The bar has been reopened!
Tournaments are a very interesting and popular way to play Warhammer, giving an individual the opportunity to play games against players from around the country or to try out different format. The tournament might be fun, but the organisers often find a need to change how the game is played. These changes come in the form of restrictions, such as ‘no double rare choices’, ‘maximum of 12 power dice per magic phase’ or they might be the outright banning of certain items (‘no power scroll’). Many tournaments come out with large rules packs full of restrictions, others have none at all.
The question is how do you feel about comp’ed tournaments? Do you view these restrictions as important to balance out the game, or are they just a pointless dumbing down of the rules? What do you like or dislike about these comp’ed tournaments? What are your experience with them?
I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage here, as I still haven’t had a chance to play in a tournament with the new rule edition.
But so far, playing games of Warhammer, I have been left with the impression that this edition of Warhammer was made with tournaments specifically not in mind. The whole tone of the book and the rules seems to be ‘fun first, rules second’. Not that I think this is bad, far from it. I always prefer a fun game to an unenjoyable one. But certainly this doesn’t lend itself to a highly competitive environment.
With this in mind, it seems only fair for tournament organisers to be able to put restrictions and rules changes into their games. In an ideal world this wouldn’t have to be done, and we could all play the game as-is on equal footing, but that just isn’t the case. While this theoretically provides an equal footing, it also creates its own unique set of problems. For example, you can’t just attend a tournament with ‘out-of-the-box’ knowledge, you have to read and understand a players pack.
My major concern has always been, at what point does the game stop being Warhammer and start being something else entirely? If 10% of the rules are changed, is that still Warhammer. What if it was 50%? 80%? At what point does the title ‘Warhammer tournament’ not accurately describe the proceedings? I have no answer, but it is something that has long weighed on my mind.
In the end though, it is unavoidable that restrictions and alterations will be made. As always, it is up to the tournament organisers to use their best judgement, and for players to just roll with the punches.
The idea of a long weekend is always so attractive. Until it actually happens, and there are places you have to go, people you have to see. And spending money on gifts! Even chocolate eggs. Aargh!
Most of my weekend was spend firmly entrenched in these things. Much to me ire. Not that I don’t like my family, but time to spend painting can be so hard to find.
I did trek into the city on Sunday, though, and team up with Brad in a Warmachine tournament. It was a veterans and noobs tournament, so I was the noob to Brad’s veteran. This gave me a chance to try out my new Cryx and see how they perform on the tabletop. My counterpart decided to go with Khador.
We didn’t do too badly, coming out with a loss, a win and a draw. I’m starting to get the hang of what I am supposed to be doing, even if I am not completely across how to do it. Like Warhammer it is a game about manoeuvering. Not of your troops though, but of your abilities and attacks. Like I said, I can see what the game is asking of me, I just have yet to understand how to deliver what it wants.
Finally the Clanrats are nearing completion. I just have to finish highlighting the cloth, and then highlight the flesh. After this, use Flesh Wash to make rust patches, and they are all done! About time.
Once these guys are through, I can start on my Jezzails and Globadiers. I also have to go back and detail the other converted Clanrats a bit more, as well as add rust to the Doomwheel. These are not massively urgent jobs, though.
Gobbocon is coming up this weekend, but unfortunately I can’t attend. Which I am a bit disappointed about, but them’s the breaks. I have also agreed to partner with Brad at a Warmachine tournament. Luckily it is a ‘Veteran and Noob’ tournament, where a Veteran player and a Noob player get teamed together. Of course, I am the Noob player. That is on Easter Sunday, so there is still some time for us to put a list together and hopefully belt out a couple of trial games.
Border Princes Teaparty was yesterday. And I didn’t do well. Ha! That’s an understatment. I did shockingly.
My first battle was against Ben and his lizardmen. I decided to weight my left flank, as this area of the board was more open than the rest, allowing me some more maneuverability. My right flank was left pretty much to a single unit of 25 slaves. It must be said, they did fantastically, protecting the flank from Skinks, Razordons and Terradons.
I think I did fairly well in this game. Though I ended up losing, it wasn’t by much. The Skinks and swarms were no problems, but breaking though the units of Temple Guard and Saurases proved almost impossible. The Globadiers occupied the central building quite early, and this gave them three turns of uninterrupted shooting, during which they wiped out a skink unit trying to flank me.
Really, I wouldn’t change much from this game. What let me down were important dice rolls. On more than one occasion my Warplightning Cannon landed a shot right on top of the Slann, only to roll no strength for the shot. The Jezzails also let me down, having two turns of close range shooting on the Stegadon and failing to take it out. Overall, though, it was a good game that was really fun to play.
