Today we are going to talk about one of the simplest, yet hardest to balance things in 40K. Selecting missions that are used for tournaments.
I have mentioned before that we are seeing a lot more tournaments pop up as the game increases in popularity. There is hardly a weekend where there isn’t multiple RTTs or even Grand Tournaments. Where it used to be easy to track all the happenings for the weekend, it can sometimes be very difficult now with all the events going on in a weekend. There are some weekends alone where there are so many grand tournaments around the world, that even some podcasts that are dedicated to covering such events find it difficult. As the number of tournaments grows, organizers are starting to try ways to make their tournament stand out. There are many ways that a tournament organizer can make their event different from the others. Today we are going to talk about one of the most simpler, and actually on of the hardest to perfect, ways. That is the missions that are used for the tournament.
The most obvious mission sets to use are the ones that are provided by Games Workshop for Matched Play. In the early days of competitive games these were the only missions that were played. This was mainly due to the fact that Games Workshop was the only ones running events, whether through the main group or run by Outriders. Those early missions had a wide variety in deployment, reserves, and victory conditions. They are much different than the missions of today. Today’s missions, especially the Eternal War missions, seem very dry in comparison. The introduction of the Maelstrom cards have livened things up, but many players do not like the total randomness of a card system. There have been attempts to try to mitigate it but there still seem to be some issues with players using that system.
In the last few years, Games Workshop has released more missions so that there is more options available and have recently revamped how the Maelstrom cards could be used. Even with these changes, I still don’t see a lot of tournaments using the Games Workshop missions. I think part of the issue is that tournament organizers are a bit gun shy about using them as it may drive potential participants away, whether they have tried the system or not. Personally, I wouldn’t mind giving them a try. The Maelstrom cards interest me and I would love to see how it fares in a tournament. Who knows, maybe with a few tweaks it could work out fine.
3rd Party Missions
If you are not going to go with the missions that Games Workshop puts out then there is only one other option, use your own or a set of missions that someone else created. This is actually what most tournaments do. There are a fair number of larger events that use their own mission packet. As a result, smaller tournaments tend to use one of these packets. For RTTs the mission packet that they will use for their tournament may depend on their location and what large event is coming up. So many times the needs of the community will determine what mission packet will be used. There are a few pitfalls when designing your own set of missions. Some missions may skew the game too much into an army’s play style and thus not make it relatively fair for the other armies. this happens a lot in the early development of a mission and is something that even affects Games Workshop’s missions. This playtesting to be sure your missions are good can take a long time. Time that many organizers do not have.
You have 5 turns to complete this mission!
With that being said, there are plenty of tournaments that do there own thing and still seem to be fun for it’s participants. I know of a grand tournament that has special missions rules for each table. It may seem od at first but the players seem to like it and come back for more. I also know a tournament that tried doing something a little different in how the primary objectives were chosen. It seemed ok at first but was eventually dropped for a more commonly used mission set. All in all it can be a big gamble for your event to try something new, especially if it is announced really close to the event. That being said, I do enjoy the unique missions that some place do. It keeps the game from becoming to stale and can elevate certain players and armies that could take advantage.
Let us know what you think the best missions types are for 40k?