Sunday, February 23, 2014

My thoughts on Tournaments

Tournaments, you either love them or hate them. 

I have had a love hate relationship with tournaments for a long time.  That was until I started running them and then I love them.  In the past, before I started to run events I was always the poor sap that came nowhere, wasn’t recognised for my painting talent or was seen to be amongst the in crowd.  I wanted tournaments to be more than what they had become, a dash for cash (prizes) with the whole concept that what we do is play games forgotten on the whole.  Games are meant to be fun and enjoyable, not cut throat and unpleasant.

So here are my thoughts on tournaments, or to be more precise how I run them.


The placing of first, second, third etc. are nominal and generally the norm.  Depending on the number of people I would get for an event, say 20 or more then this would be acceptable.  I also recognise the last place holder, the unlucky or just bad gamer.  At the club I call home the last place position is highly sought after and nothing to be ashamed of.  After all it’s all about having fun.

A trophy or award is all that should be given.


This is where I run into the most conflict with the establishment.  The people who play competitively “demand compensation” for the effort they put into winning.  My question is why?  Is not the trophy or award and the plaudits of your peers more than enough.  Many gaming companies now “reward” people who play in their events (as well as the organisers) with benefits, either stock or discounts.  This culture has led to a very mercenary group of people who “farm” the circuit, making “money” out of their ability.  People, and in particular new blood, will stop attending and competing if the same people win over and over again.  While it can be argued that competition breeds a better state of play, our hobby is about enjoyment, and that should be first and foremost.  Not a dash for cash.

In many events that I have run I have taken the bulk of the prize support I have received and made it a random draw for all who have attended (excluding the major place winners).  This way a new player can feel good with themselves having an equal chance to win a prize than having to worry about being able to best the champion.  This means that while games are competitive, they are not cut throat and I would hope not unpleasant.


This is not on.  

There are indeed some talented people out there but my philosophy is one person one award.  For instance a person who obtained the highest points for  first place and best painted and sportsmanship should not get all three awards.  They get the highest choice.  I’d rate the order as place, painting and then sportsmanship.


They should not be running events purely for their own benefit.  A number of companies offer support to organisers in a number of forms.  While some people see this as a way to obtain items hard to obtain, I think that anything obtained in this manner should be given as a prize in any event.  Otherwise organisers are essentially prostituting themselves for benefits that many others cannot obtain through fair play.  You should be running events for the love of the hobby, not for the love of what you can get out of it.

I run events because I am an extremely capable administrator.  I can easily craft spreadsheets to calculate places and scores.  I get more enjoyment out of seeing other having fun than being one who participates in the event.  My satisfaction comes from knowing that people walk away from my event happy and keen to attend the next one.  My reputation speaks for itself.


In the end I am just the abnormal person who desperately hangs on to outdated modes of conduct.  I am (un)landed gentry and a true gentleman in all aspects of its connotation. However I have always endeavoured to be above board in all the events I have run.  People play in my events because they know they can have fun and have an equal chance of walking away with something that makes their attendance all worthwhile.

Dreadball Tournament Part 2 - An Update with more pictures

1st Place - Pras M
2nd Place - Michael S
3rd Place - Sam H
Highly sought after Last Place - Carl S
An afterthought Best Painted - John M (that's me)
The Leader Board - not that you can read it well

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dreadball Tournament at the Blind Pig

Saturday 22 Feb was the first Blind Pig club meet for the year and it rocked off to a good start.  While there was another event on this weekend at another club, numbers were still good.  The turn out for the DB event was 11 out of the possible 16 that registered interest in attending.  People who run events will know that there is always a percentage that fail to show (for whatever reasons).

I had four games, of which two I really enjoyed, one I struggled with, and one I really hated.  Nevertheless I was surprised with my performance and placing in the end.

Game 1: Robots vs Robots 7-0 win to me.  
Opponent Sam R (nice guy and I enjoyed the game, I killed 3 of his bots, which made his opportunity to get ahead difficult).

Game 2: Robots vs Vixens 0-7 loss to me.
Opponent Pras M (a game I'd rather forgot)

Game 3: Robots vs Veer-Myn 0-1 loss to me.
Opponent Sam H (nice enough chap, hated his dice, the DB marked ones.  Struggled but at least stopped a landslide loss)

Game 4: Robots vs Forge Fathers 7-0 win to me.
Opponent Mark R (happy chappy - sorry Mark - no honestly great game, and considering it was Marks fourth time at playing the game after a very quick intro from Neal B the event organiser.  I expect Mark to improve in time, I loved his alternate "dwarves".)

In the end I placed 4th!  Really surprised at this as last place is my usual position.  Looking forward to the next time with relish.  I love Dreadball, give it a go, it's fun, fast and enjoyable.

In red - Neal B our event organiser for the day.  Thanks Neal.

Used Goods, Part 2.... I had a win

Right, for those that follow or even read my blog you will be aware of my small "rant" about used goods, or second hand items.  Go read it if you haven't.

Yesterday there was a Buy, Sell and Swap meet at the Blind Pig Club which I frequent and call "home".  There was a fair bit there on offer, and I had "stuff" to sell as well.  I set my prices at 50% of "retail price" and sold all but one item.  Worked out great.  Then I found all the goodies that other people brought along.  Below are photo's of the swag I collected.  Really, really happy with what I acquired, and the prices were excellent, that is realistic, unlike what some people seem to think the market is.

8 old school ogres

Free box of "paper", EPIC and Blood Bowl

More free EPIC, Deadzone faction.

Zombicide dice, Star Trek Expeditions

Box full of Star Trek (the X-Wing clone) ships

Free - Destrier

Marauder faction for Deadzone

The best buy of the day, lots of old lead ($15 the lot)

Free - OK they are cassettes (old people will know they are)!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Old Boardgames I love, but have run out of opponents

Maybe I haven't run out of opponents, they have either died or left my area of "influence".

I enjoy the American Civil War, I personally favour the Confederates, but that's just me.  The land battles are always covered with a lot of different games and miniature rules.  The water or sea battles are something not often dealt with.  I have a friend who I played Ironclads with on a semi regular basis when I was first made redundant (late 90's) but have since lost contact with him.

The game was excellent, but requires a little knowledge in the charts and tables.  I always left that to my opponent, instead enjoying the havoc caused by the differing results of ammunition used.  An excellent game, I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys this period.

The other genre of games I enjoyed the most was Air Force by Battleline.  The Avalon Hill version is something that should be avoided at all costs.  Too complicated.  The game was introduced to me when I was at Griffith University doing my Science Degree.  My dearest friend, now sadly departed to the next life, and I with a select few would play these games in the study cubicles at the University.  We had a campaign system and pilot progression.  An excellent game, sadly forgotten by many today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My beautiful daughter

My daughter is almost going to turn 17 in a month or so (April).  She has even said she will come to the next game club meeting to learn how to play some of the games I have.  Finally a child that shows a desire to follow in her fathers footsteps.... well until she meets a nice boy!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winds bring down dodgy tree

I am not a gardener or have much in the way of growing things.  The bottlebrush in the front yard has finally come down with the wind we have been having up here.  Will get it removed, eventually.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

WANTED - Fletcher Pratt's Naval War Game Rules

This is a long shot.  I'm looking for a set of these rules.  I had a friend describe them to me and I'm dead keen on giving it a go.  The A&A WWII naval ships will finally have a day in the sun if I can acquire a set.  The modern "reprint" has not been kindly reviewed and I'm not too keen to waste money at this stage.  Let me know if you can help.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Burroughs Bestiary

My bible of sorts when I'm thinking about ERB and Warlord of Mars.  If you know of any other sources, please let me know.  Always keen to expand my library.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Warriors of Mars (TSR 1974)

It's time to travel back in time and consider this old classic.  Very few people would have seen it, even fewer played it. After all 1970's were a really dark age when it came to figure availability.

So I'm off looking for miniatures.  I see there is a company "Bronze Age Miniatures" that do a very nice line, but in a scale I cannot afford, which is a pity.

Peter Pig offer figures on a smaller scale and quality, which affordable isn't that easy to just pop into a local shop and buy, it means an overseas "adventure".

Who know where this will go, but I do love the past, particularly mine!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Orcs and Goblins 3rd Edition

So here is what will be making up my Orcs & Goblins army.  These would come to more than 3000 points, but it gives me the scope to muck about and choose what I want.  So bear with the list, the quality gets better as you scroll down.  The first lot are figures I obtained in a trade, they will be repainted and touched up in the due course of time.

Big 'Uns, as they are so much bigger than my other metal orcs.

Orc Boys - they are not savage Orcs, just been painted that way.

The start of the Orc Arrer Boys

The painted Orcs & Goblins to date.

Crom the Paunch & Army Standard Bearer.

Heroes & Wizards

Rock Lobber and a Wizard

Bolt Throwers


Wolf Riders

Goblin Archers

Goblin Spearmen and Fanatics

Black Orcs


Used Goods

What price is second-hand?

