Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tournament Theory Deep Dive - "Total War" Mission, Playtesting

Hey guys.

My gaming club, the Dead Body Crew, is trying to put together a kind of tournament scenario library for use in local tournaments. The first missions which will be inducted into this library will be the NOVA missions, for reasons which are obvious to most.

Side Note:  I think there are a variety of ways to build missions/scenarios which are balanced and interesting. What I think is REALLY challenging is coming up with a fourth deployment type which is balanced and yet substantively different from the three standard deployments. Maybe it's not something to even mess with. Bad deployment types are a terrifically unbalancing element, and I have seen some really terrible ones out there. Food for thought.
End side note.

But there are other worthy scenarios out there. Or at least worthy of looking closely at. This scenario was introduced to me by my buddy Euclid while we were in North Carolina. It is the scenario that his FLGS uses (Euclid, I can't remember the name of the shop but I would be happy to give them some link action if you remind me).

This scenario is, in my mind, very good. The genius of this scenario is that it uses the standard 5th edition book missions that everyone knows so well, and puts them together in such a way that they are far, far more balanced than normal.

It allows multiple paths to victory, which is a requirement, I think, to allowing a variety of army "styles" to be competitive. This is a good thing.

I don't know who the original creator of this mission is, unfortunately, but I can clearly repeat that this is NOT my original creation. Also, I don't know of any particular title for this mission, so I have been calling it "Total War," because it incorporates an "all fronts" approach to defeating your enemy.

Here is the mission, reposted from our local forums:

Here's the mission:


Can use any of the three standard book deployment types (Dawn of War, Pitched Battle, Spearhead).


5 Objectives in two groups, one group of three and one group of two. You need to be able to tell the two groups apart. Red and Black Poker Chips work well for this. Alternately you can have one player supply two of their objectives and the other player supply three. The group of two Objectives are "Capture and Control" objectives, the group of three objectives are "Seize Ground" Objectives.


Each player dices off for first turn as normal. The player who wins elects to go first or second. Whichever player is going first selects their deployment zone as normal for the deployment type. They then deploy their "Capture and Control" objective per the guidelines in the book (in their deployment zone). The second player then deploys his "Capture and Control" objective in his deployment zone. The first player then deploys a "Seize Ground" Objective following the normal rules for deploying such objectives (Cannot be closer than 12" from any board edge or from any other Objective, including the deployed "Capture and Control Objectives." The second player places his "Seize Ground" Objective, and the first player then deploys the final "Seize Ground" Objective.

The end result is that you should have 2 Cap and Control Objectives and 3 Seize Ground Objectives on the table. The first player then deploys as normal for the deployment type, the second player deploys, Seize the Initiative is rolled for (if desired) and the game begins. All normal special rules and deployment types (Deep Strike, Outflank, Infiltrate, Scouts, etc.) are in play. Likewise all codex specific deployment rules or restrictions are in play (looking at you, Chaos Daemons! .

Victory Conditions:

All three Book Missions are in play - Capture and Control, Seize Ground and Kill Points. The winner must win MORE of these missions than his opponent. A tie on goes to Victory Points.

As an Example, if I hold my Capture and Control Objective, and contest my opponent's, I win this mission regardless of the situation with the Seize Ground Objectives. Likewise, Having more of the Seize Ground objectives than my opponent would win that mission, regardless of the situation with the Capture and Control objectives. Finally, Kill Points are scored as normal, with the winner of that mission having earned more Kill Points than his opponent.

At the end of the game, if one player is winning two or more of the Missions, they win the game. Likewise, if one player is winning one Mission and the players are tied on the other two, the player winning one Mission wins the game. If both players are winning on one Mission and tied on the third, or if all three missions are tied, then the players go to a Victory Point count to determine a winner (note that, if the tournament is designed as a "Win/Loss/Draw" format, the Victory Point tiebreaker can be ignored.

This is not written up the way it would be in a tourney packet necessarily, it may need some edits and it's somewhat informal. I would appreciate input both on any needed clarifications/edits as well as on playability/balance. I am particularly interested to hear whether anyone feels that this particularly advantages/disadvantages particular armies.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I look forward to your feedback. I just got a game in with this mission against a local, Six-Deuce last night, and really thought it made for an interesting and tactical play environment, and a really fun, close game.