Sunday, June 15, 2014

Blog Wars 7 - The Aftermath

The seventh (!) installment of Blog Wars was held at the NWGC in Stockport yesterday. Despite being the seventh blog war the tournament was the last one of 6th edition 40K. I'm still waiting until I've played more games of 7th edition before I make any decisions about what will happen at BW8. I've some ideas of what I want to do but I don't want to commit to anything until I've played more games.

Anyway, there was a Blog Wars record of 38 players in attendance yesterday. I want to start by thanking everyone who came along for making it such an enjoyable day. The atmosphere was a friendly one which is always my intention. When new players come in you never know how what to expect but everyone seemed to play in the spirit of the event. There are still three players who've been to every single Blog Wars with no sign of any of them missing one any time soon. Maybe they'll get entry to the 10th one for free if it gets that far.

I've often thought about expanding the event as it becomes more popular but I'm keen to keep numbers relatively low so that we can keep the close-knit atmosphere. I hope this is the one thing that brings people back time and time again. That being said I may extend it to 50 players if the demand is there in November for BW8.

Here are this year's final results. I ducked out this time so we have a new champion in the form of Gary Percival who played White Scars. Gary was on table two in the final game and scored a whopping 29/33 points to leapfrog Matt who struggled to score enough in the final game to hold onto first place. As ever these results will be added to the archive.

In case you're wondering the reason the results aren't a whole number is that in the first round I use old school Blood Points as a scoring mechanism. These are then converted into tournament points but I leave the decimal place there to help me distinguish between closely matched scores. All victories are based on TP total (Primary VPs + Secondary VPs) and in the first game Gary only won his game by 0.2 TP!! I think it's great to be able to see just how decisive (or not) a victory is rather than just having a straight win/loss/draw up on the board.

I think the scoring system worked pretty well. There didn't seem to be any major issues that people came to me with but as ever I'm open to suggestions for improvements. I'll talk about the missions themselves shortly but the scoring system seemed to give a pretty good representation of what happened in the games. There was one game in round two that was won 2-1 where neither player controlled an objective and it came down to secondary VPs.

If you look at the bright green column of total points won (TW), you can see that 12/13th and 16/17th appear to be tied with and the goal difference (GD) between VPs scored and VPs lost appears the wrong way around. In actual fact Dave Weston scored 54.03 to Thomas Carr's 54.0 and Ken Morley scored 48.42 to Tom Brown's 48.38. That's incredibly close!

The Missions
I think the first mission works pretty well in that two armies basically try to smash each other in. I think it's a good way to start the day and having that round before lunch gives plenty of time for players to add up the points without it making the next round start late. The mission definitely favours some armies over others but I hope the others balance this out a little.

The second mission is interesting as your opponent's objective is worth more to you than your own. In one game this resulted in a 25-15 scoreline with neither player holding their own objective but one of them having control of the centre. As I say, there was also a game where no-one controlled anything! I think this mission prevents the boring games that Emperor's Will and Relic can sometimes create.

The final mission is a new one for Blog Wars. Control Freak has three central objectives that give a point up at the end of each player turn. For the most part I think people enjoyed playing a different kind of mission. When I decided to run this I didn't realise 7th edition would contain something similar in the form of Maelstrom of War but I'll be looking at those tactical objectives for inspiration to improve Control Freak. There were some players who commented that this game was over too quickly and that sometimes their opponent built up an unassailable lead leaving them as spectators.

I think this could be addressed by increasing the turn limit from 5 to 6 and preventing any points from being scored in the first game turn. That should go some way to preventing the person going first from having an advantage. This mission was a test of something different to try and break up the monotony of the rulebook missions so I'm keen for everyone to give me as much feedback as possible to help improve it.

I made it very clear this time that tabling doesn't give full VPs and I think for the most part people played with this in mind. There were a couple of very quick tablings where the winner didn't score full points but that's the idea. I was also aware of a couple of games where the guy doing the tabling was stalling for more points which isn't ideal but hopefully players can keep to the spirit of the competition and keep this to a minimum.

The End of 6th Edition
This was the last Blog Wars of 6th edition and I have to say for the most part it's been a good run. There's no doubt that there's some dirty combinations that can be created with the allies system but most of the players at BW seem to have kept their lists in the spirit of the event.

