Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Astro Winnipeg 2012: After Action Report

I've always been of the opinion that what you do after a tournament is just as important as what you do to prepare for one initially. To give you an idea of what I mean, I'm going to give you a glimpse of what I do in my after action reports and how it helps me to prepare for future events.

First and foremost the results sheet:

Astro 2012 Results

As you can see I scored 9th overall, which is pretty decent considering.
Technically I tied for 7th given the points distribution (several ties in the top 10).
And I should be tied for 6th, because somehow the organizer lost my bonus 2 points for handing in my armylist on time, but there's no use in nitpicking since it wouldn't have won me anything anyway. ;)

So let me give you some examples of what I look at and why.

First of all a general word on how to win RTT style tournaments.

Although as organizers we don't like to use the term "Rogue Trader Tournament" anymore the fact is that the scoring for Mechani-kon and Astro are both loosely based on the original RTT system. That being said you are scored on not only your gameplay but your sportsmanship and appearance as well. Unlike in 'US style' tournaments Appearance and Sportsmanship play a significant portion of your overall score so you have to put alot of thought into it if you want to have a chance at winning.

From my experience as both a player and a tournament organizer I will tell you this:
- All you need to do is break into the top 10. You achieve this by bringing up your averages in all the categories. Typically you have to meet or beat the average in all categories.
- Once you've achieved that it very much is a craps shoot. You have zero control over what opponents you will face and what scenarios you will play. So with a bit of luck the stars will line up and you will have a good chance.
- But it doesn't hurt to setup as much in your favor as you can. ;)

Hard vs Soft Points
- Hard Points are those you have no control over, namely Gameplay and Sportsmanship. Soft Points are the ones that you can control, in the case of Astro that is appearance, your armylist and the bonus for handing in your armylist on time.
- The reason I say gameplay and sportsmanship are scores that you have no control over is because you have zero control over what opponent you will face and on what table. It is too unpredictable to be reliable.
- Once you are in the top ten 1-2 points can make all the difference so it's important to get your soft points as high as you possibly can.

I scored 33/40 for soft points total. Getting the extra 1 point for a 10/10 for army list is very difficult but it is possible. However there are a lot more points to gain for appearance.
Now appearance is a subjective thing, so if you want to significantly improve your score it's important that you talk with the tournament organizers to see what it is they look for. I asked them honestly what it was that I could do to improve my painting for next year and I got honest answers. Now I know what I have to work on.
I can also get another point fairly easily by building a nicer movement tray.

The law of averages
-I average out all the columns for all of the scores and compare myself to the average score. The way I look at it if you can not at least meet the average score in each category then that category is where you need to focus your effort.

In my case I scored above average in all categories, so I did quite well over all.

Compare yourself to the winner
- compare your individual (not total) results compared to the best overall.

In this case I had significantly higher Sportsmanship and Armylist and we had the same appearance score. It just goes to show how important your gameplay score is at Astro!

But knowing this I know that all I have to do is raise my gameplay score, and then by already having a lead in other categories I don't have to improve it by that much of a margin.

Where am I losing points?
- You need to think about every single category and ask yourself where am I bleeding points? Every point counts in the end and its important to try to get them all!

In my case I noticed I was getting very few of the bonus points at the end of missions.
The one that struck me consistently was losing points for letting my HQ and highest point unit die.
Given that my HQ and highest point unit are geared towards HtH it is very easy to sacrifice them.


I need to play with a tougher HQ and unit


Use my HQ and unit in a manner that doesn't condone sacrificing them. Like making them support units or more shooty.


I need to change my tactics so that I don't feel the need to sacrifice them!


  1. You're lucky your blog isn't more popular. There are uptight Americans who object to describing a WACC approach/tournament as 'US Style' yet they just had the 40K Championship at Adepticon which I'm pretty sure doesn't take into account soft scores. ;-) They do give out a separate prize for painting I think, Adepticon attracts some nice armies generally in the Team Tournament and they now host the Crystal Brush, so they do try to have something for everyone to a degree at Adepticon.

