Tag Archives: tournaments

Age of Sigmar – Thoughts & Tournament Results

gw-rules-banner

It’s entirely possible that that ‘Sigmar’ is Reikspiel for ‘Poor Stewardship.’

(Gonna give my now-informed thoughts about Age of Sigmar first, then talk about the event itself afterwards, since I expect the former is more interesting to the rest of y’all.)

I got in five games of Age of Sigmar at NOVA, which means that I’ve now played five games of Age of Sigmar total.

I’ve tried pretty hard to keep an open mind about it: actively avoiding the crushing negativity about it around CGL and reserving any and all judgement about it until I actually got the chance to play several games.  Now, I think I have an informed opinion about the game.

It is not a bad game, nor is it a good game.  It’s an exceedingly bland game.

The analogy I kept coming back to whenever someone would ask me what I thought of it was: it’s a rice cake.  You can eat a rice cake.  If you have nothing else to eat, it’s better than eating nothing.  But it’s not very filling or satisfying, and there are thousands of other things out there that one would rather eat.

There’s maybe a useful engine for resolving or organizing a game in there somewhere, but it’s insufficiently baked. If you look at it and think, “That is entirely too simplistic a game,” you are correct.  GW’s actually packed a lot of complexity into the warscrolls, however: and that’s not a good thing.  It means that the game is ultimately overly-complex while resting on a jellied, unset foundation.

Standard bearers don’t work the same.  A Standard in this unit does A, and a Standard in that unit does B.  On one hand, this is a mechanism by which they communicate flavor… on the other hand, it’s confusing.  I had two units of troops on Saturday, and my opponents kept getting turned around on how each one worked.  It drives me up a wall that shields don’t work the same from army to army.  That just doesn’t make any sense.

Some units are even worse: Plague Monks have full command, but none of them work close to what the other Skaven units’ command does.  Instead, each (Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician) gets to choose one of two options, each of which involves more rolling and more rolling and… doesn’t really change anything.  It’s a lot of extra effort for next to no payoff.

A lot has been said about the lack of points: it is indeed the problem it appears to be.  Friday’s event was “Six Warscrolls.”  Saturday’s was “95-100 wounds.”   Most of the players had more models on the table Saturday than Friday.  I had nearly 50% less.

There are fixes for the lack of points: counting wounds is the most common.  It’s crap.  There is no planet on which a Pegasus Knight is equivalent to 4 Clanrats. At the Clanrats’ optimum numbers, 30, there’s no planet on which 8 Pegasus Knights are equivalent to 32 Clanrats. It took one game with both Stormvermin and Plague Monks to know that the former is 1,000,000,000 times better than the latter.

Ultimately the closer you get to some way to make the game playably balanced, the farther you get from what’s their unambiguously clear design goal… which, increasingly, convinces me that it’s a shit design goal.

Every game I played ended in a tabling or would have had it not ended to time (the game plays fast, but pretty much everyone there was learning it).  There were scenarios, and they were generally interesting enough… but didn’t come up often because someone was too busy choking on their opponent’s block of troops to be able to worry about them.

That said: it was such a limp, loosey-goosey game system that we all had a good time.  It was impossible to take it seriously, so there was an excellent mood around the games.

My prediction: AoS is gone and dead within two years.  This thing is too baroque and top-heavy with too-skinny legs and knees of jelly to survive.  Hopefully, we’ll see a Warhammer 9E shortly afterwards; the alternative is tragic.  (There’s a discussion to be had, somewhere, about GW’s stewardship of Warhammer and 40K.)


Wow, that ran long.  Longer than I’d planned, for sure.

The tournaments themselves were a good time.  Like I said: it’s such a weak system, it’s impossible to take it seriously.  Getting competitive about Age of Sigmar would be like attempting to write a critical dissertation on Mighty Max.

Friday was two games: six warscrolls.

I ran:

  • Warlord – Warpforged Blade & Shield
  • Grey Seer
  • Clanrats x30 – Sword & Shield
  • Stormvermin x30
  • Plague Monks x31 – Book of Woes, Contagion Banner, Bale Chime
  • Plague Furnace

Game 1 was against Sean, who’d come down from New York, running Dwarves.  I believe I won that game, but it was long enough ago (three days!), I’m less than certain.  It was also my first game of AoS, so it hardly counts.

Game 2 was against Tim, who’s local, running Bretonnians. Bretonnians, as it turns out, really did get a lot better.  I was tabled very, very quickly.

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No really: I actually did have a very good time.  I’m entirely confident that everyone there did.

Saturday was three games – some more complex comp rules but basically 95-100 wounds per player.

I ran:

  • Warlord – Warpforged Blade & Shield
  • Ikit Claw
  • Warlock Engineer
  • Clanrats x30 – Sword & Shield
  • Stormvermin x30 – Shields
  • Hellpit Abomination – Warpstone Spikes
  • Warp Lightning Cannon
  • Warp Lightning Cannon
  • Plagueclaw Catapult
  • Warpfire Thrower
  • Warpfire Thrower
  • Poisoned Wind Mortar
  • Poisoned Wind Mortar

Plague Monks are gone because they’re trash.  I don’t care how limp and noncompetitive the game might be, when you’re as well off taking them as you are just playing 30 wounds down: you don’t.

War Machines & Weapon Teams with ‘Warp’ in the name are very good.  The mortar & catapult are trash.  If I took 33 Warpfire Throwers and placed them all 3.5″ apart, I would probably win every game ever.

Anyway:

Game 1 was against Tim again.  He’d loaded up on more Knights.  I still lost, but less badly than the night before.  We ran out of time, though: it’s possible he’d have tabled me if we’d kept going.

Game 2 was against fellow CGL’r Eric, with his spectacular Dwarves. He went all in: he rebased his Dwarves on round bases.  He also had more bodies on the table than I did.  I managed to table him, but I’m not sure how.

Game 3 was against Sean again.  Despite an enormous blunder early on, incautiously shoving my block of Stormvermin down his throat in such a way that almost his entire army was pulled in, I managed to table him.

Like I said above: there was a lot of tabling going on.


In the end, I won Best General – One massive win, one solid win, and one moderate loss was apparently enough to put me in the lead on battle points. Eric won Best Appearance, and Norbert (who I did not play) won Best Overall.

It’s also important to point out that Aaron (local-ish) and Brian (from Boston) did an excellent job given the circumstances.  It went smoothly, and everyone had a great time playing: I would be surprised if the same thing could be said of any other event there.  Given the system is what it is, I think that’s especially notable.


So: do give Age of Sigmar a try so you can have an informed opinion about it.  Do expect to be disappointed.  Do give anything Aaron or Brian run consideration.  Don’t ever take Plague Monks.

NoVA Open 2013 – 3 – The Games

Output - Card - Khorne

So, the army I took was a shortest-path-to-tournament-ready deal.  I’d rather be playing Tau right now, but they’re so far from presentable it’s tragic.  I considered trying to update my Dark Angels to something I could bring, but ended up settling on my Khornate Daemons.

Casey was an immense help in figuring out what the list needed to look like given the models I had ready to go.

It started out just needing a Bloodletter with Instrument of Chaos. Then, it just needed a Herald of Tzeentch.  Then, some travel got cancelled, so I decided to push on and do some Plaguebearers. (As in, I got the call while I was on other travel, and stopped by the game store on the way home from the airport to grab the kits I needed.)

In the end, this is what I ran:

05-2013-08-30 10.10.07

MAXIMUM KHORNAGE
HQ
Bloodthirster – Exalted x1, Greater x1
Herald of Khorne – Juggernaut, Wrath, Greater x1, Lesser x1
Herald of Tzeentch – Warlord, Lvl 3, Conjuration, Exalted x1

Elites
Flamers x4

Troops
Pink Horrors x16 – Champ w/ Lesser x2
Plaguebearers x10 – Champ w/ Lesser x1, Instrument

Fast Attack
Flesh Hounds x16

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince – Khorne, Flying, Armor, Greater x2, Lesser x1
Soul Grinder – Slaanesh, Baleful Torrent
Soul Grinder – Slaanesh, Baleful Torrent

There’s a lot stupid, extraneous upgrades in there, yes.  I was pushing to build as few models as possible; that’s why.


