Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hero For A Day - Charity Wargaming Event

Putting Double Trouble feedback to one side for a moment, I wanted to talk about the next tournament I'll be attending (barring the Outpost coming up with anything in between). Last week I picked up my ticket for Hero For A Day for the bargain price of £10. That's £10 for 8 games of 40K over a 24-hour charity gaming marathon!

It's hosted by Nick Thrower of The Burning Eye (who I know through Blog Wars). The idea is to play some relaxed games of 40K over a 24 hour period (midnight Friday to midnight Saturday) and raise as much money as possible for the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group. It's a fantastic cause and one that I know is close to Nick's heart. I'm looking forward to the event for two reasons, firstly the thought of gaming for a good cause but secondly because it'll be nice not to be a TO at a friendly event for a change!!

I've already covered some of this but here's Nick's blurb about the event:

Hero for a Day is a 24-hour tabletop wargaming marathon set in the Warhammer 40k universe. It will see 20 players coming together, battling in teams across 8 missions for control of the planet Hormung Prime. The missions will incorporate single-player matches, doubles games, handicap matches and kill team skirmishes representing the varied conflicts that rage across the planet's surface. The outcome of each mission will affect the objectives of the next game, with the final match of the day sealing the fate of the planet.

The main aim of the day is to raise money for CCLG - The Childrens Cancer and Leukaemia Group. Tickets have been kept to a minimum price to ensure that as much sponsorship as possible can be raised for the charity by the players. There will be a raffle on the day with tickets available prior to that via PayPal for those who are unable to attend in person (postage payable dependent on the prize for those who win).

Speaking of the raffle, looking at the prizes on offer so far it'll be one to rival those at Double Trouble and Blog Wars. I'm throwing in another set of Deathwatch: Overkill but there's also a Forge World Knight Cerastus in the pot amongst plenty of other stuff!

The page announcing tickets for the event can be found here but even if you can't attend I'd encourage you to support Nick and the charity on his Virgin Money Giving page. Full details of the event can be found on Nick's blog but also on the dedicated forum for the event (sign-in required).

I'll be posting about my army lists (I actually need 9 of them because of the handicap games). For the time being I'm going to be taking Tau as I'm on the attacking team but I've said I'm prepared to switch sides to even things up if need be. I'm in the process of painting up my Stormsurge for the event too so I'll keep you posted on my progress.

I'm already looking forward to it. Hopefully I'll see some of you there and actually get to talk to you for a change!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Double Trouble Feedback Discussion - THE VENUE!

Finally, the big question. Do we stick with the NWGC or move to another venue. Here's the argument as I see it.

I'm not going to pretend I wasn't annoyed about the double booking. You all know I was. Equally lunch was a total fuckup for various reasons that had very little to do with me! Thing is, the double booking wasn't Element Games fault as it was the previous owner who did that and they simply inherited it. Could they have handled it better? Definitely. Does it necessarily mean I shouldn't got back? Difficult one.

We've suffered through the venue in it's previous state for several years with Blog Wars. It looked MUCH better this time. I never used the toilets upstairs but by all accounts they were much improved. I know Element wants to make further improvements in future too. By not going back would we be cutting our nose off to spite our face? The lunch situation will most likely be different next time as I think they're planning on having a proper kitchen. The caterers were mainly there for Lock & Load so I think it'd be a different story next year. Personally I wish we'd stuck with Subway and I'm sorry I didn't insist on using them again.

I'm not hugely fond of Tim King their events manager. I've dealt with him at other venues with mixed results. Darran may not have been perfect but he at least responded to my queries and did his best to ensure both my players and I were happy during the day. It was obviously difficult for Tim as he was running things upstairs and had been up all night with them. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The other massive plus for Element is that they sponsor the event each time. It depends on how many people I bring along but this time all of the vouchers for the tournament and painting competition were full funded by them. That meant I could put more into the raffle and take the £100 they provide as compensation for my efforts. If that sounds a lot then I can promise you it's probably not even £1 an hour when all is said and done. If it wasn't there I'd probably just not take anything from the pot but it's nice to get at least something from the day. I'm loathe to reduce the raffle prizes but they were perhaps a little OTT this time. I gave away £300 worth of stuff (including the trophy costs with discounts on the boxes) which was the same as I did for BW9 & BWX which were 50-man events.

