Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Warhammer World Series – Dissecting the match-ups

Throughout the World Series, we were tracking how each army performed each round. Ideally this will help us to decide whether to re-use some of the match-ups next time around, assuming that the arrival of 9th edition and any new army books hasn't completely stuffed with our plans.

I'm going to walk through each table and give a brief summary of how they all went. Below is a table that shows all of the matches and gives a simplistic rating based on their battle point differences, but the table-by-table section will give a better picture.
Yeah, good luck reading that without opening it properly...
The analysis is always going to be a bit difficult by the time you allow for some wild dice rolls in some of the games. It's also going to be slanted by the fact that the tournament included plenty of players with a wide variety of skill levels – numerous Masters players and some who almost never attend tournaments. Such varying levels of experience clashing can produce some misleading results. Anyway, let's have a look at how things went...

Thanks to Ben over at Eureka Wargames Association for the use of some of his pictures here. You can read his account of the tournament here

Table 1: The Underground
Scenario: Watchtower (with modifications)
Skaven vs Night Goblins
Battle Points: Skaven 76, Night Goblins 64
Results: Night Goblins 3, Skaven 3, 1 draw
Table 1
This was probably the most wacky of the tables we set up. It involved an all-Goblin army against a Skaven army, fighting it out on the club's cave terrain. It was the only table to use the Watchtower scenario, and in this case the objective was not a building at all, but an open section of terrain (a chunk of warpstone being mined from the ground, made for the occasion by Owen of Terrain for Hippos).

This was always going to be a crazy game. And with the scenario, (control of the warpstone was worth 800 points) results were predictably wild. I know of games where the thing ended up controlled by a single Night Goblin Fanatic, and another where a single Troll survived to hold it after his unit passed a Leadership 4 Stupidity test to move onto it... The caves also caused some people a bit of grief, especially when the instruction to ignore the 1” rule for the impassable cave walls failed to get through in at least one game.

Anyway, after all this madness, each army walked away with 3 wins, and somehow one game even ended in a draw. All in all, I can't imagine a more ideal table for the tournament, and I'm glad we went through with it.

Table score: 10/10

Table 2: Wild Woods
Scenario: Battleline
Wood Elves vs Beastmen
Battle Points: Wood Elves 94, Beastmen 46
Results: Wood Elves 6, Beastmen 1, 0 draws
Table 2
The battle pitched an all-Forest Spirit Wood Elf army against a Beastman force led by a Doombull and containing a solid unit of Minotaurs. With no shooting to speak of between the two armies, we felt it should be a pretty even match.

As it turned out, the results fell heavily in favour of the Wood Elves. One of those games was when I was using them, but ironically my opponent had decided that the Beastmen were the better choice.

It's a little difficult to pinpoint where this match-up went wrong. The Dryads (the heart of the Wood Elf force) pack more venom than the Gor, but they lack the ranks and command of those units, and they're likely to get hit by charging Tuskgor Chariots. In my game, the Beastmen were undone by my getting the right Wood Elf spells and making a couple of key lucky rolls. Whether this was the case in the other games, I don't know. In the end though, despite there being worse tables in the tournament, it's fair to say that this match-up didn't work.

Table Score: 3/10

Table 3: Chaos Rivalry
Scenario: Battleline
Khorne Warriors vs Slaanesh Daemons
Battle Points: Warriors 39, Daemons 61
Results: Warriors 1, Daemons 4, 0 draws

This battle pitched a all-Slaanesh Daemon army led by an under-equipped Keeper of Secrets against an all-Khorne Warriors army. Basically it was a list with greater manoeuvrability and reliability against one with marginally more hitting power, but anger management issues.

Feedback before the event was that if the better player got the Daemons, they would have the means to exploit the frenzy of the Warriors and win the game. I don't know if this is what happened, however for the 5 games that were played on the table (when 2 players pulled out on day 2, this table managed to wind up vacant on 2 out of 3 rounds), the Warriors only came out on top once. From anecdotal evidence, the table saw multiple occasions where the less experienced player was sucked into choosing the Warriors with their apparent combat advantage, without thought to how they might be out-manoeuvred. However most of the time the Daemons won, the game was relatively close. Hence the battle point tally wasn't too out of whack. With only 5 games as a guide, it's hard to really assess how good this match-up was.