I had SO MANY really great games.  NoVA scoring is a pretty basic affair: 3’s unbelievably enjoyable game, 2’s an average game, and 1’s a shit, miserable game.

I had 6, 1, 1, respectively.

That said: I didn’t finish hardly any games. Out of 8 games, I think 7 were called for time.  Most games had a pace where, when they’d call “30 minutes” we’d agree that we’d get one more full round in. Maybe because we were (in general) chatting too much?

Also, I really dropped the ball on photographing my opponents armies. I always do that, and I’m really annoyed with myself that I neglected to this time. Sorry, guys.


Day 1

Game 1 – Sisters of Battle with Imperial Guard

HQ
Saint Celestine – Warlord
Primaris Psyker
Uriah Jacobus

Elites
Marbo

Troops
Battle Sisters x10 – Meltagun x2
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Battle Sisters x10 – Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Infantry Platoon
– Command Squad x5
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
Seraphim x9, Two Hand Flamers x2, Meltabombs
Seraphim x10, Two Hand Flamers x2

Fast Attack
Vendetta

Heavy Support
Exorcist
Retributors x5 – Heavy Bolters x4

I lost, 0-20.

I did a lot wrong here; if I’d played my army ten more times, maybe I’d have considered that in a Kill Point mission, taking the Portalglyph is probably the stupidest thing I could do. I also might have respected the two hand flamers a bit more.

I got my clock cleaned… but I don’t mind.  Stephen was a nice dude, and I got the weekend off on about as right a foot as I could with an enjoyable game.

Game 2 – Tyranids

HQ
Hive Tyrant – Warlord, Wings, TL Devourer w/ Brainworms x2, Hive Commander, Leech, Paroxysm
Hive Tyrant – Wings, TL Devourer w/ Brainworms x2, Old Adversary, Leech, Paroxysm

Elite
Doom of Malan’tai – Mycetic Spore

Troops
Tervigon – Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Tervigon – Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Tervigon – Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Termagants x20 – Devourers, Mycetic Spore
Termagants x10 – Fleshborers
Termagants x10 – Fleshborers

Heavy Support
Biovore x2
Biovore x2

I lost, 0-20.

This game was a mess: lots of big monsters and a lot of chaff to wade through to get to them.   My Herald of Khorne was MVP, decapitating two Tervigons himself. He didn’t roll Decapitating Blow every round of combat, but when he did, he rolled it a lot.

The game ended on Turn 3, unfortunately.  If we’d gotten the rest of the game, I might have been able to turn it around. Things were, frankly, looking pretty dang good for me, but we’d have needed a 5 hour round, I think.

Lots of generated models here: his Tervigons kept pooping out above average sized broods, and I rolled two new units of Daemons on the Warp Storm table.

Game 3 – Tau

HQ
Aun’Va – Warlord

Elites
XV104 Riptide – TL Plasma Rifle, Ion Accelerator, Shielded Missile Drone x1, Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector
XV8 Crisis Suits x3 – TL Plasma Rifle x3, Fusion Blaster x3
XV8 Crisis Suits x3 – TL Plasma Rifle x3, Fusion Blaster x3

Troops
Fire Warriors x12
Fire Warriors x12
Fire Warriors x12
Fire Warriors x12
Kroot x20

Fast Attack
Pathfinders x6

Heavy Support
Broadsides x3 – TL Rail Rifle x3, Velocity Tracker x2, Positional Relay x1
Hammerhead – Ion Cannon, Blacksun Filter
Hammerhead – Ion Cannon, Blacksun Filter

I won, 13-7.

Things did not go Zander’s way.  First, I Seized Initiative.  Then my Soul Grinder Baleful Torrented most of his Kroot to cinders. Then all of my Blood Horrors looked at Aun’Va standing behind a row of Fire Warriors and said, “There’s no way he can make that many cover saves,” and were proven right.

I did some stomping; on the flank with his Fire Warriors, I outshot him with my Horrors. On the Flank with his Broadsides and Riptide, my Hounds, Herald, and fliers swarmed over him.

This was only a Minor Victory, though: the Hounds multi-charged a unit of Fire Warriors, a Hammerhead, and the Broadsides; this was a mistake. It took them too long to chew through the Broadsides… and the game got called on time. If we’d been able to play through to the end, I think odds are high I might have been able to table him.

Day 2

Game 4 – Chaos Daemons

HQ
Fateweaver – Warlord
Herald of Tzeentch – Lvl 3, Conjuration

Elite
Fiends x9

Troops
Plaguebearers x10
Plaguebearers x10
Pink Horrors x16
Pink Horrors x16

Fast Attack
Flesh Hounds x16
Seekers x15 – Icon

Heavy Support
Soul Grinder – Nurgle, Baleful Torrent

I lost 7 to 13.

Kevin and I had been chatting about Daemons and how rad it was to be running a goofy army when we realized hey: we’re both at this table ’cause we’re supposed to play each other.

Anyway, this was the best possible way to start the day. It really looked like I had him on the ropes, but when time was called: he’d eked out a win over me.

Unfortunately, he’d also managed to knock my Bloodthirster to the floor, shattering him into four pieces.  I’m still working through that.  But, when a dude can (accidentally) destroy one of your minis and you still point at it as the best game of the weekend: it was a good game.

Game 5 – Chaos Space Marines with Daemons

HQ
Chaos Lord – Warlord, horne, Juggernaut, Axe of Blind Fury, Sigil of Corruption
Bloodthirster – Greater x2

Troops
Bloodletters x10
Chaos Marines x10 – Khorne, Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino
Chaos Marines x10 – Khorne, Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino
Chaos Marines x10 – Khorne, Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers x5 – Khorne, Plasmagun x2, Meltabombs

Heavy Support
Havocs x5 – Autocannon x4, Veterans, Meltabombs
Maulerfiend
Maulerfiend

Fortificiations
Aegis Defense Line – Quad-gun

I won, 17-3.

SIck of me saying “this was a really good game” yet?  A lot of fun, some unexpected Warp Storm results, laughs all around.

Game 6 – Necrons with Tau

Of course, this list would be the one I can’t find. Figures.  So, from memory:

HQ
Overlord – Warlord, Warscythe, Command Barge
Commander – Command & Control Node, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armor, Vectored Retro-thrusters

Elites
Riptide – Ion Accelerator, TL Fusion Blaster

Troops
Kroot x10
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe

Heavy Support
Annihilation Barge
Annihilation Barge
Annihilation Barge
Broadsides x3 – TL High Yield Missiles x3, Missile Drones x4

I’m almost certainly off on some particulars, but the big themes are pretty hard to forget.

This was my bad game. It’s probably not entirely my opponent’s fault: he was probably (and I don’t know that I exaggerate here) all of thirteen years old. He can’t help that he was an unpleasant little shit: all boys that age are unpleasant little shits.  Why we’re permitted to survive past that into manhood is one of nature’s greatest mysteries.

He had an unfun list, an unfun personality, and didn’t know the rules. (At one point, I just turned, walked off looking for a judge. I was done arguing with him.)  The thought of just dropping the game had occurred to me; I’m glad I stuck through it.

I’d have played him at some point anyway: if I hadn’t have lost to him in Game 6, I’d likely have played him in Game 8, where he played for our bracket. (Instead, he played IFL’r Seth in that game, who had as much fun as I did.  “The first words out of his mouth,” he said, “was that I had to have my Blacksun Filters painted on my tanks.”  So, yeah.)

