This years Bay Area Open is done. I didn't get to take as many pictures as the 2014 LVO or the 2013 BAO, but I sure had a great time!
New venue this year: the 4th Street Center in San Jose, CA. Amazing place! Hotels were super close and parking was just outside the front door. Really! It was 50' from my car to my vendor table. Can't ask much more than that!
Keno and Tim hang out at the GSI table. Pretty much all of Saturday was sitting at the table for me and Tim. I had forgotten my credit card reader! I really need to make a checklist to prep for these things.
Carlos of Mechanical Warhorse created the BAO branded Maelstrom markers for the tournament. Everyone who played got a set of these ultra high quality markers (sure wish I had a picture to show you).
Hobby classes were a first for the 2014 BAO. Here the instructor discusses airbrush techniques with his class. This class looked like a great value because it went on for about 6 hours and I think it was only $15/person. They went into a lot of detail on the techniques and the finished products looked great!
Another first for the BAO is the support of the Draconic Awards. The Draconic Awards is a more democratized sort of painting competition produced by the Wargamers Consortium, Badger Air-brush Co. and Games and Gears, LLP. The focus is on getting more people interested in upping their painting skill by connecting painters of every level and allowing them to share tips and techniques with each other. Please read about the BAO format here and get a better idea of what it's all about!
Frankie and Reece command from the stage! (Forging that narrative, I am!)
As you can see, it's a big, well appointed, room. Everyone was happy to be playing and the response to the BAO format was very positive. Lords of War were included (with a few exceptions) and the secondary objects were a modified Maelstrom format. From what I understand there was only one Deathstar army that made it near the top ranks, which is great news.
The acoustics were great because the carpet and room shape kept the echo down. Something that the Contra Costa Fairgrounds was totally unable to handle. Concrete floors and parallel walls really make sound bounce around.
There were some really great armies here. Unfortunately, I was only able to take a very few pictures. Of the ones I took (and didn't ruin with my shaky camera work), these are my favorites...
Dropzone Commander Tournament
On Sunday Tim handled the booth and I played in the Dropzone Commander Tournament. Solomon, the Hawk Wargames rep, was the TO and he did a tremendous job considering 2 of the 6 folks who were supposed to be playing didn't show. He made the appropriate adjustments and we all had a blast!
The players were Alex (who kicks my balls in at Frontline all the time), Tom, Ian, and I.
My first game was against Tom, so it was PHR vs PHR. This was a theme for the small event, three of the 4 of us were PHR! We played at 1500 points in Clash mode using the handy Tournament Pack that Hawk put out a few months back.
I can't stress enough that Dropzone is an incredibly balanced game. INCREDIBLY. Sometimes 40k tends to make me feel like there is nothing I can do to win, so it's almost a struggle getting the motivation to even play. I'm still a noob at DzC, but I'm learning. And, it's very clear that the deck isn't stacked against me for picking a certain faction or not buying the new hotness every month. It is obvious that Hawk puts a lot of effort into balance and keeping the players happy!
|Tom and I square off!|
Well, I won the first game, surprisingly! Tom had a beautiful army and somehow squeezed a Hades into the list. I think he did this by not bringing enough AA, though. My Athena (which was available turn 1!) therefore had a clear advantage over his. I pretty much just stayed out of LOS of the Hades, pulled some great cards, and beat the hell out of his troops. I'm getting better at playing the mission. I think the final score was 6 to 3. Highlight: Tom shooting his Hades at my Ares in the open and missing (rolling all 1's) with his strafing To Hit and Nano Machine damage!
Second Highlight (because I had a great idea!): we were playing objectives and the only way to score was to take them off the board which scored 2 VP. We also played that you could move troops building to adjacent building normally. I drew a Monorail card and used it to tunnel under the street, the building his troops with the objective were in, and into the building his troops needed to pass through to reach their Juno transport, thus delaying their passage and keeping him from scoring with that objective!
In the meantime, Alex and Ian had a boisterous game next to us. Alex won largely by kill points alone! He destroyed 1000+ points of Ian's Scourge and scored most of the objectives to win 11 to 6. Highlight: Immortals sniping a Lv 4 Scourge commander in an Annihilator in the final turn to score something like 300 of those 1000 KP!
|My PHR (foreground) vs Ian's Scourge|
Solomon randomized who played who next and I drew Ian and his Scourge. I'd never played against Scourge so my confidence was not high. I did OK, though. Scourge are FAST! He had a lot of AA which hampered my Athena. That stupid Desolator lightning attack smashed face, too. I did well playing the mission but he did far more damage to me than I did to him. Ian won 7 to my 6. It was crazy fencing match! Highlight: The Annihilator scoring 3 hits on my Ares squad and Ian rolling all 1's for wounding!
The final game was a FOUR WAY BRAWL! There were something like 30 possible objectives (pennies) and only half of them (those minted in odd years) would score you any VP! Plus, you had to get them off the table to score them! Really hard to do. We deployed on the table quarters which put us up in each others' grills.
Early turn 1 Tom deployed his Hades in Alex's face and that kicked off a vendetta between them! They spent most of the game going toe-to-toe. Alex did finally kill the Hades but not before Tom scored some pretty good damage, too.
The vendetta between Alex and Tom allowed Ian and I to throw down without worrying too much about dealing with those two.
Walking a pair of Phobos on early in turn one is very effective! Especially when deployment is so close. Ian floated a Harbinger in close to my deployment and I walked them on right behind it and scored an early kill. It crash landed but only one of the three Ravagers inside was destroyed.
This kicked of a knife fight between my walkers and his skimmers. We did about the same amount of damage to each other, I think he did 455 points to me and I did 463 points to him. I contacted 6 possible objectives but only two of them were real. Ian found 4 objectives and got them all off the board! Highlight: Initiative on turn 5 shook out that I went before Ian so I figured I could kill all of his skimmers before they got their bonus. I shot with my main battlegroup and did very little and then played a Quick Thinking card (allows me to go before Ian again... essentially I get to fire twice before he can even move. Dick move on my part.) and again scored very little damage with my second battlegroup. I guess that's instant Karma!
If memory serves, the final overall scores for the tournament were as follows:
Alex scored 22 VP (that first game put him waaaay ahead).
Ian scored 19 VP
I scored 17 VP
Tom scored 14 VP
You should also note that Alex brought his pack of 50 N-scale cars and we scattered them around the map. They didn't have any effect in-game but they sure looked cool. I just bought myself a pack of 100 and will be making some 10mm terrain pretty soon.
Prize support was great! There was a pile of 8 Dropzone blister packs that we got to pick from in turn. Solomon went so far as to go home during the 2nd round and grab some PHR blisters seeing as 75% of his players used PHR. I picked a pair of Hyperion walkers. Thanks, Solomon!
Now for some pretty pictures...
|A lone Triton spies the Scourge.|
|Ian's PHR surges charges Alex's forces.|
|Toms and my PHR face off.|
I'd really like to thank Tim for helping me out during the event. If it weren't for him I wouldn't have been able to play DzC. Thanks, Tim!
I must say that the BAO has steadily improved each year I've gone. Don't get me wrong, I went to the 2012 and it was amazing. 2013 was even better. But this one takes the cake. This new venue, though not as close, is frakking awesome. I'm now looking forward to the LVO and the next BAO. Well done, Reece! Well done, Frankie! See you all there!