June Flatlands Team Event

BATTLE REPORT: Warhammer 40,000 – I'm not sure how I feel about random team events. On one hand they're fun and it's a great way to meet new players. On the other hand it can be grueling trying to play a team game with someone you don't know with lists that may or may not work well together. To offset this most events of this type that I've played in are raffle events that don't give a real prize to the overall winner but rather tickets for participation and other random events over the course of the day. Some do it better than others but overall the goal is to keep it casual and focus more on having fun than being the top dog. 

The day of the event I got packed up and headed out early figuring I'd have plenty of time to get there and relax before the event started. Unfortunately it's construction season in Michigan and most of the major highways I'd take to get to the event were closed ... good thing I left early. When I got to the event they had already wrapped up the sign ups apparently the organizer posted two different times in two different places. So far this is looking to be a great day. Oh and every mission is Malestrom, yet I left my cards at home...

Round one I faced the ringer for the event in an 800 point match up. He was playing Dark Angels Raven Wing with the big skimmer that gives everything a 2+ re-rollable jink save. I spent the whole game inflicting a tons of wounds that were ignored because of the re-rolls. It was a little frustrating having never faced the force I realized after the fact that I should have just charged and hoped for the best rather than wasting the waste the game hoping he'd roll two ones in a row. My opponent was pretty nice guy which helped make the trouncing tolerable.

Round Two I got paired up with Dark Eldar and would be facing odd against a mostly Killa Kan Ork list. Unfortunately the other partner was nowhere to be found so I got to face the Ringer again. The Dark Eldar player was better equipped to deal with the bike nonsense but it was still an uphill battle. The mission allowed you to steal your opponents capture objective 1-6 cards and score on your turn. We go lucky with the way the cards came up and out-scored our opponents pretty badly.

Round Three I was paired with a Necron player against a Khorne Daemonkin and Dark Angels force. This was a weird mix of The Relic with generic Maelstrom Objectives. The table was set up rather odd with a raised city potion on one side of the table. (I really liked the idea behind it and might build my own terrain piece with a fortress to defend set up similarly) We didn't size the initiative so the Khorne player ran to the middle of the table to seize the relic with his Bloodthirster. Since it was on the ground I poured lascannon a melta fire into it until is vanished back into the warp. From that point on the game was more of an exercise in playing smart and killing off threats as they presented themselves. This is a game where the benefits of the Stormlance Squadron really paid off. Besides staying safe in my transports most of the game I was able to gun down a unit of cultists charging me while I was on an objective. Since the cultists had objective secured they "controlled" the objective when I fired overwatch which allowed me to re-roll my overwatch shots. (pretty strong, ability).

Overall I had a good time at the event, 32 players in total made for a busy event. This was my first time at this game store and the overall impression I got was pretty good. They have a good amount of space to play, decent terrain and really nice tables. I'll defiantly be back and might even swing out to meet up with some of the guys I met at the event. The event itself was a little losey goosy for my tastes, even when you're not playing "to win" it's nice to see standings and to keep the rounds tight so the event doesn't go to long. I'm sure for future events they'll pay a bit more attention to that so they can keep this momentum going.



Event Report - RIW 1500

Event Report - RIW 1500

Warhammer 40,000 – Over the weekend, I played in a 1500 point raffle event at RIW Hobbies. The events they run typically have a few restrictions on the force you can run. For this event it was single faction, and you had to include a CAD, which was apparently confusing to people because several players had to make on the spot changes to their lists to fit the requirements. The most confusing thing I think is the fact that the allies matrix lists Forces of the Imperium as one entry, and has the Factions listed separately. (one day maybe some one will run a straight up by the book 40k event, but I won't hold my breath)

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Why I Suck at 40K - Tournament Report

Why I Suck at 40K - Tournament Report

Warhammer 40,000 – RIW Hobbies hosted a 1,000 point single source (no data slates/no Forgeworld) event on November 7, 2015. This the the second casual raffle tournament they hosted  this year and it had a decent turn out of just under 20 players. The event was holiday themed with special missions that were variations on the core eternal war missions. 

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Livonia Michigan, RIW 40K Team Event Recap ... Best Painted

Warhammer 40,000 – Last weekend I participated in a really fun raffle event for Warhammer 40K. This is the first tournament I've played in for Warhammer 40k in quite a long time. Going into it I knew this was supposed to be a super fun casual event. The requirements were to build a battleforged 750 point list. The other limits were it had to be from a single source and Forge World was not allowed.

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Gaining Ground – Malifaux Event Reports

Malifaux – Recently I was able to attend two Malifaux tournaments both of which were fairly different as they used two of the scoring systems outlined in the Gaining Ground document. The nice thing about both events was I wasn't running them so I was able to look at the system from the viewpoint of a participant.

