Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tyranid and Blood Angel FAQs Up

More on this later ...


So on the cool front, I only had one of these "wrong" in my own FAQ (went off precedent and had Furious Charge granted to BA units if they were within range of SHP when they charged).

In terms of implications / thoughts for things of relevance ...

1) Doom of Malantai does not affect units embarked in vehicles; neither does Shadow in the Warp, or various other things that Tyranid do with pulses and unclear definitions of what those pulses are. This should have been a duh from the beginning, I still can't believe INAT ruled that it did, then gave the guys inside cover saves, etc.

2) Mawloc can deep strike bomb units on purpose. This was one of those RAI (and arguably RAW) ones that everyone should have seen coming.

3) Synapse clarified when relevant to reserves/etc.

Those have really some of the biggest implications, I think ... just in terms of resolving questions. It doesn't much impact me - it's how I've always played them. *shrug*

Blood Angels ...

1) The Vindicator uses the large blast ... surprise surprise (/facepalm that it was an actual issue)

2) The units that reference using dedicated transports on page 90 can use the ones on 91 as well (so tac squads and assault squads can buy land raiders) ... again surprise surprise / /facepalm

3) Sanguinary High Priest auras are in effect when called upon strictly ... so, if you are 6" from one, and charge away from 6" ... you don't get furious charge when you actually swing

There are plenty of other ones worth reading, like the Dead Man's Hand not being a 2nd CCW, whatever.

I think this should say something about writing FAQs / arguing RAW ... think hard about how GW will actually rule it / what they intended, b/c that's how it's going to fall. If you get so wrapped up in RAW in the process, you'll end up playing it WRONG for a long time, and be all pissed off when they (surprise surprise) amend the rules to be what they clearly wanted them to be.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Throne of Skulls ... Thoughts on Tournaments / GW Approach

So, some of you in the blogosphere/etc. may have read about the Throne of Skulls tourney pack written up by Jervis Johnson.

I have some issues with the way this is presented.

To present them in short, prior to an inevitable ramble, I believe they intend to accomplish a couple of things ...

1) Be fun for all players, regardless of skill level, and de-emphasize competition
2) "Comp" the difference in various codices in terms of perceived strength, and reward the best general, as opposed to the best codex
3) Promote fun
4) Get people to want to play in their tournaments

I believe they accomplish, instead, the following ...

1) Create an extremely negative environment for the least skilled players, and annoy the more skilled players; furthermore, in the aftermath, it will reinforce an already-negative GW (Jervis) mindset toward "competitive players," as they will be blamed for the problems instead of the format (which emphasizes them)

2) Encourage players to game the system by bringing hyper-optimized lists from known underpowered codices; since codex imbalance is not nearly as significant as many without deep thinking skills would believe (and sadly this appears to include JJ), tournament "gamers" will simply break the system and ... again, lead to an increased perception of "competitive" players being the problem

3) Not be very fun, especially in terms of how it screws "lesser" gamers

4) Get "kudos" from people who don't like tournaments anyway, and so still won't attend, and generate anger from tournament goers who dislike the system

I believe the system is inherently geared toward disillusioning the average observer's mindset, punishing competitive players both in execution and perception of a "problem," and disenfranchising a significant percentage of the customer base (if not a majority). Either the author of this packet and this style of tournament is seeking the fulfillment of these actual results on purpose, or he simply isn't capable of developing a packet that avoids them without better oversight and input from outside sources.

So, into the argument and break-down ...

Let's start with the name; "Throne of Skulls." There's nothing casual or laid back about it. The implication is clear and straightforward - battle it out and claim your spot atop a throne of skulls, atop Khorne's throne of skulls, etc. - be a god / master of war. Sounds pretty competitive. Sounds like a tournament. OK, I'm fine so far. Let's see if hypocrisy will be tabled and consistent speech utilized ...

Our Grand Tournaments are all about having a great time playing one of your favourite(sic) games ... Our aim is simply to get people together so they can play their favourite(sic) game, meet up with their mates and immerse themselves in the hobby for a day or two.