Table Score: 5/10

Table 4
Scenario: Battleline
Skaven vs Empire
Battle Points: Skaven 59, Empire 81
Results: Skaven 0, Empire 4, 3 draws

This game included a couple of well-armoured Empire units against an army with a couple of hard counters to them, in the shape of the Doomwheel and Warlord. The tally for the game ended up with no wins for the Skaven, however the first 3 games on the table all ended in draws. Only one of the rounds ended more one-sided than a 12-8, so it's fair to say the table produced some very tight games.

I didn't see any of the games, so I don't really know the nature of the close games that were played out. If the game ended up a non-event repeatedly, it was a failure. If stuff was dying on both sides, it was a resounding success. I'll hedge my bets on this one.

Table Score: 7/10

Table 5: Family Feud
Scenario: Battleline
Dark Elves vs High Elves
Battle Points: Dark Elves 67, High Elves 73
Results: Dark Elves 2, High Elves 3, 2 draws

This table was about as close as we came to a “mirror match”. Balancing it was a bit difficult however, because the Dark Elves have an edge in combat because of hatred. The High Elves ended up with an extra unit of Ellyrian Reavers in an effort to help them dictate terms.

I did play on this table, and the game was pretty close throughout until my opponent tried to press his marginal advantage and was punished for it. Throughout the tournament, the match-up was extremely close. A difference of only 6 battle points between the two armies is exceptional. I'm not entirely convinced that the armies were as finely balanced as that, but it was definitely a success.

Table Score: 9/10

Table 6
Scenario: Battleline
Skaven vs Ogre Kingdoms
Battle Points: Skaven 60, Ogres 80
Results: Skaven 1, Ogres 4, 2 draws
Table 6
I heard 2 separate players wailing about Skavenslaves killing Mournfangs because they had great weapons instead of ironfists. Much as this seemed to be a recurring (and rather amusing) theme, the accounts I heard about the table varied a bit. The Ogres came out on top, although a difference of only 20 battle points indicates that their advantage was pretty slim. I suspect the ability to form up a small “death star” with all the characters in the Ironguts unit was the upper hand the Ogres enjoyed, but it was not a huge edge. Results were close enough to qualify this as a pretty good match-up.

Table Score: 7/10

Table 7: Witch Hunt
Scenario: Battleline
Empire vs Vampire Counts
Battle Points: Empire 87, Vampire Counts 53
Results: Empire 4, Vampire Counts 2, 1 draw
Table 7
This was another table that I played on. The match-up pitched an Empire army with no wizards against a Vampire Counts army with no actual Vampires. The undead would rely upon their magical supremacy to offset the superior combat potential of the Empire army. This is sort of what happened in my game, and my Vampire Counts narrowly came out on top when my opponent's rolling betrayed him. In general however, the Empire had the upper hand. A couple of strong wins in the early games gave them a better battle point tally, but the spread of 4-2-1 was not a bad outcome.

Table Score: 7/10

Table 8: Aerial Duel
Scenario: Battleline
Vampire Counts vs Bretonnians
Battle Points: Vampire Counts 42, Bretonnians 98
Results: Vampire Counts 0, Bretonnians 5, 2 draws
Table 8
This game was out “flying circus” match. A Vampire Counts army loaded with flying characters and Vargheists up against a Bretonnian army with Pegasus Knights and a flying Lord. When we put this one together, we pictured a fast-moving game with players flinging units at each other. Unfortunately it didn't really work that way, as I found out when I played on the table. Unless one player was reckless or careless, the game ended up a bit of a stand-off with both sides circling for advantage. This alone meant the table was a bit of a failure, and probably accounted for the 2 draws.

It's slightly surprising that the Vampire Counts never came out on top, though. I maintain the armies were better balanced than that. Maybe the Vampires suffered from needing their general in too many places at once, with both a slow infantry contingent and the fast-moving (and frenzied) Vargheists.

Table Score: 3/10

Table 9: Can't Stop Da 'Rok
Scenario: Battleline
Orcs and Goblins vs Empire
Battle Points: Orcs and Goblins 95, Empire 45
Results: Orcs and Goblins 6, Empire 1, 0 draws

This table saw a slightly defensive “combined arms” Empire army against an Orc army with an Arachnarok and a powerful unit of Savage Orcs. Unfortunately the title proved more correct than expected, and the Orcs definitely had the upper hand in the match. I know catastrophic luck played a part in at least one 20-0 defeat for the Empire (hi Nick!), but it's fair to say that the table was not as balanced as I had hoped.

Table Score: 3/10

Table 10: Knight-off
Scenario: Blood and Glory
Empire vs Bretonnians
Battle Points: Empire 81, Bretonnians 59
Results: Empire 5, Bretonnians 2, 0 draws
Table 10
This match was an all-cavalry affair – another concept game, if you will. It was close to a mirror match, but the Bretonnians had an extra unit (and Fortitude) at their disposal, whilst the Empire had a Warrior Priest and a more dangerous missile unit in the Outriders.

This is another table that I played upon, and my failure was actually one of the 2 games that the Bretonnians won. It was a very tight and see-sawing game, and I gather that some of the others were similar, even if the scenario then saw the battle points looking a bit one-sided after the game. Based on this, I'm inclined to score the table more highly than a 5-2 scoreline would seem to warrant.

One change that I would definitely make is to tweak the Bretonnian characters to ensure that they can lead units like the Questing Knights if they want to – the Knight's Vow prevented them from doing this, and it was really an over-sight on my part.

Table Score: 7/10

Table 11: Grudge Match
Scenario: Battleline
Orcs and Goblins vs Dwarfs
Battle Points: Orcs and Goblins 65, Dwarfs 75
Results: Orcs and Goblins 2, Dwarfs 5, 0 draws

Here we had a traditional rivalry in Dwarfs against Greenskins. It was a match that we felt we had to have somewhere, even if not all our tables were based on “classic” feuds like that (we did try, though). The Dwarf army was pretty light on shooting with a single Grudge Thrower and 10 Quarrellers, whilst the Orc army was a foot-slogging force with only a unit of Trolls and a Boar Chariot for a little extra speed.

I did hear at least one person complaining that this game was a bit dull, but games involving Dwarfs are frequently like this. One thing to note is that the Dwarfs came out ahead 5-2, but there were only 10 battle points in it. This is symptomatic of the classic Dwarf problem of being unable to push for big wins, whilst the Orcs are far more of an all-or-nothing army.

Table Score: 7/10

Table 12: Trolling
Scenario: Battleline
Warriors of Chaos vs Dwarfs
Battle Points: Warriors 62, Dwarfs 68
Results: Warriors 2, Dwarfs 3, 1 draw

Another themed table here, with a bestial Warriors of Chaos army led by Throgg against a Dwarf army packed with Slayers. The Daemon Slayer had a fearsome axe with which to threaten the larger targets in the enemy army, but the Warriors held the advantage in terms of speed.

I would have quite liked to play on this table, but I didn't get the chance. I heard both good and bad things about the match, but in the end the results look pretty good and I think it worked pretty well.

Table Score: 8/10

Table 13: Lore and Chaos
Scenario: Battleline
Daemons of Chaos vs High Elves
Battle Points: Daemons 37, High Elves 103
Results: Daemons 1, High Elves 6, 0 draws

This game had a Loremaster-led High Elf army against Daemons led by a Daemon Prince. On paper this game looked pretty balanced, however the results blew out due to something we hadn't really considered. The Loremaster gets Shem's Burning Gaze, and a boosted version of that spell is serious danger for the Daemon Prince (whom the Daemons really needed). In several games, the poor Daemon Prince got blown off the table in the first turn, and this obviously spelt doom for the army. Luck sounded like a major factor in at least one other game where things fell apart for the Daemons, but in all, it was obviously a slightly flawed match.

Table Score: 3/10

Table 14: Desert and Swamp
Scenario: Battleline
Tomb Kings vs Lizardmen
Battle Points: Tomb Kings 100, Lizardmen 40
Results: Tomb Kings 6, Lizardmen 1, 0 draws
Table 14
This game ended up a lot more one-sided than I would have expected, with the Lizards getting rolled repeatedly. The funny thing was, nobody complained about the table or mentioned it being uneven, so I had no idea until I had collated all the scores. All I had heard was players wanting to play that game. Ah well, I guess something didn't work. It's possible the Tomb Kings just packed too much shooting into their list.

Table Score: 3/10

Table 15: Badass in the Badlands
Scenario: Battleline
Chaos Dwarfs vs Ogre Kingdoms
Battle Points: Chaos Dwarfs 54, Ogres 86
Results: Chaos Dwarfs 3, Ogres 4, 0 draws

Only one table included an army from the Legion of Azgorh, and this was it. The table was basically a filth-off, including a K'daai Destroyer, Mournfangs and an Ironblaster. It was all the more apparent because of how toned down most of the other tables were.

