Made it back to the Pacific Northwest yesterday afternoon after a long weekend of Fantasy Gaming in the West Coast GT. It was my first time out there, and I have a lot to report on. Here’s the breakdown:
To start things off, I want to start by thanking the guys from West Coast Hammertime that helped to make the West Coast GT one of the more memorable GT’s I’ve ever been apart of (Bill and Fred are a few of the names I remember). The venue was nice and could’ve held about 3-4 more tables if needed. It was the Elks Lodge, and they even had a bar on-site with the concession stand in the same room as the tournaments… so getting a quick snack was very easy to do. In all, there were 44 participants, which is the second largest GT I’ve ever attended, and I don’t have one bad thing to say about anybody that was there. I met up with zebrazach and a couple other guys and pretty much hung with them the entire weekend. The camaraderie that was there, as well as the hospitality shown by these guys as well as others (Stephen Johnstone, Lenny Ortega, Zack Lopez, Leif Davidsen and Ryan Frayer, just to name a few) was outstanding and I never once felt out of place. The weather was amazing, and there was food places as well as a grocery store in the same parking lot. All in all, very nice location and well run tournament. I’ll take the next few paragraphs to break down the pro’s and con’s of the tournament:
Venue: Big enough, plenty of space. And a bar right where we needed it. We were able to leave our things there overnight, which is a huge advantage because I hate packing my stuff up once it’s out, only to have to do the same thing again the next day. As stated earlier, walking distance to lots of food joints and a grocery store. The bar portion was right next to us and they had a waitress that was on top of things throughout the entire weekend, always checking to see if you needed anything else. The tables were well spaced, each had 2 chairs, and they were clearly marked.
Booze!: That’s right! The West Coast GT’ers had a keg on tap that was free for anybody that wanted it as long as the keg was still flowing! I think it lasted about a game and a half…
The Staff: These guys (it’s worth mentioning once again, West Coast Hammertime – they have podcasts as well) were on top of everything and made sure to constantly walk around and check in on everybody’s game in case of any rules questions or anything of the sort. They also stuck very closely to the schedule which is awesome… a dragging tournament is never fun. Also, upon signing up, they hand you a file folder with 6 printouts of your army list in Army Builder as well as all you’ll need for the weekend for getting through the scenarios. At the start of each game, if there was something that was specific to the scenario, they already had it there by the time we set up. There was very little downtime throughout because these guys were running like an efficient, well-oiled machine.
The Prize Support: Here’s a pic of the prize support. In the end, they had a raffle for a lot of random stuff (that I happened to win!) even before they got to the awards. Any time I pay upwards of $70 for a tournament, it’s always nice to see the TOs giving a lot of it back. I was very pleased with the prize support. I also found out in the end that the guys from Cardboard Arcade (Lenny Ortega, Leif Davidsen) donated some of the prize support, which goes to show even more how well those guys work with each other in SoCal.
Scenarios: Even though I’m not a huge fan of switching up the scenarios I really liked the ones these guys came up with because they stuck to the SoCal theme with them. There was one that used Mad Mickey from Disneyland and then another where you’re trying to make it to the main stage in order to “make it” in Hollywood. They were pretty fair for both sides and didn’t make a huge difference either way. I liked the changed of pace and scenery for the altered scenarios so these get my vote.
Table height: This one is more personal preference than anything, but I think my Agents of C.O.M.I.C.S. days spoiled me because of the 4 foot high tables. Makes it much easier on the knees and lower back, but even then, I understand this is hard to accommodate. So this is more of a personal gripe than anything.
That’s about it for pro’s and con’s. I think the tournament was well-ran, stayed on time, and the prize support was pretty amazing. A very friendly staff as well as friendly gamers made it a very enjoyable experience.
As for how I fared in the tournament… Well, I ended up going 1-2-2 and placed 16th out of 44 players. My total points were 133.5 and got the prize for 2nd place Best Sportsman. I got 3 out of 5 votes for “Most Favorite Opponent”, which was good enough to take 2nd place. For my efforts, I got the Empire Reinforcement Battalion! (I got the Warhounds in the raffle!)
I played Stephen Johnstone (very cool guy) in Round 1 against his Tomb Kings and it ended up a draw. In the last turn, he was able to kill off my General, and that proved to be the deciding factor in making it a draw as opposed to a win for me. Very fun game. Round 2 I played Jeff Seuss’s High Elves and got yet another draw. I believe in Turn 3 we started taking shots of Patron Tequila… made for a very enjoyable game. He got my vote for Most Favorite Opponent and was part of the Leadership 2 group. The third game of the first day was against Wade Durant and his Dark Elves and they handed me my first loss of the tournament. So at the end of Day 1 I was 0-1-2. The next day I started off with Brian Karol’s Skaven and got a pretty decisive victory. He was a new gamer and was still learning the ways of how you play a Skaven army. Finally, my last game was against Justin Rusk who played Wood Elves. This game went pretty poorly for me (and awesome for him!) as he charged my Carnosaur – and broke it in combat – and then I failed to rally the next turn. Obviously, he ran him off and then widdled down my Saurus unit with a Treeman and Dryads. He was a good general and could really tell that he knew how to play his army. So, overall, 1-2-2 with a 16th place finish. Sorry for the lack of great detail in these but I really could do entire posts on each of the games – and I just might. But the intent of this post is to give thoughts on the West Coast GT and how I did, so short and sweet is what I’m shooting for.
On Saturday night, a handful of us stuck around and got some food nearby and then decided to do a mega battle. The idea was to set up each of our armies and then we had to play with somebody else’s army. We had 3 vs. 3 and I ended up using Ryan Frayer’s Wood Elves. As is customary with mega battles, we never finished and got to Round 2 before we decided drinking was the better idea. We had a blast, though and it really kinda tied the whole tournament together with the camaraderie that these guys showed one another. There was laughs, cries, more laughs, and even some shots thrown in there somewhere. It was an awesome night… although the time change didn’t help much the next morning!
Overall, I was very pleased with the West Coast GT and, depending on where I’m at around this time next year, I will definitely make it back. The guys that ran the tournament did a hell of a job and the venue they chose was top notch. All of the players were very cool and I seen some of the best painted armies I’ve ever seen at this tournament. Those guys from SoCal really know how to put on a tournament and show off their armies. I’d recommend this tournament to anybody on the west coast or anybody that’s willing to do a little bit of travel, just like I did. Thanks again to everybody that was there and the TO’s, it was one hell of a party! Enjoy the pics! Also, my apologies to the painters of each of these armies, my camera work does the detail in which these armies are painted no justice!