LXXI – Down Under Comp

The topic of the week is something that I have briefly considered looking into, but never gotten to do. Now, the tallest member of our team found an Australian set of composition rules – the Community Comp rules. It is these I want to touch upon, after a brief read, in this post. What could they tell us friendly players?

Either yur ded ‘ard or yu’re a runt, git. Duz it mattah?

Now this tall buddy of mine apperntly found an article on Bell of Lost Souls: 40k Down Under, How Australia Tamed the Wilds, and then mailed the link around. After Walpurgis Night it was a good little thing to philosphize on, and a few more mails later we had established that according to this the lists we play in WH40k are pretty meh. (These results supported our hypothesis.) On a scale from 0-20 (from pew to BoOm! DaKkABAng!!) our Tyranids’ standard force scored 5 (1700 p), our Guardsmen 3 (1200-1600) and our Orks 7-9 (1500 +/- 200).

Generally I don’t care too much for comp systems. Especially the types of ETC where you get a set of choice of units and/or items. I feel it takes a lot of the joy out of making an army list. And for my group (and any of the like) where we are mostly friendly players (who still like their lists solid) that just want to get together toss some dice at each other for the fun of it and socialize, it doesn’t matter. Also, they generally tend to destroy fluff lists, that, while being narrative and evocative also often rely on multiples of a small number of units. I confess, I’ve dabbled some with the Swedish Comp system for Warhammer Fantasy, mostly after being asked to (and sometimes I’ve ignored it still), but I have gotten something out of it too. The question remains – What does a comp system give to us?

In this case we could help establish that our lists are quite meek. This information in turn would help us evaluate the plausibility of different units in our codices that the all-ever-so-very-much-truthful internet deems unworthy of attention. That is one side of the coin. But then again, one could also take the same approach as when balancing tournaments (and one point that I like to stress often). When in a small group of people with very different approaches to the hobby (we have the tournamentalists, the painters, the collectors and so on) the group ends up with very different collections. Further, people might be in very different stages with the army they are building/collecting. Here the comp system could help with giving a second opinion on the level on both your and your opponents army – to help you even the playing field. I hope you agree on this one: only a selected few will take great joy in being the stampeder/stampedee on a regular basis. I don’t know about you, but my most fun games have been the most even ones. Of course a scenario might intendedly skew the odds in the favour of one party, and those might be very fun too. And of course, you might have come to a agreement that you really will roll up the sleeves and pull out the big guns. (Keyword: agreement.)

So this set of comp guidelines/rules are what I will ponder this evening. And if you will too, then I’d be happy to hear your comment on them. Do you spot any flaws or do they work well?


4 responses to “LXXI – Down Under Comp

  1. A small addition on the local armies:
    -Tyranids 5
    -Imperial guard 3
    -Orks 7-9
    -Dark Angels 8-10

    And reports from respective player:
    -Tau 25
    -Necrons 15

    This explains the frustration when facing these guys…

  2. I think one should be a little bit careful when applying comp systems to a local and somewhat weak meta as ours. At least one should keep in mind that a comp system is made with a competitive environment in mind and therefore may not be that accurate outside of that environment. Aspects like player attitude, use of terrain, armies present locally etc. may alter the results quite substantially.

    On the other hand, what I (being a person who likes mathhammering things) appreciate with comp systems like the Swedish and Community systems is that they give a way to quantify the subjective concept of how good a list is. Of course the values aren’t totally unbiased, but at least they are more neutral than one’s own opinion.

    By the way, I’m playing the (apparently too slowly adapting) Tyranids.

  3. Since hearing the Comp points for the army lists in our gaming group it is quite clear to me that the system isn’t really designed for gaming groups (surprise, surprise). I think it only gives a show of hand which strength category your army lists belongs to, on a scale of 0-10, 10-20 and so forth.

    The most important aspect to remember is to actually agree before hand what kind of game you want to play and from that compose a reasonable list for that game. Since we often know what kind of armies we all have it would be quite unfavourable for a player to choose an army list that he/she knows can’t be beaten by the opponent. For example taking many flyers against a player without units that can skyfire. That scenario would only make a dull game, and the only reason to play such a game would be if both players wanted to see what would actually happen i such a game.

  4. Yes, it of course assumes that one is building for combos and not adding unoptimised units. (In the current Eldar case one cannon per say four jetbikes, instead of mostly having them with cannons. Or a running a buff commander solo – why would you?, but still). And of course it is designed to evaluate armies designed to take all comers. For instance a unit of say AM vets with 3 flamers vs. with 3 plasma fill very different roles. The plasma squad in an army tailored for the next game against Deathwing is much more valuable, than if happened to oppose an green tide-ish Ork army. All cases “give the same comp”.

    But for a rough estimate, like you say, but maybe with slightly higher “resolution”. As has been stated, the error bars are large (well) below 10.

    In our groups case I think we profiled quite well the usual armies, and their “apparent strength”. At least from my experience.

    -Tyranids 5
    -Imperial guard 3
    -Orks 7-9
    -Dark Angels 8-10
    -Tau 25
    -Necrons 15
    -Chaos Space Marines 5
    -Eldar 13-14

    The Tau player is a bit frustrated, but I believe he is comparing his army almost exclusively against Necrons, against whom he usually loses. This is likely due to a paper-rock-scissors setup and dice. (Man the dice rolls are effigied up when playing that Necron guy. Always.)

    But, yes, as you Tall person say. The most important thing is to evaluate what and who you are playing against and optimize, not for power, but for fun. (Very competitive groups work differently ofc.)

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