GTs coming up!

It is never too late to start planning for upcoming GTs.  Here is a shoutout to my friends over at BOLS and Wargamescon!

WargamesCon is back for its 5th year, bigger and better than ever.! Great, massive venue -  June 6th -9th at the Austin Renaissance. Be There!

Lamenters Storm Raven WIP

More WIP pics of my Lamenters Storm Raven!  I traced a Warmachine base to make the circle, then painted it with multiple layers of grey to white. Then I painted the heart with black, then a couple layers of red. I will continue to fiddle with the checks to make the edges harder but for the most part c'est fini! (at least the checks on the wing are.) Now to do the other one...


Embrace the checks: Lamenters Storm Raven

I had a busy birthday!  Part of my present was a day of peace, during which I went to work on the centerpiece of my new Lamenters army.  First I airbrushed with multiple yellows, and then sprayed some shade on it to get the yellow base you see here. I left it very subtle for now, I intend to go back and brush in some blending later.  I painted the engines black and will do them up with my Jawa Grey NMM grey technique.  

Before I could go on with the painting though, I had to do the cockpit. 
I painted the seat and back brown then bleached bone then washed.

Then I painted all the controls and lights with multiple layers of highlight.

Then time for the pilot!

First to make sure he fits with the canopy...

Then time to give him some life!  He got the same treatment all of my 
vanguard vets have gotten so far. Not quite as many layers, but he still looks
good. I did the full checker treatment on the shoulder pad along with the heart symbol and I painted all the 
Mechanicus symbols too. I borrowed from fantastic painter Gabe Dobkin for the eyes. I noticed that when he paints his it looks like he actually enlarges the lenses. You can see the images I used as reference HERE on BOLS. Simple but powerful!

Now it is time for the checks!  You can see the subtle blending I did
with the airbrush.  I mixed a little brown into my yellow for shading 
then accented it with wash.  I am fairly happy with the right front engine housing
and the housing over the rear right engine as well.  The blending is subtle and almost imperceptible
if you don't know to look for it!  But it will give me a great base to work on with a brush.

For the checks I used a ruler to grid out 1/4" marks, then a credit card as a straight edge to lay down 
the lines. The ruler was too unwieldly. 

Then came the hand painting!  I started with a codex grey base then painted in each individual
black check free hand. The only issue was that the wing was just a tad too wide to make the checking even. You can see on the right that that row of checks is a bit too wide. I will fix that by blending yellow down the front of the wing.  This is just the layout. I will paint each white check with about 4 shades of grey then a white highlight. That is the point that I will edge out the checks and make them as square as possible.

Where else will I place checks?  The tail and stabilizers will get some, and maybe some on the intake on the top. This raven will have hurricane bolters, so I think the bolter housings will also be checked.  I am going to magnetize the doors and sponsons so I can switch em out.  

Here are some inspiration images I found:

I am kinda digging the angled checks on the tails.  Perhaps this will be the perfect compliment to what is a very boxy and geometric model. Maybe I can do some subtle checks on the wing tips of the stabilizers.  I am thinking about actually hacking up the tail of my raven, and creating a sort of stabilizer like you see on these... a more traditional fighter type...

The storm raven is a truly huge model to build and paint.  The model itself goes together very easily, but it is a daunting task to paint it to a top level. The cockpit alone took a couple hours of work for me, but it is necessary. All too often do you see guys who short cut the cockpit and paint over it.  But it is those details that a paint judge will recognize, and if not directly, subconsciously reward. 

For the symbol, I am going to place it directly in the center of this field of checks. I will simply trace a terminator base and make a big circle and go to town. 

Ok, then, back to work for me.  My birthday vacation is wearing thin with the wife and my minutes are numbered!  


Lamenters Chapter Banner continued

So I posted a pic of my new Lamenters Chapter Banner on Facebook, and none other than the great Dave Taylor popped in and gave some free advice!

I wish I lived close to Baltimore. I would be able to work with Dave and bounce ideas off him and vampire some of his incredible talent and motivation. :)

Here is my first attempt at the Lamenters Chapter Banner:

I was pretty happy with it. Until Dave threw a crack at me for being lazy and painting larger scale checkers. He challenged me to paint 8x16 instead of 4x8.


I went to work.

Here it is now, more closely true to the Lamenters Chapter Banner that I found posted online in various locations.  I painted over the top left and bottom right checks with yellow, and then divided each of my original checks into four and based some grey over the black. I need to go back in and edge off the checks with black then highlight with white and grey.  And no Dave, I am not going 16x32.


Thanks for the inspiration Dave Taylor! If you have not checked out Dave's Lamenters, he truly humbles me.  Take a look!  I feel refreshed and motivated to start banging these guys out.  Unlike Dave's black Death Company, mine will be white. Wish me luck with that!


Lamenters Chapter Banner Bearer

More Work in Progress on my Lamenters!

Today I have my Vanguard Veteran standard bearer. 

But wait... Vanguard Vets cant have a banner!  Who cares, when competing for Best Painted, you need to add flare wherever you can. So most of the squads in my army will be carrying a banner of some sort.  :)

Here is how I did my Lamenters Chapter Banner.

First I sprayed it with Averland Yellow base color and gave it a yellow shade wash.  

Then I painted the rectangular banner area with codex grey.  

Then I laid out some lines using a detail brush and free hand. I eyeballed the distance and size of the squares, and just got lucky. It was just about perfect.  

Then I painted in the black squares.

Then boom finished banner! :)

Actually I layered up to white, using Fortress Grey, Ulthuan Grey, and white.

Then I hand painted a circle sorta in the center with black, and relayered up to white using the same recipe. 

Then I hand painted the heart on top of that with black again, then Mechrite Red, then some blood red and a bit of orange. I intend to give it some more love.

For the scroll I painted it with black first, then used Calthan Brown, and layered up using Tallarn Flesh and increasingly light layers of the new flesh and bone colors.  I painted the world Lament on the scroll.

The marine is done the same way as my Sgt. I sprayed him with the yellow base first on top of black, then gave a good wash of Casendora Yellow.  Then layers of Yriel and Flash Gitz with another light shade of Casendora.  The winged parts of his armor I used the same recipe as the checks.

Feel free to leave questions or comments or tips!  How are YOU doing your hellow I mean Yellow!

More to come!


Time to give. You can directly help a family who lost a child.

Hey folks,

Several people have messaged me asking if I was going to do some sort of charity promotion for the kids at Sandy Hook. I wanted to share this with you, and I promise it will be the last you hear on it from me!

After some thought, I figured I would share this with you. Most people who hear about tragedies like this have a hard time feeling how real it is. When you are disconnected you don't really get a feel for the sadness and emotion.  Well in this case, you have a connection to me.

And this.

I have had a tough week because in the nature of my job, I feel the loss of each of those lives deeply. Being a parent of a little boy will soon be approaching the age of those kids only magnifies it.

Any way, now you can add a connection to a face and for a change you can actually help some one directly affected by something terrible, rather than donating to a charity and hoping the money gets to the right place.

Her name was Ana Grace Marquez-Greene.

My friend and colleague is a close friend to Ana's parents. These last days she has spent most of her time with them, trying to add comfort and strength to a place where there is only sorrow.  I can't imagine it. But I want to help.

You can help too.

I decided that instead of doing a painting project, or trying to sell chances to win something, or trying to collect money personally, I would connect you directly to a fund created to help the family of Ana Grace.  You can find it HERE. I urge you to go there and donate what you can.

I am going to place this image at the top right of my blog with the link to the Ana Grace Fund where you can donate. I urge all bloggers to do the same as a show of support of the kids and teachers who lost their lives. I will keep the image up until New Years Day.  Simply save the image and post it.

Sorry the image is not super artsy, I don't have any editing software on this machine. It is enough.

I know times are lean, but lets show this family the power that we as a group wield and donate to the fund created in the name of this beautiful little girl.


Moment of pause.

As most of you know, I am a teacher in Connecticut. My school is about 20 miles from Newtown. Sitting here at work today, there is a quiet buzz in the building. Most of the kids are going on with business as usual. It is better not to think about things too much. Some of the kids are sad. Some are afraid. One little girl was so affected she asked to go speak to the councilor. We held a school wide moment of silence at 9:30am. Not a peep.

I didn't actually know any one involved with the tragedy, but I have a friend who just went home from work. Her good friend lost a daughter. I can't imagine it. She thought being in school today would be good for her, but it was too much. It doesn't matter though if you lost some one, or knew some one. If you are human, it hurts. I could not read a report over the weekend without tears.  I spent most of the weekend painting or playing with Jack to keep my mind off it. The thought of my own son going to school with his usual smile only to be shot down in a corner makes me want to scream puke and cry all at the same time.

In my classroom I cleared out my big walk-in closet of the various carts and things to make room. Our previous procedure of huddling in a corner was not good enough. I had my 28 8th graders quickly practice squeezing in. They all fit, albeit tightly. It only took a few seconds. Not one of them giggled or snickered. If you knew 8th graders, you would understand the feat.

With the door shut and the lights off you would not even know they were there.   At least now I know that given a small warning I can get them safe. If some psycho busts through my class room door, he better have a full mag because that is what it is going to take to stop this 300 pound art teacher from biting out his throat.

Any way... take a moment today to give those poor souls your thoughts. Appreciate what you have, and if you are a parent, spend a few more minutes with your kids. My heart is heavy today and it goes out to those teachers and kids who lost their lives.

And thank you to every one who emailed me with their concern over the weekend.

Back to business tomorrow. Be sure to check out my live show on the MWG vault!  Jim and I will be playing some live 40k.  8pm EST. Tomorrow's show is free for all.

See you then!


Lamenters Vanguard Vet!

Here is one of my Lamenters Vanguard Veteran SGT. WIP!  I need to redo the power sword and bolt pistol, but the armor is mostly complete.

