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Thoughts of a First-Time GenCon Attendee
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Author:  buttcabbge [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:45 am ]
Post subject:  Thoughts of a First-Time GenCon Attendee

Well that ruled. What an awesome, awesome time that was. After really wanting to attend Gencon the last couple years but not being able to swing it with my start-of-semester schedule, I can’t express how glad I am that the timing worked out for me this year and I was able to attend for the first time. I played great opponents all weekend, won a few more than I lost, and more importantly, met a lot of great people. So, here’s a few thoughts:

***Big thanks to Dean for putting all this stuff together. As a fellow Missourian, I’ve seen first-hand what Dean does for our local community, and as a person who mostly lurks and sometimes posts on Gamers, I’ve seen what he does for the online community. But Gencon was clearly an undertaking of a different magnitude, and I thought everything ran amazingly well. Great job Dean.

***Thanks to everyone who judged or coordinated an event. The difference between the maturity and self-assuredness of the SWM judges and the chest-thumping, screaming d-baggery of the organizers of some of the events adjacent to us could not have been more striking. Everything ran pretty much on-time, information we needed to know was communicated clearly, and the couple of times a call on the rules was needed in one of my games, it was provided in a quick, clear, and fair manner. Great job all you guys.

***Congrats to Daniel on winning the big enchilada, but also to all the other Quarterfinalists, and everyone else who won an event.

***I could not have had more awesome carpool buddies. Reuben and Chris and I had a great time rolling down I-70, analyzing old country songs, and enjoying the lousy continental breakfast at our Days Inn. I was especially psyched when Reuben, with whom I’ve been playing minis once or twice a week since Rebel Storm came out, finished second in Tile Wars. For a guy who has never been super-active on the tournament scene, second place in an event that included some very high-level players is a fantastic accomplishment. I was also excited to see Chris do well, especially in Sealed (a format he really loves), where he won one of the tournies.

***Good Lord I had a lot of fun. It was cool to put faces to the names I’ve seen on the boards for years, and to make a lot of new friends. I felt like the SWM group had just the right mix of competitiveness and esprit de corps. I'm obviously newer to the scene than most, but like Darth Jim talked about, I felt instantly accepted, which was very cool.

***Competitively speaking, I was pretty happy with how the weekend went. I was one of two people to finish 4-0 with 12 points in Mystery Map. I tied for first with MtMagus, so we got to split first prize, which was a complete set of Jedi Cartographer Maps. Many thanks to Matt Francella for all the work on the map, which I thought produced one of the coolest formats of the weekend (and not just because I did well on it). I also went 4-2 in the Champs, good for 16th place, losing only to TimmerB (a Regional Champ) and Graham (who slaughtered multiple Regional Champs on his way to the quarters). I kinda stunk up the joint in 150 and 200 Jedi Challenge, but I was 3-1 or better in everything else I entered, and for a first trip to Gencon, I was happy with how I played.

***I was, overall, very impressed with the level of competition. I expected it to be very good, of course, but I was blown away by how many excellent players there were. I had wins that took every bit of ingenuity I have, moments of great luck and terrible luck, and losses that taught me angles and dimensions to the game I hadn’t seen before. As a learning experience, it was great. And I’ll also say that, even though everyone was competing very hard, I did not play a single jerk: people who could have been smug about a victory chose not to be, and people who had grounds for blaming the dice gods for a loss still gave the credit to their opponent. It really was a great group of guys.

(Next post: a few game reports if you're interested in that sort of thing)

Author:  buttcabbge [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Thoughts of a First-Time GenCon Attendee

Okay, game reports. I played a ton of great games, and really enjoyed meeting and playing with everyone I played. That said, here are a few of the games I’ll remember the most:

***Mystery Map, Round 4. Randy Barker and I were both undefeated, but his Thrawn/Calixte/Cad/Storm Commando squad had my Thrawn/Sith Lord Palp/Rex/Tarkin squad out-activated. Figuring that I needed to force the action rather than sit back and wait for him to come get me, I moved Palps out as a target in the general vicinity of his shooters, figuring that if Cad dropped 120 damage on him, Palps would barely be alive and I could swap in Rex and take my chances on getting Cad or a Storm Commando down before the next round (not a great strategy, I’ll admit, but it seemed more likely to work than “wait and let Randy leverage his activation advantage and choose where and when the first big attack happens”). Instead, what happened was Cad rolled a 1 against Palps on his fourth attack, and suddenly I had Cad in my squad via Betrayal (I’ll admit that this was extra-exciting since I don’t actually own a Cad Bane mini--it was the first time I'd ever had the chance to play with him). It was still a tricky game, as I now had to keep both Palps and Cad alive (and win the next big initiative) but I was able to do so. It was a crazy, crazy way to end up in first place in an event, and props to Randy for being totally chill about a loss that many players would not have taken so well.

***JC 150 Round One and Champs Round Five. Played Greg Sutton in both of these games, and wow. He’s an excellent player, and we played a couple barn-burners. Probably my toughest loss of Gencon was JC 150 Round One, where we played a close game throughout, and as time expired I conceded because I failed to see that I could generate a shot on Yoda with Han Smuggler that would have given me a chance at a one-point win. It was by far my worst brain lock of the weekend. Then, in the champs, we met each other, both at 2-2 with 6 points, in what we knew was probably an elimination game. I beat him, but it took some very good dice luck against Han GH to make it happen. He had moved Mara in at the end of Round 3 to take out Han, then I put 80 damage on Mara w/ Dash and Luke but couldn’t drop her. Next round, he won init and killed Luke and was in very good shape. Then, I activated two ERC’s, hit Han four times in a row needing 8’s, and watched Han fail 3 of 4 evades and die—just terrible luck for Greg. After that, I was able to take out Mara with Dash, and I just had more firepower from that point forward. I have to say that Greg was one of my favorite people to play against—totally intense while the game is taking place, but totally friendly and respectful afterwards.

***Mystery Map Round 1 and Jedi Challenge 200 Round 3. Played Matt Spry twice, went 1-1 against him, and we kicked the snot out of each other in both games--both games might have had 150-point margins of victory. But in spite of being blowouts, both games were a ton of fun—he’s a funny dude.

***JC 100 Rounds 1 and 3. Had two virtual mirror matches with Matt Hanson and Andrew (whose last name I can’t remember) where we were running Gen Sky/Dash/R2. Matt beat me in a game which went on long enough to include multiple R2-on-R2 attacks. Andrew (who had beaten me earlier in the 150) lost to me when I out-rolled him after we engaged.

***Tile Wars. I forget which rounds, but I had some massive opponents in Tile Wars, as I played two Champs quarterfinalists (Trevor and Wes) and one Regional Champ (Gray from Kentucky). I also played Dave (gold34) who is no slouch either. I went 3-1 against that field (Wes got me), so apparently Tile Wars is what I need to be playing all the time.

***Round 2, Champs. I met TimmerB in a Round 2 matchup of Regional Champions. He did a couple things with placement of his Lancer droid that I hadn’t seen before. Even though I lost, I was happy with how I played this one—he got his early Lancer lead, but I was able to claw my way back to within 12 points going into the last initiative with at least a puncher’s chance at a win (to be fair to Tim, even if I won init, I most likely would have needed a crit on Grievous to win—he was in much, much better shape than I was). Great game, and one of my biggest learning experiences of the tourney—I really liked how Tim ran that squad.

***Round 4, Champs. Met Graham when we were both at 2-1 with 6 points. I have to say—I really liked his Yobuck squad (with Ferus Olin and Rex). Normally, I don’t worry about Yobuck too much with my Rebel Commando/Han/Dash squad—I have enough disruptive to make swap difficult to do, and enough opportunist that, with Dodonna, I can punish Yobuck at the end of whatever round he charges. However, this is harder to do when Yobuck has 210 points of freaking bodyguards draped all over him, which is how Graham built the team. I had some bad dice luck on some early shots at Panaka that might have changed the game, but honestly, it might not have mattered. Graham played a great game with a really cool team, and I was not at all surprised to see him make the Quarters.

So, there you have it. I guess the true mark of a great gaming community is that some of the games you lost are the games you enjoyed the most, and that was definitely true for me. I hope that in the future I'll have the chance to renew these and other rivalries, whether online or at another Gencon.

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