivel horizontally up to 45 degrees". Both our opponents and the referee argued that this allowed the weapon to turn 45 left or 45 right giving a total of 90 degrees. We said it was 22.5 degrees each way i.e. 45 total and the argument continued. In response to this the ref who came over went to fetch the head ref to settle the matter. 

Having been pointed to the correct page the ref agreed with our opponents that it was 90 degrees total and hence the weapons could be fired. This to us was clearly wrong so I tried to state our case to which I was met with "I'm not interested, I've said what the rule is so drop it" from the head ref. Repeated attempted to explain our angle on it (pardon the pun) were met with refusals to even listen. We therefore had little choice but to give up and let the shooting go ahead. Of course this meant that the lascannon, multimelta and mindstrike missiles managed to kill off the dreadknight (Matt failed his invulns). 

I'll talk in the battle report about how significant this was but the main problem here is that the referees clearly don't have a good enough grasp of the rules. I had a chat with Nick Bayton at the end of the weekend about it and apologised for arguing so much with the head ref. The issue I had was his attitude more than anything else but Nick's response was that they try to get these disputes settled as quickly as possible. He said that they aren't really there for rules queries but rather players should work it out between them. This is fair enough in theory but if you know you're right, it's not that easy to use the "Golden Rule" and just 4+ it or something.

Anyway, I'd be interested to see what you guys think. I'm glad I've got that bit out of the way so the battle reports don't sound as bitter. It's worth pointing out the arguments with the ref we actually had a good laugh about the whole thing with our opponents Sean and Darren. Fair play to them for being understanding about my attitude. I think Sean could identify with it! Anyway, sadly those guys finished 1 point above in the overall rankings which makes it grate even more. 

Right onto the cheerful battle reports!!


  1. Yeah we had issues with the refs too.. our opponent had an illegal list and they just sort of shrugged! What's the point in handing them in if they don't check or act upon mistakes?

    The organisation was good. Didn't like the random opponents. We ended up playing two young children who had no grasp of the rules and actively cheated throughout the entire game, they'd accuse of of being wrong even after we'd shown them the rule in the book! And gave their models wargear that wasn't in their army list -_-

    I hate the favourite game vote. We won all our games yet came 43rd? We probably got about 80-90% of the VP's we could from missions, and we were pretty nice to our opponents, we joked around etc as normal yet got 0 for favourite games. Why would you award a vote to someone who beat you?

    I don't like the VP's being the overall score, it should be the difference in VP's. There's too many variables on what you play in what mission. So playing against a Deathwing army in the killpoint mission (I forget the name) is going to get you zilch compared to playing against a guard army? Not sure how that is fair really?

    I did enjoy the weekend and all (but one) of the games, but I think I'll stick to Fantasy Battle Brothers next year as the VP's are equal no matter what you face..

    1. I think the random opponents thing is great if it means you avoid power lists but essentially means the scoring is totally irrelevant.

      Favourite game votes are all well and good as long as they don't add them into the scores but I can't see them backtracking on this any time soon.

      You rightly say that the VPs favour some armies more than others but only really in half of the missions i.e. purge, scouring and big guns.

      It's still an enjoyable weekend you just have to think of it as an excuse to play 5 pairs of people you wouldn't normally and forget that it's a tournament!

  2. Reading this reminds me why I avoid tournaments. If it were just the ambiguous wording fair enough, but even when there's a diagram clearly showing the arc of fire the ref still ruled against it?! And the vp system seems completely off for something that's billed as a competition. glad you enjoyed it regardless guys, but definitely not my cup of tea.

  3. Goog to know that GW takes the time to recruit judges that know the rules, I mean, they only write them, how difficult could it be. Very obvious that from the diagram that the field of fire is 45degrees, and that it is only made possible because the weapon can swivel that 45deg, not that there is a 45deg arc from the front of the weapon, that can also swivel 45deg.

    Tim, can't believe they actually let that go, sure the kids might have made a mistake, but at least don't allow them to use the illegal wargear, I'd be pretty pissed at that, probably just refused to complete the game, but then I'm a grumpy old man.

    1. To be fair Andy. If they spent a decent amount of time in the writing and playtesting of their rules they wouldn't need ANY referees!

  4. I'm one of the guys from Cool Club: Crazy 88! We eventually placed 2nd overall, which considering we picked up 63pts (max from every mission) is a tad annoying, but we're not too bothered as the random draw made it less competitive; we played no necrons, or guard, or chaos, or gk! Still, it was a fun weekend!

    1. You actually placed first in terms of VPs scored when you take away the fave game votes. Out of interest do you think that you'd have performed as well if it had been Swiss pairs. Not trying to take anything away from your guys, just curious.

    2. Not nearly as well. We had barely any flier defence, Heldrakes would have wrecked our shit. Basically we got 2 pretty easy games, 2 average and one fairly tough. I think we'd put in more thought than any of the guys we played, and it did show.
      We fought Eldar/Dark Eldar, Tau/Space Wolves, Orks/Dark Eldar, Dark Eldar, Orks/Tau.

  5. Does anyone have the results that they can post up as we had to leave before the results ceremony.

    Cool Club: Crazy 88, what were you guys playing?

    It was a fun weekend but the 40K doubles still seems to have a lot of idiots attending. In all 5 games we played we had rules issues, to the point where even showing the opponent the rule in the rulebook still didn't convince them that they were wrong. I suspect we got zero favourite game votes and do think the current system is flawed as you know that as soon as you have a rules issue in a game, you can kiss the favourite game vote goodbye. So basically your opponent does something incorrectly during the game and you get penalised for pointing it out

    Also the tallying up victory points is a great idea, but the kill point mission becomes a random draw. We managed 15 victory points from it but if someone had tabled our army and got all 3 bonus points they would have had a maximum of 10.... a huge difference

    1. I've got the list in front of me but it's too tiny to scan in and I'm not gonna type it out. They usually put it on the WHW facebook but if you tell me your team name I can tell you where you finished.

      The response from the events team about rules queries was that you should roll for it if you can't agree on a mutually acceptable solution. So basically, if I suggest my grey hunters are actually all flying monstrous creatures and you disagree, on a 4+ I get it anyway! Did I mention my thunderwolves are actually flyers?

      To be honest there's a lot of luck in tournaments anyway so the random draw thing just increased it. You can still be lucky with what you face even with Swiss pairs. One or two points either way can mean you play an army that you can easily beat rather than the one on the next table that would've hammered you.

    2. It is indeed on the WHW Facebook page now (-:

      I don't mind the random draw too much. If the Doubles goes in the direction of the singles events it will work really well as the singles events are very much focused on just having some fun which I think is what they are trying to achieve with the doubles. Hopefully they will get there

      One thing I think they will have to change in the number of teams. Just too many people.

  6. Space wolves with space marines allies

    Rune priest, runic armour, jaws, lightning
    8 wolf guard, 4 combi melta, 2 terminator combi melta power axe, 1 combi plasma terminator power axe, 1 heavy flamer terminator power axe, drop pod
    10 grunters, 2 plasma, banner
    7 grunters, flamer, banner, drop pod
    7 grunters, melta, banner, drop pod
    5 long fangs, 4 launchers
    5 long fangs, 4 launchers

    Librarian, gate, null zone, combi plasma
    7 scouts, snipers, cloaks, heavy bolter, telion

    Defence line, quad gun

    We ran into a single flier- a razorwing jetfighter. Random draws really helped us, as did not playing the scouring. It was lucky, but it's a game of dice haha!

    1. Wow that's a lot of models for 1500 points. At the doubles weekend me and my pal attended we tabled a nids army and an eldar army but got favourite game votes from both, I don't think most people are too bothered about losing even if it is badly, disputes over rules are where the issues start, just got to remember it is only a game. Me at my game partner spent most of the games tacking the mick out of each other and our combined army! I took great joy watching his seraphim s deep strike mishapping even though that meant my wolves that had drop podded in earlier were doomed

    2. @Brian it's not a case of remembering it's only a game. If you play opponents who don't know the rules should you just let them do stuff that's illegal? I'm all for letting people do stuff they forgot or even reminding them of it but when they're doing something totally wrong that's going to hurt my army badly should I just ignore it?

      We have plenty of banter with the people we play. Even the guys we argued with were a great laugh afterwards. The problem with favourite game votes is that a) most people forget to do them (or have already left), b) you can vote for your mates, c) you sometimes just get mismatched and no matter how friendly you are they aren't going to enjoy it!

      The biggest issue of all though is that they factor something random, which you have little or no control over, into the scores.

    3. No, I know I am only yanking your chain I know how infuriating people completely making stuff up can be. I played the genesis games on the Saturday and a 12 year old scamp completely manipulated force dome and I knew no better he decided it gave everything within 12" an invulnerable save, I didn't dispute the save saved his vindicator which then obliterated everything I had, afterwards I was fuming!

  7. Would it not solve a few things if they simply had two different "winners" awards. One for most gaming points and the other for gaming plus favourite game votes.


    1. They do have an award for most fave game votes which is what's so frustrating! Why do they need to still include them in the overall scores if they're giving an award for them anyway?

  8. Sucks on the rulings, but given GW's general approach (sell models first, dice off to glaze over lazy rules writing or having to train judges second), I'm sadly not too surprised.

    Not sure how I'd deal with opponents making the rules up on the spot any differently than you did. Pointing out the page should help, but some people just don't want to listen.

    Personally, I think for a pure competitive tournament a winner should be Best General only, with separate prizes for Best Army and Best Sports (both still important), but there is clearly scope for all kinds of events on the circuit!


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