Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NOVA Open 2011 - Pre-Registration and Tentative Date Announcement

Well, we're about closed in on the date.

The likely venue is looking to be HERE

The likely date for all events will be Thursday, August 25 - Sunday, August 28, 2011

There are a lot of details we're still working through, but registration for the 40k NOVA Open GT is probably going to fill at a rather extreme rate.  I'm only going to start with an offering of 128 slots, and won't open more unless we have a substantial wait list past that - so, here's your first note.

If you would like to pre-register, i.e. get on the "first dibs" wait list for the NOVA Open 2011, send an e-mail to mvbrandt@gmail.com

We'll be finalizing event location, and working on getting up an actual registration process, within the next month or two.  If we go with this particular one, you'll be looking at a crazy affordable rate somewhere in the $100/night range, approximate to the Holiday Inn for the original Open, and competitively cheaper than most other comparable events.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NOVA Brewfest Fall 2010

I'm here today.  Hooray Beer!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

First Lolzy Dark Eldar List

One of the first things you'll notice about the Dark Eldar, IMO, is that they find it relatively easy to build in a couple of useful mini deathstars (anti-troop ones) that are quite durable all things considered, but still fairly cheap, and that still allow the rest of the list to MSU its way to a lot of redundancy and anti-inf/tank firepower.

In a free moment, this "lolzy" list came out of the brainpan

3 x Haemonculus w/ 2 Liquefier Guns - 170

4 x Grotesque - Liquefier gun, +2 attached Haemonculi, Raider w/ Ram - 215
3 x Kabalite Trueborn w/ Plasma Grenades, 3 Blasters, Twin-Cannon Venom - 139

5 x Wracks w/ Liquefier Gun, Raider w/ Ram - 125
5 x Wracks w/ Liquefier Gun, Raider w/ Ram - 125
5 x Wracks w/ Liquefier Gun, Raider w/ Ram - 125
5 x Wracks w/ Liquefier Gun, Raider w/ Ram - 125
5 x Wracks w/ Liquefier Gun, Raider w/ Ram - 125
5 x Wracks w/ Liquefier Gun, Raider w/ Ram - 125

5 x Beastmasters w/ 5 x Kymerae, 6 x Razorwing Flocks, 1 x Clawed Fiend - 245
3 x Reaver Jetbikes w/ Heat Lance - 78
3 x Reaver Jetbikes w/ Heat Lance - 78

Ravager - 105
Ravager - 105
Ravager - 105

So what does this list have (and it's untested, rough draft, mind you)?  Well, the Grotesque squad is ... ahem, grotesquely vulnerable to S10; other than that, good luck ... the 2 haemonculi give you a few allocation tricks up your sleeve, the unit starts in a Raider w/ FNP, Fearless, and FC, and has 3 S4 APd6 Template attacks

The Beastmaster unit starts w/ a Haemonculi in it (who rapidly leaves and joins a Raider squad, leaving his pain token behind), and has allocation tricks galore - basically giving it immunity to ID from non-s10 weapons, a 4+ invul (it'll have a 4+ cover as well, b/c you know, you're not a bad player, right?), FNP, and tons of wounds to spread against basic CC attacks and small arms ...
On the charge it throws a retarded # of attacks, sorry on the BEAST charge ... 30 at I6 ranging from S3-4 (or higher w/ PfP up enough), a bunch from the fiend, and 36 rending at I5 from the Razorwings.

The army has 3 blasters and 16 Dark Lances, tons of template weaponry with variable AP, plenty of durable troops (T4 FNP to start, thanks!) to score and fight with, and a lot of annoying target priority issues.

Like DE of yore, it struggles in KP missions, but more and more you run into armies with plenty of KP themselves these days anyway.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two New Blogs - Hulksmash'em Dan-O!

OK, so two fellas asked me via e-mail to add their blogs to the list I have on the right, and I checked out some of their stuff before I did ....

First off, Hulksmash doesn't look big green and scary.  Maybe scary, but not big and green.  He's a normal dude, and a cool dude.  He posts a lot on Dakka, came to the NOVA Open with his badass fully converted Adeptus Mechanicus counts-as-Demons army, runs his own painting service, and ... well, I like him a lot - he's a good fella.

His blog looks to be shaping toward tactics, and he's already started to talk about why Tyranid don't suck at the top of the competitive game right now ... I still think they do at the national level, but they can certainly rock the local tourney scene RTT scrubs all day long (so can Demonhunters, seriously).  I'm looking forward to how he pulls off this argument, and the lists he suggests ... I'll playtest 'em myself, as thematically I love/lurve/mindhump Nids.

Second off, Dan Oppedisano ... I probably got his name wrong, it's one of "those," but Dan O came to mind, which made me think of Dano from Hawaii 5-0, which made me think of the NEW Hawaii 5-0's Dano, played by Scott Caan ... and lo and behold I found a picture of him ON the show holding a MINIATURE.  So perfect.

