Monday, April 22, 2013

Brawler Bash VI Army Parade

As promised, here are a few of my favorite armies at the Bash.  There were several other nice ones around, but they weren't set up when I went around (I meant to go back through but my phone died).  The level of painting was very high this year.  Four that I missed that I would have liked to have gotten shots of were Chris's Book-themed Empire (he had a wizard riding a flying book -- very cool), Paul's awesome terrorgheist climbing over a building and excellent graveyard display board, Ian's cthulhu-themed Lizardmen (and his very creepy movement trays), and the best overall winner's ogres.  I'll try to catch those at Southern Assault. If I have a shot of your army, and you'd prefer it not be posted, let me know, and I'll take it down.  Otherwise, enjoy the armies!

First up, the winner for Best Painted, The Great Bear Tribe of our friend over at Casualties of a Paintbrush.  The freehand on this was incredible.  Check out the bear banner up front.

 Next, a high elf army.  The technical skill on this army is top-notch.  The chimera won the award for best single miniature.

 Here is PowerPosey's from the Accursed Crozius.  I love the blue; it's very striking on the tabletop, and the soulgrinder is awesome!

 Once Bitten's Empire army (I'm sure you've seen his stuff, but he has some YouTube battle reports from the Bash).  This display board is the most detailed I have seen.  There are all kinds of little bits and bobs to add a touch of realism.  I hope you can see the detail on his hurricanium as well.

 Here is the Chaos Dwarf army that beat me so badly in round 2.  It went on to win third best painted.  I think this picture speaks for itself.

 Another awesome Slannesh Daemon army by Mr. Brohammer.  There are some very nice conversion pieces here as you can see.

 I don't know whose army this was, but I really liked the circus theme.

 I thought this dark elf army was very strong.  I understand that the whole thing was done using an airbrush  It turned out beautifully.

This Ulric themed Empire army was great.  A lot of care was taken with each mini, and I noticed several neat (but subtle) conversions throughout.

Finally,  I love Lance's Scibor bear demigryphs and steam tanks.  I wish I would have thought of this first.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brawler Bash VI Review

Long post incoming.  You have been warned.

I have returned from Brawler Bash VI, and I have to say that it was undoubtedly the best event that I have ever attended.  I've been to Grailquest, another tournament organized by the Bull City Wargaming folks, but they really put on a show this year.   Here's a quick list of what I made this event stand out:

  • The Carnage System of Scoring:  The only thing that matters under this system is how many battle points and objective points you earn each game.  I wouldn't want every tournament to use this system because I think it discourages certain armies.  However, it's a nice change of pace.  I also think it makes for friendlier games because winning and losing are irrelevant (for most people).
  • The Focus on Soft Scores:   Brawler Bash, more so than other tournaments, seems to pride itself on celebrating the entire hobby.  If you look at the final standings, you'll see how much painting and sportsmanship affected the placings.  Some people moved up ten to twelve positions.
  • The Extras:  The organizers put a lot of effort into the experience.  They hosted the "Brown Brawler," a single miniature paint competition, they had QR-reader enabled live standings, they brought in food for lunch both days, they had a Friday night pre-tournament gaming event, they streamed the top table on the internet (here's a link to my game; it features many shots of my crotch), and about thirty different prizes (including ten that gave store credit).
  • The Store:  Atomic Empire is truly an amazing store and has really molded itself into a gaming event center.  It fit almost 100 players and had room to spare. 
  • The Players:  The event featured 68 fantasy players and maybe 25 40k players.  People came from all over the country to be here (and the prize for farthest distance traveled went to a player from Canada).  There were also some wargaming internet celebrities in attendance, and I met the Sustainable Center, Malorian, Lord Inquisitor, Shimmergloom, Mr. Brohammer, and Once Bitten.  I'm sure that there were others in attendance as well.  I had five great games against great looking armies and got to hang out with some folks I only see once a year.
One thing I noticed is that the level of painting and modelling has really increased this year.  There were some awesome armies on display.  I'll follow this post with some pictures I took of a few of my favorite armies.  With armies like I saw this weekend, I was very happy to finish fourth in painting.  I can't say enough about the care that people had put into their forces.

As far as my games went, I had one of my better GTs.  On the way down, I had listened to a Bad Dice Daily, and Ben Curry said that people who played mages on monsters were "hobby gamers" who did not worry about unit performance.  Paul and I joked a little about that, but it wasn't far off.  My list was created solely to push the dragon theme out as far as possible.  One of my opponents remarked that he appreciated that I took the list that I enjoyed playing instead of what was optimal, but I ended up doing pretty well with it.  I played game 5 on table three (in sixth place in battle points), and although my final opponent curb stomped me, I still finished in the top-20 in battle points.  Take that Dragon Mage haters!  Here's a few highlights:

Game 1 vs. Powerposey's Daemons of Slannesh:  Tony said that this was a battle of "fluffy bunnies" (notice how high he finished as well --go soft armies!), and it was very fun.   It was also a microcosm of my tournament.  I started of well and ended up just trying to hold on once my opponent's big blocks reach my lines.   I think my MVP unit here was a river of light in which Tony deployed his seekers.  It cast net on them, he tried to move, failed and killed most of the unit.  If this unit had gotten moving, the lash could have made things bad for me.  The most exciting moment for me happened at the end.  My objective was to keep both mages alive, and I had managed to do so (the only game that happened in the tournament).  However, in turn 6 he rolled an 11 for magic which meant that I had to pass a leadership test or have a mage turn into a daemon.  That was a stressful roll.  Like I said, Tony's a fun, laid back opponent, so it was a great way to start the tournament.  I won our grudge match and picked up 4500 victory points.  

Game 2 vs.  Method's Chaos Dwarves:   Jerry's dwarves look beautiful (see the army shot above), and he took a well-deserved second place in painting.  I later heard it said about Jerry that "he makes you feel good while he kicks your teeth in," and that's pretty much what happened here.  Jerry always finishes highly ranked,  and he was riding a string of second-place GT finishes.  His skill, plus my complete ignorance of chaos dwarves, made this an uphill battle.  The move that sealed my fate was Jerry six-dicing Ash Storm every round.  This locked my dragon in place, and he didn't see combat until turn 6. That said, Jerry has a great sense of humor and he made the game fun.  I only managed to pick up maybe 1200 points, sending me back down the tables.

Game 3 vs. Jason's Vampire Counts:  This game went very badly from my opponent from the start.  Sometimes we say the dice betrayed us, but in this game they really did betray Jason.  I think I made the right moves in the game, but I don't think he made any meaningful roll while I was rocking everything.  I'm sure he thought my dice were loaded.  Still, he kept a great attitude, and it was fun trying to coax his guys to wound something.  He later said that he was local and that this was his first tournament.  He said that he'd start coming to the bi-monthly Atomic Empire tournaments, so I'm looking forward to playing him again.  I picked up the maximum 5000 points in this game, launching me back through the ranks.

Game 4 vs. Paul's Empire:  Paul had a very well designed empire list, and if I played Empire, this would probably be how I'd want to do it.  He had 2 tanks, 2 cannons, a block of knights, 2 units of demigryphs, a hurricanium, a horde of halbediers, and other supporting stuff.  This was the army that makes my flying character army lie awake at night.  However, in turn 1 Paul experienced the single worst turn in Warhammer history.  I noticed that he had put his BSB on the flank, so I threw everything at destroying the most vulnerable unit in the center of his batteline.  A 3d6 fireball and 30 archer shots later, and the hurricanium was dead.  Paul then proceeded to panic off the board a unit of demigryphs and  his level 4's archer bunker. He followed this up by misfire exploding one of his canons in round one and the other in round two.  Disaster!  I was impressed by how he kept his composure and focused on salvaging the game.  In the end, he collected quite a few victory points and kept himself in the hunt.  I think I finished with like 3500 here.

Game 5 vs. Brandon's Nurgle Daemons:  So, I played another person with the last name Brandon.  He had a some really smart Nurgle proxies, including using gorebeasts for beasts and a doom bull for an unclean one.  I think Nurgle is very powerful right now, especially with Epidemius, and this game proved it (and actually increased my desire to have a Nurgle army).  My opponent used his objective card brilliantly.  He said that he had been saving his vanguard card for a T3 opponent, and in my elves, he finally played one.  He got to vanguard his unclean one forward.  He then won first turn, positioned his GUO right in front of the right side of my line and sent the toughness vortex all the way down.  He filled Epidemius's tally just from that spell, and the game was pretty much over.  I actually enjoyed the challenge of trying to pick up what points I could with my dragon, and in the end, I managed 1500.  This knocked me from 6th to 16th in battle points, but I still met my goal of top-20 in battle points.

Great games; great opponents all.  

Starting the tournament, I had three goals, and I actually achieved them all (for maybe the first time ever).  As I said, I wanted to finish in the top-20 in battle points, and I managed to pull 16 out of 68 with my low magic, high ridden monster list (and 4th in best overall!).  I also wanted to finish in the top five in painting.   However, once I got to the tournament and saw the armies, I figured that top-10 was more realistic.  In the end, I did up finishing fourth, which I think is quite an accomplishment.  I guess people like dragons.  Finally, I wanted to win the award for top high elf-player.  Ben, another elf player from the great state of Tennessee, was playing on the table right next to me all day.  He's also an awesome painter.  His chimera won the Brown Brawler, so I knew his soft scores would make it tough to beat him.  In the end, I was fortunate enough to claim the trophy.  Although only 4 HE armies were in attendance, they were played by good players (and one of them had Teclis), so I was pleased.  I was also surprised to win the award for "Best Opponent/Sportsmanship."  This is my first time winning a sportsmanship award (obviously, since Tom from Bull City Wargaming wins them all), and I want to thank my opponents for voting for me.