The table seems to have been pretty well balanced, given the 3-4 tally. The Ogres seemed to be the ones getting the big wins though (yet another Dwarf army that struggles to force home results), hence the battle points are pretty one-sided. Whilst I think the people coming off the table generally agreed that the lists were pretty well even, I'm not sure they were so flattering about the fun level of the game. So the game was a win for balance, but not necessarily a win overall.

Table Score: 7/10

Table 16: Super Sub-Optimal
Scenario: Battleline
Lizardmen vs Beastmen
Battle Points: Lizardmen 106, Beastmen 34
Results: Lizardmen 6, Beastmen 1, 0 draws
Table 16
This game included those two titans of the Warhammer game, the Jabberslythe and the Troglodon. Both lists included a lot of chaff units and one main block of troops. On paper it looked pretty balanced. In practice however, it didn't seem to work. The Lizardmen had a small amount of shooting that the Beastmen lacked, and having a BSB on a Large Target meant the army was disciplined and largely immune to the Jabberslythe's aura (so long as the Skink hung around).

I'm surprised that the results were as lop-sided as they were, however it's fair to say that the match-up was a failure.

Table Score: 3/10

Table 17: Desert Raiders
Scenario: Battleline
Tomb Kings vs Dark Elves
Battle Points: Tomb Kings 51, Dark Elves 89
Results: Tomb Kings 1, Dark Elves 5, 1 draw
Table 17
This table included a couple or rarities in the overall field – lord-level wizards. Admittedly they were only level 3s, but it still meant magic was going to play a larger role here than in many of the other games. This is another table that I played on, and the result there went in favour of the Dark Elves. However, this was only after my opponent pushed for a big win once he was in the ascendancy. Had he been content with a small win, it would have been a mark in the Tomb Kings' column. And frankly, we would both have chosen the Tomb Kings in the match-up. So maybe the scoreboard is not fully indicative of the potential on the table.

Table Score: 5/10

Table 18a: The Buboed and the Beautiful
Scenario: Battleline
Nurgle Warriors vs High Elves
Battle Points: Warriors 36, High Elves 4
Results: Warriors 2, High Elves 0, 0 draws

This match-up was the last added when the tournament entrants kept increasing, and as such it was probably not as well-considered as most of them. Having decided to use Nurgle Warriors of Chaos as one of the forces, I felt the best chance was an army that struck quickly with re-rolls to hit. Unfortunately the list I came up with wasn't cutting the mustard. The White Lions don't get the re-rolls and as such were unlikely to hit much of anything. That, coupled with the high armour on the Warriors, meant the Elves were just too inclined to bounce off. It only took a couple of lop-sided games and a little grumbling to make it clear that persisting with the match-up would have been a mistake, so I subbed it out and put in the reserve match described below.

I remain convinced the High Elves could have won on this table, but it was probably a mistake to send them in without any magical support – that might have tipped the balance. I just didn't want the poor old Warriors left with nothing but combat when the opponent was doing stuff in every phase. Turns out my sympathy was misplaced. Filthy Nurgle worshippers.

Table Score: 1/10

Table 18b: The Backup
Scenario: Battleline
High Elves vs Orcs and Goblins
Battle Points: High Elves 86, Orcs 14
Results: High Elves 5, Orcs 0, 0 draws

The lists for this match-up have not previously been published, so here they are:

High Elves
  • Prince on Griffon with Armour of Caledor, great weapon
  • Noble with Dragon Armour, Enchanted Shield, Sword of Might, Potion of Foolhardiness (was meant to be a BSB. Don't know what happened there)
  • Mage (Level 2, Lore of High Magic)
  • 25 Spearmen with full command
  • 18 Lothern Sea Guard with full command
  • 7 Swordmasters of Hoeth
  • 5 Ellyrian Reavers
  • Tiranoc Chariot
  • Tiranoc Chariot
  • Bolt Thrower
  • Eagle

Orcs and Goblins
  • Black Orc Warboss on Wyvern with Sword of Battle, Enchanted Shield, heavy armour
  • Black Orc Big Boss BSB on boar with Dragonhelm, heavy armour
  • Savage Orc Shaman (Level 2)
  • 20 Savage Orcs with full command, 2 hand weapons
  • 15 Savage Orcs with full command, 2 hand weapons
  • 6 Wolf Riders with musician, light armour, shields, spears
  • 5 Wolf Riders with musician, light armour, shields, spears
  • Orc Boar Chariot
  • Orc Boar Chariot
  • Giant

The backup match had High Elves with a Griffon against Orcs with a Wyvern. The Orc list was slightly more resilient, whilst the Elves were a little faster and had a bolt thrower. Whilst the general opinion seemed to be that this match was better than the one it replaced, the games all still ended up going one way – this time in favour of the Elves. The tales I heard didn't exactly cover the Orc players in glory, but it sounds like the inclusion of the bolt thrower was a mistake. It resulted in players over-reacting and feeling like they had to rush in to try to level the playing field.

Regardless of what the problem was, the match-up ended very one-sided and can only be considered a failure. It is unfortunate that the last round play-off for first place ended up on this table. Maybe I should have moved it. I regret not having done so, really. The table that wound up vacant for that round was Table 3 (Khorne Warriors vs Slaanesh Daemons) and it seemed like a better game. Oh well.

Table Score: 2/10

All in all, the match-ups were probably a pretty even spread of well-balanced, close to balanced, and not really right. Table 18 (both the original and the replacement) was an outright failure, and really let things down a bit. If you ignore that match-up, there were only 2 other tables where an army didn't get a single win – and those two tables had 5 draws between them. So clearly they were contests. 3 tables (other than Table 18) had differences of 60 battle points or greater between the two sides, however all of those at least produced a win for the under-dog, so none were a foregone conclusion. Given how difficult it is to create 18 different and balanced games using every army in the game, I think we did OK.

If you played on any of these tables and have any feedback, feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Re. Table 3: I was the Warriors player who got the win, and I can happily say thats because the Keeper cascaded just as he was in position to roll through everything. Otherwise I was properly screwed. Just too fast and too mobile.

    As for Table 14: I personally couldn't stop Smiting once in the game, so Dave DS just took off everything with archers and as such is probably not truly representative of the game as a whole. It also didn't help that its nearly impossible to stop the Stalkers rocking up and taking off the Saurus Cav without batting an eye thereby removing the best combat threat in the army.

    1. Thanks for that.

      Sounds like the Table 3 match was not great, then - if the Warriors shouldn't really have won a round.

      You say your Table 14 result wasn't representative of the match-up, but it sounds like luck wasn't the only issue. I guess Saurus cav really are a good target for Stalkers.

  2. Just wanted to provide a bit of feedback First off thanks so much Greg and the Hampton guys for a really enjoyable tournament and spending so much time making matchups and getting armies sorted. A truely hurculean effort. I'm a new fantasy tournament player but I was fairly competitive in 40k for a while and a bunch of other systems including being TO a couple of times and helping others develop player packs, so I know a thing or two about game balance and player enjoyment and the like.

    I think by and large the day was set up well and the matchups were well thought out. They were mostly interesting and varied and mostly provided fun games. Overall a truely excellent first event for me and lots of fun. I had a fairly difficult early run (penwarden, hoen, aaron and leopold in the first 5 rounds) but I've considered this in my thoughts below.

    Firstly the tables I played:

    Table 2: WE v Beasts - The matchup seemed skewed wood elves favour. It was one of the tables where game knowledge really played a huge part. Knowing the obscure matchups and tools that you had on the beastmen side was the only way to win, the wood elves just got to dance around and avoid the game getting minor to mid victories. The key issue was that misplaying some of the tools on the beastmen side left you completely impotent and lead to a difficult game with the difficulty being very lopsided. It was enjoyable overall, but I think there needed to be more redundancy provided for the beastmen and something to force the wood elves to actually play warhammer. Even just something like a magic missle lore on the beastmen side would have gone a huge way to forcing the game to actually happen.

    Table 3: Khorne v Slaanesh - I took the Khorne army here as I knew the slaanesh daemons would be too difficult to use well enough against someone who was better than me (Hoen) and had to just suck up the khorne army and hope that the hitting power got me over the line. It didn't. Hoen played it right and ran circles around me. The problem as I see it here was that there weren't many meaningful game decisions. The khorne play themselves because of team frenzy and the slaanesh just do their obvious battle plan and hope you don't come unstuck. I'm sure there's something tricky you could do to get ahead (I heard a report of the one win for the warriors perhaps coming from bunkering points in a building, which isn't fun) but I couldn't see how to do it in a fun way. Team frenzy isn't fun. I'd suggest you don't have a frenzy army next year. It's just not a fun way to play, especially against team counter-frenzy.