As I've said, I'll be trying to play plenty of games of 7th edition over the next few months so that BW8 will offer the best 7th edition experience possible. I will, of course, be blogging about it and I'll want your feedback on how BW8 adapts to the changes in the game.

Your Feedback
Blog Wars only works if I'm running an event that people actually want to attend. For that reason I rely on getting a good deal of feedback from the people who come along. This is especially important for the new guys so please get in touch with your impressions of the event (good or bad) so that I can make it better next time around.

Finally, I again want to thank everyone for coming along and the staff at the NWGC for their continued support of this event. I hope to see all of you again at BW8 in November. Keep an eye out for details of that.


  1. Great event yet again Alex, hope to be there for BW8. My last game was a bit odd because James said he didn't have anything to capture the objectives although I think that was because they weren't strong enough to hold them without being wiped out. Of course 7th will change that as all units are scoring in one capacity at least. Typically for nids it's the objective game that we excel [I use that term loosely] maybe that will change now everyone will have more chances to score.

    I did end game with a Tervigon in assault with a Vindicaire Assassin, who ultimately was the last thing on the board. For three player turns the Tervigon couldn't kill him thanks to his invul saves, my wounding on snake eyes or inability to hit in the first place. But the assassin deserves credit for surviving the game.

    I also really like the blood points scoring, much better than rocking up with 12VPs worth of units against someone with 7, that kind of disadvantage is hard. Also getting half points for killing half a unit is cool too because at least you feel rewarded for something when one lowly guardsman from a blob is left standing!

    Thanks again for everything and to all the other players for a great day.

  2. Thanks again Alex for running another great Blog Wars. I even moved back up the rankings this year so I'm a very happy bunny! My only comments for next year would be (and bear in mind these are little nit-picks rather than things I think were 'wrong' at BW7):

    TERRAIN: The gaming centre did us proud in listening to feedback and providing some LOF blocking terrain. Unfortunately, due to the larger number of players, terrain was a little sparse still on some tables (though I loved that some tables were 'feral /frontier' worlds).

    MISSIONS: The first two missions are excellent and I hope they work as well under 7th edition. Control Freak was also great fun and with no scoring on the 1st turn could be even better (Though as we all knew what missions were coming well in advance of the event it could also be argued that if you didn't bring any fast Troops then tough!). The only, probably unavoidable, issue is that terrain really affects this mission. If the 3 objectives are in cover guard/guardians/demons are in the clear to hold them, if all 3 are in the open however...! I was lucky on my table for game 3 but if I'd played on either of the tables I had in the early missions I would have lost horribly. Perhaps area terrain could be guarenteed on 1/3 objective sites on every table?

    PAINTING COMPETITION: As a player who'll cheerfully never win this one I think it would be nice if there were a couple of rules to it. It shouldn't be possible in my view for a player to win with the same army/ character twice. They should get a permanent place in the Hall of Fame for their winning army/character and be at liberty to win with something else (even the other catagory with the same army) but many painters at BW are extremely talented and, while I dont think anyone has won twice at BW so far with the same army, it looks likely for BW 8 or 9 as you now have so many regulars. Also a best conversion/theme prize (just £5/£10 out of the raffle) would be nice and fitting with the 'for fun' atmosphere of BW. (We all loved the pirate eldar/squats/planet of the apes/Armoured Co. lists but they can't really get the credit they deserve)

    Thanks again Alex for an excellent tournament day, I'll hopefully get around to doing a write-up on my blog second half of this week as I played one of my favourite games ever for oddness in round 1 that deserves documenting!

  3. Great tournament as always pal. Had a great day and was nice to see both old and new faces alike. Been wracking my brain for thoughts and suggestions for improvement and, prompted in part by what HG says above, here's a few things to add:

    Tables - while Matt and I did our best to set up tables fairly I admit several tables were a bit sparse and, with regard to mission 3, this certainly made a difference. I think there is enough scenery to go around but the problem this time was both that there were more tables to set up and, as people started to arrive, people started to get their table numbers and start unpacking, making our job a bit harder. No-one's fault, that's just how it happened. Might I suggest next time we clear the two tables nearest the door (where the painting comp was) and have that space for people to unpack and leave the table draw until later, especially if there are even more tables to set up at BW8.

    Mission 3 - following on from this, Matt and I can try to standardise the boards somewhat by keeping the objective spaces either side clear of terrain and maybe keep the central objective in terrain (useful for mission 2 also). I agree that as most people found their game 3 ended early, it's probably best to go with what we discussed and make it 6 turns with no scoring on turn 1.

    Painting comp - I'm guilty here of bringing my Iron Hands for the second time, something I said I wouldn't do. They won best army first time and best SC this time as, as Hippogeek rightly says, I don't think they should be able to win again like with commission painted armies. It's a difficult one as although there are many amazingly painted armies there (and indeed it's the main event of the day for me as a painter and hobbyist first) there are several armies now which despite new additions are regular attendees. Not everyone can afford more than one army, but by the same token everyone should have a chance. Maybe not allowing previous armies that have won best SC/army before to win again would be a good idea and could be done with preprinted voting slips? As for best converted army, I've always been a strong proponent of a third category like there was in one of the earlier blog wars. Oh, and handing out the voting slips during the first round would help things along.

  4. I understand both Hippo Geek and Jimbo and in truth having won in November I did feel guilty entering again. I do have conflicting feelings on the subject though, I did note in advance of the event that over 700pts of the army I brought this time was new models painted since the last Blog Wars. There will be others out there who only have one army who will continue to add to and grow their force, just because something has won before it's a shame that their commitment to one force cannot be recognised.

    Additionally the people attending do change and so those voting may well be seeing that army for the first time, those that have attended before are equally entitled to not vote for something they have seen before. I voted for Jimbo's Special character, it was new to me and I feel no problems to find out it had been part of winning force previously. However, winning with an army is clearly no guarantee that you will win again, people will vote for what they want regardless.

    I know full well my Dark Angels will not be ready by November, I will no doubt be bringing the 'nids again and if I can ignore the lure of this strange affection I have for the filthy bugs there should in fact be less additions to my force than this time around. I'm perfectly happy to be classed as ineligible to be entered into the best painted army competition but I still want to be able to display my army in some capacity. As a blogger Blog Wars still has connections to blogging for me and essentially it's a live opportunity to showcase the work from my blog. Having that ability still has to be retained in some fashion, maybe the preprinted eligibility slips are the answer?

  5. I also agree with the guys above about restricting entries into the painting contest if your army has already won - both my Nids and Iron Warriors have have taken SC and Army each and I would feel bad about entering them again - even if I did change them up (like Dave, this army only had 5 models that were in my BW6 army - but the overall look is still the same).

    Maybe you could just have a display table for previously winning and commission painted armies? I'm more of a hobbyist as well and would try and get my army looking as nice as possible for the event even if there wasn't a painting comp, but I would still like a chance to check out the different armies (I would have liked a closer look at the stunning Eldar army, but it always seemed to be packed away).

    +1 for 'best conversion' category...but that might only be because I have some ideas for one ;)

    As for Game 3 - I still loved it and appreciate that I had a weird game (and to be honest I'm not a good enough player to know if I could have done much differently) so would be happy if it stayed the same - but I like that others also seem to think no scoring in T1 and max 6 turns makes sense...

  6. Some great suggestions coming out. I'm glad this conversation is being had as I too felt a pang of guilt putting a previous winning army in the contest. Like Dave and Chris, over a third of my army and special character were new but it was still effectively the same army. How about this for some suggestions for Alex built upon what we've discussed:

    Best army - not eligible to enter if won preceding blog wars to give others a chance. So for example, if you won best army at blog wars 4 you wouldn't be eligible to enter with that army again til BW6. Would that be enough of a gap?

    Best Special character - not eligible to enter the same special character if it has won a previous BW. (painting up a new one shouldn't be too much trouble).

    Best converted - this is a bit trickier - not really sure what the idea would be. Best model? Best squad? Best army?

    Hall of fame - separate table for armies not eligible for the contest, such as pro painted or previous winner (either that or just no voting number)

    What do people think about those ideas? Alex?

    1. I like the idea of a gap because if I'm honest and ask myself, 'do I want to win best painting competitions at tournaments?' Then the answer is 'yes I do', I've historical issues related to this that I've documented on my blog. Moreso I want to show off but ironically feel uncomfortable when praised. It's an ego thing, I'm not proud of it, I've managed to excise it from my gaming aspirations ['cos I'm not as good at that side of the hobby ;) ]

      But the painting side is still something I put all my effort into. Do I think I have the best painted army? No, I think as a whole it's good and the conversions really help but there are plenty of armies that are considerably better. I've put a huge amount of effort into it, which is nice to be recognised but effort does not always = the best and 'the best' does not always = the winner.

