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?
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?