Sunday, February 27, 2011

Inferring from Tournaments

by Ishamael

Alright folks, today I am going to do a brief overview of the tournament systems in Warmachine/Hordes and Warhammer 40,000. What I mean by "tournament system" in this context refers to the type of tournament used by the parent company of these games. My goal is to show that both systems require an overhaul. After this, I will briefly touch on the relative balance of both games, regardless of tournament structure.

To begin, I want to link the documents used by Games Workshop to show how they do their tournaments. To begin, here is a link from the RTT Handbook from GW's own website.


I want to begin here with their Gamer's Bill of Rights. Read it. What does it say? Then ask yourself: what is a tournament? This is what a tournament is. The term originally refers to medieval war games, in which men would fight with blunted (or not) weapons in order to get some prize. I want to focus on one thing here with the definition. Etymologically, a tournament entails competition. Does this "Bill of Rights" include anything about my right to play against competent combatants that are out to kick my teeth in? No? So, right off the bat, the First Amendment of Games Workshop's "tournament" pack tells us that it has little to do with what a tournament is. Keep this thread in mind. What the Bill does tell us, however, is that you should come to a 'tournament' to meet new people (fine), to "battle against other painted armies" (I'll be the first to admit I don't enjoy painting, and what little hobby time I do have I would rather spend it...I dunno...playing the game?), get questions settled by impartial judges (whom may or may not actually know the rules, because I'm still waiting on a main rulebook FAQ that actually makes the Scout Move its own movement phase, instead of a half-assed inference from the BA FAQ), have the tournament finished in a timely manner (duh), and play in a comfortable environment. If I want to go to a tournament, I don't care if I'm ass-to-ass in a basement crammed with people, cause I'm havin' fun. :P So, this is the baseline of GW's format. For the purposes of this article, I wish to skip scenarios, and consider how they score rounds instead, and what we may learn from that.

From here I want to address their scoring system. To begin, there are different values given on the scoresheet and in the RTT guide, so let me set this up as I've seen it in RTTs I have been to. So, we're just going to use the link in this paragraph to analyze the manner in which games are scored. For a given game, with a particular victory condition, a victory is worth 17 points, a loss 3. These 'tournaments' consist of three rounds, with 20 points max for each round, then a possible 40 for painting, which I will attend to later. There are modifiers for these scores, ranging from killing certain enemy units, to losing certain things. So, your score can go up by 3 points. Initially, when I read this, I wondered "hey, where does this "table opponent, perfect score" stuff come from?" Got me, because it is not to be found on this sheet. However! Regardless of the scenario, if you kill the entirety of your opponent's army, you will get 20 points. You get the battle points because you have no opponent left, and you army is "free" to just pick up the objectives as needed. Your opponent gets 3, possibly 6. Ties give about 50/50 when it comes to the mission, then the +3 extra for Battle Points. Now, bring back in the point I made on the nature of tournaments. If I wish to excel and win in this environment, what is my goal? To score as many points as possible. How do I accomplish this? Well, I can play each scenario as stated for one, and work to come out with a major victory in each. OR, I can take the easy route, and just destroy every single model my opponent has to ensure victory. Furthermore, ask yourself this: does this tournament system reward close games, or ones in which one person will dominate? The answer is obvious. This is a tournament system in which dominating one's opponent is rewarded, while close games (y'know, the good ones?) are penalized. Blood and ashes, wasn't this supposed to be a friendly system, in which we get together to meet new people, see painted armies, and be civil to eachother? So, we take from their scoring system that players whom obliterate their opponents are greatly rewarded for doing so, and harm others' enjoyment of the they are blatantly violating their own First Amendment. Moving on.

From here, let me just touch a tad on that "sportsmanship score" sheet. If they actually thought people would be civil to others and be good sports while kicking teeth in and having a close game, then they would not need such a thing. Yet they do, igitur they do not think that people will actually be civil to others. Modus tollens, learn to love it. Furthermore, this subjective sheet factors in to one's overall score, and it becomes so flaming easy to harm another's score just to advance one's own standing. So hey, be deceptively nice, then screw your opponent on his sportsmanship score! Because we're about civility and being nice!

At this point, what do we have?

The Bill of Rights that forms the basis of these events lacks any guarantee of a competitive event in which I am allowed to enjoy myself by playing and winning/losing by the width of a hair.

Their scoring system is such that it rewards dominating weaker players, harming others in their sportsmanship score due to subjective douchebaggery, and DOES NOT reward close games, which contradicts their "Bill" because people don't have fun when they get dominated. Simple enough.

I said I would get to painting earlier, so here we are. This. What do we know from this sheet? Well, it says "max 40" points, yet when one adds up that various factors that go in to finding the total paint score, there are actually 46 points possible. So, what score might an "average" painted army get? Well, let's assume it's fully painted, 3 colors, based, and the details are alright. Oh, and to that "painted uniformly, except where appropriate" point: fuck you! My Tau suits will each be a different Power Ranger, so stick it. So, from this, our theoretical player would get a 24/40 points. Let us compare this to someone that paints well, to such an extreme that he walks in, gets a 40 easily, even the extra points that would have given him a 46. So, we have a difference of 16 points between these two fighters. Let us leave the Sportsmanship score out. They are both decent persons. With the entirety of this format in mind, it is time for a thought experiment.

Let's assume that round one, the fellow with the perfect score tables, but the other guy ties, yet gets 3 battle points. Also, assume that ties in scenario X result in a 10/10 spread. So, at the end of round one it's 37 to 60. How can the lesser painter possibly catch up to the guy whom already has over a tabling above him? Well, by tabling his two next opponents, which would take him up to a 77. Unless the better painter drastically loses the next two rounds, he's still in the running. Assume two more ties for the greater painter, 10/10 spread, no bonus points. He's at 80. He still wins. Why? Because he had nearly a perfect score for a game round (16) above the guy that only had average painting abilities. So, guess what: the existence of this system further forces one to club weaker players to even have a chance at defeating the guy with 16 points on him before they even hit the tables! So hey, the guy with the 24 has to be a far better player than the painter to have a chance at winning, and if he even meets ONE worthy opponent, then he is out of the running.

So really, does anyone want to defend a 'tournament' system that entails dominating weaker players, and painting to a professional level lets anyone with either the skills or money to buy a painted army to walk in with an absurd lead on every player that has not done so? How is this about meeting people, seeing pretty armies, and being among civil people? All I see is an infrastructure that rewards abuse and winning without having to play well.

I ask you: will you have fun in this environment? I suck at painting, but I know how to play the game, yet I cannot possibly catch up to someone that is able to paint to get that score of 40. Hell, I would probably have less than that 24 were all my stuff painted.

Furthermore, does anyone believe at this point that these events, run by Geims Workshap, are actually built to be fun? So much involves not playing the game that these events are meaningless, and no test for someone who desires close games. No wonder these events appear to be dominated by excellent painters, yet are mediocre to terrible GAMERS.

The existence of a Win/Loss system, as opposed to this horrid seal-clubbing points-based abuse fest, takes care of many issues dealing with how events are won that I have posited, and it also becomes the case that close games are rewarded, not turning a new player off of the game because some asshat decided to table him. If painting is so important, then make it its own event. If you want to get players motivated to paint their armies fully (like me), then make it necessary to have a fully-painted, 3-color standard army to even sign up for the event. I did not even get to mission types that range from fun to horrid; this only deals with what occurs as the result of the games and painting.

Wait, wasn't I supposed to contrast this system with Privateer Press' tournament format? So, I am going to make this Part 1, and I'm going to further research the implications of Privateer Press' claim of competitiveness in Warmachine.

Rex belli,


  1. As could be expected, I agree whole-heartedly with what you're saying Ishamael. I cannot support a system that actively promotes tabling people while simultaneously acts as a way for the same small group of people to withdrawl $90+ every time they play.

    Take for example, in the Bloomington tournament before last I played against Loki's brother. While the mission was already hilariously in my favor, he only had two models that could realistically deal with my entire army (IE a pretty bad list). He also hadn't played in forever and didn't seem to be having much fun. Therefore I took it easy on him, not going for what would of been an easy tabling because I don't like kicking people while they're down. Now of course, I am already behind the person with a much better painted army who tabled his opponent, and even though I was the only undefeated player (beating the winner in the final round) I still only got 3rd.

    Painting is not my thing. I loathe painting. I really love playing this game. Whenever I have hobby time, I spend it playing. It is more than possible to have separate painting and playing competitions, without promoting tabling players, something a W/L system with an alternate painting award provides. What that really depends on however is how greedy people are and if they can settle for a $45-$60 prize for first instead of $90. It is only a $5 entry fee by the way....

  2. Or instead you could look at these events as a way for GW to offset some of the high costs of the game by providing tournaments. Is it flawed, yes. But then again I find your one sided and somewhat under examined post to be no better.

  3. Of course it's one-sided, it's an argument. Next time I'll go over 1750 words, and present a term paper. This was about inferences from packets and scoring systems. Give me a counter-argument, and we'll go from there.

  4. I apologize for my first comment coming off as mean spirited as I believe it was perceived. I recognize the fact that as a hobby that reaches as broad an audience as this, it is not only probable, but also inevitable that people look at it differently.

    With that in mind though, I don't see a solution presented here. In my line of work offering criticism without an acceptable compromise or alternative isn't acceptable. We all know the system here is dated and flawed. However, I perceive it is a way for GW to celebrate and reward players for playing their frankly obscenely expensive hobby.

    I do want to know why you look at painting in such a negative light. GW has put out a system that in itself should make players want to paint their models. Yes those 40 possible points are hard to get if you don't paint well as compared to others. However, it isn't GW's job to present a tournament that houses only half of the hobby. If you can't or do not like painting, then a hobby in which building and painting your army is probably not a wise choice.

    I see the point (personally) as justified as no one can argue that the creative hobby side of the game isn't worth rewarding. a 40k tourney isn't only about playing, but also about creating. Thus while it can be one sided, it isn't unfairly so in my eyes.

    Also, I must disagree (respectfully of course) to your ideal of making people paint to play. GW allows armies of unpainted quality in so that people can play. You harp on them for not allowing people to have fun, yet you declare the idea of not allowing people to play unless they have a 3 color standard. As a player who has a fully painted army, I do enjoy battling against others who have taken the time... but I don't see how making that a prerequisite to playing does anything to keep fun in. To be honest, to me you are simply doing exactly what you accuse GW of doing. Again no offense meant.