In closing, I think this tournament will really transform the local scene.  It generated a lot of buzz and brought in players that have never played tournaments before.  It also showed what a well-publicized GT could do in terms of attendance.  Once Bitten is organizing the next regional GT, Southern Assault.  It will be held on July 13/14, and the player pack was announced during BB. This is the most heavily comped of the local GTs, and I am hoping that the momentum carries forward and that he can draw 50 or more players.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Twas the Night Before Brawler Bash...

... and I am almost finished with everything.  Everything that is going to get done anyway.  I need to magnetize a few bases and paint four more eyes.  Here's my army with the new display board:

There are a few things that I want to do to the board, but they'll have to wait until Southern Assault.  Overall, I'm happy with the way the army came out, and I'm looking forward to getting it out on the table.

My first game on Saturday is against Powerposey himself. This will be our third opening round game at Brawler Bash, and this is the rubber match.   I figured that every rivalry needed a trophy (like the Old Oaken Bucket in football), so I painted us up one.  Mr. Powerposey has been talking some trash on the internet, so it'll be great fun when the Star Dragon eats his Keeper.

I think the game is going to be webcast on the store's WebTV station, so if you've always wanted to watch live Warhammer and are free between 9 and 12 on Saturday, check out this link:

I'm also planning to post a few shots of the nice armies that I see and play on Twitter, so if you have an account follow me @rotgutmanglers.  I'm sure there will be some excellent armies to look at.  I'll post a report when I get back.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Final Brawler Bash Prep w/ Photos

The final day to register, pay, and send army lists in for Brawler Bash VI is today (link here). It's at 78 players, so if you are free next weekend and want to be part of a big GT, sign up tonight!

We are one week away from the tournament, so I am in full-fledged tournament panic mode.  I still need to paint three dragon princes and do a host of touch-ups and augmentations (including painting about 60 eyes and freehanding three banners).  One would think after playing this army for seven-odd years that I wouldn't have to rush like this before grand tournaments, but I have completely overhauled the army, causing me a great amount of work.

The theme this year is dragons, so in addition to the fire-breathing dragon and the fire-casting dragon mage elsewhere on this blog, I have painted up and converted several other dragon themed folks.  First up are my counts as eagles:

I have three of these old dragon master dragons (which you can still get from GWs website).  I left one of them in his standard pose and added a bit of fire breath to the other two.  I put them all up on dragon-kit rocks.  I'll post some picks of the lot later as I'm still working on the basing.

I also added in an eagle riding BSB using these same dragons:

I still need to add a banner-top from the dragon prince kit to his flag, but he's becoming one of my favorite figures.  I really like the dynamic pose that I was able to bend him into.

To round out the "Here Be Dragons" theme, I am running two units of 5 dragon princes:

These are probably my favorite GW kit ever.  They take forever to paint because they are so detailed, but they look great and are fun to assemble (instead of frustrating like white lions).

The list that I have decided is not really a competitive build, but I think it looks nice on the table.  I find myself spending far more hours building, converting, and painting these miniatures than I do playing with them, so I like to show off the cool stuff.  I think dragons are cool, so that's what I'm taking.  So there.

My goal in this tournament is to get my paint score as high as possible (because soft scores count 45% of the overall score).  If I can get a high paint score and a couple of player's choice votes, I'll be happy (with 78 armies, winning a painting prize is most likely out of the question.  I expect to see some awesomely painted armies).  That said, this army gives certain builds problems, and if I get the right match-ups, I think it can do better than people will expect.  My goal is to average 2500 VP per game, which I'm hoping (along with the soft scores) can land it in the top-25.  We'll see how it goes next Saturday.  Here's the list for those interested:

Prince on Star Dragon (Vambraces, Armor of Caledor, Great Weapon)
Dragon Mage (level 1, silver wand, fire)
Wizard (barded steed, level 2, annulian crystal, death)
Noble on Great Eagle (biting blade, helm of fortune)

4 x 10 Archers (mus, standard)
20 Sea Guard (mus, flaming banner)

27 White Lions (gleaming pennant)
2 x 5 Dragon Princes

3 x Great Eagles

The tournament kicks off on Saturday.  Wish me luck!