Alright, thanks for defining what our HOBBY is about (having a great time playing with your mates and immersing yourself in the hobby). Thanks for butchering the definition of tournament, however. Go ahead and look it up, or don't and trust me that basically any definition of a tournament refers to it as a competition or series of competitions. OK, so what's a competition? I'll give you a hint - determining a winner is an integral part.

Let me be clear: there is NOTHING WRONG WITH JUST PLAYING TO HAVE FUN. That's not the issue. Calling a "weekend for gaming fun" a THRONE OF SKULLS TOURNAMENT, however ... is likely to lead to you sounding like either a) a really shitty salesman who visibly thinks he's smarter than his customers (big mistake #1), or b) simply stupid.

Let me restate. People are arriving at a *Grand* Tournament entitled Throne of Skulls. You then use words like "weekend of gaming fun" right afterward. Look, we should all have fun gaming, in any venue, but am I the only one that doesn't see the blatant double speak right off the bat?

OK, so let's move past that to the actual way the tournament works ...

Here's problem numero uno ...

You will play against a randomly selected opponent in each round.

If anyone doesn't see the problem here, let me make it simple ...

2 players attend a tournament. One (A) has a really fluffy laid back simple list that will get its teeth kicked in if it goes up against a hardcore list. The other (B) has a super potent hardcore competitive list that is ready to go toe to toe with any army out there.

Round 1, each gets paired off against a super nasty opponent. A gets utterly annihilated, B wins. What now? RANDOM PAIRING AGAIN! A gets paired off against ... ANOTHER NASTY OPPONENT (even though he lost round 1), and B gets paired off against ... a really easy opponent that also lost. B annihilates his poor now-0/2 target, and A ... loses again, horribly. Who is having a "fun" time here? The person who came ready to super compete, or the person who read the rules packet and came with a laid back list to have fun with his mates?

After the tournament, when A complains about how he got mauled by all these power gamers, who do you think is going to take the heat? The flaming idiot who came up with random pairing every round, or the "power gamers" that ruined the event by coming "just to win?"

Maybe Jervis hates power gaming (as he sees it), and is doing this on purpose to further sully their reputation. Shame he has to do it at the expense of "casual" gamers ... further shame that he would be so quick to treat a percentage of his customer base so poorly. Alternately, he simply wasn't capable of or willing to think that deeply about the import of his system.

Final issue ...

The way the scoring works, your final score is based upon how well your army book or codex does across the tournament. So, if you bring a Necron army and score 10 points, and the average of the Necron armies present at the event is a 5, your adjusted score is a "5"
I don't know what they do if you're the only Necron ... I guess you score a 0.

Either way, on face value this appears to be a unique and smart way to do "comp," so that you're not competing against the "hardcore" codices, but simply against your own. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

5 Demonhunters players show up. 4 of them have pure grey knight armies, one of them has abused the inducted guard rule as much as possible and is loaded up on cheapo chimeras, autocannon heavy weapon teams, and the like, and runs rampant all over the tournament, while his pure grey knight buddies get hammerfaced into the ground.

Aftermath, he wins by a wide margin. Again, what do you think happens here?
a) Wow, Jervis was really stupid to use this crazy system that was so easy to game

Nobody has "fun" regardless of who they blame ... the blame is there b/c angst is generated by the system.

The reason that you do pairings in a tournament, and brackets as the thing goes on, and the reason that you have separate paint and sports and conversion and army awards (which they don't, of course) is so that you actively provide reward and award for those people that don't come with the "best" army list or "best" skills, and you rapidly pit the nasty powergamers AGAINST EACH OTHER, where angst diminishes as competitors compete and hobbyists hobby. Asymmetrical competition against same-codex, random pairing regardless of success/record, and double-speak about GRAND THRONE OF SKULLS TOURNAMENTS and "fun hobby weekends" ... all leads to a situation where the blame gets shifted someplace other than the organizer (smoke and mirrors, or stupidity, whatever), nobody is happy afterward (except for the people who would be happy if you threw down cardboard tables with origami terrain while screaming WAAAAGH! in their ears ... aka, happy no matter what), and your own credibility is at best dinged, and at worst destroyed ... among the very people you seek to serve.

What's best, is this is a self-fulfilling prophecy situation. After all the inevitable fall-out and internet bitching, because this is the way the people at GW and I guess Jervis have ALWAYS worked, guess which of the following will happen ...

a) Tournament gamers are always bitching, they don't like what we do, and they aren't worth our time ... plus, the internet is something we should just avoid, b/c it's always unhappy.
b) Wow, we really need to improve our tournament offering, we're obviously doing something wrong!

If you guessed B, you are probably a new guy.

So, what do I suggest ...

Well, I really like GW. I like their minis, I think 40k is actually a balanced and competitive game (ask a certain someone who has been playing against Necron, Tau, etc. armies I've proxied in with his optimized guard to get practice for the tournament scene), I'm freaking ecstatic at all the support GW and Ed Spettigue have given me and other Indy GT's for their circuit.

I wish they would take a page from some of our books.

The NOVA Open is in its first formal year. I've run plenty of tournaments and leagues before, but this is my first major GT. We sold out 40k with 2 months to go, and sold out 16 additional spots the day we opened them. What have I done that's gotten so much attention? It's not b/c all these people went and had fun last year.

Develop your tournament approach. Document the thought process you went through developing it. Open it up to input and critique from the global community of players, who have combined for thousands of hours more experience than the "creators" at their own game. Those who wrote the rules wouldn't last 4 turns against the world's top players - mark my words on it. USE THAT. The Open has been more and more polished by the DAY not because I'm an egomaniacal bastard stuck to his own notions and ideas for what the game should be, but because if you drop the ego, accept that not everyone will like it one way or another, and actively use the minds and inputs of thousands of gamers ... you actually might get a really great product put out.

What's more, if you build it they will come. Look at Adepticon. Look at what the Open has gained in its first year - over 25 states and 2 countries attending, with people as far away as Germany inquiring about attending this year or next. If GW reconsiders how it runs its own tournaments, it will generate revenue and players for them. It's not rocket science, but it's certainly not done the way they're doing it with the above linked Throne of Skulls packet.

This got a little rambly, and I hope it doesn't sound self-promoting on the Open front. I don't think of it as "my" tournament ... I think of it as an expression of a clearly expressed need from a wide variety of gamers made manifest. It's a reaction to what people bitch about in regard to tournaments across the web (which actually is a useful resource), and a presentation of an event that rewards hobbyists and competitors alike, without a format that lends itself to anger and post-event unhappiness. It's not complicated to do this - tournaments and leagues for sports and games the world over have perfected tournament approaches, and all I did was hijack from all of those. Come on GW ... give it a shot. Sending one of your aging old hands up to his office to crack out some ill-edited, ill-reviewed BS isn't going to help the company we ALL LOVE.

- Mike

Monday, June 28, 2010

Image of a Gamer, Weird vs. Dorky - Food for Thought

102 degrees. That was the temperature outside last Thursday.
I was relaxing in my summer tan, Lucky brand jeans and Guess print T, enjoying an iced coffee in the local Games Workshop. I was cordially bs'ing about Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition with GW's North American Manager of the Year (at least for last year); picture a well-groomed, happily married father and incredibly affable fella with diverse hobbies that include rock climbing and other sorts of normal things alongside his love of miniature wargaming. Nearby, an easy-going retired career serviceman sat in a simple polo shirt and jeans, painting away and enjoying the conversation around him.

You see where I'm going with this? Our subject matter is what it is, but the picture of normality around the painting station on this particularly hot summer day was ... well, normal. If some random 20-something fella or gal walked in to that store, and took a glance at the midday crowd, nothing about it would be strange or off-putting. I actually had this thought. Our hobby isn't as terrifyingly bizarre as some would imply ... it really, really isn't. It's glorified, overcomplicated risk with modeling added in. Whatever. Love it or hate it, it doesn't by design carry a social stigma of epic proportions (no offense, but "not like dungeons and dragons"). I can tell you from what feels like a freaking career of dating ... it's really no big deal.

In walks a change of pace.

