Author Topic: Tournament Terrain  (Read 2700 times)

Dave-SWA

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Tournament Terrain
« on: October 11, 2010, 10:21:49 AM »
We had some hot tournament action this past weekend at Council of Five Nations, in Schenectady, NY.

I had an idea for tournament terrain that I wanted to throw out here before it got lost to my poor memory.

In Sunday's 8-hour tournament, we were paired against a player, and knew the terrain before we constructed our 2,000-point armies.

In my second match (my Lizardmen vs Chris' Undead), we had map 3E, with the large deep lake and rectangular fence area. 
This field is a stand-and-shoot army's wet dream.  With me fighting the S&S masters, the Undead, I thought that I would be at a huge disadvantage.

After having a night to sleep on it, how about this as a tournament option:

You know the faction you're fighting, but you don't know the terrain until after you construct your army.

I think this would move players to be more cautious in their construction.  But it adds a juicy element of risk. 

If I build a specialized army (like stand-and-shoot, or lots of cavalry, etc), not knowing where I will end up fighting, it could turn out really well, or really poorly, or just OK.

Maybe I take the risk.  Or, maybe I build a more flexible army that is not as much of a "one trick pony".


Related to this - certain terrain cards that are too asymmetrical should not even be in the tournament pool.

Specifically...
2B - one side's deployment zone behind a long hedge
3B - one side's deployment zone protected by spikes.

Thoughts?

-DC


« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 10:59:54 AM by Dave-SWA »
Schenectady Wargamers Association
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Council of Five Nations (Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2017) - this is our 40th, the Ruby Anniversary.  It will be extra special this year!
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Kevin

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Re: Tournament Terrain
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 11:25:23 AM »
Yeah, that was a good time: we had 11 people in both the 1500-point open map tournament and the 2000-point terrain tournament.

I agree completely with keeping maps 2B and 3B out of the tournament.

IMHO making people build their armies before seeing the terrain would be a major mistake.  One of the things I like most about Battleground is that you get to try to build the optimal army for a given situation.  By making people fly blind when building their army you're stripping out a lot of the skill and fun:  it would be analogous to forcing people to give all of their units unmodified "Close" orders.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Forevernyt

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Re: Tournament Terrain
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 12:18:17 PM »
Not only that, but if you think of it in real life terms, the generals would have sent out scouts to check out the battlefield ahead of time, in order to send in the most appropriate troops.

I don't think too many generals would go willingly into battle blind to the terrain.

I could be wrong though.


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ajax98

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Re: Tournament Terrain
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 01:28:08 PM »
Not only that, but if you think of it in real life terms, the generals would have sent out scouts to check out the battlefield ahead of time, in order to send in the most appropriate troops.

I don't think too many generals would go willingly into battle blind to the terrain.

I could be wrong though.

It is a rare case indeed that a place of battle was pre-arranged and participants had the luxury of picking and choosing what to take along for a specified situation or agreed upon limit.

I can understand Dave's dilemma. One just has to rationalize it away as 'now I'm stuck with this situation.'
When I am faced with such, I just figure that the enemy is hoping I won't attack but I must, because in the 'meta event' my opponent is going to get stronger and I weaker, thus I must force the issue. There are a multitude of historical events that often had similar precursors.

It is analogous to the Meta Event that leads up to a particular battle/conflict that sets the tone and temperament for the major 'actors' / players. What leads them to make the decisions they do.

IMO, it is more 'realistic' to have your Army roster already built and then to use on on whatever battlefield you find your enemy. But this should allow some sort of 'Meta Game' system for 'motivations' and allowances to decline a battle and maneuver.

I have sketched out a campaign system concept where the over riding factor is a set number of points for the whole, but you must parcel out sub forces to achieve the goals.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 01:38:44 PM by ajax98 »

Kevin

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Re: Tournament Terrain
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 02:26:43 PM »
On a tangential note, Dave, here's an old report in which my Lizardman army crossed water to thoroughly maul a stand-and-shoot army.  Granted, it was a "Chosen Ground" scenario, so I had 100 extra points to work with (Without that I'd have had to leave those Swarmling Bowmen at home, but they proved irrelevant to the battle anyway.). It's not an identical situation, but it might give you an idea what to do next time if it comes up again.

http://yourmovegames.com/forum/index.php/topic,960.0.html
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Dave-SWA

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Re: Tournament Terrain
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 03:32:55 PM »
I raise the question not because it was so bad for me personally, but instead because I'm thinking about overall fairness and balance of the tournament setting.

Re: Scouting
I agree, but we could get into the complexities of that.  If I know I'm fighting Undead, and my scouts tell me about the terrain on map 3E, there is no way I give battle there.  Not when I know he might have two Giant Catapults.  (As if my scouts ~couldn't~ tell me if my foe has any given Large or Colossal troops...) A good general maneuvers for optimal terrain, and does not walk into a fight on clearly disadvantageous ground.

Re: Kevin's comment on building optimally for a given situation
I see exactly what you mean, but I have a different take on that.  I think the building optimally part is how I construct my army based on what I know about your faction, and what you might bring to the battle.  There is all sorts of variability there.

Then, I'd like there to be more of a random element to the field we end up fighting on.  That abstracts how both generals maneuver, trying to deny the enemy advantageous terrain.  But neither have full control over where the battle actually happens.  Instead of having a mechanism to pick terrain, the maneuver between the generals to determine the field of battle is abstracted as a random draw. 

Sometimes the general does a really good job - (The random draw determines that...) the Undead general maneuvers his foe to map 3E to maximize the impact of his 2 Giant Catapults.
Sometimes the general does a really poor job - (The random draw determines that...) the Ravenswood general gets outmaneuvered to terrain with no woods.

Or, if we want such a mechanism to reflect this less abstractly, an option might be something like:
1.  Tournament judge announces pairings for the round.  You now know what faction you are fighting.
2.  Five terrain cards are drawn
3.  Die roll (or some other factor) determines who gets to pick...
= 3a.  First choice to remove a card
= 3b.  Choice of Attacker or Defender side of the terrain finally determined
4.  Players alternate removing terrain cards.  Each removes two.
5.  Final terrain card to be used is the one remaining
6.  The 3b player chooses Attacker or Defender side
7.  Players spend points to build armies, knowing the terrain and which side of the map they'll be arriving on.

Steps 1-6 shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes.  Each choice to remove a card should not take more than 30 seconds or so (and that's generous).

An even more complex system would be for some kind of mechanism to have more influence on the terrain of the battlefield.  Perhaps an auction of army build points to choose the terrain card out of a random selection of cards.  But that's probably more appropriate for a campaign game than a tournament setting.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 03:39:59 PM by Dave-SWA »
Schenectady Wargamers Association
An Adventure Gaming club serving the Capital District of upstate New York for over 40 years.
Council of Five Nations (Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2017) - this is our 40th, the Ruby Anniversary.  It will be extra special this year!
www.swa-gaming.org

Kevin

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Re: Tournament Terrain
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 06:18:49 PM »
Dave, Jaime and I do a simpler version of your terrain veto system suggestion, with 3 cards drawn and each of us vetoing one of them.  (This system was detailed in a post I made late last year at http://yourmovegames.com/forum/index.php/topic,1198.0.html

Doing this in a tournament could work, with, as you say, the first veto determined randomly.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill