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Monday, October 11, 2010

Warhammer fantasy: special olympics.

AKA, the ETC.

'ETC' is short for 'European team championship,' and they're infamous for being massive scrubs of 40k.
Fair enough; lots of people have that rep. "Yes, VT2. We've got a million scrubs, dramaqueens, and outright crazies in his hobby, so why focus on them and their well-kn0wn special olympics?"

Warhammer fantasy: special olympics. "Oh my. They're not, you know, planning on destroying the new game, are they?" Yes, they are. In fact, they have a draft of their evil masterplan already.

Here it is, in all its tiny-fonted glory, with my thoughts in purple, and links for your amusement.


ETC Rules pack, 1.draft:

At ETC we will be using a LOS system. will present two alterative systems with this rules pack and asks the captains to playtest both before making a recommendation. This can be found in the following thread on The Warhammer Forum.

Rules changes:

- Steadfast is removed if a unit is disrupted. Uhhh, why?

- Units with at least one full rank cause Disruption. Why do you hate steadfast so much?
- Characters will get "look out sir" versus the following spells that
automatically kill models or automatically remove an entire regiment: Dwellers Below, Final Transmutation, Dreaded 13th, Infernal Gateway 11-12 effect. Normal requirements for lookout sir apply. So it's like the ward save you never got, and that made you cry, but you became the bigger man when you changed the rules, all so your super-mega deathstar of fail would be viable again?

General Restrictions:

2400 Points.

No Special or Named Characters. How's this gonna work now that they're no longer 'opponent's permission only,' and unlock builds? You know, like in 40k.
Armys can be selected from any of the currently published GW Army books. Silly me! Here I thought I could take both high elves and dark elves in the same army!
A maximum of 4 identical core choices may be taken (regardless of equipment and other upgrades). Someone fears hordes way too much for their own good.

A maximum of 5 warmachines may be taken per army Uhh. why? How's em
pire gonna do 2400 points if you can only take 4 of the same core infantry and 5 warmachines? Should they run huge blocks of greatswor- oh, that cant be done? MSU greatswords? Yeah, okay.
Unit sizes of are limited as follows: I don't see a size-limit for my spearelves or crossbowelves in the book. Sure you're not just pulling rules out of your ass?

- Non-infantry units (including monstrous infantry): Maximum 12 models/unit Why am I not allowed to horde ogres?

- Infantry costing 5 points or less: Maximum 40 models/unit Why can't I take la
rge units of slaves and goblins? What horde assraped you so badly you got scarred for life?
- Infantry costing 6-9 points: Maximum 30 models/unit So no more 8x5 spearelf blocks, then? How cute of you.
- Infantry costing 10 points or more: Maximum 24 models/unit So you're saying that I can have blocks of 24 greatswords maximum, but the chaos dude can counter with 24 chosen in his blocks? Yeah, that's fair. Oh, wait! You're trying your best to make deathstars viable again.

Magic Restrictions: this should be good.

- Apart from Winds of magic and Channeling, an army may only generate 2 PD/DD per magic phase. Why? Want a tap on how much magic people have, huh? God, you're such control freaks. Just live with the random dice - it applies to everybody, you know. Yes, ev
en you in the special olympics.
- You may have units/abilities that actually would generate more than 2 extra dice, but any excess dice are lost that's needlessly restrictive.
- Some magic items/abilities count as generating dice toward this limit. But they're not generating dice. How can you 'count' them as generating dice? This is madness!

- “Count as” items/abilities may never exceed a cumulative 2PD/DD per phase. This means that if you take the power scroll, you may not take any other items that “count as adding PD/DD” THIS IS SPECIAL OLYMPICS WARHAMS!

Item restrictions: oh, lookie here! We found gold.

- Power Scroll counts as generating 2 PD an
d 2 DD each magic phase Durr, hurr. Not surprised. 'Oh, no! Da powa scroll be dominatin' mah checkered line, man! Whatch we gunna do, bossman!?' BAN IT!'
- Each Loremaster ability counts as generating 1 PD each magic phase why?

- Items that auto-dispel a spell counts as generating 1 DD each magic phase again, why?
- Folding Fortress is not allowed ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? You're cutting out the most fun piece of gear in the entire game, simply so people won't be able to defend from your stupidstars, circ. 1803. What's wrong with you? Where's the 'championship' in this?

Army Specific Restrictions: why are these here?

Beastmen: No Restrictions so you can still take a billion chariots, or do they count as warmachines?

Brettonians: Trebuchet is a 0-1 choice why aren't the knights allowed to take
more than one of their only non-suck rare?

Dark Elves: Hydra is a 0-1 choice why? And you have '5 machines max,' too. What am I supposed to put my rare points in? Did you even think this through?

Dwarfs: Anvil of doom counts as warmachine; Grudge Throwers are a 0-2 choice; Max +4 dispel dice instead of +2 so my army doesn't function, because my infantry is horrible, my army is slow, and now I can't take more than 5 shooty things. Great, ETC. This is the best championship ever.

Daemons of Chaos: Flamers are a 0-1 choice. Siren Song may only be taken once but then they have only one ranged unit, and everybody else's got 5 cannons, and other guns. This isn't 7th edition. Oh wait...

Empire: Steam Tank counts as warmachine; Tank, Rocket battery and Engineers are a 0-1 choice can only take one engineer? Well, that's random. Wait! Dwarves get them everywhere,
so their 5 machines are a gazillion times better than my 5 machines, and my cannons and other shit being cheaper suddenly means nothing, since I'm limited to a max of 5! My god, dwarves are straight up more betterer, you say? You so smart, ETC, durr. Oh, and I can't horde cheap infantry, either. Great.

High Elves: Book of Hoeth counts as generating +2PD and +2 DD; Shard and Crystal as +1DD/phase so you're saying 'you can't take the good items, or we'll banhammer you to death!' and' 'take either, and perish as the dog you are! 'huh?

Lizardmen: Salamanders are a 0-1 Choice; Terradons, Chameleon Skinks and Stegadons (any kind) are 0-2 choices; Beclaming cogitations counts as generating +2DD, Cupped hands as +2PD/phase. That's a lot of enforced 0-X. And here I thought GW had finally gotten rid of them. You're so great, ETC. Not only taking a step back in time to rescue 7th edition, but also reaching back for 6th. Shouldn't you make empire greatswords 0-1 while you're at it?

Ogre Kingdoms: No Restrictions only they can't horde, and won't be stubborn when charged anymore, no matter what you do. That makes them ho
rrible again. Good job. At least people are only allowed to bring 5 big guns to shoot the fatties.

Orcs & Goblins: No Restrictions no hording for you, either, and only 5 bolt throwers. Good luck.

Skaven: Hell Pit Abomination is a 0-1 choice; Gutter runners are a 0-2 choice;
Engineers are a 0-3 choice so I should field extra cannons? Oh, sorry - I forgot I can only take 5 total, and no hording. What's skaven supposed to do? MSU rifle rats? Yeah, sounds like the only legal option.

Vampire Counts: Wraiths and Varghulf are 0-1 choices is this the official ETC way of saying 'don't take the good stuff, ever, or you're getting looked down upon?'

Tomg Kings: No restrictions except all the usual stuff.

Wood Elves: Wand of Wych Elm counts as generating +1 DD/phases why? Dispells too imba? Have to hammer them out of existence, too?

Warriors of Chaos: Hellcannon is a 0-1 choice. Infernal Puppet counts as generating +2DD /phase; Tendrils of Tzeench and Conjoined Homonucleus all count as generating +1 PD/Phase. Even orcs and goblins get more big guns than warriors. ETC really doesn't want chaos to be anything but the classic 3x knights, 2x warriors, some hounds, and a giant block of chosen.

The following explanatory notes also accompany the restrictions:

Explanatory notes:

1) The "removal of steadfast if disrupted" and the unit size limits are there because we see "bunker armies" as an emerging problem. This is particularily problematic in an ETC context, where playing for draws is a
legit (indeed advisable) strategy. To this extent we have also decided that the Folding fortress allows too many "abusive" things for defensive armies. Hopefully, these changes will lead to a more dynamic game. The "one rank to disrupt" is a rule that is intended to make cavalry a viable troop choice for ETC armies. Why is playing for draws adviced? You want to win, guys - not be 'special' and get a lollipop like everybody else. Bunker armies? You mean the kind of stupid build that's owned royally by the super-spells you've decided we can't really unleash, or held up forever by hordes we're not allowed to take? My, aren't you a smart conclave. Cavalry is useful, but no longer the end-all, be-all of unit types. Because, you know, no one took core infantry willingly for *EIGHT YEARS!*

2) Magic:

The principle of capping dice generation has been chosen for two reasons: It works regardless of rolls on winds of magic/channeling (a generic dice cap makes some armies extremely powerful when WOM rolls are low) and because it gives us a tool to restrict powerful items. But the system is designed to be about rolls, and it has a cap already. Why do you feel the need to screw with balance so much? Are you that afraid of purple suns and dwellers from below eating your 1500 point mega-unit, making the opponent's victory guaranteed, and your own ability to 'play for the draw' zer- oh, wait.

