I was unsure of how to write this up. Rather than go down the traditional format of listing the games and so forth I thought I would give the event an overview and rough rundown of it.
On the playing side of things I won three, drew one and lost the last game. To have won best space marine army I would have needed to win all five games, picked up a favourite game vote and made an army list that was a work of art and tome of fluff. It was pointed out to me on the journey home that my army does not exactly win graciously as I tabled two opponents including some kind of Imperial guard super heavy flame thing with six hull points.
Pre Hersey Death Guard on parade: I got short listed for best painting nominations, smiley face.
Concerns about the general attitude and make up of players at the event where almost unfounded but one opponent was still playing 5th edition rules for cover saves and had a hissy fit when I pointed out it was wrong, but I let it go. I figured I probably had the bigger penis, although we did not compare. The composition of armies was a real menagerie of good, bad and weird. This was all thrown out of kilter due to forge world being allowed in the week before as well as the late change to escalation and stronghold assault in mid-December.
Without the Swiss System in place it does make it just as hard to win a trophy as an event with Swiss as match ups and best game votes make a huge difference. Not wanting to sound arrogant or bitter like an angry lemon deciding they would prefer to be in a Gin and tonic rather than a coke but if I had played the winning marine army I would have brought the pain.
"You are too big. Go to the corner and think about your actions."
You had about a one in six chance of facing a super heavy. Two revenants, seven Ctan, some Ctan in a box and the odd other super heavy things as well as lots of Ork armies and Stompas were present. The Ctan caused all the fuss with game times being about 45mins on average and being little fun for even the Ctan players in the end. The two revenant players did not do so well although some of it comes down to tactical acumen. If you stick your revenant in front of Memphiston you should expect a Str 10 hammer of wrath attack followed by six more Str 10 re roll to hit attacks at initiative seven and one dead revenant. Not rocket science but hey ho.
The problem with the total random draw meant that wining players were not drawn against each other allowing some of these armies to bull doze through the chaff all weekend. So that players who did not or could not re-organise their armies to possibly face these things were in trouble when drawn against them. Oddly I had the ability to remove a Ctan very easily, one unit of centurions could do it on slightly above average rolling but I never faced one.
The opinion I have drawn from it and bearing in mind the opinions and feeling of players present at the event is that using these supplements is fine but everyone must play to it and it changes the make-up of the game drastically. The problem lies in the garbage rules of some of the super heavies, either awful or overpowered, and the way it forces the game to be more match up orientated than it already is. Including Forge world super heavies actually balances the Lords of War out more but most attendees, (remember that some of them are fluff gamers), felt it all belonged in larger games or apocalypse.
Personally I would not use escalation in a tournament unless the points size is about 2250 to 2500 using single force org. I would include Stronghold assault although not use the multiple fortification purchasing options and D weapons unless it is in the same points bracket as above. Even then I would not use the multiple purchasing options or items without a GW model yet. I would then also include forgeworld.
Is it really a tournament?
Simple answer is no. No matter what type of army you take or how you play your games it is a total lottery on winning best in race. Winning all five may help, it may not. My words of advice on this would be to make a really snazzy army list crammed full of self-penned crap, (or fluff, take your pick), and have some kind of not too in your face shop greeter personality. Or offer cakes or hand jobs to your opponent to garner a best game vote or two.
Winning T Shirt Selfie: John won two and drew one
Did I enjoy myself?
Overall yes, I fulfilled the general agenda of playing five different army types and players with the ‘core’ of my army, making a few mistakes here and there and tweaking the 1850 list in the process. One of the overall principles learnt is that setting off on a Saturday morning at 5.45am for a two and a half hour car journey, despite sharing the driving, bacon rolls and coffee is starting to take a toll on the over 35years of age gamer. I should have won the game I drew in a number of ways but mainly forgetting it was Vanguard strike deployment and moving my units in the wrong direction for Line Breaker. I was playing an all drop pod list so in all the fun and excitement I thought it was dawn of war. I would have won on turn 6 and 7 but alas it ended on turn five.
