…or, more accurately, Gav, Andy and I went to compete in the Freebootaz tournament at Maelstrom Games. And what a day it was! Despite sub-zero temperatures (minus 8 at the worst) we arrived at the venue on time, and met a few of the other competitors. That set my mind at ease, as I was slightly worried about the sort of person who might attend such a tournament (us three excluded, obviously).
After a relaxing start, the games commenced and the pressure was on straight away. The stress of playing four games in one day seems to me to be the largest challenge of tournament gaming, and one I was expecting. So, like the true Boy Scout I never was, I went prepared! I read through the missions the night before the tournament, and wrote myself some bullet points:
- Deployment (if starting first or second)
- Tactics to claim objectives
- Which enemy units to target
- Which of my units were expendable and which to protect at all costs
Overall, my notes helped massively, and I will certainly make sure I use them every time I play. In a tournament situation, it’s easy to become flustered by the tight schedule, unfamiliar opponents and unusual missions, and the notes gave me simple, clear instructions to focus on. So instead of being in a bit of a flap as I expected, I actually enjoyed a relatively stress-free day of gaming!
Another thing that made my day easier was spending a bit of time getting my models organised into units before the day started. Sounds simple, but again it’s all about having less to think about on the day.
The last thing that helped me through the day was all the positive comments that people gave me on my army. We are all our own worst critics, and it’s easy only to notice the tiny flaws in a model’s paint-job, so it was great to receive some words of praise. It’s spurred me on to get some more units finished for my Chaos Marine army, and then to concentrate on getting my long-overdue Squats army on the table (more about this later).
So, as for my progress on the day? Well, I managed one win and three losses, though in my defence two of the losses were close-run things. The last game in particular was tight, but I lost it simply due to poor concentration (unsurprising perhaps after seven hours of gaming!). During the last game I forgot to read my pre-prepared notes, and so lost sight of the objectives, and those units in my army which I needed to protect.
As for the missions, I found them great fun, though they were a little unbalanced! One or two of the missions in particular massively favoured fast, mobile armies and unluckily I faced Eldar twice. Imagine my frustration when my opponent’s troops-carrying Serpents and Falcons arrived from reserve on turn 4, and then proceeded to move 24” in one go, landing on the objective the following turn without my being able to have any opportunity to hit ‘em with any heavy weapons fire. Oh well!
All in all, I had a really good day and I’m definitely going to attend more tournaments in future. I really enjoyed the unusual missions, and especially the fact that the more seasoned pro’s weren’t able to dominate by relying on their usual tried-and-tested tactics. I also loved the fact that I could spend a whole day “geeking out” with like-minded enthusiasts and, as instructed by ‘er indoors, I didn’t come last!