Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting Ready for Doubles Part 2: Paper meets reality: Playtesting

Old School here with another post on Doubles Tournaments. In the last post, we discussed finding a partner and building your combined list to function as a whole rather than two seperate parts. In this post we will look at playtesting and actually fielding your armies to fit the missions ...
Since there are tons of LGS's out there using special missions and it would be impossible to catalogue them all, let's look at the book missions. Having an army on paper and actually fielding it are two different things and on tourney day it is easy to tell sometimes who playtested and who didn't.

A simple example of this came on Saturday night when CVinton and I playtested our Nids and Guard. We rolled Dawn of war with two objectives and that is when we realized we had a problem. He was deep in Vendettas and platoon blobs and I was heavy in Monstrous Creatures - no problem right? Wrong! At 2500 points and some serious firepower on the opposing side in the form of Pink Horror blobs, Lord of Change and Lootas, we needed to come on strong from our board edge to maximize target saturation. This was easier said than done as his huge platoons were fighting for space with each other as well as the vendettas who needed to be able to fire at some battlewagons to keep them from reaching our lines. To top it off, were were also trying to fit 4 oval based MCs, a tyrant and a buttload of gaunts in some sensible fashion. This really slowed down the movement phase for the turn we cam on while the Orks and Daemons had no trouble getting on the field together.

We were at such a disadvantage due to this in the first couple turns that we almost scooped in order to have time to play another game. We played it out and won, but just barely. Our lack of mobile scoring units meant we were fighting against a draw and a possible loss if the guard couldn't hold their ground ...

Needless to say, this is a perfect example of why playtesting is mandatory when considering attending a doubles tournament with hopes of winning.

The questions you need to ask yourself include whether or not you have enough mobile scoring units in a mixed environment. Consider the time limits per round and your teams ability to get scoring units onto objectives in the time allowed (this is likely to be constrained when army point values top out around 2000-2500 points. Also consider mission like Dawn of War and how you can physically get onto the board. Will you be safe with leaving some units in reserve while others roll on and face two armies of incoming fire? Can you fit everything in on your board edge if need be (at least everything that counts).

Remeber that what makes sense on paper is often different once we hit the table. Also, when playtesting try to get games in with a decent spread of opponents so you can see how your plan fares or falls apart when confronted by those devestating double guard lists or those Bloodcrusher + Thunderwolf armies out there.

Doubles tourneys are often carried by the teams that are the most familiar with each other's style and have gotten some time on the table together. That's it for today, so hit the board and study! If anybody has any other great tips and proceedures for gearing up for a doubles event, please feel free to comment. Feedback is always welcome.

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