Friday, December 20, 2013

Asymmetrical Mission Design for a Better Game - Playtest Mission #1


Feedback has been wonderful to the concept. A number of players and TOs as far ranging as LVO and FOB, 11th Company, ETC, GTGT, AdeptiCon and as many more as we can proactively reach (and if we haven't reached you or you haven't reached us, do so - e-mail me at and I'll get you into the google docs; we're working with a lot of incoming variables in a big hurry, so get on my radar and I'll get you in ... we want no one left out) have been involved in this process already.

The initial mission went up in google docs based on feedback, numerous participants weighed in with comments and edits, it was revised (as well as with continued input from the community) and is now up for playtest. We'll be developing numerous missions anonymously authored in their baseline from numerous different TOs, and then playtested.

For playtest, please be as comprehensive as you can - please include things like images of the deployment zone and objective locations, obviously the armies involved and any other variables you can think of.

Mission #1 - Beta
Note: This mission is currently designed toward fixed objective location and symmetrical terrain. In the future and comprehensively we anticipate not every mission will look like this - the variety needs to allow TOs to tailor their selections from the Catalog to the specific parameters and constraints of their particular tournament environment.

Asymmetrical Tournament Test Mission #1
For purposes of playtesting, we recommend you note down Standard/Alternate and Secondary Escalations prior to rolling any dice. Suggestions for alternate times to reveal and why are welcome! We recommend playing this particular mission in either Vanguard or Dawn of War deployments.

On a separate piece of paper (for playtest), privately note whether you will be playing the Standard Primary or Alternate Primary; also note which Secondary you will be Escalating (see below for more information).
Immediately after rolling to determine deployment zones / place objective markers, both players must reveal their Primary and Secondary choices as noted above.

Primary - Whoever scores the most points from OBJECTIVES wins the Primary
Secondary - Whoever scores the most points from SECONDARIES wins the Secondary

Standard Primary Objectives - Each Objective is worth 3 points if controlled at the end of the game
Alternate Primary Objectives - You score 1 point for each Objective you control at the start of YOUR OWN player turns, not counting the first, sixth or seventh.

You may not score more than 9 points for either the Standard or Alternate version of this mission.

After rolling to determine deployment zones, place 6 objectives in the following fashion:
Place 1 objective in the center of each Table Quarter (12" from the nearest long table edge, 18" from the nearest short table edge)
Starting with the player who won the roll to select deployment zones, each player places one objective in a location of their choosing, no closer than 12" from any other Objective, and no closer than 6" from any table edge

Example: Player A selects to play Alternate Primary Objectives; he controls 3 Objectives at the start of his 2nd Player Turn (3 Points), 2 at the start of his 3rd Player Turn (2 Points), 1 at the start of his 4th Player Turn (1 Point) and none for the remainder of the game. Player B selects to play Standard Primary Objectives and controls 2 Objectives at the end of the game (6 Points). Both players score 6 Points toward the Primary, yielding a tie on Primary.

Each SECONDARY is worth 2 points; ESCALATED SECONDARIES are worth a maximum of 4 points. You must choose to convert one Secondary into its ESCALATED version.

You may score a maximum of 8 points for accomplishing SECONDARIES.

  • First Blood - 2 Points for being the first player to destroy an enemy unit
  • Slay the Warlord - 2 Points for destroying the enemy Warlord
  • Linebreaker - 2 Points for ending the game with a scoring/denial unit in the enemy deployment zone

  • ESCALATED First Blood - Up to 4 Points for destroying more units than your opponent destroys; subtract the # of units your opponent destroyed from the # of units you destroyed; the sum is the # of points you earn for this Escalated Secondary (minimum of 0, maximum of 4); you no longer score any points for achieving Standard First Blood
  • ESCALATED Slay the Warlord - 1 Point for each enemy Character destroyed, to a maximum of 4 points; you no longer score any additional points for destroying the enemy’s Warlord.
  • ESCALATED Linebreaker - 1 Point for each non-Independent Character scoring or denial unit WHOLLY within the enemy's deployment zone at the end of the game, to a maximum of 4 points; you no longer score any additional points for standard Linebreaker.

EXAMPLE: Player A chooses to Escalate First Blood. During the course of the game, he completes Linebreaker (2 Points), Slay the Warlord (2 Points), First Blood (now worth 0 Points) and he destroys 4 more enemy units than his opponent destroys of his (4 Points). He has scored the maximum of 8 Points toward winning Secondary.


  1. Just to clarify, primary and secondary victory points are accumulated into the same pool to determine the winner correct? So it's not like Adepticon where both were equally weighted and the winner was determined by a tiebreaker. Also, have you given thought on how to make this work for D3+2 objectives or is 6 the only sweet spot you could find? Awesome rules, by the way! Will be playtesting ASAP.

    1. 6 isn't the only sweet spot; it's just where we are for this particular first mission from the catalog.

      Primary is its own pot, Secondary is its own pot. If you win Primary in a W/L format, you would win the mission. If you tie it, you'd go to the Secondary.

