(Note: Pictures to come later, as I’m not able to get those right now)
As I may have mentioned before, I’ve played miniature wargames for a goodly number of years. I believe, off and on, it’s been over 25 years. The results have been the same almost each time. I paint miniatures, using my fairly expensive paints based on what I come up with in my imagination, and then I set my miniatures up across the table from someone and it all falls apart. I spend my time removing painted miniatures from the table while the guy across the table from me usually has some unpainted “deathstar” that he’s cobbled together with fully unpainted figures. It usually felt over by the second turn and was most assuredly over by the third or fourth.
I went to the ‘Rumble on Route 66′ with mixed feelings. Mixed because I really enjoy this game, but tournaments and I don’t usually get along well. I don’t usually enjoy myself, because I usually run into “that guy”. The one who thinks he’s entitled to win the entire thing, but complains about this rule or that rule or this thing is “OP”, but the deathstar he’s brought is totally legit and fair and then has a meltdown worthy of a two year old because he came somewhere in the middle. I just kept reminding myself, I did enjoy the last Infinity tournament at my LFGS, so I thought it’d be alright.
Originally, I planned to drive out to Amarillo by myself, but one of the guys in my group said that there was an extra seat in his car and he’d be glad to let me ride with. I, happily, accepted. There would be a few trade-offs, but I thought it would be better than driving alone to a town that I’ve only ever driven through from the highway.
We got to the hotel by mid-afternoon and stowed our gear. I had brought a table’s worth of terrain, so that stayed in the car, but clothes went to the various rooms that we were using.
After that, we grabbed our miniatures and were off to the Table’s Edge to check out the venue and see what we were up against. I’m not a local, so I don’t know what the store looks like normally, but the store was very nice. The staff were smiling and friendly. The people there were clearly excited and everyone was talking Infinity. It was amazing. I put my terrain box on top of the table space that I wanted to put it on, which was really far away from the super awesome tables that were brought by other people.
If you’re reading this, and you were on my table, I feel like I should apologize. I saw the table density of most of the tables and felt like my table was a bit sparse. But, I was going for a decidedly more “European” table. Partially due to finances, but mostly because I don’t believe that every building needs to be 4-ish inches from the other, nor does it have to be a labrynth of corridors in order to be a fun game. Those games are fun, to be sure, but I wanted to make sure that there were open areas (with cover) to fight over, etc. I only talked to one pairing that played on my table and they said they had fun, but offered that it was “very open”, which I took as a compliment, though I’m not sure if it was intended that way. Apparently, it was great for bikes, though.
After checking out the tables that had been brought, we gathered at the Big Texan and had a great time eating. I like to eat and I enjoy a good steak. While mine wasn’t quite done the way I wanted (Medium should have some pink in the center, I think), it tasted great and the company was awesome. I got to meet a lot of people that are movers and shakers in the Dire States and Infinity community. I got to meet Darren, who apparently used to own the Table’s Edge (current venue for the Rumble on Route 66) and I got to meet Dexter (of ‘The Krug’ Podcast and Shark Mounted Lasers). Later I met Tom (from ‘MayaCast’) and Carlos “Bostria” Llagur (from Corvus Belli). It was great to meet these people, put faces to forum monikers, shake their hands and talk about this game we all enjoy.
Then, back to The Table’s Edge, for Beerfinity! There was more general wandering about, as more tables had shown up. There was beer about, but I didn’t bring any, so I didn’t ask for any, though I was graciously offered a raspberry beer that wasn’t bad. I played a guy from New Mexico. He was pretty cool to play. I learned a lot from that game. He played Nomads and I realized that they have a lot of tricks in their lists. That game taught me that I need to put more deception in my lists and figure out how to get enough figures on the board to lull my opponent into thinking that everything is deployed. As has happened to me, every time I’ve played Nomads.
After Beerfinity, it was back to the hotel and sleep. Sleep came easy for me that night and I was up by 6:00. I went downstairs and had breakfast with the Truckers and an elderly couple. I had a nice relaxing morning. I lounged about and was ready to go when we decided that it was time to go. We showed up a little before 8:00 and we were under way by 8:30-ish.
My first game was one that I asked for. The first round of the Rumble on Route 66 is open for challenges. You certainly don’t have to challenge, but it’s fun and I wanted the entire Rumble experience, so I challenged a guy from the forums. He is a Warcor (someone who’s supposed to promote the game and understand it well), so I figured there would be a high chance that I’d lose the game, but I thought I might have a fun time doing it and I thought that I’d avoid meeting “that guy” on the first round. My predictions were correct. I lost the first game and I was OK with it. The guy I played offered a little bit of advice, which I took to my next game. I thanked him for the game after shaking hands with him.