    In the end, we can all come to the conclusion of the system needing an update or an overhaul, and be right in saying so. However, we must be prepared to offer alternatives if that is the case. While I too think the W/L system works well, it doesn't work well with smaller 1 day events hosted by gamers and small game stores. And if that falls away, there won't be any prize support for anyone... and that's never good.

    Overall... I think the point here is valid, but I hope to see more suggestions and ideas over opinions and logic debates about why the game doesn't work for some. But I digress.

    Hope this was taken with open minds, as I am open to opinions.

  5. To begin, register with blogspot. If you're a human being with an internet connection, then you have a handle. Remaining anonymous does you a disservice.

    This hobby is not as expensive as people make it out to be. Magic the Gathering, video games, PC gaming, archery, each of these are more expensive than 40k.

    I took no opposing voice in this essay because it incites discussion when I take an aggressive stance, and if I did, it would be called a straw-man.

    The meatiest part of your reply is this: "If you criticize, then you must give an alternative." In argumentation and discussion,I can simply state that you are wrong, then add why. I'm not about to call crap crap, then try to tell you to make it cuisine. Solutions are the product of discussion. 3-color standard and W/L format don't count as suggestions? Rememer: format.

    I'm sorry, but GW has painting competitions for people that only want to paint. Do they have any requirements on needing people to bring their armies and play 40k to change how one's painted model (the reason person X is there) receives its final score? I've entered painting competitions, and lost to superior persons. They are better than me, and such is the nature of a painting competition. I'd be angry if some outside force affected scores.

    When it comes to paint-to-play in tournaments, taking out this 40 pt. section and replacing it with the 3-color standard does two things. One, nobody gets bonus points for being a better painter in a wargaming competition, and we don't have instances of participants being little more than stepping stones to the top. Two, if I know that my stuff only needs to be painted decently to play in a tournament, then I will paint. I cannot get that 40, so I don't want to paint. Qualitative difference. Nobody cares if you're playing with grey models Saturday afternoon for kicks, this is about tournaments...competition.

    Stating that I'm the same as GW by taking out their subjective painting rubric and replacing it with a prerequisite to even play doesn't work. In my proposal, everybody has the proper motivation to paint, otherwise you can't play in a tournament. This is a hobby. Also, nobody can walk in and tower above the average painter just because he/she/it has more time to spend painting or money to waste.

    Fun is subjective. I've been to RTTs with an unpainted army, fully aware that I am just fodder for the painters, but I'm still going to have fun. I'm playing with my space men. If one's fun is based on painting, by all means go cream me in a painting competition, then tell me what I can do to get better.

    If you want to be pointed to where a proper tournament system is, find the NOVA Open format.

    Finally, you said you wanted suggestions and ideas over opinions and logic, but then say you're open to opinions. Slip of the mind I'm sure, but it's still there.


  6. While I appreciate the concept of registering, I am one who likes a certain sense of anonymity. knowing me only serves to distract from the points presented.

    I suggest a parting of ways as the ideals you and I have regarding the game are indeed different in ways that will not really be conducive to creating much more than one sided argumentation over actual stimulating work.

    Your beliefs are yours, and I applaud you for the work you have done. However having read the work posted on Rites for a while now, I can see the analytical style thinking you have. This is great for yourself and I urge you to keep up the good work.

    However, I myself attempt to approach life in a creative and non-linear mind set. I attempt to see all sides at once (if that makes sense =P )

    As for this article... I think it will be interesting to see how people respond openly to it. As I said, everyone will approach these things differently. I simply try to enjoy the fact these events can take place and judge them upon the ideals of a person who tries to enjoy what they can before life ends.

    Hope your writings continue to serve you sir. Until we meet again.

  7. Remaining anonymous is your prerogative, so no pressure.

    Hope you keep reading, and keep responding.

  8. Ish, Kai, no offense to either of you, as I am no painter either, but due note that just because there is a way to pull the baby seals out of the way so that people who don't have Loki's 36-38 down in B-town doesn't change the fact that there is not reason to not try. I can not paint for shit on toast, but that didn't stop me from sitting down and trying. For my effort, I got a 24...that is right there Ish, a 24. I got 3rd. Next time I should be able to eek out a 32. Will that happen, most likely not due to biased things down there, but I will do my damnedest to see to it that I come as close as possible. It isn't going to stop me from trying and getting my shit together, and attempting to bring home those two Valks this month. Like I said, it probably will not happen, but there isn't much of a reason not to try to improve on it. Kai, we sat at you house for like 4 fridays painting your Falcons, and things so you could get a better score. There are very very very simple ways to get your score over 30, that people just don't look at. You got a highlight right, well go through and highlight it again. Bring BEER CAPS as fucking objective markers, they didn't make them, but they count. Get a piece of Plywood or foam, put flock on it, and toss your minis on there when they come by to look at your shit. I mean come on people there are 1001 ways to make this easy on your. Complaints won't get you anywhere!

  9. I agree with this post.

    I cannot see these tournaments working they way they are right now. The need an overhaul so they do no reward as much or at all.

    I love painting, it is one of my favorite aspects (even though I do go through days I cannot paint).

    It isn't new player friendly.

  10. For a more in depth conversation hit me up in person as I could go on and on.

    I know I have a healthy painting score and as such benefit the most from the current system. That being said, this is a game that is both hobby and skill (on the table). GW's position is to put a simple tournament system out so that these 1-day events can work and in a way that encompasses both sides of their product.

    If you can't paint very well, and don't even put forth an effort to either paint what you can or improve, then perhaps a game where you build and paint isn't your best choice (agreeing with anonymous). Either way, I feel that it is GW's responsibility to represent their game in it's entirety. I think the system (dated as it is) could of course use a bit of tweaking here and there. However, the event is a 40k event... not simply a who can play better event. 40k is a hobby and a strategy game, and to simply complain that the hobby side isn't fair to the makers.

    Overall... I think that the system works pretty decent for those willing to "play" the game. This means both sides of 40k. However these are simply my opinions and mean little in the grand scheme of things :P

  11. Loki, I see this as an issue, just simply due to the fact that your army not only is tailored to clubbing the baby seals, but even has it's points changed after the judging has taken place by a different TO. You have your ass kissed the only place that painting makes a difference. So your views on the subject are skewed.

    Alexander, I can see how it is that you get frusterated when you go down, as you have a by far vastly painted army, and seem to get less than I did on my army. Which by their standards shouldn't happen. I mean look at Heretic's army, it scored one under mine, and didn't have but litteraly one model over half painted. That is where I see the problem. If you are going to include painting in the scores, it should be a mandatory 3 color standard for the ENTIRE army...not half plus 1.

  12. Zerkex, I mentioned before that I knew my opinion would seem skewed, but as a person who hasn't always taken the hours per model that I do now, I am speaking as a player. The system has problems yes, but it is a system to reflect 40k as a whole. To me that is what a tournament should be.

    As for painting scores. First off remember that every event will be different as a different judge will have different standards on painting.

    I would also advise people to read the painting rubric again. At no point does simply having all the models in your army count for anything. If the bulk is fully painted, you get 15... that's it. If people go into an event without knowing what the rubric for painting is, then the fault is theirs. It would be like going to a Magic tournament and not even bothering to ask if it is a draft or a type 2.

    As for "having my ass kissed" Zerkex, I simply take the time to paint my models. This is because I enjoy the hobby. I love painting. These events reward people for taking that time. I think you having the painted army served you well as you placed third in the last event.

    There is no way for everyone to agree on how things are... but at least from my point of view the events GW host are more organized as they have more time to do it. The rules for these 1 day events will obviously have to consist of compromises to be fair to everyone(hobbyist and gamer alike).

  13. "If you can't paint very well, and don't even put forth an effort to either paint what you can or improve, then perhaps a game where you build and paint isn't your best choice"

    Show me where it says that I have to paint my stuff to play a game of 40K with anyone. Show me where it defines exactly what the Warhammer 40,000 hobby "is", seeing as so many people like to define it.

    Saying I have to paint to play this game is like saying I have to rabidly collect cards to play Magic.

    I think that painters and gamers should be awarded equally, if you are both then thats awesome too. However, the system we have now tries to kill two birds with one stone, while doing neither well. GW's tournament system is old and outdated, and by evidence of the Throne of Skulls tournament woefully ignorant of the player base.

    Give me a reason as to why having a painting competition and a player tournament (where entrants into either can win both) is a bad thing that doesn't solve this problem.

    I don't care if your stuff is painted or not. Not that I don't appreciate a well-painted army, for example no one will deny that Loki's army deserves a great score. However, if you paint your army and someone else doesn't, you have no right to get mad. No one made your paint your army, you have the freedom to choose. If it cheapens the experience for you or whatever nonsense, tough shit I guess. Volunteer to paint their army for them for free if you love painting so much, I guarantee that will do the trick.

    This goes double for people who pay to have their armies painted.

  14. Kai, while it may not expressly say that 40k is a hobby, the fact that the company sells paints and other hobby materials (some even named after items in the game [i.e. boltgun metal]) and the tournament system takes painting into effect to me says that it is a hobby.

    It doesn't help anything to claim that your personal feelings towards painting are a sufficient reason to dislike it's presence in an event created by a company that sells both gaming materials and hobby materials for said game. Painting and customization work is what sets 40k apart from other table top games.

    The fact that people come in with an advantage to an event may be true, but it is an advantage that is earned. If someone takes the time to paint (and especially for those who take extra time to paint very well) it is time spent that other who have gray armies did not spend. Is it right to simply ignore the fact they took this time.

    Also, having had a discussion with Ishamael on this subject, simply separating the two elements is also unfair and would still lead to upset players. This is because people who can not paint or choose not to can not compete in painting competitions, while people who can or choose to paint can compete in both. Thus some people are allowed to compete in both while others can not. And while it is true that all people have to do is then simply paint their stuff to be competitive in both... is that not also true of our current system?

    Again, GW puts forth a product and supplies to be creative with said product. If people do not want to play a hobby-style game (ones that involve custom building and painting of the models) there are plenty of other tabletop games. Heroclix, Mechwarrior, Star Wars, etc.

  15. I'd have to agree with Loki on this one. It seems as though the dislike for painting one's own models is the largest reason I've seen here for people not liking the system.

    Loki presents a good point, as there are several other table top options in which people could play in events without worry of painting or hobby skills being involved.

    Also, after looking at how scoring works, the advantage that a skilled painter gains over a skilled player is only really an advantage when the painter is a great player as well. While I can see this is potentially a problem in the eyes of some... to me it is fair as they have put in a large amount of time and effort into the game. The fact it is 40k or GW is irrelevant in that those who work harder will usually trump those who do not. This is true of most any event.

