A random series of articles on war gaming in 40K, FOW and other systems. The headings are, WiP; Conversions and models in various states of assembly. PiP; Paint works on various models. Mission Critical; scenarios or missions to bring a bit of a twist to a normal game. MiA; rules for units and characters that could/should/might appear in a game. Dig In; How to guides on making various types of terrain for different game systems. Sit Rep; Battle reports and after action reports on games played

Monday, September 10, 2012

40K: NWG 2012 aftermath

Woah, the third NWG 40K event (aka, TLC2012 or Nigelcon) has come and gone. This year was probably the hardest to help organise to date. 6th edition was released just six weeks before the event forcing organisers to re-think the format of their game missions and how they run events for a new era. In addition, I got called up for the Irish 40K ETC team. The ETC was just two weeks before the event and included a self imposed 6th ed blackout, since the ETC was still playing 5th ed. Despite the challenges the event great success. Each year NWG tries to challenge the players and organisers to raise their game hobby and gaming wise. So this year what did we try out?

Terrain in Progress

Those about to fight, salute you

Terrain wise, there was more emphasis on terrain than a normal 5th event. Under the old rules the recommendation was 25% coverage minimum for most events, including the ETC, this translated in to just 25% table coverage. For NWG we tried for 40%-50% table coverage, we did not always get there, but that was the target. We also wanted each table to tell a story and set the narrative for each game. So as much as possible tables were themed, city fight, moonbase, etc. We also replaced the normal objectives by allowing players to nominate terrain pieces as objectives. I think this was allowed in 5th but was rarely ever used. Narrative wise it made more sense for armies to be fighting over a ruined building or a hill rather than the sometimes use 50 cent coin placed in the middle of nowhere.

I have three hours sleep, I am good.

Mission wise, everything had a twisted. In 40K 5th ed the capture and control mission was normally seen as a draw mission. Both players placed objectives in their own deployment zone usually in the most tactically advantageous way possible. The NWG version of this mission we borrowed the FOW concept of players placing objectives in their opponent's deployment zone. For NWG players nominate a terrain pieces in or partial in their opponents deployment zone as an objective, this mean suddenly objectives were a bit more achievable, forcing armies to get stuck in as they tried to defend the exposed objective in their area or make a grab for the accessible objective in their opponent's area. For the 5th ed seize ground mission we borrowed something from the saxony ball 40K event in Leipzig. At the Ball, armies are allowed to claim an objective and then move on while still claiming the objective. Their opponents could deny the objective or claim it for their own if they met certain conditions. It meant it was possible for an army to build up a lead in captured objectives that could be to much to overtake in the final rounds, again forcing armies to get stuck in as objectives changed hands over the course of the game. For the 5th ed annihilation mission we borrowed something from the Belgian 40K Open. At the Open players can opt to change the value of the kill points for a certain force type, eg HQ, Troop, etc. For NWG we skewed the kill points in favour of high value targets like HQ or elite units encouraging players to go after HQ and the like rather than chasing after rhinos and other dedicated transports.

Corridor combat

For the Secondary mission we borrowed from the South African Rapid Fire events. At the events player objectives are determined secretly by them drawing a random card, they knew the mission but their opponent did not. For NWG we had four secret secondary objectives based on what players drew from a card deck. It added to the event as players tried to accomplish their mission without revealing it to early or tried to guess what their opponent was up with their secret mission.

This would be easier, if I could just fortune Vect.

Painting and modelling wise, we tried to encourage player to raise their game. Army display trays made their début in Ireland with points available for bring display trays. I hope it helped reduced the traditional stampede to find movement trays at the event. There were points available for bring new units, to encourage players to experiment a bit with their traditional armies builds. This was very easy points with 6th ed being just out.

Flight of the Caestus

One of the cooler aspects of the NWG event is the ABF (Anybody But Frank) challenge where players declare publicly online they will build an army using next year's NWG event as their deadline. They then post updates on their progress. This year twelve players signed up and six players arrived with purpose built armies. Kudos to Chris, Colin, Frank,Jay, Ciaran and John. Notable mention for John finally finishing his army just five hours before the event started. In the end Jay won the award, with his themed display tray and well painted/converted Grey Knights. Jay's army arrived several hours before him. Travel shenanigans delayed him and force to miss the first game. The rumour has it there was a lift available but it could not take him and his display tray so the display tray got the car while he got the train

Draigo's last stand?

