Friday, April 26, 2013

Looking at the Adepticon 40K Warzone Surveys Part 1

This year at Adepticon I endeavored to try something a bit different. I ran something I dubbed the 40K Warzone Tournament. The ultimate goal was for all 32 players to fight across 4 very different “Warzones”. Each game was intended to be fought across a different board with its own special rules. This year the featured Warzones were Desert, Zone Mortalis, Cities of Death, and Trench. Each player brought a 1000 point army list with a 250 point side board so that they could make small modifications to their army so that they could drop that tank or flyer they used in the Desert to meet the constraints of the enclosed tunnels of a Zone Mortalis board. In addition, every player was allowed to choose a Stratagem from a master list that I pulled from a variety of sources like the Cities of Death book, Planetstrike, Imperial Armor 9, and even from the Battle Missions book. Similarly, the objectives for the scenarios were gleaned from a multitude of sources, putting all of my various newer and older Expansion books, and even the Dark Millennium sections of old rulebooks to use. The goal was to create a unique and fun experience for Adepticon goers that tapped into all of the things I love about the rather limitless world of 40K that seem to go overshadowed in the more competitive end of the tournament scene. It also created a bunch of interesting challenges for me as both a hobbyist and an arm chair game designer as I mashed game concepts together and simultaneously labored to build 16 fully detailed tables to match the Warzones depicted, that were beautiful and fun to play on. Though I never finished all 16 tables, and there were some small design flaws with select Stratagems and how they interacted with certain missions, overall I thought it was a huge success.
At the end of the the 40K Warzone Tournament I handed out surveys, and the results were really interesting.  From what I can see it seems to me that people really enjoy playing with Special Rules and Terrain Effects as long as they can figure out how to deal with them. For example, the Zone Mortalis rules are very heavy handed and there are a lot of them. What’s interesting is that people were sort of split on how much they liked or disliked ZM. Eight people considered it their favorite Warzone, and 5 people considered it their least favorite, ultimately making it the top choice for both. The Warzone that had the least amount of Special Rules was Desert, and when asked what Warzone people would drop in order to replace it with something different, Desert was the number one answer.  One of the biggest surprises for me was that a handful of people were frustrated with the Building Rules from the 6th Edition Rule Book and were taken very off guard by having to use them. People are very familiar with the rules for Ruins, but as soon as someone was in a Building things sort of fell apart and people didn’t know what their tactical options were for dealing with units inside of them. I hate to say it, but this makes me want to use Buildings even more because they create new challenges that I think are fun and interesting when you know that they are coming.
Another interesting detail that relates to people enjoying the more Special Rule heavy Warzones was that a quarter of the people surveyed actually requested more Dangerous and Mysterious Terrain, and more detrimental Environmental Effects, like high winds and the like. Considering I spend a lot of time on blogs reading about tournament players railing against these sorts of bits of randomness, I found it really interesting to see that there are people out there like myself who find these elements unique, interesting, and thematic.
Though I thought I got all 26 back, I only count 24 today. Regardless, the information contained within these 24 surveys is very interesting to me, so maybe it might be to you:

1) Did you have fun? Would you play in an event like this again?

All 24 surveys came back: Yes. Yes & Yes. Or some derivation of Definitely/Absolutely. This made me feel like the event was an absolute hit and invigorates me to do it again next year.

2) What was your favorite Warzone? What was you least favorite?

Desert: 1
Zone Mortalis: 8
Trench: 4
Cities of Death: 7
All of the Above: 1
No Favorite: 1

Least Favorite:
Desert: 4
Zone Mortalis: 5
Trench: 3
Cities of Death: 1
No “Least Favorite”: 3
No Reply: 6

3) Did anything seem broken or overly frustrating? Did you have any serious rule issues?

No Issues: 10
Wraiths passing through walls: 1 (Personally I thought this was really cinematic! -Nick)
Hidden Deployment Stratagem was too powerful: 3
Flyers were too powerful: 1
Preliminary Bombardment was too powerful: 1
Zone Mortalis table/rooms/objectives too ambiguous: 1
Intact buildings were too hard to deal with: 3
Zone Mortalis tables needed doors: 1
Impossible to make a list for both Desert and Cities of Death: 1

4) Were you able to complete 4 or more turns every game? Should the rounds be longer? Or should there be less games? (they were supposed to be 1.5 hrs but were pushed closer to 2 hours depending on how people’s games were running.)

Yes I’d like longer turns: 8
No, the turn length was perfect: 16
I would like to play less than 4 games: 0
It was the perfect number of games: 18

5) Were there any Stratagems you felt were automatic choices?

No: 13
Booby Traps: 2
Tunnels: 2
Flakk Mods: 3
Hidden Deployment: 3
Preliminary Bombardment: 2
Familiar Ground: 2
Yes, but I’m not going to tell you what ones: 1

6) Next year I’d like to drop one Warzone and replace it with a different one. Which Warzone would you drop? And what type of Warzone would you replace it with?

Drop Zone Mortalis: 3
Drop Trenches: 6
Drop Desert: 9

No changes: 2

Replace with Alien World: 3
Replace with Jungle: 4
Replace with Swamp/Bridges/Islands: 9
Replace with Daemon World: 3
Replace with Ice World: 1
Replace with Space Hulk: 2

Add more Dangerous Terrain, Mysterious and Random Effects: 6

In my next post I’m going to analyze this data and talk about possible changes for next year. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions? Here’s an opportunity to share them.

PS. Every one of these images was recycled because I couldn't find a single image from the event through Google. I saw plenty of you taking pics so if you have an image to share, please do!

Staker Outrider

I just finished this Staker Scout for Wreck-Age. It was nice to paint yesterday without any Adepticon deadlines looming over me. I've been working on a few articles about Adepticon and I collected all the info from the 40K Warzone Tournament after-survey. Expect all of that soon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Favorite Adepticon Momement

This pic is of my Angels of Absolution looking across a hallway at an Ultramarines Terminator Squad that had just come into view. A bloody firefight ensued with more and more units being pulled into the frey. I was so excited to play in this event on Brian Niro's awesome Zone Mortalis tables and it completely delivered. Troy, my opponent also delivered the most fun game I had at Adepticon. Thanks Troy.

Also, thanks to all the organizers and volunteers at Adepticon. This year was the most fun I've had since the earliest Adepticon's I went to in 2005 and 2006.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

40K Warzone Rule Packet

I finished the rule packet a short while ago. Hopefully all of the scenarios prove enjoyable for everyone, and hopefully my poor Photoshop skills don't leave people scratching their heads too often wondering what something says. This whole process has been a learning experience and I feel like I gained a lot from it. Enjoy! -Nick

Updated for easier reading.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

40K Warzone Smoke & Fire

Two of the warzones have rules for smoke and/or fire so representations were needed. In this strange box of dirty cotton balls are 24 smoke markers that have LED tea lights at the base to make them "fire". I stole the idea from other blogs and I really like the look they produce. These were really easy to make too. I do need to make 16 more though.

40K Warzone Scenarios and Booklet

These are almost done. I took this photo a couple days ago. At the time I only had 4 pages done. Now I have 12 done. Four more to go and the booklet and scenario sheets are all done.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

40K Warzone Tournament: Designing the Scenario Card for Blood Soaked Sands

This morning I decided to teach myself how to use Photoshop. I've only dabbled in the past, but I've watched attentively as others have worked on band layouts for me and the like and though this is nothing fancy by any means, I think watching them helped me out a ton. Of course, for an experienced Photoshop veteran, this probably would have taken 20 minutes instead of 3+ hours, but now I know what I'm doing and have a template, so the others should come together much faster. Hopefully.
Update: I managed to alter the image in about 30 minutes to create the B Side of the Card. That's progress I guess.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Revisited 40K Warzone Desert Table #1: The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles, and the mess that is my apartment. Notice the stack of Zone Mortalis rooms in the upper right hand corner of the photo, and the pile of boards leaned against the wall in the upper left hand corner of the photo.
After using weathering powder on the other 2 desert tables and seeing how it added to them, I decided to add a tiny bit of Medium Earth to The Pinnacles table, along with some static grass. Here are some proper close ups.
This area of difficult ground has a special place in my heart. It has been repainted multiple times and dates back to the first table I made specifically for home. Its probably 12+ years old. Now with a tiny bit of weathering powder. 
Each stone spire is so tall that you really can only photograph the base.
The base of the largest spire. It is over 15" tall.
Broom bristle "trees". One of my favorites to make. 
More boom bristle trees. The base is lightly shaded with some Medium Earth.
More subtle weathering.
Natural berm. I should note that all of the mesas and dunes on these boards in part are made up off all the off cuts glued and covered in masking tape to create a more natural shape, which is then covered in spackle, smoothed, and left to dry before being coated in sand.

Aerial view of The Pinnacles.

40K Warzone Desert Table #3: Sanguinary Valley

Desert Table #3: The Sanguinary Valley
To make this table a bit more distinctive (and to give it a cool name), I hit the valley with a bunch of red and orange weathering powder. These two tables were originally built to be used for the Koth Ridge scenario last year for my Piscina IV event but they weren't completely finished in time. Over the weekend I dry brushed both, added weather powder and flock, and just flipped one of the tables around to convert it from a ridge line with a tight gully into a valley.

Here are some quick shots:
Close up of the ridge stretching into the Sanguinary Valley.
Close up of the weathered valley.
The backside of the ridge line.
Topside shot of the center of the valley and the reddish dust that gives it its name.
Aerial view.

40K Warzone Tournament: Desert Table #2 The Retaining Wall

I just finished Desert Table #2, The Retaining Wall. I'm really happy with the look and feel of the table. Hopefully it proves to be fun and exciting for the players.
Difficult ground.
Massive mesa.
Close up of the Retaining Wall for which the table is named.
Model eye view from up on the Retaining Wall.
Close up of a hill with a make shift barricade.
Close up of difficult ground.
Dune with forgotten supplies.
More difficult ground.
 This is one of 4 tables that will be used for the Blood Soaked Sand or The Desert Outpost scenarios.

There will be fast and furious updates all the way up to Adepticon so feel free to follow closely and feel free to make comments or ask questions.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

40K Warzone Desert Board #1 The Pinnacles

Quick update: This is the first desert board roughly completed for the 40K Warzone Tournament at Adepticon. Lots of wide open desert and not a lot of cover. Blood Soaked Sands indeed. It just needs some splotchy static grass and some weathering and its ready for the big day.