Expanding the ITC

narrativeIn my opinion, the ITC has been one of the best things to happen to tournament gaming since the Swiss format! It has invigorated a lot of tournaments all over the USA and has started to impact other countries as well. It has helped to create a lot of smaller tournaments and has helped bring people that live within close vicinity to each other together as they travel to tournaments in their area. It has also culminated in what has become the largest singles 40k event in the LVO. All great accomplishments by the Frontline crew.

The Missing Ingredient

I think one of the missing ingredients is a caste of players that avoids said events. These are the more casual types of gamers. The ones that just play with a group at someone’s house or might play in an occasional league, but never a tournament. I personally think that these gamers are what is driving the GW economy overall as there are a lot of them out there. The tournament gamer may spend more if you compare the average casual player to the average tournament player, but I really think there are so many more casual players out there that their bulk make up a lot of sales in the market. What would really invigorate the ITC is if there was a way to bring those players into the ITC fold.

The Inherent ITC Issue

riptide winterProbably the biggest issue with the ITC is that it typically endorses a list building style that is counter culture to the casual player. A no holds barred or no list shaming attitude that I think is good in a tournament scene. Especially with how GW has made its list building criteria to bring forth such various monstrosities we see at every tournament. I know that a lot of players cringe at the kinds of lists they will face at an ITC event and think that is a very valid point. Most casual players don’t want to see a double Riptide Wing paired with Daemons, a Necron Tyranid alliance, or even a superfriends list where each character is cherry picked with minmaxness to create an uber deathstar that will wreak havoc across the tabletop and they shouldn’t have to.

While I don’t think we should change the ITC to appease list building issues, but to be honest this is happening to an effect with the voting system, there has to be a way or ways to bring more people into the event aspect of gaming whether it be a tournament or other type of gaming event. One of the great ways has been by adding things like best painted/appearance/players choice and best of faction awards. This gives people a chance to go for something besides just top general. But is that all there is?

The Alternative Events

There have also been concepts to tone down the lists and here are a few:

Highlander – There can be only one! Nice in concept but certain codexes (ie Eldar) will rock this event. I played a Grey Knights vs an Eldar list and it was laughable at the disparities between the two. It still allows people with those complex minds to see the hidden combos and break it.

Comp – Some type of weight system that weeds out the most competitive builds. Again, nice in concept, but can still be broken by many players.

Maelstrom – Great in that any type of list has a certain amount of capability of winning if they believe in the heart of the cards. I love the concept of continual scoring but have played to many games where the game was over on the first turn when my opponent scored 9 points and I scored 0. The best version I have played is The Mediocre’s adopted bastard euro Maelstrom with his Annihilation series. I think his system has some good merit that could bring in some other players.

Narrative – I’ve only seen this played a few times and it certainly requires an extra amount of effort to be done well either in mission design, multimedia presentation, terrain creation, or all of the above. I’m wondering if this kind of event would be the thing that brings out other kinds of gamers but still allows a way to earn ITC points.

The Answer – All of the Above?

Really it comes down to more people putting on more ITC events to snowball this thing into history. More tournaments means more chances to appeal to players and show them what this is all about. Different kinds of events and tournaments will appeal to more players and help grow the economy and make some cool alternative events to choose from as well.

LVO narrative terrainI’m wondering though if the Narrative style of event would be the thing to bring more people into the fold. Run it like a traditional tournament with specialized missions and terrain and storyline to go along with it. I’ve heard that Reece has done a simple pass fail for lists for events like this and it seems like it could be a good way to encourage those casual players that want more than just a beat face tournament.

Yes, it creates its own meta and is dependent upon a good TO that knows the scene and what is and what isn’t broken, but there has to be a way to decrease the cut throat lists that are out there to encourage these guys to come out. They are just as much of our hobby as the hardcore tournament gamer and there has to be a way to get them out of their garages and into our loving ITC embrace.

Anyways, just some ramblings from a gamer that has had this on his mind as of late. What about you? What do you think could be a way to get other gamers into the fold and joining the club?




About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at www.trader-a.com to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

57 Responses to “Expanding the ITC”

  1. Truesight January 30, 2016 11:50 am #

    Check out Australian Community Comp, we’ve been dealing with this issue with some success down here. http://www.communitycomp.org/

    • tag8833 January 30, 2016 9:21 pm #

      I fully endorse the Community Comp effort. They have developed a framework and system that is outstanding, and I think what they are trying to do is the Future of 40K.

      • eddyqw January 31, 2016 2:17 am #

        While I understand what this system tries to do, the fundamental problem its trying to solve is what unit point values are supposed to be for. I also think it’d cause something of a nightmare for TOs when trying to check that everyone’s list is calculated correctly.

        • Trasvi January 31, 2016 6:29 am #

          Its trying to solve the same problem, and it runs in to the same kind of issues, but adding a secondary system allows people to identify and fix the issues in the primary system.

          The main advantage that Community Comp has over the standard points systems is the ‘cumulative’ scoring, or dual-pricing systems.

          Eg, The Grimoire of true names is worth 2 points (out of 20). But if you have Fateweaver as well, it’s worth 10! Or the first Flying Tryant is worth 1 pt, but the second is worth 3, and the third is worth 5! The system can identify items which are weak on their own but combine to make something very powerful.

          The other advantage it has is the ‘Tournament Points’ addition to the Overall score making players really weigh up if they will spend CC points. At some point in the system you’re deciding whether adding an extra 5 CC points is going to win you an extra game. This makes the best generals who want to aim for the ‘overall’ title actually play less powerful lists than other players

          Its not a perfect system to be sure… there are incorrectly pointed things and combos that are missed out. But in my experience its far more enjoyable than the 1st turn tabling armies I see being taken to ITC events.