So, if we're not going back to the NWGC and Element then what are the options. Well, I don't want to travel to far so it'd basically be Sanctuary or my FLGS, the Outpost. Sanctuary is a nice venue but their shop is a little limited (from my memory at least) and it's not much difference in commute compared to the NWGC.

The Outpost has pros and cons. They've been running events for a while but they've never had enough space for me. They'll be hopefully moving into their big new event space soon though so I could start going there. That'd mean a 10 minute commute for me rather than 60+ minutes. Obviously that suits me better and would mean I could make an appearance on Friday night to get set up and play some games with you guys who come down the day before. Problem is, their venue is an unknown at the moment. They tell me it's awesome but of course they do. There'll obviously be some teething problems but it will have been open for nearly a year by then so hopefully things will have been ironed out. Matt is currently planning on hosting Fluffageddon there so we'd get to see what it was like before I needed to commit. 

The bigger issue for me though is the way they'd host it. They'd want it to be more of an Outpost branded event with me acting as a TO for them. That'd mean they'd sell tickets through their site (less hassle for me) but they'd take a much bigger cut meaning a smaller prize pot. It's still early days and I've not had chance to talk to Chris (the owner) about it. We have a pretty good rapport so hopefully he'll be open to a bit of cajoling but I'll have to have a good chat to him about it and explain my position.

Ultimately, the question is, NWGC or not. If you'd asked me on the day I'd have been saying not but I've calmed down and become more rational since then! I really want to know what you guys think. I know a big part of your opinion will be based on how easy it is for you to get there versus an alternate venue but please try to put that aside for now.

I've moved venue before when Maelstrom collapsed. At the time I was gutted and thought it would be the death of Blog Wars. It turned out to be the opposite. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Double Trouble Feedback Discussion (everything but venue)

You should know by now that I try to be different from other TOs and genuinely try to listen to feedback and incorporate some of your ideas in my future events. At the moment I'm planning on running the next Double Trouble in June next year (or around then, date TBC). That means there's plenty of time to make things better. I'm obviously biased but I thought, in spite of the venue issues, the event went really well considering it was the first of a new format. Here are some of my initial thoughts on what I could do better though. I'd love to hear what you guys think too (whether you came along or not).

This will be a long post with hopefully a similarly long comments section but please stick with me and give me some feedback at the end.

Round Times
I knew there'd be a problem with people getting games finished which is why I kept the round lengths at 2.5 hours despite having 1,500pt battles instead of Blog Wars' 1,850pt games. I'd intended to add a box on the score sheets to get some idea of how many turns people were getting through but it slipped my mind. Were people getting to the end of their games? None of my games got to turn 5 but that was probably more my fault than anything else. 

It's a difficult thing to fix. The nature of the event means that the pre-game stuff takes a bit longer than usual. I don't want to simply increase the round time. I'm sure if I made it 3 hours then everyone would get 5-7 turns in comfortably but there'd also be people in finished in 2 hours and were hanging around. The nature of the event means that it wouldn't matter so much as you could go and watch other games etc but it'd make for a very long day adding 90 minutes on over three rounds. That'd be a pretty late finish and even longer day for those with a commute home afterwards. 

I think the way to do it then is to simplify a few things and streamline stuff as much as possible. One idea I had was to make the deployment the same in each round. Obviously this would favour some armies over others but knowing that you're getting before the event would mean you could tailor your list to compensate. I could also have objective markers in fixed positions on the table before you start. That'd cut out a roll off and time placing the objectives. You'd still roll off to see which side you ended up on and therefore have some control over where the objective nearest you were in relation to your army and useful cover. Speaking of which, I could also pre-classify terrain but obviously that's time consuming when I'm usually in a rush to get everyone registered and the event started.

Actually, since the A or B pairings are random I could have an A side of the table and B side of the table. Would cut out another roll off and potentially swapping sides. It's still a 50:50 chance which side you'll be on and if objectives are pre-placed it wouldn't be as important to choose. 

I could also merge the roll off so that you just roll off once. You can then choose to deploy AND go first giving your opponent the choice of deployment zone or choose your deployment zone but go second. Obviously Seize would still be in play.

Ditching Warlord Traits completely could be useful too but as I said at the start of the event, some armies rely on a particular trait for the list to work. Not sure that's an option really. 

Finally, I could potentially publish the matchups before the day and even the army lists. That way you'd cut out the explanation of your armies to your partner and opponents. Obviously there might be a couple of things to clarify but generally speaking your games would start quicker. Only trouble with this is that if I have some last minute dropouts the pairings might change on the day.

