Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reflections on Adepticon 2012

Work in progress table to represent the gate to the main square in Kadillus Harbor for the Battle of Piscina IV event I ran at Adepticon 2012.

Another Adepticon has come and gone and I must admit that this was the most fun I've had in years. I was doing the math in my head and this was my 7th Adepticon. Its amazing to see how its grown and developed, but to be honest, I've stayed very much the same. I'm not a tournament player so much as that I am an avid hobbyist. All these years I've been participating in the big tournaments when in reality I should have been participating in a lot of smaller events. Let's recap!

The morning of Adepticon I still was nowhere near to completing the tables for the event I would be running on Sunday, so I was feverishly trying to get them to some sense of completion. I worked diligently from early in the morning until late in the afternoon. Knowing that I would have to transport these tables to the suburbs somehow, some way, I needed to procure transportation other than my bike; I'm a bike commuter and don't have my own car. I jumped on and a bunch of other sites to do price comparisons and rented myself a car at about 4:30pm to be picked up at 5:30pm. I managed to score a car for $19.99 a day. Go Hotwire! I cleaned up any potential hazards in the house from the day's table building, walked the dogs, and then shot over to Enterprise to get the car. I always forget that they will "pick you up".

I ran over to my favorite taqueria, Quesadilla, and ate a quick dinner, and then jumped on the highway to get to Adepticon. Little did I realize that showing up at 7:15 for my 7:30 class was a bad idea. Not only did I arrive to find a 20-30 minute wait in line, but I also missed out on the premium swag bags that the first 500 people got. Not only that, but with the wait I would be late for my class. Lesson learned - even if you pre-register arrive early on day 1 or you'll be late to crap and miss out on swag.

I got checked in, got my bag, and ran up to my class. The class was on Mold Making and was to be taught by a gentleman from a company called Reynolds. I walked in after the class already started, spotted my friend Mike, and then went and sat down. Luckily I hadn't missed much other than the basic introduction and the notification that the guy from Reynolds hadn't arrived and they asked our new instructor to fill in. He had designed the custom objective counters a few years before as well as some of the Adepticon terrain. He is their own mold maker and resin caster.

First off I want to say that I was totally new to the world of mold making, so from my perspective this class that was "thrown together" last minute actually turned out to be fantastically informative. There were 2 other people in the class who already had experience with making their own molds and they had quite a bit to add. They may not have learned anything from it, but I sure did and I can't wait to buy some supplies when I have some surplus cash and start experimenting.

Secondly, I want to point out that this was my 1st class in 7 years of attending Adepticon. What was I doing all these years? If you've never attended a class like me, get on it. Next year I intend to attend a lot more.

Special thanks to the guy who took over the class. I think his name is Rich. He did an ace job last minute and he deserves a pat on the back.

After the class I ran through every room that was open to scrutinize the tables and see if anything blew my mind. One of the only things I like about Games Day or the old Grand Tournaments over Adepticon were the tables which were always awesome. Every year Adepticon adds more scenery and there is constant improvement but I'm never blown away by their own offerings. Last year I was blown away by the 2 War Machine tables that I presume Private Press brought but they brought the same ones again and they were look a little worn and chipped. Some of the Malifaux tables were interesting, but the big standout of the weekend were the Killzone tables. He does some excellent work and I wish I took some pics.

Work in progress terrain for The Battle for Piscina IV at Adepticon.
Once again I got up early and worked on tables. I was hustling around all day - applying sand, painting, and dry brushing. Luckily, I didn't have anything scheduled until 4:30 so I got in pretty much an 8 hour day of work on them. At 3:00 I halted production to figure out what I was going to playing in that evening's "It's How You Use It" Warhammer Fantasy Battle 1000 point tournament. I was really nervous about participating in this because when I signed up in Nov/Dec I figured I had plenty of time to learn 8th Edition but never actually did. I was going in mostly blind. I found a DIY game play summary card online and that was my tutorial on 8th Edition, literally an hour before the tournament.

I grabbed the 8th Edition Tomb Kings book (at least I had that!) and I made a list using that and my original Tomb Kings army from the 90's. I had none of the cool units from the updates over the years. It was a pure army of Skeletons, Cavalry, Chariots, a Tomb Prince, and a couple of Liche Priests. I also played with a Screaming Skull Catapult that I don't think I actually paid the points for. I need to go back and look at the list. All I know is that if I did cheat, I am deeply sorry. At least I played a terrible terrible game as I learned the rules. I was 30 minutes late to the tournament because of traffic, I was given a ringer for my first game and he was kind enough to walk me through the rules so I could get a basic understanding of how the game had changed from 6th to 8th Edition (I sort of skipped 7th never properly learning how to play that edition of the game either.) Despite his best efforts to go easy on me I was soundly trounced by his Goblin army. My 2nd game was against Dwarfs and I received another beating. Some of that was my fault. My Chariots would have been much more effective had I known all the rules and my full charge into his Hammerer's wouldn't have been like throwing an egg at a brick wall. Live and learn. My final game was against an Ogre Kingdom's army and it was my best showing largely because my opponent was normally a Tomb Kings player himself and he was able to tell me how to more effectively use my army. He still would have slaughtered me if it was for the scenario itself which had a catastrophic event built into it that managed to mess him up with some unlucky rolling and didn't impact me nearly as much. Thank you "Growing Darkness"!