  16. Loki: Somebody said 40K wasn't a hobby? Did you read what I said closely?

    It also doesn't help you to cite a company prone to making bad decisions to validate your opinions. For example, nobody, save anon and you seem to think the tournament structure of the RTT is anything worth keeping. Or do you enjoy seeing people get tabled, as that is what is required for people who don't get awesome paint scores. Pretty sure getting tabled leaves a bad taste in players mouths (especially new ones).

    Your advantage is earned, but your advantage is hilariously large, Loki. You're telling me you have the equivalent of a tabling over some people before a single die is ever rolled? How is this fair? It doesn't help that the painting scores are also biased as to what the TO likes. For instance, I don't want to flock my bases for my flying stands. Guess I can never get a perfect score no matter what else I do. It squeezes creativity and fosters metagaming your painting to the TO, as weird as that sounds.

    Did your conversation with Ishmael cover the fact that GW actually does have a separate competition called the golden daemon? It also has a separate gaming competition called "____", because it doesn't exist. This in of itself is not fair to those who primarily game.

    I also fail to see the validity of your point regarding the separate competition. Even with my stuff painted like dook I can still enter the painting competition, I just probably won't win. Also, your last point about "is that not true of our current system" completely misses the point of the argument, that being the painting score directly affects people who do not care to paint in the present system, while in the one I am promoting the two are separate but on the same field in their respective tournaments.

    Your last couple of sentences strike at the heart of what I am getting at; you are the one saying people must paint, not GW, not me. Again, it only involves painting and converting if you so wish, how in the world is it somehow forced?

    You're going to seriously suggest I stop playing a game I really enjoy playing (40K) just because I don't want to paint? Really?

  17. I simply offered it as an alternative. Either way I could retort with a long winded response. I would rather ave the conversation in person as I hate typing.

    Either way.. .we have differing opinions on what makes 40k what it is. I really don't care what the system is. I go on what I have seen for the last decade and some that I have been playing.

    Not to mention my Pizza was just delivered... so food time!

  18. Boy i missed out on something that must have been a fun day, but none the less, here I go again.

    Loki: You do in fact have your ass kissed. You went down and while you were still 5 points ahead of Kai at that tournament, you were approched by the TO who let you know that you army was just so awesome looking...blah blah have extra points.

    Past that, even when you had the blue Marines, your Crimson Fists still didn't have a problem getting a freaking like 30-32. No reasoning for it, as you yourself said, they looked mediocre.

    You seem to get the best of the worst to play for two rounds, and then you hope that you don't have to play someone like Zack, or Kai in the last round. I'm not going to continue the argument know how to get ahold of me. I just don't think that you seem to understand how much of your score is just them saying here have more points. I'm not saying that you don't deserve it, I'm simply saying that they keep giving you points so you keep driving down there. Otherwise, they don't have tournaments.

  19. Whatever your reasoning, I'm not sure it's fair to accuse them of trying to be unfair to people. After the way in which they resolved the problem with the painting score you received with Zack's marines, I don't think it's fair to say they do anything to set unfair differences between players. If they have, from my experience they do what they can to make amends. Just my thought.

    Well as it seems that I am the only one (saving Mr. Anonymous) who doesn't think the current system is complete crap, I guess we 40k players will have to agree to disagree on some things...

  20. When it comes to Zacks Marines that I took down there Loki, it is a matter of people looking at the fact that to do well you need to have a painted army. I didn't, but wanted to go. I don't want to have to table people in order to get 3rd if I'm lucky, so I did everything in my power to not have to do so. But when all was said and done, I didn't really have to many problems. I wasn't upset like the TO thought that I didn't win. I was upset that once again we went down to watch them hand you a hundred bucks. Granted you got me some scouts (which have seen the table twice, and I'm pretty meh about them) but never the less, another hundred for Loki. That is what annoys me. I wasn't going to go this past time when I got third because no one has a chance to place high enough to get something if you are playing because you get a 30something on your painting, and a seal to club first round putting you two tables above the rest. So there is really nothing for me there when you play. Therefore, I don't want to go.

    On a different note, I took the time to sit down and paint my army. I didn't have time to get the details that I wanted on, but none the less completely painted, but low and behold, My score was almost outdone by and army that was one over half. How the fuck is that close to fair? Does the fact that he got half his army detailed mean that because I got the whole army finished, he should be able to beat me in a painting score? Shit no! But he damn near did. And don't think I didn't hear how big you were talking up that wave serpent sir...he was playing right next to me.

  21. *((Note. I am not the same Anonymous. You know who I am))*
    ((Further note. This is in no way the official opinion of GP-Bloomington, etc.))

    While I feel this article started out as a reasonable attempt to look at what is undoubtedly a flawed system, it has essentially turned into a series of personal attacks, on myself and others. Anyone reading these posts can attest to that. That being said, to be on topic...

    First and foremost, Warhammer 40k is a hobby game. That is just a statistical fact, guys.

    "The Warhammer 40,000 Hobby --
    There's more to Warhammer than just playing games. In fact Warhammer 40,000 is an exciting hobby in its own right." -Per the GWS website

    If the company, which sells hobby supplies such as paints and basing materials, wishes to encourage player participation in that facet by rewarding players who paint, base, or customize their models to an exquisite detail, so be it. It is their right to reward players in the way they best see fit.

    There are 3 major competitive GWS types of events.

