Part two of the First Blood event wrap up.
When I started the post about the 2018 First Blood event I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull out 500 words to make a post about the event. Turns out that I wrote a novella! So that you weren’t hit with a wall of text (well so you were hit with a smaller wall of text) I have tried to separate the post into two. The first you can find here and covers general information from the event. This post may appear a little disjointed as it is more around my thoughts and observations (aka, these were the main parts where I went off on a tangent exploring an issue more deeply).
The registration process
Our registration process feels a little complex at times. First you jump on our website and purchase a ticket to the event via PayPal, then you need the Best Coast Pairings Players App (BCP), you purchase a free ticket to the event via the app, then you register for the event and then can upload your list. The day of the event you come and find M if you can pin him down or me (bright orange t-shirt, generally one of the very few women in the room, often with a list in my hand and looking for the pen that I’ve stuck behind my ear, in my pocket or put down somewhere), possibly running or looking quite harassed but honest I’m nice on the inside and approachable) and sign in. This is done via the TO app that we have on our iPad and phones. M and I did a brief, very unprofessional video on how to register for events via Facebook live. I will nag him relentlessly (asking once really doesn’t work!) to get this loaded onto YouTube so that if you are registering for an event you can check it out. I might also try and create a PDF on how to do it as well if you don’t want to listen to us jabber on and want a quick reference. It seems a bit complex or overwhelming the first time you do it, but it is actually really simple. If you don’t have access to the app then you can email M and I and one of us can register you. However, please don’t just do this if you are feeling lazy and can’t be stuffed doing it yourself. If M or I register you then you won’t be able to use the app for scoring on the day. Getting M and I to register for you should be reserved for people who don’t have access to the app for whatever reason (it’s a free app so cost isn’t prohibitive but not having a smart phone or not having enough space to download apps can be an issue for some). We are happy to help out and troubleshoot should you need it.
Concern about army lists being available prior to the event on BCP.
There has been debate around the list uploading prior to events. If I upload my list early then other players can list tailor. It’s a tricky one. As TOs we generally find people want to see player’s lists and lists of the players who won or did well in the event. As a player people are concerned that others will list tailor and the honest answer is, that is a risk. I wonder how big a risk? In reality there are 80+ players at the event, 86 tickets sold and 82 attendees, so being able to leave it until the last minute and tailor a list that will beat everyone’s is not going to be realistically possible. The argument could then be that players can tailor their lists to beat the current highly ranked players that are attending events. This comes down to chance and probability. What is the chance you will pull one of the stronger players in the first round (where it is purely random drawings), one in 85 that you will draw the player you built your army to counter (you didn’t know that the 4 players who didn’t turn up wouldn’t turn up so you may have written your list to match one of theirs and obviously you aren’t going to draw yourself, hence one in 85).
If you don’t draw them round one, you need to be able to beat the players you draw prior to getting to a point that you play the army you tailored your army to beat. You may not ever be matched against them. In short, if you are list tailoring in an event of this size I am not sure you are doing yourself a service.
In my opinion you would be better building an army that is as well rounded and versatile as possible and then learning how to play it to the best of your ability. This means practice games, lots of practice games against LOTS of different armies, not just armies and factions you think your army is going to beat! M and I had a planning day last week to talk about some new battle reports we want to produce. We were talking about different armies and I mentioned he could play his Sisters of Battle against Dave’s Eldar. M’s response was ‘hell no! They will be annihilated! That’s not an equal match up.’ Good! That’s one of the things I want to show in the battle reps; in events there often aren’t equal match ups. It’s important to have the practice and experience to say ‘I’m not likely to win this but how can I minimize the loss so it won’t affect my overall standing too badly?’ or ‘I’m out matched so what can I do that s/he won’t be expecting that could get me the advantage?’
How unlike me, I’ve gone off on a tangent again. Back to the point. Army lists. I personally don’t think there is an issue with having the army lists available prior to the event but due to the concerned feedback we have received M will lock the army lists in BCP and so they won’t be on display until the day of the event.
As I mentioned in part one, there were a number of players that struggled to finish their games in the 90 minute time limit. Looking at data we have, it seems that the players that weren’t finishing games were the ones who brought big armies. If you are moving an army with 10 models it is going to make it a lot faster than playing with an army with up to 100 models. This is something that I am hoping that we can cover a little bit in the coming months. We don’t aim to be prescriptive with army lists but at the same time we want to highlight that the decisions you make when you write your lists will have implications in the game. We saw this same issue with big armies not getting through the game in the time limits for Mixed Doubles last year. It is something to think about when it comes to list writing ‘I have 90 minutes, how long will my first turn be if I have 75 models in my army?’ We are also aware that we bill First Blood as a great entry level event for people who are perhaps only just getting into the hobby so those players perhaps have limited models to choose from and it may not be a case of writing a list so much as ‘how many points do I actually own, can I play in this event?’ It’s an interesting balance and one we are aware of an are talking about in the back ground for ‘Last Blood’ which will be held at SHO.
Controversial TO decision around tabling
We also made a controversial decision prior to the event that a tabling would not mean an automatic 20-0. One of the players, Travis, said ‘In 3 of my games I had to purposefully try not to kill the enemy in order to get more points, including my last game where my opponent suicided to prevent the score from increasing’. I love the 3 point bonus and I love the fact that players had to purposefully not kill the enemy, for me that is what separates the milk from the cream. Being able to use strategy and think strategically rather than just going in there and killing everything as fast as possible! I had hoped it would help with the ‘going first wins’ issue and would reduce the perceived powerful armies because it is possible to table your opponent and still lose. The goal in war is not to kill as many of the enemy as possible it is to take land or gain advantage etc. That’s what we were aiming for, the goal isn’t to wipe out your opponent as fast as possible it’s to gain those objectives as per the mission and so if you wipe out your opponent but they have the most scored the most objectives they still win (which I know has flaws in a real life scenario). There are counter arguments to this and then counter-counter arguments to those. The short version is, this was a controversial decision, we have had other suggestions and we will discuss them prior to our next players pack being released – and likely a new version of this ruling at Line Breaker! As always we are open to hearing your suggestions, we can not guarentee we will follow those suggestions as often when we ask for opinions we get 50 conflicting ideas. Someone is always going to be disappointed that we didn’t go the way they suggested. Please know that it isn’t that we didn’t listen, all suggestions are discussed and we always approach these issues with an open mind. The discussions we have can be great as the suggestions we get often spark new ideas, thoughts, avenues and discussion.
Again we did a peer judged scoring for the medals and M and I scored the painting with that score going to the Overall Scores. We have had a few players contact and ask what their score was for the event and how they could improve it. If anyone is feeling thick skinned and would be open to it we are floating the idea of scoring an army (or a couple at different standards) for a YouTube video so that people can see examples of what we are looking for. If we did this then we would not identify you BUT Perth is a small place, players would recognize your armies. I don’t believe in constructive criticism, I believe in constructive feedback so we would never rip someone to pieces regardless of standard but it may help us to clearly show what we are looking at rather than having players have to interpret a page in the players pack. Having said that M and I will be re-creating the painting score sheet so we will hold off on any video until after we have done that.
Painting is something that I jabber on about a fair bit. There were some AMAZING armies at the event. I am starting a ‘Spotlight on Painting’ series for the blog and have articles lined up with four of the attendees from First Blood. I’ll be kicking off with Peer Voted Best Painted award winner Aaron Jorre and more will follow. If you are keen to chat to me about your painting journey then get in touch. I have a bit of a back log of work so I might not get in touch straight away but I will get back to you.
Warnings for armies or models not meeting the minimum painting standards
The standard of painting for this event was brilliant. I think M had to speak to 2 people about their army as they hadn’t reached the minimum painting standard. Players are issued a warning about their models the first time they bring a model that isn’t at standard and at any subsequent events an unpainted model is required to be removed from play. FYI this discussion with players who have brought a model or army that doesn’t reach minimum standard is always done respectfully, discretely, gently and privately. It is never about calling a player out in front of a room of players so if you see an army that had unpainted models come and let M and I know (we don’t always see all the models in the armies) but don’t be surprised if you don’t see or hear us do anything about it. Our aim is to educate people about the minimum standards and how they can reach them in the easiest possible way but we don’t ever want to upset or embarrass a player so you generally wont see this process unless you are the player with the unpainted models.
I am aware that setting this minimum painting standard may seem as though we are dictating to players or being overly prescriptive, however the overwhelming feedback we have been given from players is that the players love playing against painted armies. I have heard about much bigger events with similar painting requirements that players ignore. I feel that when the attendees at ObSec events follow the requirements you are showing respect to your potential opponents, your fellow attendees and to M and I as organizers so thank you for continuing to show that respect by bringing painted armies. M and I also did a FB video on what ‘painted’ means, I will nag him to get that onto YouTube as well and I will get to doing the PDF on that as well. (I shouldn’t have started writing this blog post, I can tick off ‘write summary of First Blood off my list and now I have five more to add – two of them are getting M to do tech stuff, they will be on the to do list FOREVER!!! *I’m hoping by writing that he will read it and do it quickly to prove me wrong).
First Blood was a really great event, thanks to everyone who made it possible. Prior to First Blood we had capped the tickets. I had worked out we could fit at least 100 players in the room M thought we were going to be pushing it to get 86 in the room. Apart from the space we were limited by the number of tables we had access to as well as boards and terrain. We could easily buy more boards (we actually bought 5 new boards Friday before the event so we had enough for the 86 players) but building terrain is not a quick process (it took me hours just to block up the windows in the buildings for the terrain we already had) and we had so many offers from people willing to loan terrain, boards and tables. Although we only took up Toy Soldier Cartel and Danger Rod on their offers of terrain for the event I just want you to know how much we appreciate all the offers. It really does remind me of the wonderful people that we have in our community. So thank you for your offers!
Normally before I start writing a blog post I write a rough skeleton. Todays was ‘First Blood: 82 players attended of 86 tickets bought, felt hectic, painting spotlight, really fun event, great atmosphere, long day’. I wasn’t sure how I was going to stretch that out to 500 words to make a post. I hit page 10 and in excess of 5000 words and had to then try and work out how to separate it out into two posts. It’s probably one of the longest posts I’ve written so if you have made it this far, thanks for reading! Let me know which parts you found interesting or relevant so I know to continue covering those parts.