      Looking at it another way as a competition there really isn't a huge difference between the painting and the gaming side. Whoever wins in the gaming tournament could bring exactly the same army next time. They will have had time to refine their tactics and improve, but they still have to face stiff opponents and the vagaries of the dice but they would have better odds of winning than someone else. The painting competition is similar in that entering the same army could be seen as a better chance if you won previously but those who voted last time for it can choose to vote for something new, thus in fact putting you at a disadvantage anyway.

      Ultimately though I don't want to feel guilty about displaying my models and that's a feeling I manifest all by myself. So if having a 'past winners' display alongside the painting competition is the answer I'm cool with that and actually relieved. But if having a gap between elligibility is the answer then that's nice too, in having another crack at that side of the competition.

      Or, alternatively a points limit - to be considered elligible perhaps more than 65% of your army list must be different than your last entry. That way for those that stick to one faction and invest solely in that faction they will not be penalised for turning up with technically the same army but actually you've brought something very different. This option has the added benefit in that it will encourage people to bring different lists than their previous vist. Therefore you'll have more diversity in the lists for the actual game and some variety in the painting competition too.

      Some good ideas, I'm sure Alex will find a good solution.

  7. I agree with all of the above. My negative feeling of my games at BW7 was on the whole caused by my army selection and the worst possible match ups for games 2 and 3 (being tabled on turn 1 was not fun). But as far as the event went and the people there I only have glowing reviews. Great bunch of guys, well organised, terrific value. I'll be back for BW 8 but will actually wait for the event pack before selecting an army this time! Thanks Alex and thank to my opponents: Martin 'I killed your devilfish with a horse' Pilkinton, Thomas 'F***ing drop pods' Carr and Ian 'Idon'tcarehowbalancedyourlistisIstillhatebloodydaemons' King. I look forward to BW8!!

  8. Some great discussion here. Would love to hear from as many people as possible.

    I'll collect my thoughts into a separate post for later in the week.

  9. Do you have Matthew Grimes Blood Angels list by chance? And would you mind sharing?

    1. Well I'm quite surprised to see someone taking an interest in my list, I'd be happy to share:

      Tycho (5th Company Captain, goes with sternguard)

      Sternguard x9 - fist, 2x combi plasma, 2x combi melta, Drop Pod
      Furioso - Frag cannon, Drop Pod
      Furioso - Frag cannon, Drop Pod

      Tactical Squad x10 - Plasmagun, Plasma Cannon, Rhino
      Tactical Squad x10 - Plasmagun, Plasma Cannon, Rhino
      Assault squad x5 - Jump Packs, Flamer

      Storm Wing Formation

      Stormraven - Multimelta, Assault Cannon, Hurricane Bolters
      Storm Talon - Assault Cannon, Sky Hammer Missiles
      Storm Talon - Assault Cannon, Cyclone Missiles

  10. Here are my thoughts on BW7 and possible additions for future BWs:

    Missions: the missions seem to increase in complexity. Getting started with a simple "shoot the sh*t out of the other army" helps to get into the games. Overall I liked all three missions and don't think they need to change. But I haven't played any of the 7th edition maelstrom missions yet, so maybe we could get some inspiration from them as well. Else, those missions are well balanced and as everyone knows well enough in advance what to expect, they can plan accordingly.

    Venue: the staff was once again great, prices are fair and it's really helplful, that they bring drinks to your table. Food was also good. Nothing to complain about here!

    Painting competition: Personally I was a bit confused, as it was stressed to make the votes, while still some games where being played. I expected some of those armies to be potential also in the painting competition. Should be a bit more stressed, to make sure everyone get's to set up their armies, before voting begins.
    The idea to have a "display area" for past winners and comissioned armies should really be employed.
    Also a vote for best theme and maybe also one for best conversion would really be nice. These could be a way to get a small price for those armies, that have won painting competitions in the past, but also for commisioned armies.
    This could possibly be four votes and get a bit confusing, so there should be signs to set up for which competition your army can get a vote.

    Overall I've got to say, I had a pleasent time and really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at BW! Thanks to Alex for the orginazation and to the crowd for being such nice chaps! :-)



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