The first event was in Flint, MI at Gamer's Sanctuary. This is a smaller store that has much of it's footprint taken up by gaming tables. The terrain was mostly GW kits with some nice scratch built items as well. Unfortunately I forgot my camera and didn't get any photos of the tables. A few of the table had some weird bowing going on that was a little distracting but didn't significantly hamper gameplay. 

The event had 10 participants and used the accumulation format (Tournament points than VP's for tie-breaker) Each table had a fixed terrain element and each round there was a shared strategy for all players. Many of the players were relatively new to the game but there were very few questions or rules disputes that arose (I think the Rules Manual may just be working ..). The cap on VP's at 8 is a good thing because it limited players from wracking up extra points with Jack Daw. I came in third overall which was a bit of a surprise for me.

The second event was the following weekend at Pandemonium in Garden City, MI. This event had nine participants due to scheduling conflicts (only 2 of the players from their league made it to the event), so I was able to see how the bye system worked in practice. For this event I brought some of my tables but the event organizer chose not to use any of the special features or terrain elements so most of the tables were the same set-up with some sparse trees and a few buildings. 

Each round a shared strategy was flipped for and used the differential format. I think this format is a better gage of skill level then accumulation but I'm not sure about the bye system. Basically you average the player's overall score to determine the points for the bye. This leads to some weird situations but I think its fairer than giving a flat score for the bye. 

Overall I found it to be a fun event. However there were a few improvements that should have be obvious in my opinion. For the first round of an event you shouldn't pair people who came to the event together against each other, especially in small events like this where it's pretty easy to avoid. The other takeaway is special events/terrain are pretty important to creating an exciting game. In a fixed format if you don't have special terrain elements the random events should be used and specific to each table otherwise every table is essentially the same.

August 15, 2011 will be the start of a Mali Mini-League at RIW Hobbies in Livonia. Sign-ups will begin August 8. The event will be run like a tournament each week you'll be paired with an opponent and play a 40 Stone Scrap. The league only runs 3 weeks and takes place on Tuesdays at 7:00pm sharp. Pairings will be determined at 7:00 pm based on attendance. Cost is $5 which will go towards prizes. 


World Steam Expo

Memorial Day weekend I had the pleasure of running Malifaux demos both Saturday and Sunday. The event was lots of fun with plenty to see and do. There were several bands that I wasn't familiar with prior to the con, but they seemed pretty good for niche steampunk themed music. The costumes were pretty amazing and I'm sorry to say I forgot my camera when I was walking around the con so I don't have more pictures to share of the rest of the areas.

The vendor room was packed with interesting things. Lots of costumes and accessories, (gears, goggles, fancy hats and what not) I broke down and bought a top hat. However I refuse to pay for "welder's goggles" that have been modified. I'm going to make a pair of my own since the materials are incredibly cheap and I want mine to be Malifaux-themed.

Demos went amazingly well, I started 2 hours early on Saturday because the table was ready. As soon as I set up my demo tables and other gear, numerous people flocked to the tables to ask questions and learn more. Around 5 when the demos were scheduled to start we had a sudden influx of people, with numerous quick demos of the mechanics and an explanation of the game. Well over half of the people that received the "quick demo" came back later to either participate or watch a full game.

Sunday we went none stop from the time the room opened until it closed at 11:00pm. Luckily I had two guys there to help out. Both Trevor and Alan were super energetic and played tons of full demo games. Boiling the game down to a simple game of war with a twist was the easiest way I found to explain the mechanics to non-gamers (which we a had a ton of). It's an easy sell for people who have played Warhammer, Warmachine or another miniatures game in the past. Most of them loved the easy buy-in for a skirmish style game and thought the rules were a breath of fresh air.

Special thanks is in order for both RIW and Pandemonium (game stores in the area). Both stores provided coupons and information for their upcoming leagues. I'm hoping to see lots of new faces at both locations.

In other news, Pandemonium is starting their "Faction Wars" league Monday June 14th. Check the Wyrd forums for more info. And RIW has their Tuesday Tussels every Tuesday night (Malifaux has significantly out numbered the Warmachine players every week...No hate though). If you live in the Metro Detroit Area you should definately try to make it out to either location.

"I Left My Heart In Malifaux" Wrap-up

Malifaux – The February tournament went off without a hitch. We had a respectable 15 players show up. Several players made the drive up from Toledo and other parts of the Metro Detroit area (as well as RIW regulars). 

Every faction was represented with at least two players per faction. 

Rounds lasted 90 min with about half of the players able to complete a full 6 turns. I'm still wrestling with a way to allow players enough time to complete their games and still have a decent sized list. 35 soul stones seems to be the right size for tournament games, but I'm wondering if 90 mins is enough time. I'm going to continue to track the last turn played per round for the next few events I run to see if it improves.

