One of my New Years resolutions was to be more active on the blog–which should come easy to me: I was posting on the blog regularly for about a year (and only a little less regularly for about two years before that). Though my blogging habit was fully disrupted by my opening the Imaginary Wars store, I’ve been running the store for long enough now that it should be feasible for me to be blogging more regularly. The operative word being “should.”
Anyways, I’m sure we’ll see if there’s a gap–and how much of one there is–between my theory of being able to blog regularly and my ability to blog regularly! Following that line of thought, the store just hosted a Flames of War tournament a few weekends back; and though I was first planning to do just a quick-ish blog post about that tournament, I then realised I haven’t made much mention about all the Flames of War activity that’s been going on in the store since summer.
It’s been since early summer that the Flames of War involvement in the store has been increasing–in no small part due to a local club, The Calgary R.E.G.I.M.E.N.T. (Reclaiming Esthetic Gaming In Miniature ‘N’ Tabletops). The REGIMENT’s members have been showing up to game at the store most Friday evenings, and since autumn they’ve done a bit more than just show up for Friday-night pick-up games. This fall we began to host bigger in-store events: a giant day-long tank battle on the American Thanksgiving weekend–in line with all the other Tanksgiving events (despite our being in Canada); and of course the aforementioned tournament that prompted today’s blog post, the Flames of War doubles tournament held on Saturday January 5, 2013.
World War Friday …every Friday
Every Friday evening, some of the guys from the REGIMENT come down–usually to play Flames of War, but regular fare for them also include Dystopian Wars, Firestorm Armada and (most recently) Heavy Gear (though some mention has been made as well about Saga and Victory at Sea).
With many of the club members becoming regulars every Friday night, it took no convincing for me to leap at their request at having the store host one of their Flames of War events. Due to the time of year, we agreed to have Tanksgiving as the store’s first Flames of War event on the last Saturday of November. For those not in the know, Tanksgiving is simply a large bring ‘n ‘battle event where players all bring tank-only armies and is staged the weekend following American Thanksgiving (in case the name wasn’t a complete giveaway). To the best of my knowledge, the event was originally thought up for Flames of War but quickly cross-pollinated and soon also became a holiday staple at GW Hobby Centres and Warhammer 40,000. (The first time I heard of Tanksgiving in the Games Workshop capacity was around 2004.)
Though originally intended to be a giant tank battle between two sides, it was decided that the Tanksgiving battle at Imaginary Wars would be a little different:
- First off, more than just tanks-only armies would be permitted in the game; anything except air support and platoons that required foot-based models was allowed in the battle (so no towed guns or infantry forces of any kind…but recce forces and ).
- Also, rather than the game be a large battle between two forces, each lined up across the table from the other, it was decided (but kept secret from the players until sprung) that the forces would be arranged in a checkerboard pattern: each player in the game would have the enemy in front of him as well as in his flank.
- Lastly, rather than make it simply a “kill the most tanks to win” kind of game, objectives were placed running along the table center and not only awarded victory points if captured but also came with special rules to be used in-game! When captured, the objective marker would then be turned over to reveal what special rules were now in play. Some markers granted re-rolls, some called in a strafing run (that risked indiscriminately shooting friend and foe alike), some were revealed to be 8.8cm Flak 36 usable by any side in the game.
January 5, 2013: Reinforcements Doubles’ Tournament
As a follow-up to Tanksgiving, we hosted another event being run by the REGIMENT club: a Flames of War tournament! No strangers to standard Flames of War tournaments, they decided to do something a little different this time around: run a tournament geared to be a bit more casual.
To help facilitate that, it was decided to let the players know that custom missions would be used in every round of the tournament (which can sometimes help curb super-competitive list building), and it was also decided to design the tournament as a doubles’ tournament–which, on average, tends to bring out the less-competitive tendencies in players. Not only that, the club (who also have some members amongst their ranks who are Battlefront Rangers) thought it would be cool to try to coax people who may have recently bought the new 3rd Edition “Open Fire” starter box to get in on the action.
If you’ve watched the HBO series, “Band of Brothers,” you might remember some of the filmed interviews of the veterans talking about how, following the action in Normandy, they had their ranks replenished afterwards by recruits, fresh out of the training camps. (Phrases like “green” and “they didn’t know any better” would have been heard during these interviews.) This was essentially the core idea behind the tournament.
To further emulate the whole idea of reinforcements–fresh, well-supplied but inexperienced–it was decided that teams comprised of both a new player and an established player would receive a points bonus to their allowed army total: instead of a standard 1,000 points per player on each team, the “reinforcement” player would be allowed to bring an 1,100 point force and the “veteran” player would be allowed to field a 1,050 point force. Essentially, what the teaming-up of a new and old player would lose (tactical knowledge) would be somewhat off-set by fresh, well-supplied troops!
I loved the idea and thought it was a great way to encourage new players to leave their comfort zones and get into bigger games sooner rather than later! More details about how the tournament was set up and to be played out can be seen at the REGIMENT’s blog here and here; the custom missions they used can be looked at here.
The day, though long, went off without a hitch–which is always nice with tournaments! I was too busy running the store on a decently-busy Saturday to watch many games, but I did manage to shoot a quick walk through during the tournament’s first round (apologies in advance for my shaky camera-phone cinematography).
When the day was done I could tell the tournament was an absolute success: we had 16 people attend the tournament (with just under half of the attendees qualifying as “rookies” to Flames of War, having been playing FoW for less than a year), we had four out-of-town attendees who made the three-hour drive from Edmonton to play in this tournament and, most importantly, everyone had a great day of gaming!
I was reminded just how diligent I have to be with getting photos: between the scramble of all players between each round and my having to run the store, it was exceedingly difficult for me to get half-way decent photos of each player’s army in a state where they were at least somewhat on display–rather than during mid-game …or lumped together as a clump of casualties reminiscent of the Falaise Pocket.
Anyways, what follows are some photos I managed to get of each team’s force. Some ended up being out of focus or in poor enough lighting / with poor enough backgrounds that the models didn’t show up very well…which sucks because I really wanted to show off each team’s force and give credit for each painted force. Ah well; another day, Highlander.