Eye of Terror Tournament: A Taste of Round 1

For those who haven’t scoured the players pack, we’ll be doing some lead-up events in the weeks preceding the tournament weekend. Two Games Workshop locations: GW Chinook Mall in Calgary and GW Kingsway Garden Mall in Edmonton will be running lead-up games throughout June. Also, the independent retailers, Great White Entertainment and Myth Games (both in Calgary) will be doing likewise.

So what’s the deal with these lead-up games?

Sneak Attack!

All the games being played ahead of the tournament represent the initial skirmishes being fought before the hostilities fully erupt. These battles give those playing a pro-Chaos army (the tournament refers to these as the Forces of Destruction) a chance to get a head start in the campaign: all victories scored by these factions will lower the initial degree of Imperial control in a select few sectors. Which store you play your battles in determines which sector your victories will count toward:

GW Chinook will be handling all battles taking place in the Perilous Stair (first leg of the Arx Gap: one of the less stable paths out of the Eye of Terror).

GW Kingsway Garden Mall will be handling the hive world, Chima Lomas, in the Nemesis Tessera sector.

Great White and Myth Games will have their battles affect the Rubicon Straits, a treacherous causeway that leads to the naval yards of Bellis Corona …and ultimately Cadia.

Tournament Perks:

Players can also gain tournament perks simply by playing at participating stores during the lead-up events.

Sector Defence

With their determining the initial defence values of three systems in the Eye of Terror, players will earn one Sector Defence card that will allow them to begin the tournament in the battle zone belonging to the store they played at in the lead-up events.

(I’m not sure if I mentioned it already or not, but this tournament will also be different in that tables will be clumped together to represent a battle zone. The combined scores of ALL the tables in a battle zone will be used to determine how much of the defenders the Forces of Destruction have destroyed there that turn. Players will switch battle zones pretty much every round so as to ensure playing the greatest variety of opponents.)

Re-Roll Tokens

Each week a player games at one of the participating stores, they will gain a Re-Roll Token that can be used either in the lead-up event or be saved for the tournament weekend. A maximum of three tokens can be earned by one players.

Special Event Card

Lastly, the most exciting reason to participate in the lead-up games is for a chance to win a Special Event card playable in the first round of the tournament! Even though there are six cards, only ONE card can be won per week: going either to a Forces of Destruction player or to a Forces of the Imperium player. This means not only does getting a Special Event card from the lead-ups gain you a cool ability in the first round of the tournament, it also keeps your opponents from getting  one.

(True to the old Eye of Terror world-wide campaign GW ran back in 2003, this campaign will present opportunities for players to earn Special Event cards that can have dramatic effects on the campaign results each round. ALSO, some Special Event cards will enable players to take a special named character in their army for one round free of points cost…!)

I think the Special Event cards are going to be pretty neat. The way that [I’m hoping] they’ll help weave the campaign narrative together throughout all the rounds has me pretty excited. I’m also pretty excited about the way that players will earn Special Event cards: by fulfilling secondary objectives in battles –objectives that won’t be geared towards helping complete that round’s primary mission. I think the secondary objectives will create the feeling of “crazy” missions without forcing the missions themselves to become too crazy.


Campaign Tournament: June 26 & 27

More info also at: http://conquest-calgary.com/

On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 myself, Great White and the fine folks who ran the ConQuest tournament in the fall of 2009 will be doing a tournament weekend unlike what’s become the standard style of tournament in these parts for some time: we’re bucking the trend and running a campaign tournament weekend.

Our tournament will combine competitive tournament play with what makes map-based campaigns so attractive to us gamers–namely, an atmosphere of fun and camaraderie , the feeling that our games are part of a big picture and the sense that at some point the whole thing could turn out feeling, well, epic. Basically, this campaign weekend is all about contributing to an adventure where the story is as important as the games themselves, where it is just as important to achieve victory for your team as it is to gain glory for yourself.

This is campaign weekend will not be a standard tournament where only your score is important!

Games will be driven by the narrative of the campaign; the games you play will be connected to part of a greater battle – the assault upon the Cadian Gate by the armies of Chaos and the forces of disorder. (The link to the full back story can be found at the top of the column on the right-hand side of this page titled, oddly enough, “14th Black Crusade back story”).

How well your team does will matter just as much as how well you yourself do; even if you lose your individual battle, achieving some of your objectives may help out your faction more than you tabling your opponent would.

I’m hoping that players will get into the mindset of the army (and faction) they’re bringing to the campaign and use this weekend as an opportunity to try something new with their armies — without being worried that straying from their tried and tested ‘tournament’ lists will result in them doing poorly over the weekend.

A Win is a Win is a Win

The other thing I’d like to point out that will make this tournament different is that for each player’s personal battles, there will be NO degrees of victory. A minor victory counts as tabling your opponent; a major victory counts as tabling your opponent; tabling your opponent counts as …you guessed it: tabling your opponent. My aim  is that we can all play this tournament to win but won’t have to stress over by how much. There will be other factors beyond merely decimating your opponents that will create the points spread necessary to determine winners.  With any level of victory counting as the same kind of victory, we should also be able to focus on having some fun: we all know that the best and funnest games are the ones that  –win or lose– are close and hard fought.

My hope is that players will make lists where they can try a new thing (or few) without hampering their ability to place in the top five. I’d really like it if this tournament became more about generalship than list-building, about how you play your army on the board than what you put in your army while still at home.

Army Lists& Construction Rules

Though I’m still getting the player’s pack finished up right now, I thought I’d post this info beforehand …for those who want as much notice as possible.

Army Size:

All players will make up a list of 1400 points called your army core list.

They will also make up a list where they add an extra 250 points to their army core list (total 1650).

They will also make up a third list where they add an extra 500 points to their army core list (total 1900).

Apart from the 1400-point core, the 1650 and 1900-point lists need not be the exact same lists (ie: the 1900-point list doesn’t have to be the 1650-point list with an extra 250 points tacked on). Lists must be emailed to info@ConQuest-Calgary.com

Submission deadline is midnight, Friday, June 18th .

Players should ensure that the rosters include all of the models in their army, the correct points values and all equipment, skills or powers upgrades taken (along with their proper point values). Army lists can still be submitted later than June 18th but run the risk of incurring a penalty on their overall tournament score and MAY be ineligible for the Best General award (called the “Ambitious Opportunist:  (   faction name  ) ” award in this tournament.

Army army lists must have the following clearly stated at the top of the page:

Army Type,  Name of Player,  Phone Number,  Email Address

Points spent on:  HQ  /  Elite  /  Troops  /  Fast Attack  /  Heavy Support

Army lists can be submitted in Microsoft Word or Excel (versions 2003 or lower), in Notepad or in Army Builder format.

Armies cannot use more than one Force Organisation Chart and must follow their most current codex according to this list:

Codex: Black Templars                  Codex: Blood Angels (2010)

Codex: Chaos Space Marines       Codex: Daemon Hunters

Codex: Daemons of Chaos           Codex: Dark Angels

Codex: Dark Eldar (2nd Ed.)         Codex: Eldar

Codex: Imperial guard                  Codex: Necrons

Codex: Orks                                  Codex: Space Marines

Codex: Tau Empire                       Codex: Space Wolves (2009)

Codex: Tyranids (2010)                Codex: Witch Hunters

Other Army Construction Guidelines

  • Individual units that may have multiple rules versions will follow the rules presented in that army’s codex. (Yes, this means a Black Templar Land Raider will function differently than a standard Space Marine Land Raider.) Please take the time to review the relevant codex and GW FAQs for clarifications.
  • Forge World/Imperial Armor/ units are not allowed; however, players can use Forge World versions of legal unit(s) from their army’s current codex.
  • Apocalypse-only units and/or Formations may not be used.
  • The Vehicle Design Rules may not be used.
  • Allies may only be used where allowed by a particular codex (i.e. only Witch Hunters or Demon Hunters may be allies, and only as per their rules).

