Monday, January 14, 2019

AAR - Bumps in the Night

Happy New Year!!!!

Did everyone have a great vacation?  I had so many, many plans for my two weeks off, like getting my Exemplar Errants completely painted, taking part in the traditional Japanese big cleaning of the house, more blogging since I fell behind a little bit last year (oops, sorry, everybody!).  Sadly, a dislocated thumb and a slipped disk in my spine made sure that I did nothing but a lot of sitting at my kitchen table, unable to do anything but sit still and pray for a miracle!  No painting, no blogging... no nothing!  And well just in time for real life to return.  Curses!  At least my second half was around to help with the poliwogs, or else I would have been completely out of luck!

A few weeks before the end of the year, the Fukuyama Gaming Club had our last meeting of 2018, and we got in some great games.  Leland and DTB look like they're heading to Osaka for a tournament in the middle of January, and are really working hard on getting their lists ready for a good fight!  We didn't just get in some Warmachine/ Hordes practice, though... oh no!  Take a look at what got thrown down on the board!
Ghostly warband FTW!
That's right!  The Thorns of the Briar Queen, the ghostly warband from Shadespire (or actually Shadespire's expansion, the Night Vault) is now mine!  Muahhahahahahaha!  This time, Sarge, DTB, Leland and I got in a four player game of Shadespire.  I'm not totally sold on multiplayer games yet, but I could see how it might be fun.  At the moment, I don't think we're quite getting 3 or 4 player games just right.

This month, DTB and I paired off for a Warma/Hordes battle, leaving Sarge and Leland to their own battles, and was I in for a surprise!  Instead of pulling out his tried and true Trollblood army, he threw a whole new bag up on the table... one with swirling purple patches... and I knew that DTB had fallen to the Defiers!  Perfect!  My Menoth worshipers were just dying to get their hands on these heretical nightmares!  But in reality, I love love love the Grymkin, and was super excited to see a new army across the board from me!  I guess DTB wanted to surprise everyone, so he put the army together and painted it up without telling anyone, until he had a fully painted, complete army up and ready to go.  Amazing!

So, without further ado, your army lists for today!

Army List, Grymkin:

A scattered bunch of Nightmares!

     Defier - The Child
          Cage Rager
          Skin & Moans X 3
          Rattlers X 3
          Crabbits X 2
          Gremlin Swarms X 3
     Lady Karianna Rose
     Death Knell
     Glimmer Imp

So, this is the Dark Menagerie theme force, which is pretty much like most Heavy Metal themes.  Ultra beast heavy, no units, and a couple of solos are what DTB has to work with, but in return, the theme allows him to take Gremlin Swarms, usually not acceptable in the theme force, and the Gremlins get Serenity, that will help him with Fury control.  Also, all non trooper models that can carry corpse tokens begin the game with one, so his Skin & Moans and the Death Knell are already tough coming out of the gate.  The good news for me and the bad news for DTB is that while the Gremlin Swarms would be devastating to most armies, my force is literally awash in magical weapons, so getting rid of them won't be AS tricky as it could be for most opponents.

Army List, Protectorate:

Line up for a fight with the darkness!

     Warcaster - High Exemplar Cyrenia
     Exemplar Bastions
     Exemplar Bastion Seneschal
     Exemplar Cinerators
          - Officer
     Exemplar Errants
          - Officer & Standard Bearer
     Exemplar Errant Seneschal
     Exemplar Warder
     High Exemplar Gravius
     Visigoth Rhovien
     Vassal Mechanik

This is the new Exemplar Interdiction theme force that I wanted to try out, along the the brand spankin' new caster, Cyrenia!  Woo, is she a great addition to the Protectorate!  I've only played her in a few games, but MAN!! I love her!  This theme gives me the benefits of having all warjacks (so, only the Judicator, who already has it naturally.... sigh) Blessed on all their weapons, meaning that they will ignore spell buffs to ARM and DEF, and also gives me a +2" on my deployment zone.... now, usually that would be invaluable to me, but this army is surprisingly fast!  Cyrenia has a spell to move her troops along, and Gravius also has an action he can take that also gets Exemplars moving... but still, I'll take it!

