Age of Sigmar at NOVA – Part 3

Saturday was a our big day of gaming, and I described the first two rounds in the previous post: Part 2

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WAoS Scenario 3

For the third and final round, the TO set up the realmgates I had put together with some help from a couple of the local players in my group, with one prominently at the center of each table with a special scenario to score victory points by holding or even controlling the 10″ diameter space around the center of the gate.

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The scores up to this round were close, although Norbert had claim to a significant lead with his Tomb Kings. But despite Tim’s Brettonian knights charging in and wrecking skeletons across the field, the Green Knight was busy elsewhere and the Lady remained with the artillery in the safety of the rear, and the Tomb Kings once more swept the field and won the final objective.

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All together, everyone seemed to enjoy the casual nature of the event–Age of Sigmar is still new to all of us, and everyone was still learning new aspects of the rules along with the house rules we had put together for the event. I certainly had a great time helping out with NOVA this year, and with helping to organize and run the Age of Sigmar event in particular. I’m already planning terrain pieces and a narrative event for next year!

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Norbert won the overall painting & battle points prize, Richard won best battle points with his Skaven army, and Eric won best painter. Finally, on Sunday, we awarded the campaign prize to Sean for playing additional games and making the longest trip down from New York to attend.

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Age of Sigmar at NOVA – Part 2

First, I can’t say enough about how awesome NOVA Open is as a gaming convention.

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Walking around, there IMG_0068was so much to see, from the huge Imperial Star Destroyer scaled to the X-Wing game, complete with lights, to the vendor hall with mini medic tables for quick repairs, the lemonade raffle with prizes for players losing games, and the demo tables for Wrath of Kings and HALO Fleet Battles.

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Saturday morning started with everyone on time and ready to play. We had a great group of players, everyone already acquainted from the games played the night before, and we were ready to roll.Wstart

The first round was randomly matched. We had two players with Duardin, one with Wood Elves, another with Skaven, Tomb Kings, and, of course, Tim with his Bretonnian Knights which looked as awesome on the table as they did on their display board.

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DSCF3935The Duardin seemed to be no match for the Tomb Kings and their summoning, but this was largely an experiment with competitive play in the relatively new Age of Sigmar game system. Everyone was proud of their painted figures, and the atmosphere was fun and adventurous, and the players were gracious in giving us credit for trying to organize an Age of Sigmar event merely two months after the release. I have never before had the privilege of managing such a fine group of players–there were some questions about the rules, and again of the special restrictions in place for this particular event, but otherwise the players managed themselves.skaven

After lunch, we were off with the second round, and the Skaven were on the battlefield in force. But those Bretonnian Knights came on fast, and the Green Knight could not be killed. At the end of the day, however, the Skaven hordes put up a good fight, and they managed to hold critical ground which was key to victory.

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The Tomb Kings, however, continued to roll over their opponents, and another Duardin army was destroyed.

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The end of round two left everyone ready for more. Even Laini was ready for the final round, even though she had challenging fights in the first two and was convinced she would end up placing last in the ranking at the end of the day.

Again, this was the most incredible group I’ve ever had the privelege to manage–I joked with my co-lead and the TO for this particular event that the players didn’t even need us.

I’ll save the final round and results of the first Age of Sigmar event at NOVA Open for the third and final installment of this blog series.

Age of Sigmar at the NOVA Open 2015 – Part 1

It is finished! And I had no reason to worry. We didn’t have much time to plan, but everyone at the NOVA Open was helpful and supportive–and, most importantly, a small but enthusiastic group of players showed up to play games and have fun!

Things got off to a great start when I picked up the guidebook containing the schedule and event guidelines–it was only about two weeks ago that we submitted the material (after the deadline), but here it was with graphics and in print!