For Inquisitorial Armies:

Imperial Guard and Space Marine allies are allowed. As both of these codices have changed substantially since the Inquisition books were originally released, use the following amendments to the lists presented on pg 30-31 of the Daemon Hunters book and pg 26 of the Witch Hunters book:

Troops: Space Marine Tactical Squad, Space Marine Scout Squad, Imperial Guard Infantry Platoon, Imperial Guard Veteran Squad.

Fast Attack: Space Marine Assault Squad, Land Speeder Squadron, Space Marine Bike Squadron, Scout Sentinel Squadron, Armored Sentinel Squadron, Rough Rider Squad, Scout Bike Squad.

Heavy Support: Space Marine Devastator Squad, Space Marine Land Raider (Crusader and Redeemer as well), Space Marine Dreadnought, Space Marine Predator, 0-1 Leman Russ Squadron (Pask may NOT be taken).

NOTE:  Grey Knight Terminators may not travel in Valkyries or Vendetta Gunships.

Regarding Special/Unique/Named Heroes:

Special or named Characters CANNOT be used. Period.

…but there will be an allowance made for certain characters whose special rules change how their army is made up or who confer a special cross-army rule when present in the army(Like Belial or Pedro Kantor do).  This will be covered in the upcoming Player’s Pack.

That’s all I’m going to go into for now, but I will leave all interested parties with the factions break down –for those with multiple armies who aren’t sure which one they want to play yet.

The Forces of Destruction: The forces motivated to destroy all bastions of the Imperium surrounding the Eye of Terror.

  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Daemons of Chaos
  • Space Orks
  • Tyranids
  • Dark Eldar

The Forces of the Imperium: The forces seeking to contain Chaos within the Eye of Terror.

  • Black Templars
  • Blood Angels
  • Daemon Hunters
  • Dark Angels
  • Imperial guard
  • Space Marines
  • Space Wolves
  • Witch Hunters

The Forces of Self Interest: Those forces looking to their own goals and are willing to fight whomever they need to achieve them. They do have a faction they ultimately side with, included in parentheses after the army (this is done so that this tournament avoids becoming a six-way competition).

  • Eldar (Imperium)
  • Necrons (Destruction)
  • Tau (Destruction)

New Painting Contest & Updates!

Well, looks like it’s painting competition time again!

I was striving to get something going for March fifteenth, but with my running the Rolling Thunder tournament for Warhammer 40,000 and with getting prepared for my shop’s attendance at Cal-Con this year, a March painting competition just wasn’t in the books.

Ah well. Mayday has as much ring to it as Ides of March.

This competition will follow the same format as the previous ones I’ve run: two categories determined by model size where models from the three main Games Workshop systems will be judged against each other along with a third category for inexperienced hobbyists. The departure this time will be the addition of a staff-painted models category. All those who enter will be allowed to judge (through voting) the models submitted by the store staff. From the sounds of it, all the staffers want to paint up larger models, so I need to figure out what I have that’s of comparable size to what they’re all talking about; there’s no point in submitting a Sartosan Vampire three contenders are talking about Carnifexes, Steam Tanks and Carnosaurs.

I have a few things in the works:  Buhrdur  (Angmar Troll chieftain from Lord of the Rings). an Eldar Falcon grav tank, a Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought and Gulavhar (again from Angmar-Lord of the Rings). Both Buhrdur and my grav tank are about 25% done, while Gulavhar and my Venerable Dreadnought are just past the gap-filling stage. I’ll have to make up my mind pretty quickly as to which model will be my entry. (And if I really have my  act together, perhaps I’ll even do some work in progress posts!)

Rolling Thunder Results

On the sixth of March, 2010, I ran my fourth tournament put on by Great White. Rolling Thunder was the store’s second Warhammer 40k tourney (and my third one which had custom scenarios whose aim was to give players two challengers in the each game they played: the player opposite them at the table and that scenario’s victory conditions). All in all, things went extremely well: despite being the consummate procrastinator, I’m managing to get more and more organised with each passing tournament (I’ve left the realm of ‘simply embarrassing’ far behind and can now be solidly ranked among those ‘a  tad disorganised’); I’m also still managing to avoid gaining enemies in real life due to the tournament missions I put the players through.

This time through, we had twelve players: eleven registered plus a ringer spot (which was occupied by a couple of friends who helped me once I realised I was in a jam: twelfth player had registered quite early on and then summarily dropped off the face of the earth–and I hadn’t figured it out until a couple of days before the tournament). Still, things went off pretty smoothly, even with the mall stealing some of our tables first thing in the morning!


Player            —      Army

1.   Kevin K.     — White Scars Marines

2 .  Trevor B.   — Space Wolves

3 .  Jason H.     — Eldar

4 .  Rob D.        — Tyranids

5 .  Scott S.       — Space Wolves

6 .  Mike D.       — Tyranids

7 .  Alem A.     — Salamanders Marines

8 .  Nick G.       — Chaos Marines

9 .  Ryan F.       — Necrons

10.  Conor M.  — Khorne Marines

11.  Peter H.     — Ultra Marines

–an okay variety of armies but still a bit too Marine-heavy for my tastes. Despite that, I am pleased that every list was distinctly different from every other list.

Again, I’m very pleased with all the work put into the armies that took part in Rolling Thunder; the players that keep showing up for the tournaments I run are doing a lot to claw back the poor reputation that ( in my experience) a bulk  of 40k players have established: namely that 40k players care more about gaming than they do gaming with good-looking armies.

Let me explain that comment. During my five-year tenure at Games Workshop, from the GW staff down, I had noticed Fantasy players always tended to have their armies fully painted while 40k players’ armies–who, I might add, had less models–tended to be works in progress…or painted only to the barest of minimums. I had even been to a couple of the annual staff tournaments (held for all the Ontario staff and cell managers, plus one staffer from each province);  both years I went, there were one–maybe two–armies that showed up being either bare plastic/metal or primer only–and remember this was a staff tournament during the era of  “you can’t play in a GW store if your army isn’t completely painted–invariably the offending armies were 40k armies. And I’ll reiterate it: this was happening at a tournament attended by those who were supposed to be setting the standard for their customers. (In following years, I had also heard similar accounts of a 40k army or two showing up for the staff tourney sans paint job.)

I’m not trying to crap on 40k players by saying all this; I’m trying to describe the level of pleased I am at the quality of paint jobs brought to the tables at this tournament; not only were all these armies fully painted, but all were painted to a level well above bare minimum. Up until this tournament, I had always lived under the presumption that 40k players were more gaming-minded and Fantasy players were more hobby-minded; it looks like the two may have reached an equilibrium.

Tournament Results

Name Army Battle
Sports Comp Painting Total
Kevin K. White Scars 21 32.5 28 35.5 117
Trevor B. Space Wolves 19 34.5 26 23 112.5
Jason H. Eldar 39 49.5 23 39.5 151
Rob D. Tyranids 24 32 25 25 106
Scott S. Space Wolves 29 34 34 41 138
Mike Davey Tyranids 41 34.5 31 47.5 154
Alem A. Salamanders 31 34.5 29 20 114.5
Nick G. Chaos Marines 42 37 20 24 123
Ryan F. Necrons 21 34.5 31 23 109.5
Conor M. Khorne Marines 31 32 30 30 123
Peter H. Ultramarines 27 25 23 8 83

Best Overall: Mike D.

Best Sportsman: Jason H.

Best Painted: Scott S.

Lessons Learned

Organise! Organise! Organise! The opportunity to do this tournament came at me quickly and unexpectedly, with a local gaming convention organiser approaching me to run a tournament with tickets to the con as prizes. I agreed running a tournament would be  a win-win situation, thus leaving me only a few scant weeks to organise, advertise and create all the missions. It was pretty hectic for me at times because I wasn’t well prepared to get all this up and going in just a few weeks; luckily I have a (very) little bit of a routine with how I put together my tournaments that this was able to fall together with a bit of hard work and late nights–but thankfully not much stress.

