Astronomi-con 2013 – Post

After my last game, comes the packing up time. Sometimes this is a relief – tournaments are hard, stressful times as much as they are fun, and packing your army up means you don’t have to think about Warhammer or objectives or your boyz running away anymore. As well, since I recently bought a new K&R case for my boyz, packing up was a joy of organization.

Usually we go for dinner after the tournament, but Derrick had to run – his boy apparently had been quoted “Robert angry at popa” and that’s a good reason to get out of there quickly. My own girl had been away at a family wedding all weekend, and we were glad to be able to catch up.

The final results were…

  • Jason Dyer, Best Terrain! I think he missed winning it the first year he brought his trench table, simply because A-Club had been churning out fantastic terrain at the time. Or maybe it was Dean Gilbert’s Egyptian table or…there’s so much fantastic terrain at this event, I couldn’t even explain what happened. Anyway, Jason won it, and the competition was fierce with Linton bringing those great looking tables I mentioned earlier and Peter Carlson bringing two tables of terrain as well.
  • Steve Franks, Best Army List. I didn’t see his army list unfortunately, so I don’t know what it looked like. But it had to be damn good to beat mine, which apparently won me a 9/10! (I was going for Arts & Crafts points this year. :P)
  • Craig Fleming, Best Single Miniature. That’s me! I had once again put my Warboss up for my best model – it has a ton of character, with a squig launcher, a raging ork in some mega-armour and a grot and it’s great. Jason came up to me at one point and said “I’ve been voting for your warboss for 2 years now and you keep not winning. Put something else up, put your plane up.” Nick Daniels said something similar. Moments later they came up to me en masse and I heard out from far away “He’ll bend to peer pressure…” and they all but demanded I change my BSM model to my plane. I acceded. Not 10 minutes later a person came by and told me that if I’d put my warboss up, he’d have voted for me. gaaaaarrhrghlrghlrghlrghlrhlg!
  • James Chen, Best General. I don’t know to much about him except that he’s really friendly and he played a mean game of Eclipse on Saturday night, beating second place by 10 points!
  • Peter Carlson, Best Appearance. Every single model in his army was converted in some way. He was a great guy who’d driven up from Eastsound, WA with his army, his subtle but amazing display board and two tables worth of great looking terrain. He also learned and came second at Eclipse in a single night!
  • Findlay Craig, Best Sportsman! Findlay being a newcomer to the scene, I can only imagine that this came as a monumental surprise. He was fun to play against, and I look forward to seeing him around the community.
  • Les Sohier, Best Overall! Les totally deserves this award – he’s a great guy that continually puts out a fun and friendly attitude. He’s a good player, and his army looks good. He’s got the trifecta, and that’s what wins you Overall! Congratulations Les!

I now get to call this “my award winning dakkajet”.

Here’s a photo of my paint judging score sheet. (You can read it better if you open the image). 29/40 is pretty niiiice. At the same time, I know where a few more points are being locked up – my boyz are, in general, pretty basic. I think their skin is really well done, but their pants and shirts and the details of zippers and buckles and such are somewhat rough – from a time before I had decided to slow this stuff down. Hopefully I’ll remember that this is my desired project for Astronomi-con 2014!


My paint scoring sheet.

That’s the end of my Astronomi-con 2013 coverage. I hope you’ll consider coming next year! This event is unlike any other, with interesting and thought-provoking scenarios on every single table. If you like your Warhammer “thinky” and less “bashy”, come to Astro. That, and the community continues to be filled with the most amazing people – and now some of them have CHOP! Sunday free passes. 😛

Astronomi-con 2013 – Day 2

Day 2 started at 8:45am, after having gone to bed at 2:30am. Sleep is for the weak on tournament time? Old age forces me to try to sleep more at these events…>.<

Game four was against a newcomer to Vancouver, Findlay Craig. He’s been a regular around Facebook for a few weeks now, so I was super stoked to finally get a chance to meet him and play against him! I think I had a couple “the face” moments in this game, as my plan once again crumbled to pieces on turn 4 from a couple bad dice rolls. I redeemed it near the end (I hope!), although he won pretty well – I think I may have gotten 1 point to his 6-7.


Linton Harrisons beautiful snow terrain, with my trukks ready to rumble.

Game five, I ended up playing Linton Harrison – another person I was glad to play since I wanted to tell him what a great job he’d done on his snow and forest table. These tables were fairly basic “technique wise”, but because of a strong use of layered elements, excellent colour choice and colour placement, they really popped when you looked at them, and looked wildly different (and better!) than the average tabletop terrain. I voted his snow terrain for best, since it really caught my eye.

