Well, it was a good day all in all, and good fun, so that's the most important thing down. A few of the scenarios were a bit odd, but I'm planning to go next year, so obviously not THAT bad :oP
For those of you who are interested in the details, here's what I got :oP
First off I was curious if my friends dire prediction of Space Wolves and Blood Angels players everywhere held true. I checked around. Out of 24 gamers, there were 4 Space Wolves and 2 Blood Angels - so a quarter had the armies he expected. And the MEQ total was about half. But there was still quite a good spread. Orks were also popular with 4, Eldar surprised me with 3 (one being an absolute thing of beauty, which richly deserved it's Best army award... and it's Fergus award... and he presumably deserved his Woodenspoon too. I'm shocked anyone had the heart to kill models that beautiful! But I digress...) Guard only had 2, Chaos Space Marines likewise. Then there was representative each from the following; Dark Angel, Tyranids, Black Templars, Imperial Armour Chaos Zombie List, Dark Eldar, Vanilla Marines and Tau. So quite a nice spread of armies really.
The first game was set out like the night fight mission from the battle mission book, with units placed in random sectors. My opponent had a squad of Khorne bezerkers ina rhino, and a plague marine squad (again in rhino) He deployed one near each objective. My Lootas were then well placed to engage his plague rhino (assuming the game lasting night fight didn't stop them) I had the grots in cover for a late game objective grab, the burnas poised to assault the contents of either rhino, and my boyz mob utterly surrounding the beserkers rhino. Sure he could tank shock his way out, but I was fearless and would just step out of the way. He then would not be able to assault if he disembarked, giving me the opportunity to assault him on my turn. As it is, I siezed the initiative... and my opponent conceded. He'd been worried enough about how deployment had gone and the bag he was going to have to fight out of if I was hitting his rhino on 6s... but being able to charge it from all sides, auto hit - emergency disembark would see to most of the beserkers - so he conceded defeat without a shot being fired. A bit of a cheap win, but a win is a win in a tournament, and while I was disappointed not to get a game, I took it in stride. Result - Win
My second game was against an Eldar army for kill points. I went straight down the throaght, sweeping Wazzdakka around to the right flank. In his first turn he put 2 wounds on Wazzdakka. Never fear, I have a 3++ save I said. Promptly failed both. Wazzdakka then looked decidedly unhealthy. Kept driving right for the enemy, and it was very close. But Wazzdakka got dragged down (JUST - skin of teeth stuff) by the fire dragons and farseer - if he'd started that combat with full compliment of wounds, or even one, he'd have kept that unit busy for longer. Instead they were free to turn around and assist with the fusilade of fire against my mob that was within spitting distance of his lines, having resoundingly wiped out a guardian squad the turn before. He took them down. With the enemy having more kill points, and me down to my grots and lootas, it didn't work too well, and I spent the last couple turns just trying to accumulate victory points. Result - Loss.
Green met green in game three, in a mission again inspired by battle missions. I believe it is an ork mission. Spearhead deployment, objective in the centre and each empty quarter. Only fast attacks can deploy. Well, that'll be nothing for me then. My opponent also held off his FA choices. However, the rules stated everything else was in reserve. So we couldn't even roll in from turn 1. So turn 1 nothing happened. Turn 2 a couple of my units turned up and advanced towards the middle. Opponent - half his army turned up. Turn 3 a couple more units turned up, the lootas running to get into a position where they can do something. My battlewagon rolled in and dropped off a mob, wiping out the kommandos on my right flank. My opponents turn, the rest of his army shows. Including an annoying couple of deffkoptas that manage to rout the lootas! A big scrap meanwhile kicks off in the centre as we start assaulting each other. In orks vs orks, generally whoever charges wins, and this proved to be the case here. Turn 4 a couple more things turned up for me, but STILL not Wazzdakka and his cohorts (meaning a third of my army are still not in the game!) Turn 5 they finally turn up, and things are looking desperate. I turbo boost them into the centre, recklessly, knowing they can be assaulted but hoping the armour save will hold them steady. Meanwhile my big mob assaults the opponents bikers and stormboys simultaneously, and wipes them all out. The opponent charged wazzdakka and co, but lead with his warboss. They were the only two involved (narrow access) and it was simulateous, hit on 4 wound on 2 instant death. 5 attacks against 4. My opponent fluffed his attacks. Wazzdakka got one through. The mob stayed, but they were in trouble. By the end of turn 6 I was holding the centre objective, and was well positioned to contest his sides objective while hopefully getting rid of the deff dread contesting the objective on my side. But the dice failed me - there was no turn 7!
