Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tournaments and Terrain

Terrain has always been an issue since I can remember when I started playing 40k. If it was stacking up soda cans, books, and plates we put on the kitchen table for our 500 point armies to playing at the Railhead Rumble with giant pieces of line of blocking terrain, its always been a point of contention.

Sixth edition has brought a whole new mess on top of the issues we were dealing with back in 5th edition (I talk about it as if I was reminiscing a time decades ago...) with the addition of fortifications, 5+ cover saves, focus fire, and pre-measuring. We never got to the ideal terrain setup for standard play or tournament, it was a project the whole 40k community participated in from complaining about FLGS barren tables to 5 pieces of LOS blocking terrain at NOVA. We were close to achieving a goal of defining balance terrain till we get hit with this new edition.

I haven't been too vocal about it on the podcast but I'm really disappointed by the reaction that a lot of the major tournaments are having about the new rule set. There was a lot of support previously in 5th that really support playing with full set of rules or incorporating them on higher scale, like Bay Area Open embraced with their missions format. But the stark amount of unanimous apprehension for the biggest game changing rules in 6th are flat-out being ignored. And the more irritating side of it is that most of those new rules are inconsistently allowed on a national level. It used to be an argument for Forge World or no? Or comp or no comp? But now were flat out BANNING rules just because were scared of imbalances we didn't perceive.

I've said since I first read through the 6th edition book, "this rule set is going to be so fun, but an absolute nightmare for tournament play." and predictions have reached fruition. No one can agree on a points level cause the game takes much longer, especially with all the added complication. Fortifications are either allowed or banned, and some of them are in between. There's a dissenting opinion about fliers to which tournament formats make them viable or not. Allies, missions, terrain (Mysterious and LOS), double force organization; all of which are under contention.

So how are we going to adjust terrain with all this craziness going on? There's no tournament standard at the moment. And if you make an all comers list using the 6th edition rules, it might not be "legal" anywhere you go! Its a crazy time for 40k, and crazier for tournament organizers. Being on the Heroic 28's podcast enables me to experience the "behinds the scenes" look at TO's perspective on what makes a balanced tournament. It's an interesting side of the coin being on the staff instead of a player come 2013. So the challenge is to adapt to the new rules, still add variety and tactical options, but all the while keeping the game balanced for both players, regardless of what they bring, throughout.

Ruins are powerful compared to other terrain pieces because of the improved cover save, the multiple levels, and vantage points they can give a player. Fortifications give armies new tools and enable new builds. Mysterious terrain allows for some unexpected surprises and chance to seize tactical opportunities with some risks. And good coverage of area and LOS blocking terrain to keep armies on their toes to flex their strengths.

Well see how things turn out in the coming months especially with Feast of Blades around the corner.
And hopefully we can get your opinion on what you think makes tournament acceptable terrain!

Also be sure to follow me on twitter @FumanchuSarat. Tweet me questions or ideas, love to discuss this with our listeners!

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