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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Australian NOVA Tournament by fester

Okay people, if you haven’t heard yet there’s a storm brewing in Australia and it has no name (anti-climatic much?). Fester and some others in Rockhampton, QLD have decided to run a NOVA styled tournament in Australia. Woo! The excitement is palpable, well it least for me it is. So, what’s this post about? Well not advertising or endorsement, that comes later. The NOVA open replaced KP with VP and whilst it worked for NOVA, I and others would like to see KP re-instated in some way. So this post is about generating discussion in this regard, mostly based around the standard KP system and Stelek’s system.

For those of you who don’t know here’s a brief explanation of Stelek’s two systems. Stelek’s original KP system was based on the 5x5 model where there are 5 objectives and 5 kill points chosen by your opponents. The new system Stelek has suggested has you pick your own 5 KP when you submit your list. So, let’s hear some ideas from people on how this could be worked! Discussion time is good.

Before we go into some of my ideas and Fester’s ideas which have been e-mailed to me, let’s look at the pros and cons of KP. KP are part of 40k according to GW so removing them feels a bit ham-fisted. Whilst removing them is no where near as bad as the INAT and the rule changes/bad rulings they put out, it does change the game as it was designed. However, unless KP are kept as is, there is going to be some change and as long as it does done right, I think this is okay. Extensive play-testing require obviously. The problem with KP is the mild emphasis placed on minimising KP in your army which does not promote good army list building. Whilst there are some ‘low’ KP armies which are competitive, handicapping your list by minimising KP for 33% of missions is bad and giving poor lists an advantage in KP missions against better lists doesn’t seem right for a ‘competitive’ theme.

The pros? It’s part of 40k as discussed above and it does discourage MSU to an extent but most individuals simply take the sucker punch in 1/3 of missions because the high KP lists which are competitive generally roll low KP lists anyway. GW clearly had this designed to discourage min/maxing and MSU styled armies to an extent though so this theme should be kept with any changes which are considered.

I’ll start off with my own thoughts then. I think Stelek’s original system where your opponent picks your KP at the beginning of the game is good. It adds another dimension to the game which still exemplifies 5th edition and whilst you can pick easy KP like low AV transports, it doesn’t really discourage min/maxing or MSU armies. It can also be minorly complex with picking units as KP before the game starts and what happens with combat squads or combined squads, etc.? All questions which can be answered but not a perfect system. I also find problems with the second system advocated by Stelek as it’s a lot easier to ‘abuse’ by players as highlighted by TKE here. We’ll get a bit of input from Fester here:

“So my thoughts were as follows:

Use VPs as primary, and KPs as tie breakers when the difference < 250.
With stels 5x5, I see the point. I think the KPs need to be chosen by the owning player, and stay static throughout the event. I know having your opponent choose is 'fairer' but hear me out.
What would you think about enforcing choice limitations on your KPs.
Max 2 vehicles with transport capacity (if you have any). Thus no '3 land raiders as kp'.
1 choice must be made of a unit >= 250 points if possible - 'kill the deathstar'.
2 must be troops choices.
1 must be from non-troops.
Total 5. One KP choice can satisfy multiple requirements.”

And that’s where you guys come in. Whilst I don’t think I will actively be participating in the play-testing (wanting to play in it and all), I think some discussion to help Fester and his other TO’s out could be very beneficial. Let’s help them out and see what we can up with. Do you agree that KP should be kept in some form as potential primary mission objectives or just get rid of them? Should they be changed at all and if so how? Let’s hear it people and make sure to pay attention to fester’s blog and here for updates on the tournament with no name!

25 pinkments:

fester said...

EDIT: Name added :D


Also, you could have edited what I emailed you so that it sounds like I have more than the intelligence of a brick.
Geeze I didn't make much sense there :)

Eltnot said...

KP's don't really need fixing in my mind. Where we used to have a large amount of older codices that got boned in KP missions (IG especially), these concerns are no longer as relevant.

I think they should remain untouched as it forces players to think more carefully about their choices. Do I go for the extra units to contest multiple objectives, and make the list more vulnerable to KP's, or go the other way? Anything that challenges the player is a good thing, not a bad one.

Even Stelek's method is a way to minimize the issue of KP's so that players can just ignore the consequences. If you're going to play "competitively" than you need to keep KP's in mind and not just ignore them.

Vallek said...

