So with the overall feel of the con covered I guess it’s time to get down to the reason most of the people paid their money to attend Smogcon, and that’s gaming!
Smogcon had a whole heap of tables in use pretty much none stop from Friday morning to Sunday! Some were covered in rather spiffy gaming mats of the ‘mouse mat’ material and these were super. These tables were mainly located in areas that had competitive games scheduled, while the purely casual spaces had various green cloths with tape marking the boundaries of tables. As ever with tape some of the tables weren’t exactly 4’x 4′, but it was easy enough to move zones etc. to the correct positions allowing for the odd inch here or there. Terrain was of the functional nature, which is fine for WM/H, and priority was given to the competition areas meaning some of the casual play tables may have been a little light. Overall given the sheer number of tables on offer, easily 100+, I have no complaints about the battlefields available to players.
Gamers that don’t play WM/H often mock the game for allowing unpainted miniatures on the table. At Smogcon I think well in excess of 75% of the games I saw featured either fully painted, or nearly so, armies on both sides. I managed to fit in eight games, and only two had forces with no paint on them, and five were fully painted both sides.
With Smogcon now an official PP event the store had limited number of pre-release models available for purchase, and late Friday, early Saturday these models started to appear on the tables as players had rushed off and built them. No other UK gaming event has had this option, and I actually like it. Allowing people to get the newest models on the table literally hours after purchase is really cool, and a fun thing to add to the gaming mix.
Well I played eight games, less than most, more than some. I really went into Smogcon with no real expectation of gaming till I dropped. Those people that powered through and gamed for twenty four hours or more have my respect, but that’s not for me. All my games were fun, played in the right spirit, and competitive without being cut throat. The day’s of the infamous page five are a thing of the past, something PP set straight in the Mark II page five some years ago now. So here are my thoughts/highlights from the games I did play.
Doubles with Conrad, v Des and Nigel
So game one was an all Tanelorn WGC affair. With 100 points a side on the table I think we all expected this game to drag on a bit, but it was all over in around two hours.
The game wasn’t won so much by good or bad dice, or tactics, or planning… but much more on which side produced the superior banter!! Nigel managed to kill box his caster two turns running which allowed Conrad and I to complete a scenario victory. Nigel later claimed to have missed the offers of take backs to fix his kill box errors :D
The only game related activity I’d signed up for was to play in Saturdays morning staff scramble. These were eight man events with two PP staffers in the field. Will Shick and Ed Bourelle took part in the one I played in. To keep things moving we played one list, thirty five points with a simple one circular zone in the middle scenario.
Game One – Dan – Trolls.
I decided to take a pretty vanilla pThags list with Carni, Scythean, Angel, Legionaries, full pot, shepherd and foresaken, I think! Dan had Jarl. Mulg was his only beast as he had the heavy cav and solo, fenn blades and the stones.
The game seemed to be going ok until it turned out that models in the zone couldn’t roll good dice! My scythean charged into four fenn blades, and after buying four extra attacks had killed… one! Thags missed on a boosted attempt to bad blood Mulg too! The game was called for time and I gave the game to Dan as I had next to nothing left. Brutal game but lots of fun.
Game Two – Ed Bourelle – Cryx.
So game two I’m paired up with one of the PP staff and a faction I normally dread playing, cryx. Not sure why but I kinda have a mental block against cryx, losing way more than I ever win. Ed’s list wasn’t an all out list though, with four jacks, no banes and eSkarre leading.
This game also ground on quite long, though I guess that’s how pThags plays really so no surprise. Ed had committed pretty hard and had lost two jacks getting Thags down to only 5 wounds left, but by now I’d applied a harrier to Skarre’s face and she wasn’t feeling too good wounds wise either. The final turn saw me spawn another harrier, animus and charge it into Skarre, only to leave her on one wound! The only thing left of mine ot activate was a Foresaken with no fury on her. She walked in to avoid a free strike, needed and eleven to hit, which she got! Then a five on the damage roll did the final point to win me the game!
Game Three – Chris – Ret
If my other two games had been long, this one was really, really quick. Chris army came across the board at an amazing pace and deleted the legionaries and pot with ease. Then I learnt exactly what the spell Crusaders Call does… it applies a colossal to Thags face from across the zone! Needless to say it was curtain for Thags at that point.
So 1-2 overall, but a really fun morning. Great to get to play one of the staff, and see some Skorne models that aren’t release yet in the flesh as Will Shick was running an Ardus Sentinel and Ardus Soldier in his winning list.