I'm particularly happy with the checkers on his apron. 

More to come!


Something Worthwhile!

I don't manage to check out the greater interwebs often, but every once in a while I come across something sweet.  Today Dave from Miniwargaming emailed me a link to a contest video by Austin from Brush 4 Hire, and I wanted to share it here on the blog.  

In his video, he is advertising a contest where the grand prize is a 1500 point army painted by his service!  The models are donated by Dave and Matt from Miniwargaming.  

Here is the video:

So please take a look, and give Austin some props!

Also, Dave from MWG asked me to join their "Vault" community and I happily agreed after taking a quick look at some of the other guys on the list such as Blue Table Painting.  I have nothing but respect for the work they do and was honored to be part of the community.  I will be doing a weekly half hour show on Tuesdays at 8pm EST, but you have to be part of their Vault to see it!  

Tune in next week to the free live show on MWG. So far I have been painting Lamenters and talking Blood Angels. It is pretty fun!  

More to come...


The Assault Marine Part 2!

Hey guys!

So there was a pretty good discussion the other day about Blood Angels assault marines as allies and I wanted to do a continuation of that thread for review.

First of all, I am sure there are better points use for allies but here is what I came up with:

This is a copy/paste from my comment section. I am replying to a question about bikers to begin.

The important part here is where I break down points costs and why BA RAS are a great troops choice in 6th Ed, especially as allies.

I did a lot of play testing a bike squad with priest. The result was underwhelming all the time. The squad is hugely expensive, and once combat is in place, it is still only one attack per model. If they could all take plasma guns, then yah bikes, but you only get two per squad plus SGT upgrades. In the end it is a very expensive pair of plasma guns that at best will tie up an enemy assault squad for a bit, provided that the enemy unit is not a dedicated assault unit. 

Here is a little comparison to show the strength of BA assault squads. I have created two units as identical as possible including 10 men and an attached IC.

x10 marines
plasma pistol
power fist
chaplain with JP
reroll hits on charge
non scoring
355 points

Blood Angels:
x10 marines
MELTA GUN (not an option for vanilla)
Sanguinary Priest with JP and Power Maul(to keep it even)
Furious Charge
possibly fearless
reroll ALL hits with librarian buff

35 less points and way more effective!


Some one had commented comparing vanilla assault marines with BA.  So I created two units on army builder creating the same unit as close as possible, with an attached IC.  I used a chaplain and a priest since they were probably the closest in nature. You can immediately see the goodness of the BA assault marine!  

Some of the things that jump out at me are the fact that a BA RAS can have two specials, with the options being Melta, Flamer or Plasma guns while the Vanilla only gets one, and a plasma pistol (I think it was on the sgt?), and no Melta or Plasma gun option. 

So the point here is that you take this blood angels squad I have above, add another, and a Librarian with JP and you have a brutal group of nasties for 765 points.  This is the perfect allied compliment to a Space Marine army who has cheap fire power like Thunder Fires and interesting options like useful Captains or named characters and different Libby powers.  (The Blood Angels captain is a joke).  You can also throw in a Storm Raven which is one of the best flyers still.  

In summary, if you are playing Marines, and want some assault goodness, don't bother with the Marine codex, play Blood Angels.  1200 points of the best that the Marine codex has to offer supported by 800 points of the best the Bloods have to offer enhances both. And THAT is the point of allies folks!


The perfect gaming store?

Hey folks!

My friend Justin Zimmerman over at Gamer's Gambit  in Saddlebrook, NJ asked me a question:

If you do not mind taking the time, what would a perfect game store be like? What would it have? What would it NOT have? In your opinion and what you think most of the gamers out there are looking for. Thanks

I figured I would throw this one out to you all to give him some great feedback!

First, this question is a lot of responsibility for little ole me to answer alone.  :)

What do I think all gamers out there want?  

Well first is good tables and terrain.  Most guys will play on any thing, but players really appreciate being able to play on a pretty table that is not just a bunch of foam insulation boards all chipped and broken set up on a folding cafeteria table with some unpainted cities of death terrain and craters.  This might not pop out as a huge deal, but tables are usually one of the first things people talk about when they reference good, or bad GTs.  "Oh the tables sucked!" 

Mechanicon has the best table I have played on at any GT and they are proud of that distinction!

How many? That is up to a store's space. One particularly nice setup I have seen is at Brothers Grimm on Long Island.  They have two long rows of tables that run the length of the store, that are raised fairly high so that us out of shape dudes don't have to constantly bend over a low table.  The tables there serve double purpose since they work well for Card Games as well as 40k.

Another good thing about those tables is that there is usually space below them to store our stuff on shelves. You can never have enough space to put your transports and army displays!

I say six dedicated gaming tables should be a goal. That allows for a 12 man tournament of 40k, or that can accommodate probably 24 card gamers. Then space for more break down tables allowing for a 30 man tournament.

