I know that I still need to write up what happened at the SE Masters, but I'm just back from the Holiday Brawl in Cleveland, Tennessee and wanted to go ahead and discuss it while it is fresh in my mind. I'm preparing to relocate to Cleveland, so I decided to head to the tournament in hopes of meeting some of the local gamers. I'm glad that I did because I ended up meeting a lot of great people and having a very fun time. The tournament was held in Dicehead Games, located in Cleveland's mall. It was the first time that I had been to the shop, and I found it a great place to game. They have a large space in the back for playing, you can walk to the food court for lunch, they have a nice selection of gaming stuff to spend your winnings on, and the owner is very helpful and friendly.
The tournament itself was well organized, and I'd recommend that folks within driving distance make the trip to future Brawls. It was essentially a mini-GT: a one-day, three game affair with prizes for soft scores. The games were based around objectives which was a nice change of pace from the 20-0 systems that so many NC/VA tournaments are based on. The organizer said that he uses objective instead of comp. Basically, players can bring whatever they want because the games aren't built around smashing opponent's in the mouth. The objective-focused play really changed the ways that the games went and in some cases weakened some of the power-builds. For example, I played a chariot based Nurgle warriors army in the third game and felt like he was at a real disadvantage in the scenario.
Anyway, here's a quick review of my three games:
In the first round, I played John's Lizardmen. I recognized him from Grail Quest, and he had an interesting list that featured an ethereal Slann, two stegadons, two salamander, 2 large saurus blocks, and some skinks. The scenario was mainly about claiming objectives with smaller points given to preserving your largest block of troops while killing his. I always enjoy scenarios like this because they force armies out of their normal blocks as players have to set up to get the objectives. My reavers really shined in this game because they were able to vanguard up to the objectives, and when I got first turn, they used their speed to escape. I was surprised that my opponent didn't use his heavens magic to nuke the reavers, but I think he was playing to kill stuff more than to claim the objectives. For my part, I threw him stuff to kill but managed to complete all of the objectives, so while he racked up far more victory points, I won all but one objective, netting me almost maximum points. John's big moment came when a unit of Saurus out-lasted my white lion horde, killing them to a man. It was a pretty suspenseful combat and made for great gaming.
In the second round, I played Todd's Lizardmen. He's the organizer of NasCon, which is one of the new tournaments in the Master's series. Talking to him about his tournament really got me excited to go this year. He's got some great ideas, and it sounds like an excellent event. It's definitely made my calendar this year. This scenario was basically a modified watchtower where the goal was to have control of a central hill. There was also a secondary objective wherein the player who killed a giant turkey (holiday themed, of course) grabbed some objectives. Todd had a pretty nasty looking gutstar backed up by two cannons and some shooty maneaters. I didn't have enough chaff to keep him off the hill, and I didn't really have anything to face the gutstar directly. I figured there was no way to win that hill. Therefore, I decided to throw everything at killing the turkey, which ended up being harder than it looked. Todd said afterwards that the turkey was his MVP after it forced my lion horde to fail a rerollable leadership 10 test, took out my star dragon, and killed my BSB. I didn't think I was going to get the job done until one of my reaver units made a suicidal charge and managed to take the last wound off. I liked the scenario. The turkey was defensive enough where it couldn't be claimed easily, but slow enough where players could choose to ignore it if they wanted. I thought that made for a good tactical tradeoff. I'd be interested to hear from Todd whether he had fun watching me fight a turkey the whole game though. He got the hill which netted him 15 points, but I got the turkey for 10. I don't think anyone at the tournament was able to do both, so I only lost 5 points on the leaders here.
In the third round, I played Will's Warriors. He was running Daemon prince, throgg, a bunch of trolls, a bunch of chariots, unkillable BSB, 2 units of crushers, and a chimera. The problem for will was that the scenario was blood and glory, and he didn't have very many banners. Basically, I knew that all I had to do was kill the daemon prince and not have my fortitude broken and I was fine. In the end, the daemon prince died, and I was able to hide enough banners to take home the win.
In the end, I knew that I had a decent battle point score (ended up being third in battle), and I figured my painting score would be fine. Because of that, I was thinking that best overall would come down to the sportsmanship vote. It turns out that was true; I ended up with four more sports points than Todd which allowed me to slip by and win best overall by two points. The other prizes were as follows: Todd Perkins took home best general, Chip King won best paint with his very nicely painted army, and William Sinclair (from game three) took home best sports. I was very happy with the finish, and I loved the trophy. My wife agrees that it is the coolest trophy that I have won thus far:
Overall, I really enjoyed myself, and I can tell that there are some great people to game with in Cleveland (which was one of my top ten moving fears -- check that one off). I appreciate the work and care that Robbie put into the event and look forward to attending his next tournament. I'll follow up with the results from the Master's in a few days. Thanks for reading!