Monday, 18 August 2014

Bristol Vanguard Vengeance Tournament Review


So Bristol Vanguard (BV) are back running WFB events again, with a new shiny venue.  The wonderfully named Future Inns hotel in the Cabot Circus area of Bristol, I’m not sure what makes it ‘the future’ as it appears to be the same as every other hotel with conference facilities I’ve been to but it does have a couple of nice features.  The room was 2 sides windows so nice and bright and with the balcony door open was reasonably air, anyone who has suffered through gamer stench will be acutely aware of what a wonderful feature this is, the heat and noise also being helped by reasonably high ceilings so I could hear my opponents speaking which has been a challenge at some venues I’ve been to in the past.  Finally to put the cherry on the cake you can park in the Cabot Circus car park for the day and get it for free, if that’s not a selling point I don’t know what you people want.


So having sung the virtues of the venue I best get onto the important part, what on earth was the event about?  In sort a nice friendly 3 game (1 day) Warhammer tournament.  There was the usual smattering of army restrictions and special rules set out in the pack, which in this particular occasion were pinched from another tourney.  As a result there were some rather different armies on show which was fun to see, but those who care about balance and ‘the best person winning’ seemed to be of the opinion it didn’t do that very well (and it was hard to argue otherwise).


BV have been masters of terrain (and a brief sidenote here, I’m somewhat lucky in that my previous club ELG were equally blessed with an amazing terrain guy) and it resulted in a 16 tables with a really nice mix of different terrain themes, types and variety of stuff on the boards making it a pleasure to walk up to the tables and not face the standard tournament fare of 2 hills, 2 woods, 2 buildings and 2 ‘other’.  If I were to critique one thing it was that the majority of it still sat towards the edges, I’m a massive fan of impassable terrain being in the middle of the board so it actually impacts the game in a meaningful way and isn’t just used to hide something behind during deployment, but I do recognise I’m somewhat unusual in that view as most players I’ve faced at tourneys consider that a chore.


I could bore you all with a detailed run through of my games but for a couple of reasons I won’t be so cruel; 1. You don’t care 2. I did really really badly.  I will talk through my opponents though as basically they’re what make or break an event.  You may have picked up from my preramble that I’ve been doing tourneys for a while, so I tend to know quite a lot of folk and this was no exception.  Out of the 30 people present I’d guess there was over 10 BV members, plus a handful of people from surrounding clubs and then a number of faces I’d not seen before.  I managed to get 3 games against people who I’d not met before, a couple of them were Bristol locals so have been playing down the Old Duke (if you’ve not been, get down there, it’s awesome) but given my gaming hermit status I’d not bumped into them. 


But to start the day off I had a grudge arranged through the medium of twitter (again seriously, if you’re not on there get on it, there are so many toy soldier fanatics clearly sat bored in their day jobs putting up a host of wonderful 140 character long ramblings), so the grudge was set up a while in advance to play one Andy Matthews (doubtlessly I’ve spelt his name wrong as I’m really bad for that), he’s a tourney organiser down in Bournemouth and a delightful fellow but I’d never had opportunity to play before. 


So we rocked up chatted nonsense, hit it off wonderfully as one would expect seeing as our shared joy of toy soldiers and talking nonsense and to top it all off he brought out a flask of coffee and set me up with a delightful homebrew.  Anyways we briefly played a game (where he smashed me) and then with an hour to spare had a good natter and a look round the armies present.


For those not familiar with 8th Edition Warhammer armies have generally grown in size, not always the case but generally speaking, as a result of the increased model count the painting standard had taken a dip a few years ago.  But now we’re 4 years into the edition and everyone knows the good stuff to take in a list the painting quality has been ramping up at a rate of knots.  Locally lots of people will be familiar with Ben and his Beastmen. Frankly put they’re beautiful, and he’s a git for that, but it’s hard to hold it against him as he’s more or less a nice guy, plus they’re Beastmen so it guarantees that he’s not doing it for the filth. There were also some really nice Empire (Richard Burdett, again names, meh), Matt Lees OrcGers (yep that’s Orc themed Ogres but painted white rather than greenskins, matt does all his armies white, it’s his thing), Ian Scovells utterly gorgeous Dark Elves (similar to his previous gorgeous dark elves but an entirely new army), Daemons by Les (I’ve already forgotten his second name) and one of my all time favourite armies in Russ Veals WoC (though he did have a few new bits that he’d not entirely finished to his top standard).  Anyway safe to say that for a 30 person event it was punching well above it’s weight in the painting stakes.  What would have been really helpful would have been some pictures, but I’m far to forgetful/lazy/easily distracted for that but I’m pretty sure Jan has posted some up on the BV forums.


A spot of lunch later (being gamers healthy salads all round…) and it was onto round two.  I got a relatively new player with a good looking VC army, lots of terrain built into the movement trays and stuff like that.  Russ is a Bristol local so hopefully will see him down the Old Duke (plug plug) again as I really enjoyed the game and it was actually 2 surprisingly similar lists despite being from different books!  Ultimately I made a stupid mistake which let him get to me earlier than I wanted which tied up my light mage from casting that made my life difficult.  Plus I couldn’t quite kill the terrorgheist despite the 3 WMs shooting it for 4 turns (eventually died to archers).  A fun game and a small loss ensued but at least I had some models left alive at the end!


Final game saw me hit my ideal matchup, an ogre army with no magic, I should have just blasted it off the table.  Of course I didn’t!  Again a new player in the Bristol area Matt had a lovely and incredibly fluffy army (no ironblasters, no magic!).  He also had a giant which he informed me had never survived a single game, if it survived it would be named after me… Guess what there is now a giant walking around called Dave Fraser.  God damnit.  I should probably apologise as I got a tad frustrated this game as nothing worked, but Matt was a true gent about it and just played his game and took my army apart, another tabling.


So overall a day of results I’d happily forget but 3 fun games with new people so I have to say I really enjoyed myself and will be back for the next BV fantasy event (though maybe I should just help out with organisation on the day given my performance!)


In summary there was some winners, some losers and a lot of abuse for the comp pack but everyone (that stayed for the whole event, a story I won’t tell) seemed to have a good time.  Congrats to Warren Brewster (BV member) for winning the whole thing and a massive thanks to Jan for organising and managing the rabble at the event.
On a personal note this marks the TK going back in the cabinet for me, they require making no mistakes to work well and I'm not playing often enough at the moment to spot things, so I'm going back to a more forgiving army. 

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