Seems some of our friends in Scandinavia have a tourney upcoming and no Millennium layout to use so will be taking a flyer on an unconventional offering. (See on right.) I was kindly sent a copy and since it is an unconventional approach I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at what competing teams may encounter in playing the layout. The following is not a critique so much as simple observations of how I expect the layout to play.
The most noticeable change is the placement of the giant M(s) on the dorito wire and subsequent opening up of the center of the field. (Or at least the appearance of opening up the center.) Then there is the concerted effort to create a unique snake--which may not play quite as expected.
The placement of the Cans that far into the field creates a bit of a dilemma for teams OTB. If the Cans were to be played conventionally there are sufficient blocking bunkers to allow very aggressive runs to both wires. However as soon as the Cans are crossed excellent lanes appear on both sides of the field. The issue will be one of timing and precision. The Cans are far enough up field that some teams and players will have difficulty gaining the open lanes quickly enough OTB. After that the Cans can be played relatively safely until opponents reach the wire fifties. The first decision then becomes whether or not to contest the laners hard in the center or simply attempt to beat them to the spots. Either way expect the Cans to be played consistently by everyone expect the most aggressive teams--and even then they will play one or the other much of the time early.
Regarding the snake: placement of the insert Cakes creates a spatial crunch that will allow laners to hit both corner and snake runners in the gap between the Cakes. Mitigating that factor slightly is the fact both TCK and corner T are usable inserts directly into the snake. The corner T's (in green) cannot control movement in the snake, especially if the positions are mirrored, but can battle snake 1, 2 and 3 if the snake player chooses. The corners can also put paint on a lot of other positions on the field--and should carry enough paint to do so. Now look at the orange zones within the snake(s). Given the convex (concave?) shape it will be easy for the opposite TCK to put paint into those zones and control movement up the snake. Additionally almost every time there is a hard break or large gaps at the fifties it normally means it will be hard to move beyond that point into the opponent's end and that should play out here unless there is a mismatch in the number of live players.
Despite the limited number of props the D-wire can be played very actively with big moves readily available if the crossfield Can is under control or unoccupied. Unfortunately I expect the giant M(s) to be as much of a barricade as a bunker in game closing situations.
As to the center of the field the clutter will promote more wire play, open up the potential for big runs and allow inside out rotations; for example, from the Cans. Overall I expect the average team will tend to slow play this field. Most of the mid-game play will be gunfighting and snap-shooting from positions of mismatched bunkers but intensive and determined field-walking will reveal some secret shots and clever angles that may catch the unwary.
If you play this field I'd be interested in your feedback. Thanks--and enjoy!