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azimaith
25-08-2007, 14:20
Hey everyone, I may eventually be running a local store tournament (depending on scheduling) and theres always been some amount of grumbling about balanced lists and missions. Now personally i've never had issues are local tournaments on mission or list balance but it got me thinking.

How do you run a tournament with balanced lists vs each other without ridiculous restrictions and how do you make mission objectives important and *viable* for all armies.

A local player offered the idea of a static army list, everyone getting a 2 tactical squads and a captain for every player. This however, was pretty much instantly discarded. Not everyone plays space marines and it renders the game mind numbingly boring (in my opinion).

So far i've thinking on the things that make lists hard to counter, especially for lists that focus heavily on one thing or another (IE mobile all skimmer eldar, or godzilla tyranids as opposite extremes).

The first issue I hit was the idea of a "Balanced army list" Not only does this float heavily on metagame but it also gives advantages to "Unbalanced" army lists unless they happen to run into their archnemesis army (which would be another unbalanced list) in which case they lose horribly. Considering most players are trying for "balanced" army lists its a rather important this be addressed.

The second issue was army play styles. Certain armies are much better at winning games than others in certain scenarios. Play a swarmy/hybrid tyranid or a foot sloggin ork army and try to beat a mobile eldar army in victory points. Its extremely difficult because some armies specialize in victory point denial while others hemorrhage vps like someone has stabbed a penknife into their jugular.

Naturally there is a way to hamfistedly ban certain lists but I don't like the partisan nature of that and neither will the players.

So heres what i've come up with so far.

1:REINFORCE an environment of *friendly* gaming where the best *gamer* is awarded, not simply the best general. This is a tournament celebrating the hobby of Warhammer 40k. One thing that tends to give tournaments a bad name is the obsession with winning over anything else.

2:UNDERSTAND that not all armies play in a similar way thus there are no band-aid fixes. Hamfistedly requiring a minimum number of troops renders certain armies nearly identical or flies in the face of their armies focus.

3:CLARIFY as many rules problems before the start as possible. Players must understand the rules are not watertight and thus must agree with the adjucation of not simply the judges, but the tournament organizer for preset rules. (IE: Terrain does not all use area terrain rules. Base sizes are not meant to grant advantages in game, ect) This is to encourage a spirit of fairplay avoid rules arguments during the game.

4: DISTRIBUTE terrain in an intelligent and fair manner. One must understand that lots of terrain is not necessarily better for assault oriented armies while less terrain is not necessarily better for all gunline armies. Terrain placement is vital to the game and a single piece of area terrain in the center of a board can change the game more than 10 pieces in the deployment zone.

5:ALLOW varied and interesting lists while curbing the advantages of unbalanced lists with a self-correcting soft hand. This means no direct restrictions on list selections (besides normal rules) but other factors that even the playing field.

6:REALIZE that no matter how many steps you take there will always be hitches, complainers, whiners, bad sports, and problems. The point is to provide a fun play experience for the participants, perfection is a foolish goal.

Alright so now theres problem one. Unbalanced lists. I've found a couple things I think will help to even the playing field for *all* players.

1: Combat Intelligence counters unbalanced lists. Its much harder for an unbalanced army to achieve a large advantage over an enemy if they know that enemy is coming. Thus for this tournament I plan to have all lists submitted in typed format a week before the tournament (or at least 5 days perhaps) begins. These will be posted on both the website and in hard copy on a bulletin board for all to see. Each list must detail wargear, the cost of individual squads, and any other relevant information.

2: Flexibility between battles allows players to play their best and helps curb one trick pony armies. Thus I plan on adding a two, 300 point side boards to each army. These sideboards must be turned in 3 days before the tournament, either by forum post or in person. These side boards allow variation between the lists which allows for players to use combat intelligence gleaned from the posts 2 days before to alter their lists. While theres no limitations on what the sideboards can be to, they must be switched out in whole. You must choose one sideboard and use the entirety rather than cherry pick parts. The parts removed can be removed from anywhere in the list as long as it meets basic FOC.

These sideboards will be present at both the tournament and on the website.

3: Soft scores are meaningful. We are here to celebrate the best gamer, not the best general alone, or the best painter alone, but the person we want to exemplify. I'm leaning toward:
1/3 Battlepoints, 1/3 sportsmanship, 1/3 painting.
Or
1/2 battlepoints, 1/4 spotsmanship, 1/4 painting.
If anyone wants to suggest other break ups for it I'm open to it. Whats important to me is that battlepoints and sportsmanship make up a solid majority of the score with painting filling the rest. Sportsmanship scores encourages people to be thoughtful and engender a light and fun atmosphere in my opinion.


The second issue is of course "Missions"
I play a gamut of armies, from the light and massed imperial guard, to the speedy and low armored tyranid hordes. I run speed freeks, Necrons, and even an armored company and I can see obvious differences in how the game slants.

Currently there is a large emphasis on victory point denial mobile armies. What you want is units that can sustain until they end of the game then scream in on the last turn and grab the objective. To me this removes the entire point of the objective if its only valuable on last turn. Thus I'm thinking of several different objective styles.

Objective style
Hold at all costs. This style of objective grants battlepoints for each turn it is held rather than for who controls it at the end of the game. It will look something like this.
"Each player turn a scoring unit is within 6" of the objective they gain a point (player turns negate the advantage of going second in this scenario) battlepoint. Each turn there is no unit on the central objective the battlepoint generated is instead into storage and is awarded to the player who has the point at the end of the game.
If there is one or more enemy scoring units within range the point is contested and goes into storage as above.

This objective style is designed to integrate objectives as part of the game rather than as a last minute grab.

How many, what kind, and where the objectives are located will differ with games.

Next is victory point denial. How do you deal with something that is still going to be viable even with these objectives? Simple, do away with victory points. To make it objective essential a lack of victory points means killing is secondary to objectives (which of course require killing to hold!) I might reconsider the total removal of victory points, but the BP value of VPs will be minuscule compared to objectives.


Of course even with these objectives there are problems, what happens if someone comes in with static guardsmen? The answer is simple, every mission will be posted up well before the tournament lists are due so everyone can see exactly what will be happening, no surprises for missions means that everyone is on equal footing here.

So far this is my basic plan. I'm hoping it cuts down on common complaints that have come up repeatedly.

Morpholine
25-08-2007, 15:58
The only thing that concerns me about what you listed is the soft scores being so prominent in the overall placing. I understand the desire to reward the best all-around gamer, but just having a look around at post-tourney witeups seems, to me, to show that in tourneys where soft scores have a big impact upon the winners some players use them to tank opponents' overall scores. You know your gaming environment, and the likelyhood of something like that better than I, but it's something I think you should keep in mind.

Perhaps you could have soft scores separate from the gaming scores, and provide an award to the "Best Sportsman", or some such? Or even make the gaming scores a factor towards best gamer, but a smaller fraction than sporsmanship, maybe on par with painting scores.

Just some thoughts.

Bunnahabhain
25-08-2007, 17:22
Sounds good. I especially like the VP for holding objective each turn, rather than all or nothing on the last turn.

A few minor points.

I'd suggest an overall ranking using at least 3/4 battle scores, and no more than 1/4 on the rest.

Maybe a simpler re-enforcement system. 1500 list, and a 500pt set of spare units which can be swapped in freely.

You have a good handle on the problems of terrain. If you have a simple system so that each battle, each player changes board, eg players 1-16, after each battle even players move up one board , odd move down, it means people won't be stuck on the same kind of board for too long

Marius Xerxes
25-08-2007, 17:40
I would try going to this website and see if you cant find any information reguarding that exact topic.

http://www.adepticon.org/

azimaith
26-08-2007, 02:24
The only thing that concerns me about what you listed is the soft scores being so prominent in the overall placing. I understand the desire to reward the best all-around gamer, but just having a look around at post-tourney witeups seems, to me, to show that in tourneys where soft scores have a big impact upon the winners some players use them to tank opponents' overall scores. You know your gaming environment, and the likelyhood of something like that better than I, but it's something I think you should keep in mind.

Perhaps you could have soft scores separate from the gaming scores, and provide an award to the "Best Sportsman", or some such? Or even make the gaming scores a factor towards best gamer, but a smaller fraction than sporsmanship, maybe on par with painting scores.

Just some thoughts.
I thought about separating them but I don't want a poor sport or a person with grey plastic armies to run the same overall standing as players without a well painted army and good sportsmanship. I don't remember ever getting a complaint about people getting tanked by soft scores from bad opponents from other people (though its occured to me once).

Furthermore if I split the scores I do know some players who are plain old ******s will ignore sportsmanship as go for the "main" win.


Sounds good. I especially like the VP for holding objective each turn, rather than all or nothing on the last turn.

A few minor points.

I'd suggest an overall ranking using at least 3/4 battle scores, and no more than 1/4 on the rest.

To be honest the most important softscore to me is sportsmanship. Unfortunately humans are humans so its also the most easily abused. Thats why I went the 1/2, 1/4, 1/4 route.



Maybe a simpler re-enforcement system. 1500 list, and a 500pt set of spare units which can be swapped in freely.

My big problem with swapping freely is that it can easily make sideboards too good, and to be honest, I know from experience certain armies side boards will be superior to other armies sideboards. Its hard for a necron sideboard to beat a marine sideboard (though they may not need it) or a Tau sideboard to defeat an eldar sideboard. I want sideboards to essentially fill in the: "Anti-3+, Anti-GEQ" archetypes essentially.



You have a good handle on the problems of terrain. If you have a simple system so that each battle, each player changes board, eg players 1-16, after each battle even players move up one board , odd move down, it means people won't be stuck on the same kind of board for too long
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I thought about that, but from what i've seen is that the tables will likely all be full. Each player and their opponent will of course be assigned a new table for each of the games though.