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Saturday, 11 May 2013

Mantic Open Day 2013 - Tournament Report

Today was the Mantic Open Day, held in Nottingham in one of the most unusual venues I've seen for an event like this. We were in a disused NHS surgery that had been fairly comprehensively stripped of anything that could have been considered useful. The Dreadball Tournament (the reason I was there) was in the main reception area, the shop area was in a storeroom, Mantic CEO Ronnie Renton was holding seminars in on of the reception offices while the other reception office was being used for Deadzone demonstrations. The highlight (pun very much intended) was the Warpath participation game that they had set up in what I think was an old exam room; the room itself had been stripped of its light fittings so the whole game was illuminated by a single spotlight set up in one corner of the room. Made it very atmospheric, but I'm not sure that was intentional!
Corporation troops defend a fortified position at twilight (well, sort of)
All in all it was a very weird setting, it felt a bit like we were gaming in a squat. None of this stopped it being an excellent event though.

One thing that really struck me was just how quick to play Kings of War is. I backed this on Kickstarter, I love the miniatures and I really like the look of the rules but I haven't had a chance to actually play it yet. Mantic had set up a 16ft table packed with miniatures on both sides. If we tried doing something like this at the club using Warhammer the game would take all day and we'd still run out of time. Mantic ran the whole thing in about 3 hours and were set up for another game after lunch! I need to give this game a try sometime.
The battlefield for the Kings of War game
Orcs with battle elephants - great idea

As far as the tournament goes, I started out great and got steadily worse as the day went on. I had intended to run a human team using the new Void Sirens list from Season 2, but after getting the models painted up last week I chickened out at the last minute and went with my Orx and Goblins, the Obliterators,  since they're the only team I have any experience with. My first game was against a Forge Fathers team (I'll apologize to my opponents now, as I've forgotten all of your names). This really couldn't have gone better, I battered his team into the floor and basically controlled the pitch all game. The lack of speed from a Forge Fathers team makes it easy to play around them, and this really was a landslide. My opponent admitted he'd only played a handful of games before but he took the result very well and was great sport. Plus his team will look great once he's painted the rest of them.
The Obliterators face off in their first game of the day

My second game was against a human team and was a lot more hard fought. I managed to get 3 of my Orx killed, but hung in there and fought back. In the end, time got called on the game while we were in the middle of sudden-death overtime and the final result was a draw. A fair result for an excellent game.

My third game was more humans, this time an opponent I'd faced before at the tournament at Hammerhead in February using the Void Sirens list and . In fact this was exactly the team I'd been considering bringing. I had an absolute nightmare of a game; everything I attempted seemed to fail, I had players who refused to get up off the floor for several turns, 2 Orx killed and one ejected from the game. In the end, I was lucky not to have lost by more than I did although I was actually in the running right up until the final turn and could have won if my last couple of dice rolls had worked out.

Finally, I had another standard human team. This time from the Starktech corporation wearing standard-issue red and gold armour. I had a great time in this game, hammered my opponent into the floor, got a couple of kills and was looking good for the win. Then I lost. Things really can shift that quickly in Dreadball, a couple of good dice rolls and the right cards played can see the ball down the far end of the pitch in the blink of an eye. Even my opponent didn't realise he'd won until I pointed it out. Unfortunately it appears I didn't grab any photos of this team.

End result, 1 win, 1 draw and 2 losses. Better than my last tournament, but this time I hadn't killed enough opponents to get the "Most Violent Coach" award. Apparently this is going to be an annual event, so I will definitely be back next year.
Mix of Dreadball and Deadzone models on display

In addition to the Dreadball, I got a chance to see Deadzone in action. The game looks really interesting, it doesn't play like any other wargame I've played before now. It's a bit boardgame-like, but in a good way. Really looking forward to this one. Plus the models look amazing.
I hadn't realised just how big the first generation Plague models were until I saw one in the flesh...

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