24 February 2014

Store Championship 2014- Armored Gopher (2/22/14)

So as y'all know, I got to play in a Store Championship this past Saturday. I'm going to spend a few days talking about it as there's quite a lot of material I want to share with you. Today, I want to talk about the competitors, tomorrow I'll talk about the lists Sean and I ran and how well they performed in the matches. 

It was not nearly this sunny- I forgot to take a pic of the store, so I got this from their G+.

Last we'd seen on their site, the Store Championship for X-Wing was to start at 12:00pm with registration starting at 11:00am. Sean had already pre-registered us, so we rolled in around 11:30 and found there'd been some confusion about the starting time. I guess on their Facebook they'd stated the SC was to start at 11am. In any case, there were like 6 of us there including Sean and I, so once we rolled in and wandered around staring for a bit, the Tournament Organizer got the ball rolling and paired us up. 

My first opponent was a guy named Robert- 

Robert's a super good guy. And by good guy, I mean he's a huge Star Wars fan and also a dedicated dad much like yours truly. How dedicated is the guy? He has his kids' names and birthdays tattooed on his forearms in Aurbesh. That's right. If that doesn't make him the effin' man right there, I don't know what does. 

"Did anybody bring mats with them? No? Ok. We'll use some green felt(?!?!?)"

Robert was rolling a 3-Ship Rebel list featuring Wedge, Luke, and Biggs. I was running a 4 TIE Advanced list and commented that I felt like a poser flying Imperials with an Alliance tattoo on my chest. He laughed and said he felt the same as he has a Gear on his right shoulder. 

We had a solid game with only a little bumping and grinding. In the end, I managed to wipe the Rebel terrorists and moved on with a handshake to my next opponent. 

My second match was against a guy who (I think) worked at AG named Kevin. As our game went until time was called, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of Kevin, but here's a shot of his arm and part of his Godzilla T-Shirt. Kevin was also a nice guy who said he'd been playing a ton of Star Trek Attack Wing lately and was a fellow vaper.

Kevin was also using Biggs, Wedge, and Luke. He managed to off 2 of my Advanced while still having three of his ships on the table, then I went on a nice little run that culminated in those remaining Advanced flying around with 1 hull point each for like 30 minutes. Highlight of the match for me was a 2-hit Range 3 Primary shot that jacked a Focused Wedge for his last two Hull Points. If you didn't quite hear me, I took two attack dice and offed a ship with three Defense dice and a Focus to roll. It just goes to show kids, it's like Wayne Gretzky said- "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

In the end, it was a lightly cooked Luke I think, still left for him and my single Advanced running away as much as possible which resulted in a Modified Win on points for Kevin. 

My last match was against the eventual Store Champion, Nick, so you kinda know already how our match turned out. 

Yeah. So he didn't get that plaque because I beat him... :) 

Nick was running a classic TIE Swarm featuring Howlrunner, Dark Curse, and five Academy Pilots. For somebody who claimed to have only started playing X-Wing a little while ago, he sure flew it well! It was kismet that Nick won 1st since the 1st place plaque and card box featured the Dark Curse pilot card artwork and he was the only guy who was actually using Dark Curse in his squadron at the tournament. 

Nick was also a super nice guy and while I managed to get him to fly into the rocks and disrupt his formation and stuff, I just couldn't ever really capitalize on any of the collisions or lost Actions. Long story short? Nick pushed all four of my Advanced away without losing a single ship. I managed to land hits on a few of them, but couldn't produce any substantial results. 

All in all, I had a great time Saturday. I ended up tying for 4th place which got me one of those cool acrylic range rulers and we all got that alt art Ten Numb card. Sean came in 2nd, which earned him the swag I got and also a Rebel themed card box. He very nearly beat Nick losing by only three points when the game was called on time. 

We all hung around and talked for a bit after the match and really probably could have spent another hour or two talking X-Wing and stuff, but I was starving as we'd eaten at like 9:30am that morning and things wrapped up around 5:30pm, so Sean and I said our goodbyes, split, and got some grub. 

Before we left though, I got to meet another reader of TMB.com named Bill who had emailed me awhile back when I first mentioned the AG Store Championship. Bill and his pal were in the store playing some X-Wing, but weren't interested in the tournament itself and completed the clean sweep of super nice players I met at AG on Saturday. I wished we could have hung out and talked more as everyone was so cool and interesting to chat with, but there just wasn't time during the tournament. I swear, if my time ever frees up on the weekends, I need to go on like a Metal Bikini tour of mid-west gaming joints just to meet and hangout with some of y'all in your game shops. 

After we got back to Sean's, it was still relatively early so we decided to play some other games. First up was Small World which Sean had brought to the Regional last summer, but we didn't have time to play it then. That game is kinda like X-Wing in that it's fairly easy to grasp the rules, but there's a deep end of the pool level of gameplay strategy that makes it surprisingly fun and cerebral. Sean won, but the highlight for me was rolling the extremely light (I'm talking like made out of balsa wood or something here) die and having it actually come to rest on it's corner as the conjunction of patterned tablecloth and extremely light die resulted in the most awesome of physics results.

That's right folks- I rolled a d6 that came to rest on its corner. And yes, I was all like, "Do NOT move- I gotta get a picture of this!"

After Small World, I ran out to the car and broke out my copy of Elder Sign. Ben and I play Elder Sign over Hangouts sometimes when we don't have the time or gumption to break out everything necessary to play X-Wing, but Sean has yet to acquire a copy so he was curious to check it out. If you've never played Elder Sign, it's a cooperative game from FFG who also makes a boardgame called Arkham Horror. Elder Sign is kinda like a lighter, faster Arkham Horror, if you're familiar with AH. If you dig Lovecraft and want a coop game that's relatively quick and fun to play even alone, check it out sometime. It's also available in a pretty authentic form for iOS and Android

Sean rolled Mandy Thompson and Sister Mary, I went with Jenny Barnes and Amanda Sharpe. We managed to seal up ol' Yig in like seven turns, which was pretty amazing and lead to me repeatedly saying, "Well, that hardly ever happens." Obviously, my old Elder Sign nemesis, The Curator, never came out.

For serious- if you're not running Harvey Wallbanger and this dude shows up just go ahead and start putting the game away. Also cursing. 

Good times and a fun way to end a long day of gaming fun!

Can't say enough good things about the tournament, the store, and the participants. The guys I played against were knowledgeable of the rules, didn't waste time, and exemplified great sportsmanship that X-Wing Miniatures players in general are known for. Folks were also well impressed with my Urban Lasercraft templates and tokens. As I told the folks who commented on them at the tournament, Will from UL was running a special at one time that if you mentioned TMB.com in your PayPal comments when you placed your order, you got some free stuff. I don't know if he's still doing that, but I'd sure give it a shot if you decide to buy. The link above takes you to his store page, this link takes you to my review of the tokens, and this link is to the templates. Both have a whole bunch of pictures and whatnot.

When I made it back to Evansville today, I was telling my folks about the tournament as they were at the house watching my boys since the wife was working today. I told mom dukes about only 6 people turning up and she was curious as to why that was. I'd wondered the same thing myself as I figured the turnout for X-Wing in a college town like Urbana would be significant. The store owner had seemed a little disappointed with the low turnout and unlike the Edwardsville Regional last summer, we didn't have tornadoes and a power outage to blame. 

I could be completely off-base here, but it seems like X-Wing players in general aren't the competitive miniatures gaming types. Are there some? Of course, but as a whole, I just don't really get that impression based on my own experiences from meeting people in person, reading comments on here, and the emails I receive. Now, that could be a function of TheMetalBikini.com not really catering to the hardcore tournament X-Wing players, or maybe it's a relatively accurate cross section of the demo who plays this game. In any case, I'm curious to hear what your thoughts are on this subject- did a lot of folks turn up for your X-Wing Store Championships? It sure seems like a lot of people play this game- there's all kinds of activity on the big messageboards regarding X-Wing and there's now a bunch of other X-Wing-centric sites out there besides mine too. Are my experiences an aberration or the norm in your opinion? 

Sidenote- I've had a couple of people email me asking about other Store Championships. I've looked on the FFG site and can't seem too find a directory or schedule of Store Championships. Do any of you guys know where I can find one? If so, do us all a solid and post a link in the comments. 

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