Anyway, Dan's a rockin' cool guy I met at the Battle for Salvation, who won best painted army and was such a great painter and sport that he came in third overall with only a 1-3 record.  His blog is up as well, and it looks a little more toned down from the tactical approach and focused in on his badass projects and jazz - and you know what, that's about right for this dude - he's that kinda great guy.

Lookin' forward to seeing both of them again, hopefully at the NOVA and hopefully sooner!  Blogs added.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rapid Fire Recap - Battle for Salvation in Review ... Battles, Lists, Tournament

So, I didn't take pictures for crap at the Battle for Salvation ... nonetheless I will endeavour to give a full recounting of my battles and such.

A quick overview on the BFS itself, and how it ties into things as a NOVA "style" event ...

1) It's two tournaments in one.  If you like the more traditional battle points + painting + sports scoring all inclusive approach, it has that; at the end of the first day, your competitive rating is factored in with your sports and painting ratings and a Renaissance Man award is handed out that equates to the tournament Best Overall.

If you like purely competitive track gaming, there's a competitive track built into / streamlined with the event that is largely a knock-out system; in the BFS you could actually win this with a loss, and that's up to the event organizer; basically, the top 8 ratings competitively only at the end of Day 1 played in a "Gold Bracket" 3 round single elim with proper tourney reverse pairings (1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5) while the 2nd 8 played in a "Silver Bracket" for a prize, and the 3rd 8 played in a "Bronze Bracket" for a prize.  The winner of the Gold Bracket is the "Tournament Champion," which is the equivalent of Best General.

At the NOVA next year, everyone will be split into brackets on the 2nd day and their records reset, for a full 8 round major GT.

I ended up placing 1st for Tournament Champion, and 2nd by a nosehair for Renaissance Man.  A note - my last opponent on Day 1 won Renaissance Man, assisted in trumping me by my choice of him as my favorite opponent in terms of sportsmanship.  Well deserved by him - I *could* have chipmunked him and won, but it's a cautionary tale that doing so would hardly have earned me rights to such an award.  I'd have to had to lie and say he WASN'T my fave (when he was) to "earn" it.

Onto the battle reports and my list ...
I went into Vassal and was using it to recap ... but was just getting it "fuzzy" on the key battles, and it was superfluous on the more one-sided ones.

So, right smack into it ...

First, my list ... and the concept behind it.

Company Command Squad - Straken, Regimental Standard, Medic, Astropath, 2 x Veterans w/ Meltaguns, 2 x Bodyguards, Carapace Armor
+ Chimera Dedicated Transport w/ Hull Heavy Flamer

Grey Knight Brother Captain - Psychic Hood

Platoon Command Squad - Al'Rahem, 2 x Guardsmen w/ Laspistol+CCW, 2 x Guardsmen w/ Meltaguns
+ Chimera Dedicated Transport w/ Hull Heavy Flamer

2 x Infantry Squad - 1 x Guardsman w/ Meltagun, 8 x Guardsmen w/ Lasguns, 1 x Sarge w/ Bolt Pistol/CCW
+ Chimera Dedicated Transport w/ Hull Heavy Flamer

5 x Veteran Squad - 3 x Veterans w/ Meltaguns, 6 x Veterans w/ Shotguns, 1 x Sarge w/ Laspistol/CCW
+ Chimera Dedicated Transport w/ Hull Heavy Flamer

3 x Vendetta Gunship (solo, not Squadroned)

So, the purpose of the list was simple - utilize exceptional skill where possible to keep the 5 Vet Chimeras and Straken deployed, advancing to where they need to be, and as a going concern for my opponent; as a whole, the group of 6 chimeras is leadership durable w/ the standard, unit-for-point durable with cover and fnp on straken (+ lots of models in the squad to soak "bad" wounds).  It also hits like a truck, and if you're skilled with movement can actually be much tougher than a glass hammer.  Unfortunately, it lacks range really, but the multilasers can "ding" enough things up in most army builds to be material if forced by enemy fire or situation to stay more at range.

Please note - this is not a GREAT list by any means; it possesses the tools to functionally beat any opponent, but eschews key components of a typical guard army to better avoid playing the "rock paper scissors" game that some people choose with this game.  It requires a lot of effort to play well, and understanding of the movement phase ... please don't just run helter skelter copying it b/c it beat Stelek and a couple other great players in a tough GT.

The Vendettas are dedicated "mess with someone's day" units whose only real goal is to demobilize/mech or at least screw w/ an opponent's movement some before they die ... hence, if not going first, they were in reserve with support from the Astropath to get them on quickly.

Al'Rahem must reserve and outflank ... his mission is unsubtle.  The reason for putting meltaguns on the BS3 infantry squads and platoon command squad is that the 3 Chimeras take care of anti-infantry capacity quite nicely, but the meltaguns are REQUIRED to make Al'Rahem's arrival a going concern for several army styles; it would also prove quite useful over the course of every game, as BS3 meltaguns certainly hit, you just can't ever EXPECT them to with how you moved your models prior to firing.

Al'Rahem himself also helps out on occasion, b/c he has the Bring It Down order.

