Sunday, 5 February 2012

My year ahead

Looking forward at the year to come

2011 was a pretty busy year for me. It was my self-proclaimed Year of the Empire, which saw me focus (almost) exclusively on Empire in tournaments, as well as in terms of painting. By the end of the year I had gone from having a couple of painted units to a quite large painted army. I had also played in 4 tournaments, which saw me qualify for the Australian Masters in December, and added a 5th tournament to the tally.  

I say “almost” because there was a tournament where I did not use Empire last year. That event was the Victorian Inter-Club Championships (VICC). A tournament with a twist, it included 2 rounds where members in the team paired off and played together in a 4 player game. This, combined with all 3 other members in our team taking Forces of Destruction, saw me pull out the Orcs and Goblins for a last hurrah with their old army book. Given the unusual nature of the event, I figured this didn’t really count as a violation of my Empire resolutions – it would have looked pretty odd having Empire and Beastmen lining up side by side. Hampton went on to win the Warhammer Fantasy section of the event, as well as the Warmachine and overall titles. All in all, it was a quite productive year.

With all my resolutions wrapping up at the end of 2011, I was a little bit rudderless at the start of this year. Logic would dictate that I declare 2012 to be the Year of the Ogre, or Year of the Orc, or something similar. After all, it worked rather well with the Empire. However, I wasn’t keen to be locked into a particular army for another entire year. There were also a couple of main considerations that confused things:

This year I will be in Australia’s team at the European Team Championships in Poland. Those of you with a sound understanding of geography will realise that this makes little sense, however it seems that the ETC is gradually becoming more of a World Team Championships. Last year for Warhammer Fantasy there were teams from Australia, New Zealand and the US facing off with 25 teams from around Europe. With each team consisting of 8 players, it’s a massive event – over 200 players for Warhammer Fantasy, and then there’s the 40K event alongside it, which is much the same size…

The ETC runs a system of hard caps, targeting the worst abuses of the various army books and trying to keep a lid on things like lists spamming 20 power dice per turn. Within those restrictions however, anything goes. Soft comp would never work at such an event, and the general approach is to field the nastiest list possible within the rules provided. It’s exactly the sort of environment we are trying to avoid when we elect to use soft comp rather than hard caps, but then this event is rather different. For starters, everyone who is attending surely knows what they’re getting themselves into. You won’t get rank beginners turning up for a bit of fun at the ETC – they will be experienced players looking to do as much damage as possible to further their team’s progress. The other thing that sets the tournament apart is that each of the 8 players in a given team must choose armies from a different book – so each team may only have 1 Daemon army , 1 Skaven army, etc. This means the army books don’t need to be perfectly balanced against each other, because a team can’t just choose 8 of the same army. This is why the system works at the ETC, and also why it should not be adopted for regular tournaments.

For me, the ETC will be a departure from my regular approach to tournaments. I can’t remember the last time I looked at a set of restrictions and set about trying to make opponents weep within the specified framework (it was probably 5th edition). Whatever I end up using, it will doubtless look nothing like the lists I normally take. I’m not yet certain which race I will take, given the rumours abounding of a new Empire army book around the middle of the year. The ETC is in August, so a new army book could be a factor.

My sights are still firmly set on recreating the Battle at the Gates of Kislev. Owen has been madly painting Chaos Warriors as well as starting to produce some suitable terrain for the game, whilst everything I’ve been painting should be of use as well. But that is the problem – I need to paint a whole lot more if I want to make the game work the way I’d like. My planning for the first few months of the year revolves around trying to get most (if not all) of my Empire cavalry painted, because at the moment the mounted relief force is looking a bit thin. The timing of the game will be a balance of making it happen versus ensuring I get all the stuff we need painted. It will definitely happen this year – of that I am certain.

Hampton will be out to defend our title at VICC in March, however I think this time I’m going to sit it out. I enjoyed the event last time, but we have a lot of Fantasy players at the club and only a limited number of spots. Besides, there are plenty of tournament throughout the year as it is, and coupled with travelling to Europe for the ETC, I feel like I might be suffering a bit of burnout from tournaments if I don’t take it easy.

Year of the Empire 2.0?
I’ve already entered one tournament this year with my Empire, and I have to say that it would be easy to keep doing so. The versatility of the army list means I can shift things around pretty drastically and keep it from getting stale. And I plan to keep painting them, with both the Kislev game and my mad Ogre crossover ambitions to help drive me onward. I don’t think I’m ready to focus my attention on a different project when this one still feels half-finished. It may yet be that this year will simply be a continuation of 2011, and the sequel to the Year of the Empire. We shall see…

1 comment:

  1. just do what i do and have 7 or 8 projects on the go at once