Is T9A slowly getting... better?

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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

  • DanT wrote:

    Just to be 100% clear, the project knows that variance and evocative rules (my definition above) are wanted by some players.
    Hence e.g. battle focus. And I am hoping that the next release of WotDG, and the first release of the DL book, will both have things in that players read and go "cool!". Whether those are specifically the things that will scratch yours and Kristian's itches, I cannot be sure of course.
    I agree, there's been enough feedback that by now the project knows variance and 'evocative' rules are wanted by some players.

    ...But do they understand why?

    Because if they don't understand why some players want variance and 'evocative' rules, then the execution is going to be disappointing, and then there's going to be another round of the same "What did you do??" vs "Why don't you like it??" vs "How could you possibly think I would like that???" back and forth every time everything gets released.

    DanT wrote:

    Presumably the rules team at the time (it was before my time) thought that the game was better without hidden.
    I'm sure you're right.

    DanT wrote:

    As to why they thought it was better, no idea.
    That's the complaint. Without any concrete reasons given, players are left to invent their own. Most will be inaccurate. Many will directly exacerbate the "us vs them" problem that seems to still be floating around the boards.

    DanT wrote:

    I suspect, there were at least several that didn't understand why people liked it and didn't expect the level of reaction that occurred.
    That's the other complaint, and I think you'd be surprised how often "tournament players" is a clumsy euphemism for "people who don't understand why I like this particular thing."

    DanT wrote:

    Related to this, I'm confused as to why you think it is a problem to separate variance and epic moments?

    DanT wrote:

    I think one of the issues is that rules that you are lumping together were removed/opposed for different reasons.
    As you noted, I think (for example) Double 1s and templates were removed for very different reasons.

    I miss them for ONE reason: they were "cinematic" elements in an altogether-too-abstract gaming system.

    So three or four completely separate, entirely unrelated rules design decisions were made for three or four completely separate, entirely unrelated reasons. But they all had the same net effect: the game is now much less "cinematic."

    So let me go back and correct myself: the complaint is not that T9A hasn't verbalized an explanation on why the Hidden special rule had to go.

    The complaint is "What about the cinematic?"

    The complaint is that either nobody ever asked that question during rules design, or else whomever did ask that question was overruled. Repeatedly.

    The complaint is that the "cinematic" is important to me, and it doesn't seem to be very important to T9A.

    That's the root of this "tournament vs casual" rhetoric, IMO. I agree it isn't nearly as simple as that...but I don't think that perception is ever going to go away. I think it's the inevitable result of T9A being created by a handful of high-level tournament players who wanted a tournament-ready game that doesn't need to be comped. Anything that doesn't directly contribute to that central design goal of the project becomes lower priority.

    And that's why I think it's a mistake to completely separate high-variance mechanics and more "cinematic" elements in this type of discussion: deciding to remove them came from entirely different places. But the request to keep them comes from the same place.

    All of this "tournament vs casual," "balance vs fun" discussion boils down to a single exchange:

    Me: "Make the 'flavor' of the rules higher priority."

    T9A: "Okay, so long as it doesn't interfere with balance, speed-of-play, army differentiation, crackdown on potentially abusive elements, removal of invisible unit upgrades, and all-inclusive misinterpretation-proof rules."

    Me: "...That's not what 'higher priority' means." :wall:

    And I understand where T9A is coming from: they have a long list of priorities that come first, and I don't get to choose what's on that list or in what order. (I especially don't get to, since I don't even play this game anymore and just read the board sometimes on slow evenings or weekends...)

    I think the problem might be that T9A wants to cater to people like me without actually having to cater to people like me: the project wants to start including some more narrative, evocative, cinematic elements that more narrative-minded players will enjoy...but only so far as it doesn't interfere with the "real" game mechanics.

    That's what I think is the central issue. I don't want T9A to "make room" for the cinematic. I want the cinematic to be center stage.

    The cinematic is never going to be center stage in this project.

    I get that.

    There are a lot of people on this forum who don't get that yet.

    And they're the ones complaining that the 'flavor' was taken out of the game. They're the ones complaining about "tournament vs casual" and "balance vs fun."

    They're the ones T9A needs to reassure right now. If the project wants to keep them (and I think it does) then the project needs to really understand what their complaints are.

    I'm just trying to help bridge that communication gap.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Salgar ().

  • @DanT
    @Salgar
    It was explicitly stated that hidden was removed because of the potential to cheat.
    Templates were removed to avoid arguments.

    Those are great examples of writing rules to accomodate players who are not mature enough to play a miniature wargame. It just is a different beast than a board or a computer game. It is the result of nerds not having the social skills to handle disagreements. To not tell THAT guy to stop ruining your gaming experience. The fact that a miniatures wargame is a shared social experience on many levels, not just the cognitive challenge, seems to pass the project by, or at the very least have the lowest priority, which amounts to the same thing.

    I think Salgar made an excellent point about the projects priorities. The game only gets better if you share these priorities.

    I also think that there are subtle differences to evocative, high variance, cinematic.
    Dan mentioned battle focus as an example, but I don't think it is very cinematic or evocative, nor does it have name that supports that notion. In some cases it is given to units that would work much better with a rule named frenzy. Words have meaning and the naming of rules and units are not irellevant.
  • Tapatalk is that stupid app that they are trying to pawn off to you on this forum. I've stopped browsing Ninth Age on my phone, because that damn app takes up half the screen and I can't get it to stay closed. And when you use it, it adds "I've written this using Tapatalk" to every post you make in your language. And what phone you use, which seems like a data security nightmare. That seems to be... Dutch?
  • Eldan wrote:

    Tapatalk is that stupid app that they are trying to pawn off to you on this forum. I've stopped browsing Ninth Age on my phone, because that damn app takes up half the screen and I can't get it to stay closed. And when you use it, it adds "I've written this using Tapatalk" to every post you make in your language. And what phone you use, which seems like a data security nightmare. That seems to be... Dutch?
    You can never trust the Dutch and their webbed feet.
    I am going to offend you. You are not going to like it. You will survive.

    Chaotic Neutral
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  • My_Kin wrote:

    In regards to aesthetics I understand you're not a miniatures company, but I do think you could do more to encourage the idea that this is a miniature wargame, and definitely stop this awful practice that seems to be rapidly growing (especially in the tournament scene) of people using flat cut outs rather than actual terrain. It's a terrible advert for the game. Maybe feature more scratch built terrain tutorials like GW used to in the old days.

    I believe they are gathering photo’s of armies for the new website. The same was done for the new Quick Starter Book. Both should be featuring miniatures of different companies.

    And as was stated before by others. It is not for us to force people to use miniature X to play the game. This is for Hobby Stores and Tournaments to set (no use of paper cut-outs, no use of bases with just a rock glued ontop, etc). But we (T9A) should not dictate what models people can use - some may find creative ways to build their army, but they may then turn out illegale because we listed what models can be used (people are printing their own models for example...).

    As for Tutorials. Have you read the latest issue(s) of the Ninth Scroll? There have been several articles on building your own terrain pieces. You can find the issues under the Download Tab.
  • Grouchy Badger wrote:

    Eldan wrote:

    Tapatalk is that stupid app that they are trying to pawn off to you on this forum. I've stopped browsing Ninth Age on my phone, because that damn app takes up half the screen and I can't get it to stay closed. And when you use it, it adds "I've written this using Tapatalk" to every post you make in your language. And what phone you use, which seems like a data security nightmare. That seems to be... Dutch?
    You can never trust the Dutch and their webbed feet.
    Fun fact. The webbing evolved, not because the Dutch fear drowning, but because it allowed them to swim faster and beat the Ducks to the free bread being fed to them in the parks.
  • Pellegrim wrote:

    Dutch don't make worthless apps like tapatalk. We make cheeeeesseeeee.
    Psh. At best, you make "cheese".
  • Kristian wrote:

    Shlagrabak wrote:

    Kristian wrote:

    It was explicitly stated that hidden was removed because of the potential to cheat.
    Do you know where that quote can be found?
    In threads that are more than a year old? Not likely. I’ve also seen tags back pedalling on this, so we are not likely to get an admission now.
    Well, you can actually search those threads. One would bet that such statement would have sent the forum burning at the time, and while "tags" could have edited their posts, all the outraged people around would keep bringing it up.
    So I did that search, and there is no mention of cheating around the topic. There is confusion, praise, cursing or indifference from the public, and little from the rules team, who was the author of 1.2 changes. The only official statement, later retracted (but you still find reference of it in the users posts as I pointed out), was found in the 9th Scroll "Time consuming for little gain". Not a great excuse if you ask me.

