11 March 2012

Bay Area Open Day 2

Ugh. Sunday morning at 9am came wayyyy too early. Why doesnt anyone want to start a tournament at noon?

Round 5 - Here come the Grey Knights, played by Mike Oade from Reno.
Hes a regular at our tournaments in Sacramento and I like him even though hes a filthy traitor for switching from Blood Angels to Grey Knights. Our game started off slow, with Mike and I trading long range shots and jockeying for position. Since the center of the board was dominated by a big LOS-blocking terrain piece, I decided to focus on one half and execute a hard right hook. I had the range advantage and he was relying on Rhinos, plus I was able to tie up 2 of his Psyfleman dreads with my Furiosos. My Flamestorm Predator made a late drive across the back table edge after outflanking on the wrong side, and my Furiosos were fairly ineffectual but served to occupy Mike long enough for me to hold position on the objectives. Mephiston sold himself dearly, falling to a squad of paladins but only after killing off a Strike squad and Coteaz and holding up the center of the board. The game ended and I got another win to move to 4-0-1.

Round 6 - Christian (seen here in pink) and his undefeated IG. It was a brutal list and a very bad matchup for me. Christian had been on table 1 for 3 rounds by this point and by all accounts was on a serious roll; he had already beaten some tough lists and great players. We started off in opposite corners and I had most of my army in reserve - I knew my Razorbacks wouldnt last long against the hail of Hydra fire. His Vendettas worked over my autolas predators, and I sent my Furiosos down to hopefully break up his parking lot, but as is often the case with IG they have tons of expendable guns so the damage I was doing wasnt really having an effect, and I cant afford to play the attrition game. My outflanking TLAC Baal Predator had a moment of glory when it came on in outflank with a 12" ram that destroyed a Hydra and simultaneously shot another in the rear, blowing one of the weapons off. It wasnt a bad game, nor is Christian a bad opponent, hes actually a good guy and a smart player - there just wasnt much maneuver or tactical wizardry going on. His Hydras threw buckets of dice at me, his Vendettas kinda shifted around to get their shots off, and I did my best to break up his formations and do damage but my army was outclassed. Oh well, can't win em all!

Round 7 - Josh Sellers and more Grey Knights. Stormraven with Purifiers and Coteaz (that guy was pulling double duty at BAO), two Psyflemen (one venerable), two Dreadknights, and some Razorbacks - not the usual but still dangerous. My opponent was Josh Sellers, and we were both mentally exhausted by this point so Im sure we made a ton of mistakes but who cares! We both pushed our models around, rolled some dice, and had a ton of fun. I started by moving up to midfield behind cover and getting in position - I had the advantage of weight of fire. He countered by moving his two Dreadknighs up, but lost one to shooting and one to Mephiston. The remainder of his army was clustered behind cover so I started laying into him without actually doing much. His Stormraven weathered 3 full turns of shooting and still managed to kill an Autolas Predator, immobilize another, and dump off the Purifiers and Coteaz in Mephiston's face. Fortunately I survived and eventually killed them all off, just in time to double back and take out Buddy Cop - Josh had a 2 man henchman squad with no gear walk on from reserve and almost manage to take a midfield objective. My drop pods were blazing away at him but I couldnt kill them! Those 2 models huddled in a crater for like 3 turns with bullets flying overhead, so I had to send Mephiston to kill them. Things had gotten exceedingly silly by that time, and we were both delirious. the game ended in a draw, which was fine by me. Josh, we need a rematch!
So ends my Bay Area Open adventure. My final record was 4 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws. I ended up taking 14th place out of 92 and received the 'Best Blood Angels' award, and even though my army wasnt painted (booo) I got some good feedback and compliments. If I could change anything about my army.....I dont know. The Baal Predators die almost every game and don't do a ton of damage, but theyre such a huge threat and I am kinda rough on them. In more than one game I had a Baal Predator alive and in a position to threaten homefield objectives.

All in all I had a really good time - Reece, Will, and Frankie did an excellent job running everything, and I'll be heading back next year!

06 March 2012

Bay Area Open Day 1

I attended the Bay Area Open in Antioch, CA this weekend. I had a fantastic time, from hanging out with a horde of other tournament goers at the local FLGS Gamers Guild to the tournament itself. It was my first major tournament since TSHFT in Seattle last year; I was a little rusty but 40K is like riding a bike, right?

