Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Dark Millennium 2

On 13th and 14th June 2015 I’m helping a friend run Dark Millenium 2. DM2 is a 2 day, 5 game 40k Tournament in Stirling, Scotland. And I want as many of you to come as possible! This is the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/653068418132720/?fref=ts.

Why should you come? Well, it’s going to be a blast! But why else?

Seventh edition 40k causes problems for TOs.  There’s so much variety that a “straight out the book” approach is tricky. The problem is managing people’s expectations. People are giving up their time and money to attend an event, and they need to know what they’re letting themselves in for. Is it a “competitive” ETC style cheese fest, or is it more like GW’s Throne of Skulls events – a hobby weekend of organised play?

In discussing the rules pack for DM2 or main objective was to make the event as inclusive as possible. We wanted DM2 to appeal to both the hardened tournament player and the more casual player and hobbyist. The $64,000 question is how?

Well inevitably we needed to introduce some restrictions. The starting point was in army composition. Like most tournaments we’ve gone for 2 sources – Primary and Secondary. The first is a CAD or other codex detachment, and the 2nd either an allied detachment or formation. The detail is all in the event pack.

The next question we looked at was whether to allow Forge World. There is no doubt there are some very powerful (and arguably under costed) Forge World models (e.g. Hornets). More particularly it allows in some units that many players will know nothing about. On the other hand they are no more unbalanced than other units in the game, and very few players know every model’s rules these days anyway. More importantly however, a few play groups in Scotland play regularly with Forge World rules and models, and we know they enjoy doing so. We don’t want people deciding not to come to DM2 because they cant use all  their toys!

So we’ve suggested that people can take 0-1 Forge World units. An alternative might be to place a points restriction on the FW models people can bring. We’re thinking about that.

That of course has an impact on the inclusion of super heavies and lords of war (and indeed Super Heavy Lords of War!). My personal view is that super heavy lords of war have no place in “normal” games of 40k. However, again, we recognised that people enjoy playing with super heavy models, and decided to allow them, but introduce a points limit of 489pts. This will allow smaller super heavies, but exclude titans and the like. It will also allow “Codex Lords of War” e.g. Dante in the BA Codex. What we’re trying to do is strike a balance between allowing folks to paly with most of their toys, but at the same time excluding armies that some might consider “no fun to play” e.g. a Titan with a minimal HQ and troops.

Which brings me to a few other, perhaps more controversial, restrictions.

Our primary concern here was to limit a player’s ability to bring a list that might be considered by their opponent “no fun to play”. Now, there is no doubt that this is the “slippery slope” towards full on “comp”. The problem with introducing “comp” is the law of unintended consequences – i.e. if you restrict one thing, you make way for something else to become even more broken. So, when doing this we wanted to limit as few things as possible. Our aim was to try and limit some aspects of the game that most people would consider unbalanced, or to be more pejorative “broken”. We decided to make the following changes

·         Rather than invisibility being snap shot only, we changed it so that units shooting the invisible unit are BS1 and WS1 in assault. This is a common change in tournaments in the UK, effectively allowing templates and blasts to hit Invisible units.
·         Any re-rolled saves will only pass the re-roll on a 4+ - i.e. no re-roll able 2+ saves
·         No come the apocalypse allies. 
·         Units which are come the apocalypse allies with Demons, can not cast conjuration powers from the Demonology discipline.

I hope the first 2 are self explanatory – for most people, un-killable death stars are just not fun to play against. I’m not saying they’re unbeatable, nor am I saying they don’t present a challenge to experienced players, who may well enjoy that challenge. All I’m saying is that for the vast majority of people, it’s just no fun to have your army killed by something you cant harm! Bluntly, I would restrict this particular aspect of the game more severely, however rightly or wrongly it’s part of the game and we took the view that, while some may want us to place more restrictions on these rules, that would run the risk of putting others of. Again, a degree of balance is what we’re trying a achieve.

As for come the apocalypse allies, personally I don’t have no problem with them. But then again, I’m not really into the story behind the game. However, we know that this level of alliance does annoy some, and makes for some very odd armies. As we want to try and attract everybody to the event, prohibiting Come the Apocalypse Allies was a “nod” to the fluff player or narrative gamer.   

The final bullet point is one I feel quite strongly about – bluntly I would prohibit all summoning. IMHO it is fundamentally unfair, that one player can increase the number of points they have on the table beyond what the other player has. I know it’s random, and I’ve heard all the arguments about how creating a “summoning factory” restricts the rest of your army etc. etc. Again, I’m not saying its unbeatable, all I’m saying is that it’s not fun for the person playing against it.

However, again we need to accept that, rightly or wrongly (wrongly IMHO) it is a part of the game, and to ban it completely would annoy as many people as it would please. So we decided to restrict summoning so that only Chaos Demons and Chaos Marines can summon demons. Of course the most significant effect of this restriction is to stop Eldar Armies summoning demons, and that is quite deliberate. There is no doubt that Eldar are one of the most powerful factions at the moment, and we wanted to try and reign that back a little. This seemed like a good way to do it.  

And with our desire to encourage everybody to attend, even I can see how “offensive” it is to some when Farseers summon Demonetts!

We know these restrictions aren’t perfect. I know we didn’t comp Wave Serpents, nor did we prohibit Early Warning Overrides, or restrict Marker Lights. The problem of course  is “where do you stop”? What we’ve tried to do is limit the worse excesses, without rewriting the rules entirely. 

Finally, we’ve also decided to introduce a “best over all” award, called “Warmaster”. This will be the top prize, with the winner having the highest score combining appearance, sportsmanship and battle points, but with a twist – battle points for Warmaster will be worked out with reference to how well you do against other players using your faction, similar to how it’s done at Throne of Skulls in the UK. More details on this to come.

And that’s it -  Feed back here and on the Facebook page welcomed.

What do you think?


1 comment:

  1. While I am moving away from 40k at the moment, this sounds like a good set of rules, that allows everyone to use most of their toys, but limits some of the more challenging and overpowered factors in the game.