Straken and Co. always deployed covered, even if it meant being a little further back or having to take a few difficult terrain rolls early on ... firepower on boards these days is intense, and I hate not having a 4+ hope save to protect me if an opponent hits and pens a chimera on turn 1.

There were always 3 of 4 Goals in play, where if you tied the primary goal, the win was determined by the 2nd goal ... if you tied that, it was determined by the 3rd ... if you tied that, it was determined by simple VP using the optionals at the back of the 40k rulebook.  This is NOVA Style as well, where there are no true ties (to ensure the Tournament Champion track functions properly), but where scoring all goals in all rounds benefits you for purposes of your seeding and effectively operate as battle points (for the Renaissance Man track).  Thus, the tactical thing to do is often to force a tie if the primary goal is not one well suited to your army, and to tactically plan in advance to win on 2ndary or tertiary.

The Goals were ...
Victory Points (win by 250)
Kill Points (Nominate 5 of your opponent's that you can score)
Objectives (5 fixed location, one centered in each quarter and one in center of board)
Quarters (captured by victory points preponderance, scoring units always count for full VP even if below half)

So onto the games ...
First round, the opponent's army was as follows:
Demon Prince of Tzeentch w/ Gift of Chaos, Wings
Demon Prince of Nurgle w/ Warptime, Wings
Summoned Greater Demon

7 Chosen Chaos Space Marines w/ Champ(Meltabomb), Power Fist, Icon of Chaos Glory, 4 x Meltaguns

7 Plague Marines w/ Champ(PF), 2 x Meltaguns, Personal Icon, Rhino
7 Plague Marines w/ Champ(PF), 2 x Meltaguns, Personal Icon, Rhino
6 Noise Marines w/ Blastmaster, Personal Icon
6 Noise Marines w/ Blastmaster, Personal Icon
7 Lesser Demons
7 Lesser Demons

Defiler w/ Autocannon, Battlecannon, 2 x DCCW
2 Obliterators

I rolled to go first, the deployment was 12" in, the mission tiering was (Victory Points, Quarters, Kill Points)
He nominated 3 of my Chimeras, and 2 of my Veteran Squads as the 5 Kill Points
I nominated his 2 Demon Princes, his Obliterators, and his 2 Plague Marine Rhinos

Here's what deployment looked like (click to enlarge) ...

Quick and Dirty:
He deployed his Obliterators, which was a mistake - Vendettas zapped them on Turn 1.  His Defiler lost its weapons on Turn 2, and his Noise Marines were largely ignored ... basically this reduced his long range fire to two S8 blasts, and that wasn't enough to ever silence my Vendettas or de-mech my Chimeras effectively at range.  His Demon and Demon Princes survived a key round of fire by rolling well, but otherwise things died about when they should, and I never lost a lot of my army's insulation and protection.  Also, Straken and the BC enjoyed eating Plague Marines ... it's one of the things they're pretty good at.  Knowledge of this let me largely ignore them after de-meching them from their Rhinos w/ the Vendettas, and eat them later in the game w/ a few melta shots and charges (always avoiding putting the BC in base contact w/ a pfist).

Final score ...
~1700 VP to 500
5 KP to 2
4 Quarters to 0

Round 2 ... Opponent's Army was as follows:
He had his list hand-written, so this is an approximate recollection ...
Orks ...
2 x Big Mek w/ Power Klaw, Kustom Force Field

5 x 12-Ork Slugga/Choppa/Bosspole/KlawNob Squads in Trukks w/ Rams

3 x 10 Lootas
3 x 3 Kannonz w/ 3 Ammo Runtz
3 x 3 Rokkit Buggies

The mission was Quarters / Kill Points / Objectives

He actually went first; for KP, he nominated my Vendettas and 2 of my Chimeras.  I nominated 2 of his Loota squads, and 3 of his Trukks.

Here's what deployment looked like:

Basically, Al'Rahem's arrival smoked all of his lootas and kanz in the top left ... Chimeras over time blew away his buggies, heavy flamers and the occasional furious charge dusted off his boyz once de-meched, and the Vendettas came in on the far back corner, and sniped away trukks while avoiding loota range until the lootas were dusted off by Al'Rahem's 3 chimeras and dudes.  Tank shocks got rid of all the kannonz.

This was a SLOW game, and we only finished 4 turns ... as such, I scored:
5KP to I think 0, 3 Quarters, 3 Objectives ... my lowest scoring game on the first day

Round 3 was vs. a longer ranged guard army with a lot of templates and PBS ...
His army was (again handwritten so don't quote me)
Command Squad w/ Meltaguns, Chimera

2 x Psyker Battle Squads at full size w/ Chimeras

3 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolter Sponsons (I don't know why people take these, they never do anything of value against good opponents that know they have to kill the Vendettas b4 they've finished de-meching an opponent)

4 Vet Squads w/ Meltaguns and Chimeras, 1 w/ Meltabombs as well
Vet Squad w/ Plasmaguns and Chimera

3 Medusas

I may be missing something ... it felt like he had another thing or two, so ... *shrug*

This was Kill Points / Objectives / Victory Points; he nominated my Vendettas and Straken's Chimera + Straken (best nomination of the tournament, Straken's the only guy who HAS to be involved)

The deployment was weird - board cut in half diagonally, with 9" on either side; he went first, and deployed kinda spread along it, so when I deployed with a closer range hammer style army (compared to his) it was easy to just pick one of his flanks and start rolling.  Deployment looked like this ...