Setup, Grymkin:

Things that go bump in the night
We came up with the Mirage scenerio, so that means two large, unit scoring zones, one on each side, with an objective in the middle of it, and three flags across the center of the table.  This is going to be a difficult scenerio win for DTB, because wow, Dark Menagerie does not get a whole lot of models and NO units!  DTB started with a Gremlin Swarm off to the far left, next to the Blue Rattler and Blue Skin & Moans (did that thing skin a Trollkin???) Lady Rose was off the line just a bit behind the S&M, and next came the White Rattler and the White S&M protecting another Gremlin Swarm, the Black Crabbit hiding behind The Child, and the Glimmer Imp on the other side.  Next, the Death Knell, the White Crabbit and the Red S&M and Red Rattler lined up, with the Cage Rager on the end.

Setup, Protectorate:

And now for the fastest list in Menoth
Yikes!  I know the Judicator is an amazing 'jack, but I don't know how I feel about having only ONE warjack in the whole army!  Still, Cyrenia has other things she need to do with her focus, so I guess we'll try and make it work.  I had to use a couple of proxies in this battle since I haven't quite gotten all of the new models yet, so I have Kreoss 2 as Cyrenia, Durst as the Cinerator Officer, and Reznik as the Exemplar Warder... bear with me, haha!

I started with Cyrenia and her Judicator in the center.  To their left, I placed the Cinerators and Gravius (he's going to help them along since they're SO SLOW!!!) To the right I had the Mechanik behind Cyrenia and the Warder next to her, then the Bastions with their Seneschal behind them.  Since DTB doesn't have any advanced deployment, I went ahead and put out the Errants and their Seneschal in the middle of the field. 

Our Story:
On a mission to Tower Judgment, Cyrenia, followed by her interdiction of Exemplars, came upon a small girl standing in the shadows of a copse of trees.  Smiling at the little girl to try and calm her, Cyrenia knelt down and extended a hand to lead her from the darkness.  The little girl regarded her quietly for a moment.  "Are you a one of Menoth's?"
"To be sure," Cyrenia replied.  "Are you lost?"
A dark light flashed behind the child's eyes.  "I'm not lost.  Dolly's with me."  Behind her, something huge began to push through the trees.  The girls features twisted in a horrible grin.  "And Dolly HATES the worshipers of the false one!"
Cyrenia moved back towards her forces as Dolly loomed behind The Child, and the Exemplars prepared their weapons as the chittering, moaning horde of Grymkin appeared, ready to rend them all until they joined the Wicked Harvest.

Round 1,  Grymkin:

Oh, man, they're coming!
The Glimmer Imp ran 12" to in front of the rubble.  The Child put on Tantrum, then Abused the White S&M for 1 damage and also Abused the Blue S&M for one damage.  The White S&M then ran behind the lake, and the Blue S&M followed it.  The White and Blue Rattlers ran to keep up with their buddies.  Lady Rose ran to just behind the White S&M.  The far left Gremlins ran over the wall, the middle Gremlins ran behind most of the pack, while the Black Crabbit walked behind Dolly and then Lept to next to the Glimmer Imp.
You don't want to meet these guys down a dark alley!
The Red S&M moved next to the objective, while the White Crabbit walked forward and then Lept into the zone.  The Cage Rager ran 8" to lip the zone.  The Red Rattler also ran to the objective with its buddy.  The far right Gremlin Swarm moved between the S&M and to finish up, the Death Knell walked 6", then repositioned into the zone.

Round 1, Protectorate:

For the Flame and the Wall
Cyrenia started off as she likes to do, giving Heroic Call and Inviolable Resolve to the Errants before moving forward and casting Dash.  The Warder moved forward next to her before the Errants moved up, shooting A WHOLE LOT at the White Crabbit and failing to kill it.  The Errant Seneschal moved onto the flag, the Bastions ran forward, and Gravius on the other side moved behind the cloud and gave Desperate Pace to the Cinerators.  The Judicator moved forward and sent two rockets at the Grymkin.  They deviated since the target was too far, but managed to kill Lady Rose!  First blood to me!  Woot!  And then I forgot to make the damn thing get it's second bound... damn!  Cinerators ran into the middle of the table, and Rhoven & Co finished to round by running forward.

