March 30, 2013

NATCON - FOW Tournament AAR Day 2

Day 2 at NATCON 2013 is over and its been a mixed bag for me.  Managed a 7-1 victory playing Hold the Line but also recieved two 1-7 beatings defending a Fair Fight and a Cauldron.  The first beating I chalk up to a simply lack of movement within my army, that and a poor decision regarding the deployment of a reserve platoon of StuGs.  The second was due to Tigers failing Storm Troop rolls 3 turns in a row when facing down a horde of Panthers, not good.  The main cause of both losses though was the better decision-making of my opponents.
The FOW side of the venue, a few random DBM games in the background

The day got me thinking about the whole tournament scene, why I take part in them, what I want from each event, my goals and what I dont enjoy about them.  How has NATCON shaped up after the first two days.
WHFB at the back and Warmachine at the front
What do I like about Tournaments?
Getting a lot of games in a short space of time
Normally I get one game a week between March - October each year at my local club alternating between FOW and WHFB.  A few years ago I was also picking up the odd extra game of Warmachine during my lunch hour at work, and the odd weekend game of WHFB - but these were with friends no longer living locally. Tournaments give you 5 games in 3 days, and NATCON has 8 in 3 so a big tick there.  If you want to really get to grips with the rules of any game then throwing yourself into a lot of games in a short space of time is a great way to go.

Playing on terrain covered tables
If there is one thing that makes a game of anything that much better its having a table full of fantastic terrain.  You can't go past tournaments for seeing a huge range of all the best terrain pieces and some fantastic set ups, not always favourable but always enjoyable to have your models running around in.  NATCON tables this year have been extremely good making full use of the latest BF terrain, pieces from alternative manufacturers and a lot of custom built stuff.  NATCON has had great tables in spades.

Managed to win No Retreat on this one
Lost Hasty Attack on this one
Close run loss 3-4 with Encounter on this table
Managed to win Hold the Line on this one as defender
Played Fair Fight on this one
Played Cauldron one this one as Defender
Playing against new/different armies
My first tournament Runefang IV for WHFB was a huge eye opener for me.  Seeing all of the fantastically painted armies at that event, the basing and colour scheme ideas people had really fed my enthusiasm for the hobby.  The same applies at every tournament.  While NATCON has been a bit disappointing in that respect as I have seen most of the armies there before I did see quite a few new ones (new to me) today.  The WHFB field was pretty good and the Panzer Company I lost to playing Fair Fight was absolutely stunning.  Constantly amazed by the ideas some people have for their figures.

Talking to other gamers
Have to admit talking to people isnt my strong suit and I'm a self confessed wall flower who tends to avoid conversation in most circumstances.  But you go to tournaments to meet people, talk about the hobby, get new ideas for army lists, discuss tactics and rules, get ideas on painting/modelling and just to talk crap with people who share the same interest.  As I said I'm not the most conversation orientated person out there but it is nice to see the same faces at all of these events and to come up against them in games.  Gamers are by their nature friendly guys - its only the DBM people that freak me out a bit, they seem to take things pretty seriously.

And of course I like win. Unfortunately I don't do it enough, not nearly enough.  But I get the odd victory in and even when I don't I get a lot of satisfaction out of a hard fought draw and even a well fought loss.  Some of the best games you have can be those where you get absolutely annihilated.  But in the end I do like to win, only managed one Top 10 tournament finish so far, would like a few more.

What don't I like about Tournaments?
The food
I do try I've even started making and packing a big lunchbox and bringing a lot of healthy snacks with me to each event.  But no matter what you do you spend every gaming weekend consuming far too much Coke Cola, Coffee, Chocolate, Confectionary and Takeaway food.  I tend to get back after each event feeling like I have Caffiene and Sugar seeping out of my pores.

That being said Wellington/Hutt Valley events are fantastic for having food/drink organised at each venue.  Some extremely nice ladies at NATCON provided all the necessities but I do confess I brought far too many slices and cans of Coke off them and not enough Sandwiches.

Being away
Ok not having 3 kids jumping on me all day is nice but you know I love my kids and my wife and I don't tend to settle well when I'm away and usually spend Day 2 of any event walking around like a Zombie as I can never sleep when I'm away from home.

What do I want to achieve at each event?
At least one victory
I like to go away with at least one good win at each event and hopefully a couple of close ones, or reasonably good draws.  Managed two wins so far at NATCON so not to bad for me.

Learn something new
By this I mean a better way of building a list, using a particular unit, tactics against various armies and/or in various types of scenario.  One of the great things about playing against so many different people, particularly more experienced players is you pick up a hell of a lot.   You also learn new painting techniques and get ideas for how to base/model units.  Learned a fair bit about how to use Recce at this event.

To get better as a gamer
Basically whether I win or lose a lot of games if I can get through a tournament without making the same silly mistake(s) over and over again, by pushing my opponents in new ways, and by playing smarter then I'm happy.  The more you play at these events the better you get as you figure out to do things better.  Although to be honest I'm still far too straight forward in some respects with WHFB where I basically plonk my guys down and go straight up the middle (or left or right if I want to spice things up).  Learning to calculate the odds and playing for points are skills you develop with tournament gaming - when I first started out I just like to shot and hit stuff (still do) but winning games and events requires a bit more than that.

NATCON 2013 is my 20th tournament event (14 x WHFB, 5 x FOW & 1 Fields of Glory) and so far its ticked all the boxes.  Would be happier with another win today but the loses were a fair result of how each game was played, the balance of each list and the relative turn of events.  That and I got out played in each game.

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