Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall Brawl 2016 Has a Champion!

For organizing my first tournament, it seemed to have gone pretty well. Our local Meta/attendance has dropped off dramatically so I'd hoped to try and breath some life back into the area by hosting a tournament at Endgame in Oakland, CA.

(All the tournament docs are at the bottom of the post)

There have been Tuesday nights, our weekly DzC meetup at Endgame, where I've been the only attendee. I think because there's a perception out there that some of the new units aren't as well thought out (Panther!) as the previous two books and the missions were getting a bit stale.

I could do something about one of those! So I gathered 2 missions I really enjoyed playing from the Interwebs, put my own spin on an Intel mission, and completely changed the scoring system (more on this later).

We had 6 attendees!

I did play the first game in place of the perpetually late Solomon (of SCOLDZAP fame) and that was great! Getting a game in is always better than not.  Ian and I tied but he killed enough of my stuff to score the bonus point.  Ian won this one 10VP to 9.

Non-Standard Tournament

This was a non-standard tournament, which I made clear in the docs and the event page.  There were no missions out of the book and the scoring system was all my own.  I posted much of this info 2 months prior to the event.

What surprised me most?  No one really read the thing before hand.  OK, they read the second and third missions VERY carefully over lunch, which I thought was pretty funny.  So my advice here: if you are running a non-standard event, make it super clear what is changing form the norm, constantly remind the attendees to read the docs (which is where I failed the greatest), and be prepared to adjust because you sure as hell missed something that they with their collective brain will catch.

This event was somewhat of an experiment, I guess.

Lately, I've been pretty tired of demolition heavy armies, which is why this event is so non-standard.  You know that home objective is toast every time.  It's a very predictable tactic because it's so effective.  I don't think strong demolition is great for the game, as a whole, and could maybe be dialed back a bit.  So, I wanted to go against the Meta with the missions and specifically picked them to downplay Demo for 2 out of 3 missions and also have one mission where troops had little to do but hold ground because there was no CQB to be done (as there are no rules for CQB in an outdoor environment).

I think the "one game useless - two games useful" philosophy in regards to certain tactics can make for an interesting shift in any local meta.  It encourages players to drop their crutches and try some different ways to play.

Luckily, the fact that no one really read the tournament docs meant everyone was equally surprised by the event and no one had a distinct preparation advantage.

Mission One - Frontline Control

This mission is the brainchild of our own Chris Loomis. Unfortunately, we haven't seen him at a table in a couple of months (peer pressure and guilt trips is how I roll!). Basically, it's banded focal points and it's super fun on a rural map. The goal in making it rural was to make Infantry and demo less useful than they normally are.  Demo is actually almost useless, here.  I've noticed that hard hitting CQB or utility troops like Hazard Suits, First Born, and Sirens/Medusa tend to get spammed in an urban environment. This mission, on this map, is an attempt to maybe bring back some armor to the game and de-emphasize demo. That said, this was the only mission where troops counted double for figuring control of the bands.

It's a great mission but can throw players off due to the rural nature. Seemed well received and I didn't get any major complaints at the event. Though, having some "in-the-open" CQB rules couldn't hurt the game, I think.

(unfortunately, because I was TO and playing in the first game while we were waiting for Solomon to show up, I didn't get many pictures from the start of the event)

Mission Two - Battlefront

I was introduced to this mission a few months back by Kyle B. We didn't want to play any of the normal missions everyone plays all the time so he suggested this one. He couldn't remember who wrote it (J D Welch) or where he saw it (on the Hawk Forums) but he did remember the gist of it. This mission is a BLAST! The moving focal points really force a player to think hard about timing and unit durability.

It should also be noted that for this mission destroying a building with a Focal Point in it did not destroy the FP. FPs only represented points on a map, rather than a physical item. Demo is really only good for destroying troops in this one.

The thing I like most about this mission is that it forces armies to advance, keeping mobility important, but doesn't give fast armies like Shaltari and Scourge too much of a movement advantage. This is about as "combined arms" of a mission as there is. You need to use your whole army to win.

We also had a visitor from out of state! Darrel (I hope I spelled that correctly), on the right above, who is part of the Arizona crew we see at the LVO each year. He was in the area and just decided to drop by for a few.  Good to meet you, Darrel!

Mission 3 - Sweep and Clear

I really like Intel missions a lot but hate the Bomb mechanic in any form. I think the last thing a player should be worrying about during a tournament is randomly losing troops. If it happens a couple of times in a row, it can be super frustrating and very disheartening in a tournament setting.

I wanted this mission to be all about movement and collection efficiency. Focal Points and Objectives are still part of the mission, but they count less than normal as you get a point for gathering the Intel but can only score an additional point from a FP or Objective at the end of the game. They are less of an all-or-nothing proposition. This is also the mission where Troops and Demo are relevant again due to all the Intel and low DP buildings.

The Scoring System

I can see why the Hawk system is the way it is. I get it and I have no problem playing a tournament that uses it. That said, it tends to favor those who get paired against Noobs over those who don't. I know it's changed slightly in the most recent book, but the overall points system Hawk uses works best in large pools of players over many games.  Most DzC tournaments are less than 10 players so this system is probably not ideal.

Case in point: I'm, at best and if I've had a giant bowl of Wheaties, a middlin' player. A long while back I attended a tournament that used the standard Hawk scoring system and I drew 2 guys who maybe had 7 games between them, total. I did very well overall, beating out much better players than I.  I am sure this was due to using this overall points system rather than a Win-Tie-Loss system. I scored so many points in those two games that I easily beat out players who had much tougher games and harder earned wins than I. I also lost my other game pretty dramatically, but it didn't matter due to my points lead.

So, based on that experience, I elected to try a W-T-L schema for this event, as outlined below.
  • Winning a match (scoring the most VP) scores a player 3 Tournament Points (TP)
  • Tying a match (scoring the same VP) scores each player 2 TP.
  • Losing a match (scoring the least VP) scores a player 1 TP.
  • Scoring at least 400 KP more than your opponent yields 1 bonus TP. This applies no matter who won.
  • Ties are broken using the VP total for the day. Further ties can be broken by using KP.
The other thing that this system manages is short games. A short game isn't going to yield as many points as a standard game, of course. From my POV, a win is a win, whether the game is standard length or not. Now, slow playing for the win while you're ahead is not something I condone, but drawing a slow player can and will severely squash your chances at winning the event if you are the dude who has his game together. I'm a generally slow player and always feel bad when the better and faster players have to deal with my BS.

Cool Stuff

There was prize support by GSI, of course, and Paul Gyugyi brought a couple of his new 3D printed products from DeckagonDesign, as well.  Here's a couple examples of what Paul offers...

 Some great 10mm Jersey Barriers

10mm Subway/Monorail Entrances

So Who Won?

... And with this different scoring system in place, a 2016 Fall Brawl Champion was Crowned!

He won a Green Stuff Industries engraved "2016 Fall Brawl Champion" DzC template set. It even has a little crown on the top of the sighting tower! Congratulations and well done, Ian!

2016 Fall Brawl Tournament Pack
Mission 3 - Sweep and Clear

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  1. Nice writeup!

    Thanks for the shout-out! Glad you liked Battlefront. I think you guys play it a little differently than I set it up, but you've got the basic idea -- moving FPs.

    And it's Darryl, and he loves your FLGS. ;-)

    Hope to see you at the LVO again! 8^D

    1. Thanks, JD! Yeah, it's a bit different but works out great on a table. Endgame is great for small tournaments and stuff. Lots of terrain and tables. Yep, I'll be at LVO! See you there!

    2. BTW, JD, what are your thoughts on the scoring system that was used for this event?

    3. I'd need to see the scores, by round, and that includes VPs, TPs, bonus TPs, KPs and Total TPs, in order to give you an answer.

      On the surface, though, I don't think 3/2/1 TPs for W/D/L is fair to the winner. I'm more inclined to do 3/1/0, but, then again, I think the 20-0 system Hawk uses works just fine. I know that Cameron had some problems with it in the last NOVA Open, but I've never had an issue. I think the most players I've ever had is 8, maybe one tourney way back when we had 10, but most of them are 6 or even 4 players, and it's just never been a problem...

      But you've got my email address, if you want to shoot me your score sheet, with all that info on it, or as much as you've got, and I'll take a look at it... 8^D


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