My Blood Angels list is 3 Autolas Predators, 2 Baal Predators (1 TL Assault Cannon, 1 Flamestorm), 2 naked 5 man squads in TL Assault Cannon Razorbacks, a 10 man assault squad in Drop Pod with 2 meltaguns and a powerfist, and 2 Blood Talon Furioso Dreadnoughts in Drop Pods. Oh yeah, and Mephiston. Can't forget him. I tend to play aggressively, with the Furiosos coming down first turn in your face with AV13 saturation. The Autolas predators are without question the MVPs, and usually the Baal Predators die but do a good deal of damage. Mephiston is my insurance policy, he tends to hang back and protect my base of fire until about mid game when the enemy squads are weakened and then he's really a wrecking ball. My record with the Furioso dreads was 21 kills in one turn, against a 30 strong Ork boy squad that whiffed with their Powerklaw and ended up getting run down. Brilliant!

My first game was against Brian Merino and his Dark Eldar. Brian is a good guy and it was nice to be able to start the day against someone who was able to laugh and didnt take things too seriously. I'm never all the way awake for the first round of a tournament, and I tend to not be at 100% yet.

Brian had a fully mechanized army, with 3 Ravagers and a handful of blasters in Venoms and Wych Raider squads. I wasn't really scared of any one part, but all together it was pretty daunting to sit across from. He started off the first turn with a bang and I was playing defensively from the start,hugging the back table edge and trying to avoid the world's biggest multi-charge. However, Dark Eldar are notoriously fragile and over the course of the game I managed to retain a slim lead in Kill Points. Mephiston really shined late and took out some critical targets, and the Autolas Predators were all-stars, managing to put down enough of Brian's AV10 to keep me in the game.

After having held no objectives over the course of the game, I clawed back and managed to get a draw - not a bad way to start the tourney! Brian was on the table next to me for most of the tournament, so he ended up doing well and damn if he didnt deserve it. Totally nice guy and a pleasure to play!

Round 2, John Johnston from Sacramento and his Godzilla Orks. I predicted this matchup before the round, and we had a good laugh when pairings were announced. John and I go wayyyy back from the Contest of Champions at Great Escape Games, and over the 6 or 7 years I have been playing against him I have really noticed his improvement both in playing ability and in painting/modelling skills. If you get a chance, check out his amazing custom built Godzilla Deff Dreds - they are beautiful.

I had the first turn in this game and started off with an aggressive scout move from the Baal Predators. I moved them right up in front of his two 30 man Ork Boy squads, daring him to take the bait. I sent my Furiosos and Mephiston up to mid table to support, and then played the long shooting game. John uses Ghazghkull and Snikrot in a mob of Kommandos, (which I always give him a hard time about), so I knew I had to space out and not let him get a big multi charge off plus force him to call his Waaaagh to get a charge off. Once Ghaz lost his 2++
save, I doubled Mephiston back to finish him off. A good game against a great guy, who I am happy to play against any time - a total class act and a perfect example of someone who hobbies and games the right way. I got a win in this one, and promised John and his wife Christine dinner on me - maybe in typical cunning Orky fashion he let me win on purpose? :)

Round 3 - Paul McKelvey and his Tau. Paul and I finished 1-2 at a minor tournament in Stockton a few months back, and I had been interested in playing his Tau since then. Not only is Paul a really nice guy with a great attitude, he's a smart player who makes the most of an army I tend to view as weak and ineffectual. Paul uses a Positional Relay to manipulate the reserves rules early on and then brings his remaining units on late in the game, capping objectives and getting late kill points.

My game with Paul was cat and mouse, with his commander and some minor units hiding in one corner while I used LOS blocking terrain to hide from a Broadside team - not much happened in the first 4 turns but when he moved the bulk of his army on in turn 5 it was pretty devastating - he gained a lead in kill points, contested my Capture and Control objective, and was in position to not only sweep me off the Seize Ground objectives but do serious damage to my army that I wouldnt be able to recover from that late in the game. As fate or luck would have it, in the bottom of 5 I managed to even the score on kill points with some very efficient firepower and get his Crisis suits off my Cap and Control objective. I had 4 marines from my 10 man squad rally and move back into position to regain a lead in Seize Ground and rolled a 1 to end the game. To be perfectly honest I doubt I would have been able to win had the game continued but the dice worked against him, and his strategy somewhat backfired.

OK, so Im 3-0-1 at this point and heading to table 6. In my head I'm thinking I am going to be facing top lists and players, and round 4 didn't disappoint - I faced off against Dave Fay and his Black Templars. 3 squads of 3 Typhoon speeders, 3 units of 5 Terminators with Cyclones and Tank Hunters, an Emperor's Champion, and 2 five man Crusader squads - that's a nasty list.

Dave has been at the top of other large tournaments and was ranked very highly nationally at one point or another, so he knows what hes doing. He plays very methodically, and knows his rules inside and out - all in all a really strong opponent and a good guy to boot. The game started off poorly for me as Mephiston charged a squad of Terminators turn 1 (Dawn of War deployment) - you would think they'd be easy pickings for Meph with no storm shields, right? You'd be wrong, cause Dave made 5 invul saves and beat Mephiston down in return. Thats a bad start to a game.

Dave went on the offensive, laying down 30 krak missiles a turn and doing some serious damage. At the end of turns 5 and 6, we were looking at a draw or a loss for me but he couldnt get the game to end and I stuck it out, pulling out a lead in Kill Points when the last Terminator bit it and I finally peeled the Land Speeder off my Cap and Control objective. Dave looked surprised when we totaled up the final score, I really think he had it in the bag - his exceptionally methodical and exacting play slacked off somewhat in the middle of the game and let me stay within striking distance. The game going 7 full turns helped me, as did Dave's bizarre dice - he could make 5 invul saves or a long range shot at my Flamestorm Baal Predator but missed easy rolls like Terminator armor saves and a critical Break check on a 9. Overall an excellent tactical player and I can appreciate his by the book approach to the game.

Ending the day 3-0-1 was pretty sweet - I didnt expect to do as well as I was doing, not having played competitively in about a year and up against 4 strong opponents. The mission structure at BAO works very well, it lets you focus on what you can win and what you cant win, and gives you the flexibility to use your army in different ways depending on how the game is going and who your opponent is.

Highlights from Day 2 coming soon!

31 January 2012

The CoC and a very busy January

Everybody loves pink and freehand. Hello from 2004!

WOW its Tuesday morning and I think I am still tired from the CoC on Saturday. I wanted to give huge thanks to everyone who showed up, Ive gotten a ton of positive feedback and god damn it feels good to hear it. I didnt know how well things would go over; this is the first tournament of the new season and there have been some (relatively) major changes. I wrote the missions about 6 different times, trying to get them just right - we still have some tweaks here and there but at least a dozen people have told me they really liked them. THANK YOU ALL.

My one regret from Saturday is that I didnt get to be involved in the actual tournament itself - I got about 4 hours of sleep the night before, so I started off dead tired. With 90 ppl to judge I had to start doing paint scores straightaway, then the first round was ending and I was swamped with results and holy hell I dont want to make a mistake with those. Then the second round started and I had to enter comp results, and finish paint, and the break between the second and third rounds is only supposed to be 15 minutes or so which is nowhere near enough time to enter the results from 90 ppl, then I had to finish paint scoring and get everything ready for the prize ceremony...I never really got a chance to look at armies, watch some games, talk to people, none of that stuff. All in all I had a great day, even though I was snapping at people who wanted to chit chat while Im sitting behind a mountain of paperwork (seriously dude, I am busy. Leave me alone!), and the one guy whose face I recognize but name I dont remember (sorry!) asking me why I dont play in the tournaments (I run them now, duh), didnt I win one once (3 of them, first back to back season winner, first 3 time winner, thankyouverymuch), and was I working on an army at the moment - the look on my face when he asked me that was accurately described as the "death stare". But all in all a good time. Looking forward to reading Reece's recap on Frontline Gaming, Doug and Mike's on Wolf Bros, and maybe even getting my post to Justin for Secret Weapon (I am so so so so sorry its taking this long). January has been crazy busy, trying to jump start the online store single handedly, working on 2 separate gaming systems, trying to have a life outside the shop [i dont], and working in an hour of sleep when I can. Look for me at the Bay Area Open in about a month!

18 January 2012

Click here to take action!

Two bills before Congress, the Senate's Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), would censor the web and impose harmful regulations on American business (RIAA, mark today in your calendar. Its the one day I will take your side on anything). Millions of internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24, 2012. There is still time to stop this legislation from being passed! While I agree that artists and companies have a right to protect their intellectual property, these bills go too far and are not written as delicately as they should be; these bills could result in censorship and government control of the Internet.

In 1992, the Ramones released 'Censorshit' on the album Mondo Bizarro. I feel it accurately represents the climate we are facing today. Plus, I love the Ramones - theyre more than just 'I Wanna Be Sedated' and 'Blitzkreig Bop'.

05 December 2011

On a personal note:

Regarding the whole Secret Weapon thing, I'm very humbled by being asked to join. Justin, Dave, and the team at Secret Weapon HQ were very cool about showing me around, demonstrating how they cast their products, new stuff on the horizon (BE EXCITED), and just making a fella feel welcome. In addition, to be on the same team with Mathieu and Les is like being in the company of giants - check out their websites if you haven't already. I think I'm a pretty good painter, but those guys blow me away. So thank you, I'm really looking forward to this.

Introducing Team Secret Weapon

Blatantly copied and pasted from the Secret Weapon miniatures blog:

After weeks of hints and rumors it is with great pleasure that I introduce the members of Team Secret Weapon.

Each member of Team Secret Weapon was a Secret Weapon customer before being asked to join and each will be representing the brand in their own way and in their own segment of the community. In keeping with the "hobby first" philosophy the members have full control over which models they paint and which products they use on their projects.

Every month the team members will bring you their latest project, a tutorial or a rambling non sequitur in some way related to the world of plastic army men.

Mathieu Fontaine - Team Painter
Mathieu has won nearly 30 awards now for his painting - including Golden Demons in the US, UK and France - and keeps a blog that includes his work, travels and thoughts on the hobby.

I first met Mathieu at one of his Masterclass sessions in Alamo, California. It was a crazy weekend filled with painting techniques I'd been trying to master for years. I'm still trying but I'm a lot closer to my goals thanks to Mathieu's help. He has since come to Sacramento to do a Secret Weapon sponsored Masterclass and has provided me with incredible feedback on our products.

Mathieu made the switch to Secret Weapon Weathering Pigments and you'll find them on several of his recent works - including a recent gold at MMSI - and does some incredible work with the crushed glass. He'll be bringing his "French style" to the team.

Lester Bursley - Team Painter
Les is the creative mind behind Awesome Paint Job and the creator of "Les' Washes" - the recipe that became the Secret Weapon Washes. He is a prolific painter and picked up his first Golden Demon, a gold in Warhammer Regiment, earlier this year.

Les creates AWESOME! tutorials covering everything from speed painting to airbrush techniques and will be bringing videos and articles to Team Secret Weapon so you can see how he uses his favorite Secret Weapon products.

Sirus Chappell - Team 40k Player
Sirus is a Sacramento local and FLGS employee. He keeps a blog, mostly so his mother can see his plastic army men, at disaffectedlibertine.blogspot.com where you'll find his Blood Angels, because he has a thing for noble self sacrifice, and his Emperors Children and has a thing for sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll.

Sirus played his first 40k tournament in 2003 and has been going strong since. He's a big fan of Secret Weapon products and was one of the first to really push me to make the products available wholesale.

Things to come....
This month the team will be making their introductions and giving you an idea of what they'll be bringing to the table in January. Stay tuned!

21 September 2011

Hi Mom!

A big robot. Its all metal and weighs about 10 pounds. Its supposed to look all beat up.

I'm still not expert at taking good pictures of these.

13 March 2011

Mark this day in history - Team Monkeyforce

Ok, you heard it here first. I am recording this for posterity so when I am famous I can go back and sue everyone who copies my fantastic idea. Apologies to those who have no idea what I am talking about (i.e. Mom and Dad).

2000 points of the new Grey Knights Codex

HQ - Inquisitor Coteaz

TROOPS - 6 of the following:
5 Jokaero Weaponsmiths in a Chimera

Spend the remaining 500 or so points on 2 TAGK squads, since the Inquisitorial Henchmen squads dont take up FOC slots.

Jokaero can fire a lascannons/multimelta/heavy flamers out the top hatch of the Chimera, so you have 6 squads of 5 lascannons = 30 lascannons per turn. Inquisitor Coteaz hides and laughs, and the TAGK stand around waiting for something to get close. Sure, youre terrible in melee but what could ever get close? I want my royalties, half for me and half for my good friend and partner in crime, Jeff Beemer.

09 November 2010


This is what Im starting with.

This is the work in progress. Bases are from Scibor. Have 2000 points to get ready for Seattle in January and the new CoC season at the shop. More to come.

10 September 2010

Super Mario with peg leg and eye patch

CNN article, 'Video game piracy: Is it good for business?'

Here's the deal with 'piracy':

First off, this is not theft. The definition of piracy was expanded to include "the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc" due in part to the case United States v. Harrell in 1993. The original definition of piracy is "robbery or illegal violence at sea". Big difference. Much like the original definition included robbery, unauthorized use has to do with money. The definition was expanded because there had to be a way for businesses to protect things that were immaterial; that is to say, things that you couldn't steal by picking it up and putting it in your pocket. So when I download a song from BitTorrent, thats now piracy and piracy now equals theft. If I hear it on the radio and record it on a tape, thats not piracy because the radio station has either paid royalties to play the song or permission has been granted by the 'owner' of the song (ostensibly the artists, but by proxy the producers and by extension the RIAA). What is the difference? The difference is money. Someone got paid along the way.

They dont care about you listening to the music, they care about getting paid.

Slightly less than admirable. I am not stealing the song. Everyone who had access to it before I heard it still has access to it after. I am not using the song to profit in any way. Is it theft if I am standing next to someone playing it out loud on their iPod? This is about money, plain and simple. CONDITIONAL STATEMENT:If downloading songs is illegal, and everyone avoids committing illegal acts, then everyone must buy the song which equates to the RIAA getting paid. That being said, video game piracy is great. Its like the natural evolution of people who are tired of being gouged!

This game costs $60 and has sold almost 12 million copies, as the article says. Great work Activision! If I were to sell this game to a used game store, EB games, GameStop, or the like, I could get maybe $10-20 for it depending on how hard the shop wanted to screw me on it. They then turn around and sell it for $50. Great job GameStop! Except Activision calls foul. Activision doesnt get anything when GameStop sells it for $50, and Id rather buy it used from GameStop for $50 and save $10. Activision has revealed its hand, its only in it for the money.

Of course, Activision is a company and companies must turn a profit to remain viable. But where do you draw the line? Why would I pay $60 for a video game if I can get it for $50? Or $20? Or for free? If Activision has been enabled to seek as much profit as they can, am I in turn enabled to get the best deal for my money? Consumers dictate the price of goods by saying "yes, I will pay this much for this item" or "no, I am going to get it cheaper". This is known as 'economic disequilibrium', where the consumer finds the product less attractive and purchases less because the price is too high. People want the games but are not willing to pay what corporations expect. People are going to get the games, or the music, or the movies, or the books on pdf, or whatever else they want and they're going to get it at the price they want. Companies like Activision are going to have to make a decision - continue the path they are on, where the focus is more profit, or change their business model to give consumers what they want at a price that has a disincentive effect on 'piracy'.

Its an interesting article. This is the same thing the music industry was going through years ago, when mp3s were becoming popular. The result of that was iTunes, sites like Project Playlist, and the CD/hard copy industry being more or less abandoned. These video game corporations will be forced to evolve or will die off. Theres too many games out there like Farmville that rely on a pay to play model (and are totally free if you don't care about the extras) for companies to expect $60 games to sell and there not to be any piracy.

You may accuse me of being a scofflaw, of not recognizing/caring about copyright issues or intellectual property, being wildly anarchic/socialist/communist, or a number of other unsavory things. It might be true. I don't really care that Activision wants to turn as much profit as they can. Video game 'piracy' is our way of fighting back. Too bad.

Heres a funny picture in support of file sharing, click to see it: