Saturday, 18 June 2016

Games Expo 2016 - Day Two - Three vampires worth of a painting trophy

Part two of the GamesExpo 2016 report - Saturday

Day two at the Expo, and onto the main event, a three game Drop Zone Commander tournament.

Above: Mike and Joe during game one.

However, before I get onto the DZ event, two little stories from the morning. I am sharing a room with Dan over the weekend. Let me set the scene. My alarm goes off on Saturday morning. I make my way across the dark room (to avoid disturbing the sleeping Dan).......when suddenly.......I kick something very hard on the floor with my bare foot. Whatever it is, it was not there when turned in. There follows a gasp of shock, a muffled howl of pain and finally an amount of relieved laughter when I realised that was not a dead body, but, Dan's big bag of board games which he had left on the floor last night. (Imagine the bag as the immovable object, but that my foot was not the irresistible force). I thanked Dan (use your imagination on the language used) for the placement of the bag. 

On to breakfast. I could, if pressed, pick some famous wargaming faces out of a crowd. However, notable people from the world of board gaming, that would be a little trickier. I am stood in the queue for breakfast with Dan, happy to say hello to anyone, and chat about their weekend and what they up. One such lucky person was the American man stood in front of me. It is clear, to Dan, that my American friend is very tired and also someone of note. Eventually, I finally finish my short discussion with my new friend, which typically, for a British person, moved onto the subject of the weather, and which word would best describe it here in Birmingham. We/I settled on 'changeable'. Dan and I make our way back to our table as he tries to explain to me, and the subsequent Google search confirms, the American was Tom Vasel, from The Dice Tower (a famous website which reviews board games). Given that Tom lives in Florida, I can see now why he may have been a little disappointed regarding the Midlands weather.

On to Saturday's main event, the Drop Zone Commander tournament. Mike and Joe were also taking part. Ed went off to do the one dayer for Bushido, and Dan played in the Guild Ball event. Details of my Resistance army are included in my post from 2nd June. 

Game 1 - Alex - UCM - Targets of Opportunity

Alex named his army, Making Space America Great Again, which tickled me. He played a couple of Scimitars, which, on their first shots destroyed a Kraken. Luckily all three Gun Wagons on board survived. We both managed to retrieve two objectives. I was searching, for the fifth, but unfortunately Alex brought the building down before I could find it. I had invested my hopes in a Quick Thinking command card to sneak a search before the structure came crashing down. No surprises that Alex had an Espionage card to ruin my hopes and six bases of infantry. Ouch. A 10 all draw was the result.

Above: A unit of Freeriders attack the Scimitars. Realising their optimism, they then spy a juicier target, the Ferrum which they destroyed in the next turn. There is something particularly nice in seeing a UCM player also removing eight drones when a Ferrum goes down.

Game 2 - Rob - Resistance - Land Grab

The most obvious thing about Rob's list was the five Krakens and two Thunderstorms! No Lifthawks for this resistance player. I guess his army had a fear of flying unless it was only a few inches off the ground. 

Above: A crowded deployment zone I think you will agree.

Above: A crowded gaming hall I think you will agree. No prizes for spotting Dan, deep in Guild Ball thought.

It was during this game that I learnt about the strength of the massed fire power of my Occupation Veteran's Battlegroup. In one turn, they took 8 damage points off the non-HQ Thunderstorm. Needless to say, by the next turn, that hovering bedstead was no more. 

This game was really nip and tuck. In the final turn, there was the familiar number crunching to try and determine who was contesting or claiming. I was fairly sure it was going to be a draw, but to my pleasant surprise I had managed a narrow win, 11 to 9.

Rob used the new Resistance scud missile launchers. They were not that successful and I am not swayed to buy any. I guess that over a whole day of playing they may strike pay dirt. Otherwise, I think may points can be better spent elsewhere with something with more flexibility.

Game 3 - Chris - PHR - Secure the Flanks

Chris and I had played at the Dice Saloon tournament in Brighton back in April. And we had previously played at Warfare in Reading last year. The oddity with his PHR list, no Medusas or Helios. But he did have some Valkyries, so I did have to watch out for fast moving infantry.  

The mission gave us more focal points to concern ourselves with. Chris' walker heavy army threw out a lot of dice. By game's end my faith was placed with two units of Freeriders who had to stick around long enough to keep me in the game by contesting the focal point surrounded by Chris' HQ. But I also needed a huge amount of luck getting the middle objective off the table. Thanks to a Jackson, passing it to the Alexander, who passed it to a different Jackson, which was then flown off the table by a Lifthawk on turn six, I nicked a draw. Jammy git I'll think you will agree. Chris was all over me mid-game, and he probably deserved the win.

Above: Freeriders circling the Zeus trying to avoid the many incoming shots.

Above: Middle of the table, and the first of the Jacksons begins mission: Get that damn objective off the table.

Thanks, as always to my opponents, and to Hawk Simon for organising the tourney. There were two notable points from the day. Firstly, this was the best I have ever done in a one day event; two draws and a win - 31 points out of 60. Poor old Mike could only score 29 points. He admits to suffering with an ill conceived Scourge army and a poor selection of missions. Although he did win the painting trophy, which he thought was a questionable choice. He borrowed three Vampires from me at the beginning of the day, so I could say that I won three vampires worth of a painting trophy. Conversely, Joe took his army to the podium. By the time you read this the Orbital Bombardment blog (and probably podcast) will have given you alternative views on the event.

A trader, which I forgot to mention in the last post is Battle Systems ( who make some very nice looking card terrain. I was particularly taken by their shanty town set, which unfortunately they only had on display, but it will be available later in the year. Some pictures below.

As the third round games came to an end people began to hover around the tables looking for a spot to spend the rest of the evening playing games. I felt much like a soon to perish zebra with vultures circling around looking for lunch. However, we were able to keep hold of my table as Simon and his colleagues began to pack away, and the evening was spent playing Catan and Dead of Winter. 

Happy wargaming to you all

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