Sunday, 29 May 2016

Playing the System

Hello people,

It's all been a bit overly X-Wing recently with an escalation league at the club and a third Regional and the Yavin Open up at Games Expo in Birmingham next weekend. Add in a bit of life and anything else has taken a definite back seat.

As such I went looking for some Netrunner yesterday to get me back into the game properly. As is so often the case there were clashing Spring Kit events at Dark Sphere and Lost Ark. In honesty Dark Sphere was always gong to be the bigger more competitive field but I just needed some games and I always enjoy Lost Ark. A slightly improved chance of coming hone with some alt art was also a factor ;) It also turned out that I had rail replacement on my line. Hindsight justification ;)

Rocking up it turned out I was half of the field for the day. Not an issue say I, more than happy to sit and play some games for the day. Unfortunately my opponent wasn't so keen. He was playing Teir 1 decks and didn't have too much issue seeing me off. After that he was more bothered about his swag and didn't fancy sticking around. To me that's all sorts of wrong in all sorts of way, at best pretty disrespectful to all involved,especially Lost Ark.

Picking up a couple of datapacks I chipped off with an alt art Leela and Political Operative. I don't buy alt art but I hardly feel like I "won" these. Sorting out various piles if cards I'm going to put together a Gang Sign / Leela deck I've seen about to kick myself back into action.

Positivity from negativity.....

Sunday, 15 May 2016

That's the Kicker!

Hello people,

As I've banged on about previously I try and strictly limit my Hobby these days in the names of efficiency and effectiveness, which at times seems to be contrary to the point but does actually reap positive effects the vast majority of the time.

Fairly obviously this hasn't always been the case and despite various purges of recent years I still, as we all do, own a pile of games and figures that might have hit the table once or twice before being relegated to the eponymous Lead Mountain (of Shame).

KickStarter has been a regular temptation for many. Having dallied I have successfully weaned myself away from this Pagan of False Promise preferring instead to hold to the Old World notion of paying and actual shop for actual product. Heresy I know!

One of my previous "investments" was Heroquest 25 run by GameZone, originally on KickStarter only to move to a similar Spanish platform after various IP issues. I followed and laid out just over £100 for the full monty. 16 months later I've just received another e-mail from the Spanish platform,  who have been excellent, as a result of a vote regarding how to take the woefully delayed project forward. In short GameZone are going to asked to submit to a full audit of the project as they haven't been overly forthcoming recently.

Like Monday's cat I, and many other backers, have been "Hanging on in there" with few options to do anything else. Imagine then my multiply mixed feelings when GW announced the re-release / reimagining of Hero Quest........

Yes there is a strong element of sour grapes here. As I've previously blogged I've moved away from GW as much, if not more, than they've moved away from me. I feel that they deserve praise for making the kind of seismic changes that they have, whether you agree with then or not. The recent move to nostalgic big box releases is sensible business, especially as entry level product.

That in itself is rather besides the point. I backed Game zone as an alternative to GW and as a hark back to my "golden age" of gaming. Hindsight is a wonderful thing :)
So, another lesson or two driven home which is just as well with Blood Bowl and Adeptus Titanicus on the horizon. I never had Titanicus as a kid so surely that one's allowed ;)

Hmm, back to X-Wing :)

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Veteran Instincts

Hello people,

I went up to Lost Arc in Stevenage yesterday for the first time in a while for an X-Wing Spring Kit. There was another Spring Kit at Warboar with a bigger, more challenging field but I knew Lost Arc would be more relaxed with plenty of guys I'd enjoy playing so bit of a no brainer and I like supporting Lost Arc.

Four games across the day proved to be just what I needed. As a bonus I got to give Oicunn / Soontir a bit more table time and even managed to go 3-1 to claim 4th and a touch of swag.

In all honesty my first two games weren't overly challenging with my first opponent playing in his first tournament with a less than optimal list. On top of that his green dice were fairly awful. In that kind of situation I feel that there's an obligation on the more experienced player to help thier opponent get the maximum from thier game. We've all been there and I think it's a strength of the community that so many give back. My opponent asked how many games I'd played, it must be in the mid hundreds at least, which gave a bit of perspective.

Games 3 and 4 were against good guys I've played a few times. Game 3 I was in control until a set of blank greens for Soontir settled the matter. Game 4 he got pretty much whatever he needed to give me the game after riding my luck at touch or two.

As an apparent Veteran player I've decided to focus my attention on Oicunn / Soontir and Vader Black Crack until after the Expo weekend. It just makes sense to get the most out of the event. After that it's Dengar, Dengar and a touch more Dengar ;)

I've also decide to go back and repaint my Imperials. The Tau transfers just annoy me now and having painted a few red / bone schemes rather than bone / red I think I can do a much better job.

Plenty to work on :)

Monday, 2 May 2016

Trials and Tribulations

Hello people,

I've got rather out of the habit here. I shall make amends, to myself at the very least. You have been warned :)

Yesterday was the X-Wing Regional up at Milton Keynes run by the eve excellent Gaurdians of Tyr. As previously mentioned this one, somehow, kind of crept on me. As such, and with the Jumpmaster meta in full flow, I reverted to Vader Black Crack as a list that I've done well with before. Yesterday was not such a day.

I took a couple of big wins only to drop off a cliff for three games. I made a couple of mistakes, as you often do, to get punished by the dice, as you often do, but some days it just isn't going to happen for you. Yesterday was that day. Game 5 was particularly frustrating, phrase of the day, against Miranda, Stresshog, TLT. I totally out flew my opponent only for the dice to say otherwise. It happens and dealing with it is part of competitive play. First world problems.

Thankfully I took my final game for yet another 3-3 and 65th place in a field if 104. As fate would have it I'd been joking all week about aiming for 65th as that's where the Hera alt art participation cards ran out and the extra prizes kicked in,...including 4 alt art Vaders ;) I left very, very pleased only to find a parking ticket on the car :(

As you often do I've worked through what I could have done differently. With so many moving parts, meta, match ups, dice etc there's only so much you can do. What you can control is your list, including obstacles, and how you fly it. With Vader Black Crack dropping Howlrunner or Engine for an Ion Pulse Missile. Options to work on.

With two more Regionals and a couple of Store events on the cards there's plenty of opportunity. However if I want to pick up my play I really need to return to a couple of lists full time.
Meanwhile I've finished up the repaints of my Gozanti and TIE Fos to score 12 Painting Points for April. Something else I've kind of got out of the habit of. No transfers this time, going for a cleaner look. I had a brief scare with varnish propellant but all good in the end.

Vader would be pleased (behind the mask)  ;)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

It's only a GAME.....

.....so 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;

X-WING:
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.

INFINITY:
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 :)

NETRUNNER:
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; )