        • tag8833 January 31, 2016 9:48 pm #

          Trasvi explained why the Community Comp system is better than pure points costs.

          I wonder when we are going to get past the “We can’t change comp because TO’s would have to check every list” excuse. We don’t check every list now. Why would we start?

          We check lists on request. Checking them for the Community Comp is much easier than checking them for the byzantine formation restrictions.

          I’m a TO that runs monthly events, and one large GT ( http://www.flyingmonkeygt.com/ its ITC Format ). We are prepping for our 1st Community Comp rtt. I can tell you from personal experience, I have 0 fear that I’m going to have trouble verifying players lists.

          The only challenge from the point of view of the TO is dealing with all of the players learning to calculate community Comp at the same time.

          Being a TO, part of your job is answering rules questions, even if the answer is readily available to the person asking the question. ITC just allowed in the 400 point Buzzgob’s Stompa. I’ve been asked 7 or 8 times already if it is an HQ or a Lord of War. I’ve gotten another round of questions about what detachments can take a lord of war. I get weekly questions about whether Fortifications are their own detachments, and how to take them.

          Community Comp is no more complicated or confusing than any of these things, but it does have a learning curve.

    • abusepuppy January 31, 2016 9:13 am #

      I’ve seen documents like this more than a dozen times; not a one of them has worked as intended, and from looking through this one it seems no different. For all of the bewildering arrays of “pay credits for this and cumulative for that and extra if you have this and that and the other thing together,” there are HUGE holes in the document that can be exploited- and there always will be, because by its very nature you’re really just playing whack-a-mole with the different power lists. You can tax something so heavily that it functionally can’t win anymore (or is even unplayable, due to the 20credit limit) but intelligent players will always be able to leverage the system to their advantage if they try.

      Also, a lot of the stuff in it is just baffling. Thunderfire Cannons are worth more than the Hunter’s Eye? That’s… a unique view.

      • tag8833 January 31, 2016 10:07 pm #

        I’ve got to ask. In your view why don’t we all just play unbound with unmodified invis, Ranged D, and 2+ rerolls? Because there are huge holes in the ITC army Comp that allows intelligent players to build power lists that are tailored to the army comp, faq, and missions.

        That will be true whatever army comp you use. Community Comp tries to lower the overall power level in the game to reward players that don’t want to build towards power lists with a slightly better chance to participate in a meaningful way in games, and have fun.

        I’m a power list building TFG. I build lists to optimize the comp, FAQ, and Missions, and I play to win. I desperately want better comp so that I can play my version of power lists without stealing the fun from my opponents. I also think it would be fun to have to balance the power of my list with the total points I could possibly earn.

        The reason Community Comp rises above the sort of Comp lists you’ve seen before is that it makes allowances for you to do most anything you want, it just puts a consequence and price on it. I think that is as it should be.

        • abusepuppy February 1, 2016 12:29 am #

          >Because there are huge holes in the ITC army Comp that allows intelligent players to build power lists that are tailored to the army comp, faq, and missions

          The difference here is one of scale; ITC seeks to curb the worst excesses of power lists that remove interactability from the game, whereas comp systems like the one linked inevitably keep sliding downhill in a regressive “and now this list is powerful so we have to fix that and now this list is powerful so we have to fix that and now…”

          ITC does not attempt to stop power lists- it attempts to stop _game-breaking_ lists. If comp systems restricted themselves to just penalizing a handful of the high-level offenders (Invis, 2+ rerolls, WK, etc) then they wouldn’t be any different from ITC- but as I said, they really do not ever do that and instead take it on themselves to “fix” the whole game and, in doing so, end up chasing the power curve down an infinite rabbit hole.

          Just look at the linked document- it’s 43 pages long. The entire BRB is only 200 pages long, meaning their “fix” to the system is fully 20% as long as the entirety of the game’s core rules _and it still doesn’t actually solve the problem_. It’s doing an immense amount of work and putting a lot of additional burden on the players (and TOs) but not really accomplishing anything.

          • tag8833 February 1, 2016 11:12 am

            How you define “Power List” vs “Game-breaking lists” is pretty subjective.

            Let me offer a specific example. I run a Tyranid Flying Circus. It is a power list because of FMC spam.

            In order to balance “Power Lists” or “Game Breaking lists” or whatever you want to call them, you have to account for
            1) Deathstars,
            2) Individually undercosted units and Wargear
            3) Spam.

            Your argument is that touching the 1 and 2 is OK, but #3 is sacrosanct? So if we took out all of the Spam parts of community comp, and only had the Comp points for Combos, Wargear, psychic powers and undercosted models you’d be on board?

          • abusepuppy February 1, 2016 12:01 pm

            “Spam” isn’t a meaningful term in the context of 40K, because it really just is saying “more of something than I like.” If someone brings thirty Penitent Engines to the table, do we really need to have special rules in play to punish that? Bringing large numbers of a single model usually isn’t a good plan in the first place because it inevitably leaves gaps in what your list can do- look at the past results from LVO, BAO, NOVA, etc; none of them were dominated by lists with 30+ Scatter Bikes or any of the other common “omg we must stop people from bringing tons of this” units. Those units were _present_ and certainly affected the meta, but were never brought in the quantities people assumed they would be.

            Also, I’m NOT saying that deathstars and individual wargear need to be changed; in fact, ITC does not change the point costs of any wargear in the game (nor do I think it needs to) and it only punishes deathstars in the sense that it gives a universal nerf to the Invisibility power and to 2+ rerolled saves. Neither of those things are explicitly about deathstars, but ITC has still been fine because the nature of missions and other elements within the meta (including superheavies) mean that such units can’t become overwhelming.

            >So if we took out all of the Spam parts of community comp, and only had the Comp points for Combos, Wargear, psychic powers and undercosted models you’d be on board?

            No, I wouldn’t because I think what you’re trying to do is fundamentally flawed. You’re trying to balance the game by adding another layer of rules onto it without even really understanding the rules of first layer (i.e. the core game itself.) Moreover, you’re doing it in a way that punishes weak armies more than it punishes strong ones- strong armies have lots of good options available to them and can work around the restrictions you created; Space Marines, Eldar, and Tau all have enough good stuff to still build a very effective list under your restrictions. But something like Sisters of Battle, or Dark Eldar? If you nerf their one useful strategy, they don’t have a backup- they just become terrible.

          • tag8833 February 1, 2016 1:01 pm

            > You’re trying to balance the game by adding another layer of rules onto it without even really understanding the rules of first layer (i.e. the core game itself.)

            I don’t see a lack of understanding of the Core game. If anything, I admire the Community Comp guys for their pretty solid understanding of the Core game, and what makes it fun. By adding a price to things rather than directly changing them (ie Invisibility) or banning them, they are trying to honor the core of the game, and I think doing an outstanding job.

            >Moreover, you’re doing it in a way that punishes weak armies more than it punishes strong ones-

            This is objectively false. Eldar a Strong army are also a much pricier army to run in the Community Comp format. Sisters of Battle a Weak army are also an army that is relatively cheap to run. Take the time to read the document, and plug in a couple lists to see how it works.

            The thing that you overlooked is that sisters can afford to pay the Comp points for their “One Useful Strategy”, because if you lower the overall power level they no longer only have only *One* useful Strategy. There are multiple effective ways to run a sisters army in a community Comp system.

            It is an easy thing to miss if you come in with preconceptions as I did initially, because you are used to Comp being all about BAN lists, and restrictions, where as community comp isn’t about those things at all. It is about adding costs to things, and creating meaningful choices in list building.

            I think that is the most appealing thing about the system. It gives you more ways to build a list and win games. There is more list diversity.

          • abusepuppy February 2, 2016 12:02 pm

            >I don’t see a lack of understanding of the Core game

            Speaking as a tournament player, I do. Many of the things that CC punishes _aren’t even very good_, or at least aren’t good enough to require special measures to mitigate.

            >This is objectively false. Eldar a Strong army are also a much pricier army to run in the Community Comp format.

            Okay, but here’s the thing- Eldar have enough good and close-to-good units that they can work around a lot of the ways they are punished, although Space Marines or Eldar would be better examples of ways this can be done. But Sisters of Battle _don’t_. They only have two good units in the codex (Dominions and Exorcists), both of which fall under taxes, and they only have one viable strategy (heavy mechanized) which likewise is penalized. So the only Sisters list that has any real chance of fighting other armies is going to clock in at 8-12 credits, but still suffers all of the usual problems (lack of flexibility, lack of good solutions to certain armies, etc.)

            Contrawise, it’s pretty easy to build a Tau or SM list that scores 15+ on comp but still brings a lot of good stuff to the table because of the sheer variety of options they enjoy. There’s so many things that they can do that there is no meaningful way you can cover them all, regardless of how complex you make the document.

            >There are multiple effective ways to run a sisters army in a community Comp system.

            I greatly doubt this is true. You have not _actually_ rewritten the rules of the game, so there is not really anything you can do to make Sisters a viable army. They will still get stomped on by most everything else because they have no deployment options, no useful special rules, no gun options, no formations, and mediocre stats.

            >I think that is the most appealing thing about the system. It gives you more ways to build a list and win games. There is more list diversity.

            The thing is, if you look at the lists that are appearing in the top 8 of tournaments, there is more diversity in 7E than there has ever been at any time before in the game. Eldar, Space Marines, Tau, Orks, AdMech, Daemonkin, Renegades, Necrons, Imperial Guard, Chaos Daemon, Imperial Knights, and Tyranids are all making major appearances- and that’s not counting also-rans like Grey Knights and such that act as spoiler armies. If your area is having problems with list diversity, it’s because of the format/missions/terrain you are using, not because the factions don’t have enough good things in them to compete.

          • tag8833 February 2, 2016 9:48 pm

            >Speaking as a tournament player,
            I suspicion that this is the root of our disagreement. I’m a serious tournament player as well. I hit at least one tourney every 3 weeks, though many of them are small RTTs. I’ll bet you play almost exclusively ITC events, and are very used to that very specific meta, while I play a wide variety of formats, and experience a wide variety of Metas. I’m used to meta shifts, and was more receptive to Community comp at 1st.

            I think that is why it is easier for me to imagine effective ways to build armies tailored to a given Comp rule, and since I’ve actually built lists and played using the community comp format, I have a little more insight on the specifics of it.

            I think you are generally stuck on the idea that you can’t pay any Comp points to build a list. If you want to run an Exorcist you can. You better believe Space Marine players are paying points. Tau as well. A good Sisters Army in Comp might pay 5 Comp points. While a good Eldar list might pay 9 Comp points. That means the Sisters would start the tourney with 8 Extra battle points by virtue of using units and armies that by your meta description “Aren’t Very good”. You basically get bonus points for playing unpopular units. You might see more pure Sisters armies in the ITC if they got spotted 4 Maelstrom points for being such an underpowered codex.

