Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Contemplation about the Game of Warhammer 40,000

My blogging has slowed to a halt recently. There are multiple factors that can be attributed to this reduction in blogging, but a major factor can be pointed out as the primary "demotivator:" the rapid release schedule of Warhammer 40k along with the crazy high power level of Eldar.

I have written several blog posts concerning competitive Magic: The Gathering, and I find myself in a similar mindset regarding 40k now. As many folks are aware, competitive Magic often requires the purchase of new cards. Even for decks that are Modern or Legacy legal, new cards are released to shake up the meta. Even if the deck you play doesn't require the new card, you may have to readjust to fight this new combo. This, to me, is not very appealing from a hobby or competitive perspective. I'll be totally upfront: I don't WANT to spend the money for new cards. I am not motivated to spend that amount of money to compete in a game that is, at a certain point, based on a RNG.

Magic's release schedule is rather tame compared to the onslaught we are seeing from 40k. Holy shit, 3-4 months seems like an eternity compared to the rapid release schedule from GW. If I struggle to motivate myself to learn, adjust, and purchase new stuff for Magic, just to keep competitive, why on earth would I want to subject myself to the same misery in 40k? Normally, it would be for my love of 40k, which I still feel very strongly about the game.

At this moment though, I struggle to justify owning so many 40k models and rules. Granted, a great majority of what I owned was bought on the cheap/free, so the monetary investment is less of a concern. But in the same way that I collected Magic cards in the effort of "modifying/building" future decks, I found myself doing the same for 40k. I have TONS of models that I don't anticipate using any time soon. If I were a regular GT goer, with the time, money, and drive to compete, then I would hold onto my models. Now though, I struggle to see myself enjoying the competition any longer.

With that in mind, I am trying to consider what to do with the stuff I have now. How should I go about consolidating my collection into an amount I am happy with? Please feel free to comment and let me know what YOU think is best.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Makings of an Escalation League

I am excited to announce that I will be coordinating an Escalation League held at Crit Hit Comics and Games in the near future! This month will be another Kill Team Tournament, but the points will escalate from there. Here is the proposed escalation as of right now: 

M1: Kill Team

M2: 1-3 Troops, 1 HQ, 500 points, Eternal War Missions (Since they are a bit easier than Maelstrom of War missions to measure and such).
M3: 2-3 troops, 1-2 HQ, 750 points, Eternal War Missions

M4: 2-4 troops, 1-2 HQ, 0-1 Elite, 1000 points, maelstrom of war missions.
M5: 2-5 troops, 1-2 HQ, 0-2 Elite, 0-1 Fast, 1250 points, maelstrom of war missions.
M6: 2-6 troops, 1-2 HQ, 0-3 Elite, 0-2 Fast, 0-1 Heavy Support or Lord of War, 1500 points, maelstrom of war missions

Each event will be scored separately. We are still discussing Sportsmanship and Painting judging at this time.

If you would be so kind as to place your votes on the poll I have to the right hand side, I would appreciate it! I want to get some input from readers as to what I should play.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Beauty of Kill Team

This past weekend, I played in a quick Kill Team tournament at Crit Hit Comics and Games in Princeton, WV. It was a total blast! This was my first event at Crit Hit, and it was my first coordinated event in quite a while. The community of guys was great, and I had three quick fun, bloody games.

For those who don't know, Kill Team games are built of about 200 points of models from the Elites, Troops or Fast Attack sections of a single codex. From there, each model works individually, operating each as a separate unit. Furthermore, one of the models is upgraded to a Leader, who gains a Leader Trait similar to a Warlord. From there, the general nominates 3 models to be Specialists. The Specialists gain an extra special rule from the main rulebook. The game is played on a 4'x4' table with lots of terrain on the table.

The games are extremely short, lasting about 30-40 minutes. Time is not an issue with a Kill Team event, since there are so few models being moved around. All of my games lasted about 30 minutes, and I had brought about 10 Marines to the table.
In a somewhat surprising turn, the Kill Team event ran very smoothly in terms of the rules. It was mostly taken directly from the GW source material, and it worked very well. There were really only 1 or 2 rules discussions from these differences. The missions played pretty easily, and we even had a totally new player pick up the game right there.

This event was totally perfect for the slowly resurrecting 40k community at Crit Hit. Some of the guys were even able to bring multiple kill teams to try and encourage some new players to join in the fun. That was awesome. I am really looking forward to more events at Crit Hit!

Rarkthor's Response: Community Comp

Recently, through some advertising on the part of Bell of Lost Souls, I came to find the Community Comp website and packet. While I have seen a wide variety of comp styles in the past, I rarely see one as detailed and thorough as this one. I will give credit where credit is due; these gentlemen really took the time to evaluate the codicies and other rules set and attribute point values for their inclusion in army lists.

In the simplest way I can explain the system, units and wargear deemed to be over the top or excessive in power level have been attributed point values based on a number of criteria. Sometimes the criteria is a matter of certain armor values or unit types like Flying Monstrous Creatures. The criteria is sometimes codex level, with specific units and relics being targeted as too powerful. All of these points lead to a army power level determined by these metrics. According to the designers of Community Comp, tournament level lists approximately earn 8-12 points, with 20 being the cap. The designers also encourage the spending of points, but they also include a metric to convert these point scores into an overall Comp score for a tournament.

This is where I take issue. I do not mind comp systems, as I find it gives my brain a nice little workout to create a different list that falls within this set of rules. I, of course, still want to build a list that functions well together and can compete with the best, but I accept that some limitations to make another person happy is OK. It is, however, an issue when someone brings a list that intends to take advantage of the comp system points for a higher lead overall in the tournament. I strongly believe that a comp score should be a very small impact or perhaps even reserved as a tiebreaker. At that point, I find that a player bringing a less powerful list and doing well is worth breaking the tie. This feeling is very similar to my stance on Best Sportsman. In case of a tie, I feel that the person with a lower record is deserving of the prize. It is a positive quality to win with class, but perhaps an even greater positive quality to lose with class.

The 40k community that is slowly being revived in the Southern West Virginia area has suggested using this packet for larger point 40k events. This seems OK, if a majority of the community wants to see this packet being used. The crowd, however, at Arkham Games would likely not change much if the comp packet was being used. In my mind then, why use the packet if the community is already happy with the status of the game? For the folks in Australia, it seems that this Community Comp helped to revitalize tournaments in their area of the globe. This is great! I don't know if I believe it would solve much of the attendance issues at Arkham.

My final concern is one of metas and the complaining of the player base. As a Tournament Organizer, I have definitely felt the repercussions of an unhappy tournament goer's experience. In some cases, the complaints were legitimate issues. In a majority of the time, it was a matter of personal preference or some gripe that the attendee had with the system or an opponent. The Comp system, in my mind, would need to serve as an effective solution to these concerns. Effective, in my mind, would be a reduction of complaints regarding imbalance by at least 50%. I really truly doubt that more than 50% of the complaints would be resolved by implementing this system. In fact, I think it would create new complaints concerning an altered and artificial meta, along with complaints of overall restrictions being placed on their models.

I will add this caveat. We will not know for a fact unless we try, and I accept that as a truth of the matter. I do think though that through the human power of foresight and forward thinking, this would not be a solution I would want to implement currently in either of the 40k groups to which I belong. This may be changing soon with the advance of Eldar and some crazy combinations afforded in that book, but at this time, Community Comp is not where I'd like to be.