      IN a BP format you might earn points based upon how you do in each.

    2. Excellent, thanks for the quick reply!

  2. 6 seems like a ton of objectives, but I haven't tried playing the mission yet, so I won't pretend that I'm doing anything but speculating. That said, I REALLY like the different routes to victory, particularly the Escalated Secondary objectives. That's a really cool idea. I think I might have to print this out and take it to my next game night and give it a shot.

    1. Finding in early testing that with accumulation and points caps, more objectives is actually kind of a good thing. TBD on mass outcomes/results.

      Generally you want people to be able to cost THEMSELVES the game later on ... and more objectives makes it easier to score some points earlier in the game, thus forcing better players to actually be better (not to just win with army, or win solely b/c their opponent did something really boneheaded).

  3. Game design is really not my thing. That said, in reading this mission, it is clear that you have been playing Malifaux!

    Good luck fixing GW's mess!

  4. You know we could solve this whole 'balance' problem by using smaller points and having players swap armies. Each round would be two games. Now 16 games might sound like a lot, but to compensate the nova could go to an 8 day format. :)

  5. Finally got a chance to play a game today. It was sort of a casual wacky game between pure Inquisition Coteaz mech list and Necrons with two Monoliths. Me as the Inquisitor opted for the accumulation just to try it out and he opted for the standard objective. Game went very back and forth, but I ended up losing 2-6. If the game went another turn, I possibly could have wiped him off his objectives with my death cult assassins and crusaders, but alas the game ended on 5. I definitely think these mission scenarios are a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure I completely agree with the point accumulation system as it is. For one, is there a strong reason as to why you limit it not going past turn 6? I understand turn 1 because it balances between who goes first and second, but seeing how the other player who opted for standard objectives can score on these later turns, I think it should open for the other player too unless you can logically convince me otherwise. Second is I'm not sure I agree with scoring points at the start of the turn. I think scoring at the end allows the player to plan ahead especially since they're only allowed to score between turns 2-5. Again, if you have a strong logical explanation, I would be very happy to hear it. Of course, this system needs more playtesting so these are more of initial impressions that should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Definitely a step in the right direction!

  6. My buddy and I wanted to test his balanced wolves vs screamerstar with proper powers. Screamer was supported by two tzeentch princes. It was close for the entire game, but due to the mission parameters, it was difficult for screamer star to pull off the win. In fact, Space Wolves ended up winning. The best part was that nobody felt an extreme advantage/ disadvantage at any point, it simply was a good game, which has not been either of our experience against or as screamerstar. I am excited to see where this goes and am glad the community is finally doing this.

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  9. Tried a second playtest of the Whiskey40k rules with Imperial Guard this time against the same necron list. Very intense battle going back and forth and a lot of strong plays. Another close game which ended up going to secondary missions and ending on turn 5 with the score 11-15 in the Necrons' favor. With an army like guard that is more optimized for the points accumulation, it's definitely more feasible to play compared to mechanized inquisition. Not sure how the game could have swung if it went on another turn, but I was more satisfied with the results then with last game. Thus showing defensive gunline armies will do a lot better using the points accumulation system while offensive armies will stick to standard.

    - Infantry blob squad of 50 men held off 2 forty man hoards of warriors for 4 turns thanks to the commissar. The commissar ran away, but is receiving a medal.
    - Pinning + psykers is awesome.
    - Second monolith that deep struck scattered and was destroyed by a mishap.
    - Immortals survived 3 artillery barrages and 2 vendettas because of bad rolling last turn and got the crucial 3rd objective they needed to tie the game in primary objectives and go to secondary where they were strongly favored.

    Score breakdown:
    - Me: 9 for primary (Points accumulation), 2 points secondary (first blood because of mishapped monolith)
    - Necrons: 9 for primary (Standard), 6 for secondary (2 points for linebreaker and 4 points for killing 4 characters with escalated slay the warlord).

    1. Did forget a few rules which could have swung the game in my favor. For one, I forgot that your units can't assault from teleporting towards a monolith. I did remember in the middle of the assault, but I gave it to my opponent since it made a more interesting narrative.

  10. Had a battle against Grey Knights today using a 1500 list with me going standard this time and my opponent opting for the alternate farming system. The game was pretty one sided in my favor since I was mechanized and the knights didn't have much long ranged anti tank except for the dreadnoughts which I blew up with the tri-las predators. Despite the casualties, the GK were actually winning in objectives for 5 turns with 7 points accumulated. This forced me to scramble at the bottom of 5 and take my objectives and I had 6 points and one contested by death cult assassins. If the game ended I would have lost 6 to 7, but we went onto turn 6 which gave me enough of a push to finish off the knights.

    Highlights: Death cult assassins surviving Sicarius's wrath for three turns.

    Final score:
    Me: 9 for primary.
    Opponent: 7 for primary.

  11. On first pass it seems like the primary is to easy to max out at 9. Its half the end game objectives or holding half the objectives for 3 of 4 scoring turns. In playing does this seem to be the case for most people? Is this intentional to force players to move down to the secondaries?