Today I want to discuss three huge GTs that I will be attending in the coming months. The Nova Open kicked off the fall circuit with a bang! I will be attending Battle For Salvation, The Mechanicon and The Conflict GT in the next few months. All three are great events that I have been going to since they started and are close to the NY Metro area on the East coast.
Coming up next is The Battle for Salvation. This will be the second year of existence for the club's Grand Tournament based on The Nova format. Last year Bob Sinnott and Ed Miller (Pissclams) ran the show and through lots of hard work and growing pains, put on a smashing success. The slots sold out, many more than the club could have dreamed about coming! Prize support was very good for a first year event and every one was positive and happy. Some big names like Stelek traveled all the way out to attend, and the armies were painted beautifully! The competition was fierce to say the least. Personally, I got whooped on and did not even make the cut for day two.
EDIT: I was mistaken with my details. I originally reported that this year would be much the same as last with people not earning spots for Sunday if they did not do well enough on Saturday. I was mistaken. I suggest you take the time to read the rules HERE. But as I understand them, you will play four games on Saturday in the GT, then based on your record will be placed in a bracket for day two. Within that bracket on day two you are facing a single elimination tournament. Win and keep playing, lose and you are done. If you lose, your first game on Sunday you are invited to play in a 500 point tournament. I'm personally not a fan of 500 point games, but this still sounds pretty cool! I like the win or go home aspect of the day two matchups. I also like that all players will be able to come back for day two. I am not a fan of events where you don't get to play the second day. Even though I was relieved to not have to last time. I know at the first Nova I left disappointed because I missed the Sunday cut by just a few tenths of a point. Be sure to read the site like I didn't do before making your decision! :)
You can find out more details on the Battle for Salvation website. The biggest change this year is venue. This year the event will be held at the Palisades Mall! The Conflict GT set the bar for NY area GTs by having theirs last year at this venue. The space was huge and had lots of access to food and fun. It was also very close to a great hotel. It is easy to get to and the bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper. ;) Check out the site and register now. I spoke to Bob and he said they are hoping for 64 entries. I think you guys can smash that. Get yourself in! The Battle for Salvation is held Columbus Day Weekend. Look forward to a Doubles tournament, kill team event, GT and fun!
I wanted to take this time to promote Da Boyz GT which comes up two weeks after BFS, and is held in western NY State. About 5 hours from NY City. I have heard mostly great things about Da Boyz from guys who have attended. Last year Brent and Goatboy went! The organizers are enthusiastic and the following of Da Boyz is dedicated. But I won't be attending for two reasons. First of all, it's proximity to The Mechanicon and BFS. The wife will have me by the Jawaballs if I take off for a GT that weekend. As much as I would love to hit every GT I can, I do have to set limits on myself! But also there is another issue. Comp. I believe heavily against using strict comp in GTs. I dislike being told that playing the army I want to play will pretty much result in me losing the tournament. I spent about a million hours painting my current army up to it's level, and knowing that if I play it at Da Boyz pretty much means I am taking myself off the contenders list before we even start does not sit well with me. For example, I can't even play both of my HQ choices, and playing either will immediately knock 30 points off my score. So the model that won me Best Single Painted Mini at Nova would be forced to remain in the transport. Shame.
Having said that, I admire the organizers of Da Boyz for sticking to their guns. This day and age, you have to go with what makes your event unique, and Da Boyz can certainly claim a level of uniqueness. Further, they have a large following of players that DO agree to the rules before going. They also are VERY transparent with their comp. They make every effort NOT to hide their rules, so, if you buy your ticket you are agreeing to play by them. Last year some guys went there knowing the rules, but still complained about getting crunched by them. If you are looking for a tournament that is a little different than the standard Battle points for the win GT, then Da Boyz is for you. Print out their matrix, design your list, and go have a good time! I wish them Da Best.
Here is video of Brother Captain James prepping for Da Boyz, posted by Black Matt.
This leads me to The Mechanicon. I have been going to The Mechanicon since it started a couple years ago, and it really was my "breaking in" event for GT Weekends. Tony Spino and the guys have done nothing but impress me. From my first experience, walking into the convention room to an expanse of beautiful tables, and staff members sipping whiskey, I knew it was going to be awesome. This is also the place where I have made the most friends. For some reason The Mechanicon has been the most social and fun place for me. Perhaps because both times I have gone alone and been forced to make friends? TeD Nagel and Bill McFadden are two of a long list of names. Perhaps it is because of the stress free open gaming that goes on Friday night. Dudes hang out in the main room, cash bar selling cheap beer all set up, and chill.
The Mechanicon has come to be known as the GT for the Hobbies. In the past Tony Spino, the TO has allowed soft scores to have a major effect on the final outcome. I think this is great because it allows guys who don't normally win GTs to have a chance, rather than the usual "Battle Points Beats All" approach. It shakes things up and rewards guys who go with the complete package, playing and painting. I.E. ME! I placed third in the first Mechanicon and actually won last year. Sadly though I hear murmur that Tony is reducing the effect that the soft scores have and increasing the battle point value. To this I say BAH. Don't give in to the crybabies Tony! There are dozens of events for the "Flavor of the Monthers" who thrive on events where painting doesn't matter. Guys who show up with barely painted drybrushed armies that meet the three color minimum but smack of net list. There were definitely some of these guys at Mechanicon, maybe not so blatantly "FotM" in that their armies looked at least like they took some care in preparing them. And I'm sure they were vocal about their displeasure of the ratio of soft scores to bat points. But to them I say that hey, Tony was very transparent in the ratios. No one went to Mechanicon and did not know that soft scores made up a huge part of the final outcome. My point, and the same that I made with Da Boyz, is that Tony should stick with what made Mechanicon special, not give in to the masses crying about soft scores. 40k is just as much about good sportsmanship and painting as it is about battle points. Frankly, I'd rather play the guys who are more concerned with painting and sportsman than battle points any way.
Set up the venue, set up the rules, and let them come. They will!
Another thing that makes Mechanicon special is the overall hobby aspect. There are entire other rooms devoted to playing Blood Bowl, Privateer Press stuff, Space Hulk, Munchkin, you name it. There are also auctions for charity, and did I mention almost 24/7 cash bar in the game room with AFFORDABLE prices?
I hear that Tony is doing away with the infamous "exam" that pretty much awarded ten more points to the final score. This is infamous because any one with a laptop or smart phone could get the answers during the break between games and scoop up free points. Rob Baer won Mechanicon the first year by being one of the only guys to catch on and scoring max points on the test while the next highest was like 3. (I came in third but didn't even turn in the test.) I won Mechanicon last year because essentially I got max exam points and the runner up got 9 on the test. In my opinion doing away with the exam is a good idea. At least doing way with it's impact on the final outcome. Have the test. Give awards to the best score. But be prepared for 90% of the guys having max points and just giving it to a sportsman tie breaker. So in other words, give out a second Best Spotsman score. At any rate, Tony is aware of the quiz issue and is taking steps to fix it.
As for Mechanicon tables, I was impressed with the quality of them. The tables themselves are each two extra feet long, giving every one enough room to put their display boards. It is a chronic problem at most GTs that there is no place to put your armies. Especially at places like Nova who forbid the moving of any terrain.
The terrain is cool, a lot of it made up of crashed Star Wars ships. The nostalgic factor is fun! In the past though, some of the tables were on the sparse side when it comes to coverage while some had too much. I played on one table that pretty much gave the win to my opponent. It had one of those big landing pads in the center. He was able to get in there with his oblits, and I was unable to root him out. As if he needed such an advantage with his hard core list.
I look forward to seeing Tony and the guys at Mechanicon every year. It is in a convenient location and self contained in it's own hotel. With the focus on the hobby aspect of the game, the event tends to bring out the best in it's players. The tables are covered with dozens of beautiful armies, good sportsmanship is infectious and the beer and cookies are plentiful. It does carry a hefty price tag of 125.00, but in my opinion that just improves the quality of the competitors. That price tag entitles you to your absolute fill of all things gaming with a mountain of prize support. Here is a list of things to do: