Viggo as the lead in while I talk about WFB?, Heresy you say?, no way..he is still the King in my book.
The post Adepticon hangover is gone and find myself back toiling away late night in basement, while I'm working on stuff for our upcoming Legends of the High Seas campaign, I am finding myself still preoccupied with my most fickle of muses. Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
You've read my gripes about the book scenarios before, and I spent the other night going the rules a bit. I am admittedly nowhere near where I need to be mentally for playing in competitive events if I actually have an intent of winning any games. In fact I have been getting a big kick of my friend James "rule of the day" over at his blog The Big House. because he keeps posting stuff that seems so obvious I should know, but I don't -so I keep kicking myself in ass trying to my head in game so to speak, so I spent some time digging into the rule book.
The book scenarios themselves are ok, for the big dumb fun of the "more, more, more" approach of 8th edition . (I tend to be a "less is more" kind of guy hence the conflict) The amount of work put into the narrative battles section of book clearly shows the designers arent particularly worried about us choosing to run tournaments with their game, as the "battle" scenarios we are using for events look like an after thought in comparison.
Beating the old drum again, let me rehash that from my perspective the problems with tournament scene and 8th edition is that we're still using 7th edition scoring for what is clearly a different game. The book scenarios are not meant for tournament play that is going to sort out a winner by straight up battle points. That's clear to me, but I guess not so much to the people I know that run events around these parts. Its way too easy for these scenarios incidentally give one player an advantage, that and the silly randomness of events from terrain on down to the games overall reliance on dice rolls..seriously just makes the whole thing a skill- less crap shoot. Now, Of course you can bone up on the rules, study up on every contingency of every army and put yourself in a place to minimize that dice crap shoot and that is what the best players do. However one scenario in the book is perfect for fixing the whole damn scoring issue and putting things back on track and its coincidentally the most controversial of the scenarios used at Adepticon this year: Blood and Glory.
Blood and Glory isnt just a scenario, (as people not preparing for it "going in" to the event led to the problems at Adepticon this year) its a tournament "model" -the perfect measure of how games should be scored and played in 8th. It bears direct similarity to WAB's Army break point system, which I've previously mentioned as a favored scoring solution of mine.However we did some demoing with it and it worked ok, except both games ended before either of us broke, so the WAB rules just revert back to victory points..so good in theory but not so much in practice.
For those unfamiliar, Blood and Glory is based on every army having a fortitude score based on your Armies General (2 points) plus 1 point for each banner of the field including the battle standard. Your army breaks, and the game ends when you armies fortitude drops to "x". "X" depending on the size of the game. In WFB tourney play..I'd suggest keeping the break point a "2" (the level for 2000 point games) instead of the "3" used at Adepticon this year. Because at 2200-2400 "2" still seems very fair..over 2500 points, It would go to a break point of "3" and it works up per 1000 points of game size from there.
Your average player in today's game should be showing up on the field with an average fortitude of "6", a General, a BSB and 3 Unit Standards..a couple more if you have the points. If neither opponent breaks the others army in six turns, the game is a draw with no other tie breaker.
These "Blood and Glory" rules would have the following postive effects on the meta game for 8th edition. No incentive to build "death stars" or massive horde units.A Death Stars maxium fortitude will be "4" (General, BSB, 1 unit Standard) Yes it might be nigh unbreakable, but you can't just sit in the back corner of the table and say "come get me"...because you're setting yourself up for a draw and if you just sit there let yourself get warmachined to death...you risk losing the game on bad panic check. Massive units which are currently used to keep wads of points on the table become an unnecessary points sink because once the unit breaks, its done as its lost is standard and its a scoring unit, unless it rallies and captures it back. No more lone Chaos Warrior or Temple Guardsmen keeping 800 points on the table alone, while fleeing at the end of the game. Fodder units become exactly that..with no standard they aren't scoring so a different tactical measure becomes apparent. With Objectives on the table for additional Battle Points for "Best General" I see two games going the field at one time, the battle for the win between scoring units and the battle for objectives between everything else..how you cross-use you units to get both becomes something a hell of alot more tactical than the gimmicky quirks of current play. Finally with a fortitude of only "2" your General can't "Herohammer" the game by himself without at least on other unit standard on the field..this is a very good thing.
(And No, I dont think the Slaan should get the extra point for being a BSB...he can be the BSB but you don't get the extra Fortitude point, you need a another model for that)
So, Pitched Battles with Objectives, "Blood and Glory" rules...that's how you roll with good 8th ed tournament in my book, your scoring is Battle Points 15/5/10 win/lose/draw + objective points + Sports (or Favorite opponent in my world) + Paint.
Some will inevitably ask "But John, What about bonus battle points?"
Bonus battle points are crap,normally contingent on whatever quirky fluke gets dictated by the parameters of the half-assed scenario the TO probably hasn't play tested more than once. Objective points are tactical capture..meaning you need to go out win them if you want them. Bonus Battle points are usually a freebie given to the winner by default or based on luck/ 8th edition is already way to based on luck to begin with, cutting it down and giving away less free points makes for a better tournament.
But John, Wont "Blood and Glory" rules produce alot of Draws?
They will, however considering Draws have gone from 1 out of 5 games (roughly 20%)in 7th edition to 1 out of 25 games in 8th edition (roughly >1%) with the change from 300 victory point margin to a 100 victory point margin, I think a happy medium of 10% or so is fine, people generally play to win, and a draw will become the self policing result or either a very good game, or someone just playing point denial under Blood and Glory, playing for draw might put you high in the standings if you have the soft scores to back it up but you still need to win games to win the tournament. A personal example: at this point I've played maybe 36 or so games of 8th edition I've had only two draws..one in the Team Tournament, which was literally to the point and the result of good luck turn 6 otherwise we had lost. The other was in the Blood and Glory scenario.
While I think its going to take the rest of season, having players "bum out" or just leave the game over lousy tournament experiences before mass self correction starts taking place, I already see positive signs of hope, One of our new local tourneys Blood in the Sun has publicly stated that "Blood and Glory" rules will be used for at least several of the scenarios this year and people best design there armies around it. While not the "full on" approach I lay out above..its a strong start and I am some of my Tuesday night regulars are attending this event in July, I'll let you know how it goes!.
36 minutes ago