It is every gamer's gutt instinct to say "Couches with Xbox" when thinking about what should be in a game store. But I disagree. Truth is, whenever I have been to a store that had these things, I have found it mildly annoying! Unlike 40k, video games are uninteresting and actually annoying to watch.  Plus the guys playing them are enraptured in their own little worlds, way more so than table top games.  They put their back to the room and enter their zone just like they do in their moms basement. And while it would be nice to sit and drink scotch with my gamer buddies and talk 40k on a comfy couch, that is not the case as they are uber camped by 12 year olds eating chips, spilling soda and treating the space like some one is there to clean up after them.

Mike Clark from Showcase Comics in Media, PA put it into words. The couch attracts the wrong crowd. It takes up retail space and populates the store with guys who are not spending money who are more likely to loaf around as they have a comfortable place to park. But worse, creates a situation where your store is providing daycare for free, and on top of that, when walk ins come in, they get turned off by the rowdy crowd associated with it.  I concur on all counts.

That is not saying that Xbox does not have a place in a gaming store, especially if that store has a used game market.

A discount program?  Stores don't like hearing this, but when gamers run the numbers, it is very tempting to use guys like Spikey Bitz who offer a 20% discount with no tax vs paying full price in a local store plus tax. I used to break it down by box sets. I could buy a Land Raider and two assault squads at the LGS or I could go online and buy a Land Raider and THREE assault squads. Pretty easy decision for most folks!

No that doesn't mean you should just throw a discount at every gamer that walks in though. Dean at Clockwork Comics in Orange, CT has a gamers club.  I believe there is nominal yearly fee, and you have to maintain a couple of comic subscriptions, but if you do you get a 20% discount off 40k and Warmachine.

The details are unimportant. What does matter is that a game store can use this approach and individualize it for their own distinct population.  Gaming ETC. in Stratford, CT offers a flat 10% discount to every one.  Bottom line is that our addiction breaks us, and while we want to support our LGS by shopping there exclusively, I believe you would be hard pressed to find a handful of adult gamers who do not save their big purchases for the interwebs and instead exclusively pay full price at the LGS.

Separate gaming area and retail area. It is annoying to try to shop or browse a store that is full of gamers. I have played at tournaments where we were lined up tight against the clamshell racks. Every time I turned around I was knocking a blister off a hook.  What made it worse was shoppers asking me to let them pass through the space.  "I'm playing a game here!"  I have walked into a store as a shopper to find they were running a Yu Gi Oh tournament.... and just turned around and walked out.

Noise control.  Thats right. install noise dampening materials on the walls and ceiling. Sound baffles to redirect the echos, etc.  Some places get so loud that you simply cannot hear the guy across from you while you are playing. That sucks. Especially if you are playing three games in a day. You leave wanting to die.  And don't play music over a sound system. Even cool stuff like the Conan soundtrack. It just adds to the noise.

Stock.  I dislike when I go to a store to buy something I need, like a Chimera I need for a tournament in two days, and they are out of stock.  Then the next time it is a terminator squad. The next time a speeder. Eventually you just stop trying to go to the store and instead drive further to the next one.

Whatever it is, have it in stock.  More people will come to the store that has the reputation for always having what you want.  Sorry store owners but "I don't have it but I can order it for you" is just not good enough in this case.  I think just about 100% of the time whenever I have heard that I declined and just went and ordered it myself.

I know I know, it is impossible to keep EVERYTHING in stock. But you did ask what I thought a perfect store was like!  But you should endeavor to try. At least push for what you are known for. If you are a 40k store, your 40k stock should be complete. Skimp on the warmachine and even the fantasy, but if some one comes looking for a Tau Broadside, or Space Marine Chaplain with Jump Pack blister, it should be there.

This is especially important for hobby supplies like spray primer and plastic glue.  Always have them. And more than just GW. Army Painter makes nice primers and there are several other brands of glue.  Always have at least one can stored away so you can please that guy who NEEDS IT NOW!  He will definitely come back next time.

Dedicated space for RPGs.  Set up a comfortable area off in the back for Dungeons and Dragons and make sure there is a place for the DM to get set up with his stuff, and 6 to 8 players to sit comfortably.

Cool stuff, like Jawa-Banners! Every store needs a Jawa-Banner!  :)  But shameless plugs aside, make your store unique. Decorate it with banners, artwork and suits of armor that add the cool factor.  Rob Baer at Spikey Bitz has a suit of Storm Trooper armor standing in his store, and a Jawa-banner on the wall!  Cool!

:) I am sitting here chuckling to myself.

From here I will open this up to the readers. Feel free to chime in here peeps. Lets give Justin some good feedback on this great question.

By the way I have Comment Moderation on to silence the douchebags. Be patient, your comment will post as soon as I get to it!


The Assault Marine

So in the new era of Allies, is there a better ally to take (If you are Imperial of course) than Blood Angels Assault Marines? Or a better question, is there any thing else worth taking in the BA codex?

First of all, your basic allied detachment for Blood Angels.