OMG I live a few hours from rocky ^.^

I'll just say I think the owning player choosing his KP's and having them static throughout the event would be a much smoother system than opponents choosing each game. But rather than limiting number of transports, why not just limiting the number of armour 14?

Jwolf said...

I haven't found much reason to agree that VP are "better" than KP, and I have found that VP are the scoring method most likely to be done wrong by participants. And that's with just re-adding the numbers they write down - actual counting on the tabletop shows VP to be wrong more than half the time (if people don't know you're going to do the addition or check it).

That said, the errors are usually small and insignificant, so they don't make a difference in the outcome. And people make errors with KP as well.

I use KP and VP, and using them both sparingly seems to be very good. I think that having 4 or 5 conditions in a NOVA-style event would lead to a truer scoring of generalship as opposed to building to just 3 conditions and preparing for those. That isn't the only thing that Mike and I disagree on in how to create a scoring system that is most likely to have the best player win, but overall I think taking the NOVA system as is will give you a pretty reasonable chance of determining the best player.

We have some hope to generate enough data and have enough competitive events in the US to have a good idea how to seed players for the others. (I know that some people use the term competitive as an exclusionary device, and think they own it, but the dictionary and I disagree). Once we have some idea on how to seed players, then we have a reasonable chance at determining the accuracy, competively, of our systems, which will make for some interesting discussions and I suspect some drunken brag-fights amongst TOs.

Kirby said...

Sorry fester =D. Name though, woot!

@Eltnot; I guess the major issue some of us have with KP is we simply don't change our army lists for KP Missions and then are at a disadvantage against bad lists which attempt to minimise their KP numbers. Against good lists with smaller KP numbers (i.e. BA Foot lists, Bikers, etc.) that's part of the their advantage but against bad lists which have an advantage... eh see where I'm going with this? You obviously don't want to literally force people to take good lists but you want the best generals running as good lists as possible to make it to Day 2.

@Jwolf; agree with the 4-5+ conditions over 3. Think fester was thinking of something like that in terms of re-instating KP in some form to give 4 conditions (objectives, quarters, KP, VP) I guess it boils down to how KP are implemented.

If events are standardised in some way, keeping track of participants would be a possibility for initial pairings which would get a lot of the issues out of the way with W/L systems. Implementing such a standardised system though...drunken brag fight doesn't even cover it =D lol.

VT2 said...

I like killpoints.
They're easier to keep track of and calculate than the alternatives, which are big things.

fester said...

No excuse then :P I expect to see you there!
Where do you actually live?

Putting words in my mouth :D

But yeah, the 3 core missions at this point will be:
KP / Quarters / Objectives / VP
Quarters / Objectives / KP / VP
Objectives / VP / KP / Quarters

.. or something similar.
VP and KP are "similar" as are Quarters and Objectives.
As such, having those as direct "step-downs" is a little silly imo.

AbusePuppy said...

I prefer KP to VP- easier to calculate, as Jwolf notes, and simpler overall. You can optimize for either KP or JP, so that's not an issue; look at the old Tau and Eldar VP-denial lists.

I dislike the restrictions on what KP units you can choose, because it feels very arbitrary and gives advantages to some armies (Tyranids are basically unaffected) while oddly punishing others. If you're going to have players pick their own, just let them pick whatever.

How Combat Squads function with the "new" KP is an important thing to come up with an answer to, because it's going to come up a lot.

Vallek said...

Gin Gin near Bundaberg

Maybe with just leaving KP's as they are would be fine when also using VP's. Going too far in either direction list wise would create a disadvantage in the other (only 5 KPs, but each is a huge chunk of VP's, or 30 KP's and only giving up a small number of VP's).

Having both would likely promote keeping a balance without going to either extreme.

Jwolf said...

I think having 4-5 and dropping 1 or 2 each round gives you more variation to play with, and it means that making an army that can win one condition and play to draw the others isn't as successful of a strategy, since that condition might be absent from a particular game.

fester said...

If you have, say, an army capable of sitting on objectives, or annihilating opponents, thats fine. The requirement to win is based on the rundown, obviously.

If you draw on Objective 1, then assess Objective 2
If you draw on Objective 2, then assess Objective 3
If you draw on Objective 3, then assess Objective 4

If your army plays to draw, thats fine, but you have to reliably be able to draw, which often, is easier said than done. Unlink battlepoint events, losing by 1 objective (contesting the other 3) is the same for progression as losing by 4 objectives.

Those are an example of restrictions. I suggest these to stop the BA player running 5 LR with 5 assault marines in each, and picking the assault marines as KP's, reserving and hiding and last minute grabbing on objective missions etc.
They are designed to force players to spread their KP's out and not build for the list.

Ah Gin Gin :) Nice.
You should come up for this one.
Have you thought about tripping to CowCon (Rocky) or Splashdown (Gladstone)

Borkai said...

I feel VPs are fair in that they only effect 33% of games. VPs do hurt mech with all their light vehicles, but that balances the advantage they gain from movement enhancement and protection from anti-infantry fire.

YES ther were issues related to older codicies that people have mentioned, but IG and nids have both had new dexes fixing many of the problems (3vps for my lil-o-zoeys used to hurt!).

Basically if it aint broke don't fix it.... VPs are good in almost all cases, if you want to miinimise VPs you cut a competative edge off your army in the other 66% of missions. Finally a few builds such as Valina bikes need every little boost to keep up with their mech counterparts, so VPs give balance.

Basically I agree with abusepuppy,VT2,Eltnot etc. also @jwolf the reason people count VPs wrong is their own fault not because it is a complicated system, it is some simple addition like what people did back in early primary school. Surely they can count as high as 15 or 17??

Kirby said...

Vanilla bikes need no such boost! Oh look, 30+ T5 guys with meltas in my face on T1 and 3+ cover. And there's 12 of them w/FNP and 3++'s!? WHAT!? lol

I think in a progressive system with primary/secondary/tertiary/whateverwordcomesnext/etc the original KP system should be fine with just a few tweaks. Perhaps instead of looking for absolute KP victory you have to win by 2 or more KP? If not travel on down the progressive win system.

fester said...

Yeah Kirby. You have to agree with the assembled minions here :)

Regular KPs appears to be getting the vote. A winning margin of 2-3 is normal for a massacre result in standard tourneys, so probably reflecting this in Centurion makes sence.

Now I have to sell it to my fellow TOs.

Can I buy a poll for this from you over the next month or so?

Lord Zorgatron said...

Quaternary is the word Kirby. :)

. . . I have a suggestion. Figure out the average amount of victory points per unit in your army (ie divide army cost by no. of units), add that to the actual VP cost of each unit, then add 100. That is their cost in New Victory Points (NVPs).

a) Each unit is then worth an amount of NVPs proportional to their cost as per VP systems, which makes sense; b) The difference in NVPs between each unit is less extreme than otherwise, as in KP systems; c) Armies with many units are softly penalised, as in KP missions but not to the same, extreme extent.

Now is this the best of VP and KP systems combined, or the worst? I haven't playtested.

Kirby said...

Stupid assemblage :P. KP in the picked format (whichever version) could always been a completely different mission format and not call them KP. I like the idea of having to have 2-3 more KPs to gain the victory and with the progressive winning system (is it even called that or am I just making crap up?) you're still capable of getting a winner and KP still disadvtange mech and MSU armies. Thoughts everyone else?

And ya I'll put up a poll whenever. I can put one up in 5 days after the NOVA one is done if you'd like?

@Zorgatron; I like that concept of your idea but would need some math whizzes to crunch some numbers to find the 'optimum' balanced. It does bring a level of complexity to scoring and as much KISS is best I think.

Warmaster said...

Here's some reasons against letting people pick their own kp.

Space Wolf Lone Wolves. We used Stelek's 5x5 system for a tournament and one guy chose 3 lone wolves as his kp. Which means his opponent could get a max of 2.

Tigerius lists (leaving units in reserve), and to a lesser extent pod lists, you can make sure all your kp doesn't land until turn 2 or greater. Same thing with tau positional relay lists.

One that we tried that seemed interesting was percentage based. Divide what you killed by their total units to get a percentage, then compare percentages.

Joshy Bear said...

Fester said:
"Those are an example of restrictions. I suggest these to stop the BA player running 5 LR with 5 assault marines in each, and picking the assault marines as KP's, reserving and hiding and last minute grabbing on objective missions etc.
They are designed to force players to spread their KP's out and not build for the list."

If you're worried about that, why not make it so if you choose a dedicated transport, the unit it carries must also be used as a kill point.

GreyICE said...

I prefer the original KP replacement designed by Stelek to the new one. There's a simple reason for this - KP are in the game for a reason. The reason is that each mission objective punishes people who design certain forms of army. Multiple objectives punish people who can't hold a field, two objectives punish people who try and sit in their backfield and shoot without the least little ability to move, and KP punishes people who spam a zillion units for shits and giggles.

Now, KP does this poorly, because it causes people to make lists that win 33% of the time and lose 67%, and go against the 'spirit of the game' (when you 'win' with a demon prince and an immobilized land raider because your army was 3 possessed land raiders, 3 squads of thousand suns, and a demon prince in 2000 points, wtf?).

In terms of wargaming as a hobby (i.e. actual wargaming, or simulating a war), Kill Points are supposed to reward people for bringing small numbers of units that are not vulnerable on the battlefield - things where even if they 'destroy' them, they can probably be repaired post battle (or just patched up, in the fluff, very few things 'kill' a Space Marine, mostly they're just out of commission because they're missing an arm or two) versus expendable troops that cause them to lose wars of attrition.

However, Stelek's original list does a few things right. First, handing out 5 banners for KP rewards people for not bringing an excess of easily destroyed crap units. However, it does NOT screw over people who do have a bunch, as they can kill their opponents easily destroyed units. It basically represents the long-term attrition damage you're doing to an opponent's force.

Giving the banners out yourself just encourages a different form of shitty list design. Things like "oh, I bring a land raider and 10 Termies, come get those banners."

Replacing one form of rules that encourage shitty list building with another set of rules that encourage shitty list building is a failure.

P.S. KPs greatest asset over VP is that they're SIMPLE. Unit gone? I get KP. Unit there? No KP. I can count the squads left on the table, subtract it from the number you brought, and and figure out where I am. Takes 10 seconds. Physical banners you hand out also serve this purpose (kill the unit, collect the banner on your side. Count number banners). VP enable cheating in a very large sense (no, you didn't kill my squad that had an attached Wolf Guard with a Power Fist and Combi Melta, you killed the squad that had the Wolf Guard with the Power Weapon and no Wolf Banner or Mark of the Wulfen, but I did lose the guy with the Power Fist from that first squad...) and make it hard to figure out how I'm doing midgame (short 'uh, I've destroyed a lot of stuff') thus I do not like them.

Stelek said...

It's as if I'm being spoken to and cheapshotted by jwolf everywhere but my own blog. Ah, the irony.

Good thing I had this article pointed out, or I wouldn't have known. lol

As I told TKE, his assessment of why I suggested a change to KP's was wrong. You repeating it, doesn't help. lol

KP's don't stop MSU. Fact.
Allowing in some members of the hobby to your casual or competitive event when it can be all members to your casual-friendly-yet-competitive event, is simply the right thing to do. Fact.

Now whichever way you want to change KP's so they are before the tournament or before the game or before deployment starts, is really entirely up to you. I think all have merits for different reasons. There really isn't a "wrong" answer. Fact.

Now I better add the 'write up the 5x5 system better' to my list of things to do. lol Fact!

Oh and Captchas suck. Please remove them. Ty.

Kirby said...

"You send in your list, and you get back an approved set of army lists for the tournament--with your 5 Kill Points clearly marked." - Stelek

ah, I didn't see that part. I like it though it does place a burden on the TO's to know what's happening *stares at fester*.

A full post on the new 5x5 would be good =D.

fester said...

@Stelek - an updated post would be awesome!

@Kirby -
First time TO I am.
Hard for me it shall be.

Why not make it impossibly hard :)

Just do a forum where lists are posted, that you get access to after your list is submitted.

Meg, jus have a rum with the lists

fester said...

Damn iPhone.
Blame it for that last line of gibberish!

Kirby said...

Wouldn't have to do with TO experience but rather 40k experience. What 5 units would the good generals, etc. pick out. You could always ask Stelek to look over them with you if you went that route :P.

Rum works. Do we get a free bottle? lol

Gunn Bot Mk IV said...

KPs aren't about "stopping" MSU, but about having a "kill everything" scenario which adds some balance to MSU. The fact that the MSU army has more KPs is the *only* disadvantage that it has in an annihilation mission. It still has the benefits of target saturation, the ability to engage more targets per turn, and the ability to stop "uber" units by sacrificing units of lesser destructive ability.

Standard KPs are a lot more balanced than many think.


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