Round 2, Grymkin:

Fear not the darkness!
In the maintainance phase, DTB moved the Cage Rager due to Tantrum, and the Gremlin Swarms removed two fury from the S&Ms, and then round 2 began!  The Glimmer Imp ran to the flag and stared down the Errants giving them a -2 DEF.  The Black Crabbit moved and Lept to the front of the zone.  The Child Abused the White S&M for 2 damage, then healed the White Crabbit, fixing all of its aspects, and then moved forward.  The Red Rattler charged an Errant, killing it and triggering Berzerk... sigh... my poor Seneschal hanging onto the flag, and no one close enough to die for him...three more lost their lives to the Rattler...that thing is scary!
Mmmmm, Errant, nom nom nom
The White S&M charged over the lake to an Errant, killing it, but it was TOUGH thanks to Heroic Call!  Yes!  But, sadly, he died to the monster's second attack.  It bought another attack on the next Errant, and the Errant WAS TOUGH!!!!  Woohoo!  And it died on the S&M's last attack.  The White Rattler ran up to another Errant, while the Cage Rager moved to the edge of the zone.  The Red S&M walked in front of the objective, and the White Crabbit walked and the Lept into the cloud, biting an Errant, but could not break his armor!  The Blue Rattler moved behind the lake, put up it's animus "Still As Death," which gave it Countercharge.  The Blue S&M walked behind the lake, and the Grymkin finished up with the Death Knell moving forward next to the objective.

Round 2, Protectorate:

Stand strong, guys!  They're only as scary as they look!
Well, to start, I forgot all about my Vengence movements and all the good stuff that I got to do in my maintenance phase... what a waste!!!  That's okay, it's my first time with this army.  I'll have to remember in the future, though!  The surviving Errants pressed forward, putting damage on the Red Rattler, White Crabbit, White Rattler, and killing ONLY the Glimmer Imp... What???? How did I only kill one tiny solo!  Rhoven moved forward and shot Cleansing Fire on the Gremlins scoring the Flag, but MISSED on a roll of two 1's.  Sigh.  Gravius ran around to the wall behind the front lines.  The Cinerators made a charge order, putting the pain on the White S&M before the Officer used his Defensive Formation ability and allowed them to use a second order in the activation, falling into a Shield Wall for more DEF on DTB's activation.
Casualties of war!
The Bastions charged the Cage Rager and the Red Rattler, bringing the Rattler down to 3 damage and giving 6 damage to the Cage Rager.  The Warder charged the Rattler (I had to murderize that thing!), finally killing it.  The Judicator moved forward, bombing the Blue Rattler, leaving it barely alive (and again, I FORGOT THE SECOND BOUNCE!!!) Finally, the Mechanik moved up behind the Judicator just in case, and Cyrenia stepped forward to...... BEEPBEEPBEEP!  Time over!

Victory for the Grymkin!

This monster must not be allowed to survive!
The Child giggled maniacally as her monsters tore through Cyrenia's Exemplars as though they were untrained chaff.  Unwilling to risk more of her brothers-in-arms, the High Exemplar sent the signal to withdraw, a vanguard taking the brunt of the retreat as the monsters continued their depraved games.  "Go hide behind your wall, little knight,"  she heard the voice of the Child call over the wails of the dying.  "We'll see you soon enough."

A very fun game with DTB!  The Grymkin play style is still a little unfamiliar to me, and I had a great time learning just how devestating a Rattler on the lose could be!  I made a lot of mistakes, forgetting important rules and tricks of my models, but most of them I'm using for the first time, like the Errants, and I'll pick it up soon!  I'm looking forward to more Defier Vs. Menoth fights in the future!  Thanks, DTB!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

RNR - Shadespire

At the beginning of October, the 6th Annual Japan Open hit the streets of Fukuyama, and everyone had a great time!  But even though it was amazing, it is kind of nice to have the pressure off!  I have to admit, having to focus on tournament training for the past six months to the exclusion of side games and goofing off, I was going a little stir crazy!  Now that it's December, it's time for having some fun and not worrying about lists, painting, and tactics.  Phew!  In fact, there's a little something that I've been hoping to get going in the Fukuyama Gaming Club, and hopefully we'll get a chance to do it (and I'll let you in on the secret then!) in the next two months!
A surprise visit from a good friend!
Now, I'm a commissar who enjoys a surprise now and then.  And the last meeting of the FGC before the tournament had a little gem... As we were setting up, DTB told us that after our first game we were going to have to walk down to the train station to meet a new player who wanted to see if they wanted to join the group.  So down we went, and who through the crowds should appear, not a new player as we had thought, but our old friend Javi!  OHMYGOSH!!!  Javi is a former member of the FGC, way way back when we actually used to play on the floor of my apartment!  Oof, I can't even describe the backaches!  *shudder*  While he played a great game with his Retribution army, he was even better known for being one of the best Warhammer 40K players that I have ever known.  Like, in my whole life.  Several mentions in White Dwarf Magazine, and a powerhouse in tournaments all over Japan and Europe, and through it all, he is one of the best sports that I have ever had the honor to play against.  In fact, this is going to bring us to another installment of....

