The event seemed to be well organised with a few minor niggles that I observed while wandering around.
The atmosphere seemed fairly pleasant, instructions were given to the kids in a clear and precise way and there were several judges on 'walkabout' making sure everybody was fine and that rules queries were answered promptly*
* Including on one occasion an almost embarrassingly completely incorrect overruling of something I told a kid which happened several seconds after I'd left the table.....more on that later ;-)
I don't really want to call the next section 'The negatives' so I'll instead call it observations...
The kids were given two and a half hours for each of the three games and an hour for lunch sometime in the middle of the day.
If we were talking about a bunch of kids playing 2000 point games then I could maybe understand the large time allowance for each match...However, these were 1500 point games so as I'm sure you can imagine there was a lot of hanging around which was imo completely unnecessary. Two hours would have been more than sufficient.
Rules Knowledge (the kids).
I was amazed at some of the gaping holes in the rules of knowledge of all but two or three of the kids there.
Were not talking about little kids here (the age range was 12-15) and as tournament entrants I would presume that these kids had been playing for awhile so I was understandably surprised by some of the rules mistakes being made. Why these fundamental gaps in rules knowledge were so widespread is a mystery to me but I can only presume that they had been taught incorrectly, had only played against other kids and therefore didn't know better or were just very new to the hobby. There were some exceptions obviously, but in general the level of knowledge of even the basics was very disappointing.
I won't name names but here's a few of the interesting interpretations I heard during the day.
More than half of my unit is out of terrain so I can charge the full distance without rolling a difficult terrain test.
Your unit can't charge me because it's just got out of a vehicle (the vehicle in question hadn't moved).
Because I've got 'Line of Sight' you don't get a cover save (both the firer and the target were infantry units in terrain).
What's 'wound allocation' mean?
I won't go on...but I could if I wanted to...for a looooooonnnngggg time, lol.
Rules Knowledge (the judges).
I would expect the judges to have a good knowledge of the rules.
It would be wrong of me to pick on somebody because of a single messed up rule...but I'm going to anyway...
Child A fires his Vindicator at another Vindicator belonging to child B. Child A specifies a location smack bang in the middle of his opponents Vindicator and rolls a hit. Being quite good at estimating distances I mentioned that the specified point looked to be further than 24" away. On measuring the distance it turned out to be closer to 25" which would obviously be a miss. Child A then moved the template back an inch and a half and said "24 inch would still hit the vehicle so it's okay". I then pointed out that a shot at a target that was out of range is automatically a miss and what he was basically doing was either pre-measuring or outright cheating, neither of which are allowed ;-). A Judge then told him (after I had walked away and he'd gone to check himself) that it was perfectly fine to move the blast template to a location on the vehicle that was in range.....
Page 30, paragraph 3 of the main rulebook would seem to agree with my interpretation of the rules but then again I think I was one of only about three people present who had ever read the rulebook...
That might seem a bit petty but it's a fundamental and basic rule of 40K that somebody acting as a judge should have known.
One of my many pet hates at current 'Official' Warhammer tournaments.
The scoring system seemed to share the same flaws as those used at the 'Throne of Skulls' tournaments which I've moaned about in the past. The 'old' scoring system worked just fine and whoever changed it needs to learn more about competitive 40K before he interferes again ;-)
So for what it's worth it seemed like most people enjoyed themselves so I suppose that's a small victory but if GW wants to run 'tournaments' rather than 'hobby events' then it needs to do a bit more research to get it right.
Editors Note : Congratulations to the kid from Dudley who I believe was the overall winner and one of the few kids there with decent rules knowledge. I apologise to both him and his dad for completely forgetting both their names...
Thoughts and Comments are (as usual) most welcome.
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