Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Old Stuff Day - How Many Points is too Many Points?

Hey guys, thanks for checking in on this day of days... Old Stuff Day!  So all sorts of bloggers across the community are getting together today to share some of their old and not as loved posts today.  I thought I would share post 30 of Blood & Blades, from way back in September 2009.  The post is called "How Many Points is too Many Points?" and feature's my friend Chris and I throwing down in an epic scale game of planet strike.  As you go through is some of the shots there will be little pin pricks of blue on the green table... those of full 10 man squads of Marines, that is the scale we are playing at.

What the article is really about though is planning your games, and figuring out what you can reasonably play in the time you have.  So I hope you enjoy my contribution to Old Stuff Day, next time back to another review of 15mm plastic tanks and soldiers.

Hey guys, welcome to post 30 of Blood and Blades. Today I am going to share with you photos of a mega battle I played in yesterday and talk about was the title suggests, when should you say stop and quit adding more and more points to one of your games. First off lets start with a pic of the insanity.

This photo was taken just after I had finished deployment at the bottom of turn 2. As you can see the board is littered with all sort of models and combats and firefights are raging everywhere. This brings me to part one of figuring out how many points to play. In my experience, a person can handle roughly 3 to 4,000pts of models effectively and still play in a reasonable amount of time. To be honest, neither of us know exactly how many points were on each side, but Chris was using 3 Battle Companies and 2 Reserve Companies (1 Tactical one Assault) plus a good number of supporting vehicles and Dreadnoughts. I was using components of my Blood Angels, Bloodwing, Howling Griffons, Renegade IG, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, and Ork armies. By our estimates is that the game was close to a 30K vs 25K plus planet strike defenses.  Pretty cool is you ask me.

To get back on topic, this is a pic of what the table looked like after Chris finished his deployment on turn 1, which took more then 2 hours I might add. The important thing to note here is how much time do you have to play the game. When Chris and I were setting up we thought we had all the time in the world, and took it very easy and talked and did not really focus on deploying. This made turn 1 take 4 hours to play. Chris finished deploying at 4pm and turn 1 was over at 8pm. Obviously we let the shear scale of the game get away from us and did not budget our time well.

Now if that is what you want, to just throw all your models on the board and see what there is to see, cool, do it. That is what this game very quickly became as we realized we were not going to get to finish the game as midnight got closer and closer and Chris's wife began to text more and more frequently. So lets go over what you should plan for.

  1. Plan ahead, figure out how much time to want to spend playing and pick a point size based on that. A 2K game should take about 2 hours, with each additional 1000pts adding on in my estimate an additional 1 hour of play time. So a 3K game should last 3 hours, a 5K game 5 hours, etc. Also note that the you can divide the game size by the number of players and apply my 1K to 1 hour formula. Just for every 4-5 players and 4-5K of stuff add +1 hour. So 5 players per side playing 20K should take (20/5=4) 4 hours +1 hour for the number of players and +1 hour for the size of the game which is roughly a 6 hour game.
  2. Budget your time, keeping an eye on the clock and setting time limits for turns or phases of turns can get games moving faster. In big Apocalypse games, with many many players per side I suggest 30 minute turns. This forces players to do what is important and not let the game get bogged down by finishing every little thing. Often times in mega games, the important thing to do is the stuff that will have battle sweeping effects and leave those 200 lasguns firing at 5 tactical marines alone.
  3. Stick to your plan, every plan is going to change once things get going, but expect that. That said, you should still try to stay on plan as much as possible, if you just throw it out then you are guaranteed not to finish your game.
  4. Play for Fun, not to win. Often times players do not understand what these big games are about. They will take the nastiest, meanest, craziest army the can come up with and end up not having fun because the are worried about winning the whole time. Big games are meant to be a fun time where you and your opponent can pull out your armies and show off those models you do not get to use that often in regular games. For example Chris had 28 tactical squads in our games, 28. 3, 4 yeah that is all you usually see in a normal game of 40K, but 28 on the table all at once, and an additional 12 or so assault squads is a sight to see. Remember, you and your opponent want to have fun, use some stuff you haven't used, and just fill up the table with stuff. If you keep that in mind you will have a great game.
  5. Rules are not as important in big games as they are in smaller ones. Do not nitpick as much as you would in a normal game. Cool things can and will happen in big games, let them even if to do so isn't quite in the rules, the game will be more memorable that way.
Well that is it for this post, please enjoy the following pics and please go here for even more photos of the game:


  1. We tend to do 60 minute turns (20 minutes per phase), and that works out alright, but it does make for a long game. Last time, we shortened things to 15 minute turns, and that worked just fine. I dare say, we could even drop it to your proposed 30 minute turns, but as you say--some dice just wouldn't get rolled. That wouldn't be the end of the world though, but I suspect some people would take issue with that.

    I like the idea though.

    By the way, that sea of blue sure is purty. (Not that your stuff isn't also sharp, but I've a special spot in my heart for Ultras... Does your friend Chris have a blog perchance?)

  2. Why yes he does.

    Check back into 2010 some as I think he has posted up most of the Ultramarines Chapter he has painted, posted by company, over the course of last year. Yeah I said chapter, all the marines, vehicles, and support.

  3. Hey, I know that blog!

    Thanks for the link. :)

  4. That game takes me back. Reminds me why I stopped doing the Ultrmarine Challenge for my birthday too. Well that and a total lack of desire to drive to Chantilly.


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