Basically he had one turn to shoot at me, and I was deployed behind a hillside (remember earlier what I said about being willing to take difficult tests w/ vehicles in exchange for cover? yeah, saved my ass).  He stunned or immobiilized a chimera or two with turn 1 fire, while a couple things were out of range ... and that was that.  I moved up, started rolling and blowing his line up, forced him to mobilize to react to Straken ... and then my Vendettas arrived on my bottom long edge to bang up all his stuff on side armor / exposed sides, and then Al'Rahem arrived from the LEFT side via outflank, and shot all his mobilizing elements in the rear w/ multilasers, before moving up on them with heavy flamers and meltas.  It was a rout ... player probably should have deployed with his army more "core," taken what shots he could, and reserved his own vendettas ... with me having an Astro and him not, his would have statistically arrived later, and been able to bang mine out of the sky, and secure advantages gained early by his out-power at range (pbs, medusas, roughly same # of chimeras).

By having his Vendettas on the board, and his army kinda "lined up," I was able to crunch his flank, force him to start reacting to me, and then the flexible arrival locations of my reserves ... on two of his other sides ... basically took the game out of reach.

Final score was 2000 VP to 550 or so,  5 Objectives, 5 KP and I think he scored 2 KP

Round 4 was vs. an Immo Spam list ...
Looked like this ...
Palatine w/ Book + 5 Celestians w/ 2 Meltas in Immolator
3 x 5 Celestians w/ 2 Meltas in Immolators
3 x 5 Storm Troopers w/ 2 Melta (hiijacked Heavy Support Immolators)
Allied Guard PCS w/ 4 Flamers, Chimera
3 x Guard Squads w/ Autocannon, Chimera w/ HK Missile
3 x 5 Dominions w/ Superior, 3 Flamers, Immolators
3 x Heavy Support Immolators

All his Immos had smoke natch

Mission was Objectives ... Victory Points ... Quarters

He went 2nd, here's what deployment looked like ...

Basically, I outmaneuvered him in this game, and positioned him up so that he'd hit me in the wrong order / too piecemeal, but it should have still been really close and messy, b/c immo spam is a good counter to my list.  Regardless, things didn't work that way .. around Turn 2 or 3 when I had him "set up," instead of just melta killing the lead immos and having to duke it out messy style, it seemed like every one of my Mulitlasers and Vendetta shots caused an EXPLOSION, and every one of his units got pinned off it.  The game turned into a rout quickly, his dice just wouldn't work and mine were on fire.  I would argue that a win was going to happen either way off deployment and maneuver during the game, but it was sort of irrelevant in the end - his shit just literally exploded.  I would kill all of his vehicles by end game, and only 2 were "wrecks" ... everything else was an explosion, and most of it not from Melta ... from like, Multilasers.  Plenty good enough gun for anyone, I suppose, as Mark Twain famously once said about the Catfish.

Final score was 1950 to 300 VP, 5 Objectives to 0, 4 Quarters to 0

So I finished the day the #1 Seed, set to play Bill McFadden's tri-wagon Orks (#8 Seed) in the Quarter-finals of the Gold Bracket on Day 2.

Here's where my Vassal set-up pics fail too ... I'll try to update them in.

Bill had ...
Warboss w/ Power Klaw
Big Mek w/ KFF

10 Nobz differentiated w/ Painboy, but just regular armor (6+) and no Cybork
He had 2 large shoota squads in heavy support Battlewagons w/ Deffrollas
His Nobz had a battlewagon w/ a Reinforced Ram

He had 3 squads of 5 Lootas
He had a squadron of 2 rokkit buggies
He had a pair of slugga/choppa/bp/pk nob Trukk boyz
He had a pair of solo Deffkoptas w/ Rokkit Launchas
He had some Gretchin

It was Dawn of War, w/ ... heck if I recall; Objectives, Kill Points, Victory Points were all in play if I recall correctly.  I went first.

Basically I spread my Vendettas out, and used Al'Rahem's chimeras to get tons of by-turn-2 side and rear shots on his battlewagons, adn they were all dead at midfield by the end of Turn 2.  From there I used multilasers and al'rahem to kill his lootas, trukks and buggies.  I spammed Vendetta fire into his Nobz so they would arrive banged up.  I melta-spammed and charged down his surviving Nobz and his 20-shootas+warboss w/ my 50 veterans all furiously beating them down (which is always fun to watch).  I think I did 29 wounds to the surviving 15 shootas (so they died), and Straken personally handed the Warboss unhappy-times.

Bill's list was going to struggle against mine either way, I think ... but it didn't help that I put a ton of cover saves on his Bwags early, and they weren't really able to make enough of them (his luck early on cover saves was balls bad).

Semi-Final was against Alex Fennel, whose list looked like this ...

5 ASM w/ Meltagun, Meltabombs, Godhammer Land Raider w/ EA, MM
5 ASM w/ Meltagun, Meltabombs, Razorback w/ TLLC
5 ASM w/ Meltagun, Meltabombs, Razorback w/ TLLC
4 TH/SS Terms + 1 LC Term w/ Redeemer w/ MM, EA
3 TH/SS Terms + 2 LC Terms w/ Redeemer w/ MM, EA
2 x SHP

Simple and brutal army played by one of the better and better-known GT vets.  Super nice guy, and we bounced off each other well - powerful gamers who didn't pull punches but had great attitudes; I think we fed off that from each other, and really upped our games.

This was basically going to be one of those "can the Vendettas survive and do enough damage to his Raiders before they get here with Mephiston?" fights ... it's easy to point to all the answers for redeemers, FNP SS terminators, Mephiston ... but dealing with all of them applied at once to the heart of your army by a great players?  SO PAINFUL.

I blew up one of the Redeemers early, and de-weaponized/stunned/immobilized the TLLC Razorbacks early.  Fennel reserved his whole army, to burn time off for me to do things, and to enable himself to arrive on semi-protected, and with shots at me.  This game got really brutal ... he hit me eventually with redeemer + 10 terminators + mephiston all at once, while running his ASM around holding objectives ...it was objectives/quarters/victory points by the by.

This required every ounce of skill from both of us, and involved extensive movement and positioning shenanigans in close as I bought time to whittle down his key units and contest what I had to ... I wish I had pictures to tell more about it, but it came down to crazy moves on both our parts during Turns 6 and 7 for me to pull off an "eventual" 3:0 objective win late ... we both probably had well over half our armies dead, with wounded Strakens and Mephistons limping about.

The hero for me in this game was the Brother Captain ... his hood stopped EVERY SINGLE MEPHISTON WINGS, which is statistically improbable at best.  My 3rd turn fire on his raiders almost screwed me, as I landed 9 hits with my VEndettas and literally about 9 4's on the "to-damage" rolls.  D'oh!

Fennel is an awesome player, and we both did all we could to win in the most amicable fashion possible with solidly painted armies and big smiles.  We had lunch beforehand, we chatted afterward ... it felt like a championship match.  That all said - more conversation about and examples from this game will come in later articles about how important MOVEMENT is to the game of 40k; I reck'n we both demonstrated it well in this one.  It was MOVEMENT, and not dice or target prioritization or list, that would determine the win here ... but more to come on that in later days.

Round 7 vs. Stelek (Final Round for Tournament Champion).

Stelek's list ...

Thunderwolf Battle Leader w/ Combi-Melta, Wolf Claw, 2 Fenpups

Wolf Guard Squad spread out to things + empty Plasmaback

5 Wolf Scouts w/ Meltagun, Attached Wolf Guard w/ Wolf Claw, Combi-Melta, Meltabombs
5 Wolf Scouts w/ Meltagun, Attached Wolf Guard w/ Wolf Claw, Combi-Melta, Meltabombs

5 GH w/ Meltagun, Rhino, attached Wolf Guard w/ Combi-Melta, Bolt Pistol
5 GH w/ Meltagun, Rhino, attached Wolf Guard w/ Combi-Melta, Bolt Pistol
5 GH w/ Meltagun, Rhino, attached Wolf Guard w/ Combi-Melta, Bolt Pistol
5 GH w/ Meltagun, Rhino, attached Wolf Guard w/ Combi-Melta, Bolt Pistol
5 Inquisitorial Storm Troopers w/ 2 Plasma Guns
5 Inquisitorial Storm Troopers w/ 2 Plasma Guns

Thunderwolf w/ Wolf Claw
Land Speeder w/ MM/HF
Land Speeder w/ MM/HF

5 Long Fangs w/ 4 Missiles, Plasmaback
5 Long Fangs w/ 4 Missiles, Plasmaback
5 Long Fangs w/ 4 Missiles, Plasmaback

So, this list is "better" than mine on paper; he outranges me, and I have to play expertly to actually apply straken and vets w/out just losing them to lots of MSU 6-man grey hunter squads / long fang template spam / thunderwolves / etc.  His BEL scouts are going to probably kill my Vendettas at some point, so I have to have a plan for that ...

The mission is quarters deployment, quarters the mission, kill points, objectives
He nominated Al'Rahem's guard squad Chimeras, and the 3 Vendettas
I nominated his Scouts, his Speeders, and his basic Thunderwolf.

IMO I played my movement and execution on this one well, but made 1 key mistake and had 1 key whiff
Stelek rolled "odds" for his missiles most of the game, but for some reason deployed all of the long fangs in cover that gave ME cover for a lot of their shots out of it ... we chatted briefly post-game about it, and it boiled down to him worrying I'd stick my stuff in the far corner of the board and lol his missiles out of play if he put them too far back himself, so they were closer to center with good fields of fire, but with their own cover piece putting "shrubbery" in the way of all their shots.  This helped some, but I failed all but about 2 of my vehicle cover saves, so I'm not sure how effective it was.