            >The thing is, if you look at the lists that are appearing in the top 8 of tournaments, there is more diversity in 7E than there has ever been at any time before in the game.

            This is true to some extent, but also incredibly false from another point of view. How often do you see a Top 8 Tyranid list that doesn’t include at least 3 Flying Hive Tyrants? How many Tau lists have no Marker lights? When was the last time you saw a top 8 Ork list that had Flash gitz? You argued that Eldar have lots of great units in the codex. Why do so few of them ever see table time at top tables?

            It is true that there are multiple armies represented at top tables. It is not true that there is list diversity. Community Comp adjusts the incentives, and in my experience using it, it promotes list diversity.

          • abusepuppy February 3, 2016 12:06 am

            > I’ll bet you play almost exclusively ITC events,

            Nope. Something like half of the events I got to are ITC, but nowhere near all of them.

            >I think you are generally stuck on the idea that you can’t pay any Comp points to build a list.

            Again, no- it’s almost unavoidable to pay at least a few comp points. However, the ideal strategy for an army is to pay as few comp points as possible while gaining as much as possible- and it’s very simple for some factions to build powerful lists that start with 15+ credits remaining (though I don’t think you could manage a full 20 without severely handicapping yourself.)

            >How often do you see a Top 8 Tyranid list that doesn’t include at least 3 Flying Hive Tyrants? How many Tau lists have no Marker lights?

            Well, with regard to Markerlights that’s just an absurd idea- Markerlights are the core of the Tau army even from a purely fluffy perspective- without them, Tau are just a shitty version of the Imperial Guard with bad morale and extra-low stats.

            But I take your point with regards to Tyranids- certainly, many codices (even top-level codices) suffer from often being monobuild, or close to monobuild. This is because some options are just clearly better than others (such as the aforementioned Flyrant) and outclass everything else.

            But why do you believe your system changes that? Oh, it will change _which_ options are clearly superior, to be sure, but I see no reason at all to think that it will actually eliminate the presence of a overall-superior list for many of the factions. In functionally (if not literally) prohibiting certain units and strategies from being used, you’re just shifting the ball to a different player- the game remains unchanged.

            I will also point out that, like most comp systems, for all the talk of “increasing list diversity” and whatnot, the system actually _punishes_ players for bringing the army they want to play. Many armies simply are rendered illegal by the comp system- such as Imperial Knights, which are impossible to field a legal army within the 20pt limit. A MINIMUM Baronial Court with nothing but three Paladins in it already uses all your available comp- and that’s with no upgrades, relics, or anything else.

            Players who want to use cool, weird, or thematic armies at tournaments will do so, regardless of whether they win or lose with them if that’s what they want to do. I see plenty of those players are both ITC and non-ITC events, having a good time playing games. I see Sisters of Battle lists and I see Inquisitorial lists. I see Blood Angels and Space Wolves. Hell, I saw an all-Tzeentch CSM list running multiple units of Thousand Sons in the top tables not long ago- if only for a couple rounds. People don’t need artificial rules constructs to be incentivized to bring the lists they want to- but if you PUNISH them for playing the list they want to, it will most certainly drive people away.

        • abusepuppy February 1, 2016 12:31 am #

          >The reason Community Comp rises above the sort of Comp lists you’ve seen before is that it makes allowances for you to do most anything you want, it just puts a consequence and price on it. I think that is as it should be.

          Er, no, it doesn’t at all. Community Comp is almost word-for-word IDENTICAL to many systems I’ve seen before, right down to the 20pt scale and recommended bonus points. It absolutely is nothing new to me in the slightest. I’ve reviewed such systems extensively in the past and never been impressed by them.

  2. happy_inquisitor January 30, 2016 12:31 pm #

    In my idler moments I sometimes wonder if you could have a self-regulating handicap system based on some of the pretty well established computational models of similarity. To enable this you would need lists to be submitted in a sufficiently similar format, perhaps one of the list building tools.

    For anyone who has used those “map my friends network” tools on a social networking site the enabler behind this is similar – there are similarities between lists which cause them to fall into clusters. Over a season you can see which clusters are stronger and which are weaker and you can handicap events where lists which correspond highly to known strong lists start at a disadvantage to those lists which either are known to be weaker or are novel and unknown. This is still competitive – just as handicap races are – but it takes away the automatic advantage that certain list builds have and creates an environment where that fluffy army does not auto-lose over the weekend to Superfriends or whatever.

    The contest becomes much more about how good you are with your list (relative to other players with similar lists) than how good your list is in itself. The best players in this environment would be ones who either learn how to play their list extremely well or are extremely creative in coming up with new and yet effective lists.

    The advantage over comp as we have known it is that it eliminates the subjective elements and creates an automatic self-adjusting mechanism. The disadvantage is that someone would have to do some programming legwork and you would need a database of results to build the basis of the handicap system. It would struggle for an event or two after a really massive codex change but I’m sure some sort of adjudicators adjustment could be enabled which would naturally age back off the system as soon as real results come in.

    A much simpler handicapping system to apply could be done in a narrative format. Simply have a narrative that as a losing army is pushed back their supply lines get shorter granting them a bonus in points or special rules whilst winning armies have stretched supply lines which have the opposite effect. This one has the advantage that it still works over the course of an event with no technical complexity but it does nothing about the off-putting effect that a super-competitive list might have on a friendly club player in game one.

    • Deuce11 January 30, 2016 6:27 pm #

      This is really interesting concept whereby you disincentivise certain known uber lists by making is harder to gain points with them. This should be explored further.