Tall, stringy, pale as hell, scraggly unkempt hair/facial hair in a long sleeve thermal, heavy cargo pants, ugly ass old sneakers, and A LEATHER PATCHED FULL LENGTH COAT.


We all could not help but point out the irony of his attire. He was belligerently defensive of it (and ok, fine, most people get defensive when you go at them a little ... whatever).

It got me thinking about what our hobby is, and who we are. Everyone has a right to be different, they really do. There should be no dress code, no required way of behaving. That said, I genuinely believe there are a large number of people in our style of hobby ... gamers, and other types ... in our generation and ones adjacent to it ... that "feel" ostracized by the fading impressions of the past. Motivated by this feeling, they sometimes spiral into a world of whackassery that's downright unhealthy and weird.

My point, though, is a simple one. There's "dorky hobbies," and then there's just being weird. It's not different, or "normal within your peer group," or even healthy to wear a massive jacket in triple digit weather, or to not put on deodorant and wear greasy dirty big shirts and gross old pants that haven't been washed in a year, or to eat like crazy and become way overweight and not exercise or take care of yourself. Too many of us still use our hobby as an excuse to be unhealthy, socially awkward, and ... frankly, just plain weird.

Nobody should be "picked on" or insulted, or beat up, or treated like they aren't human. That said, if someone wishes to hang out with you as a peer, take the time to be honest with them about their health, hygiene and behavior. The fact that you're playing with little toy soldiers that you paint does not excuse someone's unwillingness to smell tolerable ... or eat and live in a healthy fashion ... or dress with even an ounce of common sense.

There's nothing wrong with "dorky," in my mind. Frankly, it's just being passionate about what you do. Can we please, however, all do something to change the stereotype people have about gamers? It's not based upon the GAME YOU PLAY AT ALL. It's based upon the people who pursue visibly unhealthy and awkward behavioral approaches that also play these games. I've never been on a date where my hobby weirded a girl out. I've seen plenty of girls weirded out by guys wearing heavy jackets in hot summer weather, or eating themselves into an early grave, or not putting on deodorant and showering daily.

I don't like my hobbies being stigmatized by people who don't give a shit about themselves. Start caring more about yourself. This isn't about "appearances." I have no problem with cross dressers, for instance ... whatever floats your boat. BUT if I see a cross dresser wearing full Juicy sweats and an ankle-length fur coat in the drop dead heat of summer? THAT would be freaking weird.

Bit of a rant, I guess ... but I'm curious about what others think. Am I being judgmental and condescending, or is it understandable to want to motivate for change in the behavior of our peers ... not to be a different person, but to be a HEALTHY person. Eating yourself obese, not taking care of proper hygiene, wearing heavy clothes in the heat ... these things are not just "weird" and stigmatizing to the hobby, but they're unhealthy to boot.

PS - If you have a thyroid problem, ultra thin skin that leads to hypothermia when the temperature is not 98 degrees or higher, or are allergic to deodorant ... I am not talking about you

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DH/WH Allies Still Legal

“I would like to clear up some questions regarding the PDF downloads of Codex: Daemonhunters and Codex: Witch Hunters that we recently made available on

These downloads do not replace or invalidate the printed codex books that customers may own; we are making the rules to field an army of Daemonhunters or Witch Hunters available, for free, to registered members of the Games Workshop website who do not already own copies of these books. We are not taking anything away from any customers, we are offering something to them. For free.

We have also removed the rules for Allied Space Marines and Inducted Imperial Guard from the PDF downloads. Again, if customers with the printed codex books wish to continue to use these rules from the books they have bought, they can do so. Customers who have the downloadable PDF will be able to use it to build dedicated Daemonhunters and Witch Hunters armies. Customers should use whatever resources are available to them for building armies and playing games, whether those are printed books or PDF downloads.”

That was sent my way by the guy who runs the Indy GT circuit; he sent it to *EVERY* tournament organizer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inquisition Codices Up on GW Site

Links to Codex Demonhunters, and Codex Witch Hunters, now available as PDF files on the GW website. The ability of Demonhunters to ally with anyone is completely removed, and with it the availability of the Emperor's Tarot and Mystics to armies such as space wolves and guard.