What got to him (understandably) was rolling odds on the missile DAMAGE results ... i.e. 24 missile shots in the first 2 turns hit about 16 times, penned 3 instead of the statistical 5.33 times, and did a bunch of glances.  The pens wrecked one chimera, immobilized another, stunned a third ... one could see this as "bad" luck, in taht he only killed 1 Chimera in 2 turns of missile fire ... or as "odds" in that 3 pens actually only results in 1 kill, and that's what occurred.  Still, there were a few lascannons from plasmabacks thrown in there, so odds were a little on the shallow side for him ... but the first 2 turns were key; by only losing a Chimera or two and another one or two immobilized/stunned back, Straken's Chimera was able to punch out and smoke in front of all his fangs and recently arrived Thunderwolves.  His Chimera survived - which it was more likely to than not - but actually survived almost unscathed, short a multilaser and shaken but mobile with the Twolf battle leader + twolf all exposed right in front of it ... Straken's only real "fear" from CC.  So, Straken got out and set to charge the twolf squad (he'd combined), and the Chimera tank shocked into the long fangs and actually broke one squad off the board (lolzy).  Things to messy everywhere else on the board - and Straken charged, with the GKBC going first over the Wolf Claw Twolf ... hit 4 times ... and rolled ... 3 x 1's.  Crap.  After another round of combat, Straken had killed the twolf bl, fenpups, and twolf, but the whiff by the GKBC meant instead of killing the thunderwolf outright, straken and the BC suffered 9 wolf claw attacks ... which sufficiently whittled Straken's squad out that he wasn't able to go run rampant through all the long fangs and spare gh ... so hid in a Chimera offering up his aura for the rest of the game.

I basically bumrushed half Stel's army and gave half the board; I made a mistake in advancing a vet squad a little too far, affording him a charge out of a rhino on them and a loss of an area of the board that almost bit me in the ass, but I was able to preserve one of my KP, tie quarters, and kill his 5 KP ... winning the game late.  Great game ... another one I'll go into some details on.

IMO Stelek and I both made mistakes in this one; we were both visibly fatigued from 7 games prior (1 exhibition game Fri night, 4 on Sat, 2 till that point on Sun), and I was rushing a little to try and get out of there for the drive home w/ my patiently waiting friends.  Nonetheless, it was a tight and touch-and-go game ... and amicably fought and resolved.

All in all, the BFS was a good tournament; the terrain and tables were a little rough on occasion, but for the most part it was all of a very high quality.  More importantly, the guys in the Battle for Salvation gaming club are AWESOME people; they include Danny Internets, Ultrabob, Pissclams, Fritz (Way of Saim Hann) who I played in an exhibition match the Friday before the tournament, Jawaballs nominally, and others ... really awesome group.  Great weekend, I lucked out through a couple of my games to take home the Tournament Champion and sword prize, and all was fun and well!

For any that have heard misinformation about NOVA style events - do feel free to ask about or chat me up about them; their goal is to give "pure" competitive gamers a win/loss traditional/true style tournament format to play through, while still preserving the more standardized battlepoints/sportsmanship/painting component within the same event.  Instead of just having it be "all or nothing" where it's either Ard Boyz all-battle-points or "all soft influence" and simply having Best General/Best Overall be de facto #'s 1 and 2, it splits the prizes and awards them through separate mechanisms while all play within the same event.  The #3 Overall went 1-3 on the first day while being a stellar sport with a gorgeous army ... the #1 Overall went 3-1 with both of those factors, and the #2 Overall went 4-0 with strong sports and decent painting ... about what you'd expect.  Meanwhile, the Best General equivalent went to the one guy who over 2 hard fought days was the SOLE undefeated still standing.  What could be simpler or more sensible?

In any event ... thus ends my report and coverage, and a little plug at the end.  Sorry if it was a little rushed - trying to rebuild every report via Vassal and half-memories would have been certainly rough!
I'll try to get a photo of my army up here soon ... it actually looks pretty good now!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Labor Day Weekend? - NOVA 2011

We're closing on the numbers for a site for next year's NOVA, which is planned at present for a significantly increased size and capacity full on convention weekend covering Thursday PM --> Sunday PM.

There are options still out there, but right now we're looking at Labor Day weekend of next year, at this venue:


I'd love some input from the trolls about how manageable (or not) a Labor Day weekend vacation/trip to Washington, DC is.  It provides some of the "better" rates, while pushing us a bit further away from Wargamescon and Gencon.  The venue is located on the metro, and a brief free shuttle ride from Reagan National Airport.  So brief, in fact, the hotels rooftop restaurant overlooks the airport on the other side of the Potomac on one side.

Working on my BFS reports still, so I'll have those up soon.  As usual, "words" of commitment to attend from various trolls is also always welcome ... and always encouraging to us on the planning end ;)

 - Mike

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back from the Battle for Salvation

I'm exhausted.

Somehow I managed to do well.