The show went off without a hitch (more or less); and what’s better: I had not only new attendees, but three first-time tournament players! I also noticed quite a few players exchanging contact information,which I suspect is a pretty good indicator of a community growing. And I mean, really, that’s the main hope I have behind doing tournaments: grow the gaming community and have a hand at bringing what I love about gaming to the table.

Staff Tournament!

SO,  I’ve been playing woefully few games of fifth edition since it came out (has it been a year already?!?); thus, at the end of summer I thought I’d try to do something about it. In the game store I manage, we’ve all been a little lax–for the most part– on getting 5th Edition games in, what with us having spent the spring focused on getting our War of the Rings armies up and running. I decided I should initiate a staff tournament for the fall.

I had my doubts about how well a staff tournament would go over, what with the way that we all suffer from magpie-shiny-object syndrome (made exponentially worse by the myriad other hobbies forever enticing us on the sidelines: board games, comics, Lego, new armies, new models, more boardgames…you get the picture). We’ve only attempted staff campaigns in the past, all without much of what could be called “success.” Previous attempts have all died prematurely due to our inability to stay focused long enough to get our full armies completely painted for the campaign (I’m a firm believer that painting builds excitement to play and playing builds excitement to paint; too much of one or the other risks crippling the ability of a regular person to finish their army in a timely fashion). As soon as one person falls too far behind and drops out, the others’ interest would also soon follow.

This time around, I decided to have an escalation-style tournament that would run three rounds over a long enough period of time that would allow games to be played at a more leisurely rate–and allow adequate time for us all to build up our armies and get them painted. As enticement, the prize for winning the tournament would be a (coveted) full weekend off  in November spent playing at the upcoming Conquest 40k/WFB tournament being put on by some of the store’s patrons–and the store would take care of that person’s admission into the tournament.

The points limit of the first heat would be only 700 points (and require the armies to be a minimum of half painted); the second one would be 1200 points (and half painted), and the third heat would be 1700 points (that had to be three-quarters painted).  The winning player had to PROMISE that the army would be fully based and painted before going to the tournament if it wasn’t 100% completed by that time already otherwise the next runner-up with a fully painted army would get to go to the tournament in his place.

The first two heats would be made up of three games apiece: a staffer would play three different opponents in the first heat, then play the three staff he hadn’t played yet in the second heat. Players could score a maximum of three points per game played in the first two heats:  one point for having played the game (provided their army list was submitted on time), another for having their force completely painted, and a third, freebie point, simply for bringing all the needed materials to play the game (if ANYTHING beyond glue needed to be borrowed during a game, this point was lost).

Heat 2 concluded this week, and only one player has scored full marks.

Heat 3 will be played as a round-robin tournament; each staffer will play each other once. There will be points awarded for army paint job, army composition and sportsmanship as well. The total points for the third heat will be 52, making the total tournament points out of 70 (which means all the easy-to-score points from heats one and two will count 26% towards the final tournament points total.

So how am I doing? Well, because I’ve been a little bit lazy and a WHOLE LOT busy with store stuff, right now my running score has me in dead last –due to not being organised enough to get my lists written up in time and because for four games, I kept forgetting to bring templates (which I’m really embarrassed about, because I’ve always made it a point to bring everything I’d need to every game I play).

Farseer Balangaur: leader of Craftworld Fir Mathedyann's war council.



Heat 1:

Game One Opponent:  Tyranids

Swept and destroyed the alien menace. An early gamble with the Genestealers failed to pay off, and the Gaunts were never able to bring their numbers to bear, meaning I was able to take them on piecemeal.

Game Two Opponent: Thousand Sons

By the mid-point of my second round of shooting, I had managed to eradicate the Chaos lord who, up to that point, been the scourge of all the other staff armies that faced him. Guardians proved their mettle by never failing a single Leadership test (and there were many!) caused by shooting casualties. Solid victory, only three of the Thousand Sons lived to tell of the battle.

Game Three Opponent:  Space Orks.

I don’t remember much for details other than I was FREAKED out about playing against orks because, on paper anyway, they look like they trump Eldar in every way. They’re cheaper, they’re tougher, they assault better, they shoot better (their shuriken catapults are better than mine, thus making that BS of 2 not as much of a drawback as you might think), their leadership is higher (in their own orky way). On paper, Orks destroy Eldar.

So thank God we use miniatures. I pulled off a pretty big win–which I attribute to the game being played at a low points level (we’ll see how I do once we’re playing 1700 points).

Heat 2

Game One Opponent: Space Marines

What a grind. Narrowly lost the game. Highlights include the Marine Scout snipers who missed nearly every shot taken every turn. Vibro-cannon caused the most reliable amount of wounds…followed by very few actual casualties. Ten Storm guardians outperformed 6 Striking Scorpions (with Exarch).

Game Two Opponent: Sisters of Battle

Fought to a draw. Eldar outnumbering the Witch Hunters almost two to one definitely a factor in their good showing. Striking Scorpions all killed in round two: all shot dead or set on fire by the Sisters’ Seraphim squad; the Scorpions’ 3+ save may as well have been a 6+ save. Champions of the game was the squad of Guardian Defenders who, after sustaining 60% casualties, charged a Battle Sisters squad and held them up for 3 combat rounds before the Wraithlord joined the fray and helped destroy the enemy squad.

Game Three Opponent: Necrons

Kill-Point mission. Dawn of War set up and Necrons seizing the initiative resulted in 75% Eldar casualties among the two squads and HQ that deployed at the start of the game. Highlights include: Farseer Balanguar assaulting the Monolith by himself, the Warwalker squadron decimating the Necron Destroyer squad. Low points include: Farseer Balangaur unable to do more than immobilize the Monolith despite 3 penetrating and 5 glancing hits, the Striking Scorpions being eradicated by the Monolith’s ordnance blast, the Wraithlord failing to sweep the Necrons after losing combat, despite the Necrons rolling a ‘2’ to retreat from the assault. That failed roll was the difference between a loss and a draw for me.


I decided for the first two heats to build my army with a focus on numbers and to not necessarily worry about making ‘hard’ lists.  In the first heat’s battles, the list I chose focused on numbers with some mean back up: a tooled-up Farseer, two Guardian Defender squads (10-men each, a Conceal-Warlock with one of them), a six-man Striking Scorpion squad (with exarch who had the Scorpion’s Claw and both Exarch skills) and a Wraithlord to cap it off.

The superior numbers and shots factored hugely in both games played, whereas the Guardians’ inherent fragility never came into play to undo my whole army (which is a risk at all times when using a goodly amount of Guardians–or Re-tardians, as I like to call them).

In the second heat, my army list, with its low regard towards being a ‘hard’ list paid off in spades for my opponents! Though I decided to use some units that I tend to skip over, my thought had been to counterbalance them with units that had traditionally performed well for me.

The 1200-point list retained the same Farseer, two Guardian squads, Striking Scorpions and Wraithlord and added to the mix:  ten Storm Guardians (with one flamer and a Warlock with Destructor), a Warwalker squadron (two scatter lasers and two starcannons), a Vibrocannon battery (two guns) and six Swooping Hawks (with an exarch with both skills but no other upgrades).

This list was a train wreck. The more reliable elements of the army (Aspect warriors and Wraithlord) accomplished only cultivating disappointment from me. The Guardians and Guardian-manned equipment proved far more reliable.

Unfortunately, as good as Guardians can be in their ability to dish out damage, they tend to get eclipsed by the enemy. It’s not too noticeable in smaller games at 1,000 points or less, but it’s painfully obvious in games over that. What happens is that the Guardians just get picked apart, despite any decent damage they deal out. Ideally, this is where the Aspect Warriors come in; but that’s not how it worked out in my three games.

I’m going to have to rethink my whole army for Heat 3.