Above: Players finding their tables. Keith the TO, in the red top.
Game One - Annihilation - Peter - Vanilla Ariadna
When I exchanged curtesy lists with Peter I knew things were going to be tough; his list contained only six models! In a 400 point game that is a lot of unknowns. I have played Ariadna in the past, so I could have a good guess at what some of them were; Scouts, Spetnaz and Van Zant.
Above: Our terrain for table one.
Peter activated Uxia McNeil first but she quickly fell to a crazy koala, after removing my Grenzer with a critical hit. Next to arrive was Van Zant (a known unknown), with Peter explaining that he hadn't had much success with the model in the past. Keith, the TO had asked competitors to record the number of critical hits we achieved during the weekend. Van Zant's first victims were my Stempler Zond and Riot Grrl, during which Peter achieved two more criticals.
My first turn involved me trying to rid my back field of the annoying interloper. I brought on the Tomcat Doctor and managed to fix the Riot Grrl, so that she could put her Spitfire to good use on Mr Zant. Her four shots vs his one were surely they are good odds? Well, not the first time round as the Riot Grrl was left her having to pass an armour save, which thankfully she did. So I thought 'well that cannot happen again', and she had another go, and fell to Peter's fourth critical of the game.
Above: Van Zant (bottom of picture) liberally spreading death, destruction and unconscious markers across the field.
But, 'Van the man' was not finished, and in Peter's next turn he despatched the Tomcat Doctor and my lieutenant. My recollection of the rest of the game gets a little blurry from now on as everything I tried seem to fall foul of a constant stream of critical hits. One point I do recall was my Zero attempting to bring down a Spetnaz in the open with surprise shots. With an ARO shot back Peter won the face to face roll off with yet another critical hit.
By the time the third turn had finished I had lost 325 army points to Peter's 80, who in total rolled 8 critical hits during the game. I did achieve one critical.........when a Jaguar laid smoke! I achieved my Classified, as did Peter, so the game finished as a 10 to 2 loss.
Game Two - Quadrant Control - Sam - Tohaa
After the nightmare of game one, I expected to play someone who had suffered as much as me. However, in an attempt to add some variety to the day, Keith, the TO, decided to choose pairings so that competitors did not get matched up against familiar opponents. So I was to play Sam who had a very menacing looking Tohaa army.
Above: Our table for game two.
In this game I did not suffer due to my opponents luck (although, my only critical dice roll in the game was one lowly dodge), unfortunately, instead, I made a series of massive errors which left me fighting with an arm tied behind my back.
Sam moved down my left flank with a link team comprised of one Umbra Samaritan and two Xeodron Batroids. These are models I have little or no experience of, and I should have asked Sam some questions and worked out what their weaknesses were. Instead I did a plausible impression of a rabbit staring at the headlights.
One super jump, and my supposedly safe prone smoke wielding Jaguar was no more, and at this point I should have been looking at my Moran and thinking 'REPEATER', but I did not, and so I missed two hacking AROs (one from the Interventor, and one from the Zero...............with the Killer Hacker Device). Next, the three nasties approach my Riot Grrl and a Stempler Zond Remote. 'Alex, isn't the Stempler a Repeater as well?' Yes, it is. 'Ah, so Alex did you remember to get your Zero and Interventor to hack in ARO at this point?'.......Errr......in a word, no. 'Third and final question Alex. How can you make such a stupid mistake?' Well, let me tell you, it takes very special amount of effort to be that stupid.
Above: The Combined Army three model engine of my destruction.
By the end of the massacre my army was a smoking ruin. 'Please move along, nothing to see here'.
Game Three - Decapitation - Ziggy - Vanilla Nomads
Vanilla Nomads vs Vanilla Nomads. And, as is usual for a faction civil war, it was a very bloody affair. I was Ziggy's third Nomad opponent of the day. The initial period of the game concerned a roof tops exchange of fire between my Intruder and Grenzer vs Ziggy's Intruder, two TR Remotes and a Grenzer. Once the dust had settled, Ziggy's Intruder reigned as king of the mountains.
Above: The game three terrain set up.
Although most of Ziggy's army I knew very well, something that was knew to me was the team of Pupniks and their controller. They put pay to my Riot Grrl, a Moran and two Zeros (Dodging on 19s, how brilliant is that?). Certainly, with mines and other template weapons, you are struggling to inconvenience a Pupnik even with the -3 modifier on template weapons, and Crazy Koalas are no more dangerous than a teddy bear on roller skates.
Above: The Pupniks arrive.
It was a close game, but it was Ziggy's Interventor, using a Repeater, which put pay my own Interventor Lieutenant with a hacking attack. I did try to hack back, but without success. Fair play to Ziggy, as he did lay potential victory on the line if I had been lucky enough to win the hacking duel.
Above: My Tomcat Engineer, arrived on the table on turn two, and started well shooting a Sin Eater in the back. Entering a nearby building he had a great opportunity to kill the prone Paramedic (who had an important mission of his own). With my final order of the turn the Tomcat shot his Combi-Rifle from mere millimetres away. Three dice, looking for 15s.............all of which missed. The Paramedic escaped to revive the unconscious Intruder above. A very good outcome for Ziggy.
In the game a couple of clutch rolls went Ziggy's way, and on another day, perhaps the result would have been different. Of my three games, this was the most closely contested. My thanks go to Ziggy for the entertaining game.
With respect to the tournament Daniel Barber and his all conquering Tohaa won, and scored a maximum of 30 out of 30 objective points (no small achievement). The next event at Woking (1 April) will probably be an attempt at the Tagline missions, with the intention of playing all five games in one day - Only players with considerable stamina need apply.
Above: Awards distribution.
With regard to my own performance on the day the three losses left me feeling a little down in the dumps. The first game was just one (or rather eight) of those things, but, it was game two which left me with a sick sensation in the pit of my stomach. Forgetting that a number of my models had Repeaters was dumb beyond belief.
My continuing mission - to appreciate the mistakes before I make them, and not realise them in the car driving home from the event on the A245, just outside Cobham.
Happy wargaming, and may your dice always roll well, or at least averagely.