This works as follows.

a) An army that takes items/abilities that allow them to generate more dice, may never generate more than two dice, regardless of source. For example: An E
mpire army with an Archlector and a Warrior Priest would only generate +2DD, even though it would normally generate 3. The excess dice is lost and may not be used or stored. Thank you, captain obvious.

b) If an army takes an item/ability with a "count as" clause, the limit for extra dice is affected. If, for instance the same Empire army brought
a dispel scroll (counts as +1 DD because it auto dispels a spell). That same army would only ever generate +1 DD in each of the opponent's magic phases. The 2 excess dice would be lost. If both a dispell scroll and the seal of destruction were to be taken by that empire army, no additional DD would be generated (and all 3 DD from the Archlector/Warrior Priest would be lost). Because we can't have backups in case the winds of magic roll 2 and 3. No, sir - the deathstar is an endangered species. It must be preserved at all costs.

c) Under no circumstances may an army have "count as" items that exceed +2PD/2DD. No negative modifiers may occur, you are simply not allowed to take any more items/abilities with a "count as" clause. For example: A VC army has Forbidden Lore on one vampire. This means that the VC army could not take a Power Scroll as this would generate +3PD in "count as" abilities. (+1 for Forbidden lore, which gives loremaster, and +2 for the power scroll). The army would be illegal. So it's actually banned, but you're too pussy to call it for what it is. I see there's a lot of actual men in this hobby.

d) Some very powerful items give penalties
to both PD and Dispel dice, even though they do not directly affect Dispeling. The reason for this is that these items are so powerful that we feel that the drawbacks for taking them should be considerable. Taking a power scroll for instance, means: No Loremaster, no scroll, no additional dice generating in the army whatsoever. Who are you to decide what's 'powerful' or not? Who gave you the keys to the castle?

3. The Army-specific restrictions are fairly light. The reason for this is that we want to see how things work out with minimal restrictions, and then tighten the screw if ever (whenever) the needs arise. No, they're not. You've screwed over the fundamental rules of the game. We're back in 7th edition, with conquering, unstoppable mega units of concentrated death, that cannot be countered, because we're not allowed to bring huge, cheap, almost unbreakable hordes to tie them up, guns to shoot them to pieces, or magic to crush them in a guaranteed fashion. The armies that sucked in 7th suck under ETChammer, too. You go, gRRRl.

4. We want to reiterate that this is a first draft, and is intended to be a changing document. It is therefore acceptable -indeed encouragable- that people play around with these rules and restrictions. If event organizers feel that something needs changing (that one army is comped too harshly for instance), then change it for your tournament and -pretty please- report your findings back to us. Probably as open to discussion and change as INAT. Just play the damn game as it's written, you dolts.


Now, I'm by no means a fantasy master. In fact, I resent 'old' fantasy.
I played version 6 and 7, and they were the most horrible things I've ever seen, but I gave both multiple chances. Used empire, dwarves, borrowed wood elves, bought dark elves, borrowed knights, borrowed chaos, proxied beastmen, and so on, so forth.
I may not know the most intricate details about 'WHFB,' but I know enough to be qualified to talk about this, understand how the game plays, and what used to win you 100% of all matches.

I know how you did things in 6th and 7th, with the horrible, unkillable mega-units, flanks supported by knights, virtually guaranteed to get the charge in on the enemy - all because the owner knew the exact difference between 14.1 inches and 13.9 inches. It was so bad, predictable, and boring, then 8th came out.
Now things are less guaranteed, and you can destroy all the huge units. Checkered armies (read: everybody still stuck in 6th or 7th, with their forces lined up in a row) are demolished by the purple sun. Expensive, individual units, studded with characters, poof to dwellers.
Massed warmachines nuke super units from a distance, even if you don't have perfect eye-measurement.
You can take the units you want. You can hold large, epic confrontations with tons of dudes on both sides, and core infantry has a purpose now. 30 guys don't get six attacks to the front, break to the 4 knights, and lose you 100 VP+the unit's cost.

This is good.
This makes fantasy an actual game.
Fantasy under 8th isn't geometryhammer, or checkershammer.

If we listen to ETC, 8th edition is horrible, and the old days must come back. It's obvious, isn't it?
They want to play version 7 now, next year, and forever.

"So let them. It doesn't concern you. Last I heard, you were still on the fence about digging your dark elves out again." Very correct, but here's the thing.
ETC, like INAT, controls what small tournaments - even independent stores - 'feel' about the game here.
If they say theirs is the one true way, there's a very real chance people are gonna agree, and then 8th edition will be a massive, massive waste.

I want to play the game, not special olympics hammer: fantasy edition.
Things like this completely slay my interest in new games. Yes, really.

Why should I fork over the fortune GW's demading for a rulebook and some plastic, when I won't be able to play with the rules as they are written, anyway?
This is one of many reasons people stick to their 'boring' space marines, and why fantasy will keep on going as a dying game.

If you're european, and actually want to play the game - not scrubhammer fantasy: special olympics edition, a discussion thread on their forum can be found here.

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