Monday, March 5, 2012

Bay Area Open - Fat Lady Sings!

The Chaos Undecided Army!
I attended my first tournament this past weekend as both a competitor and a vendor.  I had a lot of fun.  The guys at Frontline Gaming did an excellent job!  I don’t know how they have the energy to pull something like that off.

>Edit 2012-03-07: Results have just been posted (mostly).  They can be found here.

I have to appoligize for the quality of the photos.  The pocket HD movie camera I had takes great video and just plain bad stills.  Most of what I took was total trash.  I should have brought my wife's 35mm.

Team Tourney

The team tourney was a blast and my team mate Dan was great to have around… he knew what he was doing and I didn’t.  In fact, had he not been there I’m sure I would be in a coma right now.  We ran a very fluffy “Chaos Undecided” (our team name) list with a buffet of units, mostly because that’s all I had (nearly) completely painted:
Squad of Plague Marines, AC with PW, Rhino
Squad of Noise Marines
Squad of Zerkers, SC with PW
Squad of T-sons, Rhino
Lash Daemon
Land Raider, for the Zerkers
2 squads of 2x Oblits
Dan also wrote a very funny fluff “Transmission Intercept” to up our soft scores.  It came complete in an interoffice folder and even had a coffee stain!  It follows:
+++Transmission Intercepted+++
+++Cadian Gate Inquisition Post+++
+++Source: Edge of the Eye of Terror+++

<Cheering and indiscernible chanting>

<Speaker: Heavy Male Voice> My great and terrible comrades, quiet yourselves so you may hear my words. Your cries for war are too much for me to speak over.

<Cheering dies down, still heavy clatter in the background.>

<Speaker> Someone get the Berserkers in the back to settle down a bit more if you would.

<Bolter fire rings out, most background noises cease>

<Speaker> Great, that is much better. My friends, it is time again for us to take the battle from the Eye of Terror onto the weak domain of the Imperium. The 13th Black Crusade is set loose onto the galaxy!


<Speaker> Now don’t get started again with that! Hey what is that Slanesh Daemon Prince doing with those Obliterators over there… you know what? Never mind. Listen, we have bided our time patiently and have amassed in strength. The fools that follow the false emperor shall feel our wrath and worlds will burn beneath our feet!


<Speaker> I know some of you have been concerned that our ships and weapons are antiquated, and that we could really use some updates to the arsenal. This may be true, but instead we have millennia of experience behind us. Who can compete with such vast knowledge of war and experience in battle!

<Some clapping, some grumbling>

<Speaker> The good news is I am pretty sure we are going to get some new gear soon. This will really help to fill out some of the ranks and let us bring more to bear upon our enemies. So soon we too shall possess the greatest weapons in the galaxy!


<Speaker> I’m just not sure it is going to be soon enough for this Crusade. Maybe shortly after this war we’ll see that. I’d put this Crusade on hold but we’ve kind of booked the reservation and the costs of doing these things are mighty indeed!


<Speaker> Now I know we’ve all heard how well the Grey Knights seem to be doing currently. We’ve all heard it and, look, sure it is a little alarming. But can it really be any worse than the last time we fought the dogs of Fenris?

<More Grumbling>

<Speaker> Ok yes, that didn’t go well either. My bad. We’ll leave the Raptors and Bikers behind this time. This time we’ll bring the Land Raider, that is sure to show them all!


<Speaker> So this isn’t going as well as I was hoping. Look team, let’s get to the ships and get this Crusade going. I'm sure you’ll all be surprised just how well this is going to go.

+++End Transmission+++
We drew all shiny new(er) codex opponents and that didn’t help us at all.  What Dan wrote, though funny, was chillingly prophetic.  It would have been good to play the CSM/Ork team… or for that matter, anyone other than BA/GK.  We went 0-3 for the tournament.

Game 1 Turn 0 - My LR, DP and Rhino, left.  If you look close you can see Dans Oblits and Noise Marines in the back building.  Our opponents' stuff is forground.
Just before shit got real.
First match we were up against some IG and I think it was BA.  I can't remember our oppenents names... I'm old and forgetful.  We started out OK by downing 2 Vendetta’s and a Stormraven in close combat, out of their 5 aircraft, in the 2nd turn and it looked like we might pull off a tie or even a win but in turn 3 we had some unfavorable rolling (understatement, I rolled my first ever triple-1-mutant-snake-eyes against standard armor saves to keep my DP alive, which didn’t work as he already had one wound, and 2 of about a dozen other critically bad roles of the day).  Dan's Abbadon was on fire for a bit, he killed 1 Vendetta and 2 troops, and he didn’t even try to kill himself that game!   Land Raider died early.

You only see three flyers in the picture because the player who owns them knocked all 3 of his Vendettas off the table just before the match and he is frantically trying to glue them together off camera before we start.  Rough start to the weekend.

Game 2 turn 1-ish - Just before things went REALLY WRONG.
These are what did a lot of the damage (I really don't know aht they are)... along with Mephiston and a bunch of those damned Palladins!
Second match was an unmitigated disaster.  We were up against GK and BA... Sergio and Alan (I think).  We managed to score 5 wounds the entire game.  No kills.  Just 5 wounds.  at the end of turn 4 we just had like 6 Noise Marines left and then Abby killed himself because Mephiston is scaarrry.  We got tabled in a most horrible way.  Land Raider died early.

Game 3 turn 2 - We were actaully able to kill the drop pod troops in the foreground but all of their tanks just ate us up after that.

Justin with Team Jager looking like I felt right at that moment.  Justin won 3rd, I think, in the painting competition.  And he bought a Tentacle Maker Tool Box!!!

