Saturday 27 Jan 2018, St Denys Community Centre
It was wet. Very wet. The village bourne was half full which, given it’s been nothing but a puddle for years, is a little disconcerting. So, wellies, on, satnav reprogrammed with the proper route (Priory Road, not the other one which is blocked off – David Richardson, the organiser, gave great directions), I drove through twisting country lanes, through the dark, through the pouring rain, through – no, past – ancient, whitewashed, thatched cottages. Picturesque, but with a car load of terrain and some demo Boromites, Ghar and Rebels, I decided that I wouldn’t bother using the satnav on the way back.
The centre was surprisingly easy to find and the welcome and help was wonderfully friendly and plentiful. Alex, Vaughn plus others were all helping set up tables and Alex made a great cup of tea! There was a real mix of tables: waste ice/rock, ruins on snow/ice, deep jungle, open jungle, two temperate… nine tables in all: eight for players and one for demo.
Whilst there were originally expected to be 24 players, on the day, we were down to 16 competitors. Everyone turned up on time, though some came a long way – Karl Boucher the local Warlord sales whizz came down from the other side of the M4: North! Everyone had bene nice to the organiser and submitted their lists beforehand for checking. Indeed, to his delight, David R was able to compete whilst Alex (the Sluggaz secretary) and I looked around for the painting award and I answered the occasional rules question (like the Antares tournament last year, all genuine queries and asked in a great spirit!).
So, the 1000-point list games were quickly underway and most were finished in or before the 2½-hour slots given for each game. The gaming attitude was excellent, players being co-operative, helpful and the hall full of smiles and laughter.
There were some really great and some really quite unusual armies. Wolfie’s intelligent use of two light Concord transports accompanied by a drop command and a subverter matrix was a joy to watch in action (he came 3rd) and Chris’s Freeborn NuHu Meld in a Res 13 transport covered by supporting X-launchers proved an impossible-to-beat winning combination. Second placed Matt’s sinister Algoryn force proved again that a combination of troop types – hard hitting, supporting and support weapons – used carefully and in conjunction with other was an effective approach.
From a watcher’s perspective it was fascinating to see the different tactics deployed. There appeared to be no one, dominating tactic other than the use of hidden OH launchers, patch sighting and special ammunitions. Whilst Net was occasionally used, the most frequent special munitions I could see were Scramble and Scoot, the latter used to force Ghar or Fire-order weapons into movement and prevent firing.
Final standings are in the table below, the prizes supplied and presented by local Warlord agent Karl Boucher (and club secretary Alex Hood) – the glass beer mugs provided by the Sluggaz as permanent trophies. In addition, the best painted army award went to James Forshaw. The ‘Cheese’ award went to Ed Harrington for a list including a number of nasty Boromite mercenaries with anti-matter vorpal charges – almost all of which, it seemed, boomeranged back to their parent squads and cause havoc! Ant Sharman not only picked up the Wooden Spoon but also the Sportsmanship award for his wonderfully helpful attitude – but was very proud that 33% of his points came from submitting his list early and having a completely painted Concord army!
A blog post on the tournament by the painting champion, James Forshaw, can be found at https://battlegroundsoton.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/tales-of-a-tournament-gates-of-antares/ (off Nexus).
Overall, great fun – and well done to David and all the Sluggaz for setting up such a great day.