I just got back from a tournament at the Gaming Underground in High Point, NC. It's the first time that I've been to this particular store, and I was very impressed by its activity. It was packed solid with wargamers and card players all day. Here's a link to the store's Facebook page if anyone is interested. As I understand it, Warhammer Fantasy is played every Wednesday.
This tournament was organized by Scott of GameOnGW, and since his events are always professionally done, I was looking forward to a good day of games. I wasn't disappointed. We used the Brawler Bash rules packet which meant that winning and losing are irrelevant. Standings were determined only by victory points and objective points (and soft scores). Thus, a loss in which a player scored 2800 victory points is better than a win in which he scores 1500. It takes a little while to get used to not playing to win, but once you wrap your head around it, it sets up some very interesting strategies. Anyway, I ended up playing three very close and exciting games:
Game 1: This was a very fun game vs. Once Bitten's Empire list. I won't say much about this one because Once Bitten has done a very full report on his YouTube channel. The star dragon was definitely the MVP of this game as he flew around causing trouble and killed a unit of Demigryphs, a hurricanum, a volley gun, a canon, an engineer, and most of a unit of circle knights. Even though I was outscored, the game was back and forth, and Chad was a great opponent. I'd love a rematch at the Bash.
Game 2: This was a slug fest against Shimmergloom's Orcs and Goblins. Marcus is master O&G player, and I always have trouble with his shooting heavy Orc list. The highlight of this battle was my dragon and white lions grinding down his Savage Orc horde over the course of three turns. His all-star units were actually his pair of doom divers which killed a unit of dragon princes, my BSB, and the dragon mage. My MVP units were my archers. In one turn of strength 3 bowfire, I took down two mangler squigs, a unit of wolves, and a pump wagon. Over the course of the game, the archers also picked up another unit of wolf riders and a lone troll. They also broke a hero on giant spider in close combat. I'm starting to believe the mantra that for High Elves, everything core needs to fire a bow. In the end, I picked up about 3000 points here (and gave up about the same).
Game 3: I played fellow Mangler Paul's Vampire Counts. Paul has a very tough army with a knight bus containing four characters, a big unit of ghouls, a big unit of skeletons, 2 units of hexwraiths, a terrorgheist, a varghulf, and various supporting units. The hex wraiths are a constant annoyance because my army contains few magic attacks, so once my Dragon Mage lost Flaming Sword to the warp, I was in trouble. In the end 2 hex wraiths held my dragon up for two rounds before being rescued by the Dragon Mage. I think the MVP of this game were probably the White Lions. Although they were eviscerated by the two Red Fury Vampires, they managed to kill two of the characters in the knight bus and to wound the hero vamp. One interesting thing about this game is that it highlighted the eccentricies of Brawler Bash scoring because in the last round, I flew both my dragons at the vampire bus in hopes of picking of the vampire hero. In the end, I traded 400 points for 200 in what was a very close game but left feeling good about it.
I soon found out that it was lucky that I traded those points because I ended up winning Best Overall by less than 200 points, confirming my suspicions that at the Bash it's best not to worry about losing and to focus only on picking up victory points, especially at the end of games.
My best overall award also shows the weight given to Sports and Paint in the Brawler Bash system. It looked like it was about 55% battle points/45% soft scores, and I actually finished 5th in battle points, leaping over the battle leaders with strong showings in paint and sports. I actually think that the emphasis on painting is what makes the Bash special, and as I read people's blogs and forum post I see a lot of people working hard on their army's appearance. I don't necessarily see this for other South Eastern GTs. If the Bash didn't put such emphasis on scoring, I doubt we'd see such widespread effort, and the beautiful armies are part of what makes the Bash so much fun. (Interestingly the guys over at GarageHammer had a discussion with the Adepticon tournament organizer about soft-scores. Give it a listen and let me know what you think).
On the hobby front, I'd encourage everyone to head over to Bull City Wargaming and enter their Clutter Buster Challenge. You can go to their website for their full rules, but essentially, you get points for getting models finished and you lose points for bringing in new models. The winner will be the person who manages to clean up the most clutter from their model case. With this in mind, I wanted to list my current inventory of unpainted models. We'll see how much of this I can get finished before the contest ends on September 1:
40 Tomb Guard w/ Halberds
25 Tomb Guard w/ Hand Weapon and Shields (some conversion needed)
3 Chariots w/ riders
4 more chariot riders
5 TK Carrion
7 Necropolis Knight Riders (these will need to be assembled)
10 High Elf Archers (these will need to be assembled)
10 Phoenix Guard to HE Spearmen conversions (assembly needed)
5 Dragon Princes (assembly needed; I have another 5 due in on Wednesday)
4 Dragon Master Dragons (assembly needed)
HE Prince Box (assembly needed)
1 Tomb King with Shield
That strikes me as a ridiculous amount of unpainted models. We'll see how much of this clutter that I get knocked out before now and September. I think it'll be fun, so hopefully some of the folks from Tennessee will join me. Indeed, there is nothing that says that it has to be Games Workshop Miniatures, so if anyone has recently received massive amounts of Reaper Bone, Mantic Warzone, or Sedition War miniatures from recent Kickstarters, you can join in too!
A friend of mine is now blogging. He's a much better painter than me, and he gave me some good tips over Christmas. He also helped me de-clutter over Christmas by painting a few of the miniatures that I never use (and thus will never get painted) in exchange for one of my gaming tables. Check out his work.
Finally, I've been working hard on finishing up my 20 maiden guard, so here's a shot of the completed unit. They are just straight 5e Maiden Guards with a Confrontation flag attached. One of my collecting goals is to expand this to a horde of fifty: