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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Second article on army composition scoring

Okay so I will continue on some more about providing criteria to judge army composition.

NOTE - Nothing seems to steam people up like the subject of army composition. While some people like it others are adamantly against it.

There are basically two ways to go about judging army composition if you decide to enforce it at an event you are running:

a) You as the TO score the composition for all the players, or

b) You let the players score the composition individually each game for their opponents.

The problem with option (a) is that you as a person who also plays the game will have some prejudice which might skew how you score the players.

The problem with option (b) is that you will almost always have some players that invariably score their opponents low on composition and sportsmanship if they lose the game as a measure of revenge. This is referred to as chipmunking. It's probably happened to everyone if you play in enough tournaments. Therefore I believe that if you decide to let the players score their opponent's composition then if you see a score that seems lower than what others have scored it you need to approach the player and ask why they gave a low score. It's also a good idea to let the players know in advance that you will question a score if it doesn't seem right.

If you decide to go with option (a) I applaud you as you are taking responsibility. I think some TOs will go with option (b) simply to avoid having any blame directed at them. No matter which option you take, you will need a clear and simple set of criteria to judge army composition and this should be broadcast to the players well ahead of time so they are aware. Know that no matter what you decide to use there will be those that complain and say publicly that you are a donkey's arse because you slighted some specific build even if it is rarely ever played. Be aware that there are people who will read the rules and try to come up with some off the wall list that breaks your criteria. Simply put you can't make everyone happy and there will always be those who like to complain for whatever reason.

So here is a set of sample guidelines I presented in the first article on this subject:

(1) The chosen HQ fit well within the theme of the army:

(2) The army features a wide mix of units that present a solid theme to match it's background:

(3) The units selected work well together to provide a competitive build:

(4) There are a variety of units from various slots rather than a spammed approach:

So you could score up to 20 points max or as low 4. Note that I see theme and composition as strongly coupled. If you read my first article you'll see that I have provided some thoughts on scoring composition based upon the Chaos Space Marine codex. For example you score more higher when fielding a wider array of units than say lash spam which only needs three parent units to play.

It's important to note that GW has lately taken a trend of watering down some of the codices by combining several types of armies within one codex. There used to be a separate set of rules for each traitor Legion in the previous codex but now you have more freedom to choose what you want. For example to build an Iron Warriors army you have access to multiple units of Oblits and can field Vindicators. Of course now any CSM army can do this as well! Other armies such as Black Templars and Dark Angels have their own codices so it's easier to build a very specific list tailored to an individual background for armies such as these. So using the criteria above a lash spam army would score low while a Dark Angels army fielding some Deathwing and Ravenwing would score higher. We all expect lash spam to be competitive but isn't it a surprise when a Dark Angels army wins a tournament.

So some of you are thinking is it fair for lash spam to score lower when the codex was designed specifically to allow you to build such lists. Newer players to the game may not be aware of the prior background for certain armies and GW has a tendency to revise their background material. My opinion is that a unique army should score higher on composition than an army list that is very popular and was copied from the Internet. To me that is a good reason why theme and composition are strongly coupled.

Next I will add a bit more criteria and provide more detailed guidelines for scoring army composition.



Messanger of Death said...

There is a third method of comp scoring. Panel Judging... try to minimise the bias of any one judge.


Black Blow Fly said...

That's a good point and I should have mentioned that. For large events running over two days you will typically have a staff of TOs (2 or more people) while for a one day RTT it's typically one person acting as the TO. I would like to point out here that no one playing in the event should be involved in scoring army composition.