Friday, 1 July 2011

Balancing a Tournament: Kill Points


I have an upcoming Tale of Eight Gamers tournament to organise, for the end of this month, and I am putting some thought to the missions. After attending blog wars, I could see that for a three mission tournament, whilst doing the standard missions and deployments was by far the simplest way to go, there are a couple of aspects of it that were deeply unpopular. Dawn of War being the obvious one, but also to a certain extent kill points.

Now I've been a sceptic of Kill Points for some time, claiming they were brought in as a part of dumbing down the hobby (no more having to work out half the cost of a 135 point unit, god forbid!) I don't like the fact that at Blog Wars, one poor gamer had to face off against a three kill point Paladin Grey Knight list. By turn one he'd downed a couple speeders and a rhino, meaning his opponent had to table him to do anything other than lose. He came fairly close, and the grey knights player walked away with a very poor VP margin at the end of the day... but he was in the top few going into the final game, and could have won the tournament if his final game had gone better.

I've been there myself... it's intensely frustrating to lose a game when you have over 1000 points left against an immobilised rhino and a weaponless dread cowering behind it. Especially when the game ends turn 5 as the majority of your army, that steamrollered the rest of his force, is racing across the board to engage these few remaining survivors.

However, having said all that...

It has been pointed out to me that with troops units being important in objective based games the kill points system balances things out between elite armies and the MSU style armies. That while it's only a third of games, it still has to be considered in army list design if you want to be competitive.

At the same time as I don't like to give MSU any more help, I don't much like Death Star armies either...

So here is my potential solution, and I'd love to hear any feedback I can get from you guys.

I have argued before for a Kill Point percentage system - If I kill two of the three units in your Grey Knight Paladin army, I've got 66%. Meaning killing a couple speeders and a transport out of 20 KP of my army will only be 15% - a win for me as opposed to a victory for you. If the scores are within 10% of each other (say 66% and 59%) then it's a draw.

Now to try to counter the MSU style army, I have another idea. Take the army list below - no points just a generic style thing I've seen.

Wolf Lord
Rune Priest
5 x Grey Hunters in Razorback
5 x Grey Hunters in Razorback
5 x Grey Hunters in Razorback
5 x Grey Hunters in Razorback
5 x Long Fangs in Razorback
5 x Long Fangs in Razorback
5 x Long Fangs in Razorback

Now that army is currently toting 16 Kill Points, a lot of killing power, and 4 scoring units. Now if I was going to change it from pure KP to KP percentages, that'd push it slightly in this armies favour... so to balance that out, I was thinking scoring units (and their dedicated transports if they have them) count double, 2 KP each. That would mean the army above had 24 Kill Points available, 11 of them in fairly easy to kill transports. Against that Grey Knight List, which would be made up of 5 kill points, the grey knight player would need to kill a good portion more of the wolf army to ensure the victory (as losing one of his units would see him lose 40% of his KP, meaning he has to kill 51% of the Space Wolf army to get the win) At the same time, this isn't unreasonable to achieve, as he can get 46% just from pegging the transports.

Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. If this system seems to be agreeable then I shall use it and just use the standard missions for my tourney... now I need to come up with a deployment type to replace the hated Dawn of War... that could be a bit mroe tricky :oS