Sunday, 24 April 2016

It's only a GAME..... put up a real good fight!

A touch of deja vu on this one, on several fronts, as I'm tapping this one on the train to a casual Netrunner Day Job event at Loading Bar in Stratford. As previously promised to myself I've put together a fluffy Edward Kim deck and tweaked my Argus build to include some traps as I really enjoyed playing them last week at the Half Draft.

Despite being advertised as super casual I have my doubts that it will be though having discovered on Friday that most of the London scene are at another Day Job event in Brighton I feel far more relaxed.I'm not really looking to be overly competitive today, just get some games with different stuff, but I'd far prefer to be at least able to hold my own.

It's been a bit of a theme for me recently. It's my first X-Wing Regional next Sunday and it's kind of crept up on me to the point that I'm still debating what list to take. With Triple Jumpmaster dominating the meta there's several builds I just don't feel I can take. That in itself is an interesting reaction to me to the point that I'm close to just taking whatever I fancy getting some time with and view it as a day out playing games for the sake of it.

Being firmly ensconced in the competitive X-Wing scene that's a different tack from my play last year which was predominantly geared towards preparing for major events. 24th and 10th at UK and Scandenavian Nationals was the result, which I'm pretty proud of. This year so far has been about rounding out my play with different builds and ships. I impressed myself with Oicunn / Soontir recently and have enjoyed learning to fly the Phantom.
It's been really nice to take a step back a touch though at the same time looking to improve my play in a more indirect manner. Working my way up the Netrunner learning curve has been a similar experience, ditto Infinity, so why not keep on keeping on, especially as Ive been having a lot of fun doing so?

I suppose the honest answer is that of expectation, mainly that which I put upon myself, and my percived reputation within those gaming communities. I'd like to think that I'm known as a good player who will give a good game on a number of levels. Being part of a high end gaming group can magnify that at times.

Additionally, prize kit supported FFG Organised Play events are so prevalent now that they are the norm to the point of having become an expectation. If you want to run an event you need to have prizes. Having alt art cards and tokens don't create an arms race of Wizkids proportions but it's still there.

There have been a few store credit X-Wing events waving some fairly large amounts about. Some reports are that it's kept more casual gamers away, expecting an invasion of the WAAC pack. I feel that I can see both sides of it, most top end guys don't need the extra motivation, which kind of cuts both ways. I've recently heard of an event offering £1'000 cash which seems to be the antithesis of the reason I play games. For me personally it makes me feel uneasy about attending such an event, more from the point of the organisers motives rather than that of the players.

So, currently I'm on the train home and needn't have worried at all. The afternoon was pretty much a club night. We weren't charged the advertised entry fee but still got an alt art Political Operative, scarily apt.  The rest of the prize kit didn't come out and we organised ourselves with pick up games and plenty of teaching going on.

For myself Mr Kim did better than I thought he might whilst Argus needs a bit more focus. Even better I got to know a few more guys an locate a couple of regular groups.

To be honest that's the best result I could have had. Well pleased :)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Other Side of the Fence

Hello people,

With the UK X-Wing community exploding over the inferred effect of Intentional Draws on competitive play and the "Fly Casual" Name and Shame backlash I felt somewhat inspired to muse upon the following.

In the past three weeks I've TO'd two events at Enfield Gamers. We ran X-Wing for 18 and last weekend 8 for Netrunner. Both were pretty casual events, as intended, though both featured FFG winter prize kits with a few extras added into the prize pool. I enjoyed organising and running both events and it was nice to get a different view of "competitive play".

So as much I've previously gone on about my outlook as a player I thought I should cover the other side of the coin. I'm going to cover two related strands; the event itself and the role of the TO.

With the ever growing popularity of X-Wing it's not difficult to find yourself an event most, or every, weekend. Many are are regularly run by groups / shops that now have an established reputation and quite often thier own player base and meta. Gaurdians of Tyr run a series of events throughout the year as a championship. Other are more one off and as such are often a touch more casual.
The Hobby attracts different people for different reasons and events / tournaments give the opportunity to realise those intentions. Myself I specifically differentiate between events and tournaments. They may coincide but they don't have to, at least for me. X-Wing is my stronger game and I attended four Store Champs this year with differing intentions. A couple I took my stronger lists too, others I took new lists to give them a good work out.

Back at my point I feel that an event is there to facilitate the differing intentions of those attending within a theme, i.e. having fun playing X-Wing. How each player achieves that is up to them, though preferably without impinging on other players too negatively.

As an aside an event can also promote The Hobby, the game itself, the store or club associated to it etc.

As such I feel that the role of the TO is to facilitate all of that not just to kerp score, enforce rules and make judgements. I also took on the role of compere / host as it's all part of the day out for people and hopefully builds the club's reputation. 

For both events the last thing I wanted was a Bye. As such I didn't play X-Wing but did with Netrunner to keep numbers even. I've attended a couple of events when the TO has fully competed, on one occasion CREATING a Bye, and another time coming first to take home the top prize. Hard not to go home with a sour taste as a paying player in those situations.
Today I was back as a player for a Netrunner Half Draft event. Pretty casual, great venue, prizes for all and plenty of games. What's not to like?