I'm a big fan of the lotto system for large prizes. It gives all players a chance to win something cool regardless of skill level. For this event the players daily average determined the number of tickets they were awarded, and players were able to purchase additional tickets for $1 each. Store credit and pins were awarded to the 5 best in faction winners, and the other categories were awarded pins.

The final results were as follows:

Best in Faction, Outcast; Overall Winner – Vincent Curkov

Best in Faction, Neverborn – Dave "nerdelemental" Bowen

Best in Faction, Arcanist – Sheri Chap

Best in Faction, Guild – Dave Kruger

Best in Faction, Resurectionist – Jonathan "shortman" Mann

Best Painted – Scott "Griff" (Gremlins)

Best Sportsman – Ryan Romans (Seamus) [Ten way tie randomly determined]

Biggest Loser – Jaimie Mitchell (Kirai)

City Table Lotto – Amber, Arcanist

I liked the addtion of "soft scores." Thirteen of the fifteen crews were painted to some extent. I noticed that the players marked down for bad sportsmanship had multiple judge calls. What was interesting to me was this changed the dynamic and actually worked against players that tried to be "cut-throat" or "rules-lawyers."

I also tried to be sure that match-ups would actually determine best-in-faction to prevent any ties which can be common with true round-robin events. Also to keep things interesting the first two rounds no one was matched up against their friends/regular opponents. 

10/23 Malifaux Lotto Tournament

Malifaux – RIW Hobbies held a unique Malifaux Tournament on Oct 23. The event was a standard 35 SS scrap with three rounds. The unique part was the big prizes were given out via a lottery system, which resulted in a fun casual feeling event.

I ran three different Res. lists over the course of the day and had a blast at the event. My daughter came with me and took photos throughout the day. I plan on doing some write-ups for the games I played check back in the battle reports section for updates.

Metro Malifaux League Wrap Up

The league was a success. Overall I think allowing people to chose their opponents and take an average for the games played was the biggest draw for this league. It kept things feeling very casual while keeping a competitive environment. Tuesday we'll be having some tiebreaker games and then the awards. 

Basically the way the league worked was:

Players chose their opponents and must play one game per week and can play a maximum of three games per week. A win is worth 3 VP, Tie 2 VP and Loss 1VP. The total number of VP players earn is averaged with the number of games played to determine each week's score.

After five weeks the winner's are determined. In the event of a tie the total Encounter VP's are used for the tie-breaker. If the players who are tied agree, there will instead be a tiebreaker game during the award week.

If you're interested here's the weekly strategies:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Tournaments and turnout

Today I went to a tournament, unfortunately due to numerous factors only three players showed up. This was pretty disappointing as I brought 4 of my custom boards and a bunch of counters/tokens to give out as random prizes. I felt bad for the organizer since there is a sizeable (20+) Malifaux community within the Metro-Detroit area. But that sad the three of use who showed up played a 30SS three-way slaughter game and had some fun. I brought McMourning, some Belles, Canine Remains and Bette Noir; my opponents were Leviticus and Perdita. I'm getting the hang of McMourning, using him with Belles can set up some interesting situations. The Leviticus player won, in part because I lured the Desolation Engine into combat with Perdita when she had Quick Draw up, which meant she couldn't use it and Leviticus could summon the Hollow Waifs he needed to survive.

Given the turn-out for this event and the low turn-out for another event last month I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what it takes to run a successful tournament. Before i begin that discussion I think it's important to talk about why store run tournaments and how they benefit from them. Obviously any retailer is in the business to make money, when they run tournaments it is expected that players will come in and buy stuff while they are at the store. If they don't then the store needs to generate money through the cost of the event. It's important that players realize this ahead of time.

I've seen several hobby stores in my area go out of business because their player base bought everything online (ebay, discounters etc.). While it is great to be in the hobby for the love of it, if you're not covering the bottom line then there's no point in offering gaming space. The moral of the story is to support your store. For stores offering a discount on the days you run an event for a system is a good way to generate more sales.

The other reason stores run tournaments and leagues is to show off the community of gamers for a particular system. When a customer comes into the store and sees 10+ guys all playing the same system, they feel more comfortable dropping the cash on a new game because there's obviously lots of of people to play it with. they can ask existing players questions and get a feel for the game, maybe get a demo and hopefully get hooked. 

Players enjoy tournaments for a variety of reasons the competition, playing against new people, prizes all are valid reasons for playing in a tournament. When they decide they are going to play it's a commitment to 6-8 hours on a Saturday or Sunday. When they make that commitment if the event goes poorly for whatever reason, they will feel like they've wasted an entire day. For people with families or girlfriends (face it, the majority of your players are guys) creating the time for that commitment is a chore in itself. 