Fun game against Fritz's Harlies on Fri night
#1 Competitive - Tournament Champion (7-0)
#2 Renaissance Man - Lost by .02 to my last round opponent, who I gave my sports "4" to ... if only I'd chipmunked him!  But then I wouldn't have been very deserving of Ren Man, would I have?
High on sports ... I think 4/4/3/3 or 4/4/3/2 or something like that; #11 I think
#16/48 painting, which for me is pretty good - I think the inquisition branch paint scheming I did this week helped a lot, as the pig iron guys look sharp

Semi-Final game against Alex Fennel and Final game against Stelek bear note for being absurdly close, exhausting, but ultimately fun ... Alex especially is a brilliant pleasure to play against; I blame the British accent.

Full report to come, but for now sleep.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Battle for Salvation - Departing

OK, so if you've kept up wtih the blog, you know I'm going to the Battle for Salvation this weekend.
Here is the most important question:
Will I be the seal, or the narwhal?

The guys up there made me an offer I couldn't refuse, so I'm leaving the comfy confines of our nation's capital for a little fun in ... a chillier state.  Not in NYC either, just in White Plains.


And I may have to talk to Stelek, AGAIN, in person.

Wait a minute ... what did I get myself into here?

Humor aside, I'm looking forward to the social networking and chatterboxing that will inevitably go on, and am attending along with area good buddies Jay P0well (Blood and Blades), Vaden B@ll (has no blog b/c he's a loooooser), Kevin C0mer (posts on this blog once in a blue moon, runs Fantasy side of NOVA Open), and Ryan H0lliday (Darwinn from YTTH)

So, my army is all painted (I painted over 30 models this week, and it sucked, to fit in the new things I've wanted to try), I'm rolling WITHOUT my trusty rusty demolishers (not so sure how I feel about this one honestly), and I'm looking forward to a good time.

Interestingly, and this is partly b/c I haven't played in a lot of big national tourneys, I've never lost a tournament game ... and I think I will this weekend.  I'm sure I'll do fine competitively, win some or even most of my games, but I just have this inkling that I'm going to run into one of the really strong players attending ... maybe even one of my own crew ... sooner or later, a few dice rolls will go against me, a little bit of "I don't really care" will creep in, and I'll take my first tourney loss ... you know what, though?  I'm kinda looking forward to it :)

There'll be some real gems of competitors hiding in the ranks of 48 at this thing, and I'm looking forward to chatting with the whole kit and kaboodle while eventually meeting my match (though in true 40k style, I'll blame it on dice, list match-ups, and the weather ... before I blame it on someone being as good as or better than me) at some point ... maybe through random draw in Round 1 ... maybe in Round 7.  Who knows?

Here's to a good time ... cya'll on the flipside.  I'm not cool like some of those bloggers, so I don't/won't have the ability to blog remotely.  I will take a lot of pictures, though; or, I'll try to.  It depends on if I'm presently being impaled by vengeful narwhals or not.

 - Mike

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Battle for Salvation Prep - Go

Let's hope none of the BFS judges are like THAT one ... after one go you'd be all NO SIR, I HAVE NO RULES ISSUES, NO THAT'S FINE.

Going to tournaments is good ... gets you warmed up; gets your models painted; fun to meet people; fun to socialize; fun to talk about your own next event; etc.

I'll be wearing my NOVA Open Staff shirt one of the days I'm there; not sure which yet, rawr.  The rest of the days will be my casual norm - Lucky brand graphic T's, lucky brand jeans.

Yeah, TMI, whatevs.

Last night I finished painting THIRTY guardsmen and other types of models.
Here are my now painted list amendments / thematics ...
Grey Knight Brother Captain, 2 guard infantry squads painted in urban camo and full helmets themed up as Inquisitorial Stormtroopers (they're lasgun armed guardsmen), with an Al'Rahem platoon command squad modeled/painted up as a stormtrooper command.  Instead of 2 Catachan bodyguards for Straken's 2 bodyguards, I built up 2 grey knight "initiates" as the bodyguards, down-armored a little and built off the SG and DC kits with blood iconography filed off or removed.  These guys ostensibly attended the engagement with the BC to get some combat experience.

I built up an inquisitorial model to act as the Astropath, and am using a pair of "chicks" as my reg standard and medic, the reg standard being a bretonnian sorceress keyed into the jungle theme and a "witch doctor" chick as the medic ... makes sense to me that Straken (who is a badass) would have jungle babe types with him, and more importantly - would have a harem.

No worries, if anyone actually has a problem with models that are still wysiwyg and clearly representative, I've got back-up plain jane straight Catachan painted models ready to go - 2 catachan bodyguards, a catachan medic, and a catachan reg standard.

Never come unprepared.

The astro choice was both b/c I didn't want to "gay it up" too much with a Tarot inquis, and b/c it was easy to shoehorn in an actual Inquisitor as the astro ... just makes sense (to me at least).

Happy enough with the way things look, but I still have to finish painting the 3 new Chimera additions.

The list I'm going with is one of the two referenced earlier in the week ...

