SmogCon Report – Part II: Events

Part 2 of my report where we shall have a look at the event itself! There were 3 types of events: the tournaments, casual gaming and painting/modeling.

 First and maybe most importantly this is the first SmogCon and even though the organizers have a fair amount of TO experience from what I can gather this is still the first event of its kind in the UK so for everyone involved this was a real discovery. Despite this it turned out a real treat as you’ll soon see!

The painting sessions consisted of speed painting competitions, sitdown painting/modeling  sessions and of course the painting competition. The speed painting turned out to be very popular with all the slots filled almost instantly and some of the stuff produced, wow, makes you jealous to see what some people can manage after such a short while! I didn’t take part but everyone had only good things to say about it and the small army of pirates (models used for it) is testament to its success!

The sit down sessions were with some amazingly talented artists, all winners of prestigious awards and with skills to make many a hobbyist turn red with jealousy! They were all however really nice guys and I spent a few hours with them as they ran me through a few techniques such as blending and press moulding. I’ve heard/read of these techniques before but seeing them done in front of me made it so much simpler! They were very patient and more then wiling to answer even the most simple questions. I’ve met painters before who are a little too up their own arse but these guys were real gents and the organizers struck gold when they asked these guys to come along. However as much as I liked them I fear they didn’t get as many attendants as they deserve and maybe using a booking system like the other events may raise attendance by making people plan it into their day. I hope next year, in fact I insist anyone attending, who has some queries regarding their hobby skills pay these guys a visit next year as if they can’t help you, nobody can. *queue A-Team music*

The painting competition turned out some FANTASTIC entries (especially trolls) with a good number of entries that really gave the judges pause for thought. Not much else I can say except that in this as well as the other two events I was pleased to see the interest and talent that was shown for the modeling aspect of a game that, normally, is solely known for its competitive element.

The Casual gaming aka the Smogpit was also very popular with people for just having some good old fashion axe to the mouth fun or killing some time between competitive events. There was a slight competitive theme with your games winning control points for your faction with spot prizes for fun or ballsy plays as well as including some funky special rules. It wasn’t as popular as the tournaments but it did give players a bit of downtime and a spot to just chill out with some models. I think these funky rules are the key to increasing its popularity next year as we are all used to playing normal games of warmachine which are naturally competitive but some alternate rules and scenarios would be good for bringing out a different aspect of the game.

Now for the bit you’ve been waiting for: The tournaments.  Now these TOs know what they’re doing and this reflected in the events. There were multiple competitions over the course of the weekend and the top scorer in each of these qualified for the masters on Sunday. Points values were 35 and 50 using steamroller and hardcore styles. There were also some more exotic themes such as tier lists and 6in1 (1 list with 6 casters, random caster each game). This gave players a lot of options for what they wanted to play and if I can say anything against its that I was disappointed there was no Mangled metal competition.

There was a very friendly atmosphere despite the competitiveness and I personally didn’t play anyone that wasn’t a gentleman. Everyone seemed very pleased with the proceedings and people gave it their all in a shot for the masters. I’ll talk more about my games in the next article but needless to say the events ran more or less on time and the organizers kept us moving form game to game swiftly. I could say that I felt a bit pressured between rounds to get moved, setup and such but understandably when you are running such a tight schedule you have to keep on track so its nothing and something I’ll probably get used to the more i attend these events.

There was a good showing of armies including Mercs, minions and Retribution and It was very interesting to see some of the lists some people cooked up. As a Khador player I was pleased to see the likes of the warwagon and other models I didn’t have the highest regard for pulling their weight in their games. Even the midnight games went down ok, could of been more but I think at that point a lot of people wanted to get back to their hotels and prepare for the next day. This could change depending on future venues and people being closer to the gaming space but we’ll get to that later.

In summary it was a great event for the vets to match their wits against some of the best players in the UK and for beginners like me for whom it was a real crash course in competitive warmachine. The time and effort the TOs put in really showed with a host of great events. Finally, congratulations to Aaron Boyan for his win in the masters, with retribution no less, definitely motivated me to get mine going once I’ve cracked on with the Khador!

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