Monday, August 30, 2010

I Hate Comp

I was contemplating hading up to Lafayette for a tournament this weekend, until I found out about the crazy tourney rules. A lot of people have chimed in on why they dislike or like the old comp'ed or battle point style tournaments. I thought I go and put down my particular reasons for disliking the format. I going to cover not just comp restrictions, but painting and sports scoring as well.


Comp restrictions and scoring always irk me. Comp is a means to try and fix a game that I don't think is necessarily broken. It never seems that the people who come up with comp really understands the game. That, or their understanding of the game was cemented in place some time in the distant past. From my observation, most comp comes from local groups trying to overcome some perceived imbalance in the game. 40K is a very complex game in terms of possible interactions with a dozen armies written against three different editions. Most gaming groups are only exposed to a small subset of those interactions. A lot of comp rules I see suffer from having big blind spots toward uncommon armies and builds. Take the one from Lafayette where they are requiring 4 Troops instead of 2. Older armies suffer from very poor troop choices. Forcing a Tau player to run extra troops hurts him a lot more than forcing a Marine player to run another tac squad. Of course that's assuming the motives of the TO are misguided and not malicious. Hypothetically the TO could think that Tau are overpowered and is trying to cripple what he thinks is a local players WAAC list.

This leads to my other gripe about comp in that it is exclusionary social engineering. There are these 'other' people who play 'differently' and something must be done about it. Comp rules favor local players, and hurt the guys from across town. All power rangers in our sandbox must be red, or you can't play here. Comp is meant to keep out WAACs, but is just as likely to hurt some random player's honest attempt at a 40k army list. Anybody who can build a good list to standard rules of 40k can also game any comp system, so it ends up that the only player who really gets hurt is the poor random scrub. In fact most comp systems can be gamed far worse than standard 40k. Oh, what joyful things can be done with a tournament that allows Dark Angels and Black Templars to have Codex Marine wargear!

5th edition makes comp redundant anyway. The newer codex's don't require as much FOC min/maxing and spamming to be competitive. It too easy for a Guard or Marine player to tip-toe around a comp system and still put a face smashingly brutal list on the table.


I would like to preface this by saying that I like to paint miniatures. I'm not the greatest at it, but the ability to build and paint a model and then do something with it was one of the things that drew me to the hobby. But painting requires two things to be good at: Time and Talent. Not everyone has those in spades. Plus painting injects a huge subjective blob into what should be a fairly objective affair. If you can't paint, and you want to win, people will just get their armies painted for them. This turns the painting competition into a how much money you can spend competition. I've always felt uneasy giving good painting scores to an army that was professional painted by someone other than the person playing it. There are also people who are physically incapable of painting small miniatures. How are we supposed to fit them into the hobby? Painting scores also skew the results towards veteran players. It takes time to fully paint an army to high standards, and it can take years to develop good painting skills. New players might have good tabletop skills, but are years away from fielding a pretty army.

I'm in support of minimum painting requirements, and separate painting competitions. I would also never turn away someone who had an unpainted army from a local tournament. Grand Tournaments are another matter entirely. I'm OK with them holding players to higher minimum requirements.

Painting and Comp are also contradictory. Painting an army takes a lot longer than it does to come up with some comp scoring system. You may not have the painted models to adjust your list to account for comp rules; forcing you to decide whether to take a comp hit or a painting hit in a tournament.


Like painting, I think of this as more of a requirement than something that should be scored. As Bill & Ted once said, "Be excellent to each other." I've becomes friends with many players where my first tournament experience against them was not pleasant. Sports scores are again skewed toward locals, and act as exclusionary social engineering. You accept the idiosyncrasies of people you are friends with more than those of complete strangers. Being friends with someone means the difference between, "That's just how Mike plays", and "What a WAAC jerk."

It's also another way for WAACs to abuse a system meant to protect us from them. People for the most part will act in their own self interest, and you are giving them a slip of paper that essentially says, "Check this box if you don't want your opponent to win the tournament."