As I've mentioned above. Do you think that having the same deployment in each round would make things easier or would it be less interesting that way? Would your army be particularly screwed by a Dawn of War in every game? 

The deployment in the last game was a bit of an experiment. There were certainly a couple of issues with it. Where do reserves come in? If it's the long table edge adjacent to your deployment then your units arrive behind one of your enemies. When doing the alternating deployment do you have to decide the order before anyone deploys or can the team going second get back a bit of an advantage by responding like they would in a normal game?

I thought the objective cards worked out really well. Gambling for more points for controlling an objective for two turns was a nice change. Sometimes it paid off for us but on other occasions we should've just cut our losses. Are there any cards in there that you really don't like? Could any of them be tweaked slightly to either make them better or just clearer in wording.

Do you like having two concurrent missions? Since the pairings are random I didn't want to change the mission in each game. At least you can write your army list knowing what you're getting from the scenario in each round. I'm considering going back to a more traditional combination of VPs and BPs with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. That way you'd know who'd actually "won" each game. On the other hand the current system helped to minimise the importance of each game and create more relaxed games.

Forge World
The use of FW units has always been a bone of contention for me. I'm really not a fan of them. I own a couple of models but more for the miniature than to actually use them in games. I think they're a level of complexity that's simple to remove from games. I'm not going to go into my feelings on the subject too much but I'd love to hear from you guys about whether you thought they were had a particular impact your games.

I'm toying with the idea of limiting them to one unit per army OR a full 30K army. I'd rather that than an outright ban I think. With no superheavies they probably aren't that bad and at this points level there little you could really take that'd be that devastating.

Coming from comments on my battle reports it seems that people thought that Summoning was a bit OTT at the event. To me knowledge there were only a couple of lists making use of it but I agree in principle that it was perhaps a bit too much. The trouble is that if you were picking the full 1,500pt army you'd mostly likely have some way of dealing with it built in but since you're only picking half it ends up being luck of the draw whether you get an army that can deal with it.

As Xachariel pointed out in the comments, Summoning actually breaks the army selection criteria of no more than two of any given unit. Obviously from a list point of view it doesn't but there's the potential to spam, I dunno say, flaming chariots. I will say that at least in my game, our list flattered the chariots and against other armies they wouldn't necessarily be so successful. Equally, we came incredibly close to killing the lord of change in our first turn and it was only because of a 4++ from the warp storm that we didn't manage it. The point is there are counters to it.

This is going to be one of those things where some armies would have no problem dealing with it but others would be severely hampered. I'm loathe to ban Summoning completely as, like it or not, it's part of the game. Personally, I hate it but I don't really want to extend the list of restrictions any more than I have to.

Short of banning it there are a few possible options for restricting its use. I could say that only a certain number of warp charge dice could be used for summoning each turn (or over the course of a battle) but that wouldn't stop some armies depending on wargear etc. I could say that the no more than two of a unit thing applies throughout the games. If you had two units of plaguebearers you couldn't summon more (or could only do so when they were completely destroyed). Maybe a cap on the number of units that can be summoned per game would be better. Let me know what you think. I do feel that if we limit summoning, there'll still be something that dominates in this particular format. Ultimately, as I discovered every time at BW, 40K isn't balanced and it's a fool's errand trying to fix that.

Random Pairings
How do you think this worked? Personally I loved it but I was pretty luck with my partners. I'm not sure my opponents were all particularly well matched but there's little I could really do about this. I'm keen to keep the system though as I think it sets the event apart and creates a much friendlier atmosphere. 

Did you prefer having 9 different people in your games or would you not mind if you'd played with/against the same people in later rounds? Basically next time I've got a ready made table selection assuming I had 32 people again. Wouldn't be hard to add others in either.

Painting Competition
I could definitely have done things better here if we'd been in the proper room. I'd have had tables ready cleared for laying your armies out and ensure these were well lit! I personally thought having several different categories made things interesting but maybe you lot disagree. Having only two entries in the conversions competition was a shame but that's really just luck of the draw with the people coming along. In previous events there's been several entries. 

Having the character and vehicle/monster categories was a nice extra I thought. Perhaps at future events these could be merged into a Single Miniature category. I don't want to simplify the painting side of things too much though as I'm keen on rewarding people's efforts.

