New ITC Missions: A SoCal Open Review
What a great event! We’re tired as heck but it went smoothly and was a lot of fun. Here’s how it went down.
The SoCal Open is over and done, and what a great first year. The event ran nice and smooth with a few minor hiccups. The stream didn’t get going until round two unfortunately due to a technical issue, but once up and running went great! They have a surprisingly awesome internet connection at the venue, which was unexpected. But, Mariana did a great job running the stream essentially solo. The venue was massively spacious, too and in a beautiful location as the pictures above shows! Every table was 8′ in length, and had 12′ in both directions to the next table! Tons of space, and we can grow quite a bit and keep that spacing, so this event has tremendous potential.
The event was beautiful, too. Not only because we were by the beach in beautiful Del Mar, California but also because the tables and armies looked great! We rolled out our new paint requirement for the SoCal open and it was well received. Every army was painted apart from two, unfortunately, whom we had to have remove models from the table due to not meeting the minimum requirement. That was a bummer but both players took it in stride and recognized the fact that they should have read the rule pack better coming in, and got the models in question painted for the next day. So, that was good and the end result was a very good looking tournament which makes it more enjoyable for everyone. Thanks to all of the attendees that worked so hard getting their armies looking great!
We worked extremely hard on the terrain, too. It came out looking great! Huge thanks to all the volunteers and to Andy T. and his crew for their hard work in getting it all up to snuff. I am pretty beat as I was putting in 14-16 hour days keeping it all going, but the effort was well worth it as the tables looked seriously amazing! Again, huge thanks to the team and the volunteers for their hard work and dedication.
The Age of Sigmar event went well with only the minor hiccup here and there which always happens at big events. Huge shout out to Joe Krier who came out from Minnesota won the event with his Change Host. You can see the full results, here. Vlad Nica came in second holding his spot in the ITC rankings but Joe managed to rise up to take the top spot! Well done to him. There was a great variety of armies in attendance and this GT level event saw many skilled players duking it out along side some new AoS players going to their first tournament! We will be getting a more lengthy report here in time, but in all the event was a lot of fun.
On the 40k side, the local favorite to win did indeed take it all. Brandon Grant won another one and is quickly rising up the rankings as a very serious competitive player to watch. He’s also a gentleman and a great representative of the hobby. You can see the overall results, here. The finals game was unfortunately cut short when it came to light that one of the competitors’ list was over on points by a few due to a math error on his list. Bummer. These things happen though, and it was an honest mistake. We all felt bad for him as he is such a good guy and a great representative of the hobby as he is a skilled player, painter and a top notch sportsman. This could have been his first major win and had he lost on the top table, he had Renaissance Person locked down. But, even though the mistake was relatively minor, we had to DQ him which stinks.
This illustrates the need for really scrutinizing your list before an event, and double checking everything. Ultimately, the responsibility for bringing a legal list is on the player, and it stinks when mistakes are made as the consequences are harsh. Now that folks are largely using the BCP app and getting in the habit of uploading their lists with few glitches (which took quite a bit of time and effort to get to this point), we think the time has come to implement a requirement to upload your list to the app prior to the event. Mistakes will still happen of course, but with lots of eyes going over lists in advance, the odds of catching them goes massively up. And, with lots of eyes going over especially winning lists as the event goes on, it is pretty much a certainty that mistakes will get caught (although when it happens during the event, that is not fun for anyone).
Some folks in our community feel that event organizers should be responsible for checking lists but we have always felt this was an ineffective strategy for a number of reasons. For one, as stated above, the player is responsible for bringing a legal, accurate list. Period. For two, at a large scale event checking hundreds of lists accurately (actually looking up the points of each unit and wargear item) would take days of work and is simply not a scalable solution without having a dedicated team of individuals to do it as with the ETC which allocate weeks to the task. Beyond being an unreasonable expectation for event organizers (who are already overwhelmed) they also make mistakes. Now, who is responsible for a list with errors if it has been TO approved? We had a friend who recently went to a Major with a list that was TO checked and approved and ended up being 10pts over due to a simple mistake and it wasn’t caught. Had he won the event, what do you do? Let him win as the TO approved it? The opponents still got a raw deal and the TO gets all the blame. Even if you only have a 1-2% error rate in list checking, at an event like the LVO you are letting 5-10 list mistakes through that are now officially sanctioned. It simply isn’t effective. Again, the player is ultimately responsible for their own actions.
Lastly, and most importantly, events like the SoCal Open are not intended to be an event like the ETC, which is an awesome event, but a very different animal. The SoCal Open is a total hobby weekend that appeals to all gamers. Many of the attendees there were at their first tournament–which is always music to my ears!–and all of the nuances of tournament play were new to them. We had folks playing from overseas who wanted to take in the USA organized play scene and were having a vacation in California. While the internet focuses on lists and top placing players (which is fair and fun to do) the average person coming to these events is looking to have a good weekend of gaming and is not overly concerned with everything being laser-beam accurate but more with having enjoyable games. They’re there to have fun. Now, that said, does that mean we should be lax? No, not at all and when we find list errors we come down on them pretty dang hard, as unfun as that is to do. Those players coming with a focus on competition absolutely do want fair and accurate games, which is their right to expect and obligation to live up to.
So, at any rate I just wanted to say a few words on this topic as folks have been discussing it. Again, these things happen and until we have a standardized method of uploading lists that are automatically checked, mistakes will continue to occur. While we accept this as an unfortunate truth and take appropriate action when it occurs, it isn’t the end of the world, nor is it intentional in 99% of cases. More than anything, I feel bad for the individual who made the error as he’s a great guy and feels really crappy about it. Those few extra points were highly unlikely to have made the difference in him winning any of his games in all honesty, but, the rules are the rules and we had to take appropriate action as it simply wasn’t fair to his opponents. But, life goes on. We will use this opportunity to begin taking the next step of having players be required to upload their lists to the BCP app for our events as this will really help to avoid errors before they occur. Having thousands of people looking at lists dramatically increases the odds of catching errors, which is one of the main benefits of getting them uploaded and it allows players to have fun predicting which lists will rise to the top! We feel that the app is widely enough used now to make this possible whereas even at LVO we didn’t feel it was prevalent enough to take that step. Implementing these things takes time. And as always, let us know how you all feel about it in the comments section.
Speaking of which, the BCP app was incredible. With players acclimating to its use and the BCP team continuing to fine tune it, hardly any players came to the judges to score their games, and simply did it all from their phones. This combined with 8th ed being pretty simple to understand, means that we could have realistically run a 140 person tournament with 1-2 judges instead of the 3 we had. I constantly roamed the hall and ended up chatting with players and taking pictures more than actually answering any rules questions! If you are not using the app, you should be. It makes being a TO just dramatically easier. And if you are a gamer using the app, please consider supporting them with a subscription which gets you access to loads of other awesome benefits.
The new ITC Champion’s Missions were a hit, too! That was music to our ears as we’ve been working really hard on them. And a million thanks to all of you who helped with critical feedback and that continue to do so. We are continuing to fine tune them and seeing them in action at the SoCal Open was very beneficial. Players were very positive on them with some critiques. We are strongly considering dropping the rounds to 5 form 6 as a number of players did not get that far into the games. For those of you who have played them, what do you think? We’re getting reports coming in with mixed results. Once players acclimate to them, many events reported most games getting to turn 6, while others reported no. We would like some more feedback on that one as we are leaning towards a 5 turn limit after SoCal.
However, the requirement to finish games to max your score was a benefit as those players that did finish their games were scoring more points (by design intent). And yes, players that finish their games should do better than those that do not as this is a direct incentive to counter slow-play and it worked! Players were hustling to finish games and I think with practice and familiarity, we will see more and more games finishing as now there is a motivator to do so. You cannot simply play 3 turns habitually and get max points. It is time to adapt, which is positive and fair to both players and all army types. And hey, if the event winner who played with a Conscript Horde AM army could get through at least 5 turns every game, then anyone can =)
Most players commented that they very much enjoyed the turn by turn scoring and picking their missions. A few noted that some missions may be better not to overlap with others (such as King Slayer and Big Game Hunter), or that others may be too easy to get (the Reaper against an army that has multiple units of 20+ models) and that is all great feedback that we will take in to consideration to fine tune them. Ultimately though, there is room for fine tuning and improvement but this is a really positive start and again, thanks to everyone that helps with feedback and inspiration.
Overall the event was a ton of fun and had a great, mellow vibe to it. We had many guests from all around the USA and from the UK and the Netherlands, too! Such a treat to host players form all over in our beautiful city. I see tremendous opportunity for this event to grow and think it will rapidly become a big-time tournament and hobby event (although, it already was in year one!). So, one last time, massive thanks to the team who worked so hard, the volunteers and to everyone that came! We can’t wait to see you all next year.
Here are some pics from the 40k players! We will have more AoS and other event coverage in future posts.
~If you came to the SoCal Open let us know how you felt about it! The official feedback form will be going out shortly to those who came.