Sunday, 22 September 2013

Judge Dredd Miniatures - Tournament Report

A couple of weeks ago we ran our first Judge Dredd tournament at the club, and when I say "we" I actually mean "I" since this was my project and my first time ever organising a tournament like this.

This was to be a combination tournament/campaign day, a mini tournament in the morning leading to a big multi-player game in the afternoon that would be directly influenced by the results of the tournament. Somewhat rashly I offered to provide all the additional miniatures required for the big game. This would include a horde of zombies, the Dark Judges themselves and the leading defenders of Mega City One (Dredd, Anderson et al). I later came to regret this promise.

In anticipation of my usual level of organisational skill I booked the week before the tournament off from work, so that I would have the time needed to paint up all the miniatures I had failed to paint in the run-up. With one thing and another this turned out to be most of them, but in the space of a week I managed to paint the following:

84 Zombies (only half of what I'd bought but more than enough for the game)
One Zombie mistress, plus a repaint on an old vampire model to serve the same purpose
One zombie Judge
All 4 Dark Judges and their spirit forms
Judges Anderson, Giant, DeMarco and Dekker
One Judge in holocaust armour
One rookie Judge
Mean Machine Angel

Not a bad little haul really.

When it came to the Dark Judges I had a minor crisis, I'd been waiting for the models from Mongoose to arrive. I'd got these as part of my rewards for supporting their Kickstarter and when I'd first planned to run the event it seemed certain that they'd arrive in plenty of time. Now the day drew closer and there were delays after delays until it seemed like they were finally going to arrive just a few days after the event. So at the last minute I mail ordered a set of the miniatures from Wargames Foundry, they're nice but they never did one for Judge Fear and they didn't do the spirit forms (although I had an idea for an alternative paint job which meant I bought 2 sets). On the Tuesday before the event, both sets of Dark Judges fell through the letterbox in the same post. I went with the Mongoose miniatures in the end, but I guess it shows I was panicking for nothing.

The Dark Judges - we have arrived (in the nick of time)
Anyway, on to the day of the event. We had allowed for up to 14 players based on the level of interest expressed at other events and I got there early to set the hall up accordingly. In the end we only got half that number, mostly club members who were regulars in our campaign, and I wound up playing in order to even up the numbers. With 8 players split into 2 factions it meant that everybody would wind up playing each player from the opposing faction and I was able to ensure that nobody played more than one game on any one table.

With a hastily cobbled together force of Renegade Robots (we figured they'd get on well with Judge Death, both groups want the "fleshy ones" dead) my first game was against Arfon. He'd come down as a guest of Adrian's, one of our regulars, and this was going to be his first ever game of JDMG. So my robots lined up against his borrowed force of Judges, with their mission being to eliminate the highest ranking Judge. Long story short, I failed. I'd love to blame beginner's luck, or bad dice rolls, but the fact of the matter is I made mistakes and just got outplayed by the rookie. However the other Justice Department players all lost their games, which left Arfon in the lead in the tournament and things looking grim for Mega City One.

Game 2 was against Rich and his very colourful Citi-Def, who had travelled up from Welwyn Garden City for the event. This was the Raid scenario, Rich had one model deployed on my side of the table and I had to stop him escaping. Which my combat droid did with style, right at the last minute, with a sniper round to the back of the head. So I had a win, and the bigger picture wasn't looking too good for the Judges as once again only Arfon had managed a win this round.
Rich's Citi-Def - photo stolen from the Mongoose forums
Game 3 was against Andy Miller, one of my regular opponents using Cheif Judge Cal's Personal retinue. I was up against a brainwashed Street Judge, a Klegg and the big man Cal himself. This was the Heist scenario, with Cal and his retinue trying to escape a building in the centre of the table with my robots trying to stop them. My combat droid provided covering fire while my robodogs ran into the building to flush out the defenders. It all degenerated into one big melee in the building and at the end, only the Klegg was left standing. He threw himself out of the window in an attempt to get away from my combat droid and succeeded too, fleeing the table with my droid in hot pursuit.

Game 4 was against another regular club opponent, Mike Whitaker and his Judges on a Lawmaster. You can read his account of the day here. We both took early casualties and the game degenerated into his Judge and my combat droid facing each other and trying to blast east other, suffice it to say that bike-cannon beat sniper rifle in this case.

So one win from 4 games, which left me firmly at the bottom of the table for the bad guys while Adrian went undefeated and finished the day with a perfect score. For the Justice Department Arfon had managed to hold onto the lead by the slimmest of margins (only 4 points separating 1st place from 3rd).

Me awarding Adrian with his trophy, photo courtesy of Mike.
Arfon winning a trophy, first time out.

And so we were onto the big game, a variant on the Zombie Apocalypse scenario. The bad guys each had access to a Zombie Horde force in addition to their regular tournament force, while the defenders got additional reinforcements. Both sides had access to some of the major personalities from Mega City One. The Dark Judges had Judges Death, Fear and Fire, while I had to make do with Mean Machine (a much lower level character as befitted my performance on the day, but also one of my favourite characters from the comic). The Justice Department had Judges Dredd, Anderson and Giant, while Arfon availed himself of the Judge in holocaust armour.

Mega City One in all its glory
We had a 16' table set up, representing the edge of Mega City One leading into the ruins left following the Apocalypse War. I would up facing off against Rich on one flank, supported by Judge Giant and Arfon's Mechanismo Droid. Mean Machine and the robodogs lead the charge, with Mean going up to 4 after he took a couple of hits and pulverizing one of the Citi-Def. He then went on a bit of a rampage, headbutting Judge Giant into the middle of next prog before trying the same on Dredd and coming up a bit short.

Mean Machine leads the charge across the wasteland
while Judge Fear watches on
Meanwhile Judge Cal managed to successfully arrest Judge Fear - he can arrest judges, Fear is a Judge, we actually ran this one past Matt from Mongoose and he didn't see a problem, but I happen to know that this has been reworded in the new edition of the rulebook so we may be the only ones to ever get to see this particular loophole in action. Judge Fire was eliminated by Judge Anderson, with assistance from a healthy dose of bike cannon fire. The holocaust judge was swarmed by zombies and brought down. Things were just shaping up for a showdown between Anderson and Death when we had to end the game due to time constraints. In the end, we ruled it a narrow win for the forces of darkness, but everyone agreed it would have been good to see how it turned out.

On the whole, I'm very pleasantly surprised with how smoothly everything ran. Everyone had fun, every game seemed to be enjoyable and I think it's agreed that we're going to do this again. Though I may try to be a bit more orgainsed for the next one.

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