I wish I played in Sweden…

I’ve been chatting with Neil Kerr (he of http://skcuzzlebumm.blogspot.co.uk/) about the Swedish tournament scene and tbh i’m green with envy.

Check out the results from a major recent event over there. If you click on the names their lists come up. Try clicking on the top 3, yes thats the 3 podium positions. Notice anything about their lists?

If you have any experience of the UK tournament scene then you will quickly spot what is so ‘strange’. That isn’t a little event btw, it’s not a 20 man local club event. It’s got 108 players. It’s comparative to, for the sake of arguement, Caledonian Uprising.Can you imagine those lists in the Uprising?

I can. It would be brutal. Whoever was using them, unless they were very good players, would just be blown away by every Tom, Dick and Harry with his copy and paste spam army.

So why is the Swedish tournament scene so vibrant whilst the UK scene is as dull as dishwater?

Well its not the system. Which leads to the players. The guys winning that event are top players make no mistake. They could comfortably come to England, play a spam list (or even their vibrant and original lists) and take home plenty of silverware. Trust me when i say that the players in England are not, generally, up to the standard of some of the top european nations. Sorry!

Those players are brave enough, confident enough and frankly good enough to take choices which appear ‘non optimised’ and do exceptionally well with them.

They are supported by a comp system which I really like. You can check it out here: swedish comp

Would I want every event run with that comp in place?

Well yes, but realistically no.

My gripe/concern/observation is that it wouldn’t take much to make the UK scene as vibrant as the Swedish (and other) tournament scenes. In my opinion too many events just spam out the same old rulespack, sometimes with minor tweaks (like pts sizes – 1,750 or 1,850 some people would have you believe its a life changing amendment. The reality? people just throw in another razorback or min sized squad. Yawn) and the same old crowd just pay their £30 or even £40 and spend the weekend with their guys facing eachother across a bowling green table rolling dice at eachother.

If some tournament organisors took the view that they would run an event with hard comp such as the Swedish comp whilst others ran events with no comp and some had plentiful soft scores whilst others had the bare minimum then there would be a greater variety in the UK scene. This would probably filter down to club nights as well. Who regularly goes to their club niights only to end up playing spam lists that they would play in tournaments?

Sometimes someone may want to try out an exciting new idea which generally just involves spamming a different unit from the codex to the usual choice. Woohoo.

Could the top players take the lead in encouraging diverse lists?

Yeah they could. Several of the top players are comfortably good enough to win with lists which aren’t just spam. Would they risk it? I doubt it.

As 5th edition draws to a close I hear more and more players saying this edition is stale, it’s got boring and we need a new edition to freshen things up. However, I have my doubts that 6th edition will make much of a difference. Sure it may inject a bit of enthusiasm for a while but at the end of the day it will take what, 6 months for players to break it?

Then it will be back to copy and paste spam lists and the feeling of staleness. Its the lists and the mentality of the players that needs to change not the edition of the game. Unfortunately I just can’t see it happening and so while people who, when they get old, will look back and wonder why did they place so much importance on pieces of tacky tin for pushing little model dudes around continue to have their way the UK will continue to have a boring tournament scene.

The 40k player in me wishes I lived in Sweden.



15 thoughts on “I wish I played in Sweden…

  1. Just to clarify something. The ‘RT-Komp’ which Alex linked to is one of the 2 main hard comp packs used in Sweden (tournaments vary on average between 30-60 comp points as the caps, but again some are higher or lower).

    The comp which was used at Gothcon, the event Alex linked to, was actually a sub-panel comp and did not make use of the RT-Komp. Full details of what the Gothcon comp was about and how it was to be scored etc can be found here: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=sv&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Ftok.sverok.net%2Fgothcon40k%2Findex.php%3Fpage%3Dkomp

    (it should come up with the English translation)

    Regarding the scores at Gothcon then, if you are looking at the results (again that Alex linked), then you will see with the maximum possible score being 20 and the minimum being 0, the majority of the players sit around the 10-12 mark (KOM = comp score). So the lists are fairly balanced and the way the comp ‘edits’ the game score is only minor most of the time (especially towards the final rounds when the majority of top table players had similar comp scores).

    But yes look at those lists, and then tell me you wouldn’t want to play in a tournament that in essence allows you to run whatever you want without consideration towards meta and spam and then really just see who is the best general regardless of bank balances or the like.

    (also for a laugh have a look at David Utter’s list – he came dead last…… got to love it!)

  2. Brave of you to say so Alex. I agree with your sentiments pretty much 100%. I think TOs want they’re events to be well attended and so cater for the masses. Unfortunately the masses are influenced by the lists they see the top players take, some of whom can’t paint for toffee and so complain about the inclusion of soft scores. Their reputation as good players results in their complaints being given undue credence and this filters down through the community, resulting in interesting and nice looking armies becoming rarer and rarer. Gone are the days of GWs early tournaments where they stated that it was a celebration of the hobby as a whole, not just the game. The competitive element has overtaken the hobby. There are many players at the Warriors who churn out an army of the latest codex, following the 3 colours minimum tournament requirement and leave it at that. Sometimes it saddens me that this is the case as for me the visual appeal of a well presented game, including both armies and terrain, is the main reason I play. Not enough to make me want to quit the hobby because overall I still love it but the occasions where this happens are becoming more and more infrequent. Hmmm, mini rant over.

  3. So now you have your flat Neil, when can we move in?
    You cannot fail to be a little envious of their tournament scene…it’s like everything you could ever ask for…..if only it could happen over here…..sigh.

  4. Alex, Of course you are correct. It’s the players who fear losing more than they desire challenging and interesting games. Hence the question is why do Swedish top players feel able to make the switch whilst top players here do not?

    I wish I knew. In fact one of the best players in the country spoke to me a couple of months ago about my teleporting warrior based Necron army. He said to me he would ‘love to try it but didn’t have the nerve’.

    I dont know the answer but I’m delighted you have come around to see the light. Now It’s about time I started on that Legion of the Damned army I’ve always wanted to do!

  5. @ Gary – well we don’t get the keys to the new place until June, and I am not moving out properly until after BotC (btw aren’t you guys coming this year?). But yeah we have a sofa, z-bed, and double inflatable matress for people to sleep on (all we are going to ask for people to pay their share of food as it is pricey and we are students).

    There is actually a big team event in November over here called BSK. 4 players a team, 50 teams (so 200 players) from all over Scandinavia. Always sells out fast and from what I have been told has the option of sleeping at the venue (it is in a town 1hr from Gothenburg)…. in fact if I am not mistaken Pierre attended this tournament a few years back so ask him what he thought of it.

    If you guys want to come over and play that is probably one of the best ways to do it (as everyone loves team tournaments).

    I’m trying to convince Gaz, Mikey and Chris to come over so we can introduce the Scandinavians to Flame On 😛

  6. What a great article with some very pertinent questions which I think the majority of the currently top “Ranked” UK players will avoid.
    Suffice to say that should a friendly neighbourhood Tournament Organiser AKA Timmaaa, etc. decide to adopt such a system I’d be more than a little interested in taking part.
    Now if we can only get TO’s to allow Forge World lists and toys it would really be a eutopia.
    I must say that Neil’s suggestion of trying the Swedish Team event sounds very tempting as despite travelling extensively throughout Europe I haven’t been to Sweden yet, plus the gaming of course!
    So what sort of costs would players be looking at for a weekends gaming in Sweden Neil and which would be the suggested method of travel?

    • There are tons of tournaments over here, it is almost as busy as the UK. But if you are coming from the UK you want to go to ones near Stockholm or Gothenburg for easy access by air.

      Taking Gothenburg as an example you can fly Ryanair from London Stanstead to Gothenburg for around £100 return. Or, again with Ryanair, from Manchester to Rygge (Norway) for about £80 return and then just get a bus (3hrs) for £20 to Gothenburg. Obviously all that is subject to booking in advance blah de blah de blah.

      Tournament entry is around £30-40 but it varies from event to event if that includes food (normally a buffet) or not.

      Otherwise everything, hotels etc, is typically about 30% more expensive here than the UK. But you can still find really cheap deals if you look early enough.

      Only killer is alcohol. From the state-run off-licence (there are no others) beer is about the same as the UK supermarkets – but no special offers. In bars you are looking at £4-£7 for a beer, spirits are CRAZY expensive and so don’t ask.

      What else would you like to know?

      BSK (team event in Nov) or Stockholm Spelkonvent (singles in Sept) are probably the first ones I will be going to once I have moved here. There is another I will go to end of Aug but it is in Luleå which is just south of the Arctic circle and not that easy to get to from the UK.

      I can post or send people details of the tournaments, format, comp (or not), price, etc. etc., as an when they get published here if you want?

      • Thanks Neil, that’s a great little insight. Are there any Ferries running to Sweden from the UK at all? And if so are they economical, etc? Or would it be a case of by the time we arrived we’d need to be setting off again?

  7. Not any passenger ferry’s. They used to (Newcastle – Fredrickshave (Norway) – Gothenburg) but they stopped it a few years ago (and it took @ 24hrs).

    Easyjet, Ryanair and Norwegian are the 3 main budget airlines that fly from the UK. Otherwise BMI, BA & SAS for the ‘main-line’ companies.

  8. It is interesting that you have said that the top players in the UK are not up to the standard of the top players on the continent. I would be interested to know on what criteria/evidence you base that assesment on?

    Having just come back from the Poland Team Competition (which given poland’s sucess at the ETC would indicate that they have some top players in Europe) I didn’t feel that the Polish players we faced were any better than those here in England especially considering that we went over played in their meta game with their terrain and won each round and the tounament.

    In my oppinion the lists used in that Sweedish Competition referenced are purely down to the comp restrictions, if a similar comp were to be used in a comptition in the UK we would get a similar variety of lists. I feel that the main reason why comp’d tournaments in the UK appear to have failed is that they do not tend to have the same attention to detail and thus the “restrictions” have been easily been gotten around.

    • I kind of expected that post given the recent success in Poland.

      Whilst it is obviously a very good result i would say that one swallow does not make a summer.

      I judge it on my observations. I’ve always said i think our elite players are the equal of anywhere (You, Josh, Alex F) but that we fall down on strength in depth. I don’t think our second stepdown from the elite players, players who most people would consider amongst the top in the country and who regularly challenge for silverware/top 5 or 10 places, are as good as other countries. Maybe the ETC this year will prove me wrong and we will podium but we will see won’t we.

      • Ignoring the fact that we almost saw silverware last year at the ETC I can’t help think that having the (main land) UK tournamernt scene represented by three teams diminishes our chances of success.

        To go back to your original points though Alex, while I may not agree that European Players are better than those in the UK I do agree that the UK scene does has a stagnant feel about it and I would love to try a tournament with the Sweedish Comp.

  9. Allen,

    A GB team would be good for sure and better than the seperate nations individually i think. Whether it will ever happen unless forced is debatable though.

    Out of interest, do you think 6th ed will change anything really?

    I can kind of see it taking 6 months to crack and then spam armies coming back out to play.

    I would love some proper comp tournies in the UK just for variety really. I think it would make the uncomped events better as well as they would be less stale.

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