    Golden Demon:
    Strictly Painting. Lavishing in fine details and above and beyond artistry earn a player the right to be called one of the best.

    Rogue Trader Tournament:
    Typically a single day event, meant to reward a player for an attractive army and being a commanding general on the field. Both painting and game performance are scored, with a roughly 3-2 emphasis on gaming.

    'Ard Boyz:
    This no-punches-held slugfest is intended to be the ultimate competitive gamer's event. No painting, no fluff, just battlefield mayhem. At the national and regional level prizes are incredibly lucrative.

    There's really an event for every kind of 40k enthusiast. Considering that GW has at this point dozens of hobby products, the fact that the tournament scene with the highest amount of prize payout in no way rewards hobby gamers, it actually seems pretty fair. Now I'll acknowledge that the system needs some tweaks, re-balancing, maybe even a straight up overhaul. But the current system has some merits, and certainly reasons behind it.

    As for my personal opinion, since several of you seem determined to make it personal...

    No one is ever unbiased. Period. I do my best to minimize bias, I am however, human. I judge according to GW's rubric. In the instance of, let's say, complementing Loki on a job well done, yes I did. I scored him according to the rubric, by the letter, as I do others. On a *personal* level though, I liked the way his army was coming together and I have a soft spot for the Templars. So, I congratulated him on a job well done, instead of reflecting said "bias" in his score.

    And on the issue of fun, well there I couldn't disagree more. I think far more fun is taken away from the game by people who feel an excessive need to complain. If you want the game to be about fun, act like it. I came to the one tourney of yours I could (my days off being rather scarce) not because I wanted to win, but because I want to play the game with what I believe to generally be a bunch of great guys. If you ask me, a reliance on power gaming and fit throwing does far more to discourage new players than having a painting score in one of the two tournament types ever has.

  22. I really would love to move past personal attacks on this discussion and bring it back around to talking about the GW rules. If you have a problem with this, please speak to me directly.

    As for the shared idea that playing in an event means you must table them, I wouldn't mind the chance to clear this up.

    First and foremost, in a tournament the atmosphere will always be a little different than free play. People should come to have a good time there is no doubt in my mind... but there is a reasonable expectation that in an event where money/pride/whatever is on the line, people will bring their "A game." While I agree that in free play it may not have a place, I can't argue another player's right to ask for the time to play out their full game. They paid the money, and the outcome of each game is directly affecting their overall standings.

    Secondly, tabling a player isn't really worth anything more than a major victory. If you table an opponent, you are treated as receiving a major victory and the battle points. Admittedly it allows the player to receive the battle points if they did not gain them the hard way. That being said, I could play a game, and kill no enemy models, and providing the battle points didn't require a kill, I would receive a 20 if I pulled out a major some how. (Eldar trickery with point grabs would do this well).

    I really don't think the argument for "Having to be a jerk and tabling people works as a debunk to the GW rules set, as it is not only not required to receive the high score, but also even if people come to play to win... it is a tournament. Shouldn't everyone be allowed to play as they feel? Personal feelings aside on sportsmanship, I think every person pays to play, and should be allowed to play their own way.

    Curiously I wouldn't mind a little recap on what exactly people dislike and why. Also, I would like to say it's fun to see the longest string of comments on a post yet. Hope we can continue to have a good discussion on the matter.

  23. Loki:

    Your first problem is that you assume that tournament play has to be different than "normal" play. It does not. I believe that a tournament should be just as much (if not more) fun than a day down at the game store.

    I always bring my "A" game, no matter who I play. However, bringing my "A" game isn't as simple as playing as hard as possible, sometimes it pays to flex a little moral muscle and not go for the tabling against the player with a weak list who literally showed up with nothing in mind but "fun". This could be the reason why the Bloomington tournaments are usually 70% people from Muncie.

    However, thanks to a ridiculous painting rubric I am forced to go for the tabling against players who I know had little chance of winning to begin with. This kills the fun for my opponent, and especially kills the fun for ME. The look that befalls a tabled opponent isn't pretty, it isn't something I enjoy inflicting on people, but due to the way the scoring system is set up I am forced to go this route if I want any chance of winning against Mr. McAwesome painter. This system is clearly flawed from the ground up, everyone sees it but you, Loki, and whoever Anonymous is (who sounds like he/she has never played in one of these tournaments).

    This brings us to the recap you talked about. Your hypothetical situation where Eldar win without touching the opponent is nothing but hyperbole. Lets get real here. It won't happen Loki, as an Eldar player I can assure this, unless the mission is terrible and my opponent is comatose with an absolute terrible list.

    Also, don't even try to downplay the margin of victory vs tabling and major victory. I lost 2nd place in the last tournament you played in Loki by 2 points, if I had tabled your brother and got 3 more points I could of won the whole thing. It DOES matter.

    Are you suggesting that there are people who go for the throat every match and try to table people out of some sick desire for gratification or something? Are these people "playing their own way"? Who plays this way? I like to think that our gaming group is not just a collection of jackasses.

    So lets recap the problems with the present system:

    1. Biased painting system, painting to the TO, ZerkeX example about fully painted vs not armies, etc.

    2. Push to win as big as possible, needed by not-painters in order for a hope to win.

    3. Wonky missions - sometimes these are hilariously unbalanced like the original skulls mission

    4. Battle points - Wonky "extra" points awarded for seemingly random things at the end of the game, like when I beat Loki because I had a troop left in an annihilation game, wtf?

