We travelled up to Cardiff on Friday and arrived at Firestorm at about 3.30ish. First stop...the shop! Firestorm Games has an excellent stock of Warmachine and Hordes as well as many other gaming systems. I honestly have never seen so much Privateer Press stock in one place! After picking up some new toys, including the Proteus upgrade and a couple beast plastic kits (no more metal spikes!), Richard and I went into the gaming area and got a 35 point game going. There were already quite a few people playing and observing whilst the organisers were doing the last few touches to the event.
Upon registering, I was given a spot prize for being in the top 5 for purchasing tickets! We also got our first SmogCon and Privateer Press dice: awesome! (I love collecting dice!). At 6pm, the Tournaments began. I entered the 35 point Steamroller but there was also a 50 point Hardcore tournament and the 35 point tier tournament running. The SmogPit was also available! In the 35 point Steamroller there was 16 players with 4 games. It was 10 minute timed turns with one 5 minute extension. I can't remember the details in each game but I went 2-2 overall which I was pretty chuffed with. My goal for any tournament was to win one game per tournament so I achieved that! The games finished by 1am so we were back at the hotel for 2am.
The next day (or a few hours later depending on how you look at it!), was the 50 point steamroller tournament. This tournament was again 16 players with 4 rounds. The turns were timed for 12 minutes with one extension of 5 minutes.
My first game I was randomly drawn against Richard! We didnt want to make a fuss so had a good game, where it went to time. Rich won on tertiary conditions. My next game was against a Troll player and I managed to kill his warlock with a Scythean- massive lesson learned- troll warlocks have tough- Scythean should therefore use his animus (yes I forgot to use it). Fortunately, he did not make the tough roll but it was a heart stopping roll!!
My next game was against Mat Hart and some lovely painted trolls. I made quite a few mistakes in this game, including not activating my reinforcements the turn they came on but not also using manifest destiny often enough! I was clearly going to lose the scenario so I ended up going for the assassination. The warlock though had to keep putting the damage onto someone else and I simply ran out of attacks! Time was called shortly after and I lost by tertiary again, the battle engine being the main points. The Scythean had done a decent amount of damage on it but would have done a lot more if I had used manifest destiny. Oh well, lesson learned.
My final game was against Pete with his Menoth. This was another great game and I got good use out of manifest destiny and Thagrosh's feat, killing a jack and a unit of bastions. We eventually went to time but I got the win on tertiary conditions.
Again, 2-2! Awesome! I was very pleased with this as I was playing people who were a lot more experienced players than me whilst also getting used to the new scenarios and factions I have little experience with.
By now it was 5ish and tiredness was kicking in! We had originally signed up for the hardcore tournament starting at 5.30 but we decided against this in the end. After having a game in the SmogPit and watching some other games, we called it a night.
In both the 35 point and 50 point Steamrollers I learnt a lot. One lesson was positioning as I decided not to move the Bolt Thrower up too far but, I thought, into contesting range. Unfortunately, I was quite literally millimetres out....literally millimetres! So I got a loss through Scenario, but Toby played very well and it was an enjoyable game. I also had a loss to Austin Pickles with his Menoth. I learnt here an incredibly important lesson that rough terrain is measured effectively from the back of the base in that game's example! I didnt know this so I ended up having a failed charge, allowing his jack to move into Thagrosh. Again another great game though. A different game I had was against Cygnar and I almost came a cropper to the might of Foxhole from Siege! Fortunately Thagrosh survived, killing Siege next turn. My last game was also against Cygnar on Friday night; we were both tired and making silly mistakes but I managed to pull off a scenario win. Stuart gave me a very good game though and I hope to have a rematch again in the future.
Here are some random pictures I took in most of the games:
1. Raptor shoots with Annyssa in line of sight, needing a 5....rolled a 4. Would have been interesting due to the poison bow.
2. Raptor misses rolling a 6 needing a 7.
3. Feat turn, Ravagore moves- out of Lylyths control area....nooooo! Range was just short and it scattered awar from Nemo. If Lylyth had been about an inch forward he would have been and benefited from the feat....grrr.
