Friday, January 7, 2011

Secret Goals - Tournament Edition

A while back I mentioned using secret goals for games, and here I thought I'd flesh out a bit more how to use the idea for tournaments. 

Many tournaments make up their own missions, and to my mind while sometimes they can be fun, at best they're distracting and at worst unbalanced.  Neither is good in a timed tournament setting with prizes at stake.  Whatever issues you may have with the basic book missions, players are familiar with them and should be able to build armies that can compete from their existing collections.

 But rather than just lay out missions for each round, I think it would be fun for players to have a little control.  Yes, to a degree this could be considered making up missions, which I criticized above, but I think that the changes to the scenarios are minimal and are more about how players would approach them with the secret element.


As described here, it's designed for a three-round event, like you can often find at local one-day tournaments.  It's also described in a  win/loss format instead of battle points.  Suggestions for adapting both of these are included below in italics.

Set up

You should have:

  • Three cards or tokens for each player, representing each of the three basic missions - Seize Ground, Capture and Control and Annihilation. To adjust for more than three rounds, after three rounds re-issue the cards/tokens to each player.
  • A handout for each player explaining the event, how to use their mission cards, how to score each round, and which deployment type will be used each round (I think starting with Dawn of War would get things moving faster, then Spearhead and lastly Pitched Battle would work, though adjust to taste).
  • The other normal things and info for events (timing, tables, etc.)

Game Play

After seeing who their opponent is for the round, players should place objectives on the table.  Two objectives (one for each player) should be set up per Capture and Control rules, and three more per Seize Ground rules.

Next players should select one of their mission cards/tokens and place it face down.  Note that players should place these where the mission cannot be seen but that also avoids potential switching shenanigans.  One way could be to also provide each player with three envelopes for the event - each round they insert their mission card into the envelope, sign the front and seal it.  At the end of the game, open the envelopes/reveal missions together and determine results.

Determine Results

Use the above tables to determine the winner. 

Cross reference the missions chosen on the first table.  Where players have chosen the same mission, start with determining victory per that scenario's rules.  For Capture and Control only use the two objectives in the players' DZs; for Seize Ground use all five objectives.  Adjustment: to keep things even more distinct, you may wish to only have the three objectives placed per Seize Ground placement rules to be the only ones to count for SG. 

In instances where players have chosen different missions (X on the first table), refer to the second table.  Cross reference how player A performed in their chosen mission with how Player B performed in their chosen mission to determine the primary outcome.  Example: Player A chose Annihilation, and due to Kill Points being tied at the end of the game, got a Draw for his mission.  Player B had Seize Ground, but lost due to Player A having control of more objectives.  Checking the table, this results in a Win for Player A.

If the result is a Draw, proceed to the next mission per the first table and see who wins based on that mission. 1 refers to Seize Ground, 2 refers to Capture and Control, 3 refers to Annihilation.  If necessary (tie again) and there's a third mission, proceed to that one and again determine results.  If you still draw, go to victory points to determine the winner.

Example 1: Players A and B both chose Annihilation.  They tie on Kill Points, so proceed to mission 1, Seize Ground.  Player A is up two objectives to one, so wins the game. 

Example 2: Player A chose Annihilation, Player B chose Seize Ground.  Player A wins in KP but Player B wins in SG objectives, resulting in a draw (see second table).  They then proceed to mission 2, Capture and Control.  Player B wins C&C 1-0 and thus wins the game.

Adjustment:  To use battle points instead of win/loss, assign values to the different missions, turning them essentially into primary, secondary, and tertiary, depending on what the players choose.

  • Primary: Your own chosen objective: Win=10 Draw=5 Loss=0
  • Secondary: Opponent's chosen objective, if different than your own.  If same, the second mission where your missions intersect on table one.  Win= 5 Draw=3 Loss=0
  • Tertiary: Remaining mission: Win=3 Draw=2 Loss=0

The system obviously isn't for everyone, and would need adjustment for larger events if you want a single clear winner.  I think that its strengths are in essentially using the book missions that players should be familiar with, and with the secret element forcing them to play for all three victory conditions at once.

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