Day 3

Game 7 – Chaos Space Marines with Daemons

HQ
Chaos Lord – Warlord, Nurgle
Daemon Prince – Nurgle, Flying, Armor, Greater x2, Lesser x1
Sorcerer – Lvl 3, Bike, Aura of Dark Glory, Gift of Mutation, Spell Familiar

Troops
Plague Marines x8 – Meltagun, Power Fist,
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Plague Marines x8 – Meltagun, Power Fist,
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Plaguebearers x10
Plaguebearers x10

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers x5 – Slaanesh, Meltagun, Icon of Excess, Gift of Mutation, Power Fist
Heldrake – Baleflamer
Heldrake – Baleflamer

I won, 20-0.

Torrent of Fire has the wrong pairing up: it shows the Dark Angels player who no-showed, rather than the Chaos Space Marine/Daemons player I played (whose opponent dropped the night before).  Sadly, I neglected to write his name on his list.

Anyway, this was another great way to start the final day.  A fun game that was looking pretty grim for me at points but I managed to swing it around to a pretty decisive win.

Game 8 – Grey Knights

HQ
Coteaz – Warlord

Troops
Servitors x3 – Plasma Cannons x3
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Dozer Blade, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight

Fast Attack
Storm Raven – TL Assault Cannon, Hurrican Bolter Sponsons, Psybolt Ammunition
Storm Raven – TL Multi-melta, TL Lascannon
Storm Raven – TL Multi-melta, TL Lascannon

Heavy Support
Dreadknight – Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator
Dreadknight – Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator
Dreadknight – Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator

I won, 17-3.

Man, I thought this game was going to hurt.  I haven’t really played Daemons against Grey Knights, and he had kind of a lot of Dreadknights which kind of scare the pee out of me.

Despite running a list that I’d have judged harshly an edition ago: I had a good time against him.  Things were pretty close in the last round: we got very tactical about charging here, holding things up there: in the end I pulled out a W because he failed something like a 4″ charge with his last remaining Dreadknight.

NoVA Open 2013 – 1 – Overview

NoVA Open 2011 Logo

NoVA 2013 happened!

Preemptive tl;dr I had an excellent time, an unreasonable number of excellent games, went 4/4/0, performed unreasonably well where appearance is concerned, and am still sore.

  • I won Silver in the Historical – Small Capital Palette competition with my Captain Whistlelock figure (who’ll get a post of his own)!
  • I placed 3rd for Best Appearance in the 40K tournament, winning one of the Hobby Ace awards!

(I’d love to lead up to all of that, but no point in burying the lede, right?)


There’s a lot to cover here that’s all over the place, plus some relevant hobby posts that need to thrown up: expect things to be scatter shot and smeared across the next week or so.


No Fantasy this time around: I played 40K.  8 games across three days: 3, 3, and 2.

I’d had some concerns that the schedule would be too much for me: 8 games is a lot.  The ability to drop after Game 6 took a lot of pressure off, though, and not doing more than the three games in any one day made it a thing I could actually do.  I mean, three days have passed and I’m still sore.  Four games in a day would have ended with me balled up and crying under the game table.


The tournament went unbelievably smoothly.  Things might not have fired exactly on time, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect clockwork precision with a tournament this size.  We have a hard time getting 12-14 player events on schedule; adding another ~240 bodies isn’t going to help that.

There were two hiccups: At one point Torrent of Fire went down and we lost something like an hour while they tried to sort everything out.  (As someone who builds web applications for a living: that sucks but it happens. ) The other was Sunday morning, when roughly half the event dropped or no-showed on Tuesday and they had to sort out pairings the hard way.  Things were scheduled to start pretty early on Sunday (7:30 AM); that’s an hour more of fitful, poor sleep I could have had but didn’t get.

But yeah, overall: it went revoltingly smoothly.


Since I mentioned it: Torrent of Fire. I think it’s best to consider ToF in two parts: one is a tournament organization, pairing, and scoring tool, the other is this newsletter / strategy thing.

The latter is, at best not-for-me and at worse pretty risible. If I felt like being cruel, I’d scan in the flyer which was full of some fairly ridiculous marketing assertions.

The former, though: that’s got a lot of legs. People (who wanted to) got their pairings off of their phones: no crowding around tiny printouts or mobbing around a blurry projector. Pairing up went smooth.

Plus, at least one person I know had had his scores entered wrong and had a game marked as a L instead of a W: he was able to use ToF to notice the error and have the TOs correct it.

There’s a lot of work to be done with it, I think.  For example: you could submit your scores with it… but it couldn’t/wouldn’t capture sportsmanship (wha?), so there was no point. (Just as well: I feel like the score sheets were insufficiently useful for the complex scoring rules; I can’t imagine doing it with my big fingers on a tiny screen would help with that any.  It’s a great start, though.


The vendor room/floor was an improvement over last year. Bigger, with more vendors and more space. I bought some stuff from Games N Stuff (who had a great, helpful, nice staff), Powered Play, Game Room aka “The Bitz Guy,” and a Breast Cancer charity booth.

Loot:

  • A Powered Play starter kit (with custom color loadout)
  • A Deep Wars Dark Mariners starter
  • A heap of old metal Empire minis (some Elector Counts, Engineers, and 1st run tiny Steam Tanks I have big plans for)

I did speak to Dan at Tectonic. I suspect that some of the NoVA organizers might have spoken to him, about me, before I got the opportunity to do so. Between that, my post last week, and being one of the squeakier wheels on the Kickstarter Page: he had my things ready for me.

He clearly feels emotions appropriate to the situation. I get and appreciate that. Folks who’ve worked more closely with him assert that he’s a really nice guy who’s just gotten in way over his head; I can believe that.

I’ve got my stuff now, and I’m glad I’ve got my stuff now. I’m not glad that I effectively had to shout and stamp my feet to get it, but it’s over. I’m moving on.


I only did one seminar this year: Working with LEDs, run by Chris MIchaels of Powered Play.  There was some overlap between it and the sales pitch he gave me the day before when I bought a Starter Kit, but it was a lot more in depth and hands-on.

I’m definitely inspired to do some things with these LEDs.  (On that note: if anyone has an unassembed Dreamforge Leviathan Crusader that they’d be interested in trading for an assembled & primed one: talk to me! I’ll make it worth your while.)


I won three raffles.  That might seem excessive, but since I don’t think I’ve ever won a raffle at NoVA before… that evens out to 1/year, which isn’t too crazy.

So, a lot of cool stuff that I wouldn’t have gone looking for, but am delighted to have.


One of the highlights of this sort of thing is getting to see (and if I’m lucky) chat with folks that I don’t otherwise have much of a chance to see.  There were definitely some absent faces that were missed, but it’s always a treat to sit down and talk with folks like Mike Schaefer and Bob Likins & son.  I Managed to mfinally meet Sean Parker in person, which was great, and (very) briefly got to chat with hobby hero Dave Taylor.  Of course, I spent most of my time hanging out with fellow CGL‘rs Casey, Ashley, Kevin, Bart, Phil, and Joe.  Briefly saw some IFL‘rs: Doug, Chris, and Jeff, but not much.

I feel like I didn’t spend as much time chatting with folks I only see annually as I’d have liked to, though.  I think that’s a combination of playing more games, needing to organize my day with the other folks in my group, and layering the various painting competition activities on top of all of that.

Should have packed some 5 Hour Energies, I guess.  Will try harder next year.


I’ll come back to the actual games and competitions and all that in another post in a day or two.

Hammer in the New Year

Saturday, Ashley ran a “Hammer in the New Year” 40K tournament.  Three rounds, using a format Casey‘d been wanting to try for a while now.  I had a great time, didn’t do so well, but ended up scoring better than I’d have expected.

I’m super-rusty with 40K, having not really done much with 6E in general, recently, or competitively.  Furthermore, the list I brought was driven entirely by expediency.

Here’s what I ran:

HQ
Bloodthirster – Blessings of the Blood God, Warlord (Command)
Bloodthirster – Blessings of the Blood God

Elite
Flamers x4

Troops
Blood Horrors x8 – Changeling
Blood Horrors x8

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince – Tzeentch, Flight, Daemonic Gaze
Daemon Prince – Tzeentch, Flight, Daemonic Gaze
Daemon Prince – Tzeentch, Flight, Daemonic Gaze

Desperate Allies
Big Mek – ‘Eavy Armor, Ammo Runt, Kustom Force Field, Burna
Boyz x21 – Shootas, Stikkbombs, Big Shoota x2, Nob w/ ‘Eavy Armor, Bosspole, Power Klaw

So, two things should leap out with this list: there’s kind of a dickish amount of Flying Monstrous Creatures in there and those Ork Boyz WTF?

Obviously, I’ve been working on Orks, so that’s what I want to put on the table. The Orks I put on the table are basically all the painted Orks I have, so I can’t run (if I want to be fully painted, and I do).  So, I decided to run my Daemons and throw the Orks in as Desperate Allies. They’re little better than wasted points; forget being non-scoring, non-denying models: allied with Daemons, they’re the only thing on the table at the beginning of the game.  They basically suck up an army’s worth of shooting immediately.

All the Flying Monstrous Creatures were in there ’cause I wanted to see how they worked. I played in an Apocalypse game with them, and that wasn’t the best venue to see how they worked. I can totally see how they look intimidating, but I’m not convinced that they’re the best choice.  I think I’d have been better off taking the Daemon Princes without Daemonic Flight and enjoying an additional 180 points.

Also, if it’s a legitimately dick thing to do, I think the utterly poor decision to run 300 points of useless greenskins counteracts it. :)

My MVPs for the day were easily the Flamers.  I definitely need to make some more.

Anyway, each round had a different deployment, and was scored thusly:

Scoring a Kill Point: 1 point each
Capturing a Quarter Objective: 2 points each
Capturing the Center Objective: 3 points
First Blood: 1 point
Slay the Warlord: 1 point
Linebreaker: 1 point

Game Points are used to determine your Battle Points.
If you have…
…half as many Game Points as opponent or less: 0 Battle Points
…3 fewer points than opponent: 2 points
…1 or 2 fewer points than opponent: 3 points
…tied opponent in points: 5 points
…1 or 2 more points than opponent: 7 points
…3 or more points than opponent: 8 points
…double or more points than opponent: 10 points 

The person with the most Battle Points wins the game. Game Points will be used for tie-breaking purposes.

The Center Objective will be a Mysterious Objective, all the others will be normal. The Night Fighting special rule will be in effect for all rounds.

Round 1

was vs. Kevin F, someone I used to see a lot of around the gaming store back when I first started playing 40K, fell off the Earth a few years ago, and started turning up just as I fell off the Earth. I’d actually been trying to schedule a game with him, so it was nice to start the day out playing him.

It was also the closest game I had over the day.

HQ
Overlord – Warscythe, Mindshackle Scarabs, Sempiternal Weave, Command Barge

Troops
Immortals x10 – Transmorgrification Cryptek
Immortals x10 – Transmorgrification Cryptek
Warriors x9 – Despair Cryptek, Ghost Ark
Warriors x12 – Destruction Cryptek
Warriors x9 – Storm Cryptek, Night Scythe

Fast Attack
Canoptek Scarabs x5

Heavy Support
Canoptek Spyders x3
Monolith

Stuff came in, he shot at it. He focused on trying to ground something, then vomit fire into it until it stopped twitching.  This was also the only game the Ork Boyz saw the end of Turn 2.

We only got through Turn 3.  I’m not sure why we didn’t have nearly enough time; although we weren’t playing quickly, we certainly weren’t playing slowly.

At the end of Turn 3, I’d gotten some stuff into combat and killed a few things, he’d obviously shot some things to bits. I ended up losing by a couple of points.

Round 2

was vs. Aramis, a solid dude from the old gaming club that I haven’t played often though I’ve always enjoyed playing against him.

HQ
Duke Sliscus – Warlord
Baron Sathonyx

Troops
Kabalite Warriors x20 – Splinter Cannon x2
Wyches x5 – Haywire Grenades, Venom
Wyches x5 – Haywire Grenades, Venom
Wyches x5 – Haywire Grenades, Venom

Fast Attack
Beastmasters x3 – Khymerae x5, Razorwing Flocks x4
Beastmasters x3 – Khymerae x5, Razorwing Flocks x4

Heavy Support
Ravager – Flickerfield
Ravager – Flickerfield
Ravager – Flickerfield

Fortification
Aegis Defence Line – Quad-gun

Battle Brothers
Farseer – Guide, Mindwar, Runes of Warding
Guardians x10 – Shuriken Cannon

You can imagine how overwhelming this army looked: twice the bodies I had, not counting all the vehicles… and that quad-gun did a nice job of countering my flyers.

By the end of Turn 3, I’d killed nothing and had nothing left save 8 lonely Blood Horrors hanging out, ready to get jumped on by two Beastmaster Packs. We shook hands and called it: 0 points to 24.  Ouch.

Still, I enjoyed myself, and that’s what really matters.

Round 3 

was against Joe, who’s part of a group of players that have started turning up at the store over the past six  months or so.

HQ
Chaos Lord – Bike, Sigil of Corruption, Melta Bombs, Gift of Mutation, The Black Mace, Warlord
Sorcerer – Terminator Armor, Lvl 3, Spell Familiar, Burning Brand of Skalathrax

Elite
Terminators x10 – Power Axe x5, Power Maul x4, Power Fist x1

Troops
Chaos Space Marines x10 – Meltagun x2, Veterans of the Long War, Power Maul, Rhino
Chaos Cultists x20 – Autoguns
Chaos Cultists x20 – Autoguns

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers x6 – Meltaguns x2, Power Fist x1

Heavy Support
Forgefiend – Extra Ectoplasma Cannon
Forgefiend – Extra Ectoplasma Cannon

To be honest, I went into this expecting a not-great game.  It was super-clear coming off the game with Aramis that my list was bad, Joe had what looked to be some pretty hard units, and he had a friend hanging around the table who I’d just seen kibitz my friend Bart’s 2nd Round Game into a loss (which really kind of pissed me off).  Having folks hang around to chat is cool: having to play two people at once is not cool.  Correcting people on rules is okay: reminding your bro to use such and such psychic powers is not okay.

Fortunately, the chatty cathy wasn’t too bad, so that concern proved to be unfounded, and Joe was a fun opponent. And while his tough units were tough, mine managed to hold their own, too, which never hurts.

Champion of Chaos really worked against him: his Terminators charged into my Bloodthirster… and had to challenge. Although a Bloodthirster is probably going to have a tough time with eleven Terminators, one is actually pretty manageable.  His terminators ended up spending the game tied up with one Bloodthirster or the other.  Ultimately, the second Bloodthirster bopped the Sorcerer on the head, the Terminators had a crap Morale roll, and (unsuccessfully) ran for it. That was pretty game-changing.

Where I’d been tabled in Game 2, I’d managed to do the tabling in Game 3, which was really surprising to me.

Ultimately, the surprising turn of events in the third game helped offset the rolling I got in the second.  Between that and a really great painting score (second highest) managed to put me in sixth overall.

I’d have done much better, I think, if I’d just run my regular old Daemon list. Much lighter in the FMC department but I’d have had a lot more models on the table. Plus, I wouldn’t have wasted points on the Orks. But I don’t regret it; I wanted to run the Orks, so I ran the Orks.

The format worked well, I think.  Everything (from the Secondary Objectives to Kill Points to Objectives) mattered, which is nice.  I get that KP in 5E didn’t work perfectly, but dang it: there’s got to be some drawback to running MSU, and this seemed to do an okay job of making it work. I definitely would like to see more of the format.

Again, overall, I had a great time and it really motivates me to want to get out and play some more.

NoVA Open 2012 – Part 3 – Retrospective

So, I’ve got what feels (to me) like a good handful of thoughts about what worked and what didn’t with the NoVA; enough to merit rattling them off into their own post.  It is important to be clear that this is all presented in the spirit of constructive criticism: I appreciate everyone’s hard work (and the folks involved worked really, really hard)  and I had a great time this weekend. I’m not actually unhappy about anything.

Also, because it’s not constructive to just point out something that needs improvement and leave it at that, I’m going to make sure to include a proposed fix for things that I think need work.

Anyway, I did one of these last year. That seems as good a place as any to start.

What Worked (last year):

  • Paint Scores – I didn’t see any and wasn’t told about any of the paint criteria this year.  Although I doubt they changed it, I can’t comment on this one.
     
  • Format – The format… was different this year.  There was no sportsmanship this year; I’d have liked that to persist.  I had some really great games, and I’d have liked to reflect that with a score.  More significantly, I’m growing deeply leery of the lack of a comp score.  I’m tired of hearing, “Well, there’s no comp score, so I guess I’m supposed to bring a beatstick.”  Comp’s a big, complicated subject, but I would like to see beatstick lists disincentivized.
     
  • Raffles – I don’t believe they did any raffling in the Fantasy room.  If they did, they were extremely sneaky about it.  There were a ton of raffles at the end of the weekend (more on that), though.  Nobody should have walked away without something. I’m going to have to assume that non-40K players weren’t second-class citizens and were equally eligible for door prizes throughout the weekend, as they were at the end.
     
  • Terrain – I’d have preferred Mysterious Terrain, but I accept that it’s a hassle and makes Table A and Table B different (which is a stated thing to avoid).  I forget how we did it last year.
     
  • Hotel – They really stepped it up this year.  They dropped the prices, had more accessible food, improved cell signal.  Same venue: better than last year.

What Could have Used Improvement (last year):

  • Intercom System – They moved Fantasy up two floors.  Boom; not a problem any more.  Our space was quiet enough for everyone to play their game without interruption.  Fixed.
     
  • Schedule – Schedules were printed and, kinda-sorta-for-the-most-part adhered to. At the beginning, however, we were given instruction that there would be no time limit, to prevent slow-play, and that the games would take what they took. That wasn’t exactly how things worked out, but it was close.  That helped save us from the “5 minutes left” problem I had last year.
     
  • Cell Signal – Not a problem at all this year.  Fixed.
     
  • Food – The hotel had a hotel-priced (aka “expensive”) but reasonable (aka “not nearly as expensive as it could have been”) food stand outside of the 40K area.  This went a long way towards mitigating any problems from last year.  Fixed.

So, pretty much everything that stood out last year: still a thing this year.  Everything I thought needed fixing last year: fixed.  It should be clear that responsiveness and improvement is a laudable, essential thing in a big event like this.


So, for this year:

What Worked:

  • Vendors – There were more vendors this year. The War Store had Dark Vengeance on Saturday. There was a guy selling Osprey books (he only had one I needed, and I think he forgot to check his stock for Matchlock Musketeer and English Civil War Fortifications for me, but I can’t fault him too much for that).  One of the sponsors, Grex, had  a booth set up for folks to test their airbrushes.
     
  • 5 Hour Energy – 5 Hour Energy sponsored the weekend.  They just gave them away, free the whole time. I should have taken more advantage of that: I might have won Game 3. :)
     
  • Closing Ceremony – It was nice to put every system’s achievement in front of everyone else.  I liked that.  Also, as I said, everyone there walked away with something.  Literally.
     
  • Painting Contest – This is a good addition to the weekend.
     
  • Seminars – So were these.

What Could Have Used Improvement:

  • Scenarios – Have you seen them?  They’re boring.  They’re all Pitched Battle + some special objectives that don’t have much of an impact on the way you play the game.  The point of each game is to kill as much as the other guy as possible and, oh hey +2 Battle Points because of X.  The other book missions are in there for a reason; I hate Dawn Attack and Meeting Engagement, sure, but Battle for the Pass might have been a welcome change of pace and Blood and Glory and Watchtower (which wouldn’t have worked b/c of the “Buildings are Impassable” rule, but still) have a healthy impact on how you build your list.

    Furthermore, the line-of-sight, level rule change did nothing but cause confusion.  It solved no disputes, only introduced them.  It’s a bad, regressive rule.

    Proposed Fix: Better, more varied scenarios. Take a lesson from the 40K side of the house, which emphasizes different ways of winning besides, “I killed him harder than he killed me.”  Drop the level based LOS rule.
     

  • Score Sheets – The score sheets had the scenarios and bonus objective rules written on them. This is great.  It’s the only great thing about them, however.  They were woefully incapable of capturing the sort of data you want on a score sheet.  A score sheet needs to capture:
    • Player Name
    • Opponent’s Name (or at the very least Table #)
    • Player VP Opponent’s VP (it’s too easy a checksum to not capture)
    • Player Result (Major Victory, etc)
    • Player Battle Points
    • Opponent’s Battle Points (again, too easy a checksum to ignore)
    • Breaking up Battle Point sources into Scenario, Bonus, etc, could also be useful, but not necessary

    Instead, the sheet captured: Did you Win/Lose, Your Battle Points from the Mission, Your Battle Points from the Bonus Objectives, those two numbers added together.  Note that there’s no space for your name on there, even.

    Proposed Fix: Do a better score sheet.  Identify the fields that need capturing and make sure there’s a place for them.  I’ve already decided to work up something for them.
     

  • Post-Event Coverage – There’s understandably a lot of noise about the weekend leading up to it and even doing it.  The 11th Company freaking broadcasts all weekend, including the championship games.  Awesome.  And then, after it’s over, that’s basically the last you hear of it from the NoVA team until the next year, and that drives me nuts.

    This should have been an item last year, even.  They had a staff photographer, who took pictures of all the different painting winners.  I have yet to see those photographs (I gave up looking for them after 3-4 months; I really wanted to see a pro photographer’s pictures of my Skaven).  I mentioned the other day that I think Ken Stubbs won Undefeated?  It was a long day, so I don’t trust my memory… but the scores for the weekend aren’t posted anywhere.  That’s nuts.

    There’s a web presence, and it should be used before and after the event.

    Proposed Fix: Post the weekend’s results, as soon as practically possible, to NovaOpen.com.  Ditto any official photographs.  A delay is understandable (a longer one for photos than for scores), but get ’em up there!
     

  • Paint Judging Locations – This year, 40K was on one floor and the other events were two floors up from it.  That meant the paint judging team expected Fantasy players to load up their display boards and somehow negotiate them down two floors via escalator or elevator to the 40K room for judging and then back up.

    That I didn’t start dropping f-bombs on learning this is a testament to my respect for the guys doing the paint judging and an understanding that they were understaffed.

    Fantasy players have something between 2x and (given the number of flyers zipping around downstairs) 10x the minis that 40K players have. I’m shocked and thankful that nobody’s army was utterly destroyed on the precarious and lengthy trip to the judging area.  Also, the lighting was much better in the Fantasy area.

    They came up and judged a few people’s armies (including mine), because we complained.  I’m deeply thankful for that: I’m honestly not sure if I would have passed on being paint judged otherwise.

    Proposed Fix: Put paint judges in each area or, at least, on each floor play is taking place in. Because each army gets evaluated by more than one judge, swap them out.  Have Bob upstairs in the morning and then downstairs in the afternoon.

