The future of tournaments?

This weekend saw some discussion on the future of the UK tournament scene.

It seems to me that we are fast approaching a bit of a crossroads and that the tournament scene is going to look very different in the future.

We have 2 camps…

The guys who want to play the game ‘as is’ with no restrictions.

And the guys who want restrictions in place to encourage balanced varied armies.

Neither approach is right or wrong but what is pretty clear is that the two aren’t really compatible.

No surprise there right?

But this presents a bit of a problem for the tournament scene as we know it.

Essentially events are now getting half the entrants they would normally because they only appeal to one of the two camps.

So instead of events with 30 to 40 players we have events with 10 to 20 players.

So how are things going to progress?

I think, for the fluff bunnies, the future of events is going to be smaller events that are almost invitation only.

There will be a core of 20 or so players who want to play ‘restricted’ and regular events will be put on for them to game in a laid back atmosphere, probably with 10-15 attendees.

Trophies will be drastically cut back if not got rid of totally.

Event organisers will be able to play in the event as A) it will be more laid back and B) the smaller size means less tournament admin.

Comp will be in place, either highlander or restricted access style. Maybe a mix of both, varying from event to event.

To be honest that sounds good to me. The CSM get together we had recently was brilliant and this weekend was very much in the same vein.

Those two events I’ve enjoyed so much more than a lot events I’ve been to previously. Much more laid back but the games have been so tactical, or rather more tactical in the style I like to play, due to the restrictions in place that you have to really focus to win the game.

I just can’t see events in the future where the ‘as is’ crowd and the fluff bunny crowd play in the same field. The two are just so extreme ends of the scale that a schism seems inevitable and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing I don’t think.

What are your thoughts?

How do you see events going in the future?




2 thoughts on “The future of tournaments?

  1. I think it would be nice to have events that cater for both like the Ribble Rumble. The two factions might not want to play against each other in such uneven games, but we all get on away from the table and events are as much about the social side as they are about the games.
    Having played at the Warrior Abroad Highlander event this weekend (and had a great time), ideas have started to develop about ways to bring more balance to 7th.
    I’m not against allies in 40k, but I’m of the firm opinion that Battle Brothers have no place in any kind of competitive event, just peg them back to Allies of convenience.
    Highlander can be too restrictive for some people, so I’d look at merging Highlander with Restricted Access. Something like filling all ‘Elite’, ‘Fast Attack’ and ‘Heavy Support’ before a second slot can be taken. For Troops I would allow duplicates to be taken but their transports cannot be duplicated with the same troop choice. E.G. a Grey Hunter Squad with Drop Pod, A Grey Hunter Squad with Rhino, a Grey Hunter Squad with Razorback & a Blood Claw Squad with Drop Pod. would be fine. This would allow for more theme, but still limit scoring Drop Pods, scoring Wave Serpents, etc.
    I also think that the missions can be an integral part in encouraging a more balanced approach. Using three Eternal War Missions and three (2 in a 5 game tourney) Maelstrom Missions would help. For the Eternal War I would include ‘kill points’ to balance out the MSU effect that Maelstrom encourages.

    It’s early days yet, and I’ll see how things develop, but I’ll be giving a wide berth to any tournament that allows Battle Brothers without some form of comp for the foreseeable future.

  2. All good points.

    I don’t quite see the back ground as Alex suggests. The fluff bunnies as he calls them might still be keen to play competitively if their armies were competitive. I think the issue really is the Allies table, as Gary pointed out, and the inherent imbalance between the codexs. No matter what comp you put on it the Chaos Marine codex is not competitive. We must be careful not to base all our assumptions on the Chaos marine codex.

    Having said that, I agree that ‘Allies’ has been a disaster. When once each codex had its strengths and weaknesses and we really could blame the authors for an imbalanced codex, today there is no reason for any codex to be noncompetitive with factions, detachments and allies. The issue becomes do players want to dilute the theme of their army to win events? This is the crux of the fluffyness debate.

    Personally, I think most of the chaps I play with want their armies to be ‘themed’ not crippled. They want their army to be recognizably Chaos Marine, or Eldar, or Astra Militarum, but if they want to win at events they MUST add in Tau, or Marines or Eldar or daemons. personally I think that Allies should be banned altogether and armies generated from a single codex.

    This doesn’t solve the imbalance problem but it removes one of the complicating factors. So now all we need to deal with is codex imbalance. How? there are a number of ways:

    1. Ignore it completely and hold tournaments where winners are the winner within their own codex so each codex has a champion. If everyone turns up with Eldar then only one wins. Would this ultimately make players use less popular codexs?
    2. Subjective composition. A ‘wise five’ decide if lists are presented in the ‘right’ ethos given the type of event the TO is holding. This could range from ‘open’ so bring any thing, to fluffy where you must fit in with the TO’s version of the 40K universe.
    3. Objective composition is a third option but this provides yet another set of rules to try and break.
    4. Invitationals, with a twist. Generate an event for twenty players. Publicise it and ask for lists to be submitted. ONLY invite those with acceptable lists up to the maximum. Players should therefore work very hard to produce ‘;careful’ lists if they want in and may even under power their lists to ensure entry to the event.

    There are more but I’m tiring now!

    These are all ways to manipulate the event because TO’s cannot really do much about the rules. or can they? Should we be thinking about amending the rules themselves? The danger is in an effort to make everything more equal we will destroy the flavour of the different races.

    On reflection I have realised more questions than answers. However, I agree that Allies should never be used. I’m not so sure about preventing the MSU style in Maelstrom games. I agree if all the scenarios are Maelstrom as players will use MSU armies, but if only two out of five games use the Maelstrom scenarios I think it makes the army list building more interesting to make them choose between MSU and a more regular build.

    In the end this is about market size for tournaments. There is no doubt that different types of tournament are developing to suit a varying need from differing players. GW have driven this by allowing players to customise their lists more and more. However this means that events are getting smaller and more exclusive. The irony of this is that it actually means there are less events than there might be as players choose more carefully what to attend and smaller events become non viable.

    Like the Author and Gary I prefer more relaxed events where the players voluntarily use non maximised armies, but I also miss the days when we could go to an event of 200 players, meet new people, see different unit combinations and enjoy a reasonably balanced event. GW stress the narrative aspect of the game for a reason. 40K is not a competitive game and is not balanced, fair, or enjoyable at top end competitive play. it is enjoyable if played for fun and then balance doesn’t matter but this only takes place in between friends in the comfort of their own home.

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