We’ve set our next big tournament project in stone: we’re doing another campaign weekend, this time focusing on the outbreak of the Horus Heresy on Isstvan V!
We have our venue holding our spot for a weekend in late February 2011 (the exact date will be announced soon). Much like the Eye of Terror event we did this summer, we’ll be aiming to make this weekend a melding of both a campaign and a tournament: the tournament structure will be used to present a story-driven, six-game campaign of bravery, desperation and treachery.
As with the Eye of Terror campaign weekend, ensuring the event is optimized for “competitive” play remains a very secondary concern for us. Immersing players into situations that reward them for acting how the “real” 40k armies would “really” act in the same desperate and unexpected situations is what we’re aiming for.
Some highlights of the campaign weekend’s traits thus far:
- This is a Space Marines ONLY function: you can play whatever army you want, so long as they attend dressed in their Marine suits and their army list comes from one flavour of a current Marine codex (loyal or otherwise). That’s right: no Guard and no Xenos.
- The first morning of the weekend, before anything else happens, players will swear allegiance to the Emperor of Mankind or to Horus –regardless of the codex being used. (Yes this means that your Khorne army can fight for the Imperium!) The justification: it is the eve of the launching of a civil war, standing at the edge of the precipice, there could be some with second thoughts –or some last-minute treachery, some final conniving …or even just the aim of consolidating power.
- Just like the wristband idea with lining up for concert tickets, players will be given a number; when their number is called, they can then swear their (temporary?) allegiance to the faction of their choice….if there’s still room for them.
- At some point (multiple points?) players will be given the opportunity to switch sides…and will be rewarded / bribed for doing so.
- Players will not be allowed to have special characters in their armies, but special characters will be available at different times as a free upgrade to players’ armies.
As I said above, it’s not our aim to make this campaign tournament as competitively balanced as possible; playing war is not running a 100-yard dash; and 40k (in my opinion) was never intended to clinically determine, in a controlled environment, just who was the 40k-No-Kamisama (Jp: “the god of 40k”). Having a story unfold over the course of a weekend and seeing how players adjust to the unexpected excites me more than does just hosting a contest to see who plays the better-built army list the best. I really do enjoy bringing narrative and strategy together to influence, push, pull and link the tactical battles being played (I’m a sucker for campaigns!). And for that reason, we’ll be upping the ante and adding extra variables so as to test the mettle of the players.
One of the hallmarks of the 14th Black Crusade was that during each round several different missions were being played (so the table beside you wasn’t necessarily playing the same mission you were playing); we want to have a semblance of that in this tournament too: I think it’s pretty cool to have your army’s location influence what their mission and objectives will be.
We also want to try to include secondary objectives to be used not as battle-points bonuses but as activators to special effects, occurrences (and special guests!) for use in future rounds. We had a lot of success with this idea with the Eye of Terror weekend and want to refine it and include it in some form for our Isstvan V event as well. What I especially liked about the way secondary objectives were handled in the Eye of Terror was that they didn’t help you in your current game; they would instead give you some kind of bonus or benefit to your next battle, regardless of your performance in your current battle.
The idea behind secondary objectives doing this being two things: that astute players, suffering from their current game developing into a very pear-shaped prospect, could try their best to go for the secondary objectives and strive to win the war despite a setback in their current situation. Secondly, a game structure that rewards those who plan strategically appeals to the war gamer in me. (As an example: many historians have commented that perhaps had Rommel used his available air power to protect his supply ships steaming across the Mediterranean instead of on his Afrikakorps divisions, his army would never have suffered from all the fuel & supply problems that were endemic to the desert war. They use that example to illustrate that despite Rommel’s tactical brilliance on the battlefield, he was a limited strategist, and that limitation cost him the desert campaign. That’s the blending of strategy and tactics element that we hope to instill in our event over the course of the weekend.)
That’s all I’ve got on my brain so far, but I will post updates on the tournament as we continue crafting the structure of the campaign weekend.
Lastly, my partners in crime, Nathan and Teri will also have updates and announcements on their blog: http://conquest-calgary.com/
When we’re closer to the date, they’ll also have all the information on how to register and pay for the event (they’ve made it so you can pay using PayPal–handy!)