Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My experience at Cancon 2016 – A Kings of War Event

So Cancon 2016 has been run and won – congratulations to Nick Hoen for taking out the event. It has been interesting following Nick’s KoW journey on wargammau forums in the Mortis Madness thread (http://www.wargamerau.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=181332) It took him a while to get a win but within a few months he had mastered the game and won Australia’s (and the world it seems) biggest KoW event – there is hope for us all J but more likely Nick’s experience in WHFB shown through.

I had 6 good games, some better than others, and I far exceeded my expectations going into the tournament. I had decided to build a Basilean Army for KoW and despite a 0/1/11 record going into the event I decided to persist and not retreat back to elves (where I had actually won more games than losing).  I ended up with a 3/1/2 record for 7 tournament points and 20th position. My failing was not earning enough victory points – I actually recorded the lowest for the event so that is something to work on. I did concentrate hard on winning the scenario’s and not giving up victory points so need to strike a balance somehow.

There has a lot been said about Cancon already so I won’t re-hash too much.


I supplied 8 tables of terrain for the event – most scratch built at home, the only non-homemade stuff was the buildings – of which I am experimenting in building. (See My Terrain)

I supplied the terrain because:

1.    I like building terrain – I am not much of a painter and terrain is somewhat more forgiving and therefore allows me some hobby time, which I find relaxing, that doesn’t involve painting models I struggle to see at the best of times.

2.    I dislike playing at events where terrain is scarce, not functional and not that good looking – decent terrain makes tables look better and makes the games more “immersive’’ (haha) and there enjoyable. I didn’t want a repeat of recent Cancons where we played with printable terrain.

I was quite happy with the terrain that was used and the amount of it – not so happy with the placement and the fact terrain seemed to be a movable item on tables. I believe terrain maps should be used and placement should be more random and concentrated in the centre of the non-deployment areas. Overall the tables and terrain was the best for a Cancon event I have attended. I would like the thank Andrew for the vouchers he gave me for supplying the terrain – I wasn’t looking for anything for taking the terrain but they are appreciated.

Player Pack
The players pack is the TO’s domain – a TO gives up considerable time to run an event and therefore should be able to run the event in the manner they want. If players don’t like the pack then the best idea I can give them is either not attend or run your own event and construct your own players pack. Save the rest of us your mindless and unconstructive criticism – or go play other systems and leave the rest of the community in peace. I didn’t agree with everything in the players pack but I don’t feel it’s my place to publically comment – I was happy with it and attended – if I wasn’t I would not have attended. There are far better and more experienced players out there that can discuss player pack composition.

The dreaded word “comp”
I don’t believe KoW is a balanced game, I don’t believe any wargame is a balanced system. My first few games of KoW were all straight out kill games and I was ready to give it up as a bad joke until I started to play scenarios. Scenario’s make KoW reasonably balanced. The fact that there were so many different builds at the event show that as a system KoW allows more diversity. The winning list was, I believe, not the strongest elf build available – it contained no Drakon horde which most seem to believe is essential for a KoW elf army. But it was clearly played with skill, and maybe a bit of luck by a skilful player who won the event. The Mantic RC seem much more active in trying to balance the game than GW ever was so hopefully comp doesn’t become necessary.

I know there were a few armies brought to Cancon with the express desire to show how unbalanced KoW was – I don’t think those players succeeded. Maybe it was a combination of what armies they played or what scenario’s they played – I don’t really know. What I know is that there was only 1 game where I played an army that I believed was an abuse of the system – and I won that game because the scenario played suited my army – I believe I would have lost against that army in any of the other 5 scenario’s. It was not an enjoyable game despite the fact I won – a fantastic opponent but not a great game.

Comp is the TO’s decision and the event will happen or not happen based on players reactions. People will always try to break the system, for some that is the joy they get from playing the game – showing how they could come up with a list that was better than everyone else. In all honesty that was what 8th edition WHFB descended into at the end. The game was so unbalanced that TO’s tried to balance the game by using various comp systems the competitive players mostly tried to break. As a result there were many games that were over before they started. I have never felt completely out of a KoW game, even though I may not be able to win the game I can still compete to the end.

Tournament Overlord
A revelation – made the event run so much more smoothly than any event I have attended. No more waiting around for results to be submitted, entered and a draw done – and then redone, and maybe redone again. Guns should be congratulated – hopefully it can become the standard for Australian events. My only suggestions would be:

  1. Draw should be done using chess system – I am not sure how it was done but I never seemed to play the players immediately above/below me on the standings table – something I was used to in previous tournaments.
  2. Maybe as well as showing victory points earned the standings could show victory points given up as well. Not giving up VP’s is just as important as earning VP’s in my opinion.
  3. Option for submitting lists prior to the event – this would eliminate the need to take printed lists with you – a requirement some did not follow anyway.

Prize support
The support for the tournament by the sponsors was significant and great to see. I never go to a tournament expecting to win anything so I have no real comment on how prizes were awarded – again it’s the TO’s decision. However if you detail something in a players pack it may be best to follow it. As for prizes for terrain – I didn’t realise there were any – wouldn’t have affected my decision to contribute my terrain, nor will it in the future.

Awesome event – great TO, great players, great terrain and Canberra’s weather was kind to us for a change – no sweating in 40+ degree heat. So many of us have been searching for a replacement system with the death of WHFB (and it is dead!!!) and KoW has, I believe, filled that void. Hopefully more and more WHFB refugees will give KoW a try and the scene can grow back to the numbers being achieved before the great cataclysm of 2015.

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