Astronomi-con Vancouver 2010

So while I was busy not posting here, I finished off the battlewagon, considered the dethkoptas done, painted the animosity orks, found the princess and won the title “Champion of the Universe”.

During the last week before Astro Van (which was this last weekend, and which will be the subject of this post eventually), I was painting up a storm. I wasn’t rushing, but I was rushing. I painted well, slow and with purpose. But I’m not entirely happy with how the colours turned out. More on that in another post, but the point here is that I didn’t feel I had enough time to stop and take a photo and write about what I was doing. So when I get a moment to take some pictures, I’ll try to back-fill.

Astro is the tournament highlight of my summer. As I told a person video-graphing the event – when I first went, I was worried that Duke and Derrick had over-hyped it and so I’d be disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed. This event brings all of the coolest nerds in this city together to celebrate this fine hobby. The scenarios are all interesting, making you think far more than my poor little brain is capable of doing, but I relish the challenge. If you read this, and you play Warhammer 40k and you don’t go to this tournament, I suggest you make time next year around the end of August.

Now that I’ve gushed all over it, we can get down to details. 6 game tournament, and I think I have something to say about all of the games, although I doubt I’ll remember all of them in detail.

Game 1: Damnunition

Each game has a special scenario. For this one you have 6 crates around the table, and pick up (you can carry them) more than your opponent. All difficult terrain is dangerous, which makes it a little interesting. I played against an all drop-pod Space Marine army. I deployed my troops in a tight ball, so I could defend where needed. First turn I spread out just a little bit, setting myself up to take a crate or two, depending on where he dropped. His turn, he drops two pods right in the middle of my army.

I’m an Ork player. Most people expend massive effort trying to get away from me. This guy drops a 10 man tactical squad and a dreadnought with a twin-linked flamer and a flamer in my back porch. Kills a bunch of guys,. I attack back and kill the two units. Next turn he drops more, and I can’t clean them up as quickly.

He won the game. I think mostly because he was directing the flow of the game the entire time. At no point did I have an opportunity to take a squad and grab a crate. Worse, I made HIM able to, because I broke a squad of his, he’d run and auto-regroup and then he would have 2 guys in the back field able to do something.

Game 2: Sulfur Flats

All of the yellow stuff on this table was 6+ cover and difficult terrain. Victory point mission otherwise. The yellow was in just enough places to be interesting.

I played against a Deathwing army that was painted like some Chaos guys. Really cool guy, fun game. My usual weekend goes something like “First game, play really smart, and then brainpower drops rapidly after that.” I felt like I played this game really smart. But it wasn’t enough, at the end he had a squad of terminators that I couldn’t deal with, and he shot me to death. He won that game with shooting in the last turn of the game. I’ll try to remember the scenario. I think it was victory points.

Game 3: Hill 0.25

This scenario is table-quarters, with the massive hill in the center counting as a quarter. So table fifths, actually. I think I played this one smart as well, but again, got a loss.

My opponent was Guard, so there was no way I would be able to hold the hill for any length of time. I kept my troops back and took what shots I could around the edges of his army where he had less ranged. I did ok, until his Heavy 20 tank stomped up onto the hill. At that point I had to remove it, or it would be raining shots down on me. I pulled a cross maneuver to get my meganobs on the tank and my slugga boys on another squad and took them out, hoping that the meganobs could take a little firepower.

Well, they could, but they broke and ran with 3 guys and just kept running. I’ve told myself that I should run my Warboss with them, but that needs some more thinking. Another mistake I made was that I left a tank on top of the hill after the nobs got out. That tank could have held a table quarter and maybe tied the game!

Game 4: Lost in the Mist

A scenario where shooting was reduce to a 5+ against a Demonhunters army. He was screwed from the beginning. I got a win here.

This opponent is funny. I play him every tournament at about the game time. We both lose our way to the bottom of the pile, and then we play each other. I expected to play him game 3, but apparently he got 2 draws so it didn’t happen that way 🙂

This was another game that I felt I played really smartly. I learned a lot about Terminators from Game 2, and I applied that knowledge here. I didn’t rush in, and I didn’t put troops where they were flapping in the wind. I consolidated my forces and applied pressure properly, and I won.

Game 5: Hammer and Ambull

This scenario has 3 monster models that randomly come onto the table. 4+ to come on, if they aren’t on the table. 6D6 scatter in a random direction from the center of the table. These things had a hate on for me – I lost my dethkopas to them and they followed me around for the rest of the game. >.<

I don’t remember much about this game, except that I made a critical mistake in strategy. Playing against Guard, I drove forward through a forest on the edge of the table and flamed the snot out of them. Felt good. And then the Valkyries appeared on the table edge and flamed me back, and I couldn’t take the heat. If I’d tried to stay a little further away from the edge this would have been better. Maybe not though. If I’d gone to the middle instead, I would have been shot by the Guard instead of flamed. Also, his flamers/meltaguns were in Valkyries, so they could drive onto the table. Thinking about this now, I think I was out-deployed, and not necessarily out-played.

Game 6: Field of Screams

Everything on the table except the outside 6 inches was dangerous and difficult terrain. Oh goody.

I would have sworn I was going to lose this game, but somehow I didn’t. Against a shooting Tau army. I spent most of the game trying to arrange my trukks/battlewagon so that they could ferry Orks across the table. Except for some nonsense in the middle with two transports and the meganobs and burnas wandering back and forth (I lost 2/3rds of the burnas to dangerous terrain tests…), this was another well-played game.

Nothing else to say?

I think that’s about all I’ve got for this report. Good tournament, and I’m sad it’s over, even as I recover from the nerd-hangover of the weekend. I don’t really have any other projects in mind right now, but a few floating in my mind:

  1. Write some scenarios. I’ve got two scenarios in mind that I’d like to write. 2 potential Fantasy scenarios, in an attempt at increasing the level of Fantasy scenarios in the world. 1 potential 40k. We’ll see if I do anything with this.
  2. Work on a Tyranid army. The Orks are “done for now”. I’d like to do a shooting/artillery Ork army, but it will be a lot of models and effort. I have 80% of a Tyranid army collected and 50% painted, so it’s less effort. Also I’m trying to design one that might win games once in a while, unlike my Orks. Warseer, here we come!
  3. Build a display tray. I have some plans for a display tray, but my woodworking skills aren’t very good. Trying to get feedback from some people on what to do. I’ll probably post my thoughts on that relatively soon, since I think it’s the project that is most likely to float to the top.
  4. Organize another mini-Astro. Duke and I did a one day tournament last January, and I’m stoked to do it again. We know more now, it can only get easier with time!