Witch Hunters can still take Imperial Guard or Space Marines as allies, but cannot be allied to them.

This is important for a couple of reasons. 1) Lots of people will argue (because it's the internet) about how GW simply made a stupid mistake and they want to use their now-out-of-print codices with allies. 2) Apart from those people, game balance shifts in a pretty material way, as a lot of guard armies out there were heavily reliant on tarot/mystics to provide DS defense and help ensure alpha strike.

Thoughts? I think some people for some reason thought they were getting "new" codices ... but they did everything except scream what they were doing in your ear every night while you slept. Same old dexes, same old points discrepancies with newer kit in newer dexes, but no more allying up a 47 point inquisitor that gives you primo deep strike defense and a significant % chance more frequency of going first.

- Mike

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Win At All Costs" in Action - Misused Phrases

So, my friends and I have oft discussed, and I've oft witnessed, the use of the term "win at all costs."

I think it's important to me as a player, tournament organizer, and competitor in all things to highlight and understand the subject ... especially since it rears its head most often during and in tournament settings.

I know a guy with a gorgeous, showcase-worthy and fluff-designed list he brings to tournaments.
I know a guy who will never go to a tournament without a perfectly optimized, spam-tastic power list.

I know a guy who puts all of his models on slightly too large custom bases. When he charges someone, he "succeeds" sometimes by just enough margin due to having a larger base. When someone shoots a weapon at him and is just barely in range of his base ... he claims they are out of range, b/c his base size should actually be a little smaller.

I know a guy who will shrug off every rules argument if it gets even a little heated and let it go his opponent's way, even if it means he's getting unfairly treated.

I'm still talking about the same 2 guys here. The fluff-built gorgeous army is the one who will take advantages for his modeling and deny his opponents fair return. The power gaming list builder is as considerate as it gets in a tournament setting.

I game with a group of players who, with few exceptions, take very optimized lists for their own play styles. Some of us are excellent painters, or converters (or both, damnit ... not me). What's relevant here is that when we all started playing together, the variety of the list caliber that we brought to the table was extreme. Nevertheless, a handful of us started the experience with very, very powerful lists (sometimes by accident, sometimes by design). Since we're all about as socially normal and easy going as it gets, there was no animosity toward anyone or FROM anyone about the armies hitting the table top. People simply adjusted. This is what competitors do ... they compete. Over time, the game meshed, all games became far closer, and the fun went up for almost everyone.

Cut to us meandering our way to tournaments, and perusing our way around the internet. Numerous blogs and forums out there proclaim the best ways to build lists and run armies, and how to play the game. For us ... merely by the chance of how we became 40k players ... it's "old news." What's that, a "best of" list? Boy it looks familiar. We don't think we had any influence on it ... we're just a few buddies. BUT these are conclusions that resulted from how we play together over time ... 40k isn't *that* complicated a game.

There are numerous players and groups that develop differently. Sometimes the most competitive and "win-oriented" people in the world never see their game elevated beyond a certain point, simply as a result of where and who they play with. Dialects of 40k, I suppose.

When a lot of us go to tournaments, without any malicious forethought, and with the same excellent sportsmanship we show in any game setting (including among buddies), we often "run over" players who are clearly competitive (sometimes too much so) but who are used to winning in lighter gaming circles on the power curve. Cut to EXAMPLE 1, of a fluff-based modeler and list builder who really doesn't compete with our best ... but who will take and nick every single possible advantage he can in a game.

Warhammer 40,000, and Warhammer Fantasy are extremely heterogeneous at the army build level. Most people tailor their army builds to the group they game with.

- GT and tournament "only" gamers who don't have a tight knit social group will tailor their lists to the all comers approach ... unless they're purely in it for the appearance awards, you can expect their lists will reflect the current literature on the web / blogs / etc., b/c they'll be tracking the tourney chatter and keeping in touch with what's currently winning tourneys, yatta yatta.

- Gamers who spend most of their time in local gaming stores or GW's playing are going to have ... probably whackier or less potent builds. The wide variety of "casual" or young gamers that frequent these locales often means you don't need to do as much list changing to win routinely.

- Gamers who spend most of their time playing with their social network or club / group are going to exhibit an enormous variety of list build. Some groups (i.e. mine) will be power built out the wazoo, some won't ... it's obviously not a practice of their powergaming or fluffgaming, but simply the potency required when you really don't play much outside of those regular opponents.

Here's something super important - none of the above says a damned thing about their attitude toward gaming and competition, and whether or not they are "Win At All Costs." It is so critically important that you all understand this when attending a tournament (especially one with such a variety of attendance as, say, the NOVA Open). If you don't, if you're incapable of enough deep/critical thought to recognize that a person's LIST does not reflect upon their CHARACTER by any necessary connection ... well, you'll be "that guy." YOU'LL be the Win At All Costs. Because when you lose a game, and instead of congratulating your opponent on the win ... you simply call his army cheesy, or wander around the hall complaining about how broken your opponent(s)' lists were ... well, that's just you attempting to "win" after all. I hope you realize this.

If you lose a game, but attempt to trample your opponent and slander his name afterward ... guess what - you're still trying to "win." The same applies to those who try to cheat during games when they know they cannot out think or out list their opponent. Both styles of player ... the post-game slanderer and the in-game cheater ... are the true "Win At All Costs." Avoid the abandonment of dignity, pride and true sportsmanship inherent to decrying your opponent's list and success as irrelevant. Avoid the same inherent to cheating.

Anyway, a ramble as usual ... but what do you all think of "Win At All Costs" as a label ... and what are your experiences with players you think/thought were "WAAC?"

- Mike

To those attending the NOVA Open - anticipate that powerful lists will be present. They always are at big GT's. Prepare for it, or accept the inherent risk of not doing so. That said, your attitude and skill as a competitor are so much more important than the "perfection" of your list.

I'm going to open up 16 more 40k slots for the Open today.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And then there were ... 96?

Alright, sorry for the slow postery ... busy week(s) in the life.

So, update on the Open.

We sold out I think Saturday. We've already got a dozen people waitlisted. If we get 20 more people waitlisted, up to 32, we'll open the tournament to 96 slots.

How does that work with my system? Well, here's how ...

96 pares down to 6 x 4-0 at the end of day 1. You add a 7th round on day 2. Yeah, 7th. 8 AM, #3 plays #6, #4 plays #5 ... think NFL wild card. Winners play #'s 1 and 2 from Day 1. Winners of that round play for the title.

It's a bye ... semi-lackluster in notion, but still functionally "good."

Suppose I open it up and we sell 32 spots and then 32 MORE people wait list? Well, then we go 128 40k ... and it's the biggest freakin' single heat 40k tournament around, I guess. No byes on day 2, still 7 rounds. There's no way in hell I can go higher than that, and I don't see us finding 64 more players, but I wouldn't be surprised you know.

SO, you the player who didn't get in but really wants to? Go to our website, and use the Friday Night Donations tab to "donate" anywhere from $0.00 ---> Infinity dollars to our cause. Yeah, you can change the value to 0 dollars. All that does is put you on our wait list. If I get 32 people, I'll open up 32 more slots.

I've also asked GW for 2 more vegas quals in the 40k event. We'll see what they say/do.

- Mike

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crazy Busy, + The NOVA Open is a TRAVELER'S EVENT apparently ...

OK, so a couple of things to go through today ...

1) The Battle for Blob's Park

This was a Vegas qualifier put on by the Inner Circle this past weekend. Their "formal" GT listed on the circuit is coming up soon, 2 weeks prior to the Open, with limited entry.

Everyone appeared to have a great time at Blob's Park. I wasn't able to compete, for a couple of reasons. They hybridized a lot of the NOVA Open's scoring and mission format, and I didn't want to submit myself to any possible claims of shenanigans when/if I did well. I've played the top finishers (best overall and best general) and their lists before, and done quite well against them, so I figure that coulda happened (not saying it woulda haha!) ... further encouraging me to be glad I didn't play. Real life + work stuff came up so it was an irrelevant ethical dilemma.

I did manage to go out and socialize and hang out later in the day, and I'm glad I did ... a lot of people commented about the Open, I met some people coming who I hadn't met, etc. etc. Plus, it was outdoors under a big hard topped "cabin" style covered area, with authentic German food and draft brews for affordable ($2 coors lights, ew, but $3 Warsteiner Oktoberfest, which was solidly drinkable).

This is an example of how the Open format is pretty dependent on everything being done for it to work perfectly ... in the 3rd round several 2-0's played 1-1's or 0-2's, and they split their prizes and rankings to two "tiers" of players ... the best of the bottom half won an army of equal value to the best of the top half ... kinda weird, but I get why they did it - we talked at the event about it.

2) I'm working a big proposal this week, so my postery is down in terms of quality blog posts.

3) The NOVA Open now has attendees from California, probably Utah, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Canada, and others I always forget each time I recap. As a result, some people are in need of PLACES TO STAY if possible in the NOVA area ... and isn't that a fun thing to try and find ...

Either way, I'm going to do a piece on places to eat and drink in the area while here ... so people who are traveling and find the time can go hunt out the best of DC's wining and dining.

4) I'm attending the NOVA Brewfest on Saturday, June 26 ... and I'm pretty stoked as usual, as I've been to the last 4 or 5 ... as I go to both the fall and summer events. Anyone in the region who wants to meet up there is welcome to ... there will be a TON of us in our group, most of my friends and their gals, me and mine, roomies and yatta yatta.

But that's later, after this meeting I have to get to.

- Mike

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tournament ... Circuit? What We've Got, What Should We Want?

OK, so I posted briefly in a Dakka thread yesterday talking about the concept of a tournament circuit, the "rankings" that are going on these days, etc.

First off, let's overview what we have now, both in terms of nationalized "rankings" of players and in terms of the national tournament circuit ...

The GT Circuit Tournaments:
Games Workshop has made a big deal about these being Independent. When you e-mail the overall circuit coordinator and ask him if he has preferences for how you run your event, he very clearly will tell you to run it however you'd like - that it wouldn't be an INDEPENDENT circuit if he tried to influence it! OK, that's cool. If you read my blog enough, you know I personally would rather have a tournament "of the people by the people" than a tournament of GW's design.

So what do some of them look like?
Well, here's just three of the more well-publicized ones ...

I select these three b/c the scoring and format are pretty different between them all. Is there a right or wrong way? Of course not :)

That said, it brings up an interesting question of what really makes a circuit. These events all feed into the Vegas Championships, and those are of a different format from all 3, and in fact from basically every event on the circuit to date. Winners of those formats will compete in a different format for the championship? Really?

So, Data Point 1 = every tournament is different, some are vastly different ... competition level, match-up approach, mission style, scoring style


The other thing at issue is that the various circuit tournament organizers do not generally talk to each other a lot. Caveat - I don't see a lot of communication. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. Data Point 2 = lack of integrated communication across circuit.

There's also a different FAQ, homebrew rule style, composition, etc., at many of these tournaments. Some use the INAT FAQ, some use their own FAQ, some don't have a FAQ ... what's a person to do? What FAQ will be used at the Vegas Championships? Just the GW ones? Data Point 3 = At least slightly different game everywhere you go.

What do these data points show ...

Well, I would simply put forth that they show a lack of any meaningful application of tournament results country-wide outside of the actual tournament itself. You can subjectively argue that a rankings system collating these is valuable (one exists), or that one tournament is more material/meaningful than another, or whatever ... but you can't objectively prove any of it. There's no uniformity or standardization to operate by.

So ... what do I think should be done ....

We all know there are multiple approaches to tournaments, and most people enjoy one or the other a little more. I don't think you'll ever get the country of Type A "I'm right" net-conversing tournament organizers to agree on one style of tournament, and it would be folly to push that - you'd just end up with a lot of butt-hurt-ism.

