Monday, 25 February 2013

Gaining Grounds 2013 - Summary of Changes

After much noise on the subject, and more than one TO releasing details in their players pack, Wyrd finally announced a revision to the Gaining Grounds Tournament play guidelines last week.

This is my take on the changes and for the record I think these are all for the better, but I'll come to that later.

Wyrd run vs henchman run and other organised play events
At first glance it appears Wyrd have their own set of guidelines for running events, called the governors decree. It looks like this is the hard line version, with many of the changes in player requirements that are listed below, unchanged. Maybe Wyrd has done this to demand the ultimate from its tournaments, although I'm struggling to remember one they've 'officially' run, or it could be a sign that they want to introduce their own events? Anywho...

Player requirements - the letter of the law
There's been some subtle and not so subtle changes in the player requirements for a tourney:
- Fate Decks are listed as needing to be official Wyrd decks, perhaps to make it easier on TOs to check and your opponent to understand, perhaps to try and scupper the custom fate deck options that are popping up on the forums. Either way, I can see most TO's ignoring this
- The use of proxy models is now at the discretion of the TO. Here in Australia there is a big conversion and proxy following, with most TO's ignored the wording in the original gaining grounds guide
- The use of pre release models is also now at TO discretion, and seems like a good move given the long release dates on GenCon models
- Painted crews is now at TO discretion, which I think is a good and bad thing. By allowing unpainted or primed models you include a bigger selection of players, but at the same time, there's nothing like playing against a beautifully painted crew.

Rounds and Timings
The only notable change seems to be in round timing with Wyrd still recommending 10 minutes for encounter setup but then adding 10 minutes to the recommended timings for each round. At the end of the day, that suits me fine, and I look forward to having a little more play time per round, but then I haven't looked at this from a TO perspective yet, to see how that might impact a daily schedule.

Crew Construction
Crew construction has been better defined where a pool is available to players, with a clearer set of rules around selection. Examples include how masters and henchmen are allotted to a pool and the role of avatars and summoned models. There's even two nice examples to follow, with one showing special force, mercenary and compatible models from other factions.

Tournament Formats
Tournament formats has received some if the biggest updates with the introduction of a replacement alternative format and much tighter wording, so there is no ambiguities.

In the original gaining grounds you had the following scoring formats:

In gaining grounds 2013 you have:
Standard - scored on TP, then diff, then VP
Disparity - unchanged, scored on diff, VP, TP
Victory - scored on VP, Diff, TP
Attrition - scored using standard format, but games decrease in size as the day goes on.

Attrition is a format I'd love to try out, but it won't be the format I choose for our clubs first Malifaux tournament. I can see its a format you use when you have a large enough player base, but as attrition is probably best started with a brawl, its likely to only appeal to those with big collections.

Strategies have undergone the most significant of changes with a much heavier emphasis on scoring victory points as the game progresses, rather than totalling up at the end. TOs can still choose between individual and shared variants, but the strategies as a whole have undergone quite a revamp.

In the original gaining grounds, the selections were:
Jokers Contain Power
1-2. Treasure Hunt
3-5. Destroy the Evidence
6-8. Reconnoiter
9-11. Claim Jump
12-13. Slaughter

Whereas in gaining grounds 2013, the selections are:
Jokers Contain Power
1-2. Treasure Hunt
3-5. Land Grab
6-8. Slaughter
9-11. Line in the Sand
12-13. Master of the Hill

The common names belie the changes in the missions, you'll want to familiarise yourself with all missions. The stand out changes come in Land Grab, a reworked version of Reconnoiter and Master of the Hill, a reworked version of Claim Jump with a hill.

I won't go into any more detail in this entry, but suffice it to say there's enough change that experienced players will be revisiting their tactics and new players benefit from tighter rules and wording. If nothing else, these changes will shakeup the tourney scene a little and will give us all something to think about in the coming months.

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