Unfortunately, my game with Linton wasn’t my favourite. He said that he was just getting over an illness, which was unfortunate, as he was a little gruff and difficult to talk to. That’s usually ok – people come in all sizes, shapes and personalities, and I wouldn’t judge someone (on paper) for being a little quieter. The problem was, that he was also a very slow player. We were at the end of turn 3 when time was called. The further problem, was that after taking a rather long time with his turn 3, he walked away from the table without saying anything to me. I was already frustrated because we were down to 10 minutes, and then he left. Compounding this problem…we had forgotten a combat in the middle of the table! I started moving my models, not wanting to contribute to the timing problem, and when he got back we did the combat and moved on, but I wasn’t happy, and I’m sorry to say that I rated him down on sportsmanship because of this series of events. Linton, if you end up reading this – I’d love a re-match with a less scheduled time window, and less illness, to clear things up!

The last straw of this game happened near the end of my turn 3. One of the tournament organizers was walking around the room telling people whether to play another turn or not. I’m not certain his criteria, but he told us to play another turn. This was really bad, and I’ve given feedback already that I don’t believe they should do this. I had played my turn assuming that neither myself nor my opponent would get a turn 4, and suddenly at the end of my turn everything changes. Linton was kind enough to let me pull back one of my units, and he mentally went up in sportsmanship a point because of it. His turn 4 was better than my turn 4, as he got a few important pieces into place that I wouldn’t be able to dislodge. My dakkajet was the MVP of this match though, removing an entire termagaunt unit in one shooting phase, allowing me to claim an extra objective. He won this one 5-6.


A top-down view of my army and display board, on top of Jason Dyer’s “Dyer Straits”.

I was really frustrated after game 5. I had been (unintentionally) slow-played twice this weekend, had my troops run constantly away from objectives and combats they weren’t losing that badly, my expectations had been up and then thrashed suddenly down. I was in a bad mood. Which is why I was incredibly happy about my opponent in game six.

Ryan McGechaen is a staple at Astronomi-con, but I’d never played him before. his Tau look great on the table (apparently he’s selling them), and it turns out that he’s a really friendly, funny and upbeat opponent. We were playing on Jason Dyer’s absolutely stunning “Dyer Straits” trench table, a table that I’d snuck in a midnight game with Jer Newell several years ago. We rolled for attacker/defender and I choose attacker figuring that either way, I was coming to him. In hindsight, this was possibly a bad idea, but I’m not certain it would have changed much.

We set up our lines. My trukks in a straight line in the open since that side of the table has only a few scattered craters for hiding in. And Ryan with his little hoofies in their trenches. And…he Seized the Initiative. I’m sure that I don’t have to go into gory detail about what happens when a Tau player gets first turn against an Ork player when the Ork player has nothing to hide behind, but it was ugly. Turn 2 I still thought I might have a game, but by turn 3 I was fighting to just reduce his number of points. On turn 4, I had no game left and by turn 5 I was thinking about how to ensure that he got full points on this scenario. We went on for a turn 6 and 7, the only game that I played that had actually gotten to the end, and I had an Immobilized and Weaponless Battlewagon as my only remaining unit. I’ve never seen StI be quite so devastating, but I feel that on this table in particular, it’s very very bad. We finished, him winning 0-14 just because there were only 14 points to get on this scenario. (The TOs tell me that this is a mistake.)

I’ll get to the last little bit…tomorrow. 🙂


Astronomi-con 2013 – Day 0 and 1

Friday I got off work and headed to my place. Quickly packed up my stuff for the weekend and hung out with Duke on my balcony for a bit while we waited for Derrick. It is traditional that pre-Astro, some of the guys go to Memphis Blues to kill ourselves in a pork-and-cornbread related coma. We were here drinking and eating for a few hours before Mike mentioned that we had a bunch more work to be done at the venue still.

Derrick and I drove over that way to help out, but it looked like the guys had it under control. The room looked great – there was terrain from CHOP! and A-Club, as well as 6 entries into the Best Terrain competition – I think that’s a record number of entries for Vancouver! This terrain was really nice too, I’m astounded at the effort some people can put into this stuff!

Sleep around midnight. Derrick and I stayed out at UBC at Gage Towers – it’s like a mini-vacation and means that we can stay up until midnight with everyone and all but fall drunkenly asleep the two nights we’re out that way. Up at 8am to head out to a breakfast provided by Gage towers.


Here’s a photo of my army to keep this from being an entirely photo-less post. I brought *cough* Patricks display board and put some of my Ork terrain on it to get a few extra tournament points. >.>

First game I played a guy named Brian and his Eldar, on a table that was Night Fight for the entire game. Brian and 3-4 of his friends had apparently driven out from Saskatoon after having asked themselves one night “When is the next major tournament in Canada?” and picked Astro Van and came to it – I love it! He was an awesome guy, and he ended up hanging out with us a bunch over the weekend. I won this one 7-6.

