Category Archives: Tournaments and Conventions

Tournaments and why I like them

I make no secret about being a casual gamer, and it just struck me that some of you might wonder why I go in tournaments at all.

When we read someone’s blog it might seem like we know that person, but really it’s more like we’re getting a thin slice of their personality.  Even if you piece an entire blog together, I don’t think you’d get anything like an accurate picture of the author, as any collection of writing is going to mutate and change in response to its own history.  There’s also this massive temptation to conform to your own online persona, especially when you start to build up a group of peers and regular sparring-partners.  I try to resist that temptation to conform to digital me, but sometimes that means that what I write from one post to the next may seem contradictory to a reader.  Online people are so much simpler than meat people.

So I thought I’d write something positive, and give you all a bit of insight into why I play in competitive events at all.  This post is partly inspired by Thor’s post urging people to try out playing in a store.  It made me think about the good things in the hobby, which is always welcome in the generally negative online environment.

I’m not the biggest tournament attendee, but I do try to make them when I can.  Here’s six reasons why: Continue reading


Oz Comic Con and my thoughts on 6th Edition 40k Allies

Taking the family to Melbourne this weekend to go to Oz Comic Con!  I’m a bit nervous actually, it’s the first long trip with our baby, so yeah, let’s see how he likes an hour in the car followed by eight hours on a train. One of the challenges of living in Australia is that to get pretty much anywhere besides where you already are involves at least a day of travel.  Doesn’t stop us though.

I’ve never been to a big con like this that wasn’t gaming related, so it’ll be interesting.  I’m curious to see Patrick Stewart in real life I have to say.  Every time I see him though I imagine him crouched in Ricky Gervais’s trailer saying “and then all her clothes fall off.”

So I’d better say something about games too – it’s kind of in the tag-line of the blog after all.  I used my 20% off for Australians (and other GW outcasts) voucher from Maelstrom to order an Infinity rulebook.  That deal was pretty genius of them I have to say, I haven’t bought any gaming stuff for ages bar a copy of Samurai Shodown Sen for the X-Box which I still haven’t played.  Oh and I scored an ancient (well, 1981) copy of the AD&D Player’s Handbook from a second hand bookshop the other day.  Hooray for arbitrarily capped strength scores for everyone but Human Males!

But that Maelstrom voucher actually got me to blow the dust off my wallet and fork out.  I’ve been keen to finally read the background for Infinity so it was an opportunity, and I took it.

Brian from A Gentleman’s Ones kindly sent me the Killzone rules so I could play some 40k without turning into this guy:

What? It’s only turn two?

But it turns out I’m pretty excited for 6th edition now after all.  It was the allies that sold me.  Yeah, I realize people are concerned about balance but you know what?  No game is ever balanced, and I think the best possible thing you can do to balance a vast mess of a game like 40k is just make it into a huge free for all.  This is why I am stoked about the allies:

  • Too much poential synergy.  No-one could possibly absorb and analyze all the variables now.  Take that meta-jerks.
  • No more being unable to legally represent background-consisent forces like an Inquisitor and some inducted guardsmen, or Blood Axe Orks fighting with the Eldar.
  • If you’ve always had your imagination captured by the idea of Tau or Orks or Eldar or whatever fighting alongside other factions now you can do it.  Options, not limits, that’s what we should have, and that’s what’s been given us.

Official allies rules are what I have always wanted from 40k.  The army system as it was just seemed so creatively limited, and now I can buy whatever the hell models I like (except tyranids *cough* but who cares about them, right?) and come at people’s faces with bizarre circus freak armies.  Like, er, Chaos Tau, or re-programmed Necrons.  Just like Apocalypse, but I can do it in as small a game as I can fit ’em!

Anyway that’s it for now.  Got to go and pack for the train.  Have a good one everyone.

