I don't get to actually play in to many tournaments - however there are finally getting to be a fair number within a reasonable ( of course that does xepend on your definition of reasonable )  driving distance, so I'm getting more opportunities to play.

The second annual Dragonfall convention was this past weekend.  My oldest son and I headed up through some pretty nasty traffic to Chicago to play in it.

On Saturday we had 12 players.  For the first match, I had my first game against Shannon Shoemaker.  Shannon was one of the two people to show up at my tournament for Gencon 2013.  He is now one of the top players in the region ( and we'll just have to see how he does at the 1St Masters Kings of War Championship in February).  He brought a 'tame' orc list, with 3 Godspeakers, 2 hordes of ax, 3 hordes of orclings, a couple of war drums, a couple of regiments of morax and a mounted Krudger.  A fun, tough game but I came out slightly ahead for a 12 - 8 win.
Shannon Shoemaker carefully measuring
The second game was against Todd Warren,  the event organizer.  He brought an Abyssal list with gargoyles, a Fiend, succubbi, tortured souls and allied Ogre seige breakers.  His fliers were on me on turn two, blowing through everything they hit, and on turn three he hit again, smashing into my stronger units, and destroying them as well.  It surprised me a little that he wasn't able to finish me off before the end of the game - I was only not tabled because one rocket launcher was way off on a flank.  That was a 0 - 20 loss.

( sorry, but when I get playing I forget to take pictures ).

The final game on Saturday was against Briam Thomsen, one of the four other Abyssal Dwarf players ( yes, 5 of the twelve players brought evil stunties).  Brian had three hordes of golems, a greater golem, three big mortars, halfbreeds and gargoyles.  His big mortars hit WAY more than mine ever do, but I managed to pull out a win with both our forces nearly wiped out 15 - 5.

( again, I got busy actually PLAYING the game, and forgot to get a picture.  I swear, where are my priorities ).

Sunday morning we had three players drop out (the event was billed that you could play just one day or both), but added one.  I had hoped to finally get to play Sue Foreman, but alas it was not to be.  Of course after driving over 300 miles for the tournament, I ended up playing my son.  Jon is a great player, currently ranked 2nd in the region for the Masters circuit.  He has been on the top table for the last round at Adepticon for the past two years.  However for some reason he can't seem to beat me at a tournament.  To add to that, he is still struggling with his latest nature army.  And my dice were not as bad as they usually were, and his were worse.  It ended up being a big 20 - 0 win for me.
Jon Carter sizing up the battle
After that game, I was looking at a couple of armies - and Kris Kapsner's herd looked like an extremely hard list - and I really didn't want to face it.  So of course I played him in the next round. He brought 2 hordes of guardian beasts, two stampedes, 4 troops of hounds, a horde of chariots and a couple of shamans. I tried to soften up a few of his units with shooting, but he easily healed back everything I did.  He used the Dragonfall hero to great advantage, taking out one of my war machines on the first turn.  He played a slow and deliberate game, and just took me apart like a surgeon.  I really felt he could have wiped me out at least a turn earlier had he wanted to.  At the end he got a bit little conservative, trying to keep his chariots alive (which should have been gone, but I rolled a 3 when I only needed a 4 to route them) and didn't charge my iron caster (and he would have destroyed it) when he could - so he actually lived.  It didn't matter in the end however, as I still took a 0 - 20 loss.  With this game however Kris now had enough points so that it was impossible for anyone else to catch up with him to win the tournament.  I'm glad I could help with that :-)

This type of army, just like Todd's abyssals in game 2, is one that I struggle a LOT with.  I talked to Kris afterward, and he did say that with this build he didn't see any way I could have won the game. To counter something like this I need a lot more chaff - maybe split my halfbreeds into troops, and adding lots of gargoyles - to give me the speed to hopefully disrupt the stampedes so that I might have a chance to deal with them.  So maybe it is time to mix up my list a bit.
Kris Kapsner planning out how he is going to utterly destroy me.
The final game was against Ryan Goleman, who brought Ogres.  2 hordes of warriors, horde of siegebreakers, horde of braves, regiment of boomers, two regiments of chariots, warlord and warlock. I baited his chariots on the right flank with a unit of decimators, which he easily took out but then they were destroyed by my golems.  On the left flank we played a cat and mouse game as he kept backing up his chariots just out of range of my halfbreeds, and then I would move up just out of his range.  Eventually he ran out of table to back up, at which time (I think it was turn 5) I finally charged them, and destroyed them (as I expected to - regiments of chariots just don't hold up to a full regiment of cav).  In the center I was able to split up his forces, getting off a flank on the siege breakers that wiped them out.  In the end he had very little left, and I had most of my bigger units for a 13 - 7 victory for me.
Ryan at the end of the game, with just about nothing left
Kris Kapsner won overall, Joe Flesch go the plaque for Best Appearance, and Ryan Goleman for Best Sportsman.  I shameless stole the award pictures off of Todd's facebook page because I was too lazy to take any myself.
Todd Warren and Kris Kapsner - with his enormous trophy

Todd and Joe Flesch appearing very happy

Todd and Ryan Goleman sporting a surprised look

At then end I believe I came in 5th out of 13 (I haven't seen the final scores yet, but that was the count as he named off people for prizes).  I was very happy with that, as it meant this scored as a Masters qualifier for me (along with Nashcon, where I was 18th out of 38).  I may be ranked dead last (I think I have 66 points), but at least I'm ranked (it is fairly hard to qualify when you run half the qualifying events.  I'm lucky to have even managed to play in two qualifing events. ).

The trophy
Congratulations go out to Kris Kapsner for winning by taking all the points.  He didn't want to post the picture of the trophy as he didn't want to be "that guy".  But he is that guy that kicked the crap out of 12 other people over six games in two days, and ended up driving even farther (from Duluth, MN) than I did from Dayton OH.  So he deserves to show it off a little bit.

So, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good (for me) was finally getting to play several people that I've known for a while.  Finally getting games in against some of the top ranked players (Shannon, Todd and Kris - sorry I can't include Jon in that list because I can play him any time I want to (we last played just a week before the tournament)) was fun, and if I had to get smashed with two 0-20 losses, at least it was against the top two finishers in the tournament (Kris winning, and Todd in 2nd place (though as organizer he did not take any prizes).  Everyone who was there on Sunday took home a prize, and that is always good.

Dragonfall was a nice little convention.  This was only it's second year, and I would definitely go back again.  It amazed me that they actually had their own branded fat mats for every table - and not only that but sold them afterwards for less than half the retail price (so yes, I've finally started getting some mats to replace the felt sheets I've been using).

On the bad - I REALLY did not care for the scenarios.  All the scenarios were kill based, and then some additional victory points for certain objectives.  (I also don't care for the 20-0 scale either).  The problem with these (in my opinion) was you could easily ignore the bonus points and just play kill, and a lot of what balances the game is the other scenarios.  I have seen a lot of tournaments lately that are not playing with NO kill scenarios instead.

Kings of War is NOT Warhammer - and these games (with bonus points for table quarters, killing the Dragonfall hero) to me were direct WFB games, not KoW.

The Dragonfall hero was an interesting twist - though I was not able to use him well (others said he was their MVP of several games).

The ugly - well me of course - I've seen myself in the mirror and hate to have to force someone else to look at my ugly mug across the table for two hours!  The Pheasant Run resort was nice, but needed a LOT better signage, and I was frustrated that I tried several times to get a room there - but each time I was put on hold and eventually hung up after 10 minutes or more.  Of course the traffic ( made worse by all the construction along the way) was pretty horrendous on Friday (and only compounded by the fact that we hit Chicago just about 5 pm) - though the drive home wasn't bad.

Lastly I have a hard time when I see that people are still running tournaments all on paper, trying to manually do match ups.  Todd struggled a bit on Sunday for the final round.  I can strongly endorse Warscore (and not just because I know Bill) - but to be able to do matches with a couple of clicks, and then be able to publish the results afterward (which also allows the players to track who they played) is a great feature.

But Todd ran a great event (with Shannon's help), and I expect to return next year (I do wish I didn't have to travel 300 miles to play in a tournament though :-) ).

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. Congratulations on a good tournament, Mike. Thanks a ton for the write up. I would have loved to be there, but for a family commitment on Sat.


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