    This is a system, created to foster a gaming tournament (because like I said Loki, there is Golden Daemon for the painters, but this is all the players get), wherein someone can go undefeated (the ONLY undefeated player) and not even place (Brodrick in the last tournament).

  24. Fair to say you have the right to play how you see it. I can see your points (though I may still disagree with the reasoning on some of them, but this is why we are different people.)

    Anyone else have differing reasons? Or would they care to collaborate on the given topic.

  25. Loki, I'm not resorting to personal attacks. In fact I am far from it. I'm pointing out the Bias in the whole TO Painting judging thing. It is utter shit. I'm not saying these things to be mean, I am saying these things because they are truthful. I did hear you talk up Heretics Wave Serpent for over 8 and Britton didn't even look at my army for 8 minutes. You guys simply walked up said check check check, and off you went to the next table. Then I hear you going on and on and on about how beautiful the wave serpent is. That is all good and well, but for someone to get the points, they should either have the whole army finished, or recieve nothing at all in the way of the points for painting. (This includes the bottom of things like Land know of what I speak.)

    I'm sorry if I seemed to attack you personally, but honestly it felt like a great big 'bro-club' convention up there. Your bestest buddies recieved the bestest scores. You got on Kai for selling out his lining and his highlights, and didn't even give him the proper points like having objectives, because you guys came around to look at the models DURING GAME when it was KP's...bad idea. I stress during game, because there is a reason why some of us have built display boards. We want them to be able to be displayed on them. Thats why we sunk money into making them. Otherwise they are pointless. But in Btown, while we have a half of an hour break, you guys come over and bother us during game to look at's annoying, and distracting.

    As a Recap, I direct you to the previous Kai statement on my problems with the painting score...or well what used to be my problems. Go go 35+.

  26. Something I should have made more explicit in the original article is that this system, by rewarding the stomping of weaker players, loses GW revenue, and harms the hobby.

    Consider this: player A and B are equally skilled guys, and both play balanced lists. Assuming dice averages and a normal mission, we can infer that it will be close, with neither player commanding the game. Regardless of whether one of these players wins, neither is going to get a major victory, nor that perfect 20. Does it not strike one as strange when close games are not being rewarded?

    Furthermore, if we assume the previous experiment, but altered skill levels to A being a professional, but B being a new player, it's rather obvious that A will get a major victory, if not a tabling. If this is player B's first tournament experience, will he want to even continue to play after paying the money for the models and painting, only to get crushed early on in his first tournament experience?

    Now, this is hypothetical, but I do want this concern to be noted. It can easily be the case that the player has the drive to become better and learn more, yet I fear the average new player will lose his desire to play if he gets so thoroughly creamed in this system, as opposed to simply losing, the margin of which may be controlled by the better player, if within a W/L system.

    Without these new players we have no future.

  27. Oh, and one point everyone agrees on here is:

    "Paint your shit!"

  28. The statements on both sides seem valid. Can't say either side is wrong as we all play, and have opinions. It has been an interesting read to say the least.

    No system is perfect. So why don't we the players come up with a system that will work as a supplement? I know places like Bloomington are bound by GW to follow the rubric whether they like it or not, but if people dislike the system, they have a chance to try to create a new one.

    I wouldn't mind seeing players who dislike the GW rubric come up with a system that would replace the current 1-day event system. This would give people who do not like the current model to try their hand at creating a balanced and fair event. My only recommendation is to try to stay as objective as possible.

    Also, quick aside to Zerkex, I wanted to clarify that I have indeed played in these tournaments before. I don't usually do well, but generally the people I see at the event don't seem to mind it too much.

  29. Okay, here is a great way to include painting, but not have it so much of a huge benifit.

    Is the army primed? +1 to round score.

    Is the army completely painted? +2 to round score

    Is the army completely based and painted? +3 to round score.

    This gives the total of a whopping 9 for all three rounds, but still gives the guy who sits down and paints his stuff a bonus for doing his homework. This doesn't kill off any competition of the whole tournament, in fact it would help with the fact that in the close games, those extra points might throw them back into the running instead of letting the person with the biggest baddest painting score rule the day.

  30. This is true. But then again, you're now helping the people who don't paint their army at all, as now they only miss out on 9 points and all they have to do is play better and they'll win hands down.

    Not sure the benefit for taking time for painting should only be a 9 max. It also seems strange to me that the benefit for someone painting a full army to a lackluster standard vs someone who paints a full army amazingly being the same score. While it evens the playing field for people without expert skill or patience, people who take extra time per model don't really get anything to show for it at the event. My army looks terrible even though every model is painted. My skills are pretty limited :P. That said, I still think some of the players in my local store deserve a higher score than I.

    Interesting start. Still want to see how people would change the actual battle scoring system, or if painting is the only real issue.

  31. Anon: The entire system requires an overhaul in my opinion.

    Heres a question Anon: Why does someone, who enters a gaming tournament need outlandishly more points for painting than what something like ZerkeX formulated? A person should paint their army to an awesome standard because he/she wants it to look that way, not to garner more points in a gaming tournament. If you want your painting to be recognized then enter Golden Daemon or create a painting tournament to coincide with the gaming tournament.

    Likewise, the next Muncie tournament requires a panting standard with the painting score being used as a tie-breaker.

    I am a large proponent of the NOVA system, which you can read about in full here:

    Evening the playing field is exactly what we are looking for. Again, if you want your painting to be awarded either enter Golden Daemon or we can find a way to hold separate gaming and painting tournaments. Please explain to me how this doesn't solve our problem.

  32. But it's not simply a gaming tournament. Painting is part of 40k. They are simply playing the way GW has intended people to. By having an incentive to paint (a qualitative score) GW has created a system that rewards people for playing well and painting their army.

    It make sense to me as people usually agree that players should paint their stuff. So why is it then that the incentive GW puts out for painting called unfair?

  33. Because it isn't just an "incentive" Loki, it is required that one paint and that one paint exceedingly well to even have a shot at placing in most events. This isn't fair to the people who primarily in this hobby to game.

    Or, you could explain to me how having a solid Eldar list with good tactics can help me win Golden Daemon, as only one set of skills is rewarded there, wherein GW has no separate system to award sheer playing ability.

    It just does not make sense to me that GW has created a system where on one hand you have Golden Daemon to reward the painters, while its only tournament system has instances where those who go undefeated have almost 0 chance of placing if their painting isn't up to snuff. GW only seems interested in rewarding what it considers "hobby" type material, not gaming ability, and a lot of us this this is wrong/unfair Loki. I don't think you are seeing this due to you, well, winning in the present system all the time.

    Let me put it like this, Loki. Suppose I don't think your list is a good 40K list. It has some nice elements, but I find it lacking. I give you 20/40 for list composition. However, I think ZerkeX 20 TH/SS terminator army is a powerful sight to behold, I score him 38/40. Think this is unfair? It is. Think this is biased? It is. Now you know how we feel.

    Many people here and around the 40K playing world does not agree with GW's system, and we think it is time for a change. The next couple of Muncie tournaments is going to be trying this change first hand.

  34. There is in fact an event where skill is tested. Ard Boyz has no painting involved at all. Thus there is an event for painters, and event for gamers, and the RT rules that encompass both.

    as for the thing about list comp. If there is a rubric your following that has been published for years and is accessible to the general playing community... I can't really be upset at the concept. The only thing there is that the system in which you just described is over a relative topic (what an army is comprised of). I don't think it works well as a comparison as GW specifically allows for a large number of choices rather than simply saying "what army are you playing..."

    Me doing well is not simply because I have a good painting score. I have tried to be very open with how to play the game, and have also been playing for over a decade. I like to think that the painting score has nothing to do with my performance on the table (other than to joke about painted models doing well :P )

    But who knows. As this conversation isn't going anywhere as we are still talking about the same things we were 30 comments ago... it isn't progressing. So unless anyone (including myself) can come up with something new to present... I don't think there is much more to discuss on the topic. People's opinions won't change because someone else thinks otherwise.

  35. Kai I really have to agree with you here. When you back Loki into a corner, he just quits talking about it.

    Loki, Trying to defend the fact that you do well because of the fact that you are just so awesome at this game is only about half way. You severely hinder your local opponents by consistantly telling the to use bad units because they like them. Taking 10 Dire Avengers as your serpent upgrade...not a good idea. If they were smaller, there could be a whole squad with a serpent bought to help out the boys. I'm not accusing you of anything here, aside from giving really bad advice to your 'fellow' players. While you say that Ard Boyz is a gaming event that you get things based on your playability of the army in question...this is true. there is no painting comp for bad players, but good painters.
    Also on this topic of painting scores really quick, Loki, you can tie 2/3 of your rounds and score a minor victory, and someone who wins 2/3's with major victories, and gets all 20 points, then ties, loses to you because of a painting score that is in my opinion loaded. Flat out loaded. I don't think that the models look that awesome, let alone worth changing the scores for. That is all on the subject for now.

    Anon, I'm not going to address you further, as I don't want to make enemies out of people that I don't at least know who they are. I don't deal with having others knowing who I am, and being able to put a name to the ZerkeX tag, but me sitting here wondering who they are. you want to remain Anonymous, that is fine, but I'm not going to debate you on how to run a painting score.

  36. Ok folks, after reviewing how these comments have gone, it's time to make some distinctions and define what counts as contributing.

    First, when it comes to the topic at hand, you either respond to the prompt, further what someone else said, or respond to another person's post.

    If you do this:

    Then you are wrong. You aren't contributing, and only adding to the poor dialogue skills of the internet.

    ZerkeX, you've perpetrated ad hominem enough times. Either you stop taking shots at specific people, some of which haven't even posted, or I will be forced to seriously consider asking you to stop posting.

    Contribute, disagree, but don't attack other folks. You have contributed, but shots at specific persons cannot be tolerated.

  37. Ishmael, The only one addressed aside form Zack, because I took his marines, was Heretic, because of the situation that was being spoke about. Everyone else has had their say on the matter. I don't see the problem.

    As for the personal shots, I can understand why it seems to bother you. But on the same note, it is just as bothersome to have someone come in and speak down to you because they have been playing longer. I'll drop out of the mix here, and that should suffice, but I don't appreciate being accused of 'taking shots' at people who are not here to defend themselves. Just Loki got my ribbing, who posted 10 times in this article. Just so there is no confusion.

  38. I have to apologize. I did go over your statements a second time, and I was wrong thinking there were implications from your statements about others. I simply don't want accusations to take away good contributions.

    My bad.