Monday, January 31, 2011

Thoughts on Tournament Formats

Ok - so over the past year or so there has been a lot of discussion on how to change tournament formats. A few thoughts on this topic.
Historically, 40K tournaments had been a points based affair. You would get points for how well you performed in a game (battle), how enjoyable of a player you were (sportsmanship), and how well your army looked and was painted (painting). Your total points were added up and that determined the overall rankings at the end. Those with the best painting score could win a best painted, the best sportsmen could win an award. The person with the most battle points could win Best General.
But at least a portion of the overall gaming community was unhappy. With the above format, a person could lose a game, but still win the best overall. It didnt' separate the BEST player. You could get as many points for painting your stuff well as you did for crushing an opponent in a game. You could get "chipmunked" on your sportsmanship because someone didn't like the fact that you beat them. So - from that arose a format that was dubbed the "Nova-Format" (from the Nova Open - the first tournament to use it). While painting and sportsmanship were still involved -the overall was now decided by who could win their way to the title. Only those winning all their games would play in the finals. The winner would be undefeated.
So - my thoughts on the two formats.
Historical format:
Pro's - To win you had to be compentent in all areas of the hobby. You had to be nice to people and be a good sports. You also had to win or do well in your games. Losing your first game didn't put you out of the running for the overall. As long as you could get points along the way - you could be competitive. Battle points weren't everything - Painting, Sportsmanship, Best General - all were equal categories.
Con's - It was possible to game the system somewhat to get good sportsmanship scores (although I still see the problem with being nice to people even if it's just for a game), chipmunk scores (the dreaded bad sports score - which I think was usually deserved even if the recipient didn't realize it - and don't think it happened all that often), and painting was subjective (you could hire a pro to paint your army and thus increase your chances for the overall).
"NOVA" Format
Pro's - It's all about the win - forget that soft and fuzzy stuff. There are still prizes given out for it - but it's all about who wins the overall. The true winner is the person who can win 6 games without a loss. There can be only ONE!
Con's - Lose your first game - you are done. There is no seating for pairings - just random matchup. Two top players get paired at the beginning - someone wins/someone loses. One advances towards overall - the other is playing for fun or consolation prizes.
Overall - the jury is still out on which is best. There are elements to both that are good and bad. So far, the Nova has yet to have any of the big name players with big tourney wins really get involved or comment. This year I believe the Adepticon Nationals tourney will use the format - so that will be interesting to see the feedback there when it's used at a major event.
Personally - I think the historical format still the best. The fact of the one and done without any kind of seating skews the vote for me. Thoughts from those blessed few that read the blog?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dark Angels Don't Suck NO MORE!


New FAQ from GW - brings Dark Angels in line with the rest of the Marines. Death Wing look good again. Some new life breathed into an aging codex. Same for Black Templar.

Introduction Time

I guess the best way to make my first post on this blog would be to introduce myself even though I am guessing most people reading this blog may already know me.

My name is Brian Crew or “Sabote” as many people may or may not know me on the internet. You will not recognize me as one of the standard internet personalities that come and go in the 40k world of forums because I really get tired of the debates.

As Al mentioned earlier that I have won my fair share of tournaments both at the GT level and the smaller rogue trader size tournaments. Well the truth is I have actually won 51ish tournaments both small and large not counting Best General (although for the longest time that is the only award I cared about ) Is this a lot? I am sure there have been more won by others, but at the end of the day since 1997 this has been my records. Yeah Al, so I held that bit back from you guys. But I am sure my old gaming buddies at Endgame CA, Comic Quest IL, Slaughter House TX just to mention a few could testify its true. At the end of the day I left Nashville TN with about 8 tournament victories. I don’t mention this because I believe it makes me any more right or wrong than the next person but so you get an idea of what made me come up with this blog topic.

