Jamie and I are back from Slimbridge and the annual Berkeley HOTT competition with very different positions in the table but with another enjoyable weekend with friends behind us.
For those who don't know, the Berkeley competition (so called because it was played in the Gloucestershire village of Berkeley for the first two of its fifteen years of existence, is probably the world's largest Hordes of the Things Tournament. It's the only tournament gaming I do and it's a very relaxed event with competitiveness generally a long way behind good conversation, fun gaming and good beer.
After Saturday morning's drive down from Yorkshire I was paired with Nigel Jones for the first game. I'd brought my Gloranthan Wolf Pirates to play with as my main army and Nigel very kindly offered to use my, also Gloranthan, Morokanth despite my telling him I didn't know how balanced they were as a pair.
I set up intending to trundle forward through the Bad Going with my Warband whilst Argrath, Gunda, and Harrek made a dash through the good ground to either take on Nigel's three Magicians or force their way into the Morokanth stronghold.
In the end Nigel's Magicians advanced to meet the Wolf Pirate Heroes and in one round of combat it was all over! Heroes and Paladins only need to beat Magicians to kill them (though if they lose the Heroes are ensorcelled and the Paladin is lost). I started with Harrek, who as a Hero General had a +2 advantage, won and killed his opposing Shaman. With +1 for the overlap thus created I was able to out dice Nigel twice more for a 12-0 win. Sorry Nigel!
In game two I faced James Ewins who (as he had when we both played our first ever game at Berkeley back in 2001) was using Aztecs. Sadly I couldn't find a Troll pool army to complete the nostalgia-fest. Instead I picked a pool army based on a Wild West cattle drive.
A nice touch here was James's use of Aztec skirmishers as an area of Bad Going.
James nibbled away at my army taking 8AP of elements but in the end neither of us could force a victory. We were timed out with a draw.
Next up I was paired with the ever-charming Mark Fry. Mark was using his lovely Rohirrim army (I borrowed them for a game last year). Mark, little did either of us know, was heading for four wins out of four on day one.
As we were in 15mm scale I grabbed my Saunders-V Colonists army. This starts with three shooters, two Warband and a Rider whilst the embattled colonists wait for the Colonial Marines to arrive in their (Dragon) grav tanks.
Mark got to defend and placed a minimum of Bad Going for me to hide in.
And hide I did. For several turns as Mark drew near. In retrospect I should have pushed forward despite the fact that Mark's army was full of Knights who could quick kill all but one element of my starting force.
By sitting in my area of Bad Going I allowed Mark to dominate the areas where the grave tanks would eventually arrive. When they did arrive, there were only two places where I could squeeze them in and Mark had Heroes and Magicians waiting to pounce. I was rapidly down three Dragons and 12 AP.
And so on to the final HOTT game of the day. Owen Webber used a Gloranthan Chaos army (six Broo Warbands plus a Broo Hero General, a Behemoth (giant Jack O Bears) and two scorpionman Beasts). Of course I met this with the Wolf Pirates.
With equal numbers of Warbands, the obvious plan was to use my Heroes and Paladin to target Owen's Hero General and Beasts. His Beasts would die if beaten by mounted and Heroes and Paladins both count as mounted. On the other hand Behemoths kill Warbands so I needed to keep the Jack O Bears away from the rank and file Pirates.
Pleasingly, the plan worked. I scooted off to the left leaving just enough Warband to defend my beached dragonship. As the picture below shows, a quick advance saw Harrek slaughter one of the Scorpionman units and Gunda take out the Broo Hero General in what was by then a +7 (Paladin uphill) vs +5 (overlapped Hero General) fight in which the loser died immediately!
So I ended Saturday with two wins and a draw. Mid-table mediocrity looked guaranteed for another year.
On Saturday evening I ran a game of To The Strongest! and Jamie ran Saga but that's a story for another time as, indeed, is the tale of Sunday's games.