  3. Table 6: Skaven v Ogres - Matchup seemed fine to me. I'm surprised by the offside win ratio. I played skaven and felt I was in the game at all times and could have won if I'd played better. Leopold made some good plays and got a narrow win. I liked the matchup and it seemed very fun.

    Table 9: O&G v Empire - Stop the Rok - Hmm... so I was the only one that had the stars align to stop the Rok? I thought the matchup was fine, my opponent made a bunch of mistakes and I caused the Rok to flee from routers going through it (which I quickly let my opponent put back in the name of actually having a game). It was one of the coin flip matchups though, so maybe revision is required. You either win or you don't and it's always clear based on a couple of events happening. That's the issue, give some redundancy so the armies aren't hinged on the outcome of a couple of events.

    Table 14: Tomb Kings v Lizards - I took the lizards because my game knowledge wasn't deep enough to play the tomb kings right. Aaron played well and got a solid win. The issue seemed to be that the Lizards were generically "good" but the khemri had direct counters to things, making that abstractly "good" list just middling to poor. I think this was a bit of an issue across the event that I'll discuss later. Anyway, the stalkers seemed the key here. They are just way too good in the matchup (their randomness doesn't make them fair, it just makes them either win or not, which isn't fun). Apparently the only Lizard win came from bunkering the Slaan and saurus all game in a building. You don't want to force no-fun warhammer.

    Table 15: CD v Ogres - I think you've already picked it, the matchup was even, the game was a coin flip. The CD had so many useless units in the matchup. It was a race to take off all the Ogres before they take off the kdai and then hit your lines. It wasn't a fun match. I'm thinking you probably can't have a decent matchup with chaos dwarves tbh. I don't think it's worth representing an army for the sake of having every book there if it makes a bad game. Again, the issue was lack of redundancy and all the eggs being in one basket.

    Table 17: Tomb Kings v Dark Elves - I played the dark elves. They were way too good. I played puddingwrestler (sorry, I forget his name) and I feel he never had a chance. The tomb kings as you say *might* be able to win, but it relies on all the correct decisions being made and things going well. The dark elves just need to push it forward and cast spells. The khybiss matches up too well, the corsairs were too good... just in general it was unbalanced. Like you said, the TK can win, but it's too conditional and makes the matchup lopsided.

  4. Other thoughts:

    - Tables: Buildings are too good at 1500 and cause the player with the negative matchup to want to play cagey unfun warhammer. You can discourage this either by saying buildings are impassable or sticking them all in the middle of the board on the flanks. I know you can't get rid of it, but you can make it harder.

    - Magic: Most of the tables seemed ok, some were iffy. A few tables had dwellers access or purple sun access (which is admitadly less of an issue) and this ruined some games, especially the knights on knights matchup. If it had have been a magic missle lore the matchup would have been much closer and no games would have been ended by 6 dice dwellers. Shadows on the dark elves v tomb kings was also way too good. Keep magic in but it seems that it played a key role in some matchups balance.

    - Lists in general: It seemed like the approach was in general "These guys have this, so it can be countered by this". I feel this is the incorrect approach. I think rather than writing lists side by side with there being questions that are answered directly by the other side with counters and such that instead you should maybe just write lists blind to the opponent of a specific power level, then double check to make sure the answers are there, rather than there being specific answers from the start. It would mean more redundancy and less reliance on getting the unit matchups exactly right to win or one turn of bad luck causing the game to be over prematurely. If you look over the lists the games that people didn't enjoy/were landslides were mostly of this nature, whereas the ones that were of the same power level, had answers but also redundancy were also the ones people liked more, even if the results were skewed. ie. people hated the chaos dwarf match because the answers were so narrow even though the matchup was fair.