It's the job of the TO to police bad behavior. It's up to the players to let the TO know when bad behavior is occurring. Cheating should not be tolerated.


Short conclusion: do it like the NOVA Open did. NOVA was structured as an event that tried to include people and promote a common community. This upcoming Lafayette tournament looks like the opposite. While I've seen worse tournament setups, it's not inclusive. It doesn't take into account that 5th edition 40k is a fairly balanced system. Some armies don't have as many tools, but any army can give a decent showing with a good player behind it. Giving some armies free upgrades, and hamstringing others does not help the game. The only people who benefit from a tournament like that are local players who are used to that particular home-brew 40k. Tournaments should be about stripping away the BS to determine who the best player is, not about adding another layer of crud to reinforce stereotypes.

While I have my own personal opinions about 40k and how it should be played (you just read through a whole post full of them), the only ones I adhere to are on the basis of inclusion. I don't think we should turn people away who have different opinions about the game. We should embrace systems that cater to as many people as possible. From what I've seen Nova was an event that accomplished that, and I think it is something that should be emulated whenever possible. I don't like tournaments that penalize people for not playing with their toy soldiers the 'right' way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Trying to Figure Out Macro-Photography

Here are some pics of some fire warriors I painted to test the color scheme for my upcoming Tau army.
I think they turned out pretty good. I still have to figure out how to do the bases. I need to get in the habit of doing the bases first, but I assembled these guys well over a year ago. Back then I was thinking of doing the bases as a winter theme, and those don't require much work. I ended up using the winter theme on my Eldar, so I'm thinking these guys will be getting urban bases.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hive Fleet Indy Escalation League (@G2D4)

Here's some basic information regarding an escalation league I will be running starting in January. The information is still early, so some of the dates mentioned are tentative. If you are interested let me know. Official signups won't start for a while, but I would like to get a rough estimate of interested players.

The escalation league will meet on the last Saturday of every month from January to August at G2D4. The league will cost 5 dollars a month.

There will be an initial meeting on 1/8/2011 to build lists and schedule purchases.

The goal of the league is to complete a new 2000 pt army. The first purchase will consists of an HQ and 1-2 troops costing up to 500 points. Every month you will add up to 250 points to your army total. Your monthly purchases don't have to conform to these point costs, but should try to match them as close as possible. The point cost represents the maximum amount of points that can be used in the companion campaign and how much of your army is expected to be painted.

Given that some armies cost more, and people probably are looking for something to do between now and January, you can enter the League with up to 500 points of your army already purchased. The rest of the army must be purchased through the escalation league.

All purchases for the league will be scheduled before hand and be available at the store on the day the league meets. Everyone's league fee's will be pooled together and there will be a drawing. All players in the league are eligible, and if their name is drawn the fees will be applied toward their purchase for the round. Any extra fee's will be carried dover to the next round. Any player can only win the drawing once, until all players have won the drawing at least once. You are required to make a purchase every month.

There is a two strike policy on missing league purchases. If you miss a purchase you have until next league match to buy it. If you haven't purchased it by then, your next purchase is not ordered. If you still haven't made the purchase by the second league day then you forfeit the order, and you will be ejected from the league. (I know this seams harsh, but we don't want the store to buy $500 of stock and not have $300 of it sell.)

The goal for the league is not just to buy a new army, but to also paint it. As a result, painted models in the league campaign gain the Art Snob special rule. Any model with the rule counts as having Favored Enemy: Unpainted Models. If the model already has favored enemy for the target unit type, then you also get to re-roll wounds. Models with Art Snob also count as having twin linked weapons when shooting at unpainted models. If a weapon is already twin linked, then you may also re-roll to wound.

To qualify as a painted model, it must be painted to a three color minimum and have a finished base.

More Details for the campaign league will follow. It will be a story/map based team campaign pitting the forces of order versus the forces of chaos.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010