  3. Rocketyeti January 30, 2016 12:56 pm #

    The way I see it is that the tournament structure fundamentally doesn’t work for the Caste of people you are trying to reach out to. These people are playing to have fun, not maximize their points.

    So why not get rid of points?

    What if people weren’t ranked by how well they do in a round by how many points they score, but how much fun their opponents had? Everyone has a different idea of how strong (or not) a list is, and honestly most people don’t mind playing against one. What people don’t like is getting mashed into a pulp by their opponent’s attempt to max out their points.

    Is making tournament standings based on enjoyment subjective? Yes. But by making it subjective players are now forced to make sure that their opponents is having good time and would be truely different and balancing.

    • EmbraceYourInnerGeek January 30, 2016 1:41 pm #

      But then it’s not a tournament …. it’s a gaming weekend. This is what happened to Throne of Skulls held in Warhammer World in Nottingham. It went from a reasonably hard core 2 heats and a final GT, to a travesty of a ‘tournament’ which isn’t swiss paired, and where you can “win” the whole thing, without actually winning a game, due to “best opponent” votes. Last time I was there (many years ago), in game 5, I was paired with somebody who had lost all 4 games (I had won 3, and lost one). Neither of us really enjoyed that game.

      To be fair – it reminds me of the old Woody Allan joke (Woody’s trying to talk a woman into bed she says”but sex without love is a meaningless experience”. Woody responds “but as meaningless experiences go, it’s one of the best”) – in that, Throne of Skulls is one of the best gaming weekends around…..but it’s not a tournament.

      But I digress….. the problem with what you suggest is that “enjoyment” is entirely subjective. I’ve played some people who want to turn 40k into some weird role playing game, making stories about their armies and some of the characters in their armies. This makes my skin crawl …. IMHO, the only place for role playing is the bedroom, not on the gaming table. I enjoy “tight” games, played to the letter of the rues, where I try to outsmart my opponent through list building, strategy and tactics.

      Now, to be clear, I accept that not everybody plays that way, and Im not saying it is THE way to play. My point is that, if I played a pseudo role player, I would hate it. If the pseudo role player played me, I don’t think they would have much fun. Neither of us is right, or wrong, we just enjoy different things …. and that’s why a “tournament” where winning is based on who’s opponent has the best time, is just silly.

      Here’s a question … is it my responsibility to ensure my opponent has a good time? As long as I play by the rules (including any list building comp), and Im not actively being a dick… why should I (to continue my example) give a pretend to care about the story he’s made up about his toy soldiers?

      • Rocketyeti January 30, 2016 4:24 pm #

        Actually yes, I do believe you are responsible for your opponent having a good game. That’s why we call it a game. If only one side had fun, then they had fun at the other person’s expense- that’s not the way it should be IMO.

        Isn’t the whole point of this article to come up with ways to bring in people who don’t normally participate in “regular” tournaments?

        You get enjoyment out of winning. That’s great, there are a lot of people like that. The point of this is to reach out to those who AREN’T like you. This is a big hobby and regardless of your personal way of playing, there is no wrong way to enjoy it. But if we don’t create events to cater to people who enjoy different types of games then we can’t expect them to show can we? Just as you won’t go to something non-competitive, they aren’t generally interested in competitive.

        Nown I’m not saying we redo the whole ITC, I’m just trying to figure out ways of bringing people out of the basement and across the table from each.

        • abusepuppy February 1, 2016 12:21 am #

          >Actually yes, I do believe you are responsible for your opponent having a good game

          The problem with this logic is that there’s really nothing you can do to ensure your opponent has a good game. Some people’s interests don’t cross over sufficiently for them to have fun playing against each other; some people’s personalities will clash and neither will enjoy the game; sometimes bad dice rolls or a bad matchup will mean that the game is functionally over before it begins. None of these are really things that EITHER player has any control of. Moreover, it’s not fair to expect players to bend over backwards to coddle opponents who make things difficult for them- and there’s no reasonable way to draw where that line “should” be.

          I think a better way to phrase the idea is “players are responsible for not ruining their opponent’s fun.” Every person should know why they come to the game and what it is they enjoy about it and do their best to enjoy it; it is each individual’s job to make the game fun for themselves, because that’s how life works- no one is going to descend from on high to make sure everything is nice and pretty for you. Your opponent’s only responsibility is to be reasonably accommodating in allowing you to have your fun while they have theirs.

      • ntdars February 2, 2016 11:21 am #

        “I’ve played some people who want to turn 40k into some weird role playing game, making stories about their armies and some of the characters in their armies. This makes my skin crawl …. IMHO, the only place for role playing is the bedroom, not on the gaming table.”

        You realize you’re playing with plastic toy soldiers on a table filled with miniature models, right?

  4. westrider January 30, 2016 1:29 pm #

    I would love to see multiple established Tournament formats, like Magic has, with varying degrees of “hardcoreness”. Even just one extra tier, with a bunch of the restrictions and changes that there isn’t quite enough support to make for regular ITC events, could be pretty cool.

    • tag8833 January 30, 2016 9:27 pm #

      This is inevitable as ITC grows. A 40K Classic format is the obvious route to go. 1500 points. No super heavies, no Formations. 1 Big detachment (like a CAD), and 1 Small Detachment (Like an Ally). I think this sort of event would draw a decent crowd.

      The other way to go, is an anything goes event at 2500 points. No restrictions. No modifications to the D table. My experience is that people are constantly asking for this format, but when you actually run it, not many show up.

