Monday, March 22, 2010

Salamander Progress Log: WIP stuffs

So after a hectic couple of weeks, I'm finally able to resume work on my beloved Salamander Space Marine over the next couple of weeks. First thing I want to finish is these last two Legion of the Damned Space Marines.

As well as them I have another Land Raider Redeemer to assemble and paint, a drop pod to finish and also the beginnings of some Salamanders on bikes! 3 work in progress sergeants and a Captain I intend to convert from the bike riding chaplain to lead the 3 squads of bikers I want to field!

I also happen to have picked up for myself a Bane blade super heavy tank I intend to convert into a Salamanders Fellblade.

A Fellblade is a variant of Bane Blade used by the space marine legions before the Horus Heresy. Fluff wise, This bad boy is from the Isstvaan drop site massacre where the majority of the Salamanders legion was slaughtered. Among those that survived, the Fellblade "Vulkan's Pride" led the desperate push through the traitor forces to ensure the Salamanders' escape. Despite being grievously damaged, Vulkan's Pride survived and escaped and over the 10 thousand years since has been repaired and rearmed and continues to serve the chapter, but so highly is it valued that it is only ever brought to bear under the most dire of circumstances.
The idea is that this tank is going to be Fiery Doom on tank treads. Heavy flamer sponsons, extra heavy flamer (or multi melta) turrets and I'm even considering replacing the Bane Blade Cannon... I'd be keen to hear people's thoughts there.
Definately looking forward to finishing it!
And amongst all of this I have a Venerable Dreadnought and 3 regulars to finish and I had an idea for some sternguard...
Better get stuck into it!

Musings on Running Tournaments

My alarm finally wakes me, its 8:30am and I have less time then I planned on having. Wasting no time, I see to packing everything I need into as quickly and accurately as I can. I can't afford to forget anything but time is not on my side. For the fifth time I go over the list of gear I need in my head and resolve to head to the venue where already awaiting me are a pair of enthusiastic gamers offering to help set up the venue for the big day that lies ahead. In no time at all, nearly half the participants are present, all pitching in to layout the terrain and set up the tables. Miraculously everything is prepped and ready by 9:30am, just as planned. The last of the players arrive and the room is buzzing with excitement. Its time for Recon to begin...

On March 20th in Mount Gambier, South Australia, our war gaming club ran its first one day tournament and with the assistance of Rob, one of the Club's most senior members, I ran it. While not the first time I've run a tournament, it was a daunting prospect nonetheless. Regardless, it was still great fun, I enjoyed myself and it was a thrill to see so many people having just as much, if not more fun. A more then ample pay off for the effort that goes into running such an event.

So what is the point to running a tournament? What is its purpose? Answering such a question is harder then one would think. In many ways, it is as much a social event as it is a competitive one. Or at least in Australia it is and when viewing the sportsmanship scores, it shows. Nearly all the peer based sportsmanship scores at Recon were maxed out or a point or two away from being maxed out. Something I was particularly impressed by. Clearly a group of gamers who thoroughly enjoyed playing against each other and did so in good spirit. The same can be said of any other event I've been to, where its more like a gathering of friends then a competition and I guess I could say that's quite true for a lot of us. I've made many friends in my travels and I know many other gamers who have too.

But it wouldn't be a tournament without some genuine competition. But is it solely about winning games? Obviously they count for a lot but many tournaments in Australia also grade their players on sportsmanship, painting and their army's composition. The reason for this being that many tournaments here are regarded as the search for the "Apex Gamer" someone who is excelling themselves within the various aspects of the hobby, playing in relatively good spirit and that it is their skill as a general, not just what combination of units they are fielding that has earned them their place upon the podium. I agree wholeheartedly with all of this and run my tournaments in a similar fashion as I feel it gives us all something to aim for. If the players wining all the prizes and places were playing with completely unpainted armies and/or playing like complete douchebags then that simply tells the rest of the tournament going community that is perfectly acceptable. Wouldn't it be better for them to have something better to aim for?

It made me want to improve my abilities and over the years I have seen similar improvements in my peers as they strive to reach that position. And at Recon, it was a delight to see some of them finally begin to achieve that and get recognition that was truly well deserved.

As the tournament organiser, you obviously see things in a different light and as a result of my own experiences, I tend to try my hardest to not make things difficult for the organisers. The basic fundamentals of running the tournament can be difficult enough without players complaining about your choice of mission or any rulings you've imposed. Having had that at previous events I've run, it can really throw you off your concentration and then you're struggling to get back to what you were doing and doing it without making a hash of things.

But do the players see this? I don't think we do. So long as the tournament seems to be going well, we don't ever actually know what's going on behind the scenes and how closely its shape can sometimes resemble that of a pear. Even at Recon, after entering round one's sportsmanship scores, by accident I closed the window before saving and lost all of them, prompting me to go through all the submitted sports scores and enter them all over again much to my dismay. But did anyone notice? Of course not. Did it negatively impact on the event? Nope. Things like that only seem to go to a bad place if you lose your cool and allow it to. Easier said then done. Would that situation have gone so smoothly if that moment someone came up and told me I'd completely screwed them because the mission cost them the game and they demanded some form of compensation? Hell No! Disturb the TO like that and things can get much worse if they aren't able to get on top of the situation and a difficult gamer can only worsen that.

And you never know if something like this is going on. Just ask a TO after their event is done and gone and they'll probably have a story or two for you. It doesn't even have to be on the day for something to be difficult for them, printing off so many sheets for missions and results sheets is no small feat and like anything involving computers, it can go oh so horribly wrong. And they are only human, they can make mistakes too.

So where am I going with this? I've crapped on an awful lot about the ideals of running a fun yet competitive tournament and giving the TO their due respect, but why?
Well basically its food for thought. The tournament environment isn't just an incentive for us as gamers to better ourselves within this wonderful hobby, its also a means for the organisers to endeavour to run increasingly better events. To refine that process of finding the Apex gamers, to run better, more enjoyable missions and to give their participating gamers the best experience possible. To be told you are doing that, like I was at Recon, is an incredibly high honour really. I mean its kind of fantastic but you don't let it go to your head. If anything its motivation to further that. Yet I couldn't have done any of that without the gamers. The courteous, helpful, good spirited gamers who made Recon the most enjoyable events I've run.

And when you find that wonderful little niche, you know you have something special. There are many tournaments also in this category within the country. Terracon is a fantastic example. They are run brilliantly and the participants couldn't be any less brilliant in their conduct and support and it has created an environment that I know I for one can't get enough of.

So at the end of the day, I now look to the future, thinking how can I improve? Maybe not rambling so much and making this blog shorter would have been a good start. Anyway, just putting some thoughts out there and I'd be glad to hear those of others!
Hopefully I haven't bored you too much and you've enjoyed reading.

Till next time,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: Warhammer 40,000 Battle Missions

So while at Toy Stampede picking up prizes for RECON, the Warhammer 40,000 tournament I will be running this weekend, I bought myself a copy of the latest Warhammer 40,000 supplement.

Now I wasn't sure what to expect from Battle Missions but as someone who runs a war gaming club and tournaments, it struck me as being a handy resource to invest in. As soon as I got home, I gave it a good read and well... I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

So what does Battle Missions give you? Well it contains 3 new missions for each faction (except the chapter specific marine dexes like Dark Angels and Space Wolves and the Inquisitorial dexes which is a bit of a bummer) Most of the missions don't necessarily need to be the armies the mission seems designed for but obviously some missions would work better with the intended participants.

Some of the missions seem like really good fun, Black Crusade is akin to the old Meat Grinder mission with units being recycled back onto the table as soon as they are destroyed as players race to gain the highest body count. However there are also a lot of other missions which just seem very bland or too much like each other. Frankly though it has some good, well presnted missions they aren't anything an enthusiast with a good head on his shoulders couldn't come up with himself. However that in itself highlights a strong point of Battle Missions.

Rather then having to devise and present these things ourselves, in this supplement, Games Workshop is essentially doing the hard work for those of us who simply do not have the time on our hands or the ability to do so. Also in a club environment, I imagine it will be a handy resource for players to tap into.

The background material it provides isn't really worth a mention. There's nothing really new or remarkable about it. Its just there because Games Workshop seems to feel we need to know what a space marine is and how ninja an eldar can be. Nothing we haven't heard before. But it does present some really need special missions in the form of a stream lined version of the old kill team mini game which looks every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor, if maybe a little easier to follow. Also, Line breaker looks good fun, where 3 super heavy tanks aim to smash aside the defending army and destroy the enemy shield generator. Looks like fun, not something that could be taken to seriously but as far as saturday night beer and pizza just for fun stuff goes, it would be great.

Also clash of the heroes would be fantastic fun under the right circumstances, a mission where the only thing that can kill your special character, is another special character. Could be really good fun in that unless your Colonel Straken ends up face to face with the swarm lord...

So at the end of it all, ever the eternal optimist, I think its a reasonable addition to the warhammer 40,000 family, I think it presents us with a useful resource for clubs and a handy piece of inspiration for designing missions and tryinmg something different at tournaments. But, it isn't something I would rush to buy and I certainly wouldn't get a copy if my regular opponents already had... So I guess I'm still not 100% on it... given time and some games with it, maybe it will seem more appealing.

Thanks for reading, Till next time.
- Beau

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stompa for Toy Stampede

Well, Just sharing the fruits of today's labour. This is Stampy.

Say Hello Stampy

I finished painting Stampy today. Stampy is a large warmachine referred to as a stompa, that belongs to the race of Orks in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 table top wargame. Despite being a 25mm scale model, Stampy still stands a whole 12 inches tall. Were he real we'd be measuring him in storeys. So pretty big and pretty devastating, this bad boy totes enough fire power to level a city block. Providing he can hit it (Orks aren't renown for their accuracy! )

This model was painted on behalf of Toy Stampede, our local warhammer stockist. Naturally being so big, painting him was a rather drawn out affair simply because there was so much of him. And there are so many neat, intricate details, its very easy to get focused on these tiny areas only to discover there's plenty more where that came from! However I'm happy with him as he is so first thing tomorrow morning I'll be taking him down to toy stampede where he will be going on display!

A few more Pics

Thanks for having a look!

- Beau

First Post!


My name's Beau and welcome to my blogspot! I'm from South Australia and its no where near as hot as popular opinion would have you believe!
I've created it with the intention of writing about my various hobbies and projects, namely miniature wargaming and film making, various aspects of said hobbies and projects as well as just.. Y'know. Blogging.

So anyway, I'm not terribly fond of introductions so thats enough of that, moving right on to the blogging!

- Beau