The Importance of Balance.

Several of my friends went to a tournament at Warhammer World in Nottingham this weekend…

This might not be an advert for the actual tournament they went to but it’s close enough…

As usual the venue was first class, the tables had a nice mix of scenery and there was a bar…but like many of Games Workshops events the ‘fun at all costs’ posse had decided to stick their fluffy bits into the works.

Problem 1.
The Allies Matrix.

Sorry…Wrong Matrix…..

The basic concept seemed sound. Certain armies were really happy to work with one another, others didn’t mind and some were willing to make an alliance if it was absolutely necessary but weren’t particularly happy about it. From a rules point of view this meant that certain ‘good’ allied armies got a free upgrade to some units and the ‘bad’ allied armies had to roll for all the units to see if they were ‘stunned’ or some such penalty. This wasn’t an issue for anybody who had decided to bring along Tyranids as they weren’t allowed to ally with any-one at all…well with the exception of other Tyranids.

This is another example of an attempt to bring ‘Fluff’ into a competitive event and failing dismally. The whole point of a doubles tournament is to try to come up with wacky and innovative unit combinations. Von’s comment on the issue on my own blog article is particularly incisive…

I said,

“Personally I think that such penalties stifle creativity…”

and Von said –

“You’d be absolutely right.

One: fluff ain’t rules and restricting player choice out of respect for the background ain’t respectful to your players.
Two: fluff says Necrons and Blood Angels can be mates now, anything goes.
Three: fluff says no, fanfic/hobby says yes (Curis did this with his Ork Genestealer Hybrids to justify allying with Tyranids and they look smashing).

Pick your ‘excuse’ for an ‘unlikely’ or ‘unfluffly’ alliance and roll with it. Anything’s better than the sacred cow of the Allies chart…”

All good points Mr Von…

Problem 2.
Mission Balance.

Not even these guys could get a plan together for these fucking missions…
Nor could these…..

There should always be a chance of you winning a game of 40K.

One of the games used a mission from the Battle Missions book which is probably the least balanced thing ever written. Now if your thing is nice little narrative games that tell some interesting story then that’s fine as this is a hobby that caters to all tastes…..however if you have even the vaguest implication of your event being a ‘tournament’ then you need to look at the level of balance in your missions. The mission chosen wasn’t balanced at all to the point that several players resigned pretty much right at the beginning of it…

Now I’ve had opponents resign out of stroppiness, fear of defeat, due to jealousy about my rugged good looks and any number of other factors but I’ve never felt the need to apologise to them and buy them beer for doing it…however several people were doing that very thing at the event. If you feel so bad about a scenario at a tournament that not only are you fine with your opponent quitting but you feel the need to buy them drinks for doing it then something has gone very, very wrong indeed.

Now we all know that 5th edition missions have their issues. I for one would happily see the person who came up with the idea of ‘kill points’ brutally tortured and then executed but compared to the sort of thing inflicted on us at many events they’re the best thing ever (relatively speaking).

In Conclusion.
When you have an event based around one side competing against another then there should never be no chance of you winning. If you ever decide that an event needs ‘fun’ crowbarring into it then be extremely careful that the result isn’t that half a dozen people have ‘fun’ and the rest…..well….don’t…..

Thoughts and Comments are (as usual) most welcome*

* With the exception of the ‘Games Workshop can do no wrong’ posse. You lot I’m sick of hearing from…..

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