Recently I moved to Genève, Switzerland for my wife’s work. The laws of Switzerland only allows one person as an Expat to work unless a 2nd company will sponsor you. This is next to impossible so I knew I would have a fair amount of free time on my hands. As I sat and started thinking about what I could do to occupy my time I came up with the idea of starting a blog. Al, having tried to start his blog years ago but with only limited success in actually writing articles on a timely basis ( yes I am teasing Al) said to me “ why not write on my blog.” Now a slight aside here. Al and I met for the first time at the Chicago GT 2001. He was actually my very first opponent at the first GT I ever attended. He took my GT virginity J In the game we played we actually tied only because my warlock in a last minute gamble charged his Dark Angle dreadnought and with a witch blade chopped it down to give me a tie. The reason I remember him so well though is that during the lunch break he invited me to have lunch with his friends since I was attending the tournament alone. So imagine my surprise when almost 10 years later I move from Oakland CA and walk into one of the local gaming clubs only to see him standing in the room playing a game of 40k. After a few minutes saying backing and forth “I think I know you and yes I kind of remember you also” we were able to piece together where we had met. Than later, on he actually pulled out some pictures of our game during that fateful or not so fateful GT to prove that we were not going bonkers!!

So back to what I hope to accomplish with this blog. It is really quite simple. Write about playing 40k in Europe. I am lucky in that I have both the finances and the ability to travel anywhere I want to in Europe and play 40k. Many people go to the UK and play in one of the larger events or maybe travel and play in the ETC (European Championships). But what about the rest of the countries in Europe? What is it like to play in a tournament where you have actually have no idea what is being spoken or even able to read the mission? What are local gaming clubs like in Europe or even stores? So I plan to be that American traveling around playing 40k. At this point I have already played in one tournament in Switzerland which I will write about later and I am signed up for two tournaments in France( one is a French team tournament ETC rules that I was invited to play with as part of a Swiss team). Additionally I am signed up to play in the UK GT and I have narrowed down a couple tournaments in Spain and Germany. So it will be fun!! I will also talk about local gaming habits and even about my gaming club here in Genève which I recently joined.

So while many people to include Al may want me to talk about tactics and army builds I plan to concentrate on what gaming is like in Europe as an American (with no foreign language skills). I am sure tactics and army builds will come up at times but I have no desire to feed the flames of internet debates of Meta lists. I will leave others on the internet to debate the pro and cons of certain army lists/rules or what is the better tournament format. So with that being said, look forward to writing my next part soon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

40K ATC - Dicehead Siege May 20-22nd


This summer the Siege (annual convention hosted by Dicehead Games in Cleveland, TN) will be hosting a Club Challenge tournament. It's an ETC style event designed to pit the best players from different clubs across the US against each other.

Here are the details at present:

The American Team Championship is where the best of the best will come together to decide who is the #1 Club/Team in North America!
There are many details to be posted and worked out and we will be continually updating this page with all the info as decisions are made.
Here's what we have to date - More Details to Follow Soon!

5 Member Teams.
Every Member on the Team Must use a different Codex Army.

2000 Points per player.
Maximum 1 Special Character per Army List.

6 Games (4 Saturday, 2 Sunday)

No Painting or Composition Scores.
Sportsmanship will be taken into account - more details to follow

Trophies will be given for Best Painted, Best Sportsmanship, Best General, Best Team (each member will be rewarded a trophy) and Best Theme.

Mission(s) are currently being play-tested but will basically be a combination of the Rulebook Missions.

Link to site:

Their are already several well known clubs that are planning to attend. Will be a great gathering of some of the best known 40K players in the US. A great event to get a group of your best buddies together and compete for a two day 6 game slug fest.

C'mon down!

Al Gleason - Team Captain - Blade and Bolter Boyz

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Which Razorback Spam is the best?

In a conversation with Sabote earlier this week - we got into a discussion around the different ways that Razorback Spam could be built and decided to do the analysis. The idea was a core troop unit - minimum size - with a Melta Gun (if you can take it) and a Powerfist. Razorback would be Las/Plas or Twin Link Las.

First - Dark Angels

Yes you can do Razorback spam with the lowly Dark Angels. But is it even effective...let's see.

Here's what ArmyBuilder gives you:

Troops: Tactical Squad (6#, 205 pts)
4 Tactical Squad @ 205 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt Pistol x4; Bolter x3; Meltagun; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Razorback)
1 Sergeant (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt Pistol x1; Power Fist; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads)
1 Razorback (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport Capacity: 6 models; Access Points: 3; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked Lascannon)

So - a pricey 205 points gives you the above unit.

Black Templar:

Again - an old dated Codex - but it still can do what we are looking at...