      • westrider January 30, 2016 10:10 pm #

        I think there might also be room for something sort of analogous to the old Type 1.5 Magic Tournaments, with no real structural changes, but a fair number of bans (and in the case of 40K, at least a few Rules Changes).

        The idea of a blanket ban on Formations bugs me, because the vast majority of them are either fine or underpowered, and a number of them do great work bringing sub-par Units up into the “sorta ok” range. Off the top of my head, banning maybe a dozen or so would significantly reduce the gap between the top and bottom of the field.

        • tag8833 January 31, 2016 10:14 pm #

          Formations were around in APOC for a couple years before they came to 40K. The same thing could be said about the APOC formations (most are underpowered and fluffy). In 6th Edition were you playing APOC or 40K? Why did you make that choice?

          I agree to you that a ban list or more Whak-a-mole approach would reduce the distance from the top to the bottom of the field, and be for the better. My experience is that a direct ban list is a clumsy implement that drives wedges in the player base. You’ve constantly go players picketing around the edges of it. Look at the hilarious argument for the Tau Supremacy Suite, and the people that were upset with ITC’s decision to ban it.

          • WestRider February 1, 2016 1:30 am

            We were playing 40K in 6th rather than Apoc because the Apoc Rules were so out of date at that point that they were essentially unplayable. Also very limited table space around here at that time made Games larger than 2K impractical.

            I would also be fine with house-ruling a number of the Apoc Formations in to regular 40K. Several of them have already crossed over anyhow, if in somewhat different form, like the Siegebreaker Cohort. Honestly, I kind of feel like the 40K and Apoc versions of the Emperor’s Shield Infantry company should be swapped.

  5. Hotsauceman1 January 30, 2016 2:32 pm #

    My problem with the ITC is, with the missions, sit and shoot and non-mobile armies are too muched punished in them, while mobile armies are favored. Horde armies have a very poor time playing in them. and MSU is too powerful IMO.
    Aswell as a system that favores cherrypicking the best units.
    One thing I would like too see, Limit to a single special character per army. It wont affect too many armies, but it will stop alot of annoying power stacking builds.

  6. Tolemykus January 30, 2016 2:35 pm #

    Maybe some kind of hybrid event could be created. Part narrative and part league and part tournament. Of course, some of the casual people that CaptainA is referring to would not even be tempted if you called the event a tournament no matter what the guide lines were. Some people equate the word ‘tournament’ with competition and they avoid what they see as the ‘competitive spirit’ like a Nurgle plague. It generally takes a person with an infectious personality to pull something like this off.

  7. Dk32 January 30, 2016 2:56 pm #

    If some kind of regulation system came out, I would seriously come back to 40k. Facing a death-star or MC spam is just not fun. These “tournament” lists don’t promote any uniqueness or creative thinking. It’s probably what led to the mass migration to WMH in my city… Which is really too bad since I love 40k fluff and models.

    But I digress, it probably won’t happen because the game is impossible to balance. After all, how can you guys balance the game when GW won’t even try to help… I think, even something like a 2 MC limit would move things in the right direction. But that has it’s own problems. So who the hell really knows right? It’s impossible.

    • Reecius February 1, 2016 12:53 pm #

      Try the narrative events! They are super fun, still play to win, but theme and sportsmanship are paramount.

  8. trazz January 30, 2016 3:55 pm #

    And people that can go to 20 events just because they live in a certain area!! I wish the players worst score was also part of the top 4 scores counted toward overall ITC!

    • Mike January 30, 2016 4:18 pm #

      As someone who could only snag 4 events exactly, with one requiring a 9 hour drive, I feel ya on this bro. It’s super demoralizing to know you’re going into the circuit with the rather large disadvantage that other people can go to 3, 4 or even 5 times the events and just eventually get lucky at a few rather than show a consistently good performance like the 4-event people have to. Essentially beating you with brute force over skill.

      On the flip-side, we want people to still come to events, even if they’ve been to 4 already. Telling them they can’t improve their score seems kind of discouraging to their attendance. This could lead to late season events that are lacking in numbers, or small events that can’t get off the ground because no one wants one of their 4 scores to be worth half points and not be able to replace it.

      I unfortunately have no real solution for this issue. It seems either those with more tournaments nearby are at an advantage, or the tournament scene suffers, with the former being the lesser of two evils.

      It would be neat to hear some solutions for that issue.

    • Julnlecs January 30, 2016 4:33 pm #

      Nobody has more than 20 ITC scores. Oh wait. Only I do. Cuz I love promoting the ITC system and I traveled a bunch to GTs (8 this year) and I attended alot of RTTs out of town. I understand not many players can do that though. An average of scores would probably work better than punishing someone for a very bad day at a tournament and receiving the lowest score.

      • Mike January 30, 2016 6:46 pm #

        I like the idea of averaging, but it does still run into the issue that players who did well early on would then be discouraged from attending later events and possibly lowering their average.

        • Khezden January 31, 2016 10:50 am #

          Ranking is a relatively common problem. I found this relatively short but interesting paper talking about modifying two common methods. The portions that are interesting to the points you are making are the discussions about tennis players because a pro tennis season more closely approximates an ITC season than a baseball season does.


          As the paper describes, the key is to find the appropriate cutoff for number of games in a season so players aren’t punished for too few games but are also not rewarded for winning an early tournament and sitting on a high rank.

          I’m not sure how different the results would be from the current system. *shrug*

  9. Black Blow Fly January 30, 2016 6:11 pm #

    I am not against ITC but it’s a good thing not every event is ITC.

    • Deuce11 January 30, 2016 6:29 pm #

      Care to elaborate?

      • westrider January 30, 2016 8:49 pm #

        Variety is good. Besides ITC, I regularly get to play more or less straight Maelstrom, Annihilation-style Maelstrom, and there’s a semi-local TO who does unique events with his own restrictions and scenarios. It’s fun to get to mix it up.

  10. Turok117 January 30, 2016 6:34 pm #

    I think it is great to come up with new formats for casual players. I would appreciate it, however, if you would leave the “competitive” tournament format out of it. I play friendly, casual games at my local shop with friends. I am driving 8 hours to the LVO so I can play highly competitive games that I rarely get to experience anywhere else.

  11. Nightman January 30, 2016 7:52 pm #

    As a new tournament players point of view, i was skeptical to facing WAAC lists from rules lawyering neckbeards etc, eveything you read about on the internet. My experience has been most players are friendly and easy going, even if it’s competitive. That’s what got me hooked, meeting new people and having fun rolling dice.

    I have only had one game vs. someone who was a total d-bag and that can really leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

    It’s impossible for a TO to prevent this from occuring, but mitigating stuff like that should atleast be strongly considered. I don’t think it’s a good idea to give nice people more points, that can leave others salty, but reducing the points of someone getting multiple low scores seems like something reasonable.

  12. tag8833 January 30, 2016 9:43 pm #

    Its kinda been a fascinating development. When ITC started it was one of the more restrictive Tournament formats. As the league has grown and developed, it has continually become less restrictive, and more dominated by “Power Lists”. I think this is an inevitable consequence of GW’s powercreep matched with the sort of people willing to drop big money and attend lots of events are also the sort that doesn’t mind a bit more of a “Pay to Win” requirement.

    I would like to see ITC take a more aggressive hand at fixing some of the most problematically over powered things. Certain units (Wraith Knights, Buzzgob’s Stompa), wargear (Grav, Hunter’s Eye), and lots of formations, could either be banned or nerfed in a way that promotes a more balanced Tourney format that is also less prone to domination from Power lists.

    I know that isn’t going to happen, because people who feel as I do are also people less likely to drop phat wads of cash on going to a tourney every weekend. Still it would be great to see a couple subformats that create a bit more variety, and allow players to vote with their pocket book on the level of power lists they’d like to play with and face.

  13. BobC January 30, 2016 11:38 pm #

    My friends and I are primarily casual gamers, but even we have adopted ITC missionsand rules. We feel that this makes the game far more fair.

    As for tweaking ITC, perhaps limit the number of factions, not just the number of detachments?

  14. Charles January 31, 2016 3:08 am #

    What I felt would be good is a system where every unit represented in the top 8 of an event gets a 10% tax into the next event. Have it where this is cumulative so for instance if a wraithknight shows up top 8 for 7 events in a row it costs 70% more base and upgrades. Conversely as the unit stops winning it loses its tax 10% an event. Simply keep a spreadsheet up and going with the new point values each event.

    This way you don’t have to ban or change, just let market forces dictate cost. Nothing would ever be cheaper than its base cost but could theoretically be expensive. Also to avoid certain ugliness have a group of units that never suffer thus due to their ubiquitous, like tac marines.

    • abusepuppy January 31, 2016 9:48 pm #

      That would cause all kinds of problems with things. Which events “count”? (I can easily imagine people running multiple small events to “force” a hated unit’s price to skyrocket, and if you’re tracking it nationwide you could easily see the price of a unit leap up 30% or more in a single month before anyone even realizes what’s going on.)

      Who tracks it, and how often is it updated? (Not only would it require a lot of work on someone’s part to comb through the lists of units to figure out what had been taken, there is also the specter of illegal armies to worry about- what if someone doesn’t re-check the listing the day before a tournament and shows up with an army that is over by 20pts or 50pts or 200pts because the price of some unit suddenly jumped up?)

      What about “near-identical” units like the Wraithknight and Skathach Wraithknight? How close do things have to be in order to count? (It seems obvious, but there’s actually a lot of disagreement here- should named characters “count” as their generic counterparts? What about Blood Angels Sternguard and Space Marine Sternguard? Or, hell, the Chaos Rhinos and Inquisition Rhinos? There’s a million niggly little details to worry about there with no consensus on how to handle the subject- just look at the many iterations of Highlander rules and how they handle the same issue.)

      What about nigh-mandatory units like Ork Boyz, Tactical Marines, etc, units that some codices have no option but to field in many cases- not because of how good they are, but because there aren’t many other options? (If you repeatedly win a tournament based on the strength of Grav Centurions and you happen to have a squad of Tactical Marines in your army, the Tacticals are being punished even though they’re not the problem unit- and players that try to run a fluffy Tactical-heavy army, which has never been good, would be heavily punished because of a unit they may not even have.)

      In short, it’s an interesting idea that might work if 40K had some sort of overarching authority to make decisions which had a much stronger hand than the ITC and had the employees to monitor and run that sort of thing (and/or was computerized enough that it could be done automatically), but would be virtually impossible to implement with how the game is currently.

      • Charles February 2, 2016 10:47 am #

        Well the answer would of course be an overarching tourney council which as you would point out would never reach a consensus. To answer specifics some units would be immune due to their ubiquitous nature (boys, tac marines).

        As far as which units count it simply would be the actual entry for that list since some models obviously are better served, though identical, in separate armies. For instance blood angel rhinos and inquisition rhinos would be separate.

        The book keeping would be simple though once you narrowed which tourneys make the cut. (again this pie in the sky concept is being implemented, but for argument sake).

        What the goal should be is to allow people to utilize rules as closely written as intended to streamline play. If not this suggestion simply make a quarterly point adjustment FAQ. There seems to be a good consensus on here as to what a good and over good. Take polls if needes people love that stuff.

    • tag8833 January 31, 2016 10:19 pm #

      We’ve done this sort of thing for Campaigns, though not quite to this level. Its a fun way to do it. I don’t think it is a panacea, because many of the problems with lists is the interactions between models. The Deathstar effect where you can take lots of units that are more or less correctly costed, and add them together to create something that is incredibly over powered.

      Example: Librarian with Hunters eye joined to a Tac Squad is probably correctly costed. Join it to a unit of Grav Cents in a Drop pod, and now you have something absurd.

      Warlock on a Jetbike is good, and decently costed if not slightly over. Taken as part of a Seercouncil it is insane.

      • Charles February 2, 2016 10:49 am #

        Well the hunters eye would go up in points, there is nothing wrong with 100 point webway portals or d-scythes costing 35 point s a model.

  15. Lord Krungharrr January 31, 2016 8:34 am #

    For any tournament a redistribution of prizes away from just the three top scoring players to the top for each codex/faction; and subtracting points for non-painted armies somehow; would go a long way to encouraging a greater variety of army lists and factions to attend. Instead of a valuable prize for the grand champ just have a badass trophy and honorable bragging rights. It’s the dollar value return of the prize support that gets people’s undies all in a bunch because these big events are expensive to attend (because they’re expensive to put on).

    • abusepuppy January 31, 2016 9:38 pm #

      In my experience, the larger the tournament is the more of prize support goes to lower-ranked players (as well as “secondary” prizes like Best Painted/Sportsman, Best of [Faction], etc.) I’ve seen a number of tournaments that give out some decent-sized prizes to the top couple of things in each category and then raffle off a bunch of other stuff, which I think is a good way to do it- no one ever feels cheated for not winning a raffle, and if you come in 29th and manage to walk away with a $60 kit, it’s snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

  16. Codi January 31, 2016 8:53 am #

    Honestly, I think bigger tournaments like the LVO are better places for casual players then people give them credit for.
    You get a better average list, and player skill then you do at an local RTT, just because there are more players.

    • abusepuppy January 31, 2016 9:34 pm #

      Yeah, most good-sized (30+ player) tournaments will, almost by definition, have a whole bunch of average players attending them, and most tourney-going players are actually pretty cool guys who very rarely are assholes because everyone attending a tournament is already on the same page with their expectations. If you lose a game or two and drop down to the middle tables, you will often be able to get in a bunch of relaxed games will people who know they’re out of the running for prize already and are just playing for enjoyment of the game at that point.

      • happy_inquisitor February 1, 2016 12:14 pm #

        I honestly think all that is really needed is to take away the randomness of the first game or two in match-ups. A method of scoring lists so that you pre-seed the pairings would do the job. I personally would like a data-driven method but even something based on one of the comp systems would be better than pure random.

        So on game 1 if you bring a rock hard net-list that is just the sort of list you get to play against. Meanwhile someone with a fluffy list gets to play against another fluffy list. Indirectly it works as a handicap system because playing that uber-list gives you hard games from the outset.

        As things stand currently it can be a pretty rough first day for a player who brings that really fun list. Who wants to spend all that money and use all that spare time to have half of it spent being beaten over the head with crazy combos that they have no tools to counter. I do not think that the being told that it’s OK they might have some fun games on the 2nd day is working. Those players are very sensibly staying away.

        • Venkarel February 1, 2016 12:42 pm #

          One way to do this would be to track a individual player ELO and use that information to pre-seed a tournament. Another way to approach this is with a bye system.
          Coming from the perspective of a former baby seal who got club many a times over the head, it really was one of the few way to learn the game at a tournament level. I asked my (better then me) opponent’s questions about the game and went over the games with friends who were more experienced to give me further insight. Being bad is just one of the stages in learning almost any knowledge or skill. The object is to use your time when you are bad to get better.

  17. Arrias February 1, 2016 6:09 am #

    I’m late to the party here, but I would strongly encourage people to think about the narrative aspect.
    I am one of the mostly “basement gamers”. I’ll probably never win a tournament, and I’m ok with that. There have been some ITC events near me, but there isn’t much draw for me to get out there. I know I’m not taking first even in a local tournament due to the nature of how I play, and I worry about even getting some fun games as sometimes it seems the smaller events draw out the “big fish/small pond” types. Yet, if the ITC started to do a nationwide narrative style event that took pages from GW (nationwide contribution) and the NOVA Narrative (factions aren’t tied to army faction) I know I’d be trying much harder to get out to any nearby events. If I knew I go to an ITC event, mark my name down for my faction, and as long as I don’t pull a goose egg in every game, contribute in even a small way to my faction, I know I’d be making those drives.

    • happy_inquisitor February 1, 2016 12:21 pm #

      The question with narrative games is do you score them at all. Personally I would love to see a narrative event scored on narrative challenges. What I mean by that is that you would have a number of narrative events you have to try to work into your game and if you do so you win narrative points. Things like:

      “Nameless grunt makes heroic stand”
      “snatching humiliating failure from certain success”
      “it’s a million to one shot – but it just might work”

      Or whatever. You then have these as your primaries and some secondaries like in typical scenarios (they had pick your own secondaries at the ITC tournament I went to a couple of weeks back – what a great idea) and you are done. A scoring system designed for narrative play.

  18. Reecius February 1, 2016 12:51 pm #

    I LOVE the idea of running a year long ITC narrative track in tandem with the competitive track!

Leave a Reply