NOVA guidebook2DSCF3909Then I descended to the ballrooms on the lower level to meet my co-lead; he had already set up terrain on our designated tables, and this was the moment when I was most excited and nervous. Sure, players had registered for the event, but would they show up and have a good time? One of my prime motivations to get involved with planning all this was my wife–she surprised both of us last month by trying and enjoying the game herself, and she was excited to participate and share the experience of the NOVA Open with me.

waos lainiWe had a great location in the big hall behind the Hobbit event which featured some fantastic terrain, and next year I aim to emulate the energy and leadership of the lead for the LotR events. It was humbling to watch him in action with his larger group of players. Overall, we had a decent showing for GW fantasy games even without 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy.

hobbi terrainFriday night we met in the foundation lounge where a big suite had been converted to a bar and hangout space and all the proceeds for the drinks went to charity. Everyone met and talked about Age of Sigmar for an hour, keeping attitudes positive, and then we went downstairs to play some games. I wanted a relatively casual evening of gaming without many composition rules or restrictions, so we played for achievements–most of which did not just reward removing models from the table. After 2 rounds, Tim with his Brets was awarded the first certificate for our AoS events of the weekend. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to hold an award and shake the winner’s hand while posing for a camera at the same time!

IMG_0110But Friday night was a relief–I did not need to worry about hecklers or unhappy players, and even though my wife lost her first game she wasn’t discouraged and remarked about how fair everyone seemed to play. I managed to get in a practice game with an opponent as well–I didn’t have my Stormcast Eternals finished, and my wife had borrowed most of my painted Wood Elves, so I set up a force of old Wolfen Confrontation models as proxies for Ogres. One unit in particular chewed through several small units of plump Duardin.

IMG_0105Even though the Duardin force outnumbered my “Ogres” by more than 200%, we didn’t need to use the Sudden Death victory conditions, and our collective experience over the course of the weekend reinforced everyone’s suspicion of using that new rule in games featuring classic Warhammer factions.

I have plenty more pictures of Saturday, but I’m going to save those for a second post.

Final Days & Nights

NOVA Open is only a few days away–and after taking a sick cat to the vet this afternoon I’m settling down to finish the Realmgates for our AoS scenarios and help my wife with her Wood Elf army.

And, of course, as I’m trimming some foam to pack her army into a case, Puck the Cat just cannot help but get involved. He crawled up under the extra trimmings and curled up for a nap.

puckBut now it’s time to finish the Realmgates! The sand on the bases are dry and I can paint and consider these finished. I’m counting 10 players (we have 9 registered, but one of the guys in my local group had problems with his online cart and is just planning to pay at the door), so I need 5 gates!

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Playing Age of Sigmar

Laini has started building her Wood Elf army in earnest, painting her first figures in addition to what I had painted last year, and she has been trying her army list against some other opponents. Of course, since I’m part of the team planning the event, I’m trying to stay impartial–she has been playing against other gamers in our group while I keep busy trying to finish painting Realmgates for the NOVA Open, and at this point she has played more games than I have played!

eagle2She played against an Empire army with lots of cannons yesterday. It was a tied game at the end of 4 turns, I think. I really didn’t get too involved, just answered some questions about the rules and the army composition format for the event–I’m trying to focus all of my free time on putting together the finishing touches for this coming weekend.

AoS test game 2 leftAnyway, it’s awesome she’s so excited about the game in general and the event coming up in particular. She has talked herself out of playing to win–she just wants to play some games against a variety of opponents and better learn to play the game (so she can beat me, of course). I’m definitely a lucky guy to find myself married to a lovely woman with an interest in playing tabletop miniature games!

Building Realmgates

I’ve had some help putting together some Realmgates to use as terrain pieces in our Age of Sigmar event coming up at the NOVA Open in a few weeks–I have a few different styles, but here is the result of the team effort toward a generic fantasy style.

RealmgatesI’m ready to prime them in the back yard and then give them the drybrush treatment, but the humidity hasn’t been cooperating. I’m hoping to get them primed tomorrow so I can paint them Friday evening during a painting hangout.

Age of Sigmar at the NOVA Open

Another organizer and myself have taken the lead on planning and executing a weekend of events featuring Warhammer Age of Sigmar at the NOVA Open, a local wargaming convention near Reagan National Airport in Northern Virginia. I’ve been spending most of my free time reading articles, listening to podcasts, playing games, painting figures, and generally thinking about how to host an awesome event introducing players to the new Age of Sigmar miniatures game.

