SinSynn: On Comp and Why Everything Needs NOVA…

Hey folks, SinSynn here.

Hey, did you ever get all psyched up to play a game of…whatever, and after you deployed all of yer lil’ troopie guys and whatnot you looked over the table and you thought to yerself, “Meself, there is no way in hell I can win this game.”
….and then you get pounded into lil’ red meaty chunks for the next hour or so?

Did you ever have this happen at a Tournament?

Whether it was a bad mission or matchup, or a bad table, or whatever, sometimes it seems that you just….lost that game, somehow…before it ever got started.
You knew it, too. Going in.
It happens, doesn’t it?

*All he does is roll sixes!*

Let’s work under the assumption that your army list is a good one, so we can eliminate that as an issue.
Somehow, you just caught the short straw, and wound up with that one ‘perfect storm’ of coincidences that led to this situation, and…you’re screwed.
That opponent you didn’t want to see, on a table that totally works against you, in the one mission your army struggles with.
-BOOM!- There you are….

My question is: When these ‘insta-loss’ scenarios occur, what the hell went wrong?
…and who do I blame (if I can’t blame Brent, or Not-Brent, or some combination thereof)?

Remember back in the day, when most 40k events had really wacky home-brewed scenarios?
Remember how 5th edition came and changed all that?

3 Mission types, with 3 Deployments.
Mix and match, and you end up with something very close to….balance.
Yeah, I said it- they may not be perfect, but the basic missions/deployment types in 40k are better than in any other mini game I know.
This includes HoMachine and Flames of War, both of which have officially sponsored Tournament circuits, something 40k does not have.

*Sponsership…it’s da awesome*

Any two completely random knuckleheads can square off in a FLGS virtually anywhere and be playing a game of 40k in minutes, thanks to the simplicity and ease of just ‘rolling up a mission.’
Using the same basic format for tournaments meant that people could use the same army, with no changes to the roster, pretty much everywhere they gamed.
That’s….pretty darn cool.

I’ve been to two Flames of War events in December alone. In both of them I ended up facing an insta-loss in one out of three games.
If two random knuckleheads want to play FOW, they’ll end up playing ‘Free For All.’
Most of the others are so poorly balanced, or just so random, that it’s best to…just play ‘Free For All.’
One mission, out of a dozen or so featured in both the main rulebook and ‘Das Book,’ the lil expansion thingie.

The current FoW Tournament setup is SO BAD, that it will require an entirely different post from me.
Simply put, when I think of it, I make this face:

One look through the Warmachine/Hordes Steamroller PDF makes me groan, too.
Dear lord- every one of those missions has wacky lil’ squares to measure and other such silliness….it’s crrrrrr-AZY!
Let’s just look RIGHT PAST the fact that you’re allowed to pretty much bring two lists, due to bad matchups being virtually inevitable at HoMachine tournaments, shall we?
And we don’t wanna think that 2012 will bring character and list restrictions to the the game that bought us the infamous ‘Page 5,’ because that sounds suspiciously like…COMP.

And that’ll make folks do this:

Comp has gotta be the worst thing ever, imho.
Since videos iz funnie, I’ll throw in one that reflects how I feel about Comp in tournaments:

I suppose we may never know who the original butthurt idiot was that thought up Comp, but whatevs, it’s beyond lame.
Whoever that person was, they need ungentle tentacle raping.
And yes, I’m a Xenos player who has entirely unpleasant, intimate knowledge of what Grey Knights can do to Tyranids.
Ironically, it feels exactly like ungentle tentacle raping.
And yeah, I make this face, too:

Maybe 40k is a game that can be won in the ‘list building phase,’ but if you’re serious about winning, you’d do well to just bring a list that can do that, and maybe stop crying and trying to impose a false set of standards upon the game.
Standards with vague guidelines like this:

‘our comp system isn’t one where we impose what we think the “right” way for people to play is. It’s actually a system that simply compares lists against each other, and puts them on a curve.’
(actual quote from tournament organizer)

…wait, what?
Now I gotta make this face:
So, who’s comparing these lists and what’s the basis of judgement?
Is there, like, a panel of judges…like, a 40k Star Chamber or sumpthin’?
Or is it like, some dude, and his opinions?
I suspect the latter.

40k may have poor balance between many of it’s Codexes, and a cyclical nature that doesn’t see frequent ‘army list’ updates, But I will say this-
If you take any of the ‘top tier’ army lists, of which there are many, and pit them against each other in any of the standard mission/deployments in the 40k 5th Edition rulebook….yer in for a fine game.

Admittedly, if your Codex is ‘in decline,’ you may be screwed, too…
But hey, that’s the nature of 40k…waddayagonnado?
…qq moar, or buck up and write Kirby for some list advice.

*Kirby, shown here devouring a fluff bunny*

Even though 40k’s template of 3×3 missions and deployments were pretty darn good, there was still a couple of wrinkles.
Capture and Control was renamed ‘Roll Dice and Tie,’ for instance.
Spearhead deployment was rough on ‘Assaulty’ armies, and no one really likes ‘Night Fight’ in Dawn of War, and other such quibbles arose.
It really was pretty good…it just needed a lil’ tweaking.
…and then along came Mike Brandt, and the NOVA System.

By adding a tiered set of victory conditions and a lil’ twist to the standard 3×3 mission/deployment template, what was good became…better.
NOVA has been discussed at length online, so I won’t go into it here. While it, too, is not perfect (some people prefer win/loss, and ‘victory points’ is a sticky issue among some), but I feel NOVA, as a baseline system, goes a long way to giving competitive gamers balanced scenarios.
And less ‘insta-losses.’

You know what else I think?
Every system needs a NOVA, and maybe a Mike Brandt to make one for them.

I sure would feel better about going to my next Flames of War event if I knew there would be a standardized set of missions I could play a familiar army list on, instead of having to tailor my army list to whatever nonsense I’ll be forced to play.
Other than ‘Free For All,’ natch…which is pretty much assured, since it’s the only goddamn good one.
Will their be ambush, or delayed/scattered reserves?
Will the dreaded ‘Cauldron’ mission rear it’s ugly head?
Maybe, mabe not…I won’t know until I know.

Then I can begin to figure out what’ll work best with the scenarios I’ll be playing, and maybe I’ll get a lil’ lucky and won’t hafta roll off against another infantry list and end up attacking on that one mission and…

Oh, crap…bad matchup on the one table with Bocage, and ‘linear obstruction’ rules…

*Son of a…*

And then I start making faces….

Until next time, folks- HAVE A VERY XENOS DAY!


Author’s note- Apologies if last week’s post…or this weeks, or…whatever, ANY post I wrote, or will write, ever offended anyone….or will offend anyone, or whatever full coverage clause I can slip in there…
That is not my intention, in any way, believe me.

*Kitteh makes it all better, right?*

But, hey-
These are mostly jokes, typed by someone of questionable lineage.

You may also like...