Tournament of Blood

Sunday we held our monthly 40k event at Redcap’s. Six players came out despite being summer break for the colleges, Sunday, and Father’s Day to boot. Armies featured Space Marines, Blood Angels, Khorne Daemonkin, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, and Tyranid. A few more photos than those here are in the gallery. Full results are on the event webpage.

Michael's excellent converted Knight ally stalks the ruins for its Tyranid masters.

Michael’s excellent converted Knight ally stalks the ruins for its Tyranid masters.


This time around the core of the event was a straight competition, rather than the alliances and deliberative pairings we’ve been doing recently. Matchups were all paired individually in pure tournament fashion and the missions straightforward. The one note with them is that I’ve begun experimenting again with players choosing continuous versus final objective marker scoring for their primary objective. It seemed to work well within our overall format, which already gives substantial strategic options via the choice of secondary objectives. An even mix of players chose each primary objective mechanism, a good sign.

Colin also made the point that our Maelstrom missions should always include our Meatgrinder (kill Troops), Assassination (kill characters), or similar secondary objective options, to help counter armies overtuned for that format—namely the updated Space Marines. I had been doing so as part of the overall goal of balancing primary missions oriented toward ground control with several kill points options (alongside a ground control option to double down on that), and vice versa. I had not though thought of that specifically as a way to help neuter those armies a bit, so it was a good observation to keep in mind.

The Tournament of Blood

Keeping with our goal of including narrative components or other side tracks alongside the tournament competition, we did run one small thematic aspect: The Tournament of Blood! Each player got a card of achievements their warlord could work toward throughout the day. At the end of each game they marked off particular accomplishments for their boss, and were scored separately and a prize given purely on those points.

This seemed to work out pretty well. With the players warned in advance, most of the chosen warlords came ready to fight. I do think though that there’s enough diversity among the achievements for factions that don’t have characters suited for direct combat to still score well. Several account for a support oriented or backfield command role, and ultimately those players can just focus on the primary missions anyway.

In the end there was a good distribution of achievements scored. Obviously they mostly tracked with overall success, but some players did focus more or less on the achievements. The second highest player in the general scoring came out last on the achievements, while the second highest warlord came out second to last in the general scoring. The two of them just had different priorities and capabilities, exactly what we’re trying to support. The latter in particular came out specifically for this event because his warlord’s a great character with a whole background story and such that he wanted to have fight the others, so I considered that a success. The one minor presentation tweak I have to make is having a place to scribble the warlord character’s name on the card, for the post-event storytelling.

Warlord achievements in The Tournament of Blood.

Warlord achievements in The Tournament of Blood.


So, with that, we announce the titles for the inaugural Tournament of Blood:

  • The Lord of the Cheese: Alex, Swords of Dorn (12pts)
  • The Young Pup: TJ, Sanguine Hunters (12pts)
  • The Berzerker: Chris, Chaos Space Marines (11pts)
  • The Old Gods’ Faithful: Colin, Daemonkin (9pts)
  • The Slowballer: Brett, Chaos Daemons (4pts)
  • The Lonely Xenos: Michael, Tyranids (3pts)

Again, a few more photos than those here are in the gallery and full results are on the event webpage.

The Swords of Dorn battle Chaos horrors among ravaged forests.

The Swords of Dorn battle Chaos horrors among ravaged forests.