16 April 2013

Veteran Instincts- Tournament Rules versus Friendly Rules


Veteran Instincts is another new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where I discuss topics that might appeal to a more veteran level of X-Wing Miniatures player. Think of it as a more advanced version of the Bikini Battle Basics series and you're not far off. It's stuff you need to know, but might not be readily apparent or noticed, or so I think anyway. Far as I know, right?  



Yup! That's me in the Red Army t-shirt. Don't be hatin'.



Tournament Rules versus Friendly Rules

Back when I was writing the BBB- Obstacles and Asteroids Explained! article, I caught myself in a couple of rules that thought I'd been getting wrong for awhile, both having to do with the placement of asteroids at the start of the game. 

I said in the O&A article, "Initial placement is simple enough- in most dogfight games without special house rules, specific tournament rules, or scenario rules, you and your buddy each get three and you take turns placing them starting with the Imperial player (note I'm not leaving off a bit about initiative that's usually there, it's not mentioned in my rules; just says "Imperial Player"- you'll see why in a sec.). The only rules here is that you can't place an Obstacle within Range 1-2 of any edge of the play area. After you're finished with placement, the Rebel player gets to choose which side of the table he deploys from. I find lots of references on forums regarding setting up asteroids to make it tougher on your opponent. It makes me wonder if these folks know something I don't, or they've forgotten the bit about the Rebel player getting to pick his table edge."

Now, I'm no stranger to getting facets of a rule wrong as any of my readers will attest to, I'm sure, but this one really jumped out at me at the time. 

I knew this rule. I mean for reals- I knew this rule, man! And this was not the rule I knew. 

As it was late-thirty in the morning, I let it go, and wrote the paragraph quoted above. I've been known to cock-up stuff like this before; hell, in 1994 I thought Gary Busey died in a motorcycle accident (which was doubly weird because that accident happened in like 1988, apparently) and was releasing films posthumously until like 1998 when I finally reached the realization that was unlikely.

Anyway, it bothered me a bit, the O&A thing I mean, not Gary Busey, but I simply couldn't figure out how I'd gotten it in my head that obstacles were also restricted from being within Range 1-2 of each other and that I'd seemingly completely forgotten the bit about picking a table edge. I chalked it up to somebody in our club having us play it that way, or perhaps some Kessel Run Tournament-only setup that I'd confused for full-time rules and went on about my business. I remember looking at the comments pretty regularly that day waiting for someone to come in and ask a question or make a comment that might shed light, but no one did, so after a day or two, I forgot all about it. 

Until a few days ago. 

I was trolling Sean and BC for article ideas as I'm wont to do, and Sean suggested I do an article on Tournament Rules, "As they're sort of different from the rule book, aren't they?", he asked. I replied, "Sure, I guess.", thinking to myself that there probably weren't enough differences to really justify it, but as it's Regionals season, I would at least look into it. 

As I'm sure you've guessed by now, yeah, there are some differences, some are fairly significant, and no, I didn't hallucinate my crazy asteroids rules.  

1. Obstacles Are Placed Differently
Yes, this is where my previous take comes in. According to the Tournament Rules- 
"The player with initiative places the six unique asteroid tokens from his core set next to the play area. He chooses one of these asteroid tokens and places it into the play area. Then, his opponent chooses one of the remaining asteroid tokens and places it into the play area. The players continue to alternate until all six tokens have been placed. An asteroid token cannot be placed within Range 1–2 of any edge of the play area or within Range 1 of another asteroid token. "

The next bit is you place your ships out in ascending Pilot Skill order as per usual, blah, blah, blah. There's no mention of picking sides though- you stay on whatever side you're on. 

2. Time Limits
Another rather significant difference between normal X-Wing and Tournament X-Wing is the time limits. Now, this is something that likely varies based upon locale and Tournament Organizer, but to put it succinctly, the standard for tournament games is 75 minutes. The Tourney Rules say this may be adjusted down to 60 minutes or up to 90 minutes depending on what the TO wants, but of course, he has to let everyone know in advance what's up before the matches begin. 

This may not sound like that big of a deal, but there are some builds that win quickly and some builds that win through drawn-out attrition. As you might expect, the latter probably won't do so hot in a Tournament setting. Two of the three games I participated in during my FLGS' Kessel Run Tournament were called for time before they were actually done. Now, there wasn't an excessive amount of rule book flipping, table talk, or anything else that was obviously eating up time. Would my games go faster now that I'm more familiar with the rules and strategy? Sure. Am I more likely to play a full game in 90 minutes than 60? Oh fo sho. 

Here's an interesting question though- would I bring a different list than my regular 100-pointer if I knew the Regionals I was going to play in was enforcing a 60 minute time limit? 

Hmmm... 

3. Scoring
So what happens if you don't get a full game in by the time the clock runs out? Put another way, what happens if one side doesn't completely destroy the other when the clock runs out? How does the TO determine the winner and loser and how do those results compare to somebody who actually did manage to destroy all his opponent's ships? 

Totally destroying your opponent's list and still having at least one ship of your own on the table? That's easy- that's considered a Match Win and it's worth 5 points. Conversely, getting all your list killed is easy too- that's a Match Loss and it's worth 0 points. In between those two results we have a Modified Match Win worth 3 points and a Draw worth 1 point. 

So what's the determining criteria? 

Well, at the end of the round when time expires, you total up all the stuff that's been destroyed. Right on- I said destroyed. You don't get points for having more stuff left on the table (well, not directly anyway)- what's important is how much stuff you killed. If you destroyed more stuff than your opponent, you get a Modified Match Win and he gets a Match Loss. If you destroy the exact same amount as your opponent, as you'd expect, you both earn a Draw. If one of you destroys 33 points or more than the opponent, instead of a Modified Match Win, you earn a straight-up Match Win instead. 

To answer the inevitable question, upgrades like Secondary Weapon Systems, especially Missiles or Torpedoes that were spent over the course of the game do not count as destroyed for the purposes of adding up points- they only count if the ship bearing them was destroyed, and of course, for the purposes of totaling points, a destroyed ship is worth not only the points shown on it's card, but also any Upgrades that it started the match with. 

4. No Proxies
I know, this one seems obvious- if you don't actually have the ships that constitute your list, you can't use that list in a tournament setting. Here's a point some folks might have missed however- the cards count too

If you read the Tournament Rules closely, you'll see there's a bit under the Component Modifications sub-heading that states the following- 

"Proxies are not allowed during tournament play. Each player must use only the components included in official X-Wing products. Each ship must have the official ship base, official Ship and Upgrade cards, and the correct, official ship model."

Long story short, if your list hinges around the notion that all 4 of your ships have Stealth Devices, then you'd better have 4 copies of the Stealth Device card. Would I let you use a single copy on four different ships in a friendly setting? Hell yeah. Would I let you in a tourney setting? It's not up to me at that point, brocephus- it's in the rules. 


5. Sportsmanlike vs. Unsportsmanlike Conduct
This kind of stuff is always somewhat subjective, but as they give a few examples in the Tourney Rules, I thought I'd touch on it- probably the big one is time-wasting, but conducting yourself in the manner of a complete moron in general carries the possibility of you getting tossed out. Long story short, unsportsmanlike conduct is up to the TO, so bear that in mind if you're one of those guys who shows up to the game store and suddenly everyone already has an opponent, and oh yeah, no, we actually set this up like back on what, Wednesday? Yeah, it was like Wednesday. Sorry, bro. Maybe Jim will play you- hey Jim? Oh, right, Jim's already got a game too. Hmm. Well, sorry man- maybe next week. Yeah, maybe if my game gets done in time, we could- oh wait, I have to work this afternoon. Yeah, I have to be outta here by 4pm, so I wouldn't really have time to play you afterwards, uh... 

If that kind of thing happens to you, figure out why and address it before you roll into Regionals screaming about a rules ambiguity and get yourself checked out of the tourney, dig? 

They also mention that if you're going to definitely lose the game you simply bow out gracefully and save everyone the time and trouble of playing until the time limit and earning yourself a loss anyway. Of course, if there's a legit chance that you could turn a Match Loss into a Draw, then by all means, keep playing, but if you lose all your ships and end up with 1 hull damage, don't just drive around the edges of the board trying to play keep away until time expires.

While not explicitly called out by the rules, something I personally feel falls under sportsmanship involves knowing what your cards do. I remember hitting a little indie 40k tourney back in the day, and my opponent was using a Space Marine Librarian. That dude had to look up every single rule about Psychic Powers, Psychic Tests, the powers themselves, freakin' Psychic Hoods, you name it. I mean look, if you're that unfamiliar with that particular unit, the chance of you actually utilizing it effectively in a competitive setting is pretty much zero anyway, just leave it  at home. I ain't mad at ya, I'm just sayin'. Roll what you know rather than some list you read about on the net that can't lose, y'know? 

6. Initiative
In friendlies, Initiative goes to the player with the lowest point total, and if the players are tied, then it defaults to the Imperial player. In Tournaments however, Initiative is won by a coin toss if the players are tied on points. If a player has a lower point total, he of course, still has Initiative- the coin toss only occurs if the players are tied.