    Fair warning though some Americans don't appreciate it being insinuated that they don't play the game 'right' or that they are lazy or wrong if they don't want to paint their own figs. Best not even mention the tendency to jump from Codex to Codex or the 'meta-game' either, 'net lists'. Also the word fun is forbidden on some forums down South, I'm lead to believe. ;-)

    PS putting smilies after statements will not stop people from telling you to go F yourself either. Just and FYI. :-D

  2. I've done similar thinking for the original GTs and wrote it out too and of course Astro is something I would think about more if I didn't have so many personal problems. If it wasn't for certain people on Facebook or online in blogs I'd probably be even more out of the hobby. As it is I read and occasionally think, even if I don't play or paint much anymore.

    I give some thought to what my most expensive unit is but not to much to my HQ other than having him look cool. I put more thought and effort into looking cool and bringing something different rather than the same models and units every year, I think I was the only Chaos Codex the last time I went. Now I'll be missing two years in a row so I probably can do whatever next time I show up, which should be under all new rules. I have lots of painted models which go unused, but I also have unpainted and already paid for models which I want to get some use out of eventually, before I buy anything else. Some were bought specifically for Astro, they all were bought for my main and really only army as I haven't played Orks since 2nd Edition.

    I learned long ago that no matter how much I spend on my HQ choice, someone will spend more and they'll use special characters which I generally refuse to do, so I'll lose the general VS general H2H battle, though occasionally I still fight it. I also have very poor 'luck' and extreme difficulty killing AV 14 and other 'hard' targets. So I have to over compensate for shortcomings in my army, since I refuse to use another army or Codex.

    With the removal of comp from Astro I'm thinking hard about running 3 Fast Attack just because mobility is the other thing my Nurgle army chronically lacks. I'm thinking of buying some Forgeworld Fast Attack and of course not running mono-Nurgle. I need access to more of the Codex to have a chance to win, I don't play as well as I used to, since I hardly play at all.

    Ghaz is pretty good. I know the Ork guy who won best general with Orks in Vancouver one year, just bit the bullet and brought Ghaz. It saddens me that in order to win now a days at tournaments you have to bring special characters...

    I gotta get back to looking for a job, since once again I didn't get the one I interviewed for.

  3. I've been on the internet long enough and been in enough flame wars to know how this game is played. The only way to win is not to play. If you're willing to stick your neck out for what you believe there will always be a group of people willing to tear you down because just they have nothing better to do.
    I'm quite vocal of my opinions on what I feel a scoring system for a 40k tournament should look like, after all I run one.
    There is some merit to "gameplay only" tournaments and I've played in several over the years. But they attract a specific type of crowd and I have to honestly say even having won several I didn't enjoy myself. To me 40k is about the hobby, not just the game. If I only played 40k for the game I would have stopped years ago (The rules are terribly written IMHO)Being forced to play against someone with a poorly painted or thought out army is actually insulting to me. I spend alot of time on my army as do alot of players, the least we expect back is that our opponents do the same.
    Then those kind of players have the gall to insult my method of running a tournament without even bothering to come up here and play in it!? They believe a tournament is no fun if it judges sportsmanship and painting because it rewards more than just the number of games that you win. They are offended by the thought that a player can win all his games and not be able to walk away with tournament glass. Well we have a prize specifically for those players, we call it "Best General" and it is a highly coveted prize.
    My tournament attracts 20-30 people every time I run it, which is a significant portion of our local community. I've never heard a player complain about how we run the tournament and everyone enjoys themselves. How do I know? They keeping coming back year after year.
    By no means do I match the 250+ people that Adepticon draws, but my tournament is no less successful in my mind. If Adepticon can draw 250 players for a weekend all I can say is Good for Them! I wish there were enough local players here that I could do that.
    Whatever, I'll run my event the way I want and they'll run there events the way they want. Both are successful and both promote the hobby. I can't really complain about that.