Librarian with JP
x2 Ten man assault squad with meltas and/or flamers and Power Weapons
1 Sanguinary priest with PW and JP.

This is about 660 points, but brings a whole lot of hurt to the table!  First of all, they are troops, but also, feel no pain and furious charge hurts, add to that Divination and the ability to give the entire squad reroll to hits, and possibly a 4+ invul save, and you are talking just nasty.

Further, in 6th Edition, with the ability to take armor saves vs Dangerous Terrain tests, and FNP, assault marines are now able to jump in and out of terrain without fear.

Even further, if you are able to line it up, the Hammer of Wrath is sweet!  Blood Angels assault marines are truly ferocious.

For about 600 points, what other better options are there? (That are Battle Brothers)

Chime in!


The Walking Dead...

I have missed a couple posts.

Mostly this is due to an almost speechless stance!  I just don't know what to say.

But lets start with the last episode, and the music.  Bear McCreary. During the opening scenes of the first season, I took a moment to listen to the music... it was oddly familiar yet hard to identify. Then I nailed it. It was Bear McCreary. I only needed the opening credit sequence to confirm it.

In case you don't know who he is, think Battlestar Galactica, the reboot.  (One of the best shows ever)

That show did not just earn that title on the merits of the drama and acting...

Bear McCreary was the episodic composer for every show except the mini series where he was just a subordinate.  But I am going to go out on a limb and throw this out here... you would be hard pressed to find a better all around television series sound track... any where.

Any one who cares to contest that statement please refer to:

and please provide a more beautiful composition to come from a TV series. Play the song and listen while you read... I guarantee you will play it again!

So why do I bring up Bear?

Well he nailed it in this last episode. The scenes of Rick and co. hiding behind the car skulking up on the town would not have been half as good without Bear's steady tension flow in the background, tieing in the simultanious scenes at the prison and inside the town with Andrea and the Gov.  Bear is a master at this.

And being a fan of his style, I feel that I get an even deeper appreciation for the show.  Next time you are watching it... stop for a second and focus on the music. Then think, are you having an emotional reaction to the acting or action, or are you reacting to the subtle soundtrack in the background... almost telling a story on it's own...

Here is more:

I dare you not to listen to that again.

If you get a chance to go back... take a listen to what is going on during the scenes that Rick is confronting Shane, Sophia is coming out of the barn, or Rick is screwing with the phone.  Or Carl is about to off his mother. Or when Daryl is putting the Cherokee rose on the grave, or finding Carol, or looking for Sophia.  You will find themes and binding movements. I have not had a chance to research it, but I bet if you listen back to season one, you will find the music playing in the background of the scene where Carl shot his mom, it will probably be a darker and more edgy version of whatever theme was playing when we first met the kid. Take a look!  I will add it to my bucket list.

In BSG you caught constant recurring themes behind the characters. Adama and Lee, Adama and Roslyn, Kara, Chief!  Every one had their themes and Bear spliced them together based on who was on screen and mixed them with the main themes of the show creating a work of beauty.

Hah, I just did a youtube search for Bear McCreary Walking dead and found this... no shit.  Im a freaking genius:

Bear sums up the point I was just making. Themes coming together making a darker and more gripping product.

Would the scene in the first season where Rick puts down the walker in the park with no legs been as powerful without this?

Ok. Maybe I had a little much to drink and I was feeling all emotional. :)

A little more... Bear sorta robs this from 28 Days Later, but it is still great:

So any way, the episodes.  I just havn't had a lot to say!  There is little to infer and little to evaluate. The show has sadly taken a turn away from the mental drama where words have many meanings and friends are poised against friends, (Lori, Shane and Rick) and set up a world where we now have a clear cut black and white.  It has sort of become an action movie... standard awesome but not outstanding SciFi.. .stuff.

We have The Governor. We think he is bad, but the show spells it out for us by showing us so.  I wish they would have let him ride a bit longer and made us think more.  You actually start to think that he is not so bad, but then right away they let you in on his fucked up nature as if there is they are trying to tell a story in 90 minutes.

Then we have Andrea and The Gov. What exactly has this dude done to seduce her?  You mean that a few attempts at getting her drunk and spewing evasive humor was all it took? At least with Shane he put her in a life or death situation and got her all worked up.  The Gov just sat there staring at the ground in a garden and let the plants woo her. Maybe he planted some mystical spanish fly flowers.

Glen and Merl... I LOVED the scene with Glen in the basement vs the walker. I think it showed a lot about the kind of person Glen has become. It was touched on when he tried to talk to Rick in the prison while Rick was going mad, glen tried to be emotional and got pushed away. Well, here Glen went into a dark spot of his own.  Perhaps this will tie him closer to Rick than he was before?

But before that came the scene when Glen had Merl in his sights, and Merl was not yet armed.  There came a point, especially when Merl was fumbling for his gun tucked in his pants, that Glen should have put him down. If you watch the scene, Merl digging that 45 out of his trousers took at least 3 seconds.  Glen could have shot him 9 times.  All I can say is I pity the next fool that tries to draw on Glen!

How about the scene in the guys cabin?  What the hell was with the dead dog? Perhaps the guy was eating it.. .but the guy was a hunter.. .or seemed to be. He would have known that it was better to gut, skin and hang the meat rather than let it sit there.  I loved when Michone skewered him though.. .and the guys could only sit and look in sorta shock followed by acceptance.  Great scene.  You do what you gota do!  The convict didn't flinch though!

The almost rape scene on Maggie.... You could feel the tension and pain... it was almost too graphic to talk about.  By pain I mean that Maggie who not long ago was still sheltered living on Daddies Farm was now accepting that she was about to be violated in this cold new world she lived in.

There is not a whole lot more to say. The lines have been drawn. We now have clear cut heroes and bad guys. We have clear cut arching sequence and traditional drama.  We have a wonderfully created show in the same way that Titanic was a wonderfully created movie. We have every thing that makes Avatar, Braveheart and Aliens great movies. But at what cost... I almost find myself longing for the farm... or the quarry...


DaBoyz GT!

Ok Folks, sorry this took so long to get posted, but it has been sitting in queue over at Bell of Lost Souls for quite some time, so I figured they didn't want it and I would post it up here instead.

Jawaballs here!

WARNING: Pic Heavy post.

I just had the pleasure of attending DaBoyz GT in Rochester, NY and thought I would share some of the experience with you!

DaBoyz has been around for several years, and in the past I have always avoided it because it was proudly a comp heavy tournament.  In case you don't know what that means, "comp" refers to army composition. The tournament had rules in place which restricted what units you could play, or penalized you for playing certain combinations.

The goal was to promote more fair army lists and avoid some of the abusive cut throat lists that we see popping up all over the place and usually end up fighting it out for first after leaving a trail of bloodied "fluff" players in their wake.

I admire the intentions, but don't agree with being told what I can or can't play in a tournament. At DaBoyz, playing named characters was a no no and I believe playing two of them was illegal. The army I painted for The Nova Open 2011 with the intention of just putting pretty models on the table and contending for "best painted" would have been illegal at DaBoyz and overall that army had a losing record!

You didn't have to follow the comp suggestions, but failing to do so pretty much meant you had no chance of winning DaBoyz.  Some dudes defiantly went any way with nasty lists. Sometimes slaughtering all comers just to finish not even in the top five, some doing much worse.

To their credit, they were always transparent in this regard which is something I very much respect. I chose not to go because I disagreed with the rules, and it amazed me when guys that did go, despite the rules, complained about it and posted up negative press.

DaBoyz developed a devoted following none the less.

However you feel about comp, and for good or for poor, this year it did not matter. DaBoyz dropped their comp requirements. Mostly due to the unknown nature of 6th edition.  As Mike Brandt pointed out for The Nova, this fall was the Wild West in the 40k GT circuit. It would be too difficult to assign comp scores when no one knows what is unfair, or at least more unfair than any thing else.

Jay Woodcock and Shuan Kemp, the primary organizers, suggested I come check it out in light of articles I had written in the past about my comp feelings and their decision to drop it. So I agreed! Plus Goatboy and Brent went last year and I was hoping to meet up with them again. (they didn't go this year... sad face)

So off I went, packing up Brother Captain James and Bobby Sinnott of Battle for Salvation, and making the nearly seven hour drive.

This year DaBoyz was scored using a max of 348 possible points. 198 were battle points (six games at 33 points max a piece), while paint and sportsman were 80 and 60 respectively and there were ten bonus points for turning in your list early.

The GT ran fairly smooth and on time.  But it was a very relaxed affair, and almost seemed as if they were "winging" it.  It was too loose. This may have suited them well in the more jovial format they used in the past where sportsmanship and fluff were encouraged over competition, but in a situation where the rules were opened up you can be sure that the WAAC players would be making their presence known. You can't have lax rules with them around because people get their pants in a hissy.

In my opinion, things could have been tightened up a bit.  I was talking to Shuan Kemp and referenced Mike Brandt's running of The Nova. I know that DaBoyz is no Nova, and nor should it be, but Mike can definitely be used as an example of some one who runs a good event.

First, Mike predicted as many rules issues as possible and printed rulings for them, pointing out which established FAQ's were in play, and writing his own for certain circumstances.  He used the internet to get feedback to make these rulings as comprehensive as possible.

Like it or not, he left little to be debated at the start of The Nova. Smart move.

 Mike also has a team of generals who handle things like rules disputes. When there were issues, the low ranking rules judges would solve them, or pass it up the line to the rules general while Mike focused on being "The Face" of The Nova. Only if it was something extraordinary did the issue go all the way up to Mike, and in those cases, he decided with finality. But almost never made a direct response, but rather funneled it down through chain of command. The TO should be fairly hands off when it comes to the many small things that pop up. At DB, the TO Shaun was routinely forced to make rulings at individual tables. This sort of pits the TO in an adversarial role which is something I advise against. When the TO is making all the rules calls, then there is going to be a large number of dudes who beef the TO!  Never a good thing.

Also, sometimes a rules judge would make a call, but the players would override him and drag the TO into it.

Other issues cropped up with the unclear rules.

For example, what happens when the round is nearing a close? What happens if there is only ten minutes left on the clock but one of the guys wants another turn? One player may need just another assault phase and is willing to forego his shooting and moving to get to it, so pressures his opponent to squeeze in another turn, forcing that opponent to rush his turn so the guy can zoom through to the only thing that matters to him. Most times this can be quick easy and fun to resolve! Like if two dudes are just playing for pride and want to resolve a combat between Dante and Calgar. A strict enforcement of the rules would not apply. But some times a guy may want to force another turn because he will have a pure advantage.  It is unfair to the other guy who may need more time to fairly consider his turn, rather than rush through

"Oh come on dude, we can fit in another round in three minutes!"

Or it goes another way. At DB in the 5th round one of the top tables started one last turn right before the clock ticked off and were allowed to play it out, not finishing their game for at least half an hour after dice down because at the end of regulation one of them was going to lose and felt that he could win if they had another turn.

These particular guys spent the first half hour of the game arguing about how rules work. I will pick up that particular argument on my blog! It was not fair to the other 74 guys who finished their game within the time allotted, some of them no doubt rushing to do so or ending in circumstances against their liking. Plus the guys inputting all the info to the computer do need time to sort out the next round...

There should b e a pre-established decision for this situation. I believe The Nova rules that no new turns are started within 15 minutes of rounds end. I don't know how BOLS does it at Wargamescon, but I'm sure it is something similar.

A clearly defined ranking of the officers, and a thorough set of printed rules are a must. I think we can all agree that a tight ship is a must for a proper GT. At least the TO of DaBoyz recognized this and filed it away for next year!

To be fair, I just spent more time writing about this situation than was actually used to resolve it and it was really something small, but it should not have come up at all.  I like to give examples of what I witness!

More Cons? Believe me they are few and minor.

The biggest one that I saw with DaBoyz was the venue. Inconvenient. And I will say this about every event that is held outside of the place where people are staying.  The event was held in a cafeteria at the University of Rochester. At first glance, this is not a bad thing, as there is a little food court right next door, and the venue was fairly nice. There was a good amount of space, and I have definitely seen more cramped tables at other GTs.  But this place was a few miles away from the hotel.  But also, the parking lot was a good ways away from the hall, and when it filled the overflow lot was even further.

At Mechanicon for example when it was held in PA, we were able to actually leave our armies in the room over night if we dared. The room was secure. (I left mine) At the very least we could haul our gear to our room and set up our models on our display, then carry it down to the room. We were not sure about security over night at DB so we had to pack up our armies in the transports and haul them out to the cars, back and forth into the hotel, etc.

This is mostly just an inconvenience though.  To me the real issue is the fractured group. I like to go to these things for the social aspect. And I'm not just talking about 40k in between games social. Shootin the shit while we wait for our next opponent. I am talking about really getting to know friends, like drinking Whiskey with Brandt or playing Talisman with Tony Spino until 3am.  I was sad when the games broke up on Saturday night, and most every one disappeared.  Some of the best times I have had at GTs was the after hours sitting at the hotel bar, or better yet, drinking beers right in the gaming room.  And frankly, these times are the primary reason I go to GTs to begin with.

I don't know for a fact, but I believe we were not officially allowed to drink at the hall.  I could have really used a few beers during game four!

One last complaint.

And I say this about every GT that goes more than five games.  Too many games.  In my experience, six to eight game GTs are just too much. Three games in one day is plenty. First, this gives us more time to be social. But also, that fourth game is rarely played with enthusiasm or fun.  I have to say I enjoyed my fourth game on Saturday, but it was obvious that both of us were ready to be finished, and in my opinion, that was clear with the guys to my left and right.

The organizers say that five games is not enough to declare a clear winner. Conflict GT, Nova and DaBoyz all said the same. However, Mechanicon which is a five game GT, never seems to have a problem figuring out who wins!  I forget where I saw this, but just have the players keep a victory point total for each game to use as a tie breaker. I believe that is one of the last tie breakers at Nova.  Tallying that much math for 8 games may be a chore since counting when you are that burned out is tough, but if there are only five games we can handle it much easier! Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing!

Oh and it was too close to Canada. Too many Canadians. :)  Just kidding my northern bruthas!



I referenced the laid back approach to DaBoyz. Well that happens to be one of it's best traits.  It is sort of refreshing to go to a GT and not have a bunch of guys yelling rules at you.  I don't remember where but I went to a GT where the judges were constantly shouting at the players for moving terrain because there was no place else for them to put their displays.  It became really annoying. At DaBoyz it was almost an atmosphere of "You are all adults and experienced, do the right thing."  And 99% of the guys do. It was a no sweat GT. If terrain got moved, we just moved it back. No need to get a judge to do it.

Another part of the atmosphere is the history of DaBoyz.  Having it's roots in a more fluffy approach, DaBoyz draws some hard core hobbiest players.  My first opponent, Ricky Johnson from Canada, had one of the prettiest Tau/Eldar armies I have ever seen. It was gorgeous, with all models uniquely Tau or Eldar, but at the same time, sharing a common theme.  It was a pleasure to play against that army. But also, it was amazingly deadly. This army was planned out to the model, and made the best use of points and combinations you could imagine. Every unit had a role and did it's job well, and the guy ended up taking third best overall, as well as being among the top three painted armies and scoring a lot of points for Player's Choice.  I think there were more breathtaking armies at this GT than any other I have ever been to.  Before game five they had us set up the top armies for display, and I counted at least a dozen armies that would have won best painted at any other GT.  Kudos!


Sure there were battle points. But DB rewards the hobby. The painter's and Sportemen who usually just get their basic points and no further reward for being outstanding at something other than beating face.

The paint score had it's basic rubric, but as an encouragement to be the best, the top ten got additional points above and beyond the rubric. Then to push it even further, the top three got even more! I believe the top three got 20 bonus points total.  That could be a huge swing, affecting the outcome of the top five players overall and I think made the difference this year.

The sportsman scoring was similarly beneficial. Instead of the standard "was your opponent on time, yes or no" checklist which usually left the winner of Sportsman up to a battle point tie breaker (a second best general), you ranked your opponents. They gave us a list and we wrote down our opponents names.  At the end of the event we ranked them, 1 through 6.  One being the best.  So if a dude managed to play six games and get all 1, then he was a truly good sport and deserved the win.  I don't know how the points broke down, but the range of sportsman scores went from 16 to 53.

Both of these aspects worked to make DaBoyz a better GT than most.

Venue!  Sure I listed it as a con, but the place was cool.  The room was huge, and had an upper catwalk type level that held more tables.  There was plenty of space. The tables themselves were a bit weak, in most cases just being some felt rolled out with terrain spread out, but the terrain was mostly good.  In only one game did I play on a terrain weak table, and I luckily got the one good ruin. The poor nid player had to charge his big bugs into my assault cannons with no cover. It did not go well for him.

There was a decent college food court attached to the building via tunnel. I felt like I was in school again for the fourth time!  It was nice to see something you don't usually see at a GT... girls! :)

Ahh college, how I miss thee.

DaBoyz was filled to the brim with great guys. I have to say that the quality of opponent has been improving steadily over the years. In the first couple years it was not uncommon to encounter some real jerks, but that is happening less and less.  The guys at DaBoyz break that rule.  There was a very small minority of "that guy" with the vast majority of guys being personable and friendly, if not well mannered while beating in my face.

Speaking of getting my face beat in, I finished three and three on the weekend, in 28th out of 76.  I was in the top ten for sportsman and fifth in painting. The latter two I consider great feats considering the huge amount of greats armies and dudes.

I will save the breakdown of all of my games for another time, but the short of it is that allies are here in force. 6th Ed is for sure The Wild Wild West and I honestly don't think there is ever going to be a single codex "Leafblower" again.

As I said, my first opponent was playing a Tau/Eldar list. Previously both armies would have been laughed off the table at a major GT. Occasionally one of them would slip into the top three or even win, but mostly they were forgotten xenos races. Well, 6th Ed has ushered in a resurgence of both.

Hers are some pics of Ricky Johnson's  beautiful and deadly army.

He had some sweet conversions and my pics don't do the army justice.  He also integrated the Tau and Dar nicely, painting them differently but utilizing the same theme.  Well done..

Here are some more pics of other armies.

A Lamenters player at his first tournament with his 
first army. Brutal choice!

My ramshackle army!

Very nice spinning display.

Best Painted Eldar

I loved this Land Raider

I hate Orks but props to these beautiful models

What the...

Ben (Do we need to bother
with his last name?) 
was in the house, taking Best General of course

Look for many more pics when I do batreps on my blog!

I think DaBoyz was an outstanding GT.  The armies were above average, most of the players were extremely well behaved, every thing ran smooth, and the TOs were definitely concerned about every one getting the most out of their weekend. They can use some spit and polish as they convert from a primarily fluffy GT to a more competitive one, but overall have a very laid back and refreshing atmosphere. 

I was not thrilled with the venue, but I want to add that DaBoyz supports the RU college gaming group and sends a lot of money towards charity.  It is definitely NOT run for profit, which cannot be said of some other GTs.  They probably got a really good deal on it. Can't beat that!  I would still prefer a self contained hotel, or at least a bar in the room!

While I was driving home I found myself grumbling about not wanting to return because of the LONG drive for me, just about 7 hours, but once I got over that, I found myself already planning my army for next year and looking forward to seeing Shaun and Jay again!  So long as next years date does not conflict with The Mechanicon, I will be there!  

Be sure to check MY BLOG often for my weekly The Walking Dead reviews, pics of my armies, batreps and more.

More to come...