This was actually the most fun I had out of the events all weekend if though it was my worst performance. Everyone was so laid back and happy to accommodate how new I was to the rules and the vibe was fantastic. I will definitely participate in this event again next year.

Afterward I wandered around for a few minutes and I headed straight back to Chicago to work on tables some more.

Another early morning of furious painting was to be had, and after a couple hours of minimal progress I made the decision to skip the class I had signed up for on Weather Techniques. I was pretty bummed to miss this after being so stoked on the molding class but I had people counting on a great gaming experience the next day and I was too ill prepared to justify losing 5 hours of valuable paint time to attend a class. I know I made the right decision because I ran out of my Glidden copy of Scorched Brown paint halfway through painting a 4'x6' table and needed to run to Home Depot. Had that happened at 2:00am I would have been screwed.

Once again, just over an hour before I needed to be to Adepticon for an event, this time Combat Patrol, I was dragging out my book and models and trying to come up with something functional. I had originally signed up as Orks, but when I saw that the event awarded around 25% of the points for painting I knew I had to bring my Angels of Absolution. They are my pride and joy and I knew I could walk in with 400 points of fully painted models and have something that would do "okay" play wise.

As it went the last 3 days, I tried to avoid traffic on the 290 by heading west on Chicago Ave and ultimately took as long to get there as if I was stuck in traffic. So much so that friends called to check on me to see if I was okay. To my advantage the event started almost an hour late. The disadvantage to this is that there was a tight time crunch and the games were mostly 2-3 turn games despite only playing with 400 points per side. People into tournaments talk a lot of crap on small games but I think they are great fun. I did get frustrated when I was getting hammered by all of the other players early on bringing Terminators and Obliterators; 2+ saves in games that small are a real bastard! Still, after I got pushed down in the rankings I was facing other players who didn't have 2 ups in their forces either and the games were much more balanced. Overall it was a great time. Not as new and exciting as "It's How You Use It" felt but still solid.

The highlight was having people constantly come up and compliment my army throughout the event. There were some other fantastic armies like fell 2nd City Warzone blogger, Scott Kroll (Daemons) and the beautiful free hand work of Kevin Peters? (Parker? Parks? My bad. He played Eldar). At the end of the event people were rushing up and asking my name and I was so incredibly stoked when I the first award announced was "Best Appearance" and my name was uttered. I got some cool prizes and a plaque, but the honor behind the award trumps everything in my book. Thank you to everyone who voted for me!
My Angels of Absolution brought me the Best Appearance title during Combat Patrol #2 on Saturday night.

Afterward I pulled around the car and 2nd City Warzone contributors Eric Brose and Mike Nogle helped me carry in half the tables and scenery for my event on Sunday. Exhausted, I went home to work on tables more.

At 5:00am the alarm went off and I promptly jumped out of bed. I still had a 4'x6' table to drybrush. I worked through until 7:30 when I started loading up the car. I ran to W-Grocer, my local convenience store that features vegan items (yeah, I'm one of those guys) and I stocked up on snacks to get me through the day. Traffic was clear and I drove hurriedly to Lombard, IL.

I got to Adepticon right after 9:00am and Eric was standing right by the tables and scenery. He came out and helped me unload the car and gave me the update on who was there for The Battle of Piscina IV and what they brought.

When I conceived this event I had a lot of big plans but life got in the way. I wanted to have the most dynamic gaming tables at Adepticon and I wanted to run a grand campaign from start to finish. I did a lot of unnecessary work reading and re-reading The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe in order to make recommended army lists and scenarios only to find out a few days before that Owen Rees had updated the full campaign for 4th Edition and the PDF was available online. Ultimately, my own performance fell dramatically short of what I intended but I was still determined to give the attendees a great day of narrative gaming.

Most everyone who participated had read The Purging of Kadillus so that was really cool. Just about everyone knew what were trying to recreate and had that spirit in mind. The 2 other Ork players who had signed up never showed and the one Imperial Guard participant said he was going to his room to get his stuff and never came back. Regardless, we managed to play through 7 out of 9 of the Storm of Vengeance scenarios as well as 1 scenario I adapted from the Cities of Death book to represent the initial invasion as it was implied to have happened in the early chapters of the book, so everyone got in 4 games of various sizes, and every game was on a different table that I had set up to represent the almost exact configurations shown in the original scenario diagrams. I thought I was going to strictly GM but ended up having to jump in and play Orks to ensure there were Orks on both tables to keep the games moving. Everyone seemed to have a good time but it was a long day of gaming after a long weekend!

I walked away from running my first Adepticon event wanting to do it again. I feel like I had managed to turn around something that seemed like it might totally botch due to a lot of wasted time on my part and improper preparation into a fun and relaxing day of gaming after all. This was an experiment and at the end of the day I felt like it was successful because people had fun and I learned a lot. It wasn't as grandiose as I had originally envisioned but that was my fault. Dark Angels seem like they'll be getting some attention of some sort over the next year and I'd like to take what I've learned from this experience and make another go at it if the Adepticon organizers will let me. Additionally, there were murmurings of possibly going to a 5 day format in 2013 because Adepticon has gotten so huge. If that indeed happens I have another event idea in my head that I've been carrying around for years that I would love to try. I would love to get in 3 days of gaming and classes and 2 days of volunteering. I think that would be great.

Thanks to everyone who participated in The Battle for Piscina IV and being such great sports. Thanks to Eric Brose for helping me get set up and organized and thanks to Matt Weeks and the Adepticon organizers for giving me a chance to try my hand at running a narrative event.

If anyone has any photos from the event they'd like to contribute, send them my way.


PS. I'm flat broke and need to sell off a bunch of my gaming stuff. My girlfriend and I want to open a business and we need start up capital so as much as I'd love to squander the money made on more gaming stuff, I'll be directing that money into ordering goods and building a web store for our dream business. Nope, its not a gaming store. I did that in the 90's and its a hard business. Anyway, please check out my auctions and bid on what you can. New items will be added daily until I run out of gaming stuff to list. Thanks!


sonsoftaurus said...

Cool, glad that the event went well.

Chicago Terrain Factory said...

You should have seen the line earlier in the day. People started lining up at 10am, and the line stretched all the way down the hall and back into the 40K ball room. Crazy what people will do for a $30 free bag.

Glad you liked the molding class. I was asked to step in about an hour before the seminar started. Made for a crazy night. Feel free to email me if you have questions.

While Adepticon is having trouble finding room for all of the attendees, I hope we don't add a day. Working 3.5 days was hard enough.

Where was your event - over in the 40K hall? I think I would have remembered great looking terrain like that.

Do you have figures to go along with the Chariot Wars book? There is supposed to be a new Chariot Wars army list PDF for WAB. Might drum up some interest.


xNickBaranx said...

@SonsofTaurus Thanks!

@Chicago Terrain Factory, I was nestled in the far corner of 40K hall on Sunday, closest to Target. I do wish they add a day. I'd love to get in the same amount of gaming but volunteer more. I want it all Rich. ;)

I will probably take you up on answering some questions once I have the money to start tinkering with molding. I'm sort of obsessed with molding a few things to make building my city terrain even easier and better - and for making some rarely seen details. So many ideas! haha.

And no, I have no ancient's models at all. I never got around to playing. I was briefly interested in Persians around 2000 but never made the leap to playing and painting.

agemmanjw said...

I thought your table looked great by the pictures and, of course, your AoA are beautiful! (My Eldar are still hurting after the thumping your army gave 'em all those years ago) I enjoyed this post quite a bit, much better than the regular 'I hate GK' posts Ive been reading this week.

Keep representin', Primarch Baran! Oh yeah, and remember the Walden!

Brian said...

Thanks for the kind words about the Killzone tables. As you know, it's a labor of love. Perhaps we can share some tips or otherwise collaborate next year? I'm in the area.

Great writeup. Thanks again.

xNickBaranx said...

@agemmanjw Thanks man. I'll actually post more pics of the scenery later. And I will never forget GW 108. Nor will I forget the 1 time I won against an Eldar army. (Actually I may have a 2nd win against Eldar at a Jester's Cap tournament that I won. I remember playing them but I can't remember if I won. haha.)

@Brian Thanks for dropping a line. I'm glad to hear you talking about doing next year. A friend was saying you might not update Killzone to 6th Edition. What do you have planned?

Pedro Kantor said...

I promise to post my picts of sunday soon nick!!!

Brian said...

As far as I know, KZ is going to get a 6th edition treatment for certain.

One way or another, I'll be back with tables galore next year. I can't stop myself.

Scott said...

I will get you next year Nick, in the best painted Combat patrol that is. It might help if I displayed my army in something other than a Dunkin' Donuts box.