Tuesday 28 October 2014

Spoils of War 2014

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of putting on a small Infinity tournament as part of Vanguard's annual Spoils of War event. Traditionally this has been purely a 40k weekend but due to slightly lacklustre ticket sales they had some tables and scenery going spare and were offering space to other gaming systems that wanted to run things along side it. I couldn't turn down an offer like that now could I?

So, with less than a month of prep and organising I sorted out scenery, prizes and a dozen players for the first annual Spoils of War Infinity tournament. 

I'm happy to say that it all went rather well.

The aforementioned spoils of war - including the limited edition Tabitha Bolt

We got off to a bit of a slow start on the day with people arriving sporadically between 9 and 10.30 (the start time of the event was 10!). A few got delayed on the way (burnt our lorries on motorways), got completely turned around ("Fuck Shirehampton and its shitty improper signage"), or just plain lost ("What do you mean that this tiny country lane leads to a massive academy?!").

Next time, we'll have to arrange clearer directions for the players I think.

The Tables

Still, that gave me plenty of time to make sure the scenery was in order. Arguably, making sure the tables are well laid out is one of the most important jobs of the Tournament Organiser, so I'd like to spend a bit of time talking about what we used and why. Note that these are the tables as at Round 1 which was Quadrant Control. In later rounds things were moved around slightly to accommodate the necessary objective markers. Particular care was taken so that objectives were more easily accessible (or defensible) from one side than the other.

Table 1 - Frontier Outpost

Table 1 was kindly brought along by Adam and Darren from one of our local clubs, Pigmar. It was augmented by some barricades and burnt out ruins as scatter terrain.

The table had a good mix of heights and plenty of interestingly shaped things to cower behind, particularly in the deployment zones. The ruins provided excellent terrain as they effective acted as a concentration of chest high walls in a small area. The near side had better Infiltrator deployment options due to the MAS buildings which probably gave it an edge.

Table 2 - Abandoned Warzone

The Abandoned Warzone was one of the tables largely provided by Vanguard for our use (well, I'm pretty sure it's actually the sum of about three normal 40k tables). It was bulked out with some AT43 crates and walls and a couple of vehicles.

The two large buildings dominate the battlefield, so I set it up to have one on each side to at least make it fair. For rounds two and three I moved things around a little to cut down some of the longer lanes of fire as I think it was a tad too open over all.

Table 3 - Gas Refinery

The Gas Refinery was another Vanguard table (with more of the AT43 containers/walls) and this was the only table where we had to house-rule - no deployment was allowed on the large round tower as it would simply have been too dominating a terrain feature.

The smaller round towers prohibited deployment also as the tops of them were not big enough to place a base on. This meant that most of the table was actually quite low down with the exception of a couple of buildings and the large rocky outcrop.

This is actually the table I'm happiest with overall. I think it had a good look to it, some interesting terrain features and some intriguing decisions when deploying.

Table 4 - Service Station

This table was provided by Ian (of Wargaming Trader fame) and looked very pretty indeed. The blue cars you can see scattered around are new sci-fi vehicles from Antenocitis Workshop. I didn't have much of a hand in setting this one up, but I don't think there were any issues reported.

I would like to point out some of the super-cheap scenery though. There are some Poundland garden lanterns at the back left and the brightly coloured photo frames (with infinity art in) really look the part.

Table 5 - Loading Dock

This table was again provided by Ian for our use and I should point out that you are allowed to deploy on the street-lights and that this didn't cause any problems. The near-side deployment zone was rather sparse but in exchange you had a wealth of sniping positions.

I liked that each flank of the table was very different. On the left you had lots of tall shipping crates to hide behind, but no scatter. On the right you just had lots of small terrain pieces to leap-frog between.

Table 6 - Warehouse District

The final Vanguard table, a hellish maze of buildings that saw lots of rooftop combat. This time the two larger buildings didn't dominate as much due to substantially reduced lanes of fire, but they did add an extra 'height level' for people to fight over.

There were generally multiple approaches to each area, allowing people ways of avoiding mines and Chain Rifles by taking the long ways round.

I think this table was the most daunting for the players, but the feedback I got was generally positive. It is also a fairly rare table in that Climbing Plus would probably have been more useful on it than Super Jump!

The Results

Then we come to the most(?) important part of the day, the results. It was a hotly contested tournament throughout with fortunes rising and falling constantly. A lot of games came right down the wire with last minute objective snatches happening everywhere.

Congratulations to Darren (AKA Wintermute) for becoming the first Spoils of War champion with his very consistent performance on the day.

The results

Final Thoughts

A few interesting information titbits from the event.
  • Most people opted to play the vanilla factions with only one player choosing a sectorial army.
  • The armies were very diverse with all eight factions represented on the day.
  • Only five TAGs were placed on tables across the entire day. Three of those were in Supplies between REND and Calamari!
  • In Quadrant Control, five of the six people who won the Initiative chose deployment over turn order. This is something that I feel particularly happy with as it meant that people were feeling properly rewarded for choosing the best deployment zones.
  • Out of the 18 games, the Initiative winner chose first turn nine times, deployment eight times and second turn once.
  • The Initiative winners won thirteen out of the eighteen games.
  • Despite nobody getting a perfect score on it, Seize the Antennas was the highest scoring round on average.
  • Supplies proved the most polarising with only one player scoring between two and seven points and everyone else either doing very well or very poorly.
I think there is the potential for gathering all kinds of interesting info from tournaments and will certainly be recommending more thorough data collection to all those running events in the UK. It would be interesting to see if we can spot any trends.

In particular I'm interested to see if winning the initiative roll really does mean you are more likely to win the game overall.

(Most of) the players

Overall I'm very pleased with how things turned out and it's definitely spurred me on to run more events in the future. But I couldn't have done this on my own as, naturally, none of this would have happened if it wasn't for the players.

So many thanks for showing up, supporting Infinity in Bristol and generally being nice people who let me get on with my work( which unfortunately refused to stay confined to the office). Also, double thanks for those who provided scenery for our use, I couldn't have run this without you!

Hopefully this will become an annual event and we can push up towards twenty people for next year. There's even the possibility to play over two days. Maybe a campaign weekend...? 400pts...? Hmm....

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