    Or, alternatively, have the paint judging team in different places at different times of day.  Before 1PM, the team will be here, afterwards, there. If the expectation is that someone is going to have to suck it up and risk their hard work negotiating the length of a busy hotel, that sucking up should be distributed amongst all of the players, not just a few of them.

    In a perfect world, there’d be some sort of schedule for paint judging… but I recognize and accept that that’s not the case at all. It’d be hopelessly impractical.

    At the very least, a solution must be found that doesn’t require people to risk hundreds of dollars’ worth of models and hours’ worth of work shuttling their armies any farther than they must.
     

  • The Painting Contest – This was their first year for a standalone Painting Contest, so I think a lot of slack is called for.  There were some really strong entries in it, I think, so I don’t feel anything but happiness for the folks that won.  However (and this is a two-parter):

    1 – I don’t actually know what won.  I know who won, but because there were (rightfully) no names on the entries, I don’t know what won four of the six categories.  The two I do know, I only know their painters and was able to track them down and ask.  (That’s a lot of “knows.”)

    This is a particularly visual competition, and there’s a substantial disconnect between the person shaking hands and collecting the prize and what people want to know about how they won.

    Proposed Fix: Make sure to describe the winning entry, so folks can know what won.  If feasible (and maybe it’s not), put a photo or two of the winners on a projector.

    2 – The competition rules were neither followed nor enforced.

    When I said “I’m not actually unhappy about anything” upthread, I lied. (Sorry about that.) I actually am unhappy about this, because it meant that I only had two entries instead of four.  I don’t think they’d have done any better, but for me that’s not the point.  (I have a realistic enough opinion of my painting skills that I my primary source of pride comes from competing in, not winning this sort of thing.)  I was unable to submit as many entries as other contestants, because I read the rules and expected them to be followed.

    As a refresher, at the Golden Daemon, I tried entering my Fimir (on a 40mm base) into Single Mini, and it was bumped to Monster.  “40mm bases and up,” I was told, “are too large for Single Mini.”  So, when it came time to figure out what I’d enter here, I read the rules, and saw clear as day “Single miniature, roughly human sized, 25mm to 32mm on a 40mm or smaller base.”  I didn’t have anything I wanted to enter on a larger base (that I wouldn’t be using in the tournament), so I didn’t enter anything in the SFB and FRB categories.

    You can just imagine my chagrin when I later learned how the first pick for the SFB was on a 40mm base.  Or that many of the entries were on 40mm bases.  I expect the winner was probably on one as well but because I don’t know what the actual winning entry was (see above), I can’t be sure.  The winner of the FRB category, I could have sworn, was a diorama.

    Some of the judges complimented Michael Shaefer (who won Best in Show with his awesome diorama) that he’d been the only person who read the rules: everyone else submitted units on Golden Daemon-style unit bases and that they’d called for “dioramas.” Not to detract from Michael’s well-deserved victory, but the rules also called for a “Diorama of 3 -10 miniatures” and unless I missed something (which is possible), I only saw two figures in his diorama, not the three.  No, nobody followed the rules.

    At the time, I’d thought, “Yeah, the rules should have been more clear.” Now that I’m rereading them for the purposes of this post, though, they’re perfectly, unambiguously clear.  They’re maybe a little hard to find on the site, (“Creativity & Painting” -> “Painting Contest” -> “More Details” -> “Painting Contest Rules” and then “Eligibility, Requirements, and Additional Information”), but not that hard.

    The stakes for this contest are huge: big, big prizes.  They’re too big to play fast and loose with the rules.  Games Workshop sticks to their rules big time, and the Golden Daemon prizes don’t have nearly the same dollar value attached to them.

    I’m certainly happy for all of the winners and content with my performance. I’m just steamed over the disconnect between the rules and the actual contest.  To be honest, the more I think about it, the more steamed I get, so I’m going to try to forget about it as soon as I’m done with this post. :)

    Proposed Fix: I accept that, hey, if nobody followed the rules for two categories you either have to throw out those rules and let people compete with what they brought, or say, “Well, all of you people failed at reading comprehension.  No valid entries.”

    One is more fair than the other.  If you’re going to discard the rules and let folks enter with whatever they brought, you’re doing a disservice to the folks who read actually the dang rules and chose not to try to submit an illegal entry.  You’re rewarding the folks who didn’t read the rules or read the rules and didn’t care.  If, at the last minute, you decide to allow units on unit bases, you’re cheating all of the folks who’d have entered a unit on a unit base but didn’t because they were initially told they couldn’t.

    I believe the only fair option is to 1) enforce the rules and 2) reject entries that don’t meet them.  The stakes are far, far too large to place

    3 – It’s also curious that it wasn’t worked into the closing ceremony.  Given that the prizes involved are Big Time, I’d think they’d merit everybody’s attention.  Not that the ceremony needed to be longer, though…
     

  • Closing Ceremony – Ran… long.  It started something like 30 minutes late (unfortunate, but these things happen), and went what? an hour and a half?  It certainly felt like most of that was due to people winning raffles and not being there to claim them… or the person after them… or the person after them… or the person after them…  etc.

    I get that it was a long weekend, and not everyone wanted to hang around for even longer, but jeez.

    And really, there wasn’t much in the way of wasted time besides the calling names and waiting for folks to (not) shout, “Right here!”

    Proposed Fix: None.  I don’t think there’s anything that should have been excised from the ceremony (heck, I just suggested moving something new into it), and there’s nothing you can do about people packing up and leaving. 


Really, except for only being able to enter two minis to the painting contest instead of four, I’m not actually unhappy about anything.  Pretty much everything I called out as working well from last year was present this year.  Everything I called out as needing improvement last year was improved this year.  I have confidence that I’ll be saying the same thing next year.

I had a fantastic time this weekend, and am very, very much looking forward to next year.

The rest of the weekend:

And, with that, I think I’m done writing about NoVA 2012. :)

NoVA Open 2012 – Part 2 – Game Reports

The Fantasy GT was originally scheduled to be six games but, because some folks dropped out and no-showed (I assume), only the five games were necessary.

I ran my Skaven (which I think we all knew was happening, right?).  It was my usual list, further tweaked a little bit to (hopefully) better handle Ogres.

Lords
Warlord (General) – War-Litter, Weeping Blade, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone
Grey Seer – Talisman of Preservation

Heroes
Chieftain (BSB) – Shield, Armor of Destiny
Plague Priest – Plague Furnace, Flail, Dispel Scroll, Ironcurse Icon
Warlock Engineer – Doomrocket
Warlock Engineer – Death Globe, Ruby Ring of Ruin

Core
Clanrats x30 – Full Command, Shields
– Warpfire Thrower
Skavenslaves x44 – Champion, Musician, Shields
Stormvermin x20 – Full Command, Storm Banner
– Warpfire Thrower

Special
Gutter Runners x6 – Poison, Slings
Gutter Runners x6 – Poison, Slings
Plague Monks x31 – Full Command, Plague Banner

Rare
Hellpit Abomination
Warp Lightning Cannon
Warp Lightning Cannon

No surprises there, right?

The Weeping Blade never really came up, but it never felt like a waste.  The second cannon worked out brilliantly.  The second Engineer with the globes and ruby ring was crap.  I might have gotten more use out of the ring (maybe), but the globes were a waste.  I’d have gotten far more mileage out of a ward save on my Priest.


Anyway, as I said the other day, “Five games total, three really great games, four really fun games, and one game that wasn’t all that great (but hey, could have been a lot worse).”  With five games, you’re bound to have at least a bad game or two, my low this weekend was “Not great but not bad.”

Plus, given that the field was something like 60% Ogre Kingdoms: only one game against them is pretty shocking/fortunate.  High fives all around.

Unfortunately, while I’ve got everyone’s army lists, I failed to note VPs or even game results.  I can’t seem to find the results/standings anywhere, so I’m going from memory here on those.


Game 1 – Michael Shaefer’s Lizardmen

Lords
Slann (General, BSB) – Becalming Cogitation, Focused Rumination, Cupped Hands,

Heroes
Skink Priest – Blood Statuette of Spite, Dispel Scroll

Core
Saurus Warriors x40 – Full Command, Spears
Skink Skirmishers x10
Skink Skirmishers x10
Skink Skirmishers x10

Special
Chameleon Skinks x8
Kroxigor x5 – Champion
Temple Guard x20 – Full Command, Glittering Scales (Champion)

Rare
Razordons x2 – Skinks x8
Salamanders x2 – Skinks x8
Salamanders x2 – Skinks x7

During the pre-tournament milling about and army-gazing, I stopped by Michael’s army and chatted the longest by far.  It’s gorgeous; I wasn’t surprised at all when he won one of the painting contest awards (Best Diorama) or when he won Best in Show.  He’s an extremely talented painter.

I did remark on how many Salamanders & Razordons he had: “I hope I don’t have to play you!”  So, of course I did, first round.

Michael’s a local guy that I hadn’t really met before.

It was a great way to start the tournament.  I’ve got a high opinion of my army’s appearance, and two great lookin’ armies throwing down is our hobby at its best

The game was kind of slow paced. While it’s nice to know that I’ve gotten faster at playing (I know it’s a problem I’ve had), it does make me much more aware of when my opponent has to take a lot of time to think things through.

A couple of stand out moments:

  • Plague Monks smacking into the Temple Guard and just about obliterating them.  Man, those rats hit hard when they want to.
  • Michael getting a mite too clever in trying to pin down the Abomination (by keeping him from changing his facing), but ensuring his Salamanders overshot him with their fiery breath

It was a good, fun game against a really nice guy with a gorgeous army.  What’s not to love?

In the end, although it looked like I’d just about tabled him, between not being able to (fully) take out his Saurus Warriors and the pretty severe casualties he’d inflicted on me, it was much closer than I’d have expected.  Still,

Game 2 – Eric McKee’s Orcs & Goblins

Lords
Orc Warboss (General) – Wyvern, Charmed Shield, Dragonbane Gem, Potion of Strength, Sword of Bloodshed

Heroes
Black Orc Big Boss – Armor of Silvered Steel
Goblin Big Boss (BSB) – Gigantic Spider, Light Armour, Enchanted Shield, Sword of Striking
Night Goblin Big Boss – Great Cave Squig, Great Weapon, Light Armour, Dragonhelm
Orc Shaman – War Boar, Dispel Scroll

Core
Forest Goblin Spider Riders x5 – Musician
Forest Goblin Spider Riders x5 – Musician
Goblin Wolf Riders x5 – Musician, Shields
Goblin Wolf Riders x5 – Musician, Shields
Night Goblins x30 – Full Command, Netters
– Fanatics x3
Orc Boyz x30 – Full Command, Shields

Special 
Goblin Spear Chukka
Goblin Spear Chukka
Night Goblin Squig Herd x13 – Herders x7
Night Goblin Squig Hoppers x5
Orc Boar Chariot
Savage Orc Boar Boyz – Musician, Standard, Big ‘Uns, Spear, Shield,
Snotlings x2
Trolls x3

Rare
Giant
Mangler Squig

Eric’s a fellow CGL’er (even if he doesn’t make it out to play all that much), and we’ve played more than a few times before.  He’s got a really cool Orc & Goblin army that’s all-squig.  Dang near everything’s converted up to be squig-like.  It works really well, I think.

Unfortunately, his army’s still optimized for 7th edition with MSU units out of the wazoo.  Between an unreasonable number of failed Stupidity checks and a couple of lucky rounds of shooting on my part, and the game’s outcome was pretty clear early on.

We plugged along through the game anyway, though, and he ended up doing better than he expected.  Even though he lost, he managed to make up a lot of points and close the gap quite a bit.

It was a good, fun game and, despite the beating he took, I think Eric had an alright time, too.  If there’d been a sportsmanship vote, he’d have gotten mine.

Game 3 – Ken Stubbs’ Warriors of Chaos

Lords
Sorcerer Lord (General) – Lvl 4, Death, Chaos Steed, Crown of Command, Spellshield, Talisman of Preservation

Heroes
Chaos Sorceror – Lvl 2, Death, Chaos Steed, Charmed Shield, Dragonbane Gem, Favor of the Gods, Infernal Puppet, Third Eye of Tzeentch
Exalted Hero (BSB) – Tzeentch, Chaos Steed, Shield, Biting Blade, Bronze Armour of Zhrakk, Dawnstone, Ironcurse Icon
Exalted Hero – Tzeentch, Chaos Steed, Halberd, Book of Secrets, Power Familiar

Core
Chaos Warhounds x5
Chaos Warhounds x5
Chaos Warriors x22 – Khorne, Full Command, Halberd, Shield, Rapturous Standard
Marauder Horsemen x5 – Slaanesh, Musician, Standard Bearer, Flails, Throwing Axes
Marauder Horsemen x5 – Slaanesh, Musician, Standard Bearer, Flails, Throwing Axes

Special
Chaos Knights x8 – Tzeentch, Full Command, Standard of Discipline

Rare
Chaos Warshrine – Tzeentch
Chaos Warshrine – Tzeentch

So, that happened.  IIRC, Ken went undefeated over the weekend.

I could ramble, I think, about how he brought a dickish, unfun army meant to winwinWIN… but I actually really enjoyed my game against him.  It was a tremendously unfun army to play against, yes, but he was a great guy to have across the table and we had a great time.  That’s a lot more important, yes?

Also, the more I’ve thought about this game, the more convinced I am that if it hadn’t have been the last game of the day, I’d have done much better.  I was seriously fried by the end of the day, and made a lot of pretty bad calls.  I’m not saying I’d have won, mind you, but it’d have been a lot closer (and maybe, just maybe it’d have been possible).

Ken’d come up with several Cobra Kai folks from North Carolina. (They’re running Southern Assault in about a month, and there’s a chance I’ll make it down to to that.)

Anyway, out of the gate, he got some solid rolls from the Warshrines: giving his death star unit Stubborn and 4+ (3+ because of Tzeentch) and +1 Toughness from the get-go.

IIRC, I managed to kill everything save the death star cavalry unit and the two Warshrines.  (Warshrines make me lament Warp Lightning Cannons’ variable strength.  If I didn’t have to worry about maybe being Strength 2 or 4 or whatever, I’d just hammer away and look to an eventual failed ward save.)  He, of course, got most of my stuff.

The stand out moment, to me, was after he’d Purple Sun’d my Stormvermin down to the Warlord, Greyseer, and command.  Then, using Third Eye of Tzeentch, stole Curse of the Horned Rat and turned the unit into (his) Clanrats.  Very well played.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure this was a Major Loss for me.  He beat the crap out of me, but I still really enjoyed the game.  That says a lot about him, I think.

Game 4 – Brad Close’s Daemons of Chaos

Lords
Bloodthirster (General) – Armour of Khorne, Firestorm Blade, Immortal Fury, Spell Breaker

Heroes
Herald of Khorne (BSB) – Armour of Khorne, Banner of Unholy Victory, Firestorm Blade
Herald of Slaanesh – Siren Song
Herald of Tzeentch – Flames of Tzeentch, Master of Sorcery (Life)

Core
Bloodletters x38 – Full Command, Icon of Endless War
Daemonettes x20 – Full Command, Banner of Ecstasy
Furies x5

Special 
Flamers of Tzeentch x6

Rare
Fiends of Slaanesh x6
Fiend of Slaanesh x1

Somehow, I failed to get a picture of Brad’s army.

Brad quibbled about the rules, kind of a lot.  Unfortunately, that’s something I respond to (and I respond to it by quibbling even more) and I’m sure that’s something he responded to, resulting even more quibbling.  Quibblepocalypse.  So, there were kind of a lot of rules arguments during the game, and I hate that.

But hey, I’ve played in some bad games, and this was not one of them.  It was just argumentative and a little exhausting.  Those happen, and it was probably as much my fault as it was his.

Anyway, according to fellow club member Joey, Brad’s a local guy who shows up at local RTT’s occasionally.

The Abomination got into it with his block of fiends before the end of Turn 1 (they failed a Frenzy check) kept him safe from the Flamers (which were the old Flamers, not the new ones if you’re wondering why numbers don’t add up), which made a big difference.

Plague Monks killed the bejesus out of the horde of Bloodletters (like, for serious), which made me feel pretty good about myself.

Unfortunately, I was never able to kill the Bloodthirster.  The Herald of Tzeentch, of course, spent every turn healing him, which meant that I needed 5 wounds through his Toughness 6, 3+ Armour, 5+ Ward in a single round… and that just didn’t happen.  I did manage to shut down the spell occasionally (including a very lucky double-6 dispel roll on three dice), but never for long enough to put him down.

I think this was just a Minor Loss.  He didn’t have much on the table besides the Bloodthirster and the Daemonettes by the end, but it wasn’t enough by a long shot.

Game 5 – Wesley Cogdal’s Ogre Kingdoms

Lords
Slaughtermaster (General) – Lvl 4, Fencer’s Blades, Glittering Scales, Dispel Scroll

Heroes
Bruiser (BSB) – Heavy Armour, Ironfist, Crown of Command, Dragonhelm
Firebelly – Hellheart

Core
Ironguts x9 – Standard Bearer, Lookout Gnoblar
Ogres x9 – Standard Bearer, Musician, Ironfist, Lookout Gnoblar

Special
Leadbelchers x8 – Musician
Mournfangs x3 – Standard Bearer, Musician, Heavy Armour, Ironfist
Sabretusk x1
Sabretusk x1

Rare
Ironblaster
Stonehorn

What a great way to end the tournament, huh?  I started the tournament playing against a great guy with a gorgeous army and ended it playing against a great guy with a gorgeous army.

Wesley’s the guy behind Stiff Neck Studio, and he and his crew’d flown out from the Pacific Northwest to sponsor the NoVA.  I’m quite confident that that’s why he didn’t win best army: as a sponsor, he couldn’t.

I mean, just look at that.

We had a great game.  It was low-key, relaxed, and friendly.  There was a lot of back and forth: it was a very close game.

Yes, it was an Ogre Kingdoms list, but it was a relatively soft one.  Only three Mournfangs, for example.  A Stonehorn (which isn’t bad, but I’m not used to seeing them).  Just one Ironblaster.  No. Horde. Of. Ogres.

At the end of the game, I got very tactical and tricksy in terms of whittling him down and denying him points. For example, in my final turn, the Grey Seer went all in on a Skitterleap to get across the board and to safety: yes, he miscast, but at that point, there was no rat around him to care.

Unfortunately, during all of that over-thinking, I made a pretty big mistake.  It got down to his Stonehorn charging my Clanrats.  After a lot of deliberation, I fled with the Clanrats.  Huge mistake.  They ran farther than average, which put them through an Engineer-less Slave unit and off the table.  The Slaves panicked, and were off the table.  The Stornhorn shrugged and redirected into a Cannon, which it unsurprisingly obliterated.  So, rather than giving up 155 points from the Clanrats (which, furthermore, probably would have died, but dice are dice and you never know), I gave up those 155 points, plus 116 for the slaves and 90 for the cannon.

I lost by 196 points.  (If I’d chosen correctly, I’d have won by 10 points.)  That’s an insanely close game.

A great opponent running a gorgeous army in a win-by-the-nose game: perfect.


Even though I didn’t do nearly as well this year (2/3/0) as I did last year (4/1/0, Best Overall), I had an excellent time.  I’m pretty sure I enjoyed more of my games and more this year.

The rest of the weekend:

NoVA Open 2012 – Part 1 – Overview

I had a great time this weekend at the NoVA.  As expected, I was unable to repeat last year’s ridiculously successful showing, but I still did okay for myself and– more importantly– had a really great time.

Seeing as how I’ve got a lot to write about, I’m going to break things up into a few posts: an overview of the weekend today (obviously), followed by the usual game-by-game breakdown (actual pictures in that post, I swear!), and then finally a post where I’ll look at how what needed improvement from last year’s convention shook out, plus some comments about what did and didn’t work with this year’s.

Hobby

I had nothing going on on Friday save two hobby seminars run by MisterJustin from Secret Weapon Miniatures.  They were (relatively) early in the morning; ideally, I’d have done the other sessions, but there was just no time: these were basically the only slots that didn’t have me up at the middle of the night or conflict with the GT.  Fortunately, traffic (and an unhelpful GPS) made me only 10 minutes late on the drive in from Manassas.

Anyway, Justin ran three seminars: airbrushing, weathering powders and basing.

The airbrushing seminar was very, very inspiring. I’ve needed something along these lines for a while: getting into airbrushing is hard, and while YouTube helps, it doesn’t quite compare to having someone three feet away from you walking you through what they’re doing and why.  I’m going to do more airbrushing, now.  It’s gonna happen.  I think I’m going to start with some Dark Vengeance minis.

The weathering powders seminar was interesting, but exciting to me.  It doesn’t help that I’m simply not all that nuts about having things super-weathered… or that I just had a lot of trouble getting the powders to behave the way I wanted them to.  Still, it’s a neat technique, and nothing compares with having an expert walk you through what he’s doing from feet away.  I wish I’d had a project that was ready for weathering; I’d have gotten a lot of mileage out of bringing it with me, I think.

What was far more interesting was the realization that doing decent weathering requires a holistic comprehension of the reality you’re trying to replicate on the model.  Since the preceding example was probably barely English, the example he brought up a couple of times was: you need to understand that mud dries differently on the the hull of a tank (inside-out because the vehicle’s engine makes the hull hot) than on the treads/wheels (outside-in because, hey, that’s how mud dries).  Weathering requires far more thinking than just drybrushing Calthan Brown on your models’ feet and calling it a day.

I passed on the basing seminar.  On reflection, I think I’d have gotten more value out of it than I would have from the weathering seminar.  I certainly had nothing keeping me from doing it.

Painting

This was the first year NoVA did a full-on, big deal painting contest.  At the last minute (Thursday night), I’d remembered this, so I read the rules (more on that later), grabbed some entries (my Dark Heresy character and a D&D antagonist that I’m really proud of).  As usual, nothing painted specifically for competition, just a, “Hey, there’s a painting contest, I have no excuse not to enter something.”

Although I couldn’t tell you who won four out of the six categories (see: feedback, later), it was plain that there were a good couple of fistfuls of stronger entries than mine.  No shame in losing to competition that fierce.

The Tournament

I’ll do a detailed breakdown of my games in my next post, but the short version is: I went 2/3/0.

I started the tournament on a great foot, and ended it on a great foot.  Five games total, three really great games, four really fun games, and one game that wasn’t all that great (but hey, could have been a lot worse).  That’s fabulous for a GT.

I won best fantasy single mini with my Ruby Ring of Ruin Warlock Engineer, which I was quite pleased with. As with the standalone painting contest, there was some really amazing competition.

Social

I got to catch up with a good handful of IFL guys that I haven’t seen since probably last year’s NoVA.  That was nice (even if it did have me up until stupid late on Saturday night).  Also saw a mess of other folks, like Bob that are great to hang out with that I only ever see at things like NoVA.

Between that, and meeting some new folks at the gaming table has really motivated me (as did the last tournament I played in) to get out and play with a wider selection of folks.  I’ve very much settled into a rut over the past year where I really only play against a small handful of people: I really need to change that.

The rest of the weekend: