Alright, while some of this is fresh in my mind, I'm going to do a rapid fire recap of the blow by blow and overall impressions of the event.
First off, a couple VERY minor critiques ... and there'll be some ENORMOUS accolades in follow-up ...
1) Create and disseminate in advance a tournament FAQ (even if it's just to say: "Use INAT" or "Use NOVA FAQ" or whatever). While nominally it is admirable to go with a "Rules as Written" stance, I think we all are aware there are some grey and fuzzy areas throughout the rules even with the GW FAQ's in play. Answering them only when they are first asked creates unfair situations where two players finally play who see a rule differently, even if they've each played it "their" view / vision of it all the way up until that point in the event. If you answer the big fuzzy questions in advance via a released document, you avoid this.
When you make a ruling on one of the fuzzies in Round 6 on a player who has played it the way he normally does with no opponent complaints Rounds 1-5 and say "well that's how we play/rule it" ... it doesn't help him much when it's changed up mid-game, or would have influenced his selections. It also isn't fair to his opponent to rule in his favor on that issue - i.e., you can't very well go "well, we'd screw you if we ruled that way now, so we won't ..." etc. etc.
Long and short, there are too many fuzzy important questions in warhammer 40k (unfortunately) to not give your players a clue on them ahead of time. It influences unit selection, army build, playstyle, etc., and often actually comes up in play at the worst imaginable times.
2) It's arguable that the NOVA put too much terrain toward the center. I would suggest many of the BFS tables put too much terrain off in the corners. The more toward the corners you place terrain, the more wide open / shooting gallery you make your boards, and the less useful a significant % of your 25% coverage is for the average players. The terrain was sound, and there was a lot of it per table, but it was effectively way too little in most games b/c so much of it was shoved off into the corners of the boards. Finding a middle ground is good. I may have some photos on my phone that can help show this, or I'll snag some from other post-event coverage. Terrain creates a shadow behind it from the p.o.v. of firers; when your terrain is way back off toward the corners, you advantage armies that deploy and shoot across board ... and I suppose you advantage like, wolf scouts or something, and Manticores that can hide behind those deep corner pieces and shoot at wide-in-the-open models everywhere.
Everything else the BFS did was great ... I liked it a great deal, and would go again and again so long as my schedule and energy levels sustained. Prize support was just right for the # of players, there were a lot of raffle giveaways (I got a captain off those, that was cool). Most importantly, the BFS operators are AWESOME people. The venue was in a good location for getting food and drinks post-day.
I wonder if 7 rounds is necessary for 64 or less players, as 3 rounds Saturday would have enabled better socializing post-event for a larger # of attendees, but it was no big deal either way.
On Friday we got in evening-time, and spent the evening drinking brews and bullshitting at BWW with Jawa, Bob, Shaun (Sean?) Kemp, Fishboy Johnson, Bob Evers and a host of others I'm forgetting b/c I'm forgetful. Something I love about the circuit is the connectedness of folks, and the genuine joy you see in familiar faces' eyes when they see you and come up to shake your hand.
Saturday morning things kicked off, and the first round was the worst mission for my short-ranged high-KP army - Dawn of War Kill Points.
Here's my list, as I finally went with:
Company Command Squad w/ Straken, Carapace Armor, 2 x Vets w/ Meltaguns, Vet w/ Reg Standard, Vet w/ Medkit, 2 x Bodyguards, Astropath
Dedicated Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Dozer Blade
Guardsman Marbo (and boy am I glad I chose him)
Infantry Platoon w/ 3 Dedicated Chimeras w/ Hull Heavy Flamers
Platoon Command Squad w/ Al'Rahem, 2 x Guardsmen w/ Meltaguns, 2 x Guardsmen w/ Flamers
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun
5 Veteran Squads w/ Dedicated Chimeras w/ Hull Heavy Flamers
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Round 1 I drew Brad Nichols' Deathwing. This is not a good match-up for me on the mission. He has 4 easy kill points and 7 extremely difficult kill points, especially for my army (which does the majority of its heavy lifting up close and personal, wearing someone down but trading kp).
Belial w/ SS/TH
2 x Typhoon Speeders w/ Multi-Meltas (not squadron'ed)
3 x Bikes w/ Power Fist, 2 Meltaguns
Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta
5 x Deathwing Terminator Squads w/ Chainfist/Stormbolter + 3 x TH/SS + 1 x TH/SS/Cyclone
Godhammer Land Raider
Brad won the roll to go first and rolled onto the board somewhat evenly spread across, with his Godhammer on a far side. I rolled on in a corner opposite with Straken + the 5 Vets, and reserved the Vendettas.
When the Vendettas started to arrive, they would take down the Speeders for Kill Points. His attack bike and bikers rolled on and failed to kill smoked Chimeras, then died in return. His Godhammer and missiles would kill Vendettas over time, and as the game started to fade it was about even on VP and KP, and we were working on tying the various other objectives.
We were given various different game end-times at various points, and this resulted in the game being called despite their being more time left to start a new turn, b/c of confusion here. The net result was a game Brad himself said he didn't want - one where we both played "weird" b/c of Kill Points. He won by 46 VP on final tiebreaker at the artificial deadline, but we rolled to continue the game and played out the rest to see what would happen, which was a several hundred VP finish in my favor. Basically at the bottom of 5 Straken, Al'Rahem and some vets charged Belial and his surviving couple terminators, won the combat, but couldn't get the last wound off Belial or the last 2 terminators down. By Turn 6 both died, but the artificial game end prevented that mattering.
This was a great game / great example of me doing all I could with a bad mission, and Brad doing what he had to do, and the game coming down to fractional time and dice ... aka two peers battling it out in a close one that was going to go either way by a nose hair. Against many good opponents over the weekend, this would become a redundant theme.
Round 2 vs. Blood Angels (I don't have my army lists in front of me and can't remember for sure, but I think his name was Chris)
Really nice opponent, his list was:
Librarian on foot w/ Shield, Sword
2 x Sanguinary Priest w/ Power Weapon, Jump Pack
Sanguinary Guard w/ 3 Infernus Pistols, Banner
2 x 10-man Assault Marines w/ 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist
3 x 5-man Assault Marines w/ Infernus, Meltagun, Plasmaback
3 x Baal w/ Twin-Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter Sponsons
I won the roll to go first and took it, in Spearhead - Quarters - Objectives - Kill Points. I deployed the Vendettas centrally with every intention of scouting, and deployed Straken and his Chimeras centrally.
My opponent deployed his Baals in front of his Razorbacks, with all 6 models hiding behind the central hill and at the edge of their deployment zone. He put his 2 Assault Squads in reserve w/ the priests attached, and put the Sanguinary Guard in reserve, all 3 squads deep striking.
I scouted the Vendettas so that they were in good open firing positions on his vehicles, with each Vendetta in a different location in case he tried to deep strike meltaguns onto them. He proceeded to steal the initiative; we talked about whether he was committed to stealing, since he would be giving up cover against my first round of fire to take covered shots against my flat out Vendettas, but he went with it. The other issue at question was the mission (primary and secondary being advantageous if going 2nd). The sum limit of his fire was 3 twin assault cannons and 3 lascannons, and the odds aren't THAT great to pen a vendetta ... his total odds after cover saves were 1.39 pens and .17 glances ... with my return fire being doubled on multilaser and surviving vendetta fire due to no cover on him. He could have used his Baals' Scout move to firmly screen his razorbacks, and smoke, so that my first turn fire would do nothing, and leave me pants down (or force me to take a more cautious route).
My Vendettas and Chimeras proceeded to start de-meching and disabling his mobility and firepower by the Bottom of 2.
