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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dust Storm Tournament Review

arriving at the store

This past Sunday, I (JRock) and Mrs. JRock made the trek to Draxtar Games in lovely Batavia, IL for the Dust Storm Tournament. The day was great with good games and good people. It's also nice to meet face to face with some of the regular writers on Biggest props go to my beautiful wife, who was considered by most as the 'Super Wife' for coming to this nerd-fest with me. 

The Review: Good Store - Good Gamers - Good Times!

Good Store:
Draxtar games is a new store, having opened it's doors in June of this year (2013). As you would expect from a new store, it was clean. Very clean! I didn't ponder on their retail selection, which at a glace was pretty small. Their gaming space was large! They had eight 6x4 gaming tables set up on custom built tall tables for our event, and a few others set up for open gaming. Boards were nice with a sand flocked surface nicely painted. Terrain was adequate. Not the greatest, but certainly of a gaming quality. Bathrooms were clean (though the lock didn't work). So thumbs up to the facility!

Good Gamers:
There were only four of us in the event, which was kind of a let down having driven 3 hours to attend. The organizers apologized for the low turnout, saying they did their best to advertise. Unfortunately, a couple of the 'regulars' were unable to attend which would have put us to 6. No worries though, we had enough to play. I did meet up again with Carlton (Loki0000 on dust-war), and got to meet Sean (Wolvan on dust-war). The other player was Jeff - a local Dust Tactics guy who had just started to play. This was his 3rd time ever playing Warfare. Much like the Indianapolis crowd, the Chicagoland players were very laid back and courteous players. They all brought their A-game ready to bash heads, but did so in a very sportsmanlike manner. What was really great was the rules debates. 3 of the 4 of us are somewhat seasoned players, and we still had rules questions like "how the hell does this work again?". So we'd ask each other, consult the rules and go, "Oh, okay". THAT ALONE, makes me willing to make the trip again. They have all been invited to the Sept 14 Dust Cookout. So another thumbs up for Chicago!

Good Times:
The event ran very smoothly. We didn't keep to a very strict time table seeing how there were only 2 tables of gaming. No games went very long, and given how it started at 1pm CST, there didn't need to be a lunch break. We used a battle builder very similar to Gencon. Competitive terrain placement was also in use (which I accordingly screwed myself with in game one). There were plaques given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and a ribbon in the French flag colors for last place. All participants got a campaign ribbon and shoulder patch. Best painted got me another ribbon - WHOO HOO! Finally, there was prize support of a premium painted Axis jet (the new one with ground rockets) and 2 sets of Quonset huts. Carlton (who was TOing the event) also provided medals for 1st-3rd. That's a lot of swag for the event!  

So how did JRock do?
Heh heh, uuuugh. Not as well as I had hoped. Here's the sum up.

Game One : JRock vs. Wolvan
Sean ran an all infantry Allied list. Good thing I brought that Wotan. 3 units of Reapers, a unit of Hammers with Rhino, bbq squad, boss squad, priest, Johnny one eye, 3 sniper teams. Uphill already with so many S3 and snipers. Then I accordingly put a large building near the center of the board to screw myself. In retrospect it was a poor decision, but ultimately didn't matter much. Why? Well when I LITERALLY FAILED EVERY ARMOR SAVE FOR 3 FULL TURNS - who gives a crap about silly terrain placement. Wolvan kept commenting - your dice really don't like you. I also couldn't hit for crap. Does that mean I'm blaming it all on the dice? Not at all. To make things worse - Wolvan totally outplays me. He made one HUGE mistake jumping Rhino and the Hammers right behind Angela and the snipers. He had a suppression, so couldn't attack. I've never been able to use Angela's rifle, pistol, both sniper and spotter and their grenades. That was the one roll I did well. Dead hammers. I didn't get tabled - but it was pretty close. I had 45 points left at the end of the game. Well done Wolvan.

Game Two: JRock vs. Loki0000
Carlton was running a SMALL SSU army. I don't know all of the specifics, but it was a Mao, the captured Axis Walker with the character piloting it, 2 sniper teams, another character, a red guard command, and 2 other infantry units, Red guard I think. So my first thought - I've got this. I used terrain wisely this time. For deployment, I basically make a refused flank to one side, castling up everything minus a unit of heavy flak grenadiers. Angela and the snipers picked apart one sniper team and his command. The Wotan on turn one puts heavy damage on his walker - only to not hit the remainder of the game. His walker nearly decimated the wotan on his turn one - detonating the ammo and suppressing everything nearby (which was my entire castled-up army!) Eventually the battle of the titans went to the SSU. However, by that time, most of his infantry were gone. I created a zombie from the failsafe order, which became a huge pain in his ass. It killed a couple of his infantry - suppressing them. Angela and the snipers' fury knew no bounds in game two. And when they're hot, its not for your opponent. This was a bad match up in my opinion for Carlton, but sadly, even though it looked all in my favor, I only won attrition by around 20 or 30 points. His one walker plus hero inside robbed me of LOTS of AP. Great game Loki0000.

Game Three: JRock vs. Jeff
Jeff had an axis army with Angela of course. Then a Strumkonig and a Wotan! Let see, a unit of zombies, Stephan with a Sturmpioniere command, and some heavy recon and heavy flak. Tiny heavily armored force. Jeff is a new player, but had gone 2-0 up to this point. Jeff asked during the battle builder which scenarios favor the Axis. He's new, so I gave him helpful honest advice. So he put us at attrition, and I did nothing to change it. Another stupid decision there! So, I then use cunning deployment to trick him. I put a Heinrich on my far left. He deploys Angela across from it in a building (his far right) Then I put the other Heinrich near my first. Then comes out his wotan to counter my little 20 point walkers. Then I put the rest of my army on my far right - effectively giving Angie none of my infantry to fire on. Then I got stupid. Seeing his wotan I figured I'd play the tank on tank game and deployed mine near his. I figured his heavy walker wouldn't be much of a threat and hopefully I could take out his Wotan before it took out mine. Yeah, that didn't happen. My suicide zombies made no success either. I did with my castled up force chew up his infantry. But Jeff isn't nearly as slow as I figured being a new player. Seeing that my force was advancing and completely outnumbered him, he runs away, toward his heavy walker. Now, in order to finish off units, I had to advance on the quad barrels of the Strumkonig. Ugh. I had to take out either the Wotan or the big boy to even have a chance at winning. I did my best, but I could only bring 2 wounds to the big boy. The Wotan was at 4 or its 5. My Angela runs out of cover, blitzkrieging toward it. Jeff uses both actions to do a spot turn, then move away behind a building. No range. AGH! I was very impressed with Jeff's tactics. Very well done sir!

So, I come out third, with best painted. Regardless of placement and awards, the event was great, with some great guys! Ken from DDI also was there taking pics and talking it up. He may have supplied some of the prize swag but I'm not sure. 

Thanks for your hospitality Draxtar Games!