Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the... Ugly.  (I gotta find somewhere to really gripe about, last couple of events I've gone to haven't granted me curmudgeonly fodder)

So I went to a tournament at the Bookery Fantasy in Fairborn this weekend.
It was billed as a 'Farewell to 5th' event.  As this is likely to be my last tourney played in the current edition, and my spawn is likely to prevent me from playing a great deal from here until the 6e release, the name was entirely appropriate.
I will be trying to make the Buckeye Battles GT in July, but that is an event that allows Forgeworld...and a hobby-centric event (NOT a dirty word, just a very different flavor), so I am not counting that one.
As far as list ruminations and such, I will hold that off for the 'bat-rep synopses' and just focus on the event and venue.

-GOOD: a 3 round RTT, 1850pts with variant scenarios each round.  Pretty standard, and that can be a very good thing.  Though I like 'surprises', I DON'T like extreme format variance completely tipping the boat and leaving veterans at a loss.  Old standards are that for a reason, they work. 
-GREAT: I liked the scenarios.  I will provide a link, but overall I enjoyed each one.  Having been a TO for ages, I couldn't help but take a dig at him and gripe about the last mission...but that was from knowing him, and looking for any excuse to give him crap!  He hadn't given me an excuse the whole day (and I looked, oh I did), beyond one thing, so I ran with what I could.  How DARE he provide a missions that favored a two HQ army over mine!  ;-)
But I had a great deal of fun with each, and enjoyed the dance with my opponent's that they provided.
(linky; ).
-GOOD: timeliness.  We started a little late, but that's about par for the course on many tourneys.  The TO went to great lengths to make up the time at every juncture he could, and even with a full hour lunch the event managed to end a hair earlier than originally scheduled.  From experience, keeping a diverse group of gamers on time-on target is a little like herding cats...and he did a grand job of it.
-GREAT: opponents.  I had fun with each, and with only two rules disagreements (not even really disagreements, just minor misunderstandings) my first round...which resulted in no acrimony...each game went quickly and smoothly.  No games called for time, no hard feelings (that I'm aware of) and smooth play typified my games for the day.  If it had been a sportsmanship scored event, I would have been handing out high scores like the dickens.
-GOOD: terrain.  25%+ on each table, with near (or true) Land Raider-BLoS anchors on nigh all of them, and plenty of other cover for all model types not on a flight stand, one of my biggest gripes at many venues/events was handled.  It was good.  I have to say, the only thing that kept it from great?  Aesthetic consistency.  Some tables were visually thematic and consistent, but about 25% of them were a little visually hodge-podgey.  Meh, you do what you can when you fill an RTT to capacity.  It still played exceptionally regardless.  Kudos to the TO for making sure it did.
-GREAT: record keeping.  Even though it was paperwork vs computer, the TO did it 'old school' with concise records that could be referenced by anyone and still make sense.  Watching him work reminded me of the olllld RTT scoring sheets that were long and tedious.  I didn't envy him that (having made a spreadsheet many moons ago to preserve my own sanity), but there was never any question as to where (or why) someone ranked.

The TO was just great at doing what he did yesterday, and I have to thank him for the effort.  I am very unforgiving of TO errors (having run events for as long, and as often, as I did in Fla) that cause confusion, consternation, or the confounding of transparency...and none of this issues arose.

The only recommendations I can give;
-slightly (30min) earlier start time (if it can be arranged)...helps to compensate for late arrivals, get everyone started on time and then allow late players to burn a bit into the 'lunch' break to get their 2hours.  It will guarantee getting out on time without having to shorten later breaks.  Also, a habit of starting on time will reduce later arrivals at future events.
-spreadsheet.  Will make referencing data faster, pairings easier and corrections far quicker.  For posting on a forum, it helps to rank and sort by categories.  It will also, quite simply, save you some headache. 

-TO overall: Great

-GOOD: location.  Close, easily accessible and plenty of parking.  I can't really gripe about anything there.  The only issue was food proximity.  Downtown Fairborn doesn't really have anything quick and easy on 'main street', as silly as that seems.  It sounds lazy, but I don't like having to travel to grab food...and will do nearly anything to avoid having to un-ass, drive to a restaurant, and worry about getting back in time or having models messed with.  They compensate by having a well stocked cooler for soda and bottled water (plenty of water, gawd bless 'em), and snacks.
-GOOD: tables.  A hair low for me, but chairs abounded so no big.  Good spacing between, ample space to stage army trays and sundries.  No complaints.
-BAD: basement.  The minis gaming tables are in the store's basement.  Aside from a liking of sunlight (yeah, I know, take away my geek-card), a basement has virtually nil for air-flow.  This wouldn't have been a huge deal, but for the heat.  It was a hot summer day, and the room was FULL of players.  The AC was taxed, and that made for a steamy last few hours.  I can see this being no real issue on casual days, and little issue outside of the dog-days of summer, but yesterday it was a little draining.  It put me in a mildly irritable mood last round (fortunately, that game was against a regular buddy so my mood was both mitigated, and less detrimental as he is accustomed to my 'curmudgeon' mode).  I don't do heat well, but now that I know...I will dress a little lighter next time.  Fortunately, they had plenty of bottled water at reasonable prices and plenty cold.
I also want to KILL the guy that crop-dusted the entire floor first round.  Seriously?  Do you NOT know the repercussions of cutting loose in an enclosed space with little airflow?  Nurgle save us!
-GOOD: attitude.  They guys working the store were pleasant, opened almost an hour early to let us in and were responsive to all queries with a good attitude.
I have to be honest, this was a pleasant surprise.  When I first moved back up from Fla, I was checking the local establishments to find a 'home' base.  I went to the Bookery, and found the comic shop (actually physically across the street from the Game shop) to be standoffish at best...and clique-ish.  With that attitude having put me off a bit, the wife and I walked across the street to the game shop and seemed to be treated with a similar standoffish attitude.  With a bit of time, I came to realize it was simply a busy shopkeep (game side) catching my prejudgement from the comics employees...but by then I had found my 'home-base' at the Krystal Keep, and never returned.
That, now, will change.  Very good experience this time 'round.

-VENUE overall: Good

I had a blast, and it was a great way to say 'Goodbye' to 5th edition.
Now I'm looking forward to a great welcoming bash for 6th!

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