Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Tournament: Sheep of the Dark Ages?

As you now know, I recently attended my first tournament for this year, Panzershrek.
It was a fantastic event and a lot of fun, and it was great to get back onto the competitive scene.

The tournament was run as a generic tournament template, and its new TO did a fantastic job of it. However across the weekend, and later, him and I discussed how sportsmanship and paint scores effect the scoring, and if there is both an easier and more efficient way of doing it. This then got me thinking.....

The standardisation of Ninth Age tournaments (along with many other platforms competed in its like), run a scoring of Best Paint and Best Sports. Both of these are then calculated into percentages, added to the battle points, to give you the positions of Best Overall. Most events do not have a separate award for purely Best General based on battle points, so the impact of your sportsmanship and your painting skill effects how you will place.
You may be the top scoring player in an event when it comes to battle points, but maybe your ability to paint is terrible, or is not the reason you are in this hobby, and because of this, your placing in the event can be effected.

Alongside of this, apart from knowing what time you need to be at the venue, player packs have become almost copycat pieces of paper that do not require any attention. I say this, as apart from the randomisation of what game type is played in each game (something I no longer pay attention to until just before the game itself), there is no difference between them.

In a sense, I feel as tournament goers and tournament organisers, we have become stagnant.

Have we become sheep? Has creativity in ideas become unwanted? Are we sitting in the Dark Ages of tournaments? Have we given up looking into the progression of how to evolve events?

Four years ago when I set out to establish Warbanner, which in its first year saw only 6 players, I opted to aim for difference. Every tournament in the country, and almost across the world, was using the standardised 20-0 system for Warhammer Fantasy.
However, a major USA event called Brawler Bash, was using a different scoring system called Carnage. This system threw out the 20-0 scoring, based your tournament points on your victory points per game, and the end results were not effected by sports and paint. It also utilised very creative and different scenarios, which were designed by the TO to force players to think differently.
Although in its first year this was frowned upon, and the second it was somewhat questioned, by adopting this style of tournament, Warbanner was able to create a major point of difference in the tournament scene.

Okay, so now you are sitting there thinking, "Oh so he thinks the tournament he runs is better then the others?" "This is just pride and vanity talking".

The answer, is no.

Warbanner's design was a needed stepping stone away from standardisation, and to hope move stagnant waters. But it is not perfect, and as each year goes on, I work hard to tweak and amend its systems and style to better create the event.

What I am saying, is for tournament play to progress, we need more creatively designed events.
I am not saying that every event needs to move away from the 20-0 out of the book style format. That still has an integral part in the tournament scene.
What I am seeing is that we do need to see change.

When a great painter but poor player gets ranked higher then a slightly better player because he has been painting for 10 years and the other player on a matter of months, there is an issue.
When a player amicably questions or disputes a rule issue, and is right, but gets knocked down in placings due to a poor sports score by his opponent, there is an issue.
When the venue time is all that really matters in every single player pack, there is an issue.

Do I have the answers? Absolutely not. I wish I did. Warbanner for me was the start of change, but by no means, the end all.
For real change, it requires those who wish to see the evolution of the tournament scene take the time and energy to work to develop new systems in how they run events.

My intention is to run a new Napier event alongside Warbanner. This event is yet to be named and will likely be held at the end of next year's April holidays. Although I have no idea as of yet how to break the tournament wheel with something else that is different yet competitive, I aim to work tiresly to do so.

I know this blog may annoy some competitors, and in particular, tournament organisers.
But I also know that change does not occur without the ruffling of feathers.

Until next time,

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Hobby Update July'17: Let's Roll

It seems like forever ago already since Panzershrek, yet this time last week I was being dragged down to the Irish Pub just a block from our Palmerston North accommodation. So much has happened since then, both in the business world and the plastic world.

But we are only here to talk about Plasti-crack.....

Since leaving Palmy, things have gotten really full on on the painting table.
I have picked up another commission, well, sort of the end of an old commission so to speak. My tournament partner has decided that it is time his frozen Ogre Khans collection was complete, not just as a single army but in a way that he can take anything off the shelf and put it on the table, and it is painted.
So to kick it off, I have 45 gnoblars to paint with stand out unit fillers. How do we make frozen gnoblars? Well, really they are Eskimos, though politically correct we must call them Inuits, like it is politically correct to call these miniatures cave goblins, but really they are gnoblars......#mindblown
I have also picked up a secret little project that involves a High Elf, an Orc and a Beastmen (no this is not a poor reenactment of the Three Hunters of Middle Earth!).
This little side project has me excited, as it will allow me to explore more techniques, and increase my experience on freehand.
To top it off, my Empire have returned to the painting table (Sound the horns, beat the drums!), as I get working on the army of the Queen of Promissa Terra. As many of you may know, I started this collection back in WHFB, but never really got far with painting it, minus a little bit here and there. It follows in the paint style of the old Altdorf of WHFB, but will not be designed around the typical war-stricken fantasy army.
I am looking forward to posting photos of these many works in progress.

The local scene is about to light up again, as I have opened registrations for the 3rd year running of the Hawkes Bay Regional Championship! This year 9th Age is back in the event as the main stay, and we are working towards involving Flames of War too!
However on the 9th side, it runs as a 3000 pt open list event, with a few list restrictions over the course of five weeks. The first four weeks see you face off in heats against 4 randomly selected opponents. Following this, in a one night event, the top 4 face off in a single death match semi final, followed directly by a death match final! It's intense!
For the past two years, my Empire have succeeded in taking second place. Let us see if this year is their year to shine!

Although I do not wish to go into too much detail on this, I have also opened up registrations for the 4th annual WarBanner event, a multi-platform event held on the 14/15 October.
This year sees the return of Flames of War, who joined the event for the first time last year, The 9th Age, which has became the fantasy tournament after we switched it from WHFB, along with a newcomer, Napoleonics.
As per usual, I am really excited for the weekend, and am working hard to make it as stand out of an event as possible. For more details or to register for any of these tournaments (or the HBRC above), email

On a final note, before I put the keyboard to rest tonight and get myself lost in reading the mystery that Elon Musk is, it is time to touch on something that I have promised many times before....

.....I am starting a YouTube channel.....

Previously, although inspired, the motivated lacked for me when it came down to the crunch of doing it. Maybe not only that, but a mix of self consciousnesses and perfectionism got in the way.
Recently, I gave a good friend some advice on a written battle report he had created, and pushed him to do them as videos for various reasons. This got us talking further, which reignited my interest in doing it myself.
I have now lined up with him a very awesome and special series of videos that we will be doing post ETC, which gives me the inspiration to commit more.
However, I feel a lot of it will come down to what the community wants. It is all good and well to put in the effort to do this, but is wasted if people do not want it.
So, what would you wish to see? Battle reports from a known NZ player/tournament goer? Pantisodes as the troll-king Malorian once called them, bring a space of addressing recent topics whilst painting? Interviews with NZ and world recognised players? Tactica and Paint tutorials? What would grab your interest? What would make you watch? We all know it has to be a little more then just my good looks and charm right........okay, stomach hurts from too much laughing now.
But please, have your say in the comments! I really want to know.

With that said, it is time to get these weary eyes away from the screen and to the pages.

Until next time, Peace!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

From Last Place to Podium: Three Years at Panzershrek

They were warned. The were told to run. The Blood Hunt returned, and boy were they hungry....

This past weekend saw the annual Panzershrek tournament, a FoW and T9A event in Palmerston North.

My tournament travel partner and best friend, who also turns out to be the guy who manages to get me to drink faaaar too much over tournament weekend, decided it was time to get back onto the scene, after having nine months off after Invitationals at the end of last year.

So, going to a tournament, what does this mean? Well, it means cramming in some last minute painting! I managed to get the paintbrush down at 8pm on the Friday night, after sitting down and doing a solid nine hour stint of painting to complete a few unfinished models, and paint from scratch my beautiful new Gortach model from Mierce Miniatures.

So, with the Blood Hunt packed and ready, and the roads thankfully open, Saturday morning we hit the tournament scene once again...

My first game I had dubbed prior as likely to be the most enjoyable game I have all weekend. My opponent, a very talented player and painter, was the last person I played on tournament, handing me a crushing defeat at Invitationals which cost me the podium. It seemed only fitting to come back to the scene and face him again!
He didn't make it easy though did he. His MSU style Sauian Ancients are got a little "race-confused", dancing around my army and running away like pesky wood elves. I remember at one point in the game looking at the board and couldnt believe how much of a cluster-fucked mess board the table was, with no clear vision of who was where.....everything was just so spread out.
This game landed me a 16-4, and as I had assumed prior to the game, was the most enjoyment I had all weekend. My opponent isn't just an awesome player, but a real good guy to throw dice around with.

Landing on table two, I was up against my first ever T9A tournament opponent, and his flying circus of chicken...okay okay, Highborn Elves. Although confident I could secure a victory in this game, the idea of double phoenix and double sky sloop running circles around me, was a concern going in. I mean, the Blood Hunt is fast, but these Elves had their share of Red Bull, as they had wings!
So with some fast moving up turn one, and punishing magic rolls, by turn two we could see where the game was heading. I think had it not been so early in the game we would have just called it there, however finding things to do for 3 hours waiting on the next game, would have been boring.
I took out a 20/0 victory in this game. My opponent is a great young player, with a real obvious thirst to learn as much as he can, both in battlefield tactics and in hobby, and I really hope I was able to pass on a few tips to him.

Sitting at 36/40 points going into the final game of the day, I was on table one against my arch-rival (yep, you have claimed that title now 😛), a player who takes out just about every event he goes to, and whom I have yet to defeat.
Going in there with confidence that I could beat him, even just slightly, held my play together for a while. Up until the start of turn four, it was still easily anyone's game. However, the long march to get to the stunty dwarfs hiding in their corner bore down on my herds, and thinks quickly fell apart after that.
I walked away from this game crushed 1/19, and was ready to settle for a mid pack placing.
We had dinner and beers with my opponent again, and as per usual, he was more then willing to share ideas on some really out there but quite effective list ideas for different armies....looks like my Blood Hunt will be getting a few new units added....and all of them centaurs.....

After my defeat game three, Sunday morning saw my hangover up against my favourite Sylvan Elves player. You have to realise, that games one, three and four, were against three of the top players in the country, and although I have played a lot of tournaments, I have never faced a collaboration of them all.
Going into this game, I knew it would be hard, as although my ETC team opponent's list did not look hard on paper, it had one secret weapon that would tear my army to pieces. But turn two saw tragedy strike my opponent, in what was the biggest upset game of the weekend, as my two-wound remaining Gortach failed a frenzy check, charging his lord's unit of sisters, who failed to add to my wounds with their stand and shoot. Adding salt to the wound, the strength 6 or 7, 5 or  6 attacks lord, flubbed. The sisters managed to get one more wound off, and then the Gortach went to town. At this moment of horror, my opponent accepted that the game wasn't to end his way, and I left the table sitting on 55/80pts, taking a 18/2 victory against the chicken.
My opponent in this game is a really great guy, and that loss was crushing. Although I still currently stand as one of two players he has never beaten, the games I play against him are usually some of the most hands on intense games, and I love it. Another fantastic opponent!

Heading into game five I knew I was sitting first equal to the player who crushed me at the end of Saturday, and needed to score well. But of course, my opponent ad best friend, wasn't going to make that easy for me!
Taking on his ogres once again, I went into the game with the confidence that he had never beaten my Blood Hunt, a confidence that quickly dissipated into nothing as my first three turns saw my army collapse and perish to immense shooting. After a quick smoke and accepting my fate, I returned to the table to face the Khan's Judgement.
And that was when the game turned....
With major failed charges, and his inability to roll high to pursue, his army was left extremely vulnerable. I was able to take out the remainder of his army with just a wounded Gortach, my general and bsb, and a lone razortusk that had done nothing all game, and swung the game back to a 20/0 victory.

Panzershrek '17 was yet another great weekend that just went way too fast, and our TO, did an amazing job running the tournament for the first time. Everyone had an absolute blast.
And then this happened...
Not only was I able to take best painted two years in a row at Panzershrek, with last year's being the last time I took a tournament paint award (I @BlametheDice......get it slishy? #insidejokes), but I was able to not only podium after nine months off the scene, but take the gold!!!!
It was interesting reflecting back on Panzershrek over the years. in 2015, I remember walking away gutted with a last place result, and last year sitting comfortable with mid-pack. To turn my original last place to a gold result seemed quite fitting.

There are a lot of things in the works, and I will be sure to do a Hobby update very very soon, but until then, some eye candy for you of what was apparently the best painted army 😝