This was my second time attending the LVO and this time Green Stuff Industries not only played in the Dropzone Commander event (me), but had a vendor booth (my wife), as well!
Frankie's Special Hat
The Flamingo, though showing its age, was a pretty good venue. The main hall was HUGE and looked great. The two smaller halls, for the modeling classes and games that weren't 40k, were impressive, if a bit dim.
The elevators were comical. One didn't have functional lighting. Another took you to random floors. Still another sounded like it was going to crash. If I were the Flamingo, I'd fix the elevators ASAFP.
There was also some craziness where Security was stopping folks outside the main hall because "food wasn't allowed inside." But there were folks with food EVERYWHERE! They weren't even hiding it. Dave and Simon of Hawk and both of the guys from Mechanical Warhorse all got stopped a couple of times but my wife just walked in and out all weekend with bagels and sandwiches and the like. WTF?
Being a Vendor at the LVO
Frontline treats the vendors very well, which is not the norm by any means. It's a low-barrier-to-entry cost event (they only ask for something modest, like prize support) to get in and they do cool stuff like flash your logo on the big screen when nothing else is going on. Frontline Gaming is a very community driven bunch of guys. Which is refreshing. Other events should take notes.
From the vendor point of view it couldn't have been better. GSI was assigned a spot to the left of the admin tables and to the right of Hawk Wargames! I was amazed that the sign-in and registration lines filed right passed the booths. This sorta' invites folks who are queuing up to look at the tables and likely boosts sales.
My wife had never run a booth before or, for that matter, been to an event like this. She kinda dreaded the whole thing (new and scary as it seemed) but ended up being very impressed with how nice all of the attendees were... players, vendors, event staff,... everyone! Seriously, the tabletop gaming community is an amazing bunch of folks! Hats off to you all!
One other thing I found out at the LVO is that the excellent figure sculptor, Mr. Dandy of WarGamma, used a Tentacle Maker Tool Box to sculpt his Maggot King figures tentacle'd mouth parts! Everything between the face and the paddles on the end of the mouth parts is Tentacle Maker work that has been enhanced by Mr. Dandy. That info really made me stand a bit straighter. I didn't get to talk to Mr. Dandy hardly at all but I'm happy for the little time I did. As you can see below, he's a really talented guy...
I have one of these guys and it's a very impressive bit of work!
I also got to chat with Dave and Simon of Hawk Wargames quite a bit. When people tell you they are really nice guys, believe them. Most of the rumors I gleaned from them have already been reported to the world by folks like Cameron Blume and Reece & Frankie on Signals From The Frontline.
And I got my original Dropzone Commander book signed by Dave!
The Dropzone Tournament
The tournament was super fun! I got to play more games of DzC in 3 days than I have in the last 6 months! My W/L record was 50%... so, I did better than I thought.
This was my first roll of the tournament...
... so I hoped it didn't' set the tone for the weekend.
Friday (most of which I can't remember the details of)
My first game on Friday was against Randy and his UCM. Reece at Frontline plays UCM so I was fairly confident against this army. This was a standard Bunker Assault from the Guide.
The first big problem I saw was that a player with ground only units who started in the corner with the river was going to be stuck there the entire game. Randy had very few transports and I had some ground only units, too. I couldn't even deploy my Hades! There was just too much river. I brought this up to Solomon and he just removed the river.
That's a Cranky Old Gamer kaiju in the background.
I don't remember much about the game except I had my target priority and deployment dialed in pretty well. Won on both the mission and kill points.
Final: 13 to 7
I've been watching Cameron play his PHR on Youtube for about a year now. He's very good. My expectations were low for this game. The mission was Take and Extract with only 3 objectives.
I don't remember much about this game either, except that I did better than I expected. I got super lucky and killed his Hades over turns 4 and 5; rolled out 6dp of damage in turn 4 with only 3 railguns from my commander and his wing man! I then finished it off turn 5.
I'm getting pretty good at shoving my Erebos down my opponents throat and making them ultra-mega-super annoying.
I had him on Kill Points but only secured 2 of the 5 objectives. I'm really bad at rolling for finding objectives, apparently. I lost on the mission but not kill points.
Final: 8 to 12
For the last game of the day, a Surging Strike mission, I played Martin and his Shaltari. I've played Shaltari maybe twice (once against my fellow tourney player, Chris, over at Frontline at the very beginning of my DzC journey. But I don't remember that game, at all.); either way, I lost both of those early matches, I'm sure.
This loss made my third straight vs. Shaltari. I'm getting better against them, though. I lost on both mission and kill points.
Final: 7 to 13.
Game FourI got to play Randy again. This was a custom mission that had 5 bunkers (one in the center, and 4 equidistant in the table quarters around it) that controlled a laser, behind a river, on one side of the board.
Randy and I were deathly afraid of the laser but left it untouched for some reason. What Randy did was try to kill bunkers as fast as he could, which was fine by me. As long as he was shooting bunkers, he wasn't shooting my units. I concentrated on securing the one bunker on the table that was sorta hard to see/attack. Which I did, but kept rolling poorly to enable the laser. Two turns of possible Death Ray style laser fire were lost to crappy rolling!
Either way, Randy shooting bunkers and me shooting Randy allowed me to score a win for this one. I won on both mission and kill points.
Final: 13 to 7
Game FiveMy fourth try at Shaltari, but this time it was against Chris and his impressively painted army. This was another surprise custom mission. Basic upshot was a train that, when damaged, dropped 3 different Focal Points as it traveled across the map. I could tell from the start that I had the upper hand on this one. It was going to be hard for Chris. I had the better deployment zone, better range, and better firepower, but he had speed.
My strategy was to drop two Focal Points simultaneously in a single spot behind a large building in the center. I almost got it, too! I only needed one more point of damage to shake that FP tree again on turn 2 but rolled shitty, of course. But that's cool, made the game much more of a fun nail-biter!
With some Monorail card shenanigans I was able to pull a win out on this one! Mostly because of that big building in the center that I could hide behind. I won on both mission and kill points.
Final: 12 to 8.
Shaltari again. This time vs Martin (again). Somehow I only took 3 crappy photos of this game and the one you see above is the best, unfortunately.
I felt had this one in the bag from the beginning: deployment, movement, target priority, and I was confident as Hell all throughout. But, I didn't read the custom mission sheet carefully enough and in trying to contest his home table quarter I lost the majority of points on another quarter. Majority was all that mattered; contesting didn't. He who had the most crap on the quarter won the point for that quarter. Soooo, I screwed myself out of a win. Mission was a tie and I barely lost on kill points. I think we were less than 50 points apart.
Final: 9 to 11.
I had low hopes for this one because I was playing Cameron again and he's pretty damned good. But, I have a lot of experience fighting PHR (Thanks for kicking my face in for months on end, Alex!) and I don't think he does, which might have been what saved my bacon.
This mission was a modified Gauntlet. Find and take your two objectives off your opponents table edge and maybe get shot by the alien crystals as you go by. Green crystals were AA and purple were ground unit killers.
I realized early that AA was key so I focused almost solely on killing his. Cameron made a fairly large mistake early so I scored big in my first turn by killing both of his Phobos with extreme range shots from my Hades (love to walk the Big Guy on). That left huge holes in his AA curtain that he just couldn't cover with only two Helios squads.
I would later exploit this situation further by killing one Helios squad with the Hades. This left the entire right side of my board open for me to fly two objectives off in one transport half full of Sirens. This was my best game of the event! Against one who is no slouch, to boot! I won on both mission and kill points.
Final: 14 to 8.
Game EightScott and his Resistance army kicked the crap out of me. This was another custom mission with two objectives and two focal points. Sort of a modified Bridge Head mission. Scott got his objective off super fast with good rolling and I never got a chance to find mine because both of my Siren squads died when the building collapsed Turn 2. Frak!
Due to my mental fatigue I only took two pics of this entire game.
I had good position. I had great firepower. I killed many of his high value units including a Helhog and two full Battlebuses but ended up being about 1/8" off of the second focal point... and I got pinned there by one of his units of Freeriders. It was a really close game (1/8"!!!) even though the final score did not reflect that at all.
I realized later that night, while soaking in the hotel tub to ease my feet and back, that I totally forgot that Freeriders HAVE NO COUNTERMEASURES! I could have been plinking them to death the entire game! I had the tools to deal with them all along! Just keep shooting! Oh, well. Won't let that happen again. My worst loss was this one. Final: 4 to 16.
DzC Tourney Overall
Let me start off by saying I know being a TO is hard, thankless work. Solomon is a driven guy who truly loves the game. But, there were some minor issues. That said, it was a great event.
Solomon worked his ass off and did whatever was necessary to make the tournament fun and fair for everyone. This was the best tournament experience I've had, yet. Well done, Solomon!
The Final Standings
Scott and his Resistance Freeriders cleaned up. He was using the rumored tweaks, as well: higher cost and L-2. Scott won a yet to be released to the public Underground Hangar.
Chris is a great competitor and had I not had the right card at the right time, he would have likely won our last game. Which could have boosted him past Scott. Chris won a cityscape that was donated to the Nova Open event.
Cameron and I had almost mirror armies and it was great to finally get to play someone I've been watching on Youtube for over a year.
Congratulations to the three of you!
Both Chris and I tied for 1st on Painting so Solomon split the reduced 10pts between us. My goal was to place First in painting. Even with the tie it felt great! Congrats to Chris, too! His Shaltari are amazing looking!
Something I began to realize during all these matches: I'm not a bad wargame player. I truly thought I was. I think the imbalance of 40k, my exclusively playing CSM (which is my favorite army), and playing at Frontline (it's hard to come into a store run by Reece and Frankie and not end up playing some one who is training for The Next Big Event with a super tooled up list) had me down on my abilities. I did really well with DzC, except for those two bonehead mistakes.
Finally, Dropzone is such a well balanced game it's scary. I'm very glad I switched over from 40k. Also, everyone who played in this event was nice, helped each other with the rules, reminded each other about stuff the other player forgot (even when it hurt them), and were a stupendous bunch of guys. Even on the third day, when I felt my sanity slipping, everyone else was still cool and collected, if very tired.
Thanks for running this marathon with me Solomon, Scott, Chris, Cameron, Martin, and Randy!
Next post will feature my display board!