Happy Days :)

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Recharging the Cycle

Hello people,

Bit of a rest for you all as I haven't had too much of value, actual or imagined, to say recently. With the completion of any decent sized project, rare as that is, there is often something of a resultant void to traverse. In my case there has been a period of post Nomad procrastination though I am now in the process of sorting myself out.

I have however been getting plenty of gaming in. This weekend is only the second since the New Year when I won't be gracing any event with my presence. No bad thing either way in multiple contexts.

So, given that I utilise this blog to motivate and organise myself strap yourself in for a Spring State of Gaming Address;

Wave 8 has finally dropped at which point I've been fairly reserved with one each of  Jumpmaster, Mist Hunter and TIE Advanced Prototype. They've joined the repaint queue but I'll finish up the Gozanti and TIE Fos first because I should really.

Gaming wise I've been doing rather well with duel ship builds recently, a perceived weakness of mine, and continued up the Phantom learning curve. All very pleasing :) With a mini break in the tourney schedule I've got a few Scum lists I want to get some table time with.

Between Corvus Belli's Flamestrike campaign an Campaign Paradiso at the club I've been getting more games recently. I'm still making mistakes and want to make better use if Hacking and Camo. In the same way as with X-Wing I may just need to put in the effort to read up a bit more; rules, forums, bat-reps and keep up with the games.

Over the Bank Holiday I picked up and put together a couple of pieces of scenery, a Troll Trader Fire Station with Rooftop Accessories and a Warmill Alpha Lander.
I've had a Troll Trader piece before, the apartment block, and though they're toward the budget end of the spectrum they scrub up pretty well. The fire station comes with open windows and I was hoping to leave them open to use the internal floors. Unfortunately the rather basic box construction made this nigh on impossible. There is no middle floor and very little designed connection between the boxes meating that they don join flushly. So instead it was a seal up and fill job which is a bit of a shame as it's a nice big piece. Lessons learnt, you get what you pay for.
As you might expect it's quite the opposite with the Alpha Lander. It's designed to go together like a dream with full interior detail and even a swinging door. For £15 I think it's an absolute steal. I'll definitely be taking a closer look at the rest of thier range.
The paint jobs are about halfway there and will make or break both pieces so I'll be putting in the necessary time and effort. The obvious Ghostbusters temptation may be far too much to resist :)

This is the one game that I haven't played until a cube draft Thursday night just gone. I've put together another couple of decks and basically I just need to find some more games. There's an East London scene on a Wednesday night that I've been meaning to get to for some time now, just need to make it happen.

So, slightly scary as it is I've actually been trying to get organised with a paint queue and a pile of fleet, army, deck lists worked and printed out. I'm also keen to start booking up the next batch of events, a couple a month should suffice :)

Time to just get on with it really; )

Thursday, 17 March 2016

INFINITY and Beyond

Hello people,

Yes, a somewhat worn pun but highly relevant as my Nomads are now that rarest of hobby items i.e. fully painted. I'll just pause for a moment; I HAVE A FULLY PAINTED FORCE OF NOMADS :)

Obviously that was a result of my week off during which I've also added to my Infinity scenery set. As part of that I wanted to add some graphitti into the mix which didn't really happen. I found reference to rub on transfers but they were out of stock everywhere. I did manage to find many sheets of posters on the Infinity forums so printed a load and ended up putting them on all of my non card buildings, literally slapping them on fly-poster style with watered PVA. While I was at it I sorted out some better storage for the scenery with a decent plastic box from B&Q;
You may have noticed that's there's enough room in here for some more stuff. In short I intend to fill that space, probably at a rate of a piece or two a month for a little while. A few more bigger pieces first and I want to look at what else I can do with the cardboard units. With Corvus Belli running Flamestrike I've been reading a few battle reports and noticed that a lot of people are using traditional green tables, hills and forests, with buildings and crates which also look really good. I'll keep going with the industrial theme for now but jungle also appeals.

On the subject of Flamestrike, that and the club's Paradiso campaign will be getting me plenty of games for the foreseeable and I'll be varying my Nomad lists as much a possible. Moving on from them I've got a small Shaasvasti force that's been sitting around for a while. Having learnt a lot about the game I've got a couple of lists worked out that use a lot of Camo. I want to get some time in with my Nomad Camo options before I move onto them. I also have a specific idea for painting them so a definite back burner project for a while.

So, without too much further prevarication; The Red Devils

Monday, 14 March 2016

The Week Off - Finale

Hello people,

Well that went quickly but in short I got everything done and a little but extra besides. As far as Points is concerned I'm scoring for the apartment block, Trandisgan Slaver and Z95 plus the final five Nomads, for a fully painted army, totalling 15 Painting Points.
As a bonus I've re-sorted the storage for my Infinity terrain, with room to expand, and found a good source of posters for detailing which have been liberally applied. All will be covered in a specific post I the near future....

Meanwhile my X-Wing Gozanti has been prepped for paint, with scheme I mind, with Wave 8 being released on Thursday with plenty of scummy goodness on offer. Once again a more specific post is planned....

Until then :)

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Byes Don't Count

Hello people,

Now I'm not religious, stay with me, more vaguely spiritual in a karmic sort of way. The reason mention this is because it's a fitting segway from my last post about being up in the nosebleeds.

Yesterday a bunch if us headed down to Warboar / Paradice for what was my fourth and final X-Wing Store Champs. Determined to fly casual I took a Bossk Boba list;

Bossk: Predator, Mangler Cannon, Tactician, Outlaw Tech, Engine Upgrade
Boba: Vet Instincts, Autoblaster, Engine Upgrade, Inertial Dampners
That Boba build I've flown a lot and has done well for me, Bossk is very new. In short I flew like a bit of a muppet for the first two games and then dice finished me off. Round 3 I collected the bye,.....which was somewhat chastening.

It did however give me the chance to think about what I was doing wrong and watch another Boba / Slaver game. In short I needed to be more aggressive setting up the joust with Boba and snipe with I did.

Round 4 I lost again but very closely. Round 5 I finally pulled a tight win, 100-75, against a great guy who had played a total of 9 games before ours. Round 6 was 100-75 again against an opponent as experienced as myself.

So technically I went 3-3 again, though this time at the bottom of the MoV tree rather than at the top, but as far as I'm concerned Byes Don't Count ;) The irony, however,was not lost on me. On the journey home, with obligatory post event analysis, it was actually quite funny.

I don't fly two ship builds and it's something I wanted to work on. I learnt a lot in that respect and also about this build. Bossk is a beast late game but Boba is just unlikely to ever get there. It needs work. On both counts it's working happy to put in.

The main point however, again, is expectation related. Some days it won't go your way for a lot of reasons. The key is how you deal with it.

It's only a game......right? ;)

Friday, 11 March 2016

Welcome to Nosebleed City

Hello people,

Last weekend was another double event with Gaurdians of Tyr's X-Wing Store Champs on the Saturday and a Netrunner Winter Kit at Dark Sphere on the Sunday. The week off immediately afterwards is not entirely unconnected :)

Saturday I ran Vader Crack Swarm and felt the "click" that I'd been waiting for to really connect with it. I started on the top tables and stayed thier all day.

My brain finally meshed with the list as I realised the need to control the first engagement and fly the necessary approach to get it. In short after four rounds I was 3-1 up with very strong MoV, the loss genuinely due to horrific green dice.

As such expectation of making the top 8 cut reared it's unwelcome head with 2 rounds to go. I didn't feel pressure but suddenly it was a possibility.
Game 5 was against an Imperial Aces / Palp list that went on to final victory, the top 8 was stuffed full of them. A mis-set dial on approach knocked me off plan and I failed to recover sufficiently. Still a fairly close loss.

Going into the final game I knew I had to get a big win to progress. I also knew it would be the same for my opponent. Thankfully I was paired up with a good guy I've played a few times before so I knew it would be a decent game whatever the result. In the end a minor mistake on approach allowed dice to decide things against me. No complaints.

My opponent went through in 8th while I suddenly ended up 3-3. It really does get that tight up at the nosebleeds and it's a reminder that at that level the hours spent honing your list and play can make all the difference to tip things in your favour, assuming that's your thing...

Sunday I headed down to Dark Sphere for a Netrunner Winter Kit. I was surprised that there were only 12 of us until I was reminded that Leisure Games had run thier Store Champs on Sat. Oh and it was Mother's Day!

As such there weren't too many of the top end faces about but I pulled one of them in the first round. We'd played the Saturday before and split, both winning as Corp, and it was the same story again. He ran Jinteki Replicating Perfection and it's a match up I struggle with. A bit more learning required.

Moving on I got the rub of the playmat a few times and somehow won both ways rounds 2 and 3 to find myself on 10 Prestige. That was already my best result ever but suddenly I was in a final round shootout.

This turned some heads and once again invited expectation, mainly that I was going to get utterly hosed, but the potential was there and dealing with that is important. I've since found out that my opponent, who smashed me at our first event, is ranked 5th in the UK which I'm glad I didn't know at the time. That didn't stop him getting the lowdown on my decks from my first opponent who looked rather flustered went I overheard him doing so.

They didn't need to worry as his Noise / Virus deck steamed into my slow start and never took its boot from my neck. Against his Near Earth Hub / Astro deck I did at least play enough of a game to make him sweat, I rather enjoyed that ;), until he took the game to go undefeated for the day.

He was running two very strong decks and obviously had plenty of experience with them. We kind of chatted about the strength of NEH and how to counter. "I don't really know" was his main response. A couple of days later I realised that the mill effect of a Noise / Viral deck would cause it trouble....

In the end I finished 3rd and won myself an Anarch deckbox, which was hugely pleasing and something that will hold a special significance to me as a symbol of how far I've come on in the game, in the manner that I wanted to. 

For me, that's what it's all about. The vitory pizza was particularly tasty :)