a 3 hour drive up (at 645am) and back (getting me home at 1030ish pm).
Was all that worth it, considering I didn't come back with a category win?
In a nutshell, yes.
John (uberdark from back40k). He stated this was his first event.
I have to be honest, if those words had not been spoken I wouldn't have known. He did his research. John was organized (as one could be doing things on paper, and not computer...actually moreso than some who use computers). He was transparent, explaining things as cleanly as possible, and going the extra mile to insure play 'groups' didn't have to play in their own 'pool' the first round.
He was engaged, enthused and gregarious. He never set himself above the player base to establish 'seniority' as a TO. He portrayed himself solely as an 'organizer', with the sole purpose of letting people have fun AND compete...in that order.
Once things got rolling, he was on-time, on-target.
It seemed that his entire focus was on making certain fun, joviality and honest play were the watchwords.
He cared. This was VERY different from my only other 'traveling' experience (since moving back to Ohio)...Ard Boyz semifinals 2010. If I would have to characterize a comparison, he was totally opposite.
TO impression, GREAT...he was excellent.
Event and Organization was clean. Scenarios were posted in advance, which is a 50/50 for me, as I like not building to scenarios...but in retrospect, with NOVA scenarios, you are pretty much forced to take well rounded/take all comers lists, bypassing my innate distrust of pre-posted scenarios.
I could see a little self-inflicted extra work, but that will go under what little 'critique' I have.
I was happy with the terrain, but not ecstatic. Again, in comparison to my last 'traveling' game, it was above sufficient.
Though the smaller amount was a little disappointing (only a little), GREAT effort was made for consistency between tables...something many don't understand the need for. Very well done.
Event impression, GREAT...it was quite well done.
Venue was a bit smallish for the size of the tourney. BUT, they managed to supply tables AND elbow room...no mean feat for a small store. They had a fully stocked fridge, with all sorts of drink accommodations (some stores don't bother with water/diet, a must for some, due to gamer proclivities toward mt dew etc). The ownership was friendly and helpful, and though the location was initially hard to find...parking was better than expected for a smaller store with a large event turnout.
Venue impression, I shall return!
Player eval...well, as it applies to me...but with a sampling from my friend who I went with.
I had NO issues. Every one of my opponents were fun, pleasant, and smooth. I don't think I checked the rulebook once. Scott and I had a question, but we just rolled a die that would have made it moot (difficult terrain test)...and the roll did. So no rules digging at all. (though we forget to check after the game to see for future ref). The games were fast, due to no arguments OR backchecking. We knew each others' codices(codici, codii, whatever) and adapted to each others' proclivities almost immediately. Professional and pleasant would be how I typified the whole bunch.
Player impression, wish I was closer to Indianapolis!
Critique is little;
I would have liked to have seen more/more diversity. A paucity of trees (I don't think any of my tables had woods) made it difficult for some people to generate cover. This benefited my army to the extreme (regardless of my seeming inability to capitalize on it). A little more wood, and a little more density, would have been nice. Though some tables closed in on/hit 25%, a few were closer to the 20% mark. In defense of the venue, it was smaller and was acquiring additional terrain from players bringing it, so populating the tables was going to be difficult. What terrain was there, though, was good...and good looking.
Starting late always bugs me a 'little' bit. Not tremendously, but a little. I thought the blog-posts had said something about 11-1130ish, and we ended up starting a little after 12. This was, in part, due to some small confusion by the players...but mostly due to some LATE players. Not as big a deal if I'm not driving 3hrs to get there, but my frustrations were low...and directed at people who were not from Dayton, and still didn't make it on time.
Spreadsheet/Computer. This is more of a 'prevent the TO from having an aneurism' kinda thing. You CAN do it on paper. Being a teacher (which I believe John said he is) helped with the mental-meltdown threshold...but a last round re-pairing of first round opponents (happened only once, though, and involved me)emphasizes the usefulness of a spreadsheet. The honesty and openness of the TO helped dispel and thoughts of shennanigans, but spreadsheets allow players to feel they can easily ask to see things...thus increasing the sense of transparency. This was a HUGE gig at my Ard Boyz experience last year. But again, John was going out of his way to avoid any sense of that...so no real issues.
Lighting...that's it. Honestly. A few tables (centered) had lighting issues, which could have been helped with clip-task lights...but who knows where the cords could easily go etc.
The store was small(ish) for an event of that size, but they went all-out to make damn sure they could handle the crowd. I never felt crowded, cramped or uncomfortable. Even 'gamer-funk' was at an absolute minimum (at worst). So, though size is technically a 'critique', I couldn't imagine another location of that size making things feel that 'roomy'...so critique to kudos (flogging a dead Ard Boyz horse, they beat out that venue in spades...with less than half the square footage).
I couldn't have had more fun this last Saturday unless I had been healthy!!!
Thanks DMZ, thanks Indiana players, and most importantly thanks Uberdark!