Do you think the extra time allotted for setting out your armies was necessary given the size of the armies involved. Personally I thought it delayed things. I can see the point when we're talking 1,850pts but it shouldn't take long to lay out 750pt armies. One idea would be to find out in advance which particular category people are going to enter? That way I could print up labels for them and you'd know there were some armies missing if you got to the tables early. I could also hand out the voting slips after people have eaten too. Of course, you might change the category you want to enter based on the competition. 

I think this is the main talking point to come out of Double Trouble and for good reason. I'd started to write down my feelings in this post but I've decided to make it a post all of it's own on Friday. Come back then and give me your feedback please.

I like to think that my events are some of the best on the circuit in terms of organisation and definitely prize support. I want to keep that going and I want you guys to keep coming and enjoying the experience. I could quite happily run the event again next year without changing anything but I believe Blog Wars improved dramatically over it's five year run and I'd like to think it would take less time to get there with DT as I've already had so much experience.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Double Trouble - My Battle Reports

Right folks, I'm determined to keep my battle reports brief for a change. I love the WD style reports that Michael over at St Andrews Wargaming puts out but I don't have the time for diagrams so mine always end up too wordy whilst I try to describe what happened where and when. Here's my list and then straight into the battle reports:

750pts of Dark Eldar
Archon w/ shadowfield, agoniser, armour of misery in Venom
2x 5 Kabalite Warriors in Venoms
5 Reavers w/ cluster caltrops
2x 5 Scourges with 4 haywire blasters

In all three games there were concurrent missions of Blood Points and Tactical Objectives (using the custom DT deck).

Game One - Dark Eldar/Dark Eldar vs. Eldar/Legiones Astartes (SW)
I was thrilled to be paired up with Nathaniel Gibbs for some double Dark Eldar action. Mind you, I felt pretty inferior compared to the stunningly converted and painted half of our army belonging to Nathaniel. One day I'll have a beautiful army, one day. Nathaniel had two venoms of his own (although his kabalites had a blaster), a beast pack, sucubbus with grotesques in a raider, some mandrakes and a talos. A nice combination of units between us. Dan Evans' Space Wolves consisted of a squadron of jetbikes, two rhinos with tactical squads and a landspeeder. Danny Evison's Eldar had an Autarch on jetbike, 2x 3 SL windriders, a crimson hunter, two hornets and a warp hunter.

We got the first turn and knew that we needed to prioritise the Eldar both because of their speed but also because the tanks would tear our vehicles a new one pretty easily. I tried to position my scourges so that they covered most of the board but sadly there was a piece of terrain that Danny managed to hide pretty much his entire army in or behind. That meant we had to pick on Dan's marines which we did with surprising effect. The first volley from the DE took out all of the jetbikes and wounded the Autarch, destroyed one rhino and immobilised the other! Much better than we'd hoped but a shame the Autarch limped on.

The response wasn't as brutal as we'd expected either. Danny hugged the terrain and never really unleashed the firepower on our army. That meant we kept 3 of the 5 venoms for a good while. We drew some decent tactical objective cards but also both of the cards referring to our opponents' objective which was swarmed with Eldar! The talos was forced to stay on the objective in our corner to get the bonus points for controlling for two turns so ended up dying in that spot to the Eldar fire. I really think they focused on it too early when it wasn't that much of a threat with a single haywire shot.

Hiding the Archon on the last turn made the VP game much closer!
Meanwhile we'd drawn a Take the Point card for the objective next to the remaining rhino. We decided to throw everything we had at it to score the points. The rhino was contesting the objective so we'd need to shift it to allow our Reavers to control it. The remaining scourges failed to do any damage so we were left with a last ditch single dark lance from the grotesques' raider. Miraculously it blew it up! The venoms then went to work killing just enough of the occupants to clear the objective.

Danny insisted on targeting the scourges to protect his vehicles rather than target the reavers and try to save the tactical squad. The combined DE army then charged into the marines with a single scourge taking all of the overwatch fire and surviving with a double six for 6+ FNP! That left just Danny's half of the army pretty much unscathed (minus the Autarch who I forgot to say had killed himself on dangerous terrain in turn one!). Dan just had his speeder left.

We ran out of time at the end of turn 4 with a surprisingly large amount of DE left on the table. We took a 14-13 VP win but had a narrow 888-945 loss on BPs.

Game Two - DE/Space Marines (IH) vs. Daemons/Khorne Daemonkin
My partner for this game was Matt Calow with his beautiful 3D printed creations including custom dozer blades for his vindicators and a conversion beamer for his techmarine on a bike. Matt was running an Armoured Task Force with 3 vinidicators, 2 separate predators and a techmarine. We were facing James Maynard's Khorne consisting of blood hounds, cultists, lord on a juggernaut and a heldrake. His partner Matthew Grimes was fielding a summoning force of Tzeentch Daemons with a lord of change, herald, pink horrors and a couple of burning chariots. I knew from checking the lists that his force was geared up to summon a chariot every turn so the lord of change would be a priority target.

Sadly, we didn't get the first turn so their army advanced and summoned a third chariot. The chariots torrented into my venoms killing the Archon who failed his first shadowfield save and destroying a couple of the venoms. In response the remaining DE forces managed to take the lord of change down to a single wound despite it swooping. In fact, he'd have been destroyed were it not for the Warp Storm granting him a +1 to his invulnerable save! Elsewhere the vindicators unleashed their ginormous blast but it scattered meaning that only one of the two chariots it was targeting was destroyed.

The chariot was quickly replaced in their next turn. We were fortunate that the Heldrake didn't appear but it was little consolation as the chariots made short work of my army. The rule allowing template weapons to cause D6 wounds to occupants of open-topped vehicles is retarded. Sure it makes sense from a realism perspective but the armies it screws over (Orks and Dark Eldar) were hardly overpowered before it was introduced. I digress.

The lord of change somehow clung on with a single wound left meaning not only would he keep on replacing the chariots but also that we didn't score the kill a psyker card we'd held onto in vain. Ultimately we couldn't deal with the Tzeentch half of the army. I felt a bit sorry for James because his Khorne barely got a look in. They were quietly scoring VPs by claiming objectives but basically Matthew's chariots and lord of change did most of the killing. We ended up having to sacrifice the techmarine (who was our final remaining model) in combat to end the game and prevent any more VPs being scored. We should've conceded I suppose but that felt a poor way to end the game. Ironically if we had, Matthew wouldn't have won the Master Tactician award as he scored 2-3 more VPs on that final turn.

A crushing 1500-395 and 23-4 loss on both objectives.

Game Three - DE/Dark Angels vs. Tau/Space Marines
I felt like I'd been pretty lucky again with my partner in this game. Dave Weston's DA army had a decent core of fast units and some ranged firepower. He was fielding a techmarine, scout squad, tac squad in rhino, tac squad on foot, assault marines, two ravenwing units and a devastator squad. On the opposite side of the table (well sort of, thanks to the deployment) were Matthew Spencer's Tau consisting of the Optimised Stealth Cadre with three Ghostkeels and Luke Fogg's Space Marines with a librarian on bike, scouts in a LS storm, 2x3 bikers, 5 tactical marines and grav centurions in a pod.

The final game required the combined armies to split in two and deploy in opposite corners to each other. In hindsight I'm not sure this was the best deployment but it certainly made for a different game. I felt a little ganged up on in the corner as the Tau were shooting me, centurions podded in next to me and landspeeder headed over too! I was busy taking casualties to the centurions and looked up to see that somehow Dave had lost all of his Ravenwing already. I'm not sure what happened there!

Anyway, we really struggled to achieve anything between us. I was forced to sacrifice the Reavers cheaply for an objective again but otherwise barely left my corner as I had to deal with the centurions, scouts and stealth suits that came my way. The standout highlight was the Archon taking on some scouts, stealth suits and the centurions on solo in combat having already lost his Shadowfield (first bloody roll again!). Thanks to his armour of misery he just needed to win the combat to have a decent chance of making stuff run from the table. He killed a scout and stealth suit and cause the centurions to break. Miraculously they got away (they rolled a 6 and I rolled a 1 for sweeping) but sadly didn't quite run off the table.

I quickly lost the rest of my force and Dave wasn't faring much better as the Tau closed in. The game ended with a 7-16 and 371-1300 loss. We'd been frustrated not to score more VPs but a combination of badly timed cards and objective secured scouts messed with our plans!

I may not have had a particularly successful day but I certainly enjoyed it regardless. Playing with 9 different people was great fun. I've always loved doubles events (as I'm sure you know) and getting to play with and against some interesting combinations of armies and people was brilliant.

The interaction between newly paired up teams was interesting. Some worked better than others. I was pretty lucky with my partners though as we seemed to be on the same page generally speaking. My best game was definitely the surprisingly close double DE game. I really thought we were going to have nothing left by the end of turn two. We were pretty lucky with our rolls but I really think Danny was too cautious with his Eldar. My Scourges may be capable of stripping hull points pretty easily but with Jink and plenty of cover he really wasn't in much danger. That meant poor Dan was hung out to dry a little.

As ever when playing Dark Eldar, not having turn one in two out of three games really hurt. DE rely on that big alpha strike to take out some of the big hitters in the opposing army. If we'd gone first I think the lord of change would've been gone, especially since he wouldn't have had the 4++ save from the warp storm table. We wouldn't have struggled to take the chariots down after that and could've picked off the other daemons as they advanced. Having first turn in the final game would've helped but I'm not sure it'd have made much difference. We might've been lucky and killed 1-2 of the ghostkeels but the centurions would've still been a big problem.

Anyway, I'm already looking forward to the next one and slightly regretting my decision to only run one a year. Who knows, I might cave....

Come back in a couple of days to give me your feedback on the event so that, whenever the next one it is, it'll be better.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Double Trouble Painting Competition - Single Miniatures

Finally in this rundown of the painting portion of the event, we come to the two single miniature categories. There were prizes for Best Character and Best Vehicle/Monster. Let's look at the Characters first.

Best Painted Character
There were just four entries in this category which sat on my desk while I was entering the round 1 scores over the lunch break. Fortunately, I managed to persuade a couple of people to light them up with their phones so I could get slightly better pictures. First up, coming all the way from Germany was Kai-Uwe Müller-Joswig's cataphractii terminator (SW Wolf Guard Battle Leader) which received 3 votes:

Next up Dave Weston's Techmarine which was frankly underrated with 6 votes:

Matt Greenwood's Fateweaver took 9 votes for second place (our mutual friend Scott actually painted it so Matt was planning on giving the prize to him if he won!):

In the closest category, Martin Waine took first place by just two votes with his Wolf Priest (who looks suspiciously like a SM Chaplain to me!):

Best Painted Vehicle or Monster
There were five entries in this category. Here's the runners up first:

In second place was Dan Wellington's Kastelan Robot. I never got round to seeing the army close up which was a shame because I'm still toying with an orange Ad Mech force to go with my knights:

It was another Mechanicum unit that took first place though with Rob Hill (of 30Kplus40K fame) getting 15 votes (54%) for his Forge World tank thingy (Krios to the initiatied):

Apologies to all of the painters for the poor photography and for not having a better set up for things. This wasn't totally my fault with the hand I'd been dealt by the venue but I probably could've done something better in hindsight.

In the next post(s) I'll be covering my own battles at DT then I'll be asking people for feedback on the painting competition and everything else about the event in the post after that.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Double Trouble Painting Competition - Best Conversions

Following on from Wednesday's post, today I'm covering the Best Conversions portion of the painting competition. Once again, I'm afraid the picture quality was appalling. Partly because the lighting was so bad but also because I was rushing around getting pictures in between the many other things I had to sort. I'm sure someone will have better photos.

Anyway, if the Best Army was the biggest category then Best Conversions was easily the smallest. That was probably largely down to Nathaniel Gibbs' army being intimidatingly brilliant. You may have seen his army being created over on his Objective Secured blog. The single photo I managed to get doesn't anywhere near to it justice so hopefully people will be able to send me much better ones. I'll pinch a few from Nathaniel's blog to give you an idea of the quality.

The army is a Dark Eldar force (you can just about tell) which he has heavily converted into his "Danse Macabre" which is a dark carnival theme.

Stunning, I think you'll agree. I had the pleasure of playing with Nathaniel in my first game and boy did my Dark Eldar feel inferior next to his!! There's some amazing work in here and I can quite comfortably say I'll never achieve anything even close to this standard!

There was one other entry in the category from Matt Calow who received a single vote (from Nathaniel, who couldn't vote for himself!). It's probably a little unfair on Matt who'd done some stunning 3D printing work on his SM tanks. Again, I got to play alongside Matt in my second game and I can tell you they're just as stunning but for different reasons. You can check out more pictures of Matt's work here and elsewhere in the pre-event army showcase.

Next up, the single miniature categories for Character and Vehicle/Monster.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Double Trouble Painting Competition - Best Army

As you'll know from my Blog Wars events, I'm keen on supporting the painting and modelling side of this hobby as much as I am the competitive portion. I may not have much to show for my efforts but I'm always excited to see what other people have achieved in the run up to the event. At Double Trouble there were four categories in the painting competition with £50 worth of Element Games vouchers up for grabs (the same amount as was on offer for the tournament itself). Both Best Painted Army and Best Conversions were worth £15 each and Best Painted Character and Best Painted Vehicle or Monster were worth £10 each.

Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the photos. The lighting was absolutely awful so I didn't both taking many pictures. Most of these armies are featured on blogs so I'll link to them so you can see more of the armies if you're interested.

Today I'd like to start with the Best Painted Army category. This was easily the biggest category but only 4 players gained any votes. Peter Barrett's Blood Angels took a single vote in 4th place.

Next up were Luke Fogg's Howling Griffons/Ultramarines with 3 votes. Luke was showcasing his progress in the hobby by including the first miniatures he ever painted alongside those that he'd recently completed. It was interesting to see the progress. I've still got pictures of my first miniatures (also Ultramarines) but I no longer own the models. You can see more of Luke's Howling Griffons on his blog.

In second place with 8 votes were Chris Buckle's Imperial Fists (Legiones Astartes) which were heavily featured in the run up to the event when I was showcasing armies in progress. It's impressive to think that a lot of these miniatures weren't painted a couple of months ago.

The outright winner though with 16 votes (57%) were Steve Horne's Raven Guard. You may remember them from the army showcase too but they were even more impressive in the flesh. Even in the poor lighting conditions! I think it's always a good sign when a black army wins the prizes. So often people are drawn to the brightly coloured models (part of the reason I painted my IKs orange!) but it's nice to see that the less eye catching armies get the appreciation they deserve.

There was a notable absence from this competition with Dave Weston deciding not to display his whole Dark Angels force and instead entering the character category. If you'd like to look at his stuff in more detail then head to his blog, 40K Addict. Finally, here's a few honourable mentions:

Next up is the Conversions section of the contest.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Double Trouble - The Aftermath

As I'm sure you know by now, my five year run of Blog Wars events came to an end last November with Blog Wars X. I decided I wanted to do something different instead of rehashing the BW format with a new name. I'd toyed with the idea of a BW doubles before but never went through with it because I thought it would put people off who didn't have a partner. That's where the Double Trouble format comes in. Everyone shows up with a 750pt force and they're paired up with a random partner in each round to play against another random pairing. I'm sure the idea of this put quite a few people off but I had 31 people prepared to give it a go so, with me making it 32, I ran the event last Saturday at the NWGC.

You may have heard that the venue has now been taken over by Element Games and they've injected a decent chunk of time and cash into renovating the place. It looks infinitely better than it did before. Unfortunately for them they inherited the bookings of the previous owner including the double booking of Double Trouble (maybe that's the "double trouble"?!?) and a Privateer Press event. Since the PP event was a 110-man manufacturer hosted 24 hour a day special they could hardly turn them down I suppose. What that meant though was they wouldn't be allowed to have models from any other manufacturers in the main gaming space. Understandable from PP's perspective but it meant that the venue had to hire a room from the theatre group who used another part of the building. That meant a trek past the lovely new venue and down into a dark room with precious little natural light, no bar, no projector (I brought a TV from home), no PA system (I had to shout a lot) and only just enough tables. Massive thanks to Luke and the other Friday night early arrivals who helped get things set up. The distance from the main hall and miscommunication from Element's staff meant that we didn't get lunch when we should've either which didn't go down well with anyone, myself included. I'll discuss this in more detail in the feedback post so save your comments for that.

The Double Trouble Dungeon!
All of that aside though, I felt that the tournament went pretty well. For the first event of a new format the day ran smoothly with only a handful of things that I hadn't anticipated. Looking over the pairings for the event on Friday night, I'd noticed that some people would end up playing repeat games against some opponents. I'd already made sure that there were no duplicate pairs but hadn't thought about duplicate opponents. This led to what can only be described as the world's worst Sudoku puzzle. I set out the 32 players and all their 9 opponents/partners and made sure that no one had a game with or against someone they'd played before. Of course, this wasn't totally necessary and some repeats could've been interesting (e.g. playing with someone you'd just played against) but the point of the event was to mix with people who you wouldn't normally, so I'm glad I did it. Apart from me writing one of the table assignments incorrectly, it worked like a dream.

As I always did with Blog Wars, I'll run through the painting competition in separate posts. The quality of the photos is limited thanks to the poor lighting mind you. For the tournament itself, since everyone was paired up randomly there were only prizes for individual players rather than teams. The missions involved two concurrent objectives: blood points for destroying your opponents' army and victory points for scoring tactical objectives (from a custom maelstrom deck). The top scorers in each category were titled Master Tactician and Genocidal Maniac respectively.

Whilst some debated whether Matthew Grimes had actually been a tactical genius with his summoning Daemons list he managed to scoop 50 VPs over three games and took the Master Tactician award. He actually tied for first place with Rob Hill from 30Kplus40K but I used blood points as a tie breaker. I played Matthew in my second game so you can decide for yourself whether he was a "master tactician" or not based on my battle report.

The top prize for Blood Points went to Dan Wellington. Dan was running Cult Mechanicus. Seems he didn't pay much attention to the other half of the mission though as he only scored 30 VPs from tactical objectives.

Propping up the table with the lowest combined score, Rob Nathan takes home the Nobody Loves Me Award. It's tough getting the last place in an event like this because it may have had nothing to do with what he brought or how well he played. I've not looked into it in detail but there were certainly weaker lists that placed higher thanks to getting paired with very strong lists. I appreciate that sounds wrong but hopefully everyone felt that the competition was secondary to enjoying their games and meeting new people.

As you can see, my day was less than stellar. I'd have never expected my best game to be when I was paired with another Dark Eldar player (Nathaniel Gibbs) against a horrible Eldar list with Hornets and a Warp Hunter! I fully expected the result in the final game against the Optimised Stealth Cadre though! My good friend Matt effectively finished second were this a normal tournament. He'd probably have been pushing for the Genocidal Maniac prize but his lord of change got stuck in combat with some cataphractii terminators for longer than he'd have liked (7 rounds of combat I think) as he kept fluffing the To Hit rolls. You can't focus on the what ifs though and he still enjoyed the day.

You may see on some of the other blogs (like Rob Hill's) that there were trophies for all of the event prizes. These were kindly designed and 3D printed by Matt Calow. I wish I'd taken some pictures of them all together but sadly I never got around to even getting them out of their box until I was handing them out in the award ceremony. Hopefully I'll be able to get Matt to print some more for the next Double Trouble.
Stolen from Rob Hill (spoiler for the painting competition!)
Of course there was also the obligatory excessively generous raffle! You might argue that I could make it less generous and charge less for tickets but where's the fun in that? Up for grabs this time were 5, yes 5, different Start Collecting sets. I forget who took them home but what I do remember is a sheepish Dave Weston coming up to collect the top prize of Deathwatch: Overkill

Right, I think that's more than enough text for one night! Next up I'll continue the tradition from Blog Wars of running through all of the painting competition before moving onto my battle reports and finally a feedback discussion on how we can make the next DT better. I'm really pleased that people were so positive about the event and glad that I feel like it's worth running again.

EDIT: By request, I've created a Facebook group for the event. It's been years since I've created one (or even used Facebook much) so if you can't join it let me know. The idea is to keep in touch with people who you played with/against and to share photos/stories with them.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Double Trouble Army Showcase - Final Instalment

Right folks, I'm not going to get chance to post again before the event as there's still a few things I need to do tomorrow night. Therefore I'm going to throw up all of the remaining images I've had sent through. If you've not sent anything yet then we'll just have to wait and see your army on the day. Apologies for not posting my own army progress but frankly painting them is on my to-do list for tomorrow night!

First up Steve Horne and his Ravenguard. Sadly just the one picture but I think you'll agree it's an impressive display.

Here's a shot of my 40k Ravenguard army for DT.

My original list was an Eagle warriors skyhammer annihilation force, but after painting it all, I remembered the one game where I faced the same formation and decided against it (it was not fun).

I trialled this list last weekend, and I'm pretty sure that me and my opponents are going to have a lot more fun than if I bought the skyhammer army; although I'm pretty sure that my partner will have to do most of the heavy lifting.

Also tonight, Peter Barrett sent a mixture of in progress and final army shots:

Here are some pics of my progress and a finished shot – I say finished shot the dreadnought just needs to be based and that is a simple matter.

Considering only 3 weeks ago half of this force was unpainted it has not taken me that long to finish.

My favourite is the Deredeo – a lovely model to paint. I initially wanted a differently armed Librarian however time contraints have left me having to use one I painted a couple years ago.

Hope you enjoy, apologies if the picture quality isnt the best


Right, nothing else from me before the event now so I look forward to seeing you all on the day. Hope you all get more sleep than I do!


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