In my days of youth second-hand was half of what the item would sell at retail.  Then the price would then go down according to condition and availability of the product.  Of course it could also go up depending on availability or desirability.

I seem to be in the minority when it comes to what is deemed an acceptable used price.  I watch a lot of “pawn broker” shows on cable so I’ve a fair indication of what prices should be for things.  However, I am not a person who enjoys haggling with others; it’s not in my nature.  I set a price; I base it on my understanding of what the market should be.

It worries me where the expectation of what people seem to expect their goods to sell for is debatable by my standards.  People always tell me that I should just expect to see prices go for what the market dictates.  Yet it amazes me that people are either brain dead or have too much money.  I think possibly a bit of both.

My gauge for what prices are would be based on how I would be doing business (this would be my business model if I was running my second good shop).  I look at the “retail” price, half it, and then halve it again, so 25% of what the item is “worth” is starting value.  I then devalue the price on condition and availability.  I know that in the used book market, popular authors are hard to sell.  When I have visited a shop I have regular dealings with I have seen on a number of occasions people turned away because they have 10 copies of an author already in stock.  There is only so much space that one can dedicate to stock.  It’s also a drain on resources tied up waiting for sale or trades. 

The problem I see here in Australia is that being at the arse end of the world availability can be an issue.  Unlike Europe/UK and the USA who have large populations and markets, items can sell for far less than what Australians are prepared to buy or sell for.  Of course with the internet and the ability to purchase and sell online there is the perceived notion that prices are fluid and you can find a bargain anywhere.  The difficulty with this is that while you may get a bargain, the cost of postage can almost equal or exceed the bargain you just snagged, in which case buying locally at inflated prices may even seem acceptable.

So where am I going with this?  Nowhere I suspect as ultimately people will pay or ask what they want.  Yet I think that this notion of greed is what has driven the world to the sorry state that it is in.  Nobody is happy with just enough, they want excess and will not be happy with anything else.

An example of this is the charity organisation.  I have noticed or to be more precise advised by my wife that the price charities are asking for goods (namely clothing) is excessive.  Considering where they obtain their goods (through charitable donation) asking premium prices is a bit rich.  Charities are more like a business these days, and whether the poor or disadvantaged are truly provided for is debatable.  I have found that where charities have outlets in shopping centres, the prices are high.  So why have a shop there in the first place?

I now turn my attention to my hobby.  The difficulty I find here in Australia is that the isolation compared to the rest of the world (and by that I mean market wise) cannot be more stark in contrast.  Yes I know people always tell me that the internet has opened up the possibilities, but there is still the risk, particularly where unknowns are at play.  Difficulties arise when local buyers and sellers want to use whichever values they like to justify their position.  Me I generally go on the local conditions.  I generally sell more than I buy, when I buy it’s for a price I’m willing to pay.  When I sell it’s to sell an item, I’ve never priced my sales for optimum price, they are marked to sell and where I have been at places to sell my goods with others, I always seem to do better than others.  In other words I go home with cash in my pocket, where generally others get to take home their goods unsold. 

Trading is a new experience for me, one that I most likely won’t pursue in future.  It’s difficult to find common ground and come to an agreement that both parties are mutually happy with.  As I said earlier in this piece, I don’t come from a haggling culture, it’s unnatural to me.  It reminds me of a show “Barter Kings” on cable, someone always looses when it comes to the final deal.  Someone generally has to give in to sweeten the deal enough that the other party closes the trade.  It’s an interesting option as opposed to buying and selling and it is an option I would only recommend to people who are comfortable in negotiating.

Sadly I am an individual whose standards and ethics don’t fit into today’s society, probably why I get so desperate to leave it at times.  People (generally speaking) will always be out to make a profit that suites them, be it monetarily, morally or purely for ego.  Don’t get me wrong by thinking I’m altruistic, I’m just as greedy as the next man when it comes to obtaining things I want, it’s just that I have a set of standards I live my life by.  I am after all, not common.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

OGRE - from Steve Jackson Games

I have been waiting for this game for ages after seeing it on Kickstarter.

Today I wandered into ACE Comics at Annerley and there it was.  I had to put back all the cheap games I was going to buy just to grab this sucker.  It is a massive box.  It took me over an hour to punch and assemble the figures and pieces.  I am so looking forward to going back to the past and having a game.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Goblin Lead Belcher Organ Gun

What it says!

Ogres (old skool) for WFB 3rd Edition

So my old friend Glen has spurred me on to putting together an Orcs & Goblins army from the 3rd Edition Army Lists of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

Here's a picture of what I might take.  Mix of Marauder Miniatures (front) and GW at the back.