Monday, March 23, 2015

New 40K GT Pathways - Forging a Narrative for Thematic Competitors

So, one of the things that makes the NOVA's 40K GT format unique is its refusal to cater to only one player type.

To expound, most formats choose to sacrifice their preference for one personality or player type in favor of another, seeking the most popular compromise. NOVA's GT format does the opposite - it expands and adds parallels within the format to address a broader range of players instead of what we deem to be the broadest single type of likely attendees.

To wit, here's how it works:

W/L track - The NOVA GT is 8 rounds in total. After 4 rounds, players are broken into 16-player sub-brackets and their records "effectively" reset for purposes of the TC track. The 16 players in the top bracket compete for the highest W/L award, with the 4-0 person in Bracket 1 earning it. That said, awards are given to the 4-0 finisher in *each* sub-bracket, all the way down to the bracket populated by those who started 0-4. The purpose here is to give a margin-agnostic award to players who perform the best among their competitive and list peers throughout the event in a simple head-to-head, win or lose category. By re-bracketing, we also allow players who brought softer lists or are more laid back about their game to apply tactics relevant to their level of involvement / interest in the game.

Battle Point track - The NOVA started off very "anti Battle Points." That said, lots of people LIKE BP events. So, it took us a few years, but we realized something we wish every event would realize - you don't have to choose between W/L and BP! Players earn BP in their games toward determining a winner or loser on the W/L track. They also earn these BP toward determining placement in our Battlemaster track. Battlemaster is w/l agnostic, harkening back to the more traditional BP-based generalship awards. Furthermore, Battlemaster allows for ties - in the w/l track, ties on score are broken by a series of tiebreakers. These aren't necessary in the Battlemaster Track; you'll still record them for purposes of W/L, but they're irrelevant for purposes of Battlemaster.

Overall Track - While lots of people really enjoy 8-round GTs that determine a single undefeated winner, that's not representative of EVERYONE, just like Battlemaster. Once again, something we wish more events would realize, we came to the conclusion some time ago that you don't need to pick one or the other in your format. In addition to tracking W/L and BP, the NOVA also awards appearance scores. Our Renaissance Man is the Best Overall player in the traditional GT sense ... and, to reinforce that point, it's a score based 50% upon  your artistic score and 50% upon your competitive score ... and it also resolves itself after 6 rounds and 2 laid-back 3-round days of play. Ipso facto, it feels a little more relaxed and like the GW GTs of old if what floats your boat most is playing your best while fielding a truly gorgeous work of art of an army.


So you get by now that the NOVA's format is preference-agnostic. We've figured out a way to emphasize the many different styles of grand tournament without forcing people to only play "our way or the highway." But we aren't fully there yet ... because we're still missing the fluff-forward / comp-centric style of play.

Like most organizers do with most of the other formats above, there's a certain thought process off the bat where you figure you can't possibly fit something like narrative or thematic army valuation into a competitive w/l type format. But ... if you actually think about it ... you can. You simply need to establish how it's scored, then track it.

So we don't have a name yet for it, or anything beyond notional percentages, but this year we'll be adding a fifth awards track (to say fifth, I'm including artistic score as the fourth not listed above - the NOVA's artistic track is the painting/conversion/theme side of the coin, whose other side is the W/L track). This track will establish a series of guidelines toward establishing a more thematically coherent and unit-diverse army with which to play. Players whose armies pass established metrics for fluff/composition/theme will become eligible for tracking within this new awards path, which will then evaluate their final position along primarily competitive (but also somewhat along artistic) lines. The goal here is to both acknowledge those who choose to field more thematic armies and also provide a mechanism for players to show off their tactical acumen while playing these forces. This blends very well in with the NOVA's bracketing system, as players who choose this course of play will naturally find their way to brackets with similar combined list/skill-strength players, thus enabling the opportunity to earn strong competitive scores *even if* the harder armies present in the GT issue them a loss here and there.

Input is welcome here, as far as what directions we should go - this concept is very much a work in progress, but it's a work in progress we'll see through to conclusion and inclusion in this year's Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament as part and parcel toward continuing its annual improvement attempts toward being the best format available for as many player types and preferences as possible.


  1. So, are you going to be picking one?

    1. Picking one what? A winner? No. The scoring will basically award theme/comp points alongside battle and paint For this particular award.