Sometime in the late fall of 2012 I had conceived an idea for what would become Fratris Salutem. It was a loose idea at that point; simply a concept of doing something very different from what we had done before, or that I had heard of. It wasn’t really until February of this year that I began putting together mission ideas and the whole thing just fell into place.
I’ll admit I was hesitant to run with the idea. I loved it and I thought others would too but I knew it was a bit risky. The entire day hinged on the idea that every player who came would come to just have fun. I don’t mean that in the often thrown around way of any event, I mean it legitimately. The format took away the best general and gave it to an entire team of players. It was about the Forces of Chaos fighting the Imperium and was to be awarded as such. We did have a best overall, one for each side, and battle points made up approximately 17% of that. The focus was the hobby and having a great time first-and-foremost.
I won’t run on and on here but I just wanted to lay some groundwork. This past Saturday we held the event and had 21 players in attendance. When your goal for the day is 40 players and you get barely half that, well that’s concerning. However, I knew that we would not have people busting the doors down to get in. It was a prototype, it was different and people weren’t wholly sure what to make of it.
All that being said, Saturday was simply awesome. The first mission was pretty simple. Everyone got going and things went smoothly, very much like our normal monthly tournaments. We handed out the second mission and then spent a good 15 minutes going over it. It was, admittedly, a bit confusing and also had a lot of special rules. It also introduced something we had labeled call-outs. A call-out is when a player on your team captures an objective and three tables had these. Once captured your entire team gains a benefit, things ranging from a 6+ feel no pain to re-rolls. These call-outs were not part of the mission itself, they were simply ways to help your team.
That second round got rolling and the first call-out came in. Eventually the other call-outs got taken and they began changing hands. Players were kept aware of who had what and in turn what benefits they had. This was when the day went from great to awesome. As I walked around observing the games I saw everyone was having a blast. I could overhear people saying that the call-outs were making their games fun and interesting and, I quote, “Totally in the spirit of the game.” In the second round you had to control objectives but they were sabotaged and could explode. Exploding objectives dropped a S8 AP3 pie-plate and the objective itself was removed from play. This impacted so many games, as intended, and players loved it. Watching one game conclude where an exploding objective cost a player a draw and instead gave him loss but he was excited at the cinematic conclusion was great.
By the third round everyone had an idea how things were working and the cheers and jeers as call-outs changed possession was perfect. The importance of these calls-outs had become apparent and some players fought tooth and nail to hold them against all odds and at the cost of their own game for the sake of benefiting the team; exactly as I was hoping these would play out. That removal of best general from the day, having everything hinge on a side winning, really altered the mentality of the players and how games were approached. No matter how poorly you were doing personally it didn’t matter so much, you were still contributing to your team be it through the points you did gain or by providing your team a bonus through a call-out.
Honestly, I could not have asked for that day to have gone any better. Everyone who was there got what the day was about and embraced it. I have never seen a happier group of gamers.
For the day itself, the Imperium took the day with 112pts to 52pts. I couldn’t help but cheer for Chaos though. The first round put the Imperium pretty well in the lead and that lead stayed consistent after round two. When the first match was in for the third round the gap closed quickly with the Imperium being up by around 5pts. Then the other matches came in and it was apparent that the Forces of Chaos were not destined for victory that day. Despite a crushing loss I did not hear a single player complain about it.
Lots of trophies and prizes were handed out. We had three table prizes that went to players who held call-outs: an Honored Imperium and two Aegis Defense Lines. All members of the winning side got a medal; effectively everyone being the best general. There was an award for each team that was a martyr award. This was given to players who selflessly helped their team. We had best army for each side which was based on painting alone. Lastly, we had best overall for each side, those who had the most points from everything. We also held a painting competition with five first place and five second place awards. So, for the day there was a total of 30 (11 being for the winning team), prizes won.
Thanks to everyone who came out. It was stressful getting this thing put together and trying to ensure the vision would be obvious and readily accepted but it was well worth it. As much as I would had loved to have been able to play in this event I don’t think it would have compared to the fun I had watching the event from the side.
If anyone is interested, you can find the materials for Fratris Salutem here. The packet is there, the three missions and the conclusion (story ending). Maybe the 40K community will latch on to an idea like this and it will spread. There’s plenty of events for those interested in being the top player but little to nothing for those just looking for a great story driven event that’s all about having fun.
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