In any stage of a game’s life, but especially in the early stages, tournaments are a great way to bring together people from different clubs and stores to play. Despite the stereotype (which itself is often untrue), tournaments don’t have to be ultra-competitive events, and players often just want to test their skill against someone whom they don’t usually play while having some laughs.
However, it can be tricky to work out what the maximum points limit should be for an event at this stage in the game’s life. Let’s take a look at how many points might be ideal for a Planetfall tournament in mid-to-late 2015.
Pointing Up Planetfall
Every army in Planetfall starts at just over 1000 points, given that you have to include at least a half-core helix in your list. Because of this, it’s also a safe bet to assume that everyone who will attend a tournament will have at least that many points available to them. The tricky part is what goes in next.
At the start of Planetfall’s life, half-core tournaments would have been fine, but plenty of people now have more than that in their collections. However, you also have to take into account that someone might have just started and won’t have much more than that half-core available to them. So, where is the balance between the two?
It’s not a good idea to set the points limit so high that people have to buy (and paint) lots of additional helices just to take part. They might not have a local player base, and might be travelling to your event because it’s a chance to play with real people. They’re not likely to spend money on more models for a “one shot” thing, then just have them sitting around, waiting until the next event.
Having said that, having to buy an extra helix or two is fair, because more experienced players will want to play more than just core vs core games. As the Tournament Organiser (TO), you have to find the middle ground to accommodate both sets of players, new and experienced.
If the point of a tournament is to encourage people to come along, get together and play, then it’s important not to turn away people simply because their collection might not be as large. You want to encourage participation, build momentum and get your players excited to play more Planetfall!
How About 3000?
I suggest that 3000 points should be the top-end MFV (Maximum Points Value) for Planetfall tournaments at this stage of the game’s life, and the general tournament standard right now. That represents roughly a full core helix plus enough space for at least one additional helix, or a half-core with two or three additional helices. Any more than 3000 risks alienating some people who would like to play but don’t want to spend the money because they don’t play regularly enough to justify that expense.
Many experienced players will find a relatively low MFV such as this one quite limiting, and that’s actually okay. It’s more of a challenge to build a list within a restrictive point limit, and it’s more creatively-stimulating, too, than to simply dump your entire collection into your list because you can. You’ll have to make some tricky choices about what to bring and what to leave out, but this will help you to bring a more optimised list to the event. When I say “optimising”, I’m not talking about min-maxing, but about actual optimising. Every squadron or battle group in your list should have earned its place there, and each one that makes the cut should have a part to play.
Building a list like this will also teach you a lot about your own approach to the game, and about the game itself. Some helices are better in certain situations. Playing at a lower points limit lets you “zoom in” to see exactly how each helix performs without the distraction of a big list.
One More Thing
One last thing to mention is that it’s important to not let your local group (if there is one) cloud your view of the general level of play. Just because your group tends to play 5000 points doesn’t necessarily mean that players elsewhere will have access to that many points!
Of course, as time goes by we can always revisit the state of the game and see how many points are generally being played. But at this stage it’s much more important to encourage participation and build a solid foundation at 3000 points which will transition into future tournaments at 4000 or 5000 points with plenty of players from far and wide.
Over To You
So, those are my thoughts on the subject of Planetfall tournament points, but I want to know what you think. Don’t forget to leave a comment, and if you’re a TO then let me know about your experiences with running FSP tournaments. How high did you go? Did it work out? Share your thoughts!