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Monday, September 05, 2005

A Big Day for JMcL63: next filler

Well, it was a busy week last week and I don't have the energy to get something new ready for today. So here is the report I wrote about my first ever Official GW 40K tournament. I posted this to a few efora at the time.

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Conflict- Edinburgh 2002
Following on from the roaring success of last year's first ever Scottish event, GW's Edinburgh tournament of their Conflict- Regional 2002 series was staged last Sunday, May 19th. Some 200+ assorted Warhammer and 40K players assembled to test their skills and show off their armies. Your humble scribe has attended several Games Days, but this was his first official tournament.

The first good thing about this day struck me some 45 minutes after our 7.30am departure from outside GW Glasgow- we arrived at our venue. Not having to suffer the rigours of the 24-hour redeye to B'rum for Games Day was great. I was finally able to attend a GW event feeling civilised! There followed the obligatory hanging around in droves for half an hour or so before the doors opened. Fortunately the day was fair.

Once in, we queued again to register. This, as with all the bureaucratic business of the day, was done efficiently and with no problems (for your humble scribe at least). Then we had time to take stock and look around a bit more. The Ingliston Exhibition Centre looks for all the world like an old hangar. Half of it was filled ranks of tables set out for Warhammer and 40K, some 200 in all at a guess. There were stalls for the Black Library, Forgeworld, and other GW stuff (I got myself a plastic Dreadnought, and a Forgeworld kit for the new Vindicator assault tank), and also tables set up with various games for non-competing attendees.

The 40K tables were all done out as desert boards, with minimal terrain, mostly ruins and walls with no wooded areas. Although much sparser than anything I'm familiar with from club games, this terrain did prove enough for an interesting game. I guess you can't expect lavish terrain layouts when 200 tables are being laid on. The tables were all numbered, so as the time advanced, we all headed for our allocated tables for our first of the day's three games.

My first opponent were Dark Angels in the standard table-quarter grabbing Cleanse. This was quite neat, since my DIY Penumbra's Talons are Dark Angels successors. I guess there's been a bit of a grudge since the Talons were founded in a direct response to the discovery of the Dark Angels' treachery during the Heresy. The setup established a pattern for the day: losing table edge and first turn. I was massacred to a man in a game whose 'high-point' was firing just one weapon in turn 1 (my first ever in a GW event), and missing. I was in with a shout till halfway through or so, but the dice just didn't give me what I needed to recover the situation.

Then followed Ultramarines in Take and Hold. This too was nice, seeing as how Belon (the Talons' homeworld) is located on the imperial fringes, to the 'southeast' of Ultramar. I ended up defending, and announced I was using drop pods. This meant that I started with one unit on the table, holding the objective. The rest of my army arrived as reserves in suborbital drop-pods I could place largely at will. This is the game I won. I just had to keep dropping my reserves as close to the objective as possible while keeping my opponent from advancing. I was helped by the good fortune of accidentally landing a squad right smack bang on the objective (fortunate scatter roll!). My highpoint was using my assault squad to advantage to pin down my opponent's units who might otherwise have threatened the objective.

My final game was a straight shootout based on Recon, against Blood Angels. The Talons have always been meant to be a codex (vanilla) chapter with a close combat leaning, and I've got plans to field them as Blood Angels for the sake of lots of jump-packs, so this was quite fluffy too. This game was another wipe-out, although I managed to scrape 3 points for having killed enough of the red frothers to avoid humiliating utter defeat. These were, in fact, the only 3 points my opponent lost all day. So I felt that was not bad.

So what's my verdict? Overall, I enjoyed myself in the preparation for this event, and on the day. My space marines attracted some very positive comments, and I felt that I had put on a good show. The event was well-organised, and the GW staffers worked hard to make sure that everything went smoothly. At £33 (including return fare on coach) for a day's gaming, this isn't necessarily the cheapest way to play GW games, but definitely worth it if you're a fan who'd think little or nothing of lashing out that kind of dosh for a new unit for your favourite army. If I have one complaint, then it's the choice of venue: last year's Caledonian Conflict was held in the Meadowbank stadium familiar to many veterans of the Scottish gaming scene. This was actually in Edinburgh, easily accessible for casual visitors, and close to obvious amenities. Compared to this, the Ingliston venue is inaccessible, spartan, and unappealing. I'll be back for another dose next year wherever we go though. ;)

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My showing in this event turned out to be a lot better than those games might've led you to believe. I was 29th out of 96 overall, including 2 votes from 3 for Most Sporting Opponent (from the guys who beat me I've always imagined). No one got 3/3 on the day btw. More exciting still: my army scored 33/36 (and I didn't even make an effort for those other 3pts, which were for banners), making it first equal in a pack of 11. I was well pleased with this first outing.

As it turned out, I haven't been able to make a single subsequent Conflict for one reason and another. Which is a pity, since it has sinced moved to a more congenial city centre venue of the sort I'd advocated here. 2006 maybe? Fingers crossed I guess.
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