The best Warhammer 40,000 tournament in Canada, possibly even North America came and went this past weekend. I’m not sure the final total of numbers but I believe it was 38 or 40. A lot of locals this year, I think even the first year the locals outnumbered the out-of-towners. Some players from Calgary, some from Kelowna, some from the U.S.A. but I’m sure all had come out for their chance to win an invitation to the North American Grand Tournament Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada to be held in Summer of 2011. No matter the reason why they came, I’m pretty sure everyone had a great time over the weekend playing out 6 unique and individual games; I know I did.
What makes Astronomi-con unique is that it’s not an ‘Ard Boyz style tournament where you game your brains off and see who smashes each other more with no rules for composition or sportsmanship. Astronomi-con is a tournament for hobby enthusiasts and the missions are designed to make you think outside the box. Just like the Astromini-con I went to earlier this year (where I won Best Overall and thus won free entry into Astronomi-con this weekend) players get judged on their creativity on their Army List, their Painting, their Composition, their Sportsmanship and finally their Generalship. Past winners have won because they had it all, and some didn’t even have to win all of their games; their soft scores (painting, composition, sportsmanship) were high enough to take them over the top.
My first game was against Mitchell Stevens, a local from North Vancouver who frequents GW Metrotown, and his Imperial Fists. He’s a great painter, but I don’t think he plays a lot of 40k to be honest. The mission was a fun variant on an objectives based theme where there was a convoy of 6 trucks in the center of the table heading from left to right and we had to capture the cargo. Strangely, 5 of the 6 trucks all randomly rolled to move and ended up going towards Mitch’s table, so I proceeded to try and blow them up to destroy the cargo (I got 3 of them lol). Unfortunately Mitch grabbed a cargo and started running away to cover to hide. My Leman Russes had a field day of just blowing up Marines, including 9 of the 10 Tactical unit holding the objective. On the bottom of turn 5 (my turn) my Stormtroopers assaulted the lone Sergeant with the crate and killed him, taking the crate. The game ended on the dice roll of 1, leaving me with the 12-2 victory.
My second game was against another local from Vancouver named Andrew “Muskie” McKay, who frequents Strategies Games in Vancouver, and his Chaos Space Marine army. Muskie continuously writes about my army on his blog and keeps stating that he “will finally crush once and for all” but just like at Astromini-con, he didn’t. (Sorry Muskie!) Our mission was just a simple spin on a victory point mission, nothing fancy. The table was mostly city terrain, so a few places to hide and decent cover. Unfortunately for Muskie, my Ogryns stole the show! They charged his Lord & Plague Marine retinue (after softening them up with their Ripper Guns) and managed to kill his Terminator Khorne Lord in one foul swoop! The Sorcerer ran away and then the Greater Daemon charged in and was quickly dispatched by the Ogryns a turn later. In the end, Muskie was tabled for a 12-1 victory. Next year Muskie, next year!
My third and last game of day one was against a guy from Vernon, Alex MacDougall, and his Tyranid army. This army was built with one purpose in mind, to win at all costs. It was a hard list, with both the Doom of Malan’tai and Ymgarl Genestealer special characters on top of a Tervigon, Hive Tyrant and Trygon.. not to mention a unit 0f 30 Termigaunts and a unit of 15 Genestealers. The mission was a capture and control 6 objectives, however it was called “Lost in the Mist” where the whole table was effectively empty but any shooting beyond 12″ was successful on 5+ no matter your Ballistic Skill and all Ordinance scattered without reductions… it was my worst nightmare combination of anti-shooting scenario vs a close combat army. I put up a good fight and even held one of the objectives (despite most of my army being destroyed) at the end of the game, but victory in game three at the end of day one, was not mine to claim in a 12-2 loss.
(I didn’t get a picture of Alex’s army but it was painted very simple with black skin and white carapace)
My fourth game and first of day two was against another local named Derrick Rioux Maier from Vancouver, who was one of the three guys responsible for running Astromini-con (which we played in that tournament as well which he was the ringer), and his Ork army. The mission we played was called Lost Patrol, where we both picked a unit to start on the opponents side of the table within his deployment zone, and everything else started in reserves. The trick was to get your unit back to your side and keep it alive. Well I picked my Vendetta and then with my free Scout move, turbo boosted it to my side before the game. Unfortunately, he concentrated all of his anti-tank firepower onto it and eventually blew it up. However, because it was a victory point mission, I ended up killing more of his units than he of mine and pulled out a 9-4 victory in the end.
My fifth game was against a guy from Kelowna, Rhys Davis, and his Imperial Guard army. Our mission was called “Err Supply,” a play on words where an air supply has gone wrong and we have to randomly scatter 3 objectives onto the table and retrieve them. All three landed within 8″ of the center of the table, to which Rhys made it there first. However, I believe, too confident in his 3 Leman Russes and Manticore, that I was able to concentrate on the objective more than he was. He kept trying to kill my guardsmen in cover all game while my Ogryns advanced up the table, killing something on every round (his and mine) and continuously advancing towards his side of the table. They killed a Devil Dog, his Command HQ, 3 squads of Veterans, 1 Chimera and 3 Leman Russes all in hand to hand. Rhys conceded before turn 5 resulting in a 12-1 victory.
My sixth and final game of the exhausting weekend was against Jeff Scalzo and his Necrons. I believe he did mention he was from Calgary. The mission we played was a straight up Victory Point mission but there were these 3 models called “Ambulls” that deep strike onto the table and try and mess up your plans. They weren’t overly difficult to kill, but they can deep strike into hand to hand and take away some shooting right away. Fortunately that didn’t happen to me, and all 3 of them attacked my opponent. He had 3 squads of 3 Wraiths plus a Destroyer Lord with a Resurrection Orb that turbo boosted across the table after stealing the initiative from me. I didn’t do much to the Wraiths in the shooting phase, but did manage to work down his Warriors and 2 Tomb Spyders. He had the Deceiver as well, who with the Wraiths & Lord made it across the table and killed my Platoon, HQ and eventually Ogryns. The game went on to turn 7 but at the beginning of turn 7 he realized I had killed enough of his army that he phased out, leaving me with the 11-3 victory.
(I also didn’t get a picture of the Necrons but they were unfinished and in various stages of completion over the years. Jeff said he had started the army over 8 years ago and then went back and started to repaint them, however he wasn’t finished)
So after starting at 9am on Saturday morning and two 10+ hour days of gaming the end results came at nearly 8pm Sunday evening. Starting from the bottom of the trophy order, was:
Steve Franks – Best Army List
Matt Lau – Best Single Miniature
Aaron Hudson – Best Terrain
Lee Baxter – Best General
Will Hellebrand – Best Appearance
Marshall Reeves – Best Army
Les Sohier – Best Sportsman
Nick Daniels – Best Overall