A few weeks ago my friend Nick and I took part in a Warhammer 40,000 doubles tournament at Warhammer World, and I wanted to write about the experience – specifically all the stuff ‘around’ the games themselves.
To set the scene, this was a Throne of Skulls tournament, which has pairs of players using 900 points each in five battles. Throne of Skulls is designed as a casual, friendly tournament, so a nicely painted army and being a fun opponent are just as important as winning battles.
Nick and I enjoyed our battles – winning two and losing three, thanks for asking – but it occurred to me that the 12.5 hours of 40K we played over the weekend was just the tip of the tournament iceberg. What I mean is that the journey to the tournament went something like this:
- My friend suggests that we take part in the tournament. I immediately have a painting goal (get 900 points ready) and a deadline (by this date). Of course, I didn’t need to paint a brand-new army, but this was the perfect excuse, so why not?
- We play a lot of practice games to get the hang of our new armies (specifically all their special rules), how we each like to play, and how we’ll deal with different threats. Along the way we learn to fear the Vindicare Assassin, who is wildly overpowered for his cost, and is in fact used by four of our five opponents at the tournament. We dealt with him by hiding our characters (which is spectacularly unheroic, but ludonarrative dissonance is a topic for another blog).
- Aside from enjoying the games, I got to spend a weekend with a friend, met interesting new opponents, wandered around the exhibition, did some shopping, took part in an incredibly nerdy pub quiz, and generally enjoyed a weekend dedicated to a cool hobby.
- Finally, it was inevitable that seeing all the other armies there was going to inspire new ideas for cool conversions and interesting paint schemes. Planning for my next project has already begun.
The point of all this is to illustrate that actually playing battles is just a small part of a tournament, and – for me at least, the same is true of 40K overall.
I’ve talked about how Combat Cards fits into the hobby before. As opposed to it being a videogame you sit down and play for long, dedicated sessions, we’ve specifically designed a game that you can play in and around your other hobby activities, not one trying to replace any of those areas.
Also, in the same way a tournament encompasses more than just battles, Combat Cards tries to include several different reasons to play it, and this is an area we’ll be focusing on as we go forward. For example, you may play to crush your opponents, so we’ll look to add more competitive modes, or you might play for the 40K lore, in which case the single player mode will be for you. We’re even looking at ways we can increase the miniatures and painting angle of the hobby more in the game – perhaps tying in with the Golden Daemon painting competition, for example.
A final point is that as mentioned, I always leave tournaments buzzing with new ideas to try, and I wanted to point out that the Combat Cards team is also feeling that buzz as the performance improvements and launch tasks come to an end. We’re excited to see where we can take this game, and there are a lot of potential options.
We hope you’ll stick with us – exciting times lie ahead!
- We were wiped off the table in our first game against Aiden’s Knights and John’s Cadians. Despite the massacre this was a fun game, with both teams helping each other with rules and tactics. Coolest moment = a Knight using a stratagem to revenge murder the Morkanaut which had just killed it.
- Our second game was against Oliver’s five model(!) Custodes army and Dan’s Necrons. I have to admit to finding this game frustrating due to not being able to kill any of the Custodes or Necrons – we’re here for (plastic) casualties, damnit!
- Game three was against Nick’s Mentor Space Marines and Shannon’s Sisters of Battle. This was an excellent and closely fought game which ran out of time. Lots of points scored, models killed and nice chats. Perfect.
- In our fourth game we met Finn (Ultramarines) and Fin (Necrons). This was a close game despite some amazing luck from out opponents who rolled three sixes to seize the initiative and then deliver maximum shots from both their Doomsday Arks. Nasty!
- Our final game was against Andy’s old-school metal Cadians and Jamie’s Scions. Only Troops could score objectives, so both teams killed each other’s Troops and then settled down for a slugging match only interrupted by the time limit.