Col. Iron Hand Straken + 2 Meltagun Veterans + Regimental Standard + Medic, with Carapace Armor, + 2 Bodyguards, + Astropath, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 345 points

Grey Knight Brother Captain w/ Nemesis Force Weapon, Storm Bolter, Terminator Armor, Psychic Hood - 81 points

Al'Rahem + 2 Guardsmen w/ Laspistol & Close Combat Weapon + 2 Guardsmen w/ Meltaguns, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 175 points
Guard Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 115 points
Guard Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 115 points

Veteran Squad w/ Shotguns, 3 Meltaguns, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155 points
Veteran Squad w/ Shotguns, 3 Meltaguns, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155 points
Veteran Squad w/ Shotguns, 3 Meltaguns, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155 points
Veteran Squad w/ Shotguns, 3 Meltaguns, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155 points
Veteran Squad w/ Shotguns, 3 Meltaguns, + Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155 points

Vendetta Gunship - 130 points
Vendetta Gunship - 130 points
Vendetta Gunship - 130 points

As an aside, I need to figure out how to get hold of the offspring of this: http://verydemotivational.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/demotivational-posters-girass.jpg

I've got a fresh bottle of Maker's 46, I've got my army (more or less), I've got the time off / yatta yatta, and I'm supposed to play Fritz on Friday night.  Should be a good weekend ... not really attached to doing well or anything; had my fair share of time in the tourney spotlight, happy to just meet some cool people and have a great time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nuance - Competitive vs. Competitively Evaluative

There's a lot of talk across the internet about "true" competitive tournaments, and hobby/non-competitive/casual tournaments.

I don't personally like the distinction, and I don't think most tournament organizers being branded as "hobby" really like the distinction either.

There IS a distinction between tournaments, and the formats they use ... but "competitive" has nothing to do with the format ... that's entirely to do with the players there and whether the event includes more COMPETITIVE matches than not.

Remember, if you have a T-Ball game where both teams are equally matched (or close), the game will be competitive.  Hell, it's even simpler than that - as long as the game is head-to-head in some capacity and has rules and mechanisms for determining a winner and loser, it's ... COMPETITIVE.  This doesn't mean everyone will compete at the same level who attends, or anything of the sort ... but let's not knock events in the wrong way.

Herein lies the rub - not whether an event is competitive, but whether an event's RESULTS are believable  Whether they will be perceived as accurate by the wider viewing audience.

There are a lot of things that go into this ... the first group you MUST respect are your attendees - do the people that paid money and came out feel like the final results were justified?  After that, the wider viewing and listening audience of possible attendees, naysayers, curious web-browsers, etc.

I'd like to take advantage of the much-maligned (wrongly) subject of Adepticon ... and compare last year's 40k Championships to this coming year's.

Last year I attended, faced 3 TOUGH tough lists and opponents, and won all 3 games in close fashion.  No easy wins, VERY competitive for me.  At the end of the day, I placed top 10 I think out of 240 ... but at 3-0 watched someone else go up and claim the prize, someone who had - for better or worse - had an on-paper easier time getting to that same record (and had scored more battle points along the way).  I also tied with said person on the 40k Quiz, the only 2 of us tied at that score; regardless, he snagged that prize too ... battle points used to tiebreak, perhaps.  Tied for max sports, but the sports went to the lowest BP.  That one, whatever.

Was this event competitive?  HELL YES!  Was it fun?  HELL  YES!  Was it competitively EVALUATIVE?  Well, no.  The only way to really evaluate the "best" competitor for the event would have been to take all the 3-0's and pare them down to a single winner.  You alternately could have pared it down to a smaller number; there were as many as 30+ people who had not lost yet (hard to guesstimate, since draws were possible, and it used p/s/t).

So, what is Adepticon doing this year?  Well, 8 rounds for up to 256 players.  Mathematically, the 16 who advance to the final day will by means include no one with a loss (it's possible there'll be multiple players with draws in the crowd, if there's a metric crapton of draws over the course of the day, but even that is unlikely).  On the final day, 4 rounds of 16 will mean there's an invariable result of "one guy hasn't lost, and everyone else has lost at least once."  Will it be competitive?  Well, yes, and the competitiveness will depend not on the FORMAT, but on the CALIBER of players (at Adepticon, there's a whole boatload of "damned good" ... just too big a crowd NOT to be) ... Will it be fun?  I sure hope so ... that depends on the caliber of opponent (personality-wise), the organization of the event (likely to be good), and the format of the missions/scenarios (who knows yet).  Will it be competitively EVALUATIVE?  Absolutely.

I wonder why people are frustrated by this sometimes on the flipside - why they feel it is ok for "muddied" results.  Let's look at a painting competition ... there's ONE winner established for each category, no?  They are evaluated along an objective scale that each category entry is evaluated upon.  Wouldn't it be strange if they narrowed it down to the top 10 armies appearance-wise, and then randomly awarded best to one based upon how well its owner did in terms of battle points?

Think hard before you simply slap "it's not competitive" on a tournament.  That's far more intricate a thing than the format of it.  That said - challenge tournament organizers around the world to push their formats to a level where they fairly and observably EVALUATE the "superlatives" of an event - the renaissance man, the best general or tournament champion, the best painter, etc.