My next game was against Jason and his Beastmen amy. The objective in this game was to be holding the building in the last turn of the game. Our battle field had a river through the centre, with woods on either side near the middle. This meant that the centre area was difficult to get through, and I only committed the Giant Rats unit to the entire centres defence. On the right flank I put the Jezzails and slaves, facing off against a Chariot, Minotaurs and Hounds.
The Beastmen had me on the defencive from the start, with two units showing up in my deployment zone in the first turn. This proved difficult for my right flank, but a shot from a Warpfire Thrower kept the one on the left at bay. By the second turn Jason had occupied the building with a sizable Gor herd. I had placed my Clanrat unit with the Screaming Bell across the only ford in the river, making it difficult for Jason to shift me.
For most of the battle we just sat on the river, constantly in melee combat. My Globadier tried to remove the Gors from the building with shooting, instead managing to destroy themselves with a disastrous shot of a Death Globe. My Stormvermin fared little better as they tried to beat back a single chariot and assault the building.
Jason was pretty much primed for a win, the house being worth 300 points, but on the last turn I managed to roll the building destroying bell toll. The Screaming Bell was only just within 18 inches, and it took the building down in a shower of rubble. This event not only deprived Jason of the 300 points, but gave me half points for the Gor unit inside the building along with his Battle Standard Bearer.
So it was a win for me, but really only by the luckiest of events.
My third game was against Andrew and his Warriors of Chaos. And yes, in typical fashion I totally forgot to take a picture.
His army was mainly cavalry, backed up by two medium sized blocks of warriors and three mounted sorcerers. In this game, I got totally thrashed. I managed to miscast in the first turn, giving Andrew a free spell. He cast some terrible thing on the Screaming Bell, managing to make all the hits against the carriage and destroying it totally. From here things went from bad to worse. Using Pandemonium he cut off my spell casting ability and quickly closed on my army. Without it’s Unbreakable centre, and thanks to some appalling rolling, the Skaven line quickly become overrun.
In fact, I did almost as much damage to myself as Andrew did, with multiple Ratling Gun misfires culling whole units of my own troops and things generally exploding at every opportunity. This really was the eye of the storm for everything going wrong.
So in the end, my meager middle-of-the-road placing became second from the bottom thanks to one terrible game. But that is what the Skaven army is for, self-destruction and chaos.
I did have fun, and got to play some good armies and players. This also gave me an idea on what I should be adding to my army, or using less of. Surely no one would have a problem with two Doomwheels?
Just a quick one today. My mind is elsewhere, so constructing the usual gripping and informative Warhammer piece is going to be difficult. We have put offers in on two houses. It is quite nerve-wracking, saying you will spend so much money.
So Dogs Breakfast went well. Went well, as in, I arrived, played and left in good order. Not went well as in, placed well. In fact, I placed 24th of 26 places.
I am happy with that result, though. It seems fair enough given I hadn’t really used the new army at all and had no idea what units would work well against what enemies. Certainly a learning experience.
The Doomwheels performance was exceptional. I was kind of expecting it to be all style and no substance, but it really held its own. The warplightning bolts it fires are pathetic against infantry, but deadly against monsters, machines and chariots. In fact, against Warriors of Chaos, the Doomwheel managed to destroy three chariots in a single shooting phase.
It also has to be said, slaves are as surprising as ever. One unit of 25 slaves held up two giants for three turns, while in another game 25 slaves broke a giant and ran it down. Ouch!
The basic impression I have been left with now is that I need more troops. The units of 25 Plague Monks and Stormvermin needs to be a minimum of 30, maybe even 35. I was having real trouble against large ranked units, especially when facing off against the Tomb Kings. They just keep coming back!
As for Dogs Breakfast itself, I can’t fault it. It was run smoothly and without fuss, and was really fun. What more can you ask for, really?
Tomorrow is Dogs Breakfast, and I almost reached my goal. Almost.
Slaves are finished. Clanrats are painted to a bare tabletop standard. Giant Rats are painted. Doomwheel is also painted to a bare minimum.
Nine Globadiers have been converted but are unpainted. Five Jezzails are unpainted also. At least these have base coats on them. The new plastic Screaming Bell hasn’t been released yet, and I have had to temporarily glue my old metal bell together. Bare metal. Shocking.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I don’t think I’ll get best painted army.
Wow. I mean, wow. It has been a hectic couple of days. I meant to update days ago with Plague Monk progress, but something came up that drew my attention.