The Mind Palace
I found mine. I have never been a big Sherlock Holmes fan but really enjoy the BBC Sherlock. I have caught some of the American one with Jonny Lee Miller and managed 10mins before flicking to something more highbrow like Big Brother, (to be fair I used to work on it). There have been of late some interesting articles on both40K global and the 11th Company, (Mind war segment) about psychology in games and how we learn and play either through experience and/or research.
At the start of game four on Sunday I popped of the toilet and on my return learned that the mission randomly knocked up by some overly enthusiastic twat with a big die was Relic with Hammer and Anvil deployment. Having spent the evening playing Jim Beams version of Drop Zone Commander with Simon, although not knowingly nursing a hangover I was not one hundred percent on the ball.
Like Charles Augstas Magnussen I flicked through my imaginary filing system and pulled out the tactical document of how to play relic with my army. I adjusted it to deal with the super heavy totting torrent 2+ poisoned Ap1 hellstorm template and it all worked out well. In the next game I desperately overruled the plan and instinctive behaviour and consequently lost the game early on although almost clawed it back. Lesson learned that following one’s instincts, especially when tired is advisable.
If you discount the Macdonald’s breakfast from the equation of best meal of the weekend then Saturday night’s was the winner. Saturday lunch was rather basic, a something and chips option with baked bean side available. I opted for the Cornish pasty which was above average in quality. There was a Salad bar which I failed to notice till desert and most failed to partake in. The winning evening option was a steak of something which I opted for the beef steak which overall was not too rubbery and came with a peppercorn sauce soup option. And chips of course, everything came with chips and a potatoe option. You could have both if you really like your starch.
The Sunday lunch was like a low end Sunday lunch from a pub ,which is what you expect, although I had set the food bar low so was overall pleasantly surprised. The biggest disappointment was the total blandness of the custard which has always been a feature of Warhammer world. Best dessert was the cheesecake on Saturday night. The large chocolate brownie on the Saturday lunch was not as bland or dry as expected although ha bit of cream would have made it a B+ if one were to grade. The cost of Coffee in the bar for what you got was a bit excessive especially when one would feel that the Macdonald’s Latte was a better quality.
"That one, in the yellow shirt, shoot him. He displeases me."
Would I go again?
Probably not is the short answer. If doing a weekend away I would probably go back to driving up on the Friday which therefore opens up more options like the Northwest gaming centre and the new one in or around Mansfield. The trouble and strife even suggested that one. One of the most irritating things of the weekend was the fact that the event organisers could not recognise that their attendees were not children and could not do anything without jumping up and down, screaming Waaagh, making sounds and generally treating their audience like they were all ten years old. They failed to recognise that there was not one under the age of twenty and that their over excitement made me want to put a gun against my head or more likely theirs. Admittedly I would have started at the knee caps and cut out their heart with a spoon, (it has a dull edge), if I were to go down that road.
The event organisers also had zero knowledge of the rules and FAQs and were useless on rules queries for those that needed them even with a book in hand. I did give a blue shirt in the store both barrels about what I felt had been the feeling of the majority of players about the Escalation inclusion at the event. I got bored with fending off his advances and gave him a five minute tirade. I enjoyed watching his face slowly drop especially when I explained that paying £62.50 for a ticket and to get hovered off the board in 8 minutes is not fun. He said that the events team are really good and will look at the feedback and change accordingly; I gave a facial expression that suggested otherwise. He managed to get rid of me by offering me to have a look at the Imperial Armour 2 store open copy which I graciously accepted.
Throne of skulls Vs Independent Events
I find Swiss pairing more rewarding and from experience a fairer playing field for every type and level of player. The last round or two will most definitely be against someone of your level and should be the most rewarding to play.
Most tournaments run by clubs or individuals will have a better format and will be run with people who know the rules or at the very least will make a decision on a rule query. They will also treat you like an adult. You may have to source your own food but that will be reflected in the ticket price. You will also not have to put up with a change to the rule pack. They may also be a lot more local.
If you are going to go to the throne of Skulls I would only go with the idea that it is about playing games and that you should be prepared for being treated like a child, the odd hissy fit and a scoring system that is quite frankly ridiculous. Try and treat it like popping into a club and playing five random games against five random opponents and that way you should enjoy. If you like custard though, please try to resist as every time I have ever been to Warhammer would the custard is a total let down, otherwise the quality of the deserts and food has improved.