Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Building the Beer League

So we have officially announced that we are launching a new Warhammer 40,000 league in Winnipeg for this upcoming season. Now, we have only really conceived the idea, there is still lots of work to do. The plan is to get all those details sorted out and get everything up and running for this September. So, let's start with a little background discussion.

As many will recall, the old 40kegger tournament was built around a sporting tournament concept. Basically there were a couple games of "round robin", then the top scoring players would get into a bracket style, sudden death playoffs. We quickly began to discover that this format didn't facilitate a full, balanced day of gaming for all participants at the event. As players got knocked out of the tournament, they were basically left around to find open tables and make their own games for the rest of the day. So, we dropped that format and built the current one that will run for the first time at 40KEGGER 4 this Saturday.

Now, I was sitting around with Collin Martin one day last winter, and he said to me, "that sports format you guys used would be fun for a 40k Beer League". Holy shit, that's brilliant! That's the moment the Beer League was born. So, Greg and I began to plan the relationship between the Beer League and the 40kegger events. We decided that the 40kegger events would be the "nerd gatherings" where we all just come to play and drink beer under one roof in a relaxed environment. On the other hand, the Beer League will be the place to play out a long season of competitive 40k, with some killer playoff action at the end of the season. But why is it called a Beer League? Well, we can thank Dave Violago for that. He suggested we pair all our season games with beer tasting and beer reviews. What a great idea. We all play some competitive 40k and become connoisseurs of fine beers from around the world at the same time. There you have it folks: the Winnipeg Warhammer 40,000 Beer League.

There is LOTS of work to do. We have to flesh out a shit ton of details before we get this up and running. And since we are a Club, I want us to go through this process together. But first of all, I want to throw out some of my basic thoughts:

  • I am a huge fan of hockey. So, I want to bring in concepts and terminology from the NHL, hockey beer leagues, and just the sporting environment overall. So, you will notice tons of my ideas below are taken from hockey and sports.
  • We should use the same Codex army for the whole season, but we should use a "roster" concept. I imagine we could each submit a roster of 2000 points which would remain consistent throughout the whole season. The games we play (1000 points, 1500 points, 1700 points, whatever...) are made from army lists that pull units from our rosters. So the 2000 points wouldn't have to be a legal Force Organization Army, but rather a database of units that we can use to build our army lists throughout the season.
  • To account for people buying new shit and painting new shit, we could put a "draft" on the roster. Basically, maybe we could do something where people are allowed to add up to 500 points to their rosters throughout the season.
  • We would have to do a careful reporting system where all these changes are recorded centrally and all game results and army lists deployed are recorded centrally. Basically, we need a league "commissioner" to track all this shit and make it accessible for everyone to view. The commissioner would also need to supply contact information to all participants so that people can book their games with one another. The commissioner needs to be someone good at managing data and working with the Internet.
  • We need to figure out a points system for the regular season, and I think only 8 players should get into the playoffs. That's a quarter-final, a semi-final, and a final. Once the points system is figured out, we need to figure out tie-breakers in the standings. In hockey, ties in the standings are first determined by wins. So if two player are fighting for the 8th spot in the playoffs, and they are both tied in league points, the player who had the most wins gets the spot. If they are tied in wins, then it goes to amount of goals scored. I was thinking, we keep track of Victory Points earned. So if two players are tied in points and wins, it's the player who got the most Victory Points over the season that gets the playoff spot. 6th edition is really straight forward for keeping track of Victory Points.
  • We need to figure out what to do if a new codex comes out for an army. I don't think someone should have to sit there and play an old codex for a bunch of months while a shiny new codex is all ready to go. But how to manage the roster substitutions without letting it get too beardy?
  • At the start of the season, a schedule is released with all the regular season games. Each player would play 1 game per month, determined by the schedule. So, players know the 8 opponents they will have over the regular season before the season begins. However, the times would always be left up to the players to pick. So, maybe Greg's schedule would say: "September vs Christian, October vs JP, so forth." But Greg and Christian could pick a place and time in September that works for them, and so forth. If two players don't make a scheduled game for any given month, well they both get 0 points for that month.
  • COST. Is this league free? Do we all pitch in a little bit and have an official trophy? Maybe rather than a new trophy every year, we could get something that just keeps getting new names engraved on it every year (like the Stanley Cup)!
So that's what I got at the moment. Please, please, please get involved in the discussion. Use the comments below and let's get this league going!


  1. I'm not sure the roster option is going to work properly. I think it will always leave "points holes" when you come up with new lists.
    Maybe what would work is if everybody submits "shifts" or whatever... Every player can submit 2 of the most popular point lists (2 x 1000, 2 x 1500, 2 x 1850, 2 x 2000). This way you can decided what list you'd like to use depending on your agreed point value, you wont run into "point holes" if you pick and choose units from your roster. And If you find one or more of your lists is sucking, you can spend some of your tournament points to scrap a "shift" and remake a new one (Like a mid-season trade).
    Just a thought.

  2. Let's do it. Drink up Juda Ben-Hur

  3. I like Greg's idea. Warma/Hordes tournaments sometimes have such alternate lists. This also deals with the "new codex" issue, just using up points to shift lists and take advantage of the newer (and likely more powerful) rules.

    I would like to also discuss the "Beer" in Beer League. For those who are interested there could be contributions to a beer fund? Otherwise, maybe the host of a game would mr minimally required to pony up for a six-pack or equivalent? I am already thinking of offering up some Belgian strawberry flavored beer...

  4. Your are right about the point holes so lets scrap the roster concept. So maybe we have people submit 2 lists at 1000 and 1500 points, with a "draft" of 500 points for each point level. So, someone could alter 500 points of their 1000 point lists throughout the season, and 500 points of the 1500 point lists throughout the season. Is it even worth having people submit higher than 1500? I find 40k to just get silly at higher point levels because certain Codexes can do disgusting things for 2000 points.

  5. I don't disagree with that. I can't actually remember the last time I played a game at 2000 points. (To be fair, I can't remember the last time a played a game though... touche)

    How would we track this 'draft' idea? And even though this concept is sort of a long term season, does it make sense to have a variable points limit? If we're going to be playing some games at 1000 and some at 1500, then we should probably make sure that everybody plays the same number of games at each point level, and the book keeping might get complicated.(or not... What do I know?) Just my 2 cents.

  6. Maybe Sean is right and we are making it too complicated by considering varying point levels. If we make all league games the same point level, then Victory Points will be more balanced. Recall that in some missions you get VP's for units you kill. Well the VP ratio would be far wider between a bunch of 1000 point games and a bunch of 1500 point games. So maybe we just set the league at 1500 points, with a dual list option, and a draft for people to buy/paint more shit throughout the season? Save 1000 point games for the 40keggers...

  7. We would have to find another meathod for determining tie breakers rather than VP's. As missions are random, there will be some missions that reward more VP's than others.

  8. As for the roster thing make it wide open. I am a huge fan of football, so its like forming a game plan. If I play IG I want to go and field alot of anti-infantry units. If I choose to go out and buy a unit to help me do so its like going out and signing a free agent. However for the IG player he should know that im going to attempt something like this. So he would make alternate preperations, say bring in a Aegis defense line etc.

    Knowing someone is "locked" into a list could allow alot of list tweaking that could be used to exploit the two lists you know he has to draw from. If we have no idea what he is bringing or what he is going to do it puts the onus on the player to win the game instead of list matching. Also for a new guy like me it allows me who is still filling out a new army to have alot of open ended options. Also it allows for new codex's and new units. The game is always in flux with new models and FAQ's etc so let the league be as well.

    I have NO problem with a Chaos player going out and picking up some new sexy Chaos models because he is all pumped they came out to use against me. I would love to show up to the game and have NO idea wtf my opponent is bringing or what I am bringing. It really forces you to formulate a strategy based on the units your bringing, not on what I know my opponent is bringing.

  9. In response to Greg: What about margin of victory? Sort of like goal differential in soccer. It's not about how many you score, but how many more. One could probably argue that while the randomness of the missions makes it impossible to create a fair tie breaker based on the total number of VP's, it might be easier to determine based on a +/- VP stat.

    For example, one player wins 8-7, so he's at +1, while another game with a different scenario potentially ends at 4-2. Much less VP's scored, but the winner is at +2, and would take any tie breaker.

    I'm not sure if this solves any problems, mostly because I haven't actually played a single game of 6th yet, but it seems to me like it could work.

  10. RE: Point level: One of the differentiators of 40Kegger is its 1000-point games. To keep the "flavour" of 40kegger (i.e. keep the brand identification), maybe the league should stick to 1000 point lists?

    Open lists sounds interesting. Especially with the new codices coming out in the next while.