Time again for the yearly 40k tournament that I look forward to from the time it’s announced until several weeks after it’s over (then I forget about it again for a few months). Get a lot of great people, a great game and some great scenarios together, mix liberally with alcohol and burgers and you have a recipe for a great (almost said terrific) weekend!
I’ll do a small play-by-play after the break, you can skip it if you’re bored easily by long and drawn-out descriptions of board games (and then I rolled a 5 and a 6!), but the first part here should be good.
Aside from the amazing community that comes together for this tournament, the other outstanding part is the scenarios. Astro spoiled me for scenarios from the first time I attended. I’ve always loved jamming on game rules, but…it seems like outside of the Astro organizers, very few people actually want to do this. It leads other tournaments to seem lifeless and limp by comparison. When you play by the basic games in the rulebook, or even some simple modifications on them, you end up with a basic game of “kill the other dude”, a game which I’m not terribly good it.
That game involves tons of study and research amongst 12 (?) armies, with 20 choices each, all with special rules, magic items, wargear, characters that you have to connect together to create the perfect destructive force. I’m not good at that kind of analysis – my brain stops working about 2 pages in. What I am good at – a much more instinct-based form of reasoning, and Astro tends to reward that more. Instead of “kill the other dude”, you play “pick up more boxes than the other dude”, for example. This means you have to think a bit more on the table, instead of front-loading a lot of your thinking, and then applying your choices to how to most efficiently remove your opponents models from the table.
Which, in turn, makes the games much more interesting. For me, at least, because not once in 6 games was I able to out shoot, out melee, or out psychic power my opponent. But 3.5 times I out-maneuvered, and in 5 of the 6 games I felt as though I had meaningful choices to make at every step. That’s a massive change for 40k, in my opinion!
At the end, I came up 2nd in Appearance (painting), 1st in Sportsmanship and 2nd Overall. If I’d known I was a contender for Overall, I would have put more effort into my army list! Sportsmanship is a really hard thing to win – you have to somehow convince all 6 of your opponents that not only are you a fun-loving guy worth 5 points, but that your army is fun and thematic and worth 5 points, and THEN you have to win more Tournament Points than all the other lucky guys who also convinced their 6 opponents that they and their armies were great. Sportsmanship ties are broken by how well you did at beating people up, the theory being that if you beat up a lot of people and they still loved you, you must be pretty awesome. I’ve tied for 1st before, but I’ve never performed so well at the battle part of the tournament to have won that tie-break! Yay me!
If you want the play-by-play, click the jump. If you don’t, thanks for reading and I’ll have photos of new terrain up soon! (and maybe some photos of the flyer…soooo amazing looking!)
Game 1: Some victory point battle against Dave Handy. Mr Handy was described to me this weekend as The Ork, and it fits. His total collection has to be something amazing to look at, because I’ve run into him twice at tournaments and his conversions embody the spirit of creativity and fun that I try to put in to everything I’ve done in my own army.
He was playing a heavy-shooting Ork army, and he rolled the Ruins Warlord trait. His first comment “aww, there’s no ruins!” and then I said “Sure there is, lots of ruins, that one and that one…” Maybe I shouldn’t have been so generous. I spent most of this game trying to run grots off of a ruin.
My first experience with the new Night Fighting rules, I think I like them. I spend a lot of time complaining about GWs propensity towards “high risk/high reward” or “high reward/ridiculously low probability” rules because I think that Ghostcrawler (from Warcraft) is right – that shit isn’t good game-play. There’s nothing fun about all-or-nothing, you can’t think your way out of all-or-nothing to get a slightly better chance, you either have it, or you don’t. NF in the old rules was a case of the former – if you roll well you get to shoot. If you don’t roll well, you don’t get to shoot. The new NF rules is a gradient – at a certain distance your opponent gets a good cover case bonus, getting smaller as they get closer. Gradients are good. Sharp cut-offs are bad. New NF rules good.
I lost this game with 5 Tournament Points (TPs).
Game 2: I played Les. Les is a great dude to play against! His army, less great to play against…that’s unfair. I had a terrific game, but only for two reasons (1) Les is a great opponent, even when he’s systematically pulling your army apart and (2) I had a chance to think my way out of a complete disaster of a loss (see the first part of this post). This was a static objective scenario, where each one had a different special rule associated with it. But I couldn’t really get close – Thunderfire cannons are really really brutal, and I underestimated them and didn’t have time to fix it. In the end, I had only my Warboss with a single wound left. By being alive, he gained me 2 TPs and stopped me from losing 2 TPs, somehow making this a 4 point loss, even though the math on that doesn’t work out when typing it here and now.
Game 3: Having now lost my way to the bottom, things could start looking up. I played another Ork player! I think (don’t quote me) that this was his first Astro. He had 2 Battlewagons with 20 boyz each, 2 dakkajets and a nob biker squad. I’m sure the army is good at something, but holding objectives probably wasn’t it.
This scenario actually bugged me a lot. I spent more time playing against the table than I did my opponent. Scatter 4 objectives, then scatter two squads of marines. They are trying to destroy your objectives, and if they succeed the game ends in a loss for both players. Great idea, but with two flaws that made it a little less fun than it could have been. (1) 4 of the 6 scatters didn’t move that far away, such that the marines blew up 2 of our 4 objectives in the second turn before we could stop them, and then I spent most of the game fighting those squads and (2) The marines had a seriously complicated algorithm for acting. I don’t want to read and comprehend that at the end of the day. >.<
After killing the marines and fighting now over two objectives…this was a damn fun game. One was near my side of the table, one near his. He pulled out the two BWs and parked near it with his boyz inside. There was no way I would be able to pull 40 boyz off of it, it just wasn’t happening. But I did manage to kill his other stuff, and completely hold my own objective. My plan on the second-to-last turn was to fly my plane over and contest his objective, meaning I’d win 0-1! But on his last turn he blew up my plane. >.< The game came down to my meganobz, in their own BW. Move 6″, hop out 6″ and then…roll a 6″ charge. I’d blown my waagh already, so no re-rolls either. I was pleased that I managed to get over and win the game.
I feel like my opponent was playing for a draw for most of the game though, with his sitting his BWs at the back.
I’m going to hit the publish button for now and finish writing the other 3 games up tomorrow. Probably proof-read this nonsense tomorrow as well, so don’t hate me for speelling mistacks.
(I lied, I proof-read once before hitting publish, I can’t stop myself).
Thanks for reading!