The local paper arrived the other day, and opening to the Real Estate section yielded a picture of where I currently live. Apparently for sale. Hmm, surely I would have heard about this prior to its submission to the paper. A call to the land lord later and the mess is cleared up, sort of. It isn’t supposed to be in the paper, they aren’t selling the property. Yet. They might. Or might not. They aren’t sure.
At least we haven’t been forced to live in a cardboard box quite yet!
Onto the Warhammer.
These are from a couple of days ago. Mithril Silver has been applied to all the metallic areas, save for the welders face plate. Shortly after taking this picture I applied a Devlan Mud was to all skin areas, and a Bedab Black wash to all the other areas.
Today I finished them off. Dheneb Stone was applied to the robes and a drybrush of Vermin Fur was done on any fur. Flesh Wash was used to create rust stains on the metal. Elf Flesh was used to highlight the skin. I then did another Bedab Black wash over the robes, using Dheneb Stone to highlight when it was dry. The hoods were highlighted with Rotting Flesh, and I used Emerald Green and Amethyst Purple on the warpstone and cabling.
A closer look at how the paint scheme was achieved. I still have the standard bearer to do, but he is a bit off balance still. I have to find a way to weight the rear of his base a bit more so he doesn’t go head first into the ground.
And this is the Plague Monks/Mechanics unit filler, the ‘welder’.
Now I have thirty-two slaves to paint. I signed up for Dogs Breakfast, a tournament in a couple of weeks. I would like to take my skaven, but I’ll have to see what kind of a list I can build in the new book with the guys I have. If all else fails, I’ll break out the Bretonnians!
Brad stayed around last night, as it was easier than him driving down from a world away to get to Border Princes Teaparty, so I helped him finish painting some High Elf White Lions and Spearelves to a tabletop standard. It was interesting, I’ve never really painted elves before. But on to the tournament!
My first battle was against Aubruy and his Vampire Counts. I think in any other circumstance I could have given him a closer run for his money, but the terrain layout on the board we got hamstrung me a bit. The placement of the castle terrain meant that is was almost impossible for me to get in any kind of flanking force. With the large blocks of ghouls he had, I really needed to get a flank attack in there to bring down his static combat resolution and help me destroy his units quicker.
As it was, inability to maneuver, plus Aubruy’s small quickfire Invocation casts and multiple Van Hels undid me pretty quickly. When on more open ground my knights easily destroyed a unit of wolves and skeletons in almost a single turn.
Don’t get me wrong, he was a good general. Raising in the right units, not waisting troops needlessly. But I think on a more open battlefield he would have had a much harder time. As it was, he managed to beat me quite convincingly. Until next time!
Next up was Andrew and his High Elf force. I’m pretty familiar with High Elves, as I have played against Brad’s. But Andrew’s army was a lot different to what Brad usually takes.
Like Brad, he has archers, spearelves, Silver Helms, Swordmasters and an eagle. All these familiar troops I had no problem with. He also has 2 Lion Chariots and Phoenix Guard, troops I have not faced before. It’s interesting facing elves with Fear causing troops. To top it all off, he also had two Bolt Throwers. And he managed to hit with both more often than not!
Basically, in this battle, I was absolutely trounced. Bad rolling on my part played a big party, but Andrew did have a good handle on what his army was good at. He used the eagle to redirecting perfection, and like most, assumed that his massed blocks of Always Strike First Spearelves could stand up to a combined charge of Knights of the Realm and Questing Knights. Two mid sized knight units in a combined is my signature move buddy. No one stands before that. No one.
Somehow his two Bolt Throwers managed to wipe out all my Grail Knights in the first two turns. What the hell! Brad obviously needs to go back to Bolt Thrower firing school, as this guy was just making hits like it was no big deal. I tried to use Assault of Stone to take care of them, but the elven magic was far too strong and just blocked me at every attempt.
So yes, in the end I lost by a lot. I didn’t really make many mistakes in this battle, there was just a lot of unlucky occurrences on my end that I had to deal with.
Last game was against Jason and his Warriors of Chaos. I believe Jason is Andrew’s father too. There you go.
Where as everything was going wrong in the last couple of games, everything just went right in this one. I was able to choose my deployment side, opting for the side with a hill to put my archers on. The battlefield was basically a river down the centre with three bridges to cross. I set up the Grail Pilgrims to guard on bridge, the Men-at-arms with the Damsel to defend another, and sent the majority of my cavalry over the third.
My plan was to divide Jason’s army up, as I doubted I could withstand progressive charges by blocks of Chaos Knights and Warriors. He took the bait, sending three units to deal with the Men-at-arms and Pilgrims, while lining the rest of his army up to accept multiple knight charges. With combined charge after combined charge his force just folded like a cheap lawn chair.
He had the right idea, baiting my knights with Marauder Horsemen, but put his Chaos Knights way too close behind them. When the Marauders fled a charge, the two units of knight could just redirect straight into the Chaos Knights. Personally, I think Jason’s main problem was that he has what I like to call ‘Craig Syndrome’. Like my brother Craig, he largely believes that Warhammer is a game of moving guys into combat and hitting stuff, rather than it being a game of movement. This misunderstanding of the game, and movement rules, led to a lot of his woes I think.
If he keeps at it, I think he’ll eventually get the hang of it and start to do better in a competitive environment.
As it was, I have no idea how well I did overall at the tournament. I went home with one of the consolation prizes, so “particularly poorly” comes to mind. I did get a blister pack of Dark Elf Executioners. I wasn’t too sure what I would do with them, but I showed them to Linda and she wants to paint them. So that seems fair enough, methinks.
So for the last few weeks I have been sitting around, safe in the knowledge that I am prepared for Border Princes Teaparty. A conversation with Brad led me to looking at the tournament pack again, which reveals I need 3 extra models to use as ‘messengers’ as well as one to use as an extra standard.
This was all fine, I thought. I have a man-at-arms banner bearer I’m not using, I can use that. Except I realise today also, the army I am intending to field is 2200 points, and not the 2500 the tournament requires. Dammit!
One army list rewrite later, and I am still down one standard bearer. I think I can pull a swifty and use the standard bearer/icon guy I put together (but never use) for the Peasant Bowmen unit. Probably put him into one of the Men-at-arms units or something.
So here is the new list.
Bretonnian Lord: Virtue of the Joust, Heartwood Lance
Paladin Battle Standard Bearer: Virtue of Discipline, War Banner
Paladin: Great Weapon, Questing Vow, Virtue of Knightly Temper
Damsel of the Lady: Magic Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Icon of Quenelles
5 Grail Knights: Standard, Musician
8 Questing Knights: Standard, Musician
3 Pegasus Knights
7 Knights of the Realm: Standard, Musician
9 Knights of the Realm: Standard, Musician
6 Knights Errant: Standard, Musician
20 Battle Pilgrims
19 Men-at-Arms: Standard, Musician
20 Men-at-Arms: Standard, Musician
5 Mounted Yeomen
10 Peasant Bowmen Skirmishers
10 Peasant Bowmen
I was thinking about wedging the Hippogryph into there, but decided against it. I haven’t really had much practise with the thing, and I would like to avoid throwing around something so large and scary. Especially when I am so unfamiliar with how it works.
Oh, and the list comes to exactly 2500 points. Nice.
I meant to do some painting this weekend, but instead only got around to plotting Warprail Stations onto a map of the UnderEmpire.
Doing this seems like a waste of time, but it has actually helped a lot. Just plotting these stations has given me a better understanding of why Morkskittar has given Trask a lifeline, and why the ‘booming voice’ was so pissed off. It has also changed the story a bit.
Rather than Clan Vestren being in charge of a station, they are now in charge of a work camp. Since the Warprail is a fairly new invention, I didn’t want to just spam the Warhammer world with Warprail tracks. I’ve worked through and thought about where Skryre and the Council would want this transport device first, and why. And also, what kind of fallout from other clans there would be that would determine where and when other tracks and stations were built.
Hell, I had to do something during Earth Hour.
Border Princes Teaparty is this weekend, so I still have to make up a 2500 Bretonnian list. I might just do a variation on my Winds of Magic list, but I have the Teaparty tournament pack to check my list against. This will be my first tournament where you get different points for composition based on this list of criteria. Most of which seems to be totally subjective, which I hate. Isn’t Warhammer already innately balanced?
I know a lot of people complain about ‘power creep’ and all that, but I think 99% of the time this is just a storm in a teacup. I heard a lot of these arguments about Skaven and Bretonnians before all these redone ‘power creep’ armies came out.
“Skaven have an auto-hitting gun!”
“Bretonnian lances are impossibly hard!”
“Warplightening is too powerful!”
“Those armour saves and ward saves together are too much!”
Geez, get a friggn grip. What are you, a bunch of women? Man up.
The auto-hitting gun you cry about is also unreliably random, and easy to destroy. The lance formation has it’s bonuses, but falls flat in protracted combats. Warplightening is a magic spell, course it’s deadly! Those armour saves coupled with the ward saves is fairly confronting, but take another tack. Terror, fear, knights only have a piddling leadership, so take advantage. Multi-wound enemies are also a bane for them, as are troops that don’t break.
Cry me a river, you Warhammer light-weights.