I've been playing competitively since the birth of 3rd, and I can safely say that 5e is my favorite. I enjoy the mechanics, the pace, but most of all I enjoy the lack of "cheese". With an emphasis on troops being the "scoring" units in 5e there are a lot less terminator-spam armies out there, less uber-HQs, less min-maxing. All this is good. The down side is that this only really works when you play the lackluster GW scenarios from the book! Sure GW-Canada and GW USA (ie "GW-North America") have added some secondary mission objectives in, but you still need troops to "win"!
One of the best independent tournaments out there is Astronomi-Con. They have been running events for quite a few years now. Based out of Winnipeg, they have expanded to Toronto and Vancouver (with an ongoing desire to have one in Lenton). The part I enjoy about Astro' is the unique scenarios (I built a table for last year's Vancouver event). Each table has a unique objective, and many of these have special rules. Many Astro' scenarios do not require troops to "take" objectives". And here comes the ripple...
The Astro' organizers recently revamped their Composition chart.
In a past effort to head off the "cheese" of 3e/4e, and maintain the fun aspect of Astronomi-Con they built in a 20 point Composition score, with negative modifiers. Sure you could cheese-out, but you'd loose points for duplicates/triplicates, or maxing out a unit category. The worst list I saw on that scale would have been a -15! These composition score could be very important - most of the time Astro' winners take it my 1 or 2 points - often tie-breakers are needed to decide the winner! With 5e the organizers decided to take a long look at their system, both the scoring and the scenarios. Now the new chart is out and I'm not happy with some of the changes:
- a 4th troop selection is a -1 modifier, 5th and 6th are -2 each
- selections that fall outside their respective slots in the FOC don't get modifiers against them.
- a second HQ is a -1 modifier.
So Astro' is going to change, I predict it will change a LOT; I think we will see less troops in a Space Marine Army (the option to Combat Squad will help them), more marine armies (!), and armies that will be a bit more "elite" than in past years; if you can't take an objective be sure-as-hell to be able to deny it to an enemy's troops! We will also see a "drop" in the composition scores - high (18+) have been the norm for many year. This drop will have advantages - first round match ups will be more balanced (based on composition), and the tie breakers may be easier too!
So will I be going to Astro-Vancouver 2009? Sure, abso-bloody-lutely!
Will I be changing my army list? Nope - I'll be there with 4 or 5 troops, as I always do; my current list is looking like a 17...