Troops: Crusader Squad (6#, 195 pts)
1 Crusader Squad @ 195 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Bolt Pistol & CCW; Meltagun; Bolt Pistol & Power Fist; Razorback)
3 Initiate with Bolt Pistol and CCW (Bolt Pistol; Close Combat Weapon)
1 Initiate with Meltagun (Meltagun)
1 Initiate with Bolt Pistol & Power Fist (Bolt Pistol; Power Fist)
1 Razorback (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport Capacity: 6 models; Access Points: 3; Twin Linked Lascannon)

A little better than the DA price wise - but no Sarge so one attack less. Pretty much an even unit.

Codex: Space Marines

Now onto Vanilla Marines. To get the Melta - you have to add a Combi-Melta to the Sarge along with the PF - lots of points on one model. Still - vanilla marines are cheap right - so should be a price advantage? See below:

Troops: Tactical Squad (6#, 200 pts)
4 Tactical Squad @ 200 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt Pistol x4; Bolter x4; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics; Razorback)
1 Sergeant (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Combi-Meltagun x1; Power Fist x1; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics)
1 Razorback (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport Capacity: 6 models; Access Points: 3; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Lascannon and TL Plasmagun)

HMMM - 200 points here for a pretty plain jane unit. Is this really better?

Blood Angels

Ok - now here we go! With the assault squad able to drop Jump packs and save on the price of their rides - this has got to be the ultimate right? Let's see:

Troops: Assault Squad (6#, 190 pts)
3 Assault Squad @ 190 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Remove Jump Packs; Bolt Pistol x3; Chainsword x3; Meltagun; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Descent of Angels; The Red Thirst; Razorback)
1 Assault Marine with Meltagun (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Remove Jump Packs; Chainsword; Meltagun; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Descent of Angels; The Red Thirst)
1 Sergeant (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Remove Jump Packs; Bolt Pistol; Power Fist x1; And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Descent of Angels; The Red Thirst)
1 Razorback (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank, Fast); Transport Capacity: 6 models; Access Points: 3; Fire Points: 0; Smoke Launchers; Lascannon and TL Plasmagun)

And yes....a pretty solid point cost - but somewhat in line with the other units. Only 5 points less than Templars.....

Space Wolves

Ahh...are they really the king of the Razorback spam as many are toting now days. Is it a dramatic difference from the above? Let's see....

Troops: Grey Hunters Pack (6#, 180 pts)
4 Grey Hunters Pack @ 180 pts (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt Pistol x4; Bolter x3; Close Combat Weapon x4; Meltagun; Power Fist; Acute Senses; And They Shall Know No Fear; Counter-attack; Razorback)
1 Grey Hunter w/ Power Fist (Unit Type: Infantry; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Bolt Pistol x1; Bolter x1; Power Fist; Acute Senses; And They Shall Know No Fear; Counter-attack)
1 Razorback (Unit Type: Vehicle (Tank); Transport Capacity: 6 models; Access Points: 3; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Lascannon and TL Plasmagun)

Well - a definite price improvement. Only 180 points for close to the same thing. Looks good.

Final Thoughts:

What struck me with this is that the difference between the most point cost (Dark Angels at 205) and the least (Wolves at 180) is not a huge difference. The higher cost also gives you a few other things - Leadership 9 (DA, BA, C:SM, vs Leadership 8 on the Wolves and Templar's. C:SM have Combat Tactics. Wolves have Counter-Attack. Bolters (DA, C:SM) vs Bolt Pistols and CCW (BA, Temp) vs all three (Wolves). BA get the Turbo Charged engines on their rides - a big advantage there.

Overall I would say that the Wolves truly are the most cost effective - with Blood Angels being #2. However the remaining lists are pretty much equal.

I also think that the build is viable for all of the codexes - even the old ones. Maybe not as good as the new dex's - but there are lists there that can be competitive.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Adepticon 2011 - The countdown begins

Well, since the New Year is behind becomes time to start looking forward to my big event of the year - Adepticon. This will be my 4th year attending - 3rd year with my BNB brothers in arms - Ultramarine Revenge of the Smurfs team. Once again I plan on the tri-fecta of 40K gaming - Championship, Team, and Gladiator (unless I make the finals). So - some thoughts on where my heads at for the tournaments.

