Apologies all around; my comments re: BOLSCON are a bit late hitting the scene. That said, maybe that’s for the best. There has been a ton of comments made about the event, the armies, the attendance, the performance – anything and everything that can be commented upon. I’ve made a few, all in support of an event I enjoyed more than any I’ve previously attended.
No press is bad press, I suppose, but I was there and I’ll be as honest as possible regarding MY games and performance to be as useful as possible to the readers out there. I’m not going to be critical of my opponents; frankly, I’ve nothing to be critical about. I’m sure the ‘bad, good, great’ scale has made the rounds – I’ve seen comments on it – so you’ll understand what I mean when I say I scored all my opponents ‘great’ and meant it. Does that mean all the games were so great they deserve a ton of ink and all the opponents so masterful they’re every word should be dissected for tactical insight? ‘Course not, but this can’t be said of your not-so-humble author, either… What I mean is simply once one makes allowances for a TOURNAMENT setting, these games, my opponents, the scenarios, and the results were great.
And I really mean that. I think it’s important to remember that the dude you’re playing in a tournament is not the same guy you’d play at the FLGS. I’m not. I’m a pretty chill player, but I’m much more so in a casual game where the primary point is having fun. Let’s not be dense: the primary point of a tournament game is to win, not to have fun. The point of the event is fun, but the individual games are meant to be won. There’s nothing wrong with this! If that’s not why you’re playing the tournament, pick another event. From what I understand, the narrative games were a blast and the prize support was in fact more available per player than in the campaign tracks – nothing wrong with that.
Folks like Stelek maintain that the competition as it stands now in the tournament scene is lacking, and he makes it his goal to improve it. More power to him. Mkerr told me at the bar that Friday that he and the boys were concerned that power-gaming was a detriment to the hobby as a whole, so they wanted to improve the hobby side of things. More power to him, too!
Is that contradictory? I don’t think so. I enjoy all aspects of the hobby, but lately I have come to believe that there is no such thing as a ‘wrong list.’ In the old days, the local tournaments gave out points for composition, encouraging the fluffy builds. I don’t have a problem with this, but I’m glad those days are over. If an army can be built legally with a codex, let’s not waste time calling it cheese. Frankly, I’m glad those days are over. I still like experimenting with different builds, but if someone wants to play the toughest build they can tinker with, great!
Blah blah blah – enough with all that…
Game One, Hybrid Eldar vs Nurgle Demons
This was the first game of the event and I couldn’t have asked for a better opponent. Brian was a very chill guy playing in his first tournament. He had a nice Nurgle Demon (notice the Americanized spelling, ‘cause I ain’t in England no mor’ bitches) army with some great Soul Grinder models. I say I was lucky because it takes me a game just to get my head in the tournament – I’m a bit slow getting going, so I tend to do better late in the day.
(Note: this game back to bite me right after lunch… but I digress.)
Has anyone mentioned the goodie-bag? Awesome stuff!
We were playing over objectives and all terrain was dangerous. Either the secondary or tertiary objective required more units in terrain than your opponent… I sense another interlude – will I ever get this done?
Here’s my confession: I was late to understanding just how important the secondary and tertiary objectives were to the outcome of the event. I did not properly maximize my points and I should have memorized the scenarios – hell, played the scenarios – prior to the tournament. I was grossly unprepared. I’ll say right from the outset that I did well at BOLSCON, playing in the championship bracket and having chances for the money, but that I didn’t quite get their was entirely my own fault, being unprepared and inconsistent. I don’t say this out of anything stupid like ego or to diminish the guys who beat me - I don’t see things like that – I say it only as something to learn from to improve my performance in the future.
Such as at Chicago! I tell you 3 times; this event was great practice for Hard Boyz Round III, since I shook off the dust and made my rookie mistakes already (where I made them – see inconsistency!). I’m primed, I am.
Back to Game 1: We were fighting over objectives and I had mobility my opponent did not. I did the old Eldar swoop-n-contest at the end; the outcome was never really in doubt, though as stated above I didn’t maximize the points the way I should have. I’m trying to think what my opponent could have done differently, but it’s hard to. He could have been more aggressive with his troops, but I say that more as an option than that I believe it since I don’t think he could have caught me. It was a tough matchup for him, but I’m very grateful that he was such a decent guy, since it was the best possible way to start the tournament.
Game 2, Hybrid Eldar vs Superfriends Salamanders
As I write this, I don’t have access to my notes or the army lists… my hope is to edit this post and add those things in later. So forgive me that I don’t remember this gentleman’s name, but I certainly remember the game. This was the 1st of the two best games I played all weekend in terms of actual high-level play, and it was certainly the more aggressive of the two games I’m referring to (Games 2 and 6). As an aside, again, I don’t mean that as a knock on the other games I played, I mean only that bad mistakes, outside factors, or tough matchups didn’t play a factor, just two armies played properly for the best chance at a win.
The internet and blogosphere have been hopping with talk about the pros and cons of the BOLSCON scenarios. I understand where some of the criticism is coming from – there is something to be said for letting two armies go at it without a bunch of restrictions determining the winner… I get it. Hell, I like that just fine, but what’s wrong with the other way? In my mind, contending with a variety of objectives and challenges is what makes a win worthwhile. Maybe I’m biased, but I really enjoyed the scenarios the Flylords used. I was told they play tested each many times over months and that certain scenarios tended to create certain types of games. I believe it. This scenario was aggressive. The primary objective was kill points, but you wouldn’t collect any unless you killed your opponent’s HQ choices! To encourage bravery, either the secondary or tertiary objective gave points if your HQ never embarked in a transport – things like that. My HQ was Eldrad and the Avatar, while my opponent played Lysander and Vulcan. See where this is going?
We both elected to go for the extra points. I won’t get too deep in game specifics, but we went after each other pretty good. I set up my foot troops in cover of the central building with my tanks flanking my position. He placed his mech in a line and drop-podded his Sternguard center forward, targeting the Avatar. I got a bit nervous, since even with the Avatar I failed some saves. Lysander was running alongside his Land Raider loaded with (what else) Assault Terminators when I spotted my best chance of killing him quick. I swooped in with my Wave Serpent and dropped my full-size Fire Dragon squad in range, then sprayed fusion gun fire all over Lysander. I whiffed hard and my opponent made his crucial saves. I was really disheartened, to say the least, as I’d left my squad swinging in the breeze. Sure enough, Lysander put paid to the Dragons next turn.
I’m ignoring the middle-board scrum. The Avatar and Harlequins assaulted the Sternguard from the drop pod, who I had first Doom’d then softened up in the shooting phase. I was pretty aware that the Sternguard were baiting the center of the table for the Assault Terminators, but sometimes it’s best just to trip the trap and fight it out. Sure enough, I was counter assaulted pretty hard, but it was my opponent’s turn for a round of poor luck. I won the combat, which wasn’t terribly surprising though it could have gone either way that first round, but the Terminators failed their LD test and I failed to lock them in combat (reasoning it was the best way to avoid Vindicator and Land Raider firepower). They end up running. I survived the return shots, then spent the rest of the game strategically placing something within 6 inches of the Termies each round to keep them running off the board – do you blame me? Those mothers are tough, tough, tough. Anyway, the Harlequins were free to pick off Lysander, with the help of Doom, and the Avatar started destroying things in the center of the table, starting with the Land Raider.
It was fairly downhill for my opponent after that. He came within a wound of killing the Avatar and never let up on Eldrad, going after him hard with his Land Speeders and Tactical Marines. I kept Eldrad in the mix, but kept feeding units in blocking maneuvers so he couldn’t get great shots on him. That, combined with Fortune, worked pretty well. I finally chased down Vulcan to complete the Primary Objective and actually score all those VP’s I’d been racking up. Kudos to my opponent; he’d said before the game that my army seemed designed to kill his (yup) but he ratcheted up the pressure and kept it on all game. I was proud of this win.
So when I noticed I’d be playing Salamanders next game, I was confident. I went to lunch and had a beer.
(You see what’s coming?)
To be continued.