Friday, November 20, 2015

Blog Wars Feedback Discussion

Normally at this point in the posting schedule following a Blog Wars event I'd be asking for feedback to try and make the next BW better. However, as you've probably already read, BWX was the last Blog Wars event. That means that rather than informing my choices for the next Blog Wars. This discussion will help with what's to come. I'll be announcing my proposed ideas early next week but in the mean time I want to hear your suggestions for what I can make better or do completely differently. I think BW grew from humble beginnings into a brilliant event (if I do say so myself) and it only did so because you guys had a say in the running of it. Going forward I want to continue that system of cooperation.

To give a bit of structure to this let's look at some of the key areas I want to cover:

Scoring System
Of course, the new events may not share the same system but I want to know what you guys thought of the use of the "Fluffageddon" system this time around. Do you think your placings better represented how your day went? Do you still feel like you had good matchups? Do you think it make any difference at all?

I'm keen to maintain the BW-style system where how well you win actually matters. I don't like pure W/D/L as it doesn't differentiate between a narrow victory and a pasting. Equally I want each round to be worth the same number of tournament points regardless of the scenario being played. Hopefully that means the particular matchup you get is less important.

Think back over as many Blog Wars as you've been to (and can remember). What scenarios worked and what didn't? I think those that worked best were ones that only slightly varied from the rulebook missions and weren't overcomplicated. I'd like to try some different things out though so any suggestions or just things you've liked that you want to see return would be great.

Painting Competition
BWX saw the first outing of a single category per player painting competition. There were three categories: Best Painted Army, Best Painted Hero and Best Conversions. I personally think it worked pretty well and rewarded different aspects of the hobby. Best Army obviously goes to a force which appears full cohesive and stands out on the battlefield whereas Best Conversions showcases those armies that feature unique models that have been slaved over before paint even hits them. Best Hero on the other hand allows players to really go to town on a single model and show off their painting and conversion talents to the maximum. Obviously this fits in well with the compulsory SC mechanic at BW. The general impression I got was that people like the new format to the competition (well, everyone except Liam!) but any feedback would be great.

At GW events they've started to introduce several categories for individual models. They have one for characters but also separate categories for monsters and for vehicles. I could introduce these at the next event but my concern would be that there'd be too much to judge in such a short lunch break. I think three categories is probably the maximum but what do you guys think?

Venue and Lunch
I have a good relationship with both Darran (the owner) and Element Games (the in-house shop) so I'm keep to stay at the NWGC but I know it isn't perfect. What could I suggest to the venue to improve things or should I be looking elsewhere?

At the last couple of events the catering has come from Subway which seems to have gone down well. They're pretty good at handling allergies and dietary requirements too. I also think a cold lunch makes sense as then it's not going cold if it arrives too early or the event is running late for some reason. A hot lunch is great but inevitably takes more time. What do you guys think though?

Timings and Points Limits
Part of the reason for having a limit of 1,850 was to allow people plenty of space to include SCs without it feeling like too much of a penalty. I think it also helps to increase the variety of armies showing up. There have been comments before about the timings though and not having enough time for games. There didn't seem to be many games that came down to the wire this time but I obviously can't really tell how many turns people are managing to get through? Would a points limit of 1,750 be more sensible or should I even go as far as 1,500? Given that whatever event I run will have an emphasis on friendly gaming rather than outright competition perhaps a lower limit would allow for more relaxed games in the time? That or I could even up it to four two-hour games perhaps?

What kind of events would you like to attend?
I've flirted with the idea of running different kinds of events in the past but never really got away from the one-day singles format. Would people be up for trying something different like doubles or a full weekend event?

