Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A plea for 8th...

Well, it is the end of January and while that means that I have to go back into the classroom, it also means that two of some of the biggest Warhammer fantasy tourneys have occurred here in Australia. Dogcon (in Sydney) and Cancon (in Canberra). Traditionally Dogcon is one of the biggest in the country hands down. It is a 6 game tourney held in high regard by those in the scene. Cancon on the other hand runs with smaller numbers (70ish) but is an 8 game marathon over 3 days. This year (due to the upheaval in the Aussie Warhammer scene) numbers for both events were way down at 43 and 41 respectively.

Cancon ran with the 8th ed rules mostly intact (hills were counted as unlimited height and missions were played for points with bonuses for people who reached the mission objectives.

Dogcon on the other hand ran with a number of rules changes notably with a controversial rule change in the magic phase. The TO decided to have miscasts happen on 2 6's as usual BUT in order to get irresistible force you had to get 3 6's. This rule was introduced to curb the abusive magic phase (as it is scene by the organizers). While it has been widely applauded by dogcon participants online I thought I would weigh in with an alternate view.

I think that changing the fundamental magic rules (or any real rules for that matter) is a mistake. Sure it gave the Dogcon players the results wanted (a nerfed magic phase) but a tourney just down the road having an equal number of players (Cancon) ran the rules as written and they were fine with no complaints.

Magic did not win the day in every game and a completely non magic army won overall. (Beastmen for the record)

Now players in the scene are beginning to wonder if the teir system/ limits that were so rampant at the end of 7th edition should be used in 8th edition to "balance" the game.

I think that it is way too early in the process to introduce limits and tiers to a system that people are still figuring out. Many people are stuck in their 7th ed or early 8th ed mindsets about how army lists should be won to win. Generally there is some logic to this as you go with what you know. (not a bad thing) however people are discovering other ways to make the game metagame work for them.

Chris and Nick took armies that fly in the face of lots of 8th ed internet logic. No magic (Chris), lots of chariots (Nick), etc... We should comp as we see fit for now expecting that along the way that we will break a few eggs and learn from our mistakes.

When 40K switched to 3rd ed it was a mirror of what is happening with fantasy now. Mass rage and lots of people quitting and an immediate desire to understand the game as we had the old game. It took over a year of constant play before things came around and the game was a great step forward. I attended three GT's in the following year and as the year progressed the way people played changed. This process can only occur over time. We can't expect to change our ways of thinking instantly.

I strongly urge people to be patient and to leave the game alone and to play in new and weird ways until we figure this thing out. Limits and Tiers monkey with the game design as much as changing other more basic and fundamental runs. Both Nick and Chris smashed people using armies from perceived (by internet wisdom) as weak books (Beasts and war machine less orcs and gobbos).

Comp "hard" lists but let them roll as people figure this stuff out. With the New edition 8th is seeing a massive influx of people (in victoria at least)(Like me for example) and comp gives us a good guide when designing lists.

Do us all a favor and leave the game alone while we figure thus thing out.

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