New Structure and Dates for IACP Season 9+, plus Adepticon 2024 Update

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In the text below, I get into the history and weeds about playtesting and release structures and dates for IACP. If you don’t want to read all that and just want to find out what the new season structure is going to look like for IACP, go ahead and scroll down to the “New Structure for Season 9 and on” Heading. 

Before Season 4, IACP had no set release or playtesting schedule. As soon as a new season’s cards were tested and approved, the next season of cards would be released and playtested immediately after the previous season’s community vote. After season 3, in May of 2020, we realized that players needed a few months break from playtesting and rapid card changes to be able to enjoy and explore the new cards, especially in a competitive setting. So we implemented an alternating playtesting/competitive period structure, which originally consisted of 3 months of playtesting and updates and 3 months of play where no new cards were released and cards were locked in with no changes for 3 months. That put us on a 6 month cycle of 2 seasons per year. 

The Season Structure implemented in 2020 after Season 3

We did this for 3 seasons (4, 5, and 6) and realized after season 6 that there were too many cards in each season for 3 months of playtesting and 3 months of competitive play to be enough for our players to digest and explore the new cards each season, especially since our players have limited opportunities to play the game competitively compared to other larger games where opponents can be found easily on demand at any time online and in-person. We kept the 4 month playtesting period and extended the competitive period to 5 months, for a total of 9 months in a season. We’ve now tried this for Season 7 and Season 8. 

Over the last 2 seasons, we’ve realized that players were losing interest in the game with such long 9 month seasons. 3+ months of playtesting and minor changes had become a slog for people to endure and we watched as players who were playing and chatting with great enthusiasm for the first 2 months for playtesting, just kind of lost interest and disappeared completely by the end of the playtesting process. Having to keep up and engage with small changes to the same batch of cards being made multiple times for 3 months is tiring for people. The same was true for the 6 month competitive period in Season 7. By the final 2 months of that stretch leading up to Season 8, community engagement had dropped off a cliff, and people just weren’t playing anymore. Part of that was a lack of organized play density, but we feel that 9 months just ends up being too long for players to go without a new release of cards to get excited by. 

But we don’t just want to repeat the mistakes of Seasons 4, 5, and 6 either, where players felt there was too little time to process the amount of cards we were releasing per season. We also have to be cognizant of our volunteer workforce, as more and more work now falls on fewer hands than it did in past seasons, which includes creating card images, facilitating playtest games and analyzing playtest game data. That led to the realization that the issue was not that there wasn’t enough time between seasons, but just too many cards in each season. 

The structure that we’d been following since Season 3 was to have 4 deployment cards for each of the 3 factions, generally 2 new deployment cards and 2 re-done FFG deployment cards, 1-3 skirmish upgrades, 1-2 recosted cards, and 5 new command cards (not including unique figure command cards, or when we had 8 new command cards for Technicians on top of that). For season 8 that was a whopping 36 cards, not including all the old deployment cards that only gained the new Technician trait. Going forward, each season will generally have less than half that many cards. Season 9 will have 17 cards in it total, including deployment cards, skirmish upgrades, generic command cards and unique figure command cards. Season 10 currently has 15 cards total. With much fewer cards each season, we’ll also need less total time to make sure everything gets playtested by the community, leading to a shorter public playtest period. 

With all of that, we have the new IACP Season structure, which will be 6 months total per season, with 2 months for public playtesting and card adjustment, and the remaining 4 months time for normal play with a stable card pool. Seasons will start with public playtesting in January and July, and the community approval vote will happen in early March and September to kick off the normal play period. 

New Season Structure for Season 9 and On

  • January 1st – Season 9 preview articles begin
  • January 15th – Season 9 releases on Vassal and public playtest league begins
  • February 5th – v9.1 update releases with balance changes
  • February 26th –  v9.2 update releases with final balance changes
  • March 4th – Tournament map rotation announcement to be effective on March 11th
  • March 11-15 – Community vote runs for 5 days for players to approve finalized cards
  • March 18th – Community Vote results announced, playtesting period ends, season 9 competitive play begins
  • March 22nd – FFG-format Adepticon Tournament (details pending)
  • March 23rd – IACP Adepticon Tournament (details pending)
  • July 1st – Season 10 preview articles begin
  • July 15th – Season 10 playtesting league begins

Adepticon 2024

You’ll notice if you look closely at the important dates above, we have tournaments at Adepticon listed among them. The wonderful Joey Galeziewski has generously volunteered to TO at Adepticon for both a classic FFG-format tourney on Friday the 22nd and for an IACP tournament on Saturday the 23rd. This is a recent development and I am working on communicating with Adepticon organizers to get these events added to the calendar, but just know that we do plan on running events at Adepticon again this year and stay tuned for more details in the coming month and leading up to the event. 

Thank you to everyone who keeps supporting and engaging with Imperial Assault skirmish through the IACP. Please continue to send us your thoughts and feedback on the project whenever you can. Ultimately we are just players like you who want to see the game continue and survive and live on for more people to enjoy, and we like to hear from all of you so we can make the IACP the best it can be for everyone that loves to play and enjoy Imperial Assault skirmish.  

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