On Top 2 his Sanguinary Guard arrived in a deep corner going after 1 Vendetta, and one of his 10man ASM w/ Priest arrived in an opposite corner going after a 2nd Vendetta. He shot a little at the third Vendetta and knocked a lascannon off, and shook one of my Chimeras. The Sanguinary Guard killed their Vendetta, and the ASM immobilized theirs.
Bottom 2 saw Al'Rahem and Marbo both arrive thanks to the Astropath. His 10-man ASM w/ Priest hadn't "Run" in order to shoot their meltas at their now-immobilized Vendetta target, so Marbo had his job. Meanwhile Al'Rahem rolled on in the other corner right on top of the Sanguinary Guard, ready to unload 4 meltas a plasma pistol and a bunch of trash on those guys, which were not covered from the angles I arrived by.
This is the point where the game started to go pear shaped for him. Spare multilaser fire immobilized and/or killed his remaining plasmabacks, Vendetta fire disarmed and/or killed all but one of his remaining Baals, Marbo's demo charge more or less waxed the assault squad out of functional merit, and Al'Rahem killed 3 of the 5 Sanguinary Guard, including all the infernus pistols.
The game ended with a Turn 6 tabling, and I lost a couple hundred VP (this was one of Marbo's only times dying).
Round 3 was against an interesting Elysian Guard list that was very nicely painted
Company Command Squad w/ Carapace, Officer of the Fleet, Astropath, 4 Plasmaguns, Plasma Pistol (Commander)
6 x Vet Squads w/ Lasguns, 3 Meltaguns, Carapace Armor
3 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolters
2 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolters
2 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolters
This was on a WIDE open board, with any meaningful terrain jammed in the corners. I deployed Straken and his 5 Vet squads in a corner, figuring I was going to get de-meched but having a plan from the get-go that is akin to turning your head into the rain. Al'Rahem, Marbo, and my own Vendettas were all naturally reserved, and my opponent was going first. He deployed everything, and killed or immobilized 3 of my Chimeras with his 3 vendetta units.
I started getting out and moving with the squads that had been blown or immobilized out of their Chimeras. Turn 2 he stunned a fourth Chimera and killed 2 more. So, I now had a stunned chimera, an immobilized weaponless Chimera, an immobilized Chimera way in a tight corner, and a fully de-meched force of flak armor veterans and Straken run run running up the right side of the board toward midfield. BUT he'd elected to hover over midfield aimed into the corner at me in order to take that 2nd turn's fire, which was what I needed. Al'Rahem arrived.
Al came on BEHIND 2 of his 3 squadrons. 2 of Al's Infantry Chimeras rolled 6 on preparing to multilaser rear armor on the squadron of 3, and Al himself rolled 12, spun and disembarked within 6 of the rear of one of his nearest squadron of 2 Vendettas.
I also had a Vendetta arrive.
My Vendetta immobilized one of his Squadron of 3 out of the sky (dead due to squadron rules). My one immobilized multilaser chimera shook one of his squadron of 2 furthest from me. Al'Rahem's Infantry Chimera multilasers shot and rear armor killed another from his Squadron of 3 in the middle (leaving 1 w/ command squad alive), and Al'Rahem used bring it down on 2 meltaguns and his plasma pistol to gank both of the vendettas in the squadron nearest him.
So, Top of 4 began and I'd made a game of it thanks to Al. He had 2 disembarked vet squads on the left near Al's jazz, one of them pinned. He had 2 vet squads still embarked in a shaken and open vendetta near the right back, closest to where Straken and his beat up horde of foot veterans were running toward. He had a single vendetta in the middle that emptied its command squad to go try and order the pinned fellows back into the fight.