So what worked?
  • The missions and terrain based objectives worked well. There is a nice mental image on plague zombies shambling for a ruin building on to a eldar Corsairs unit.
  • The secret secondary mission worked well. They extra depth and spiced up the games.
  • The Painting/modelling (Soft scores)worked well. 50 points ie a two and a half games, for "soft" scores is a lot of points up for grabs. Nobody was able to max out on the soft scores so they probably should be called hobby scores.
  • Terrain, the terrain was provided by child labour from The Last Chancers and the Hobby Shack. The Dublin Games Guild supplemented some of the tables. It worked well even if the $%^£$56 fantasy players stole all the 40K hills [still not bitter about that :) ]
  • Wargames widow is still there. This year Cairan Dunne fiancée got the award. Ciaran skipped going to NewYork for an engagement ring for the ETC, then came to NWG instead of going to a wedding fair and is still engaged which is very impressive.
Zombies break cover

What did not work?
  • The dates and times were a bit off. Having the event just two weeks after the ETC meant a lot of players who would have liked to come could not get weekend passes. Also it was on the same weekend as one of the major music festivals also limiting the number of players available.
  • Time wise players were a bit pushed for the last round. Apparently drinking all night impairs cognitive functions and warps time, who knew that ?
  • Terrain. Do not get me wrong for a 40K event the terrain was at the top end of the spectrum. However, having seen the ETC FOW terrain and the Malifuax demo terrain. I think there was room for major improvement. Put it this way, 40K is a science fiction setting with countless worlds and environments it should generate some of the best terrain settings but for some reason does not.
  • The prizes were awesome, we opted to provided terrain (Aegis lines, Bastions and Strongholds) which can be used by any army in addition to Glass trophies and a raffle for the new 6th boxset. In hindsight, I would like to reduce the prize avialable for placing, maybe just keep the Glass trophies and added more prizes to the raffle. It sounds cheesy but for me anybody to gets to go to NWG is a winner and should be in with a shot at walking away with something.
Bug hunting on the Aphelion base

What could be in store for next time?
  • This year NWG demo'd Malifaux and Warmachince on the night before the event. I would like to see more systems getting demo'd (FOW tanks aces event springs to mind), Infinity and Tomorrows War are also in the mix this would hopefully encourage the diversity on the gaming scene.
  • A pure 6th ed rules pack would be nice. But it will be hard to create something new when effectively everything is new is 6th.
I got this one

Thanks to:
  • The players for making the effort to come to the event.
  • Nigel for letting me generate another “challenging” event.
  • Jarvis (is it plugged in?), for doing tech support
  • Craig and Paul for supporting the 40K side of the event and putting up with my incessant demands make it cooler.
  • The child labour from the hobby shack/TLC for putting up with my incessant demands for more terrain.
  • Ian Moody for donating the prize support. ( I think at one stage it was possible for a player to walk away with 200+ euros worth of goodies if they got very lucky).
Noghting fighting Eldar

The results
Overall 40K winner – Alex “Alternative best display board” Cornelius

Overall 2nd place – Chris “Malediction” Poulton
Overall 3rd place- Jan “Big K”Karnowski
Best General- Nick “what a nice guy” Meade

ABF challenge winner – Jay “missed the bus” McKeown
Players choice – John “met the Deadline” O'Connor
Wargamer's widows – Ciaran “long suffering” Fiancée  

When Dark Angels and Blood collide 

Event Qoutes
"is it okay if my dread knight knocks down the wall of the Aphelion base to get at the Orks inside?"- Anonymous

"You know, if I cast malediction on that unit of Carnifexs. I think I can break them and run them off the battlefield" - Anonymous

"We are playing 40k the way it should be played " - Anonymous

Quick, take a picture of the zombies” - Anonymous

Techiicnally, it is a display board” - Anonymous

I thought his secret mission was to get a unit of my table edge. So I sent my best unit to stop him. But his secret mission was really to destroy my best unit. Damn it” - Anonymous

Statistically, it is not possible to roll that many ones.


Luke Osborne said...

Am gutted that I couldn't make it to NWG this year. It looks and sounds like it was as awesome as ever. Definitely going to try and make it next year. Oh and I like the idea of some Infinity/FOW as well!

Dakeryus said...

You were missed. Nobody asked to switch armies for the last round ;)

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