    Giladis wrote:

    Hidden as a rule was removed. Why exactly I do not know but an explanation to various changes will be provided in the new issue of the 9th Scroll.

    Astadriel wrote:

    About the Hidden special rule removal, we learn the reason for the removal in the Scroll:

    "Hidden, removed: Time consuming rule for little gain."

    I was wondering if there was more to it than that, because it seems to me that it renders all assassins close to pointless now. They are supposed to be surprise glass cannons (for me at least) and much of their power did stand in the psychological effect of not knowing where they would hide. Now they will just be avoided by the models that they were supposed to counter (expensive characters).
    Was it that time consuming to use ? (never took me more than 10 seconds to write down where I hide mine).
    And what do you define by little gain ? To me the gain was huge and was called fluff !

    Well, there is context to 1.2 decisions, and perhaps the removal of Hidden should be understood in the bigger picture at the time, among which one objective was encouraging quicker games (also why we went to 4500 pts format), and others are better explained by fjugin:

    fjugin wrote:

    saint_barbara wrote:

    I do the layouts, because this is what I do professionally and I want the gaming community to grow and I understand the marketing value of fancy docs. But at the end of the day I simply want more people coming to the tournaments because for me this is the essence of the hobby that I've been exercising for 20+ years now.
    This is a very important thing, and a driving force behind many of the changes.Without an influx of new players, the game will slowly but surely wither and die off.

    In order to stay alive we need to attract new blood to the hobby. If we just keep adding more units, more wacky special rules, more paths, more scenarios, and so on, sure the game will be fun. But what will happen to growth? The rules will be a 1000 page behemoth, not very encouraging for new players. We need to find the right balance here: Enough depth and complexity that the game is fun, but not so much that it discourages new people from getting into the game.
    This is btw another benefit of smaller games (4500 points), it's easier for new people. Also, if you haven't seen it already, upper management made a great post about why longevity and attracting new players means we need to move away from warhammer, here: Version 1.2 - Why Change From Version 1.1?

    Back to complexity of rules, if we have a limited amount of complexity we can have in this game (1.1 was considered to be close to the maximum complexity we can allow), we must prioritize where more complexity is meaningful and adds to the game, and where it doesn't. In order to make room for more interesting complexity to be added with new armybooks (such as more meaningful armywide special rules, more possibilities for themed armies (similar to what @Adam was talking about here: Initial Impressions of 1.2, more meaningful armybook magical items and so on), we need to first make room for this by dropping some of the non-needed complexity (armour piercing upgrade on giant eagle, 20 paths where they mostly differ only in the name, and so on). If we then can also improve other parts of the game, while making it less complex, it's a win-win (for example, replace 5 pointless never-used magical items with 3 interesting and useful magical items).

    Update 1.2 is a lot about setting the stage for new rewriting armybooks (with much more fluff, theme and thought behind them). New army construction rules will allow armybooks to encourage certain play-styles fitting to the army in a way that wasn't really possible before. New less complex rules for magic, fewer common magical items, simpler rules for war machines etc, this leaves more room for new armybooks.

    Undoubtedly the concern for cheating fitted better the anti-tournament narrative, though I have no reason to presume any malice from you. After all, discouraging similar reason was circulating around for the removal of templates at the same time, so confusion is understandable. Just beware of selective memory and confirmation bias, because with all the hearsay and association of ideas floating around the forum, we quickly end up with snowballing rumours and the like, which can be really persistent.
    As Salgar said:

    Salgar wrote:

    That's the other complaint, and I think you'd be surprised how often "tournament players" is a clumsy euphemism for "people who don't understand why I like this particular thing."
    If only people said what they meant!

    I do encourage you to look things up by yourself, reading the discussions at the time can be instructive.
  • Cyprinus wrote:

    Grouchy Badger wrote:

    Eldan wrote:

    Tapatalk is that stupid app that they are trying to pawn off to you on this forum. I've stopped browsing Ninth Age on my phone, because that damn app takes up half the screen and I can't get it to stay closed. And when you use it, it adds "I've written this using Tapatalk" to every post you make in your language. And what phone you use, which seems like a data security nightmare. That seems to be... Dutch?
    You can never trust the Dutch and their webbed feet.
    Fun fact. The webbing evolved, not because the Dutch fear drowning, but because it allowed them to swim faster and beat the Ducks to the free bread being fed to them in the parks.
    Obviously missed our duck whispering skills.
    Booooooaaaaaarsssss .... Chaaaaaaaaaaaaaarge !!!
  • My_Kin wrote:

    DanT wrote:

    Kristian wrote:

    @DanT
    I’ve never played a game of uncomped 8th ed no. Mostly because I play almost exclusively with freinds who can recognize what will and what won’t ruin a game in listbuilding. So a sort of self comp. The tournaments I’ve been to and the ones I’ve organized myself have all been comped. I’ve never considered a game over after the first turn, because there are other reasons for playing than winning.
    It is interesting that you self comped. One of the goals of t9a, at least as far as I understand, is to make such things unneccesary and thus open the door for players to enjoy the game they want to with a wider circle of people, including people they have never met before.
    As someone that moves city every two years or so for work reasons, one of my objections to the way GW has gone is that I think the games rely more than ever on players knowing each other, knowing they want the same thing from the game or being in known environments, e.g. tournaments, or with a known gaming culture. The gulf between how several different local groups approached 8th ed WFB when I lived in one city in the UK was astounding, to the level that they didn't play the same game, so could never really against each other without one or both getting upset or frustrated.


    WFB was always intended to be played this way. It was never intended as a game between strangers, even now why do you think the starter boxes GW (and every other manufacturer) sells feature 2 armies? Bear in mind the guys that wrote it came from the world of historical wargaming, where things like balance, tournaments basically don't exist. If you want to see the spirit and method in which WFB was meant to be played check out the perry miniatures facebook page; Perry Miniatures. Personally this is how I like to game too, you put aside an evening, assemble the best terrain you can, hordes of painted minis, and you thrash it out with good friends, all in good spirit. I feel like this is where I and many others take issue with the 9th age, it is, whether it likes it or not, the spiritual successor to WFB, yet it is being designed for a completely different target audience and type of gaming to WFB, I believe this disconnect is the source of so much of people's frustration with the direcion of the game.
    I agree and disagree with this. Yes this is how the old guard at GW envisaged playing games. But, one of the reasons I stuck with GW games was that I could rock up to GW stores and clubs for pickup games. Indeed, this was encouraged by GW. One of the reasons I played WFB rather than 40k was that WFB was less list dependent for whether I had a good time, so I could rock up and play against strangers with a better chance of us both enjoying the game. So I personally actually think a key part of the spirit of WFB was that it could be played in so many ways (club, garage, tournament, pickup, campaign, whatever). T9a has not managed to achieve such broad use yet, let us see where the future takes us.


    In regards to aesthetics I understand you're not a miniatures company, but I do think you could do more to encourage the idea that this is a miniature wargame, and definitely stop this awful practice that seems to be rapidly growing (especially in the tournament scene) of people using flat cut outs rather than actual terrain. It's a terrible advert for the game. Maybe feature more scratch built terrain tutorials like GW used to in the old days.
    I have a couple of questions here:

    Why is it anything to do with us what terrain people choose to use?
    How could we stop the use of 2d terrain?
    Those terrain tutorials will not change the reasons why people choose to use 2d terrain.
    For the record, I personally hate 2d terrain. But I can understand why people use it.


    Salgar wrote:

    DanT wrote:

    Just to be 100% clear, the project knows that variance and evocative rules (my definition above) are wanted by some players.
    Hence e.g. battle focus. And I am hoping that the next release of WotDG, and the first release of the DL book, will both have things in that players read and go "cool!". Whether those are specifically the things that will scratch yours and Kristian's itches, I cannot be sure of course.
    I agree, there's been enough feedback that by now the project knows variance and 'evocative' rules are wanted by some players.
    ...But do they understand why?

    Because if they don't understand why some players want variance and 'evocative' rules, then the execution is going to be disappointing, and then there's going to be another round of the same "What did you do??" vs "Why don't you like it??" vs "How could you possibly think I would like that???" back and forth every time everything gets released.
    Hmm... perhaps I have missed something here. Is the reason not because of the "cinematicness"? As a desirable and enjoyable thing in and of itself?

    Or are you alluding to something else/deeper?



    DanT wrote:

    As to why they thought it was better, no idea.
    That's the complaint. Without any concrete reasons given, players are left to invent their own. Most will be inaccurate. Many will directly exacerbate the "us vs them" problem that seems to still be floating around the boards.
    Yes. I have spoken to some of the people involved this morning. It seems the primary reasons were simplification and speed of the game, particularly with an eye towards making it. This was in fjugin's statement quoted above, but it seems to have got lost behind the rumours and chinese whispers (anyone got a better phrase for chinese whispers? I dont like using it). I have experienced this myself, where the project has said why we've done something and it has been misunderstood or twisted. I don't have a good solution for this, but I defo need to spend less time firefighting on the forum and more time actually doing things for the project.

    DanT wrote:

    I suspect, there were at least several that didn't understand why people liked it and didn't expect the level of reaction that occurred.
    That's the other complaint, and I think you'd be surprised how often "tournament players" is a clumsy euphemism for "people who don't understand why I like this particular thing."
    Sure, I just wish people would stop using it. It aids the proliferation of false rumours and misunderstandings.

    DanT wrote:

    Related to this, I'm confused as to why you think it is a problem to separate variance and epic moments?

    DanT wrote:

    I think one of the issues is that rules that you are lumping together were removed/opposed for different reasons.
    As you noted, I think (for example) Double 1s and templates were removed for very different reasons.
    I miss them for ONE reason: they were "cinematic" elements in an altogether-too-abstract gaming system.

    So three or four completely separate, entirely unrelated rules design decisions were made for three or four completely separate, entirely unrelated reasons. But they all had the same net effect: the game is now much less "cinematic."

    So let me go back and correct myself: the complaint is not that T9A hasn't verbalized an explanation on why the Hidden special rule had to go.

    The complaint is "What about the cinematic?"

    The complaint is that either nobody ever asked that question during rules design, or else whomever did ask that question was overruled. Repeatedly.

    The complaint is that the "cinematic" is important to me, and it doesn't seem to be very important to T9A.

    That's the root of this "tournament vs casual" rhetoric, IMO. I agree it isn't nearly as simple as that...but I don't think that perception is ever going to go away. I think it's the inevitable result of T9A being created by a handful of high-level tournament players who wanted a tournament-ready game that doesn't need to be comped. Anything that doesn't directly contribute to that central design goal of the project becomes lower priority.

    And that's why I think it's a mistake to completely separate high-variance mechanics and more "cinematic" elements in this type of discussion: deciding to remove them come from entirely different places. But the request to keep them comes from the same place.

    All of this "tournament vs casual," "balance vs fun" discussion boils down to a single exchange:

    Me: "Make the 'flavor' of the rules higher priority."

    T9A: "Okay, so long as it doesn't interfere with balance, speed-of-play, army differentiation, crackdown on potentially abusive elements, removal of invisible unit upgrades, and all-inclusive misinterpretation-proof rules."

    Me: "...That's not what 'higher priority' means." :wall:

    And I understand where T9A is coming from: they have a long list of priorities that come first, and I don't get to choose what's on that list or in what order. (I especially don't get to, since I don't even play this game anymore and just read the board sometimes on slow evenings or weekends...)

    I think the problem might be that T9A wants to cater to people like me without actually having to cater to people like me: the project wants to start including some more narrative, evocative, cinematic elements that more narrative-minded players will enjoy...but only so far as it doesn't interfere with the "real" game mechanics.

    That's what I think is the central issue. I don't want T9A to "make room" for the cinematic. I want the cinematic to be center stage.

    The cinematic is never going to be center stage in this project.

    I get that.

    There are a lot of people on this forum who don't get that yet.

    And they're the ones complaining that the 'flavor' was taken out of the game. They're the ones complaining about "tournament vs casual" and "balance vs fun."

    They're the ones T9A needs to reassure right now. If the project wants to keep them (and I think it does) then the project needs to really understand what their complaints are.

    I'm just trying to help bridge that communication gap.
    Ok, let's see if I can add any understanding to this.
    These changes are primarily about making the game easier and simpler, with a view to potential new players and the longer term. You might disagree that we should have these goals, and/or that these changes will achieve these goals, but the removal of these things is not because of "balance" or the fact that the game is being made by primarily tournament players.

    As to cinematic being centre stage, I'm not sure what is centre stage for the project, and I sit there during all the rules discussions... I think "fluff evocative" is becoming increasingly important for the FABs. This will certainly be welcome to some players, but perhaps not the "cinematic/narrative evocative" crowd. :/

    Misinterpretation proof rules is a fair accusation. This is partly why I advocate for a "readable" rulebook, with the current book given "comprehensive reference manual" status.

    As I have said a few times here, I hope that the next WotDG release, and first DL public release, will contain some designs that give players like yourself hope for the future direction of the game. Perhaps I am wrong though, we will know soon enough.


    Kristian wrote:

    @DanT
    @Salgar
    It was explicitly stated that hidden was removed because of the potential to cheat.
    Templates were removed to avoid arguments.

    Those are great examples of writing rules to accomodate players who are not mature enough to play a miniature wargame. It just is a different beast than a board or a computer game. It is the result of nerds not having the social skills to handle disagreements. To not tell THAT guy to stop ruining your gaming experience. The fact that a miniatures wargame is a shared social experience on many levels, not just the cognitive challenge, seems to pass the project by, or at the very least have the lowest priority, which amounts to the same thing.



    I also think that there are subtle differences to evocative, high variance, cinematic.
    Dan mentioned battle focus as an example, but I don't think it is very cinematic or evocative, nor does it have name that supports that notion. In some cases it is given to units that would work much better with a rule named frenzy. Words have meaning and the naming of rules and units are not irellevant.


    Ok, a bunch of things to unpack here. Firstly, the cheating and argument avoidance were not the only, or indeed main reasons for removing these things. Primarily it was about speeding up and simplifying the game, in the hope of making it easier and more attractive to new players. After all, if we just keep adding more and more special rules, the game becomes increasingly impenetrable to new players. (At least this was the thinking of the RT at the time; I have spent the morning quizzing people, the things I do for you lot.... :D :P ).

    I agree that people cheating is a poor reason to change the rules, and I will never vote for a rules change where that is the goal, but here it was seen as a nice side effect rather than the goal.


    Regarding battlefocus, it can give epic moments. But this is what I mean about the different axes. If I have understood you correctly, what you are primarily interested in are mechanics that make you feel like you are watching a movie as much as playing a game? So narrative (as opposed to fluff) evocative? I don't expect battlefocus to satisfy you, but it might give good moments for those who like higher variance. I think the specific thing you are after (this "narrative evocative" phrase I just invented) has been neglected by the project thus far. Again, I hope that the FABs improve this.
    As for the naming, I have no control or connection with that whatsoever. But I think whether a given moment is epic in the game does not depend so strongly on the name of the rule, I think this is now a conversation about a further different issue. *sigh*.

    Ask not what the project can do for you, but what you can do for the project :)

    Don't forget that however convinced you are of your opinion on something in the project, or something it should/shouldn't do, there is someone out there holding on to the opposite belief just as strongly :D

    Check out my new ID blog
    Dan ventures into the lands of smoke and fire

    And some basic tactics for beginners (I should develop this properly at some point)
    No 'tactics for beginners' thread?
  • I belong to the camp of people who wholeheartedly hope to see the hidden rule come back in the FAB and see more niche magical items, which might not appeal to the top tier meta list builder, but inspire the odd suprising list here and there (and perhaps even might subvert meta expectations this way).
    I do not miss Poople Sun, Infernal Gateway and other crazy 8th shenanigans in general (on the fence on insane courage, because I also don't like pre-combat calculated autobreaks).
    And I want to to to thank @DanT for the great community service in this thread.
    doing the Lorenzo Lupo Workout everyday till Iron Crowns AB is released
  • Maybe I should start a separate thread about this "niche" magical item thing, cos I don't think I quite get what people want here.
    Ask not what the project can do for you, but what you can do for the project :)

    Don't forget that however convinced you are of your opinion on something in the project, or something it should/shouldn't do, there is someone out there holding on to the opposite belief just as strongly :D

    Check out my new ID blog
    Dan ventures into the lands of smoke and fire

    And some basic tactics for beginners (I should develop this properly at some point)
    No 'tactics for beginners' thread?
  • Things that do weird stuff that's probably never tournament efficient, but just fun to think about.