As a tournament organizer (or Henchman for Wyrd) it is you duty to do everything in your power to make sure that both the store and the players are happy with how the event goes. If you don't the parties involved will most likely not make the same commitment in the future. For those of you that listen to podcasts check out World's End Radio they've done some excellent segments about running events. Some of what they talk about is very GW-centric but lots of it pertains to all game systems. Some of the advice is duplicated below

So how does one go about fulfilling the needs of both the store owner and player-base to run a successful tournament? I would start with the following:

• Make it affordable. Entry fees are needed to pay for the prize support and or cover the costs associated with the event. For a Malifaux event I would cap it at $5. Prize support should hinge on the actual turnout for the event. Maybe the organizer makes a cool trophy, terrain piece or something to give away. I think far to many stores just offer store credit, which means you have to get enough players to cover the full cost of what you're giving away. Ideally the game company would offer an event package with cool pins, coins, or other swag that could be purchased for $25-$30. That then gives you an easy button for prize support. If they don't, then be creative; take some time and make something cool or ask someone else to. I've been working on making "best in faction" pins, when they are done I'll post pics.

• Advertise. Posting on one forum does not count. There are numerous yahoo groups, game clubs and other sites that you should be posting on. Make some flyers and distribute them. Work with event organizers at other stores to cross promote your event. Just because the stores may be competitors doesn't mean your events have to compete. A healthy player base and good turn-out will result in better sales for all parties involved. Post pictures of prior successful events, a good photo will generate more interest. Google Image search brings this site a ton of extra hits each week. If you have good photos people share them and drive traffic which will equate to more interest in your events.

• Terrain. If you use the same crappy terrain that a store has for general use, your event doesn't feel special. Even it if means just making one new board or terrain piece, doing something special makes the event more then just another day at the store. If you have system specific terrain then just bring it out for events. When you do there is more interest from bystanders as well as players.

• Plan ahead. Do some research. Malifaux in particular is a very rich game that offers tons of possibilities when it comes to game size, type and events. Those possibilities make the game fun for players and keep things fresh, but can make life hell for the organizer. You have to make sure people play on a relatively even field, this means they should be getting the same or similar missions, play in a variety of locations that have similar events. If you go with a straight VP system and allow players to flip for events some players will flip Mysterious Effigies and have access to 4 more VPs that could swing the field. Is that what you intend, if so how much player backlash with you get? What happens to the player that flips slaughter or recon. all day long? Since there isn't an official format you need to work all of this out ahead of time. I would suggest meeting with other event organizers in you area to work out a standard system, that way if there are complaints they can be addressed and corrected so the same misunderstandings don't continue to happen.

One thing I've been considering is a system that links three strategies together. The players flip a card or draw from a hat to get their "story" prior to the event starting. They then have 20 minutes to build three lists, chose three schemes and submit them to the organizer for registration. Once they are paired against an opponent they may chose a second scheme and announce one or both if they wish to. The winner is determined by total VP's and scores event points as follow 3 win, 2 tie, 1 loss; VPs are recorded for tiebreakers. Locations and special events are determined prior to the event starting and remain fixed throughout. This gives players enough variety while maintaining a constant throughout the event. The "story" allows event organizers to control the missions while sticking with the idea of character driven combat. Ideally the strategies would follow a flow that allows the player to write a narrative about what happens. For example Recon., Treasure Hunt, Assassinate: the master is looking for something, they find it then an opposing master threatens to take the prize. Simple things like this add to the enjoyment level for all players and make for better battle reports to share on the web.

• Confirm the date. If you're going to be running an event make sure your player base can make it. If half of your players are going out of town for a Con. probably shouldn't run an event the same weekend. Check to  see what could interfere with players availability. If a big portion of your players are students, see when exams are; if you have a bunch of single dads check to see what weekends they don't have their kids; sports fans don't conflict with major games. If you want to have a good turn-out, plan around things that may deter people from coming. Nothing is worse then spending time and money planning an event, and getting a small turn-out because half your player base is at a huge convention or the local team is in the play-offs and your players are avid fans. 

• Registration. Start a sign-up sheet and keep it public and limit the spots available. Gamers will flock if it seems like an event will be fun and they may not be able to get a spot. You can always add more later if need be. If you get to a week before the event and only have a few players signed up, then you need to make a push to get more players. Contact your player base directly to see if they know it's going on. Stores that keep track of purchases and email accounts have the upper hand here. Take a look at your database to see who has purchased product for that system within the last 2-3 months and email them an invite (if your store doesn't track that info, you should). If that doesn't work warn the players already signed up that the event may be canceled due to lack of interest. If they really want to play they'll find more people. If you don't have a minimum sign-up by a few days before the event, cancel it. If players have a real interest in playing and you've done everything you can to accommodate their needs, then they should return the favor by registering. You may get some negative backlash, but it's better then running a mediocre event and having it taint what you can do in the future.

I think by following some of the steps detailed above event organizers will be able to see a better return on the time they invest in running events for their players.