Saturday, September 22, 2012

League Night, Opening Moves

One week down, seven to go.
Kick off for the new league happened Thursday night.

We had a pretty good turnout.  I was expecting something in the mid-teens and ended up having fifteen.  I gotta say, that's pretty solid.  We've got pretty much everyone from the previous league returning minus a few stragglers.  There is a pretty solid mainstay that we can rely on on that front.  We also have a couple new faces.  I've gotten to play against some of them, and they're at least decent dudes and good sports which is all you can really ask for.

The selection process seemed to go pretty smoothly.  I had everybody draw poker chips from a bag and grouped them according to colors.  "Random" doesn't always mean "fair", of course, but you have to be the last guy standing at the end anyway, so no loss in crawling over the toughest competitors in the opening stage anyway.  If anything, getting one of the tougher players in your opening group means you can avoid them in round two if you advance.

That said, match-ups are always a thing.  Here's what we came up with:  Blue group has two Imperial Guard players, plus Tau and Eldar.  Black Group has Necrons, Orks, Tau and Marines.  Red Group has Tyranids, Blood Angels, and a pair of Orks.  Finally, White group has Chaos Space Marines, Grey Knights, and Orks, and fields the ringer or wild card.  Interesting, only four power armored forces take the field, which is equalled by Orks, as well as the extremely shooty pairs of Imperial Guard and Tau.

Black group appears to be one of the toughest.  Necrons are a heck of an army, while the Tau and Orks are played by two of the better players in the league.  Blue group will likely have the most games fought at range, with Tau and both Guard players.  Red group is the one I am least sure about who will come out on top.  Finally, White group will have the easiest time through, since only three of the people there are eligible to advance.  I'm hoping one more person shows up to fill in the gap.  Meanwhile, it's not the worst thing to know that I have a chance to get in a weekly game.

Though I didn't stay for the entire night, it was interesting to see the way some of the games were going.  Two of the apparent favorites looked to both be on their way to posting losses, while the third was slogging his way through Guardsmen in a Fortress of Redemption.  If the first week is any indication, the league is wide open, which makes for an entertaining few weeks.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Beginning a New League plus Putting on the Pants

The bad news:  Thursday's regular 40K night was lackluster, with a grand total of two games being played.

The good news:  That's because it's the off week before the next league starts.

The exciting news:  I've been asked to run the upcoming league.

Previous leagues have been very well run, but the organizer has a lot going on and has decided to take a step back.  I was asked to step in and fill the void by the store owner, and the decision seems to be well received by those in the league.  I am very excited about the opportunity. 

While not being eligible to win the league is a drawback, directly contributing to the community I enjoy so much makes it totally worth it.  I also enjoy the organizational aspects involved in running things, whether that be an event or a sustained competition.  Blending the game into an elegant and competitive string of events that everyone looks forward to and can't wait to attend gives me a lot of the same things I enjoy about the game itself.  Additionally, if I'm being totally honest, I enjoy being "the guy."  I take a certain amount of pride from being the one to ask about rules, the ambassador to new players, and generally being in charge.  It feels good to know that you've got the trust of the whole group.  I might rethink that if we get three sign-ups for the next one.

Of course, running the league means coming up with a set of rules for the league.  Previously, there was not an established form for the league.  Things changed each time we started back up.  That means I'm working with a blank slate, which is bad since I have nothing to go on, but good because I'm free to operate without precedent.

The format I've come up with is drawn from my days playing volleyball in college.  It involves pooling players, then re-pooling those who finish high enough in their group together, and, finally, giving those who finish well in those groups a slot in the single elimination final four.  I'm expecting there to be roughly sixteen participants which would be ideal.  This would allow for four groups of four, though I can support more of each, with two members of each group advancing each round.  Because of this, players aren't eliminated with a single loss or hosed by a single bad game, nor can they win it all with a lucky draw and run against lesser players. Meanwhile, we still get the high stakes of a playoff at the end, so no one can run away with things.