Championship - after reading the Mission primers - I'm looking forward to playing them. In general you have three equal objectives - whoever can achieve the most wins - with VP's for tie breakers. That's 40K! Love it!

I'm torn on which army I want to bring. Will be playing my Bikes in the team tourney - so for easy of transport (and to minimize the confusion on my simple brain). They can be competitive - but are a little unforgiving. I also have some sweet looking Space Wolves that I'm enjoying playing as well. I think the Wolves have pretty solid chances with the new missions that it looks like Championship is going towards. Still undecided here....

Team - this one is easy. BNB Revenge of the Smurfs Part Tres! The Ultramarines return for a third year - hopefully we get it right this year. Sabote has painted up the troops - they look awesome! Got the board in progress, the trinkets, the shirts, the banner.....hopefully third times the charm. Just gotta win some games!

Gladiator - ah...the awesome-sauce of running into super heavies and stuff you will never face otherwise - in a tourney! I personally enjoy Gladiator - it's purely a shits and giggles tournament for me - just fun. That being said - I want to be as competitive as I can in it. I've played Chaos Nurgle and Eldar in the past - and done well with both. I don't think my Wolves scale well to the Gladiator format unfortunately. I'm actually leaning towards my Ultramarine Biker army for this one. Will wait for the Primer missions before I decide.

So...there we go! Hope to see you all in Chicago in April!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Aldonis Plans for 2011 - Tournaments

Man - hard to believe that we are already into 2011! Overall 2010 was a pretty much ok year - but was pretty disappointing to me from a gaming standpoint. Had a lot of fun at tournaments - did ok - but really never felt like I was on my A game very often. Hope to change that some this year. The latter half of the year and how this year is starting - has been a little disappointing. I had planned on making it to 'Da Boyz GT - as it sounded like a lot of fun - and I've got a few gaming buds in their club. Plus one of the wife's best friends lives there - and I could take her and remove some of the sting she feels when I leave her to go on a gaming tournament. Unfortunately, fate and her and my work schedules combined to crush that - still hoping for next year.
This year I had really hoped to attend my buddy BBF's tourney - Bolter Beach - in Sarasota. My wife has a lot of family there, I could stay with them out on Siesta Key (my own little version of paradise in Fl), wife could come along and hang with her family, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then fate kicks in - tournament date gets moved to weekend of daughters birthday and school play - and poof - another plan into the crapper. Sigh...

Well - hopefully I can avoid the curses that have hit me lately for the rest of my plans. I'm currently planning to hit up the Battle for Stones River - a great local tourney here in Murphreesboro in honor of the major civil war battle that happened here. After that - we have Adepticon right around the bend - playing in the Nationals, Team, and Gladiator. Last year our Team took 6th overall - just shy of hitting the awards. Probably my only traveling tournament for the year that's more than a couple hours away.

Following that, I have two more things on my plate. First is the Kalm tournament that my pal George Flowers holds each year in Huntsville, Al. It's truly a blast - very low key - tourney's in a bar - more focused on fun than competition. It's at the end of April. He also holds a Blood Bowl tourney as part of it - hoping to defend my overall title this year.

In May - Dicehead Games (owned by Shane and Mel Grubb - two of the finest folks you'll find in this hobby) is running the Siege convention in Chattanooga. They are hosting the America's Club Challenge - an ETC type team tournament for the different game clubs in North America. Have been intrigued by the format of the tourney - and am really looking forward to playing in this one - representing the Blade and Bolter Boyz.

New Blog Authors

Well, as you may have noticed - I decided to open my blog up to some of my gaming brothers (and nephews) for posting. Much appreciate the contribution of BikeNinja on the Prospero Burns review - looking for more from him - including pictures of his very nicely done Wolf Army and tactics surrounding it. Also would like to extend my thanks to Corwindal (who is also my nephew - but not by blood!) for his article on Shrike. Corwindal has become one of the better Marine players I know and does very well with his Imperial Fists (including winning a ticket to the GW Tournament of Skulls). Look forward to more from him and hopefully an overview and report from that tourney. Now if Sabote would just get off his lazy arse and start posting. Guess his time in Switzerland has impact his writing ability....or maybe he's just busy painting up the rest of my bikers....