Monday, February 22, 2010

Pondering Early Retirement

Every time I have a bum game at the table I think about quitting.  I've spent so much time and money on the hobby already, even though I've only really been in it since the Space Hulk re-issue.  I constantly try and figure out an acceptable timeline.  When is too early to know?  When is it too late?

I walk away from bad games feeling soured on every aspect of the hobby.  I'm not one of those people who can turn to painting for a while when I'm on a bad run, because I'm primarily a gamer.  I enjoy competitive gaming and that's the biggest draw of the hobby for me.  When I get bummed at the table, I question why I spent all the money and time on the preparations for just getting there. 

I keep track of how many games I play, what the results are, and whether or not I have any fun when I'm playing them.  Out of 33 games played, I have had fun in a total of 8 of them.  24% of my games have been fun, for one reason or another.  That's ridiculous.  I quit WoW a few years back because I only spent about a third of my time actually doing things I enjoyed - why shouldn't I do the same with tabletop gaming?  If you take into account the time painting and modelling, two things that I do primarily as a means to an end, I'm getting way less of a return on my investment than I did with WoW, a game that I quit and never looked back.

Is it time to give that a try?  Walk away and see if I get sucked back in?  Like WoW, the biggest draw of the hobby for me was the game itself, but the social elements quickly took over.  I enjoy hanging out with other gamers and having a game to talk about.  Shouldn't it be a game that I actually like, though?

I'm really unsure what to do with miniature gaming.  The other elements of the hobby have failed to reel me in.  The games leave me wanting.  It's expensive and murderous to my free time.  Tournament play has turned out to be a very different experience from what I was hoping it would be.

On the other hand, I love the world and I love the toys.  I've got a board's worth of terrain being built for me right now and it looks fucking awesome.  Seeing minis on a the table is a gaming experience unlike any other.  I've met a bunch of rad folks already, and I'm sure that could continue if I stick with it.

So, what am I supposed to do with myself?  I think my experience with WoW served me well, and it's time to give walking away a shot.  We'll see if I come back.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dundracon After-Thoughts

The Dundracon RTT has come and gone and the results are currently being tallied by a dedicated team of grots locked in a convention hall.  Those organizers deserve a special thanks for putting on a fantastic tournament.  Terrain was awesome, things ran smoothly and punctually, and they obviously know what they're doing.

I learned a lot from my experiences today, especially in relation to my earlier article about tournament prep.  I picked up a lot of good things from the comments and I tried to apply them as much as possible at the event.

Read the missions!  I can't tell you how little "playing the mission" most of the players today did.  I include myself in that - I barely paid attention to them, instead focusing on tabling my opponent.  If I had played the missions 100%, I have no doubt that I would have done better.

Know other codexes.  If you own them, bring them along.  In my second and third round games, I had issues with codex knowledge.  Either I didn't know the codex well and got taken advantage of, or I took advantage of knowing the codex and how it interacts with the base rules.

DO NOT FEAR.  I mean this in several different ways, but most important is this:  Do not be afraid to question your opponent.  If, for example, they pick up hits/wounds instead of misses, do not be afraid to ask them not to do that so you can see the roll.  Do not be afraid to question them if something seems wrong.  Do not be afraid to ask for a judge to rule on something that seems unclear.  Do not be afraid of a very scary list, because there's a good chance it won't be played well.  Do not fear.  Fear is the little death.

Play vigilant.  Cheating is a lot more common than I expected.  Do not just notice it, call it out and do not allow it.  I let some things slide in a game that I really should not have done - you will be amazed once the game is over how much a slight movement cheat or a simple rules "mishap" can affect the scoring overall.  You also do your opponent a disservice by letting little things slide; everyone should play this game to the best of their ability, and being relaxed about cheating prevents that.

Enjoy yourself.  Socialize with people that you don't get a chance to play with or hang out with often.  Tournaments are a great way to catch up and hang out, and you really should take advantage.  You can also get some tips and tactics from different corners of the gaming sphere, which is never a bad thing.

Play for the clock!  Don't let your opponents take forever on their turns, and do them the same courtesy.  Don't rush yourself - that's not the idea.  Play deliberately and pay attention to the board at all times so that you can make good decisions.

The last bit of advice I've got is this:  Ignore sportsmanship and comp scoring unless they're a specific goal of yours.  Play nice, play fair, and play the game you want to play, and don't worry about what other people have to say about it.  There really needs to be a better solution for this in tournament play than relying on the person you just tabled to give you a good sportsmanship and comp rating, but in the meantime just deal with what we have the same way you deal with a Necron Monolith.  Ignore it.

Dundracon was a good experience, and I'll have a lot more to say about it in the future. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dundracon Eve

On the eve of my first 40k Rogue Trader Tournament, I'm feeling woefully unprepared.  Most of my army isn't painted - I'm coming to the table with an unpainted HQ, an unpainted unit of Thunder Cav, two unpainted Rhinos, an unpainted Land Raider, an unpainted Vindicator, and an unpainted Predator.  The sad thing is that I had plenty of time to prepare before the event, but a gnarly eye infection has prevented me from really being able to paint for the last couple of weeks.

I'm hoping that my opponents are understanding of the bummer circumstance.  I've been told to expect maybe one of my three opponents to have a fully painted army, so maybe I won't feel so bad then, but right now I'm dreading it.

I also experienced a weird form of "army list block" that I wrote about a bit already.  I'm almost always changing my lists for casual play and I haven't played very many games at 1850, so I haven't really found something that I like.  Rather than trying to be hyper-competitive, I'm going to have to approach this tournament as another list-building test.  I say that now in the hopes I will be able to stick to it during the event.  I likely won't.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Searching For Excitement

Try as hard as I may, I have had a very difficult time getting excited about working on my Space Wolves lately.  I have been enjoying 40k more since I took a few weeks off, but when it comes to working out a new list or getting my things painted, I just haven't been able to muster up the resolve to get 'er done.

On the painting front, I thought I was making great progress when I got all of my troops basecoated and shaded, but the steam just went right out of me shortly after.  A lot of this has to do with my playing of different style lists that would require a lot more assembly and purchasing - dramatically increasing my painting queue.  Just thinking about the money and time I would have to spend sucks the energy right out of me!

I'm looking at running a lot of Razorbacks, where as a noob I bought only Rhinos.  I want to start running more Wolf Guard Terminators, and since I didn't magnetize my old ones, I need to get more.  I want to run Thunder Cav, obviously, but the conversion nightmare and hunting for a suitable Wolf miniature sounds entirely unappealing.  It's really nice to have a core of basecoated troops that I can field and not feel too bad about, but the rest of my models have just been sitting in the foam. 

On a more positive note, I have finally found a points level that I like playing at consistently.  1500 point games are great - they give you enough room to squeeze a neat trick or two in, but the games still play very fast and don't often drag past the 2.5 hour mark.  It's a shame so many tournaments and events are 1850-2000, because I really don't like the games as much. 

My lists are finally starting to coalesce around a few solid choices that I've learned to use well.  My Vindicator continues to prove itself despite only taking one.  My Predator Annihilator works wonders for getting transports open and giving Thunder Cav something to eat.  My troops choices could use a bit more tweaking, but overall I'm very happy with three squads of Grey Hunters.  Rune Priests are starting to see less and less play for more consistently awesome HQs and characters like Arjac.  I still love the little psykers, but Living Lightning and Jaws just aren't reliable enough for me.  Murderous Hurricane is still fantastic, though!

My Chainfist/Storm Shield Lone Wolf is a beast.  I haven't been taking a pair of Fenrisian Wolves with him yet, because he has yet to be shot down by anything but the luckiest of rolls.  He acts like a mini-Dreadnought, charging across the field and sending troops scattering to get away.  I usually screen him with a Rhino or two and then send him around the side to tear shit up.

Despite all this, I'm having a hard time writing lists I like.  I end up just tossing 1250 or 1500 points together and seeing how individual things perform, trying out units or characters against different armies.  Though I've played at least a half dozen lists at any given points level, I'm never finding one that reaches off the page and says "PLAY ME AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKER!"

I'll keep tryin.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1250 Tournament Coming Up.

Looks like I'm going to be participating in a 1250 point tournament over at Great Escape Games (their website kinda sucks) in Sacto.  Here's a link to their rules, along with some more links at the bottom to comp/paint/sportsmanship scoring.  Their comp scoring looks kind of awful, particularly for a Space Wolf player.  With that system in mind, I'm going to try and come up with a 1250 list that works well.  Here's a shot at it:

Rune Priest w/ Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf - 100

Lone Wolf w/ Terminator Armor, Chainfist, Stormshield, 2x Fenrisian Wolves - 105
Dreadnought w/ Assault Cannon, Heavy Flamer - 115

Grey Hunters x 5, Meltagun, Razorback w/ Lascannon, Twin-linked Plasma Gun - 155
Grey Hunters x 5, Meltagun, Razorback w/ Lascannon, Twin-linked Plasma Gun - 155
Grey Hunters x 5, Meltagun, Razorback - 120
Grey Hunters x 5, Meltagun, Razorback - 120

Land Speeder w/ Heavy Flamer & Multi-Melta - 70
Land Speeder w/ Heavy Flamer & Multi-Melta - 70

Vindicator w/ Dozer Blade- 120
Vindicator w/ Dozer Blade- 120

Total points = 1250

Now, I'm almost 100% positive that I'm not going to run this list, because I just don't have the models for it.  I'd have to buy all new Razorbacks (since I don't own any), another Land Speeder, and another Vindicator.  Then I would have to paint them all.  Yikes!  Considering how slowly my own painting is coming, I don't think this is a very good idea.

The other thing is that I don't think the list is very good or Space-Wolfy.  It's kinda close to something I would play, but I feel like it would get picked apart by anything with mobile anti-vehicle.  That's been a recurring problem for me, so I will have to figure out a way around it regardless, but I'm not sure I would take this to a tourney. What do you guys think?
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