There's no guarantee it will be perfectly, but I have seen it work before, and I think it accomplishes most of the things I want it to.  I guess we'll know in about eight weeks.  In the meantime, it should make for some solid material to post every Friday.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hobby Update: A Return

It's been a pretty busy month.  Life is slowly starting to resume some pattern of normalcy.  I like what it seems to have in play and am looking forward to more.  As the pattern becomes more clear, hobby time has begun to appear in a regular fashion which feels pretty good.  Here is a sample of what that time has yielded.
One particular model has dominated my focus.  I have been working pretty diligently on the Nightbringer while rotating my attention between a few other units at the same time.  Rather than scrapping the current paint job and starting over, I decided to keep working on smoothing out the colors as they were.  The results have been generally positive, though I don't think I've had the same success as with the Manticore, nor do the colors run to as vibrant a finish as I'd like.  That said, it's a solid paint job in my opinion, and I'm ready to toss him on the field.
To do that, I had to build him a base.  I kicked off with a GF9 60mm magnetic base.  Because I plan to have a lot of other big models in the army, I wanted to make sure the Nightbringer would stand out.  It's a pretty easy effect to achieve in a Necron army where he towers over the basic troops, but on a disply board that has a Coven Throne and a bunch of other big creatures, the Nightbringer is so slight of build that he may not stand out as the centerpiece.  To save on glass material, I glued down a trio of 25mm bases on top of each other, then put the Nightbringer on those.  This bought me about an inch of extra height.  From there, it was a matter of adding rings of glass and building them up to the appropriate height and picking out a few things to add as detail around the base.

One of the aforementioned rotating projects includes a herd of old school/out of production metal Khorngors.  One of the reasons I like this project is that they're a return to painting some grittier fantasy models.  They'll get a little highlighting and a little shading, but they're line troops that are supposed to be dirty, with a bunch of natural browns, so I'm not sweating them too much.  They've been sitting in the queue for a while, but once they got in, they got done very quickly.  By far, the most effort consuming part was making the bases.  With everything else in the army, I just glued the model straight to the surface of the marble square.  The Khorngors were never going to be so simple.  The bottoms of the hooves are angled, providing minimal contact points, and the metal makes the models top heavy.  Basing them entailed snipping the metal strips for the slottabases into nubs, then drilling a pair of holes to sink the nubs into.  The end result is imperfect.  I have a few gaps to fill and hoofs that don't sit squarely.  Overall though, they seem to work just fine.
Finally, for those of you interested in nerdetry and sports at the same time, I recently completed a mock auction for a fantasy football league (the American version).  If you've only done a draft before, I'd encourage you to give an auction a chance.  It's extremely entertaining.  I'm pretty happy with my team:
QB: Michael Vick
RB: Lesean Mccoy
RB: Matt Forte
WR: Percy Harvin
WR: Marques Colston
FLX: Brandon Lloyd
TE: Cody Fleener
Def: NY Giants
K: Alex Henery

I have a pretty high ceiling for scoring from week to week.  My running backs should have consistently big numbers, and each of my receivers should yield solid weekly results, with chances for big plays.  My big worry is injury.  More than one of these guys has a history of getting hurt and my back ups don't inspire confidence.  I suppose that's the risk of paying to have nice things.  Resource management becomes tricky.  Finding value becomes important.  Patience gets put up against scarcity.  In a lot of ways, it's like many of my favorite games.  Except that I only get to play it once a year and don't know the result for four months.  Oh, and it's absolutely infuriating sometimes.

Hobby Accoplishments
-Finished the Nightbringer
-Finished the Khorngors
-Wrote down five of six missions for campaign project

Hobby Goals
-Get all six missions typed and finalized
-Finish the Death Company in the next two weeks
-Prep league format for two weeks from now
-Prime Banshees and Coven Throne
-Airbrush two coats on second Possessed squad