Two Hobby Victories and a Thought

So the last month or so of my life has been a total blur.  As well as baby-wrangling I’ve been battling against house-unpacking and marking people’s assignments (which takes WAY longer than I anticipated) to try to get just a little bit of game stuff done.  Now the house is pretty much habitable and I’ve managed to steal some tiny hobby victories:

Victory One: My regular opponent Cap’n Stoogey and I are going in a 1200 point doubles 40k tourney in a couple of weeks, 600 points each.  For the first time his Ultramarines and my Guard will be fighting side by side.  600 points is not much and we aren’t aiming for the top tables so we just decided to choose a few must-have units that we really wanted to field.  I’ve mustered a rag-tag band of misfits – two squads of penal legionnaires, my ogryns, and my demolisher Anathema led by a Primaris Psyker.  In fact this little army has really captured my imagination, and got me thinking about a full-sized force of penals, abhumans and psykers, supported by assault battle tanks.  I think an army like that would be fun to play and really capture the weird undertone of the Imperial Guard fluff that lurks underneath the “normal army dudes” surface.

Victory Two: After unsuccessfully scouring every art, hardware and car store in town (and the internet) for matt finish spray paint for my Night Goblins I noticed a street art and graffiti shop hiding up some pokey little stairs in the city centre.  They had 200 colours imported from Germany for ten bucks each, and the guy even threw in a smaller nozzle for free for detail work.  It was just an amazing lucky break.  Anyone who’s been to Canberra knows that shops like that don’t exactly grow on trees here so I hope they stay open.  The owners were super-cool and there was all this loud hip-hop and mad pieces on the walls yo, and I felt like a total dork buying graffiti paint for my Night Goblins.  I just kind of pretended I was an aerosol artist (despite having no real idea how an aerosol artist looks or acts).  It was awesome.

Oh yeah, I was listening to the D6 Generation’s 100th episode the other day and all three of the hosts (who are crazy hard-core gamers compared with me) were saying that they were past the point where they could ever see themselves buying an army for an army scale miniatures system ever again.  Not just GW, but any army sized system (I think they specifically mentioned PP, Battlefront and something else as well as GW).

I know how they feel (uh… despite what I just wrote above!)  It made me think about this post where I suggested that all these miniature games companies have really jumped the shark if you’re an adult gamer with grown-up responsibilities.  And by responsibilities I’m not just talking kids either, I’m talking real jobs and other games to play.  All of these things make the demands of games like 40k and HoMachine seem ri-godamn-diculous.

I’m genuinely curious about how the demographic will change in the future.  Are we stepping boldly into a world where Little Lord Fauntleroys with weatlhy absent parents play vast games of Warhammer against each other, while the rest of us whip out our phones or throw down a quick skirmish game?  Who knows?

Till next time.  Hopefully I’ll have pictures from the tournament 😀

Cancon 2012 + Baby

So . . . I’ve been hell busy because my son was born on the 30th of January. In an effort to get things moving my lovely girlfriend and I went to Cancon the day before, Australia’s largest annual gaming convention which happens to be in the city we live (only partly why I moved there, honest!)

We actually went mainly to support our friend Cazz’s hand-made geek-themed jewellery shop, Nerd Burger.  She sold lots of stuff to gamer girls while the rest of us sat there and drank coffee.  So if you have a gamer significant other, are a gamer girl or just like wearing necklaces with reliefs of Han Solo in carbonite on them, I recommend checking out her site.

Here we are.  From left to right: me, Cazz, Liam.

We also went crazy and bought the board-game Ticket to Ride, which is awesome, and some tiny d20s, which are equally awesome.  I wasn’t playing in the 40k this year because you know, baby at any moment, but I did give them a quick look.  I took some enormously bad photos, only one of which isn’t blurry:

A horrible photo of a really very good Necron Monolith.

I was really keen to see the Infinity tables, as last year they were amazing and they were actually what got me interested in the game.  I wasn’t disappointed:

I love the Blade Runner billboard.

I’m considering going in the Infinity tournament next year – much less commitment in terms of time and prep than the three-day 40k grind I did last year.

So yeah, Cancon was fun as always. I’m going to go and wash nappies now.

Grown Man Cheats at 40k

Just a quick post today.  I heard about this a little while back from one of my regular opponents but forgot about it instantly (working nights does that to you).

I won’t mention names because it doesn’t matter really, but a couple of months back one of the top 40k players in Australia was caught cheating at a tournament, using loaded dice.  They were dice filled with mercury on one face and required a special way of rolling to take advantage of the loading, so even if another player rolled them it wouldn’t be obvious they were loaded.  According to the info on the Wargamerau forum, this player confessed to using them in other tournaments, as well as friendly games(!).  The other top players are pretty angry, as you can imagine.  They’ve played and hung out with this guy at tournaments for years.

He then went on to enter Golden Daemon under an assumed name with miniatures painted by a commissioned Polish artist.  He won several trophies before the artist recognized his own work and uncovered the deception.  GW is “investigating.”

A few weeks back Bell of Lost Souls reported on match-fixing to get into ‘Ard Boyz.  The thing that struck me about this was that the response of one of the cheaters when he was confronted was “that’s ‘Ard Boyz bro.”

Competitive players like to distance themselves from cheating by making a big deal of the whole competitive-versus-WAAC dichotomy.  But the fact is that the more valuable victory in an event is (and by valuable I don’t just mean prizes – pride and respect are values too), the greater the temptation to cheat will become for people with, shall we say, “undeveloped morals.”

Eventually you get to the level of respect and prize-money in professional sports, and then even people with strong morals and a good attitude will be tempted and may falter.

I’m not saying a competitive attitude to gaming leads automatically to cheating.  But you can’t have one without the other.

In conclusion though, a grown man habitually cheating at Warhammer? Seriously, that’s pathetic.  At least have the ambition and balls to cheat at something important.

ANUCON 2011 Results and Pics

Someone noticed the freehand on my Banewolf! I'm pretty proud of it but people usually don't see it because the colours are a bit subtle.

The full results are out from ANUCon 2011, along with some pictures people took at the event.  It turned out there were only 26 players, and I came in at a horrible 17th place overall!  I did get 29 out of 30 for sports, and 18 out of 20 for comp, but at a measly 15 out of a possible 50 battle points I won’t be moving up too many ranks from this one!  Painting was a requirement, and there was a Best Army prize based on judge’s decison, but it didn’t affect a player’s overall score.

I had a lot of fun and I think so did everyone else.  There’s been no negative feedback at all on the host club’s feedback forum thread, which as you all know is pretty amazing for the internet.

In case you’re interested all the pics can be seen here, but I’ve posted a few below of armies I particularly liked, plus some of my army, including my Death Riders (before they got broken).

I don’t actually have a full shot of my own army all ranked up – it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but until then these will have to do.  Thanks to all the photographers by the way – it’s a real kick to see someone liked your army enough to stop and take a photo. Continue reading

ANUCON 2011 Report

Australian Light Horse. It's too soon for any photos from the event so I was at a bit of a loss. You have to have a picture right?

So I played in ANUCon on the weekend, as usual doing pretty badly.  I would have been somewhere near the bottom for generalship, and somewhere much further up for sports and painting.  It was a good weekend though: a much friendlier vibe than Cancon earlier in the year. Not that Cancon was unfriendly, but there were definitely opponents who were clearly more worried about winning than about making the game fun for both of us.  That was not the case here.  Plus, drinks were provided all weekend and lunch on both days, so I recommend it if you’re near Canberra and want a friendly tournament.

Well, the good news is I actually managed to hit with my rough riders in four out of the six games.  The bad news is that in the fifth game their lances got snagged in my hoodie and one of them smashed to bits.  My sgt also lost his arm in the accident, and I never managed to find it.  These are Forge World Death Riders, about fifteen hours of painting and the pride of my army.  And spindly, annoying, fragile little bastards.

Anyway.  How was it in more detail? Continue reading

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