In the process of trying to deal with the sudden spurt of threats facing him, my one stunned chimera freed up and Straken hopped in, whereupon it promptly raced up into his deployment zone and smoked. Marbo arrived and bombed a full carapace vet squad w/ his demo charge and "hit" ... killing I think 9 of them. Al'Rahem's Chimera barbecued the vet squad he'd de-meched the turn prior. Straken's vets were freed from taking much fire and advanced toward midfield, and used their meltaguns to bring down one or two of the surviving Vendettas at long range with orders.
Straken would eventually mow through two vet squads, and when all was said and done my Vendettas arrived later on and finished off his last Ven or two. He had a banged up command squad alive at the end, with the rest of his army dead. For the 2nd game after the first round loss, I picked up nearly full VP, 5 objectives, and 4 quarters. I figured if I could max it out again, I could in theory make it back into the top bracket, or help my chances at Renaissance Man.
Round 4 vs. Simon Leen's gorgeous Blood Angels jump army using Seraphim models.
Simon's army was pretty straightforward:
Librarian w/ Jump Pack, Unleash Rage, Shield of Sanguinius
2 x Sanguinary Priests w/ Jump Packs, Combi-Meltas
4 x 10-man Assault Squads w/ Jump Packs, 2 Meltaguns, Power Fists
1 x 5-man Assault Squad w/ Jump Packs, Power Weapon, Infernus Pistol, Meltagun
1 x 5-man Vanguard Veterans w/ Jump Packs, Meltabomb/Storm Shield, Power Fist/Storm Shield, Power Weapon/Storm Shield, Nude Dude, Nude Dude
3 x 5-man Devastator Squads w/ 4 Missile Launchers each
Spearhead deployment with me going first (the only game I'd end up going first all weekend, due to the seize on me in round 2), Quarters/Objectives/Kill Points
He deployed his 4 10-man Jump Squads in lines one in front of the other along his deployment edge behind the central hill. He spread his devastators about in cover in the back. He deep struck his 5-man ASM squad and his Vanguard Vets (with Divine Intervention).
I scouted all 3 Vendettas sideways up the board until they had wide open shots on his front assault squad ... I think he probably could have been a little less "right on the edge of deployment" an d had them obscured better by cover. He popped shield but lascannon and multilaser fire killed 6 of 10, rendering the squad relatively harmless. Problem solving Simon's list wasn't hard, though the list itself was a major pain for me, b/c most of the damage I Could do to it would have to be done up close and personal with Straken and meltaguns ... meaning I was going to get hit by a lot of assault marines with furious and fnp. Giving me 25% of his assault marines open to lascannon fire on turn 1 was a huge boon, b/c it took that much more threat out of the game. The 4 survivors would hop behind a pillar and get set for quarters/objectives stuff later on.
His turn 1 he jumped up behind the hill and shimmied a little with slow run rolls, getting set to try and multi-charge all my Chimeras on Turn 2. I felt like I would oblige that ... I much prefer people krak grenade and punch my chimeras to meltagunning them and charging the occupants. Straken's auras and tons of meltaguns are such that I'd rather the Chimeras get banged and the vets get out and shoot things / charge things, than lose entire chimera + vet squad chunks at a time.
This worked ... by lining up my Chimeras he jumped across and mass multi-charged several of them with his 3 10-man squads (I think I killed 1 model with a multilaser on turn 2 ... a deep strike of 5 assault marines killed 1 of my vendettas and devastators killed a 2nd and shook the third, which skimmed flat out for cover on top 2). So, 29 assault marines, 2 priests and 1 libby hit my lines. The Vanguard also arrived, but scattered out of divine intervention range and into a nice little clump of 5 models.
His multicharge killed 1 Chimera and banged up a couple others. Bait taken, I suppose.
Top 3 I had 3 assault squads in front of my 5 vet + straken core, a 5-man assault squad off away a bit that had just downed a vendetta, and a vanguard squad a couple inches behind his assault marines. Marbo and Al'Rahem arrived.
Al came in off in h is own deployment corner, and started multilasering down devastators and controlling his rear. Marbo dropped a demo charge on the vanguards and a couple of nearby assault marines who happened to eat the blast. It killed several of the vanguard and the assault marines it hit.
I tank shocked half an inch into two of the assault squads that had multi-charged one of my chimeras, and this broke the game open. One squad was fine, the other - with his Librarian attached - broke and fell back a bunch toward his board edge. My surviving Vendetta immediately gave up any crazy ideas of shooting something and skimmed flat out 24" right next to their path, so that they'd fall back off the board with another couple of turns. I crossed my finger it would survive his devastators shooting at it.
Every meltagun shot up one of his 2 remaining assault squads, clearing it, and also finishing off the Vanguard.
So at this point he had a 5-man ASM squad w/ infernus + meltagun near my "chase" Vendetta, a 10-man assault squad somewhat near it that had been part of the multi-charge with his surviving priest attached, and a few increasingly banged up devastator squads now having to deal with Al in their backfield, plus the 4 ASM surviving from the first turn lascannon volley.
I'd lost a Chimera and 2 Vendettas.
He knew he had to try and save his Assault Marines, so he jumped backward with his last 10-man squad and priest toward the Vendetta, jumped at it also with his 5-man squad, and aimed all his devastators at it. His fleeing marines fell back to within 3 or 4" of the board edge, and within a few inches of center as well due to the stretched out position they wound up in off the multi-charge prior to breaking.
All his devastators, the fleeing marines' meltaguns, the 5-man meltaguns, the 10-man meltaguns succeeded in deweaponizing and immobilizing the Vendetta, which he subsequently charged. I think he probably should have used his 10-man ASM to go block off my other units from doing what the Vendetta was doing (aka get close to and chase off another 30% of his army's punch), but he fixated on the Vendetta. The charge killed it due to immobilization, but it did its job.
Al'Rahem was also totally unmolested, b/c the Devastators had to fire at the Vendetta.
Top 4 came, and I ran Marbo over to within 6" of the fleeing assault marines. I raced Straken upfield as well just in case, and got him out so he could shoot at the 10-man ASM not yet broken/damaged if Marbo ran far enough on his own.
Several other vet squads that were still in-tact proceeded to move up and get ready to add their melta fire to the survivors around the wrecked Vendetta.
Al' advanced further upon the devastators and such, and positioned on his deployment zone objective, while one of his squads broke off for the isolated objective next to my deployment zone. One of my vet squads stayed back on my deployment objective (I wanted every objective / quarter).
I killed several of the assault marines from the big squad, and a couple from the small squad, and all passed morale. I killed some more devastators, and killed his 4-man assault marine squad with Al and co.
In bottom 4 he in desperation c harged his sang priest + surviving assault marines from both squads (10 and 5 originally) into Straken, and banged straken up pretty effectively, but not completely ... Straken killed a few marines in the process, dusting off the smaller squad. Devastators didn't really do anything, with 3 survivors from one of the 2 remaining squads (the other suffered casualties and broke off board) charging Al'Rahem and 10 guardsmen, and losing over the remaining rounds to Al's power weapon hits.
I charged a vet squad and marbo into the fight w/ Straken and the assault marines, and ran some vets up to the top objective. That eventually wound up with a cleared fight, Marbo finished the sang priest and straken finished the marine bodies. I poured tons of fire into his last devastators, one of which survived through the end of 7 to deny me 65 more VP.
Simon's one of my favorite opponents ... he has a great attitude, he tends not to make to many mistakes, and he is just plain fun to play against. This is one of my least favorite match-ups believe it or not ... I even labbed against it some, b/c I have a local buddy who runs a nearly-identical list. He just made a mistake in deploying a squad too exposed, and a mistake in multicharging chimeras instead of popping them and charging their occupants with Meltaguns. My next opponent would be the last one after Simon to buy any baits I laid out, and that would make life harder.
This ends my Day 1 recap. I'll cover the quarter, semi and finals in a follow-up post.