My 4th and latest segment on the Breach just went up. It's about tweaking the OPs and their rules.
Lately I've been hearing complaints about OP events being just jousts. Even though they have mission elements, those can pretty much often be ignored, which boils the OP back down to straight jousting.
Hasn't always been the case, though. Some OPs have had refreshing twists. The Borg collective tourneys had 3rd party enemies and semi-cooperative play. The Arena OP broke up the joust, and made it essential to play to the theme.
But the truth is, those have become the exception. So what can we think of for WizKids to add some spice to our tournaments? What tweaks can we use at our own venues to do the same thing?
Well, the easiest change is adding more obstacles. Throw two planets close enough together and swarms can’t run side by side, and that’ll help break up jousts. Or maybe a handful of debris or asteroids that slowly move, like the Pegasus scenario. Obstacle tokens that provide different effects like gravity (slow ships down depending on range, things like that). All these changes not only bring something we don’t usually see in events, they help make those smaller, more maneuverable ships, that never get much play, appealing. Hey, with tokens everywhere, that Interceptor 5 that never leaves the box, but can park itself on top of an obstacle without penalty, starts looking good.
Now, imagine having matches with 3, or even 4, players at the same time. True, could be difficult to design and run. Have to make sure everyone has the same setup, same opportunities to interact with mission elements. But what a whole new dynamic those kinds of matches would bring. If nothing else, imagine the chaos and fun of a 3 or 4 player deathmatch.
Now I'm not necessarily saying we should change official events by throwing in our own obstacles and whatnots. But maybe we host our own side events. Say when a store needs to clear out extra boosters or prize ships. Then we can do whatever we want. Make up our own missions. This would sure help break up the jousting feel, if WizKids never get around to mixing things up themselves.
And if we want to make changes to official matches, they don’t need to be drastic. We can fairly easily make official OPs better by just ramping up the integration of event elements. Make the bonuses worth more points, so then there's more incentive to go after them. No one wants to risk getting table wiped just to go after 40 points. One of the great things about Q Continuum Month 2 was that the obstacles not only broke up that straight jousting, but getting mission tokens became very important in some of our matches.
But, we can still get those mission tokens into play without even a single point change. In fact, we started doing this at our venue, and it’s brought renewed vigor to our play. The tournament winner still gets a prize ship, just like normal. But instead of the other ships going to second and third place, or the redshirt, we’ve changed it up. Now, after giving out that first place ship, we give the second ship to the player with the most mission tokens. Then, for the remaining players, we treat each token they collected as an entry into a drawing for the last ship. And there are a lot of other ways we could divvy the ships. However it’s done, though, it keeps players from being knocked out early. And that helps keep people feeling competitive. Because we've all had that demoralizing feeling when you know there's no way to come back and win anything, but you still have to keep playing.
Then there are house rules. We could probably get into a whole litany of house rules. But I think I’ll save those for another time.
So, part of this list is things I'd love WizKids to begin adding to the OPs. But there's no reason we can't make our own adjustments to keep things fresh and fun. As long as you keep thinking outside that box.