A Trollish meander
Meaning:- known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric:
As I sit in the grandiose Surroundings of Troll Manor, contemplating the next Golden Troll event it strikes me that I haven’t blogged for a few days and as I am in a deeply contemplative mood about Tournaments what better topic to commit to Bloggery? Over the years the Trolls have attended a great many Tournaments for many wargames systems in a large number of Venues, from draughty Scout huts in inner city Manchester to full on Hotel Convention centres in the US and all stops in between, Trolls have sampled the Tournament life in all of its guises both as Players and Tournament Organisers and have a great many tales to tell, so if you see a Troll taking its ease at a Tournament, why not poke it for some amusing anecdotes or ply it with beer for a chance at its life story !
But what is the point of the Wargames Tournament, why do we strive to put on these events and go out of our way to attend them? prepare for some Trollish Analysis on that very topic.
The Wargames Tournament – it conjures up different visions in different people, a chance to test wargaming skills against new opponents, a social get together with likeminded people have a laugh – a few Beers and push some little men around a wargames table, the opportunity to show off amazing painting skills to your peers, a necessary trudge through lesser beings to consolidate your place at the Masters or simply being a Tournament player at heart. All these people share characteristics to a greater or lesser degree and it is left up to the Reader to decide their trope or comment below if you feel you have a previously unidentified Tournament attendance motivation. I am sure that there are as many different types of Wargame stereotypes as there are Wargamers but I am not prepared to enter into a discussion of that here as I suspect that could be A) the basis of an entire Blogpost in itself and B) a golden opportunity to passive/Aggressively insult nearly everyone in the UK (and maybe some Spanish and US) Community without actually pointing fingers – except at Ross, he positively screams finger pointing, But I digress.
Whatever the motivation for attending tournaments we continue to feverishly develop new armies and new tactics, all of which are designed to improve our chances of picking up that first-place trophy. There is an inordinate amount of time, energy and Talent expended in the pursuit of these icons of the Hobby and even the Trolls have a shelf in Troll Manor replete with a large collection of wooden kitchen utensils and the occasional actual trophy, mostly awarded due to the Trolls skills with a paintbrush or their ability to not insult their opponents enough to make them cry. Trophies are the main prizes at Wargames events coupled with Shop vouchers and occasionally hobby items blagged from harried manufacturers by opportunistic Tournament Organisers unlike the increasing wave of Cash prizes offered by the organisers of Trading Card Games which results in packed venues at local games shops as they make more money for the owners than the hosting of Tabletop Games so the finding of Venues like this is increasing difficult , also a lot of them tend to be pokey little shops with one or two tables and not a lot of space. Speaking of space at Tournaments there is usually never enough space for everything a Wargamer needs (we call this paraphernalia “Wargames Accessories” as if the mass of accumulated templates, rulers, spacers, dice, lasers, lucky dice, tokens, custom turn counters, official wound counters, 3D printed gonks, 3D printed terrain aids and the stuff given to me by Foreign gamers/UK Number one player/Ronnie Renton are actually entirely necessary to play the game well and that they will somehow mystically improve our gameplay) but back to trophies, apart from the traditional Wooden Spoon for last place – see my Blogpost on the topic Here - there are various types of trophy. I am glad to say that in this day and age of 3D printing and a surge of creativity we have moved away from the old fashioned Darts trophies with a different plaque on them that used to be in circulation about 25 Years ago ( This Troll Knows – he has a couple of them still) The Trophies were so dire that our club started the tradition of handmaking trophies from models and such, so they actually looked like Wargames trophies and now it is lovely to see a lot more people doing the same with the help of 3D printed models galore, such a lovely sight at Tournaments. Of course there are still Tankards and blocks of Glass and such being awarded but they are not specifically Wargames per se and so, while lovely prizes( again this Troll knows as he has a few) they are not as conversation worthy on the shelf of self-importance ( every house has one – don’t say you don’t) when non wargamers come to visit, I just assume they think you play snooker or Darts and maybe a bit of Ballroom Dancing at the weekends without realising where the real thrust of your not inconsiderable miniature wargaming talents lie, although the mass of half painted models and boxes of sprues dotted about the house may give them a clue ( I again make the assumption that every Wargamer shares these Trollish traits, I may be wrong but I don’t really think so)
The lead up to Tournaments is a very important time, once that rulespack is published (does anybody read them in advance or does everybody wait until the morning of the event – relying on the shit posting on FB to glean the points values and general set up of the Tournament) the building of that opponent crushing army can commence in earnest. Practise games at the local club or a mates house to test those winning combos, feverish painting of the newest Units of impressive Meta troops and the ritual scanning of the attendance list to see who is going and if you have a chance of coming away with one of those Glass blocks or has “that bloke from thingy that always wins” ( we will call him the BFT from now on) entered and so you will be resigned to getting the second place Glass Block or the “Not the BFT prize” as it is known. Every locality has one of these blokes and really unlucky KoW players can often have two or more within regular striking distance. This can result in migrations of hopeful players to further afield, which really just results in them running afoul of another areas BFT or the players not entering events until the last minute in case the BFT enters and dashes their hopes often resulting in harassed TO’s cancelling events due to lack of interest, of course this simply means if the event goes ahead all the BFT has to do is enter last minute and cause mass grumbling. There is also the phenomenon of a lot of BFT’s getting together at an event, this results in a “Shark Pit” into which hapless casual Kings of War Players often wander as they are not following the rankings closely enough to recognise BFT’s on their own. Apparently, the only counter to these BFT’s is to “Git Gud” at Kings of War and so the BFT is a self-perpetuating phenomenon that is on the increase.
In fact , yes, we will explore this further in another Blogpost !
Once the Tournament date arrives We cram ourselves into our tiny little automobiles and enter the lottery which is the UK’s horrific road transport network. This is an inescapable part of the UK Tournament experience and only those KoW players that are tied to the UK’s execrable Public Transport system have a worse experience, in fact it is the usual opening ritual of any gathering of KoW Players that their Horror Travel stories have need of being told , once that is out of the way the proper gaming can commence. It shows real dedication for any UK KoW Gamer to travel more than 4 or 5 hours to an event( bearing in mind that is usually only 180-220 miles as we are only a small island) and an inordinate amount of fortitude to do it more than once a year.
The events themselves are, more often than not, well run and friendly events as the KoW Players are, with the exception of one or two, a civilised and convivial bunch and with the UK being as small as it is, a lot of people know each other from past events. Arguments are rare and games good natured ( although occasionally you do get two BFT’s playing for an especially coveted Glass Block that butt heads) and overall most people aren’t twats about their army choices. A discussion on the , supposed, lack of Meta in the UK scene is on the list for either Bloggery or maybe a discussion on the revived FFS podcast in the near future.
As this post is beginning to ramble and I know my Reader has a limited attention span, I will bring this post but not this topic to a close as I now have a lot more ideas to spout about Tournaments, Meta and KoW players in general, However the Mushrooms at Troll Manor need polishing and its nearly time to inspect the Bridges for BillyGoats so I will bid you Adieu for the moment.