Journey to the Lonely Tower, Post Tourney Thoughts

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Journey to the Lonely Tower, Post Tourney Thoughts

Sun May 15, 2016 4:43 pm

Thanks to everyone who came, and to everyone who contributed.

The following are a few random thoughts about the tournament that may be of interest to future TOs as to what I thought worked, versus what didn’t.

This is more the admin side of the tournament. I’ll comment on the success or failure of the actual scenarios in a future post.

Doubles Format:

Doubles definitely had some pros and cons as far as format went. On the plus side it took fewer tables and less area than an equivalent in singles (8 x 4x6 vs 16 x 4x4). It wasn’t evident yesterday since we got bumped up to a gym, but originally we were going to be in a classroom and could not have fit any more tables than we had – so it was a choice of 32 players doubles or 24 players singles in the same area.

The big downsides from a TOs perspective are you need players in groups of 4 to make full pods and with this group you have no idea how many people will show until they actually show. We started the day with 29 players + Shawn and I. Michalis might have been the odd man out but fortunately we were able to get a spectator to jump in and participate. That left Shawn playing both sides of an 800pt force until Mike showed up and Tony playing both sides after Steve had to leave.

I’m not sure whether doubles helped or hurt us when it came to attendance. Whether the burden of having to find a partner outweighed the advantage that new players could play with someone to show them the ropes. Jordan for example only came to watch Derek and Roenan play but We needed someone to partner up with Michalis and by fortunate coincidence I also had an easterling army I could loan him.

Variable Registration Costs:
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand the higher starting price may have discouraged people from pre-registering. On the other hand I knew as soon as we had 16 players that my venue costs + $180 in prizes were guaranteed to be covered and everything after that was icing on the cake – going both to increasing the prize pot, and reducing the cost to the players. It may have also motivated people to get their friends to the event to make it cheaper for everyone. Had I started at $20 for pre-registering and only gotten 16 people I would have covered the venue but no prizing.


I'll preface my comments by stating personally I’d be just as happy as a player paying just venue costs to attend tournaments but I say that as someone who has 99% of the models I want (well ok, realistically have time and space for).

IF prizes are desired at the tournament then I think the way we did it worked out fairly well. I tried to get gift certificates for the top teams but there were issues so I just said F-it, I’ll let them choose a blister and order it directly that way they don’t have to mess about with GW shipping costs. I also gave the winning players an extra 3 tickets in the draw and surprisingly 3/4 got an upgrade.

Making the rest of the prize support available as a draw I feel made it fairer for people who were newer to the game, or were less skilled, or more sporting, or brought “fun” armies. They all paid the same prize support as everyone else, this way they got a realistic chance of walking away with something substantial. Most players got between 3-5 tickets each. A few who pre-registered, showed up, provided me with an army list, had a pre-painted army and were either new or played with a new guy topped out at 6.

As for prizes 50% of what was on the table I happened to already have, new in box. I didn't want to get rid of any of it, but as it was all still available at GW it was no problem to offer it and if it went, use the cash from the prize pool to buy me a replacement. I think I gambled and bought Fimbul and Tauriel, neither of which I want, so I could keep the full warband theme.

A last second stroke of brilliance I had with Andrew Barbisan - he had models he was looking to sell, I had him put them on my table. At a stroke it increase our available prize choices considerably at no extra work. One(?) was chosen so I bought it from Andrew at full GW value - ie better than he was likely to get anywhere else.

I think if we run a future event I will invite everyone to bring new models they are either looking to sell, or could be easily replaced if taken to bump up the prize table. Failing that I would expand the custom order program to be blister or box of your choice (no Smaugs obviously)

New scenarios, Secrecy, and Match Ups: All are inter-related.

I think in retrospect having 4 new or relatively modified surprise scenarios at the tournament was a mistake. The primary goal of the tournament was to inspire the OSBGL to move further from the standard 6 in the rulebook. In that respect I think it was somewhat successful.

The downside was each round opened with 10 minutes of figuring out how to play the next game. If all teams had been playing the same scenario the same round it would have made things a lot easier as I could have assisted explaining the scenario at the start of the round and dealing with 1 set of questions at a time, instead of having to deal with 4 sets of questions each of the four rounds. However for practical reasons that was not possible (see below)

If we had pre-released the rules players could (though from past evidence not necessarily “would”) have read the rules in advance to reduce the down time needed. It would have also improved the quality of the scenarios as more people may have play tested them in advance and ironed out the bugs.

However many people enjoyed not knowing in advance what they were going to be playing.

I think the ideal for the future would be to keep adding to the pool of available scenarios so we have a good selection that players know how to play in advance, but won’t necessarily know which will be at the tournament until the day of. I don’t think I would attempt to do more than one complete surprise like Dragons or Chaos at an event so I can focus most of my attention on that one scenario to make sure it runs smoothly.

Match ups

The match up system was not ideal from a ranking POV. Having teams with comparable records play each other would have made it easier to rank them 1, 2, 3, 4. However that’s only really feasible if everyone is playing the same scenario every round. Because it wasn’t practical to provide 8 Rivers, 16 dragons, and 8 sets of Chaos cards, to do the new scenarios we were forced to split the rounds between them and rotate the teams between tables.

Given that, the overly elaborate solution was a complicated excel spread sheet to take the scoring in each round, convert the scores to a % to normalise high point games (dragon) with low point games (CoC), factor in strength of schedule to break ties. Unfortunately getting the actual scores from all games ended up being problematic – so instead it was based on strength of schedule. It worked, but we dodged a huge bullet from a prize POV that we had exactly 2 teams go 4 – 0. Had Lewis’ team lost the last game it would have been a 3-4(?) way tie for second which would have required a lot of work to figure our which 3-1 team to award the prize to.

The plus side of the match up was the rotation was pre set, so once the initial game 1 pairings were set, I knew exactly who would play who where for the rest of the day. It was only the last match that I got smart and pre-wrote the match-ups to people so although we started late, we managed to finish on time.


As per usual at our tournaments, few games played out to completion. In part we were late setting up because Shawn slept in. A big thank you to everyone who stepped up to help set up tables and unload cars. As mentioned above having to figure out scenarios also had a big impact. I think a bit better organisation at the start, and fewer complete surprise scenarios would have helped in that regard. I also regret not setting a max-model count to control large horde armies.

Special Rules

I’m not sure how many people took advantage of the global good shooting rule but some certainly did and I received some favourable comments on it. Did anyone have any negative experience with excessive good shooting as a result?
The purpose of including the rule was 2 fold:
a) it sucks as a good player if you take archers but can’t use them as archers 90% of the game because there are no legit targets
b) hopefully to illustrate that as a group we need not necessarily constrain ourselves to following GW’s rules (or GBHL’s interpretations of) to the letter.

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Re: Journey to the Lonely Tower, Post Tourney Thoughts

Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:07 am

Did anyone have any negative experience with excessive good shooting as a result?
The purpose of including the rule was 2 fold:
a) it sucks as a good player if you take archers but can’t use them as archers 90% of the game because there are no legit targets

What are the good shooting rules? Are you letting good models fire into combat or is there more to it than that?

I know I have seen elves dominate games with just shooting, and grey company can be even worse. It can be frustrating if the archery is so good that they can avoid fighting and instead just win from a distance

Back away, shoot, back away shoot, back away shoot, fight the remaining 6 enemy models :D
I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.

Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:03 pm
Location: Toronto

Re: Journey to the Lonely Tower, Post Tourney Thoughts

Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:16 am

Good can shoot into combat or with good in the way but passes those "in the way" test on a 6 or doesn't fire at all. A model cannot shoot and spear support in the same turn.

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