I've shied away from full weekends so far because they're a big drain on my time and for a casual event I doubt many people would commit to a full weekend either. If there's a huge demand though perhaps I can talk my wife into it! Doing something with doubles or teams appeals though. Matt and I have always enjoyed the GW doubles events but since they now allow EVERYTHING, including Unbound, we haven't been so keen. Blog Wars was originally invented in a backlash to the stingy prizes at GW events and the way they were run so perhaps I can take on doubles next? Teams are an interesting idea too. Of course it relies on you having another 3 guys to join you but I could easily take entries for singles and create teams on the day.

It could also be fun to run a smaller points limit skirmish day with say 500pts a piece and a lot more games? I've enjoyed the Summer Skirmish events in the past using this format but you soon grow to hate your 500pts if you realise early on you got the level completely wrong and then have to play through another 7 games!

Anything else you want to throw at me is equally welcome. As far as I know right now BWX went well but if there was something that pissed you off (or that you thought was excellent for that matter) I'd like to hear it. I already have in mind the kind of events I'd like to run in the next year but I'm always open to suggestions for the future. Right, hit me with it!


  1. Alex, liked the format for the painting competitions, however I think numbers and participants could be increased if there was dedicated time for players to finish the first game and then have time for setting up and then a formal time for players to 'judge' and vote. By the time some of the first games finished which went to the last minute and we got a chance to set up, some people had already been around at those who managed to set up already and voted already.

    1. Cheers Siph. I completely agree with what your saying but it's already a pretty tight schedule. Having a cooling-off period after the first game would delay things. What I'd need to do is to prevent people from setting anything up until everyone was ready. Otherwise you can't stop people who've already finished their games from wandering over and voting prematurely. I think 2.5 hours is probably tight for 1,850 but everyone is going to finish at different times no matter what points limit I set.

      Not sure what the solution is but I'll have a think between now and June.

  2. Hi Alex,
    this was only my second blog wars, so my experience is limited. Overall, I had a fantastic day (again) and three great games of 40k.

    As for feedback:
    -Scoring: Don't have too much feedback on this. I feel that my placing from the last two events seemed quite right from the way my games went. I like the fact that all three games are balanced with the maximum number of points you can score.

    - Scenarios: A really like the three missions played. Blood Points work much better than kill points, where multiple unit armies can really suffer. I like that the Relic doesn't move in the second mission, as this doesn't penalise slower armies. I would like to see more capture objective cards in the third mission, but this is purely biased as I tend to run fast bike armies that can capture them.
    The missions are a bit more involved from the rulebook ones, but not too complex. Just the right level I think.

    Venue/Lunch: The staff at the NWGC are great. I really appreciated the table service for the drinks and wasn't wanting for a drink during the whole tournament. Lunch was very good too, I like the subway meal.
    My only (minor) complaint would be that the paper towels in the toilets run out extremely quickly, so you do spend most of the day shaking your hands or wiping them on your trousers.

    -Timings and Points: All three of my games from the day went to completion, and this was with me taking copious notes and photos from each game for my battle reports. At Blog Wars 9, only one of my games did not fully finish, but that was against a large Necron army. I think 2.5 hours per game is about right. I've had to play 1850 pts in 2 h games before and that was a real push to finish.
    I like 1850 pts. It gives you enough points to take a lot of toys in an army. My regular games are 1500 pts, so I like that too. I find it forces you to make difficult decision as you can't always have the best units. I think if you decreased the points to 1500, I would be happy with that and it would create some very different games and armies. Plus 2.5 hours would be plenty of time for 1500 pts.

    - Other types of events: I tend to avoid games below 1500 pts, as I like a decent sized and length of game. However, lower points games could be interesting. It might allow players to field armies they might normally not use. It might even allow armies such as Orks, Guard or Nid hordes to be more popular. I think taking a horde army to 1850 pts tournament can be a disadvantage as you run out of time just as you are getting to the enemy.

    Regardless of what you decide, I think keeping the Blog Wars spirit of a friendly event where winning is not everything is important. Having attended other tournaments recently, Blog Wars is a lot more relaxed it seems. That's not to say you cannot have some very tough games.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling, hope it has been of some help.

  3. Hey Alex,

    Jonathan Lyness here, had a great day, amd have no real suggestions on improving the event as I feel like I achieved a good standing based on my list versus my opponents. All of which gave me brilliant tight games. I always feel that if the game was tight but I lost it was a great game. In relation to other events in the new year I'd definitely like to try a doubles or team event. Weekender tourney would be interesting too, but as with all of us, it's getting it past our other halves :-P

    Hoping maybe to bring some tau for next year, the ghostkeel I won in the raffle (seriously dude raffle is amazing!!!) it currently on my paintings table and hopefully will get done soon! Myself and Ian Plumpton have a blog going now as well and our hobbyings with our raffle prizes will go up there so if you want to keep up to date on how they are going pop by (will be plugging you in my next painting article as well ;-))

    Can't wait to see what's coming next year!!!

  4. So the full run down from me would be...
    Really like the balance between the three scenarios and I LOVE the tabling your opponent doesn't give an auto win. This is possibly biased as my poor Tau opponent in my third game had to leave me alive to try to collect some VPs and was racing the Ravenwing to objective markers! Nonetheless it means if you get your nightmare matchup the game still offers some challenge to BOTH gamers.
    Varied and balanced in BW 10. My only comment would be perhaps a rethink on the deployment zones. Fixed mission but random DZ might make things more interesting whilst keeping the balance. You could replace the annoying 'lengthways' deployment (which doesn't suit the venue) with the old quarters deployment perhaps.
    3 competitions is enough and although I didn't compete in any this time around I would like to in the future. A "no-voting until the round one timer has run out" rule would help though, the horde army that nearly won was lucky to finish his game in time not to miss out on too many votes!
    On personal bias I'd like to see it closer to the midlands! But overall the venue has been good. I like subway more than a hot (ish) meal and my only hope would be that the store stays open past the raffle! I was going to buy myself a commiseration prize if I didn't win anything then couldn't :(
    1850 works well with the compulsory special character but if this element is lost then 1500 would work better, you may even get more players as they wouldn't feel obliged to buy/pint more stuff just to come. Keep the round times as long as possible, it allows for the friendly, chatty atmosphere rather than manic competition!
    If it keeps the same atmosphere I'd be up for whatever your devious mind devises! BW has been amazing and I'm looking forward to the next generation.

  5. Most enjoyable tournament since 5th edition for me. Scoring was spot on, missions were great. Will be coming to your next singles event for sure. Best thing was definitely the friendly chilled out atmosphere - no angry man-children or win at all costs guys, just a lot of chilled out friendly dudes rolling dice. Format was cool, would be happy to play same points, restrictions, missions and rules tweaks for sure. Thank you for the lack of invisible deathstars on every table! I like the hero idea, what about 1500 points then an additional up to 250 points you can spend on a kitted out independent character of some sort so everyone has a crazy badass character on the table?

  6. Hey Alex

    A few thoughts from me:

    Can't stress enough how much I like the balance between the three missions. I know you've worked hard at that and it really shows :)

    I actually really like how it was for BWX. Having multiple categories that you can only enter once means that you feel like you have a chance! What I might suggest to double the not everybody votes dilemma is saying they only get to enter in the raffle I've they've voted. A bit more admin, but legitimate I think.

    If you left space for an exhibit/voting timeslot, you might need to lower the points cost a bit, to lessen the times for the rounds. Even shaving 15 mins per game is 45 mins.

    Linked into that, size. I love 1850 now, but it is a big slice of points. For any doubles thing I'd reduce it a bit, especially with the twist b/c you might need more time to talk things through with your teammate.

    Love the vibe. Another suggestion from my crazy mixed up brain could be, why not up the tickets to £20, and then the winner/wooden spoon/best special gets to choose a charity that the extra £2.50x50 goes too. Allows us to give back a bit, means that people contribute to something greater. However, I know it's a off the wall suggestion that might not fit!

    Love the NWG. Darren is great, really friendly. I'd also be really happy if one of them was a weekender, it's a really cool place to hang out. I'd be happy to run a quiz on the Saturday evening if it went to a weekend, I love running quizzes!(again, completely random suggestion, must be what I ate today!)

    And the food is great. Subway is fine, plus being a veggie it really good for me.

    All in all, thanks Alex! I love coming to the stuff you run, and look forwards to more stuff in the new year :)

  7. Scoring
    Overall, I'd say this is one of the better tournament scoring systems out there. Given the drumming I recieved in my first two games and the very close loss in the third, I was almost annoyed to find out I didn't get the wooden spoon! That said, I don't think any of the guys I came up with thought they should have placed differently given how their games went. I really do like how it spreads players as well. I would like to see how well it scales if you were to play more games, but I can't foresee any real issues.

    The scenarios played are pretty great. I really think you've hit a good balance. They do favour the more manouvrable armies, but that's pretty much always going to be the case. Knowing the mission ahead of time means no player is going to be surprised by that. I do like not knowing exactly what missions will be played ahead of time, meaning players do have to create more rounded lists, but with custom missions, that just leads to confusion.

    Painting Competitions
    Again, I think you've got it pretty much spot on. I like that each player can only enter one, spreading the love a bit more. I think the three catagories are about right as well. If you add in a vehicle/monster, why not squad? I think they'd both be a bit unnecessary, but special character makes sense, particularly with the compulsory SC.
    For voting, I would be tempted to now accept any votes until 10-15 minutes after the end of the first game. People can set up ahead of time/as soon as they've finished their game, but it gives everyone a reasonable chance to actually get their models set up for show.

    Venue and Lunch
    Really can't make any complaints about the venue. It'd be nice for the shop to be kept open for half an hour or so after we finish, but aside from that...
    Similarly Subway lunch is pretty good. It would be nice to be able to order what you want from Subway rather than just having to pick form the selection, but I appreciate how much additional work that is and how much more that would cost. Maybe have some cookies or organise drinks as well?

  8. Timings and Points
    I think the timings are about right. 3 games in a day seems about right from my experience. 4 always feels rushed, even if you play smaller point games.
    As for points, I like 1850 and I certainly wouldn't go any bigger. I do like smaller games though, particularly as it usually means people can't take all their toys and have to make some more interesting decisions as to what they leave behind. When I ran Student Nationals we did 1650; a decent 1500 point army with an extra toy essentially. Just a crazy idea; why stick to round 50 points? Every tournament seems to be 1500, 1650, 1750 etc... Why not go for something like 1627 or 1582? It might mix things up a bit. Certainly you wouldn't be able to just take a copy-paste netlist (not that I think anyone actually did that!)

    Events I'd like to attend
    Personally I prefer 2-day events. When there is such a nice atmosphere and so many like-minded folks about, why wouldn't I want to play more games? Doubly so given I'm now travelling about twice as far to get up to BW (part of the reason I've not been since BW5 until now). You could do a 1.5 day tournament, with only 5 games; you can finish a bit earlier on the second day, giving people a chance to get home a bit earlier, but still gives you more opportunity to play games!
    I like singles games. I like doubles, particularly as I've yet to place worse than 2nd in any doubles tournament I've entered. I've enjoyed team tournaments, but I've yet to come across a tournement where you really feel like part of a team. At least not more so than I did at BWX where I was there with several players from the same club. If you can come up with a way of really making that work, I'd deffinitely be up for it.
    I also like narrative events. In terms of the more laid back group like the folks at BW, something like a campaign could be interesting, but I appreciate that's not necessarily your forte.

    Overall, I'd like to say thanks for making Blog Wars! It's a great event with a great atmosphere and a great following. Long live the raffle (though I've yet to win anything!), long live the vibe, and long live the Blog Wars, if in spirit and not name.


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