Second game was the beginning of the end. I played Steve Franks and his Eldar on Hammer and Ambull. There is a third-party force on the table that follows you around trying to kill you. He set up with a strong center, and I tried to deal with this by providing an overwhelming flanking force. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me until turn 2 that the Eldar will just pick up and move their firebase somewhere else if you do this, so I chased him around for 3 turns before the game ended – Steve was a fantastic guy, but he needed to pick up the pace by a little bit. I’ve often said that when playing Duke and his shooty Tau, I don’t actually get a game until turn 3 when I’m finally able to make contact (and Duke is trying to fight a losing battle after that moment, so the game is a little weird!), but if I don’t get to turn 4, I’m screwed. I lost this one 0-9, since I hadn’t killed anything of his at all.

Game three was Err Supply against Les. Les went on to win Best Overall, and damn does he deserve it. He’s a wickedly fun guy to play against, good natured with a well painted army and he plays well too. He had bad luck in this scenario, as all 3 of the objectives randomly scattered near my deployment zone so he had to come to me to get them. My Orks did a damn fine job of gumming up the area so he couldn’t get near the objectives, but in turn 4 I lost a few units all at once with some bad dice and that turned the game for him. I think I lost this one 1-11.

That night we headed to Mahoney and Sons, a nearby pub at UBC for some dinner and drinks, and good conversation with a lot of awesome nerds. This sort of thing, and the MB trip are a good part of what makes the tournament worthwhile – the camaraderie is excellent. After dinner, I pulled out Eclipse and myself, Derrick, Christian, James and a gentleman from the US named Peter played until 2am. Brian watched – when we started he said “for a bit”, but he ended up watching the entire game! In the team, I came third place with James winning by 10 points! An excellent game, played with all 3 of the expansions. 2am bed, 2:30am sleep…9am wake-up. >.< Tournaments!

I’ll continue this later!


Astronomi-con 2013 – Prep

I usually go into Astro with a lot of excitement – last year I pre-empted my usual post-Astro terrain building excitement by building some terrain in advance. This year, with a bunch of other priorities sitting over me and not a lot of 40k in my life, I was a little less into it.

Which meant that instead of adding whole new units to the orks, I just painted the flakk gun and built and printed a 24 page book for my army. >.> Here are the photos from my book, as well as a link to a compressed PDF of it – the printed version is over 20mb of PDF!

As always, click on the photos for bigger versions.


One unit of 10 shoota boyz, their power klaw nob and their trukk.


One unit of 11 slugga and choppa boyz, a power klaw nob with their trukk.


A second unit of 11 slugga and choppa boyz, their power klaw nob and their trukk!


My weirdboy.


9 burnas and a looted wagon to carry them places.


My dakkajet.


3 deffkoptas


A previously painted “trukk”. This model was originally a looted wagon with a boomgun. But the boomgun was disappointing, so I took it off and made the vehicle a trukk for a while. This year, because the vehicle already had a top hatch it was easy to paint up and magnetize the flakk gun so it fit and became an Imperial Armor Flakk Trakk!


4 meganobz and their battlewagon, with a dethrolla.



I’ve spent a lot of time over the years on this army, and it’s nice to be able to pull it out and be assured that it’ll get some notice at tournaments. There are certainly are updates I could do to the painting – the boyz are pretty basic, someone mentioned I should light the burnas cigars (which I’d never thought of before) – but the character models are some of my best work and the tanks and plane I’m really pleased with.

Here’s the final book PDF – Dug’s Boyz – Online. I gave a copy of this to all of my opponents and the tournament organizers, and kept one for myself – 8 printed in total. Here’s a couple photos of the book, to give you an idea of what it looked like printed.


The front cover of the book – I grabbed this from the internet, it’s a wallpaper that GW put out and it fit so nicely that I had to use it.


The first page of the book. Big full colour photo of my warboss on the left, and his name and unit write-up and his stats on the right.

I’m really happy with how it worked out – I’d never used Publisher before, but it worked perfectly for what I wanted it for. I think the only downside of the book was…make sure you ask what the unit price is before you get the work done. I thought I knew what it was, because I had started getting the printing done online at Staples, but because it’s a non-standard paper size I decided to go into FedEx/Kinkos to get it done. A trainee took my order, and I assumed I knew the price. Oops.

I’m also super glad that I had the terrain lying around my house, and the photography skills to make these photos look real nice. This book was pretty big, but it was relatively easy since I knew what I was doing at almost every step!


Astronomi-con 2012: Part 2

Oh hell, this always happens. I lost my momentum and now I can’t remember anything about day 2. 😛

Ah well, I’ll make it up as I go along.

Continue reading Astronomi-con 2012: Part 2

Astronomi-con 2012: Part 1

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!)

Continue reading Astronomi-con 2012: Part 1

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!