    - Fixing stuff on the day: I realise that it's a hard task to organise the day especially with late signups. Kudos for pulling the High Elf v Nurgle table early. I think you shouldn't feel too worried to ammend a matchup if you spot a problem though. Stuff like the High elves needing magic there... stick some magic in for game 3, the knights v knights the brets needing questing virtue and needing to get rid of dwellers, change that for day 2. I think that if you're able to identify issues like that and feel like you should then you should feel confident to go and amend the matchups a little. I know this opens the door for people to ask for this a lot, but if a few little tweaks can help then that's for the better. And don't worry about it being unfair on early players, I'd rather have better matchups for more fun games then just leave an issue there. People can deal with it...

    That being said, I'm just setting this all out so that it can be better next year. I think you were a bit harsh on the "badness" of the matchups in your spreadsheet as at the end of the day most tables sounded like they encourage a fun game with a number of possible outcomes and overall it was an excellent event for which I thank you sincerely and will be back next year.


    1. Thanks for all that.

      One thing I am taking from this: you should try taking the more "complex" list rather than leaving it to your opponent. That just means if he's good enough, he's going to end you. If you'd left Hoen with the Warriors and taken the Daemons instead, his game could have unravelled.

      As for the making the lists blind, this is effectively what we did last year, and I think the approach this time around worked better. It's also an exceedingly difficult thing to balance the lists properly, build in redundancy etc when you don't have unlimited models to work with.

      Changing the match-ups on the fly is a can of worms. If you listen to everyone who comes whining about something in a match, you'd end up tweaking every table, and many of those things may not be warranted. And if you tweak something and make something else worse as a result, you end up looking extremely silly. It's an approach I would try to avoid if at all possible - even if it meant having more reserve matches to sub out a whole table. Minor tweaks are best done after the fact, for "next time". Something like this is never going to be perfect, so you have to embrace a certain amount of "close enough is good enough" during the event in order to keep things working.

      Oh, and Owen (puddingwrestler) is the self-proclaimed worst warhammer player in Melbourne. I wouldn't take too much from any match involving his unique expertise... I would have chosen the Tomb Kings, and my opponent did the same. Maybe this is coming from the high end of the experience scale rather than the low end, although that alone is interesting, and something that is very difficult to cater for in all cases.

      Thanks for taking the time to provide so much feedback.

  5. Re: Complexity - Oh definitely, but what I'm more saying is that that's a little bit of an issue in itself. It's not really a great idea to have a table that is lopsided if the better player gets the right army. I think having armies that require approximately the same level of finesse and decision making will provide a better game all round. The other point was that team all-frenzy all-the-time was no fun. A couple of frenziers are ok, but not the whole team.

    Re: blind lists - yeah fair enough, I get that and it was more a potential solution than a suggestion. The point was that too many of the lists were "lock and key" so far as the questions and answers. I realise it's super difficult to have redundancy and stuff with a limited pool of models, but if the situation is more "here's some stuff, you can take it out in a number of ways but one is optimal" rahter than "point your cannon here to win and hope it doesn't explode" then you'll have better games across the weekend. I noted that the witchhunter v zombies matchup wasn't particularly close but I saw lots of people really enjoying their games there because no one was never out of it entirely. That's what I'm saying, a bit more of internal balance in the lists would probably help, rather than good stuff balanced out by total dross to get roughly the same power level but really swingy lists.

    Re: Changes on the fly - Yep, absolutely. Just saying keep it as an option in the back of your mind. Particularly with stuff that you're subbing out and can identify the issue (high elves v nurgle) or stuff that had unintended issues (bretts with questing knights). I agree that carte blanche is a huge can of worms and to be avoided, but some small tweaks could have helped a lot with a couple of things. Mostly I was just saying don't be too afraid to do it if you have noted serious easily balanced issues as I think the players would largely support it and not whine for more changes, especially if it were just a magic lore here, a vow there.

    Hehe... yup... Owen didn't help himself much. The problem just seemed the complexities of the armies were lopsided, it's not bad having complex armies out, but perhaps if they were matched up against each other it would be better as having a complex army that can fall down or dominate vs a straightforward list seemed to cause a couple of tables to have issues.

    And as I was saying at the end, I understand from other players that this year was a huge improvement on last year and my intention is not to bash the work put in but to give you a low skill level players outlook on how to improve some of it. I note that some big things were absent that caused issues last year apparently which I assume was deliberate. Things like obscure tricks in armies regarding formation and character placement (ungor horde and mino character was mentioned) and some army that had to conga line to win. I assume you identified that these do nothing other than allow cousens to giggle about how clever he is and don't improve the enjoyment of the event. I think the hiding in buildings to avoid a loss tables were about the only thing like this left. There were a couple of well known unit formation choices that were fine though, stuff like 7 wide on the dark elves most of the time and gutstar character placement.

    Anyway, thanks for the event and being open to feedback. It makes such a huge change from the typical 40k TO attitude ;)

  6. A rundown on my games for anyone interested.

    Game 1 - Table 11, Orcs v Dwarfs
    I lost the roll off and was given Dwarfs. My shooting accounted for 9/10 of stuff all, all the combat was 1v1 fights which I won in each instance but I was unable to finish units off to secure the points. 10-10 draw.

    Game 2 - table 12 Warriors v Dwarfs
    I lost the roll off and was given Dwarfs. This game was pretty fun and felt fairly balanced. Both of us (Jabe) forgot about the mandatory challenge rule which might have impacted the result but overall it was reasonably even. I got myself into a good position early but Throgg abandoning his unit to join the melee in the middle brought it right back. 12-8 win.

    Game 3 - table 15 Ogres v Chaos Dwarfs
    I won the roll and there was no way I was picking the stunties. Bottom of turn one I regretted this, as the combination of deathshrieker rockets and the lvl 1 sorcerer rolling up Purple Sun saw my army unable to cross the table thanks to failing panic tests. At one point the Ogres, Ironguts & Mournfang were all fleeing failed panic tests. 14-6 or 16-4 loss.

    Game 4 - table 5 High Elves v Dark Elves
    I lost the roll off and was given High Elves. I had some great rolling with magic/shooting, the highlight of which was killing all 14 witch elves with a single casting of boosted soul quench, which gave me a big lead early on but it all fell apart when the cold one knights made an 11" charge into my silverhelms and killed 7 of the 8 on the charge while suffering 0 casualties in return (I did kill his lord in a challenge though) then got run down. The two spearmen blocks had a handbag fight for a few turns, but other than that we both spent a lot of time hiding and not much else happened. 10-10 draw.

    Game 5 - table 8 Bretonnians v Vamps
    I won the roll and took the vampires. That was the only highlight of the game for me as I was thoroughly outplayed. Highlight of the game was the Bret Lord making a long bomb charge into my Vamp Lord (because I was stupid enough to leave a big enough gap for him to fit) then killing the Vamp via killing blow without suffering a single wound in return. 16-4 or 18-2 loss I think.

    Game 6 - Slaven v Ogres
    I lost the roll and was given Skaven. Turn 1 I miscast vermintide with the priest and the pie plate killed 21/25 of the monks pushing the furnace, immobilizing it. Turn 2 I miscast vermintide again (he was a lvl 1) and the small template killed 2 of the remaining 4. Toward the end of the game the furnace got flank charged by the gut star and the rats fled, the banner dieing in the process but the final rat escaped and survived. Ogre player had four models on the field at the end but one was a Tyrant and another the BSB. 14-6 loss.

    Game 7 - Tomb Kings v Lizardmen
    I lost the roll and was given Tomb Kings. The lizards deployed a few units crammed against the table edge and got boxed in when skullstorm landed in front of them preventing them from advancing. Scorp + Necro Knights dismantled the cav and scar vet, stalkers took out the Stegadon and a lot of Saurus. Turn 4 the only lizardmen model on the field was the Slann, who took a rear charge from the stalkers, a flank charge from the chariots and a frontal charge from the Warsphinx. 5 rounds of combat and two castings of flame cloak later the Stalkers & Warsphinx were all dead and the 2 remaining chariots finally managed to kill the froggy. 18-2 win.

  7. thanks to greg for such a great event
    here is my opinion on the lizardmen vs TK match up
    i honestly was really surprised that i appeared to be the only one to win with the lizards i think the imbalance wasn't to do with the two lists but rather with people not understanding how to play to lizard side and i probably not actually reading the book. for example the ancient steg got killed regularly by the stalkers this shouldn't happen if people had realised that its is I4 against them not I1, people complained that the skirmishers kept getting shoot off, apparently this was due to people feeling that they needed to get into range quickly but in reality this just got them killed, i found that the lore of fire is important to reduce the shooting before moving into range. also i think rippers were poorly used for all reports being used on the archers for example which is just a way to get them killed. i even at one point saw the slaan being in a second rank of the saurus. anyway that's just my opinion
    cheers Tim S