This squad of T-Sons was all we had at the end of turn 4.
Third match was against Christoph and Justin of Team Jagermiester.  One of the things that really surprised me was the amount of alcohol consumed at this event.  I guess because it's technically public land, being a fairgrounds and all, you can swill all you want.  Had I known, it might have made the loses more bearable!  Oh, the humanity!

The horrible rolling continued, coupled with an out of date codex, and we got tabled yet again.  Not as bad as the second game but nearly so.  Our opponents were GK and BA again and they pretty much had their way with us.  We did make some kills, at least.  Land Raider died early.  (I just copy/pasted that last sentence each time, BTW)

Man, I want the new codex.  It’s really disheartening to look across a table at a new codex army and see 10-20 more models for the same amount of points.  CSM units are just so expensive compared to MEQ and nerfing Warp Time was just insult to injury.  What was the point of THAT?

Anyway, the games themselves were fun in a laughable can-things-get-any-worse kind of way.  And all of our opponents were excellent players and great sportsmen.  We ended up 13th overall (out of 26, I think) due to our best-overall soft scores (we were one of the few teams who had a fluff doc, wore team shirts, and had our models completely painted.  Plus, I think we got the highest sportsmanship scores!  We also ended up with $50 in store credit each from Frontline for getting top soft scores.  I can’t remember what the award is called… “Wooden Spoon?”

On The Vendor Side of Things

The Warmachine area was pretty much all I looked at on Saturday.  Mostly the guys in front of me didn't show much crack.  Mostly.
Selling your stuff at an event is no easy task.  Had I known, I would have only played or only sold stuff, not both.  Finishing my army, the table, and getting all the marketing and product ready was just masochistic in the last two weeks before the event.  I did get it all done, though.

The GSI sponsored table!  It smoked and glowed from the caldera!
I sponsored a table for the event, which I’m told the players in general thought was pretty cool.  I did hear one guy bag on it loudly just before the final round of team play.  No doubt he’ll blame his subsequent loss on the table layout.  Oh, well.  Can’t please everyone.

Three things were indispensable for the event:
  1. I put QR codes on all of my flyers and my table banner.  In case you don’t already know, QR codes are those checkerboard looking barcodes you see on the side of products or sometimes on billboards or on TV commercials.  It’s very easy to generate QR codes and folks with a barcode reader app (usually free at whatever app store you use) can read them and get links to websites, contact info, secret messages, etc.  I saw at least two people link to this blog using the QR codes I put on the marketing material.
  2. The nice girl with Greenman Designs (they make all sorts of cool templates and counters) had this nifty credit card reader for her iPhone.  This thing is a great deal: its from and if you download and activate the app they send you the reader for free!  Or, if you buy the reader retail they credit you the cost.  Super easy to use and ultra convenient for the customers and you only pay 2.7% in processing on each transaction, which isn’t too bad.
  3. Someone to watch the vendor table while you go see an Ork about a squigoth.  Thanks to Tim and Kino from Frontline for hanging with me between rounds and actually selling some stuff while I was off relieving myself.
Other stuff I learned:
  1. Have a sales pitch well rehearsed.  I didn’t, so it took me a few face-to-faces to make it flow.  People tend to listen better if you are confident in what you are saying.  Repetition breeds confidence.
  2. I don’t pay for a data connection on my phone.  The ROI just isn’t there.  Besides, Wifi is pretty ubiquitous (except for the fairgrounds, apparently).  Seeing as I don’t pay $30 a month for data on my phone, I needed a quick solution that wouldn’t cost me an arm and leg or rope me into a stupid contract.  After a short bit of research I found most carriers have short term (sometimes even as short as a day) data plans.  T-Mobile let me have unlimited data for 2 days for only $5.
  3. 20lbs of dry ice in a cooler will last almost 2.5 days!
The face-to-face response to the Tentacle Maker was very positive.  I even got an offer or two to buy the Tentacle’d Oblit I had out on the table as a demo unit.

The Singles and Other Tourneys

I didn’t get to see much of these up close or for an extended period of time.  I’ll leave the announcement of the results up to the guys at Frontline.  I did get to snap a whole bunch of pics as I ran from table to table (when I could steal the time) though, again, most of them were garbage.  What follows are what I think are the acceptable ones:

A really impressive Khornate Daemon display board.  I need to make a display board!

Looking from my vendor post out across the room toward the 40k players.

Down the Apoc game table.  They had 2-3 hour turns from what I hear.

I took a bunch of pics of the painting competition display boards but only one of them came out due to low light and a POS camera.  I wish I could have gotten names and such but most of my time was spent behind my vendor table on Saturday and Sunday.

Squigoths as Wartruks... BRILLIANT!

All in all, it was an amazing, if taxing, 3 days.  I really don’t know how some of these guys played the doubles on Friday and then went on to play the singles on Saturday and Sunday!   That’s like 28+ hours of total play!  My hat goes off to all of the players as well as Reece, Will, and Frank with Frontline.  Great job, All!


  1. Great report on a successful gathering of gamers!

    I ran the narrative/apoc event and I wanted to share that even with 10 players and 21000 points on the table we got 5 turns done in roughly 6.5 hours. So oddly enough in an Apoc styled game we had a clear winner in a reasonable amount of time.


    1. Yeah, that game looked crazy. Tim had like 15 dreads or something, right? Are you running any other apoc/narrative games coming up?

  2. I do believe that Tim had 10-15 of the metal beasties!

    I am planning on running one at CelestiCon in Fremont over Labor Day weekend. I just need to work out the details and submit the event. If you keep an eye on my blog, I will announce it and give details once they are worked out!



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