My next game was, by and large, a remix of the Beerfinity game, with slightly different models. Needless to say, I lost, but I had fun moving miniatures around the board and this game was closer than the score ended up being, but I got my classified objective, which was a small (yet pyrrhic) victory as was the fact that I kept him from getting max points. Afterwards, I shook his hand and thanked him for the game.
Had an awesome BBQ lunch from someplace local in Amarillo. The smoke was good. I enjoyed the ribs and the brisket. The sides were fair, and very edible. To be fair, the flavor was there, but they had a texture like they had sat out for a bit too long (preparation, buffet line, etc). But it was very good. Some unsweetened iced tea to go with it and a slice of bread.
During lunch, Bostria (Carlos Llauger Lorenzo) himself gave a small presentation about the coming items and answered a lot of questions. The news was really cool and there are some really nifty things that we learned that are coming for Infinity. Though I can’t say anything about the really cool stuff or Bryant dies. True story. I’m not sure how that will work all the way from Spain, but I’m not going to push it. A good majority of his presentation was already released stuff anyway.
After lunch it was time for round 3. Not so surprisingly, it didn’t go well for my little band of metal army dudes. It was a good game, but there were a few things that just didn’t go my way. Had a lot of fun with my Shaolin Monks, though. They rolled up and almost took out an entire NeoTerran Link team. 5 Medium Infantry with decent weaponry. They took out mines (drop bears) and generally ground his flank run to a halt. They were great fun to play that game. But, yet again, the score didn’t go my way. I didn’t get the objectives that I wanted and didn’t get to keep the objectives that I got. I shook hands and thanked him for the game.
I’ll be honest, by the last round, I had pretty much decided that I was just going to play like I was out of my mind. I was concerned that I was going to come in last place. To be clear, it wasn’t that I wasn’t having fun, but there’s a point where losing every game you play (as has happened so far in N3), gets a little old. I was doing my best to keep it together. I think my pat answer when someone in my group would ask me how I did after the round was, “I had fun”. Which was true, as I did have fun. I just wasn’t enjoying the loss at that exact second in time, which was usually the exact moment they asked me how I did. But, yet again, I digress.
The fourth round pairings were announced and I played a guy I believe was from New Mexico. He was awesome to play. The game was fun. There were a few things that happened that turned the whole game on its head, though. He attacked me with his lieutenant, which was bold move, but at the same time it was fairly safe because he’s attacking a 5 point Shaolin monk which should’ve been a no-brainer and I think, in any other game system, would’ve been a quick “murdalation” of one 5 point model, by a 47 point model and that would’ve been that. But, as most of you readers know, there’s always room for crits. I don’t know how, but all of my monks rolled crits in their fight. The first was with Shinobu (best MA skill in the game and one of the best CC numbers too) and then there were 2 or three other fights that, basically, took out the majority of his army. He was awesome to play and gave me my first really cinematic game. The monks doing something other than taking a model out and dying really made it exciting for me and, as I look back on it, if I lost that game it would’ve been worth it to see that 5 point Shaolin take out a 47 point named oniwaban (my absolute favorite oniwaban, to be frank). I shook hands with him and thanked him for the game.
After that, we all gathered for the awards. I started to tear down my table as quietly as possible, while they announced the winners and a little bit of question and answer from Bostria. Most of the people I came to the Rumble with placed in the top 25 and one of us came in first place! That was pretty cool. The prize support was amazing. I’ve never been to something so large before. Even though I came in 41st, I somehow contributed to our group winning an entire table of awesome stuff from impudentmortal.com. The guy’s stuff looks amazing and I’m probably going to get something of his very soon. I just need to decide.
At any rate, after that, we went to a place called “I don’t know” Sports Bar. The IDK was really good. I don’t know if it’s because of the very fresh cattle in Amarillo, or if it was because I was, essentially, on my feet for 12 hours, but the burger was awesome. I found out later that the burgers we had, awesome though they were, paled in comparison to whatever it is they normally make at the IDK.
Many thanks to the venue ‘The Table’s Edge’, all of the companies that gave prize support to this thing, the guys who ran it and all the great people I got to meet. Overall, I had a really great time. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
(Note: Pictures to come later, as I’m not able to get those right now)