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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, October 12, 2011

Feast of Blades Mission #7

Mission 7, the final mission.

A lot of thought went into this one. As we are livecasting games, we really wanted something exciting that would force both armies together.

I'm sure you'll notice that the invitational and open missions are extremely different. Hell, just look at those maps! This is a really good mission to illustrate that the kinds of missions that work in win/loss often don't really work when ported over to battle points. Let's talk about the original mission 7 and how it underwent it's revamping.

The original mission 7 was designed to create classic conflict. The idea was to have a single objective in the middle of the table, that granted a primary win, with a secondary as straight victory points. When I designed the mission, I knew the internet would hate it. It seems really obvious that a deathstar army would have a big advantage, and that ranged/defensive armies would be, well, screwed. Playtesting actually showed that the mission worked really well. In addition, I was fairly certain that a big deathstar army wouldn't make it to the top tables for the final round.

Then a few things happened. First, Blackmoor got to the final round of the NOVA open with his Draigo Deathstar list. Uh-oh. Second, I started thinking about the lower tables. There will certainly be SOME deathstar armies in the invitational, and just because they probably wouldn't be at the top table shouldn't mean that I screw some people in the lower brackets. Everyone's game should matter, and no one should be screwed by match, regardless of their ultimate ranking.

The open version of the mission was a lot more reasonable, and didn't need tweaking, so it got to stay. I was now free of the restrictions of having a mission that can convert to battle points, so I could do just about anything as long as I had clear restrictions.

I started thinking about the NOVA open finals game again- it was a table quarters primary with objectives secondary. The game wasn't particularly exciting at any point, because Tony (the eventual winner) simply avoided the Draigostar to tie quarters and take objectives. In truth, Blackmoor was screwed before he even put down his models, it was a bad matchup and a bad mission for him.

This kind of thing is to some extent unavoidable. No matter what the mission is, there will always be some armies better suited to it, and some matches that are extremely tough. Adepticon's format was praised and despised this year because of an interesting system of choosing out of 3 mission objectives that you would try to accomplish during the mission.

I like that for a final. Let the players decide what they're going after. However, I didn't like how the different objectives were strictly achieved or not achieved. I wanted a more flexible system that would encourage the players to play ALL the possible objectives.

Back again to those three missions most everyone seems to agree on as "balanced": 5 obj, quarters, KP. The trick now was just weighting them.

Kill points were capped, but capped high. This was just to avoid potential match-ups that have a huge overall discrepancy. (EX Draigowing vs. Mech Guard) I don't want a KP gap to marginalize the other two possible objectives. Objectives themselves were scored as 3 per capture, enough to make them worthwhile, but not enough to override the KP objective.

Even though this is a "metamission", I still wanted it to focus on killing the enemy while securing the field, not securing the field while killing the enemy, if that makes sense. I want to see people blowing each other up. That's why objectives are 3. If you wanted to play this mission with more of a focus on objectives, simply bump them up to 4 or even 5 points each. As it is, thy are critical, but by no means will win you the game on their own.

Quarters was difficult to determine scoring for. I originally had a quarter at a measly 2 per. This was because I was concerned that (especially on the lower tables) players would have difficulty concentrating on doing all 3 objectives at once. To playtest, I played and watched a lot of games, then fiddled around with quarters value after each game, scoring them from 2-5. What I found was that 2 points was too little, it wasn't enough that players who could pay attention to them really would. 4+ was too high, and often ended up making games end with unexpected victors that surprised both players. 3 was about right, making them worth scoring, but not surprisingly so. Again, these could be raised to put more of an emphasis on them. Also, if you remember my rant about diagonal quarters a few missions ago, yes, I think that diagonal quarters would work better on this mission too. Next year, maybe.

That about wraps it up for the missions. My next post will be thoughts about tournament missions in general, then we'll detail some even terrain and talk about the future. That's right, I'm not through with this yet! =D See you next time!

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