4. Lylyth shoots Nemo, boosting the damage....causing I think something like 1 point of damage....omg.
5. Lylyth shoots again, boosting to hit and damage...leaving him on I think 2.
And I thought Nemo was "squishy"!
I hope to play Doug again in the future with possibly a different list and without the cursed dice! Great game though.
During SmogPit, Annyssa took the chance for a photo whilst strolling through the woods!
Swiped this picture from Richard! This picture was taken after the dice had been rolled and it just landed like this!
Throughout Sunday, the Championship was ongoing. The results were being commentated as they came through. We did however watch the rather intense final game between Aaron Boyhan (Retribution) and Martyn Jenkins (Circle). It was a close game but unfortunately Martyn forgot to get his fury back and his beast failed the frenzy check (I bet this has happened to all Hordes players!) Martyn then went for the assassination against Ossyan but didnt manage to pull it off, so Kreuger was killed in the next turn resulting in Aaron taking the win! Most memorable quote of the weekend was definitely Martyn when he was going for the assassination, where he said "Go big or go home, ........ so I'm going home!" Brilliant!
During the weekend, people were also encouraged to enter their miniatures into the painting competition. I was amazed with the standard, there were a lot of stunning minis. The following are some pictures, but they really don't give justice to the minis. Unfortunately I did not have time to photograph them all.
Soon after was the raffle for Macmillan Cancer Charity. We raised a grand total of £371 and there were some great prizes given away. I won a Hordes poster and a Privateer Press tape measure and Richard won a pink Privateer Press Bandana! Other prizes given away were signed Domination and Wrath books, faction patches and some Domination models. The thank yous followed and we all then said our goodbyes. What a weekend.
Domination poster, PP Tape Measure, PP Bandana and a selection of SmogCon and PP dice!
For gaming, it was one of the most well-organised events I have played in and all of the tables were great; there were no tables where the terrain was sparse or too crowded. The games ran to schedule and everything that was needed was supplied, including timers and objective markers.
Socially, the event was great. Firestorm have recently expanded and have now got a bar area, but the whole community is incredibly friendly and welcoming to players. It was a great opporunity to put names to faces as there are people I have listened to on podcasts or spoke to/ follow on twitter and it was a chance to meet everyone. Similarly, it was also a great chance to meet with people we haven't seen for a while.
I cannot wait until next year!!
So...what next. The convention really highlighted a few things to me, on the plus side things I can take away and learn from but also some things that I maybe should have been doing better. Firstly, I was conscious of my lack of practice. Fortunately, Iron Haven Games ran a Steamroller last weekend which gave us the chance to put in some last minute practice, but I reckon I should have been preparing for this for much longer. My lack of games of 35 points or above hugely showed when it came to list building and how they actually played. I felt some of my lists were disjointed purely due to a lack of play time and practice with them. So, the plan is now to concentrate on 35 and 50 points each week where Richard and I will put in some decent practice games, but importantly not always Cryx vs Legion, but also adding in some Khador, Cygnar or Menoth and hopefully some other factions in the future. This will serve 2 puposes; 1. Learn how to play against other factions and get more list building practice. 2. Learn more about that faction and the warcaster/ warlock. We will also continue going to Iron Haven Games and their training evenings, as the first one was really educational as well as going to Mad for Miniatures for their larger point games/ tournaments. We are hoping that this will put us in good stead for the Welsh Open in May!
The other thing the convention highlighted was around painting. For a few weeks now I have been regretting my chosen colour scheme for my Legion. I tested a slightly different one on eThags which I quite like so I am now going to take it a step further and apply it to my plastic warbeasts. If it works, it works, if it doesnt, back to the drawing board! My goal here is to have my list for the ETC in the new colour scheme....which is probably going to involve a lot of stripping models and starting again! The painting standard at SmogCon blew me away, the models were amazing. I know I can never get to that standard but if I could produce a good tabletop standard, then I will be happy.
So there we are. Thanks for reading and roll on SmogCon 2013!!