Website-Header-20151If you’re free the first weekend in September, and you can make it to Arlington, VA, and you have even a moderate interest in Age of Sigmar, then I suggest you consider registering for the weekend at the NOVA Open.

http://www.novaopen.com/?page_id=6670

I’ve had a good deal of practice organizing miniature wargaming events in the past few years, and I think I’m ready–with the exceptional support of the NOVA Open staff and my counterpart, Brian–to help feature an awesome wargaming event.

Introducing Miniature Wargaming with Age of Sigmar

I reluctantly bought into Warhammer Fantasy Battles about 18 months ago–a new Friendly Local Gaming Store had opened in my little town, and despite offering a wide range of awesome board and card games for sale, when it came to miniature games they only carried Games Workshop products.  I intended to help support the store as well as provide demo games to attract new players to the relatively narrow spectrum of miniature wargaming.  After all, I had been wishing aloud to my wife, during the preceding five years of living in this town, that a small gaming store would indeed open… someday.  So I was ready to do everything I could to support the place and help make it thrive, starting with buying not one but two boxes of Island of Blood to put together, paint, and run demo games. My post about the new FLGS opening.

And knowing how popular 40K was among the wargaming crowd, I was determined not to stand by and allow the store to be overrun by ridiculous tanks and space marines wearing impossible shoulder armor.  I would help build a community of players with miniature figures representing ridiculous fantasy heroes and dragons with wings unsuitable for flight.

A few months later, after organizing a league for both 40k and Fantasy players, buying into 4 distinct fantasy armies (High Elves, Wood Elves, Tomb Kings, and–my personal favorite–Skaven), I helped organize and host a Fantasy tournament in the store: 10171751_10202022518669181_5688554864991838588_nThe friendly folks behind the NOVA Open convention were a key part of that event, and I was damn impressed when I attended my first serious Fantasy tournament in September.  (Click photos for link to relevant posts.) nova

After the event, I focused my efforts on painting the figures I had and organizing games among players.  After moving into a larger home, I was able to designate the basement for gaming, and began hosting regular games in the place I called “Aaron’s Analog Game Room.”  My wife made a cute sign for me as a Christmas gift, combining my interest in old typewriters with tabletop gaming. Game Room Door wideMy wife, by the way (and she is, after all, the reason behind my motivation to write this post), was curious about my Freehobby of painting tiny toy soldiers, but when I tried to introduce her to a game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, she felt overwhelmed by the time I described the Magic Phase.  On the other hand, when I organized a mini open games day, she played some 40K and loved it.  I was frustrated that my preferred game of choice was deemed too unnecessarily complicated not to mention far too long to set up and play.

But now Age of Sigmar is out.  After downloading the free PDF of rules (finally Games Workshop has followed the trend so many other miniature wargaming companies have set in recent years), I asked my wife to try playing a game with me.  She’s definitely a gamer–she played chess when we met, and she grew to enjoy several of my favorite board games, and she developed a keen interest in collectible card games.  But Warhammer was just not her thing.  I asked her just to play for only 20 minutes.  “Only 20 minutes?”  I promised.  But 45 minutes later she asked me to put more models on the table after she had destroyed my Skaven forces, and I obliged and we effectively played a second game.

All this to say… what?  Warhammer Age of Sigmar has been condemned by many longtime fans of the old Warhammer world, and I can understand their fear of change and a sense of loss.  I try to remember the way I felt when I discovered my favorite FLGS unexpectedly closed, and I can at least sympathize with the heartache and even anger at the bussinessmen responsible for making changes for sake of profit without any regard for the community it affects.

But now, with a straightforward and easy-to-teach miniature wargame, I’m so much a more a fan of Age of Sigmar than I ever felt for Warhammer Fantasy Battles 8th Ed.  Sure, it’s still not my favorite tabletop game, but it’s relatively easy to introduce miniature gaming to new players, and I sincerely hope this new game release helps revitalize the fantasy element in miniature wargaming.  Because I can’t go back to playing only historical wargames.