For those canny folks who bought their SmogCon tickets ahead of the game, last night marked the pre-registration for the tournaments and organised casual hobby time (you know what I mean, the stuff where a space needs to be set aside, like speed painting or RPG stuff). With my fingers a-hoverin’ over the trackball, I was there right on time, eager to shimmy into the 35 point events while everyone else was battering for the generally-preferred 50-pointers. In order to make sure that everyone got some formal games in and nobody over-committed and burned out, registrants were allowed to pick two tournaments and two non-tournaments for the course of the weekend.
My original plan was to take on the Hydra (hail Hydra!) event, on the grounds that I’d only have to buy and build one 35 point army plus four alternate casters; a much more achievable prospect than three 50 point armies with no FA: C choices repeated, and then to dip my toes into competitive Malifaux with the Hardcore event on the Saturday.
And then I thought about the £60 I’d just spent on the two infantry units for my Retribution – I went for Houseguard Halberdiers and Dawnguard Invictors in the end, incidentally – and the £10 or so that each run to the Clapham club for a practice game sets me back, and the current confusing state of Malifaux (I still can’t walk into the shop and see the rulebook on the shelf, which is kind of a bummer when you’re trying to get into a game), and I said to myself, “self, do you really think you’re going to be able to practice a 35 point Retribution list with five different casters and learn to play Malifaux to a standard where you won’t slow-play and get your head around the IKRPG by February?”
“Probably not, no,” said I.
So here’s the new plan. I’m still taking the Gremlins to SmogCon, but I don’t intend to inflict myself on the tournaments for that system. Instead, I’m signing up for Midnight Madness: Scalpel on the Saturday. Another 35 point Warmachine event, single list but with a sideboard capacity (you can swap out things that cost the same number of points, but you have to swap out actual cards, not just upsize and downsize units). That sounds… fun, and within my financial and tactical remit.
Admittedly, there’s the small problem of my being a career Morning Person and so usually braindead by about nine p/m. However, I also live less than an hour’s train ride from the convention. This is promising.
My cunning plan is still slightly nebulous. If someone is kind enough to lend me floor space in their hotel room on the Saturday – someone who’s playing in a daytime tournament and so won’t be needing it – I’ll crash at SmogCon and buy them dinner or something. If not, I’ll just catch the first train home on Saturday morning, sleep in the comfort of my own sweet bed, dine in on Saturday evening and then troop back out for Midnight Madness. My two casual sign-ups have been expended on some IKRPG time on the Sunday – a nice, no-pressure come-down that I can probably walk into with naught but a nap and a shower to my name – so it won’t be worth coming home on that day anyway.
Things like food can also be manipulated around this; I’m trying to avoid paying stockbroker-belt hotel prices for too many meals. At some point closer to the event I’ll have to weigh up the available cash and establish whether it’s cheaper to eat/sleep at home and pay extra train fares, or crash at the convention and eat out all weekend. At the moment I lean toward the former option, but we’ll see.
There is a budgetary constraint on this operation, but it’s looser than might be thought; basically, whatever money I get from selling off my Necrons is going towards building the Retribution and attending SmogCon. I’m not sad to see the Necrons go; I’ve had fun with them over the last couple of years but 40K is such a massive palaver and I only play it a couple of times a year, a long way from home, with people with whom I can just play other games.
At present, the financial situation looks like this:
£80 from sale of Necron units (after eBay fees)
£53 – ticket
£60 on extra Retribution stuff required for competitions
- SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT
Projected £200 from selling remaining Necrons, surfeit of 40K tokens, unused RPG rulebooks &c. &c.
So, slightly over budget at present. Better hope those Necrons shift.