Don't Be A Jerk
Yes, with Javi's triumphant return to Fukuyama, I was reminded of one of my favorite stories of playing against a jerk.  Let me take you back, long long ago, to a Warhammer 40K tournament here in Japan at a local civic center.  DTB and Javi were both there, fighting it out for the Emperor, but DTB's final opponent was a little... off.  Lots of complaints, grumbling, things like that.  In true DTB fashion, he made several amazing deviation rolls in a row, and then suddenly, his die vanished.  Poof.  Just like that.  After the game was over, he found it tucked INSIDE a piece of terrain.  Ugh.  A little suspicious, but hey, no one thought too much about it.  Well, the tournament went on, and that guy and Javi made it to the finals.

There was only one problem... Javi had to catch a train in a few hours, and as anyone who has played 40K knows, games can take much, MUCH longer than that!  So, it was agreed that their game would finish at a certain time.  After only two rounds, it was already clear that Javi was going to prevail.  He offered to leave the game as it was, claiming the victory... but this guy... THIS GUY... refused, insisting that everything was about to turn into his favor, and becoming increasingly aggressive towards Javi.  Four rounds in, Javi finished wiping the board clean.  Ah, if only this guy had agreed to finish the game early... his loss would have been somewhat less complete...Anyway, angry about his defeat, he proceeded to put his fist through the wall!  He put a hole in a wall in a public building because he lost a game!  So now all anyone can remember of him was his multitude of hissyfits, that he hid someone's dice because they were "lucky"(allegedly), and that he was a bad sport.  Long story short, don't be a jerk.

Anyway, Javi wanted to bring his Warmachine force on his trip, but it was a little to much to try to bring his Retribution army with him from Spain and still convince his company that he was coming for work.  Luckily, there's a whole bunch of games that are easy to play as a pick-up, and so I got my first ever game of Shadespire in with Javi while DTB and Leland got some tournament practice in, and I have to say, for being out of Games Workshop for a few years, it was pretty fun!  Let's take a look!


The basics
This was actually a pretty easy game to just run through.  Each player has only a couple of models, depending on the faction they use, each with some special abilities.  You also have a deck of cards that control things from what your goals are to upgrades for your models.  The trick to becoming a great Shadespire player is to make a killer deck.  Of course, I borrowed a pre-made deck from DTB along with his Steelheart's Champions while Javi used his Garrek's Reavers.

Steelheart's Champions, ready to kill some Khornate scum!

There are 12 different "Warbands" in the Shadespire game, each with different abilities, faction specific goal cards, upgrades, and benefits... let's take a quick look at the different bands you can use as you battle your way to the top!

     Garrek's Reavers: 5 models.  Human worshipers of Khorne, the Blood God.  They are crazed berzerkers, so they don't use that much armor, prefering instead to bathe in the blood of their defeated enemies.  Of course.

     Steelheart's Champions: 3 models.  Once long dead heroes from across the realms, Sigmar has collected their essence and re-animated them as immortal fighting machines, the embodiment of all that is heroic and good.

     Sepulchral Guard: 7 models.  Skeletal undead that retain their memories of their former existance, they have devoted themselves to the service of the God of Death in hopes that at some point he will see fit to free them from their horrible existance.

     Ironskull's Boyz: 4 models.  An Orruk warband, they like fighting and fighting.... and some more fighting.  Really, that's it.  Oh, make sure that you put at least a little red on them as you paint them up... never forget, the red ones go fastah!

     The Chosen Axes: 4 models.  Originally the defenders of Shadespire, these Dwarven mercenaries feel shamed that Shadespire has been cursed, and are determined to destroy the curse, free Shadespire, and redeem their honor.

     Spiteclaw's Swarm: 5 models.  Like all Skaven, Spiteclaw leads his clan in deviousness and looting, hiding in the shadows until he can swarm over unsuspecting victims, either to steal all they have or enslave them into service.

     The Farstriders:  3 models.  Another group of Stormclad Eternals like Steelheart's Champions, the Farstriders are in Shadespire searching for a cure to their ailment of slowly losing their humanity the longer they fight as Eternals.

     Magore's Fiends:  4 models.  Two words... Chaos Marines.  These are worshipers of Khorne, determined to hunt down all the warbands of Stormclad Eternals, drowning the Mirror City in blood until Khorne himself looks down in favor on them.

     Stormsire's Cursebreakers:  3 models.  Yet more Stormclad Eternals, the Cursebreakers are a group of wizards!  That's right, they can all use magic, and not only that, they get stronger when they do!

     Thorns of the Briar Queen:  7 models.  Once a death mage of unimaginable power, the Briar Queen's soul has been trapped beneath Shadespire for centuries, leading her to madness.  Now, the god of death has released her to protect the Mirrored City.

     Eyes of the Nine:  6 models.  Devotees of Tzeentch, the Lord of Change, these demons are searching for relics around Shadespire in order to connect the Mirrored City and the Realms of Chaos, allowing Tzeentch to rule.

     Zarbag's Gitz:  9 models.  Goblins and Squigs, these little Grots are in infestation that can never be truly gotten rid of.  Accidentally falling into the pleasure gardens of the former rulers of the Mirrored City only to find them overrun with fungi and Squigs, Zarbag is determined to bring as many of his kin as he can into the city.

The Story:

All good games have a back story, and Shadespire is no exception.  Long long ago... no, longer than that... nope, keep going.... There you go!  Long long long ago, Shadespire was a wonderful city that made a miraculous  substance called shadeglass, which could trap the essence of people as they died, thus preserving them in the glass and keeping them from descending into the realm of the dead.  As you might imagine, this REALLY pissed off the god of death, who decided that to simply kill everyone would be to easy a punishment, and instead inverted the shadeglass, making the Mirrored City a trap from which none could escape!  Trapped in its own reflection between the light and the dark, the inhabitants cannot leave, which means that they can't get back to the realm of the living, but also can't get out to the land of the dead either.  They're just... stuck there!  Forever!  Some warbands, like the Stormclad Eternals, are searching for a way out.  Others, like Khorne's boys, just want to kill stuff.  And even more just want to snatch what they can, like the Skaven and the Gitz.
Don't mind us, just looking for a way out

The Setup:

The players start by taking turns picking out and laying down a board.  There are a whole bunch of different boards to choose from, and they all have different layouts, thing like traps and obstacles and starting spaces and the like.  The spaces on the board are hexes, and these will count for movement and range for weapons.  You can lay the boards down however you like!  The only restriction in that 4 hexes have to be completed where the boards touch.  Then, objective hexes are randomly arranged around the completed boards.
Off center boards are the best!

Once the boards are set, the players set their two decks of cards:  one deck is for objectives, goals that you will complete in order to get points that lead to your eventual victory, and a second deck is full of upgrades for your models and actions that you can take at the end of a round.  The decks get shuffled, and then each player draws three objectives and 5 upgrades/actions.  Finally, the players take turns placing their models on the boards in designated starting hexes.

Game play is fairly straightforward... there are three rounds in the game.  Each player will take 4 actions per round.  There are a lot of actions to choose from, and while Warbands with only three models have an easy time deciding on what to do, those with five, six, or even seven models will have to decide which models to activate each round.  Some of the Warbands have special rules that will let you sneaky move extra models each turn, and that is going to be a really important perk for larger bands.  Some potential activations each turn are:
    - moving, once per model per round (each character has a movement stat that tells you how many
              hexes they can go)
    - attacking (each character has fighting stats, including how many dice you roll and how much
              damage each attack will do)
    - charging (if you charge with a character, you can't make any other attacks with that model)
    - drawing a card (you can choose to discard a card and draw a new one instead of taking an action)
This Khorne berserker can't move again this round.

After one player takes a turn, there is a chance to use any of your card actions.  These cards can give bonuses to your next activating model, deal sudden misery to one of your opponents, cause a cave-in of shade glass, heal your models, or various other effects.  Some cards are general cards, others are Warband specific.  Again, this is where the tricky part of the games comes in... it's so important to build a good deck for your team!

Card decks, character cards, models and turn counters
At the of the round, when all players have taken 4 turns, it's time to see who gets some glory!  Collecting glory points is the goal of the game, and whoever has more at the end of the game wins!  You will get a glory point for each enemy model you destroy, but also at the end of each round players have a chance to get even more.  For each of the three objective cards that you drew at the beginning, you will receive glory points for accomplishing.  Easy objectives, like, "Hold objective marker 3" and the like, will give you only one glory point.  More difficult ones, like, "At the end of the round there are no enemy models in your area" are worth three, and incredibly difficult ones, like, "Murder all other models on the board" are worth 5!

Once each player has gotten their glory points for completed objectives, you can use them like money for any upgrades you've drawn from your upgrade/action deck.  Some of them can be used by any of the models, and some are model specific, but they all are helpful!  You can get new attacks, more wounds, better defense, all kinds of upgrades!  But again, it all goes into the deck you build for your warband, so make sure to put in a lot of thought as you select cards for the decks!
Glory points for me!

Since it was my first game, and Javier is a great guy, he decided not to completely stomp me into the ground!  We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to getting my own Warband together!  I'm thinking the Thorns of the Briar Queen look like great fun, though it will be interesting to see how effective 7 models are in a four turn round!  Shadespire seems like it's going to be a great little palate cleanser between larger games, or as a nice pick-up while we wait for early morning stragglers!  I've been interested in the Age of Sigmar recently, but I don't have the extra time to devote to a whole new game system, so this is a nice way that I can just dip the proverbial toe into that world!  Cheers!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

6th Annual Japan Open Warmachine/ Hordes Team Tournament

Welcome, welcome, welcome! I know you have all been as excited as I about the tournament, and finally... finally it is here!!!  That's right, once again, the Rumble Round the Ramparts, the Clash at the Castle... Last weekend, 22 players for 7 teams assembled from all corners of Japan... well, almost all corners... from Kyushu, Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Okayama and Fukuyama at least!  A mighty battle reigned, but at the end, only one team stood above all others!  We were expecting a typhoon to blow through and disrupt everything, but in the end, the weather was amazing... sadly, due to the warning of the typhoon, the sports festival at my poliwog's kindergarten was moved from Saturday straight on to Sunday.  NOOOOOOOO!!!!  Kindergarten sports festivals only last half a day, but half a day was two rounds of a three round tournament, and that means that I had to withdraw from my team, and our fearless alternate, The Kid, took my place.  Thanks, Kid!  Good luck!  I managed to arrive perfectly in the down time between round 2 and 3, and since we had only 7 teams, one team each round had a by round, and I managed to catch a game with the guys stuck with the pass.

And now, let's take a look at our teams!

Team 0.3 Ton (Saijo) 

Our good buddies out of one of the suburbs of Hiroshima City, this team is made up of classmates from the local university.  These guys are some of the loyal members of our sister group, the Saijo Gaming Club.

Beru, with his Cygnar army, using Captain Allister Caine and Commander Coleman Stryker

Ryosangata, with his Retribution army, using Issyria and Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard

Tetsu, with his Mercenary army, using Ashlynn d'Elyse and General Ossrum

Band of Heroes (Osaka)

The Osaka Troll trifecta returns!  Three amazing players, with amazingly painted armies, have banded together to make sure everyone knows the power of the Trollbloods!  Since players on a team cannot use the exact same caster, the Band of Heroes members each use a different incarnation of Doomshaper!

Daizo, with his Trollblood army, using Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia and Captain Gunbjorn

Genki, with his Trollblood army, using Madrak, Great Chieftan and Doomshaper, Dire Prophet

Tabibito, with his Trollblood army, using Grim Angus and Doomshaper, Shaman of the Gnarls

Dhunholy Alliance (Fukuyama)

My intrepid team.  Sorry for not making it to the fight, but luckily The Kid from the Saijo gaming group was there, just waiting for a team to jump into!  He fought bravely for the Dhunholy Alliance!

DTB, with his Trollblood army, using Kolgrima, Winter Witch and Madrak, Great Chieftan

Sarge, with his Cryx army, using Goreshade the Cursed and Asphyxious the Hellbringer

The Kid, with his Convergence army using Forge Master Syntherion and Axis the Harmonic Enforcer

Eternal Journeymen (Tokyo)

This year only one team made it from Tokyo!  We were glad to see them, especially since Mitchell is one of my favorite people to play against OF ALL TIME!!!  Good luck, boys, and thanks for coming all the way to Fukuyama... it's a long trip!

Aoichiro, with his Convergence army, using Aurum Locke and Eminent Configurator Orion

Mitchell, with his Cephalyx army, using Cognifex Cyphon and Exulon Thexus

Yamazaki, with his Legion army, using Fyanna, Torment of Everblight and Anamag

Signs and Portents (Hiro-saka) 

A mix of two Osaka players with the strongest player from Saijo, Signs and Portents is the team to beat at the tourney this year!  These are very, very good players who make very few mistakes, and know your army better than you know it yourself!

Rantei, with his Skorne army, using Dominar Rasheth and Makeda & the Exalted Court

Kimtaku, with his Cryx army, using The Witch Coven of Garlghast and Wraith Witch Deneghra

Vladamir, with his Khador army, using Old Witch 2 and Vladimir, the Dark Champion

Team Kyushu (Kyushu)

Another team from far far away, the Kyushu team is made up of great veteran player and a couple of newer additions to the gaming world.  We were happy to have them, and hope the new guys had fun and stick with it!

Hai!  Yamanaka-desu! with his Mercenary army, using Magnus the Traitor and Ashlynn d'Elyse

Ryo, with his Khador army, using Koldun Kommander Zerkova and Kommandant Sorscha Kratikoff

Zweifel, with his Cygnar army, using Major Prime Victoria Haley and Major Victoria Haley

Trick or Treat (Osaka)
Who let these Dread Rots in here???
Triple Grymkin!  Squee!  I love love love Grymkin armies, and I have been in love with Enzo's army since he showed up with it last year!  I was super excited to see it again!

Enzo, with his Grymkin army, using Zevanna Agha, the Fate Keeper and The Child

JC, with his Grymkin army, using The Wanderer and The Dreamer

NiwaNiwa, with his Grymkin army, using The King of Nothing and The Heritic

The Tables:
We had some really great tables set up this year... last year's tables were already amazing, but we got a couple more mats, a lot more terrain, and there were some amazing themed tables ready to turn into hellish battlescapes!  Twelve tables were prepared, nine of them as thematic masterpieces.  We tried to throw in some tactical importance as well when it came to choosing tables... some were fairly open terrain, while others were very hard to navigate.  Here are some of our favorites!

     The Beach -
Pretty neat, huh?  I love this new mat!  We toyed with the idea of making the ocean side of the map rough terrain, but in the end decided that that would be too much. 

     Farm Fields -
This is one of the super wide open ones.  Anyone with a colossal or a gargantuan probably would want to take this board.  There was some debate with the wheat field terrain pieces if they should be rough terrain or forests, but most of us decided to use it as a forest.  Just cause, you know... funny!

     Thornwood Hell -
Orgoth towers are always fun terrain.  Add a million forests and you've got a battle that's bound to get bogged down!

     Taiga Circle -
A little table dedicated to the Circle Oroboros, who did not make an appearance this year!  Those pesky ley lines were harnessed on the dais in the upper right corner, with a wizard's tower near the middle.

     Cityscape -
Nope, your eyes aren't tricking you, the board is tilted!  This mat was made before pre-measuring was allowed, so to make sure that you couldn't just eyeball distances, the mat was designed to be slightly off center.

After that, we had the four main warmachine faction tables (Cryx, Cygnar, Khador and Protectorate), and then three "basic" mats.  The most hated mat of the day?  Khador (of course, haha).

     Khador -
It was just too hard to maneuver around the positioning of the big gun in the back and the ammunition crates and extra shells.  So much hate!

Our Gracious Sponsors:
No tournament is complete without prizes.  And for us, we had some amazing gifts from several great companies!
    - Privateer Press 
          Privateer Press donated several models, templates, markers, and etc.

    - Broken Egg Games 
          This is an awesome company that makes incredible products.  They offered a massive discount
                and convention exclusive items TO EVERY PLAYER!!!  Amazing!

    - Discount Games Inc. 
          Discount Games gave us gift certificates to the three members of the winning team!

    - Frozen Forge 
          Frozen Forge also gave gift certificates for the three winning members!

Thank you so much to all of the sponsors!  The tourney wouldn't have been a success without you! 

Round 1 - 

And now, on to the gaming!  Yeah!  Here are the match-ups for the first round!

     0.3 Ton VS Eternal Journeymen
     Dhunholy Alliance VS Team Kyushu
     Trick or Treat VS Signs And Portents
     Band of Heroes takes the pass this round

This round, we used the "Pit 2" Scenerio.
Good games were had all around... Dhunholy Alliance, my poor team, managed to get three wins out of the round, even though I wasn't there, so good work, boys!  The Kid really jumped in with both feet!  DTB's battle was a long semi-bloody slog, where no units were fully destroyed on either side, and the only solo death WAS THE PATROL DOG!!!!  Hahahahahahahaha!

Winners for the round - Eternal Journeymen, Dhunholy Alliance, and Signs And Portents!

And Now For Something Completely Different:
No, no Monty Python today!  After the end of the first round, teams headed out to find themselves some rations to keep their energy up into the next round, and our intrepid TO Leland took a look at the armies to determine the prized Best Painted Army!  Some (but sadly, not all) of the armies up for the honor:

Rantei's Skorne -
Daizo's Trollbloods -
Mitchell's Cephalyx -
Enzo's Grymkin -

Genki's Trollbloods -
Vlad's Khador -
The Kid's Convergence -
That's all for now!  Tune in to find out who will take home the coveted Best Painter award!

Round 2 -

As the JOTC is a three round tournament, round 2 is mega important as it will determine who is going on to the championship game!  The match-ups for round 2!

     Dhunholy Alliance VS Signs And Portents
     Eternal Journeymen VS Band of Heroes
     0.3 Ton VS Team Kyushu
     Trick or Treat takes the pass this round

This round used the Mirage scenario, which is also one of my very favorites, though it can lead to a brutal and quick finish for teams that are not used to scenario play.  This scenario uses two circular zones and three... yes, that's right, THREE flags!!!
Dhunholy Alliance managed to scrape out another round victory, with DTB and The Kid wresting victory from the hands of our enemies.  Surprisingly, Sarge lost his game, but since it was a team effort, the Dhunholy Alliance was rocketed into the finals!  YES!!!

Winners for the round:  Dhunholy Alliance, Eternal Journeymen, and 0.3 Ton!

Round 3 -

Well, well, well... the whole last week before the tournament started, the Dhunholy Alliance was working out strategies, match-ups, anything to help us take our game to the very top.  Then, I was out, and it looked like all of out hard work went out the window... and then The Kid swooped in and saved the day, helping lead our team all the way to the championship table!  That's right, we're in the finals, baby!

     Championship: Dhunholy Alliance VS Eternal Journeymen
     Trick or Treat VS Band of Heroes
     0.3 Ton VS Signs And Portents
     Team Kyushu took the pass round this time

As the fates of all lay in the dice on the table, I had finally arrived in time to cheer my teammates on in their games.  I ALSO got to get a game in with Zweifel from Team Kyushu, a relatively new player who had a by this round.  He was a super nice guy, and we had a great game, but sadly for him, he was unaware of the AMAZING POWERS OF THE TESTAMENT OF MENOTH who walked through his front line and smashed Haley 3 in the face repeatedly until the submitted.  A big pile of souls reclaimed from his fallen comrades gave him so many shots at her that it was almost impossible that she would survive.  And she did not.  VICTORY!!!!

Winners of this round:  Trick or Treat, Signs And Portents, and.....

Results - 
Eternal Journeymen WINS!!!!!!!

Yes, the Tokyo team pulled out a victory over our very own Dhunholy Alliance!  In an amazing 2-1 victory, they really proved that they deserve to be the Team Champions of Japan!  In fact, only The Kid managed to pull out a victory for our team, so it was a GREAT thing that he was our alternate!  Good Work, Kid!  Thanks again!

Taking second place, DHUNHOLY ALLIANCE!!!

In fact, only The Kid managed to pull out a victory for our team, so it was a GREAT thing that he was our alternate!  Good Work, Kid!  Thanks again!  You all fought the good fight!

Arriving in third place, Signs And Portents!
Amazing work from this very strong team.  The second and third place standings all came down to points, and Signs And Portents has just too few to squeek out the second place spot.  A very strong showing from these guys... I know they'll be back with a vengence next year!

And finally... the winners of the Painting contest!

Taking Bronze - Rantei with his Skorne army!

Taking Silver - Mitchell with his Cephalyx army

Taking Gold - Vlad with his Khador army!  Congratulations on this great army, Vlad!

And finally, because I can never get enough of this army and how amazing it looks, the Commissarial award (this blog's best painted category), here are more shots of Enzo's great Grymkin army!
And with that, the 6th Annual Japan Open Team Championship is officially closed!  Thanks so much to everyone who came to take part, and especially to Leland for taking over the TO position.  It went great!  I can't wait to see everyone again next year!