So what about multiple formalized tournament styles? Are there tournament organizers out there who would be willing to adopt the NOVA Open format, or the Adepticon format, or whatever? Are there readers here thinking about starting up their own even small tourneys who would be willing to adopt and work with one of these types of formats for their own events? What would happen if there were 15 tournaments across the country every year that utilized the NOVA Open's format? Would a rankings system that processes these results independently within a larger / broader series of rankings be more useful, valuable, and objective? Would you be better able to claim that you had a "real" tournament circuit or sub-circuit?

I think it's an interesting thing to think about, and discuss, going forward. It's been on my mind.

I do know that if ANYONE would like to run a NOVA Open format tourney of their own, as few as 8 players as many as 356, let me know ---> I'm happy to even help build you a fancy shmancy tournament packet with your name and group logo splashed merrily across the top of it. More interestingly, I'd love to see in 2 or 3 or 5 years a situation where several REAL circuits are going on across the continent, with a championship for each, and a more laid back "GW styled" vegas championship for the top dogs of each of those. More meaningful, more objective, and perhaps best of all more integrated --> bringing our national community of gamers closer together under a set of rules that for once are finally standardized enough to lessen some of the bitching and web-wide drama that goes on between people over these events and their results.

I'd love to hear thoughts on this subject ...
- Mike

Warhammer Fantasy - 8th Edition Stuff

So there are tons of rumors out there regarding Fantasy 8th edition ...

Someone got a copy of the smaller book equivalent from the new boxed set, and will answer any questions posed to her without actually showing the book.

What I was able to figure out from my limited knowledge of Fantasy in 20 minutes was ...

Movement is still basically the same, so the rumors about it not costing anything to wheel, and just moving closest model, are apparently not really accurate.

March blocking is still in, but you can ignore it if you pass a LD test.

Charges are 2d6 + unit movement, 3d6 dropping the lowest + unit movement for anything with move 7 (or 8 maybe iirc) or higher.

Everything fights in 2 ranks, spears fight in 3 ranks, high elves w/ spears fight in 4 ranks, monstrous units with 6 or more wide ranks gain the "horde" rule and can fight in +1 rank (so 3 instead of 2, for example), and non-monstrous units with 10 wide ranks also gain the "horde" rule and can fight in +1 rank.

So 10-wide high elf spearmen would fight up to 5 ranks (don't know if that's even possible, in terms of unit size, but there you have it).

If you have more ranks than your opponent and lose combat, you are "stubborn."

All measuring is pre-measured in the game, period.

Magic is 2d6, with the highest of the 2 dice being your opponent's dispel pool. You then roll a d6 for every caster in your army (as does the dispel pool/defending player), and every roll of a 6 adds one power dice to the power or dispel pools. So, for example, player rolls a 4 and a 3, he gains 7 power dice and opponent gains 4 dispel dice. He has 4 casters, opponent has 4 casters. He rolls 4 dice, 0 6's. Opponent rolls 4 6's for his 4 casters (yahtzee!), adding 4 to his dispel pool. Final pool is 7 power dice for caster, 8 dispel dice for defender.

You can use your dice for any caster, no more caster specific dice. You add the caster's power level to the cast, and can toss whatever number of dice you wish. If you roll 2 x 6's, the spell is both a miscast and irresistable. Miscasts are mega bad now too ... so basically you take a risk of rolling more dice to get a spell off, or losing your caster period while getting the spell off irresistably.

Additionally, there's no more snake eyes miscast. If a caster fails to get a spell off, however (not counting dispels), he can cast no more spells that turn (that specific model).

I think I learned a lot more but that's what I recall ... happy to bring questions to the person.

- Mike

PS - The NOVA Open's fantasy spots are still pretty wide open ... if you sign up before the 8th preview copy hits the shelves, you can actually get a full refund should your army be incapable of fielding or should you hate the rules. Either way, you should sign up! We've relaxed the painting and wysiwyg requirements to help you get ready in time, and most people won't have mastered the edition yet - beat them to the punch and get a vegas ticket while you're at it at the country's first qualifying 8th edition tournament.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bax from the Beach

Well, I'm back from an 11 day vaca ... and I suppose I'll have some quality bloggery up later today.

Played 2 games of 40k since I came back, and have some thoughts on them that I feel like spinning into some content.

- Mike