Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lions Den I - Tournament Prep

I was going to present a Checklist of the preparations I am making before Saturday's tournament. In a coincidence, the Bell of Lost Souls blog just posted a similar checklist in the wake of Adepticon.

What follows is the BoLS checklist with comments on my own progress.

Play at least 20 games with your tournament armies.
This is the most important thing for a number of reasons.

Firstly, you will see the strengths and weaknesses of your build, and you can make adjustments. You will tune your army more the more games you get in with it, and the better the army suits your playstyle, the better you will use it.

Secondly, the more familiar you are with your army, the less time you will spend thinking about what to do with it. The less time you spend thinking, the less trouble you will have with the clock. All it takes is one game not finishing to keep you off the top tables.

Lastly, you will memorize or at least come close to memorizing all the stats for your army. This will increase both efficacy of use and speed of play, both of which matter. And constantly having to look things up in your army book / codex makes other players much more likely to have a bad gaming experience with you.

I haven't played 20 games with the 654th. In fact, I haven't played any at 1,750 with this army! What I will do is play 20 games either in tournament or casual settings with the 654th before making any list changes. After 20 games, or even 10, any glaring holes or weaknesses not attributed to my inexperience should be apparent. I'll gobble up any advice thrown my way about the list too.

Review the basic rules of all phases of the game.
Not only will this make you less likely to make mistakes, but it will make you more likely to catch opponent errors, thus reducing the chances your game will have problems that might make you feel cheated later.

Check. I know the basics, but I'll make mistakes. They key will be to ask questions of my opponents and double check with them on the rules areas I'm sketchy at such as assaults.

Bring spare measuring devices and dice.
Because both of these things can get lost. Also having a block of very plain dice is a very good idea. For most games, using lots of different dice is just great, but playing with uniform dice on top tables for the last game, you really want a generic dice block to avoid any questions.

Check. Tape Measure, dice bag and FOW markers are in the army carrying case. I'll also be bringing a baking sheet and placemat to transport the vehicles and infantry from table to table. It'll be cramped in the Realm with 9 tables and I want to be able to easily deploy the force rather than placing and pulling the army in and out of its carrying case. I doubt there will be much space for army cases on the floors (risk of getting kicked too).

Practice judging distances.
Learn how tall your basic models are, exactly. Knowing this will make judging distances a lot easier, and the difference between 6.01 and 5.99 can be the distance between defeat and victory.

Judging distances doesn't really apply in FOW, unless I run into someone who won't let a measurement happen before an assault is declared.

Eat right and get some sleep the week beforehand.
Tournament days are long, and there is usually not a lot of sleep while you are there, and you eat more junk food, too. So put some juice in your batteries – you don’t want to be half asleep like I was last Sunday morning.

Plan to eat a good breakfast and bring snack bars to keep the energy up and starve off the hunger headaches.

Wear comfortable shoes.
Yes, seriously. I think work boots are the best choice; fatigue contributes to making boneheaded choices that you will regret.

No boots, but I do have comfy shoes.

If there are primer missions, play them. If there are missions from last year, play them.
Familiarizing yourself with the mindset of the people who run the tournament helps you to be ready for the curves that are headed your way.

For example, the 40K Missions for BoLSCon last year were all themed on 80s music titles. This year, the 70s will get their chance. The WFB Missions were a narrative quest for The Frostblade; expect another quest.

I've played the Hold the Line mission a few times to know the basic strategies with objective placement. Encounter and Fighting Withdrawal will be new to me since my games usually consist of grab a force and let's play Free For All

Know the scoring system.
If you want to do well, knowing what constitutes doing well really helps. Sometimes all you really need to do is kill your opponents, and sometimes you have to have a pretty army as well. At BoLSCon, if you have your army painted to a 3 color standard, you treat other people with the respect you would like to have, and you crush your enemies, you will most assuredly win the tournament.

No word on any Sportsmanship scores for Lions Den I. No word for Best Painted. There are no points for History. We'll find out.

Play your nightmare army.
After (or while) you get in 20 games with your tournament army, you should play against your own army with the army you least want to face. A couple of times.

At this stage of my FOW experience, any competently played army is a nightmare army to me!

Prepare all the references and army lists you need before leaving home.
Don’t expect to have a printer available to you at the tournament, or to use the one in the hotel business center. Have a folder with all your army lists ready, and all the books you will need ready to go as well. Reducing the amount of last minute details you have to take care of helps you to enter that first game with a clear head, setting the tone for the event off on the right foot.

Army list is laminated to one sheet. I have two laminated Quick Reference Sheets with rules sequences, special rules, dice rolls, etc. Thirdly, I have German equipment, warriors and special rules laminated to a few sheets. In all, I have 5 or 6 laminated sheets to quickly look things up, plus the Mini Rulebook. In previous games, people I've played have used them too.

Remember – this is just a game.
We aren’t curing cancer, we are playing toy soldiers. Don’t take winning or losing too seriously; you will do better if you are having fun and not a ball of stress and angst


1 comment:

  1. Your comment on not premeasuring before assaults doesn't apply either. There is no restriction in FOW for any measuring.