The Road to the Tournament by Ben Appleyeard aka Digital Unicorn

5 Jul


Hello, welcome! Come one, Come all to the Road to the Tournament! Your one stop shop for tales of the pit falls of preparing for and taking part in your first 40k tournament. List building, speed painting, costs and expenses, finding the right tournament and after all that stress, ensuring that YOU still have fun when your there!

So, you may ask what authority do I have on the subject? Well i am on the Road to the Tournament myself. I have just bought a ticket for my first 40k Tournament. The event will be held at Maelstrom games on October 1st and 2nd, with 8 games at 1750pts. So for the next few months im going to post updates on the progress of my preparations for this event; so you guys can hopefully, learn from my experience, avoid any mistakes i make and ensure that your Road to the Tournament is a smooth drive. I also hope to encourage newer players who are interested in taking their game to the next level into joining the tournament scene.

So how to begin?

The place that seems most natural is the Tournament itself. With little or no experience with the attitudes and flavours of certain events it could be very easy to spoil you first venture out of your local scene. No one wants to be hideously tabled for ten 2000pt games squeezed into a 2 day event, (especially if you weren’t expecting it) then have to remortage their house to pay for it. So choosing the right event is important if your going enjoy your time and be hungry for more. So heres a few quick tips for when you start search:

Where to find them

There are a few places to find out what events are happening in your area or around the country. An easy one is your friendly local gaming store, most non-gamesworkshop stores will advertise local events with flyers or hold events of their own. They may also have ads for larger events taking place in places like Nottingham and London. I saw non-gamesworkshop as the company as a whole tends to give little support to all but the most major events of tournament scene. Unless you have an especially lenient store manager who is completely unafraid of the ever present risk of spot checks, you are unlikely to find anything other than GW organised events like Throne of Skulls and the various Gamesdays advertised there. And while these make excellent first events they also entail quite a lot of expense as historically they are held at Warhammer World in Nottingham. If you are looking for a small Tournament to dip your toe in the water you might want to look more local.

But, if like me, you lack an FLGS aside from GW, the internet is probably the best place to turn. A few sites excel at giving youa large selection. First and foremost is, listeners of the Podcast will have probably heard it mentioned a few times in reference to the country wide Tournament rankings they have on their site. But they are also a fantastic resource when searching for a tournament to go too, as most serious Tournament organisers and promoters put a listing for their tournament up on the site. The site has different lists for different countries and has listings for most countries where 40k is played.

Alternatively smaller events often advertise on the larger 40k forums like Dakkadakka and Warseer. Both sites have sub-forums dedicated to Tournaments, Gamesday and other similar events. A quick search can often bring up events in your area. Most larger 40k forums have a tournament section and if you have one that you like to frequent check and see if any of the events are near you.

So how to choose? Well hears a few tips and pointers which can help u narrow down the large selection available to you.

Do your Research!

#1:Type and Attitude.

Tournaments come in lots of shapes, sizes, prices, prizes and guises. It can be hard to know in advance what type of atmosphere a certain event may have and how it will differ from another. There are a few rules of thumb that can be followed to get litmus test for a particular event.

Are you looking for an easy going event to simply enjoy the social and friendly competitiveness aspect of the tournament scene? Team events, gamesdays, smaller events, low entry cost, painting scores, sportsmanship scores and other soft scores are all things to look out for. Some of these types of events may be slightly more hardcore but generally the more things you can tick out of that list the more easy going it will be. If you don’t yet consider yourself a hardcore table top player these are probably the events for you. Thats not to say their any less fun or competitive but, no one wants to turn up to ‘Ard boys with their Fluffy list, at least by accident.

Now if intense hardcore tactical gaming really tickles your fancy and you want a Tournament purely dedicated to finding the best General, heres what to look for. Singles events, higher points levels, higher entry cost, big prize support, little or no soft scoring, large events, or tournaments with lots of entrants, no painting requirements and perhaps even things like Grand Tournaments and events assosciated with the ETC or other high profile competitive events. These are likely to be very competitive and table top focused, for veteran players with years of experience. So if thats your idea of heaven go for it!

#2: Points level.

It may seem obvious but, make sure you have enough mintures to make a list that fulfills the points limit. Aside from the obvious reason that having less points than everyone else will put you at a disadvantage, this will really help you cut down on extra cost. Not having to buy 3 Landraiders to make your list will do your bank balance a world of good. Financial considerations aside, knowing the points level well in advance allows you to get practice in with your list. If you want to avoid total annihilation you at least need a minimal amount of practice at the points level of the Tournament and with the list your planning to use. And, to tie back to earlier, if you only manage to scrape the cash together for that last Leman Russ or Wave Serpant a week before the event, you’ve not got that practice. Although the game doesn’t always dramatically change from one points level to the next, it still changes. What you will face at 1500pts can really vary from what you will face at 1750 or 2000pts. Have i drummed that in enough? Good. So to recap:

Makes sure you have enough minitures for the points you will need (or near enough, go on treat yourself!).

In a future blog post im going to discuss how I constructed a list from the Minitures I have to take to my Tournament.

Get practice in at the points level of the event, even 2 or 3 games will help but, more is better.

#3 Cost

After a good deal of searching the internet and scouring event pages it looks like the average price for a 2 day tournament is about £30-£40. Some 1 day events go as low as £10 or £5 and some larger competetions can go as high as £80-£90. There are a few considerations to take into account when calculating the cost. Conventions, not all tournaments are the sole focus of the event they are held at. Some are just additional events to encourage attendance of the convention or gamesday. This does not mean they aren’t a valid and competetive Tournament. What it may mean however is slightly more expense, as some conventions and events may require you to purchase a convention ticket in addition to a Tournament ticket. This is by no means always the case but, can happen. Make sure you know the nature of the event before purchasing a Tournament ticket to avoid unsuspected expenses, or worst of all, a wasted trip.

Also to be remembered is the cost of accomodations. If the event is taking place outside of your local area (we cant all live in Wargaming Mecca like Mr Dave Symcox) staying in a hotel may be a neccessity. While some who have access to a car may wish to travel to the event from their homes it would be wise to think about the length of the journey. Most events start quite early and getting up at 6am to start a 3 hour drive is improving no ones day, doing it twice in row and trying to play 8 games of 40k in between is just asking for trouble.

On average a basic hotel room can cost anywhere from £25-£60 perhaps even higher in more popular areas. Prices can also be affected by other local events or even the one you are attending. Hotel companies are not stupid and once they catch wind of an event or convention in their local area the prices for those dates may take on a slightly higher price tag. There are quite a few websites that compare prices for hotels and they may prove invaluable if you want to avoid bankruptcy. Sharing a room with a friend going to the same event can also lighten the burden. Booking well in advance also helps, prices very rarely get lower closer to the date and if you wait, you run the risk of not getting a room. Remember, other gamers want those rooms too!

And don’t forget your commute. How are you going to get to the event from your hotel? If you have your own car, do you know where you can park near the event? And do you have accurate directions? No one likes to get lost or find a parking fine on their windscreen when they get back to their car. Make sure you are prepared.

If you are using public transport have you made sure that it starts early enough to get you to the event on time? Most buses and trains run on a different schedule on saturdays and sundays, look them up online and make sure you can get there. All these can add extra expense. So, use common sense, plan ahead and factor these expenses into your Tournament budget.

So hopefully that will help some of you to choose which event to go too and encourage some of you fence sitters. A lot of it has been common sense but i hope it has made some of it clearer.

My next article will be centered on using the minitures you have to make a list to take to your Tournament of choice. Bye for now!

Digital Unicorn is GO!


3 Responses to “The Road to the Tournament by Ben Appleyeard aka Digital Unicorn”

  1. Franco July 5, 2011 at 14:21 #

    A great resource everyone should go to when looking for tournaments is Unseen Lerker:-

    • Digital Unicorn July 6, 2011 at 13:51 #

      Gah! Sorry guys, that one completely slipped my mind, that is a really good tournament site. definitely check it out. Thanks for the catch Franco

  2. Robsolo July 11, 2011 at 02:27 #

    Great article – thanks a lot!

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