Result - Draw
I was really irritated by this game, as given the first turn was none existant and the second we'd just about trundled on and looked at each other, it felt like only a 4 turn game. I reckon I would have won it if there'd been a turn 7 (read 5) OR better yet if Wazzdakka and co had arrived even one turn earlier. As such I plan to convert a new warbiker, wearing top hat and rabbit ears and carrying a rather large pocket watch, to try to encourage them (from sheer embarrassment) not to do that to me again! :oP
The final game of the day drew me against Ken. He had the lead in victory points thus far, though the fact that we were drawn against each other shows we were doing similarly well. It was Dawn of War style deployment (without the night fight) on the most open battlefield in the room. I gulped. I fretted some more as Ken won the roll off, and on turn 1 set up a massive firing line to deal with me. I decided my best option was to try to use the cheap truks as cover for my battlewaggons, and do a refused flank to minimise the amount of shots he could throw at me. At first I didn't think it was working too well as Ken built up several points of a lead in this kill point mission. Then the boyz broke against his lines, and I surged into a few points lead of my own. Disciplined fire pulled it back level, and then we tentatively edged forward from then on, to get a 10-9 finish... in MY favour! Admittedly, if one of those penetrating hits on my battle wagons had rolled a 3 or better it may have been different... 3 times Ken rolled a 1 for that critical roll. And I have to admit my lootas did stupendously this mission, kicking out an insane amount of shots (clearly they had all the ammo for the last mission to use up as well!) It was a very close game, and I just about edged it. We were running out of time at the end so declared the game at turn 6 instead of rolling for it, but by that point both armies were battered and bruised. He could have turned round and shot at my burnas and tried to even the score (though I'd have gone to ground and rolled 3+ cover for all I was worth) but then my lootas would have picked off the last fire warrior of one squad to take the lead again. The remnants of the two armies were mostly seperated by a vast killing field, and there were very few victory points between us either.
Result - Win.
The Bracknell Forest Gamers website hasn't been updated yet, so I can't give accurate scores for everything. I know it was an eldar player that got second (the one that beat me!) and will update in the comments once I know the rest. But I was very pleased to get 7th overall. Ken had a respectable 11th (top half of the table in first solo tournament, can't complain!) Ken can also brag about being the best Tau player there ;oP though I am curios if I can make the same claim.
I was also pleased to have the second highest VP total on the day. In fact if I won that game I drew (and think a little better luck in reserves or one extra turn would have changed) then those couple extra Tourney Points, combined with my VP, would have seen me ascend to 4th! Lofty heights indeed. :oP I did later realise, if I hadn't failed those two 3++ saves in Wazzdakka, and that game against the Eldar player had gone my way... I'd have been tied with the other two top scorers in place of the Eldar player - and my VP total would have seen me come first! But still, saying that, if I'd won my first two games on the trot I'd have faced different opponents in later rounds, and who knows where fate may have led me. But tantalising to think about nonetheless :o)
Overall, I enjoyed this tournament and while I have my reservations about some of the scenarios (I just wanted to put down the majority of my army and play - having two missions where I couldn't deploy the vast majority of it, and one mission where I could but it was deployed randomly - I think strange deployments are interesting to break things up, but they should be different to the norm, and not the majority of deployments.) I do intend to return for winds of war 11, and Escalation 11 too. As regular readers will well know, I already have some interesting armies planned for both of them (though with my usual thing of going for fluff over effectiveness I've no idea how well I'll do!) :oP
Anyway, with the pressure of Escalation off I now have to sort out what I'm doing for the Hammer N Ales painting competition though I think I may do that one in secret and do the big unveil on judging day. Pictures will eventually follow :oP
In the meantime, I'm sure I'll come up with something to write about on this thing :oP