Tuesday, 28 February 2017

40k Starter Tournament Part 1 - Discussion

Well, due to mild illness and a lot of business, I've fallen behind on posting. Missing two weeks of my attempt at a post a week all year. That said, the last few posts have been long. To make up for the short fall, I will do a long, double post about the 40k starter tournament, and then follow up with a piece on the new Aeldari/Ynnead stuff. Hopefully I can get that all done this week
40K Starter Tournament

Why was this happening?

I've been running tournaments for 10 years as of this year. I've been playing in events for even longer. I've seen a lot of different rule systems, both for games and for running events. I'd say this gives me a lot of experience, and so do those around me.

Warhammer 40,000 isn't a game I enjoy the tournament scene for. I collect/paint/play for the background fluff. However, I pay attention to the competitive front because it often makes interesting articles and videos. This means I've looked into things like the ITC format. So I've seen various FAQs and interpretations of the rules as well as different build structures for forces.

A (probably) negative trait of mine is if I see something being run "badly", because I am aware of "better" ways of running them, I rapidly become annoyed with an event. This is worse if I am able to talk to the person responsible and they try and argue but can't bring evidence.

My worst two experiences in this regard;
A CardFightVanguard event where the TO tried changing the structure because his local team would have been knocked out. He tried arguing that Magic runs events the same way. To the best of my knowledge, Magic doesn't do Double Knockout events, so they wouldn't be run different to any other Double Knockout event. He refused to look at what we were showing him on Google, or show us any documentation that backed him up, despite the four of us being the TO's for Antics across several games and having a combined experience of nearly 20 years between us. That left us all, the other players from our store as well, with a sour taste in our mouths. Lee reported this to Bushiroad and the venue lost events, but it caused me to dedicate essentially zero time to playing the game since.

More recently, while watching a game of 40k. A couple of rules questions came up in a league match. When i raised them with the guy running the league, I was laughed at. I told him his rulings were wrong because he is clearly using an older edition; what he was saying is not in 7th edition. He continued to laugh at me and insisted that the rule was there. When I re-read the pages and told him to show me, he refused because he was "right" and if I couldn't find where it said so, he didn't need to show me.
The player involved, Chris, later checked in the local GW store and discovered I was correct.

I'm not perfect when it comes to rulings. But all it takes in these situations is reading the material, which takes no more time than the argument. Often, if a player is adamant they are correct, I will double check the wording on something. It's easier than issuing an apology to a player if you later find out you are wrong. Sometimes that isn't enough, as you may have missed a ruling that hasn't made it into the documentation yet. But at least your rulings are consistent with the documents you are using on the day.

The second incident, alongside my disdain whenever that person runs a 40k event, lead to either Chris or Ben (I can't remember which as they were both in the car for the conversation) suggesting that I should run events for 40k. They have experience other events I run and believed I would be good at it.

I let the idea rattle around for a while, but wasn't entirely sure where to go with it. Part of my problem with the competitive scene is the players it attracts. A few of them have really bad attitudes and I wouldn't have a legitimate reason for banning them from a public event. If they are willing to pay the entry fee and follow the rules, it's hard to say no. Their behaviour never quite becomes penalty-worthy unsporting conduct, but it puts other people off too. I know their presence is hurting attendance of certain events. Then, late last year, something changed.

A few of the Antics regulars moved into 40k. They had all been playing card games for years, and to be honest I don't know what prompted the move. Some of them used to play and wanted to get back into it. Some had always looked at the game with interest and seized the opportunity to join their friends. This led to a mix of people either bringing their old armies into a new edition or starting new armies. Literally in the case of those looking at Deathwatch and Genestealer Cult. They were semi-organising games in Antics, but only one game was happening at a time, and often only one game in a day.

This struck me as an opportunity. They are all semi-inexperienced with the rules. They are all good sports. They want to win, but want to have fun doing it. What if I ran an event for them? Kept it invite only to stop it being hijacked by those that value winning over fun?

Obviously, I couldn't run it in Antics. The group is too large for the amount of table space and terrain in the store (spoiler alert; they almost proved to be too much for Dark Star). So Dark Star was an obvious venue choice. Because I would have to charge them to cover the table tax, if I increase the cost a little I could put a prize (£10 voucher for Antics) on the line. If I held it on a Sunday, it wouldn't clash with any events for the other games they play. Then came simply a question of format.

If you've been reading my recent posts, you know the format. I looked to the Eternal War missions in the main rulebook, and chose one that was simple in victory conditions but also fun to play. Then it was a case of "Book it and they will come".

As they event came closer, I was being asked rules questions on the mission and advice for building armies. This lead to my tactica series. Some of the players read it and took advice from it. Others came up with their own tactics for the mission. The event was to be 3 rounds, each round playing The Relic mission. And most of the games on the day involved actual attempts to fight over the Relic, not just kill each other.

All in all, the event was a success. We had maximum attendance. Everyone that's spoken to me or anyone else about it has reported having fun. The chatter the week leading into the event was so positive that I booked a repeat event for March. And the chatter bore out. I'm so pleased with how the event went that I'm going to do one every month, and look at a 2 day, larger point event in the summer. Dark Star is looking at adding more tables in the near future, which will facilitate this. Not everyone I invited was able to make it to this one, and I don't want to leave any of the group out if I can help it.

The title of the event was a double entendre. It was a starter event for the players, to help them get to grips with the rules and playing in an event. It was a starter event for me, to help me get to grips with round times and tournament structure.

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