Rich – Circle – 35pts – eKaya – Fire Support
I’d challenged Rich to a game at Smogcon over twitter and we found ourselves with time on the Saturday afternoon. I stuck with pThags, but swapped out some bits to put a seraph and the succubus in the list. I’d used the succubus in games before Smogcon, and getting spiny growth out three times for two fury is too good to miss out on. Add in slipstream and even Thags can get about the board enough to make a difference.
Rich had eKaya, three wolves a gorax and min wolf riders and a couple of solos from memory. We both advanced semi fast turn one, and turn two Rich spent a bit of time working out if he was in charge range of the scythean with a primal pure blood. He decided he was probably in, even after missing with Hunters mark. Turns out he was about quarter of an inch short! In my turn I got a harrier out of the pot and deleted Victor Pendrake before he got to do much, but couldn’t kill off the pure blood. I charged the Carni into Ghetorix to slow him up, missing Kaya with the assault spray. Rich then removed the Carni, but not much else died. In return I spawned another harrier, charged it into Kaya and did some damage. I feated back the Carni and basically put it back in melee with Ghetorix. Kaya tried to kill the harrier but couldn’t, so just made sure the carni would die for the second time. I then spawned another harrier, and between the two on Kaya they finished her off.
Great game with a true gent of the WM/H community.
Nick – Menoth – 35 – eFerrora – Incursion
Nick had dropped before the last round of the Road to Masters C competition, and we decided to get a game in before we had dinner. Nick was limited in his choices as he’d put a fair few of his beautifully painted models into the P3 competition before we played our game. I decided I’d had enough of Thags and it was time for the twins. But which one?
I settled on Rhyas as I figured after two days of competition games Nick didn’t really want to face off against one of legions perceived best casters! I had Striders + UA, Min Hex hunters, Typhon, Seraph, Raek, Shredder and a Foresaken. Nick had two heavies, a light, temple flameguard plus the usual support pieces for menoth! I managed to steal an early CP by running the Raek onto the flag to my right, and the following turn Ferrora moved laterally behind the temple flameguard to spray at the striders and hex hunters. It turns out Nick didn’t know Rhyas had acrobatics… or crit decapitation! So five fury spent latter and Ferrora was no more!
There were some muttering about casual gaming and such things after the game ;) But was all settled over a nice curry and a few beers :D
James – Ret – 50 – Rahn – Outflank
I played James in the Guardians of Tyr event in Feb and we’d agreed we would play again at Smogcon. I went back to playing pThags as I didn’t really have the bits I want for a fifty point Rhyas list painted yet.
This game can be summed up in very few words – Mistakes were made! James forgot to allocate focus at least once, we both didn’t feat on turns when we both had planned too, my succubus ran away from Thags after getting to close and more besides. The game ground down to the point that had virtually nothing left, but there was an outside chance for Thags to live the mutagenesis assassination dream! The fist step was for him to survive a free strike form a ret heavy, which he didn’t and James won the game. We did play out the assassination anyway, and Rahn would have survived.
Fun game and I’ll get you next time James!
Stu – Cyrx – 50 – Gaspy3 – Destruction
It was now Sunday lunchtime and I felt I had the energy for one final game before I braved the motorways home. Rich’s local gamer friend Stu was also looking for a game.
Stu went first and his Raiders mobbed the zone, bane knights moved up behind his objective and bane cav moved forward ready to face off against the legionaries. I moved up, shot a couple of raiders and basically got ready to take a few chargers. The cav came in and killed three legionaries, the raiders filled the zone and Gaspy moved up. In my turn the legionnaires vengeance killed one cav! My angel one shot the objective and I put more shots into the raiders. Stu moved up the Banes but couldn’t kill the Angel, the cav killed a few more legionaries and the rest of the Cryx sat still. I think Stu meant to feat this turn but hadn’t, leaving him camping seven focus. At this point I start looking at another risky mutagenesiss assassination. While I ponder this my eye moves along my battle line, coming to rest on a foresaken with 5 fury… just out the zone my side… with gaspy just outside the zone his side… So I activate the seraph, slip stream the foresaken forward, shoot some Tartarus off the table because he could. Foresaken wanders forward, blight shrouds and with nine dice at minus sixteen gaspy bites the dust. To be fair Stu has spotted this about thirty seconds before I did so knew it was coming.
So overall I played eight games, won four, lost four. With the points I earned in the Iron Arena I snagged myself a nice concept art print of Zuriel.
More importantly every game was played in the correct spirit, and I had fun against all my opponents.