Monday, 31 October 2016

Invitationals & My Dilemma

It is currently 6.30am as I start writing this, with my first hot brew of the day in hand. Why so early you may ask? Well that is a mystery even I want answered after a sleepless night!

In just under four weeks, the physical journey begins again for the final time this year, as we make the drive to Auckland for the first ever New Zealand Invitationals tournament. And with such a long drive, I am glad I have great travel company to go with me!

But the adventure to a tournament is never just the drive there and the weekend whilst away rolling dice and drinking more then planned, but it should be the weeks leading up to an event, as you play around with list ideas and play test your army and tweak the list whilst madly rushing around to finish painting that half a dozen miniatures you need in your list because of those tweaks.

My journey to Invitational almost came to an end before it had really began. With the release of Version 1.2 to the rule set last week, between the change in rules and points itself, along with Invitationals adopting the recommended points level of 4500pts, I was absolutely stumped.

Now, do not get me wrong, I am not complaining one moment about the new rules or recommended points system. I do agree with everything that has changed, but I do believe it is for the betterment of the game as it progresses and comes into its own.

Adopting a new rules system so close to the most prestigious event in the year was not a call I would have wanted to make, and I do not feel it was the right one either. In saying this, it was driven by the competitors for the event, and now as many are in the same boat I was in up until late last night, I think many are regretting that choice.

With the changes, I was finding it almost impossible to create a list that I could easily adapt to the play style, that I had the miniatures for without having to spend excess amounts of money, and the time to paint only a few handfuls of models. Even with the list I finally compiled and am happy with, there is more work to be done.

I argued with the decision to take my WDG (which was the easiest to flip my V1 list into something workable with V1.2), and finally decided against it, as I wasn't enjoying playing the list and it was hugely designed around the way a Path of Magic could influence the list, a Path which now in V1. no longer exists.

I also play tested my new Dread Elves list. I pulled off a major victory with this list, in my first time ever playing Elves, and enjoyed every moment of the game. The synergy of the list worked well, and with  change in the Path of Magic used, I feel the list could easily become a standard style list I would take to tournaments. The issue was, I do not have the extra money to drop into getting all the models needed, nor the time to paint an entire army within 3.5 weeks.

The biggest struggle of them all, was a moral struggle. I have played my Beast Herds in every event I have been to since T9A hit the tournament scene, and I love them. But morally, how could I leave t home the army that helped me get to 9th place on the New Zealand rankings? That wouldn't be right!

So I tossed around a few lists, screwed up a lot of paper, and walked away from the list building to relax whist enjoying a cancerous habit. And as my alcohol infused brain was pretending I was being Smaug and blowing smoke, it hit me. And I started mentally drawing a list, watching the mechanics of the list, and seeing what it looked like on the table.

The list is written. My toys are ready.

The Beast Herds have heard the Call. The Blood Hunt is coming to Play.
Run and Hide, Run and Hide. For come the Break of Day,
Blood will run as we catch our Prey.....

Monday, 24 October 2016

Moving Forward: Changes & Times Ahead

As a small handle of you know, the past few months for me have been tough. There have been a lot of things occur, and a lot of life decisions being made. Along with this, my business is about 8 weeks out of production (well, it will be if the council doesn't give us too many more issues), and so spare time has been short. Hobby time has been minimal. I believe that these things, along with watching all of my favourite game slowly getting packed in boxes to move, have contributed to hobby burnout for me. On both the gaming table and the painting table.

However, the wheels of life continue to spin, and with it there are some important announcements that I have neglected to make, and now that I am getting my act together, I though it was time to make them, along with let you know of some new and awesome projects I have lined up!

PlagueBearers: The End of an Era
As many know, we set up PlagueBearers over three years ago. PB was a small team of us with the sole purpose of building and growing our local gaming community, and in turn, the national scene. Well, in a way, we were successful. Not only did we utilise Facebook to run our own platform for promotion, we were able to set up a strong War Gamer's Online Garage Sale group, and be the team behind the 9th Age NZ Facebook page, alongside Phil W (Auckland City Guard). We also set up Napier Executioners Club, a free wargames and boardgames club in Napier. We ran numerous events, competitions, campaigns and tournaments, all designed to draw in new players in our region, both casual and competitive. We were able to sponsor many other events also, such as the T9A tournament at NiCon, and the LotR/Hobbit event at GuardCon. It has been an exciting time for us, and we have enjoyed every aspect of it.

However, everything must come to an end, and it is time for PlagueBearers to disband. For the team, a lot of new things and challenges in life have come up, and time is not something spare. With this, I have ended up carrying the majority of what PlagueBearers was doing, and its an additional time constraint I do not have going forward either.

PB will be disbanded at the end of October 2016. The following things will continue to run, but under the An Empire Fallen instead:
-WarBanner Tournament
-Hawkes Bay Regional Championship
-Annual Campaign
-War Gamer's Online Garage Sale
-9th Age NZ Facebook
Other things that PB ran, have slowly been dissolved or bought to an end. Its a sad time, but at the end of the day, sometimes something has to give.

T9A & the first NZ Invitational Tournament
On a happier note, T9A is going through some massive changes! I am not going to delve into these, as I could easily ramble on and on, but they are all changes designed for the betterment of the game. As per usual, there will be rules and changes that as players we disagree with, and as a whole, I have no doubt that there will be some rants and some rage quitting from players, but change is good. The reason behind these changes are to talk a massive step further away from gaming systems we used to know, while solidifying T9A as a solid independent game system, along with creating an improved and balanced game system that we can all enjoy! Now I will be honest, with everything going on, I have been slack keeping up with these updates, and am now scrambling to get my head around all the releases before they launch in a few days, but I am very excited by what I have seen!

The challenge is, however, these changes will be adopted for the first NZ Invitational Tournament, which is only 4 weeks away! That doesn't give for a lot of time to really wrap my head around these changes, both in rules and army composition, and I am unsure on what my Beast Herds will look like on the table once the changes have occurred! The unknown is an exciting facet in life, but the idea of having to hurried paint up more miniatures whilst I am trying to pack them up, is a little daunting.

It will be a fantastic weekend away regardless, and a great way to end the tournament year. Now, if only I can walk away with this year's crown......

NZ Wargaming Awards
In one of my previous blog posts, I talked about a new initiative called the New Zealand Wargaming Awards. Now I am not going to go into detail as to what this is (you may look back if interested), however I spent time discussing this with a gentleman in the community who I call my 'Yoda'. With so many time constraints holding back my ability to execute this exactly as it deserves, alongside other things, he advised me that this is not the year. Next year, yes, but not this year. As boneheaded as I am, I disagreed, with every intention to make it happen this year. However, as time has gone by, I have seen reason in his advise.

NZWA will not be kicking off this year. It is an important project, one that I truely believe will have a important place in our community, but its execution and promotion is vital, and it is not ready.

The first NZWA will be held in 2017.

Cthulhu Raiders: A New Project
Now that I have bored you with the nitty gritty changes and disappointments, lets talk about something really really exciting! As most know, I started Beast Herds purely for T9A, and it has to honestly be one of the most enjoyable armies I have ever played on any gaming platform in my entire gaming career.....okay okay, yes most of you old farts have decades on me, but still!

However, now that I am content with its tabletop standard, and the fact that I have played it to the ground this year at tournaments, it is time for a new project. A big project. One that will take years to complete, it will never be finished. This will not be an army, but a collection.

So, what is it may you ask? Its Chicken.

Yep, I fell from grace, and may the Dark Omen shun the name of An Empire Fallen as I betray all I know and believe.

Huh? Oh, you don't know what it is I speak of (unless your name is Phil, in which case you know very well)

I have started a Dread Elves (Elves = Chicken) collection. I have felt a draw to both Sylvan Elves and Dread Elves for a while, like an unseen rope tugging at my inner conscious, but have resisted thus far. Well, I finally gave in. I chose DE over SE, based on play style and feel. As much as I love the fluff side to SE far more, the way it plays on the table is not for me. It isn't to my strength, whereas I feel DE suits it far more.

So I mentally started building this army with the concept of using Corsair parts across the whole lot, and creating a Black Ark theme. Well, then I tapped into the brain of another amazing painter, and that idea led into hours of concepts and designs. It led me, to a Cthulhu or Drowned God theme.

Just a little snippet on what is to hit my painting station, will keep you posted as progress starts

With that my friends, I do not feel that there is anymore that I need to share.


Monday, 10 October 2016

WarBanner 2016: The Third Year

This past weekend saw the third year running of the WarBanner tournament in Napier. For the past few years WarBanner has been my baby and main event that I run, and each year we have worked at growing it.

The past two years, WarBanner was a sole WHFB tournament, starting in 2014 with 6 competitors and tripling its attendance in 2015 with 18 players.

This year was a huge year for us. Not only were we located at a new venue (Old Boys Marist Rugby Club), but our gaming platforms had progressed. Fantasy Battles: the 9th Age has quickly proven to be the natural successor on the New Zealand tournament scene for WHFB, after its change over to Age of Sigmar last year. We also took on Flames of War as a new platform at WarBanner, which is the first time in many years that FoW has seen a new tournament.

Due to the changes and growth, we also took on new sponsorship. Jambo Hobbies & Games, an amazing Napier hobby store that has sponsored us in our previous years, offered an amazing generic sponsorship packet for both T9A and FoW. We also recieved speciic sponsorship from Battlefront for FoW and from ShieldWolf Miniatures, an up and coming Kickstarter based fantasy miniatures company in Greece, for the T9A tournament.

The weekend as a whole was fantastic. Sadly, due to the way numbers were, I didn't have the opportunity to compete in the 9th Age side, but the contenders all seemed to enjoy themselves.

I am already planning on next year and what we can do to improve this event, and continue to increase its size.

Until next time,