Wednesday, March 29, 2017

US SAGA Grand Melee!

My Christmas in March has come and gone, and I'm a bit blue that it's over.  Impossibly, Eric Hagen raises the bar each year. We have a group of players who make the annual pilgrimage from all over the US and the UK too. When we get together, we talk about our projects, our painting, our warbands and display boards, our real lives and history too. We talk about tactics and battleboards. We have dinner and drinks together.  Oh yes, we have a tournament to play too!

I got to meet the amazingly talented Bill Thornhill at the Footsore booth and I picked up a Pict army too.  The Pict scuplts are dead gorgeous and now I want to sneak them to the front of the painting queue.  Up on the Footsore Facebook page, Bill has a video where he catches me conceding a late night game with words, "I have jack sh*t."

So how did my Mutatawwi'a warband fare? They went up in flames like a Naffatun grenade, finishing with 3 losses, 2 wins and a tie.  It was a bit of a shock, since I was smashing opponents in most of my practice games. Someone asked me what went wrong and my answer was "A bit of everything." Bad matchups, bad decisions and bad dice made for a terrible trifecta.  As Odin is my witness, I will never field Naffatun again.

With Swiss pairing, you play someone with the same record in each round.  Day 2, I was stunned to see Tracey Beech across the table in game 5.  She is one of the best SAGA players around and she put on a clinic in Sacred Ground.  I tried to puzzle out what she was up to but was always one step behind.  On the last die of the last turn of her last move, she stole a victory. They say losses can be more instructive than wins and if that's true, I'm a SAGA genius!

Some players shared whiskey, especially with the "walking wounded." When whisky comes out in SAGA, everybody is a winner.

The Kansas City Crew was back, playing the entire tournament in kit.  These lads bring such joy and color to the show.  Stephen the Viking (in chainmail) finished 3rd overall and won the "People's Choice" with his amazing Steppe Tribes.  As we were leaving, Stephen shared some very kind parting words with me.  I was going to give him a handshake but went in for a hug instead.  Big mistake, he gave me a bear of a hug that almost cracked a rib! With that, I've now learned two things about Vikings:
  1. Never drink with them, and
  2. Never hug them.   

I got a decent set of battleboard pitctures.  Tracey Beech won "Players' Choice" with her Bayeux Tapestry themed board.  This was my favorite and I just couldn't help but stare at her creativity here.

Andy Lyon was just behind her with his Hollywood movie set for his Byzantines.  Brilliant!

A fellow from Seattle won "Best Painted" with his Irish.  He and his bud also won "Best Painted" in the Doubles as well.  Nicely done!

On Friday, I ran my Spanish.  On Saturday and Sunday, I ran my Mutatawwi'a.  I got in 11 games totaling nearly 24 hours of gaming with all great opponents.  And that is what our hobby is all about right? An opportunity to move nicely painted troops across a board, chat with your opponent, laugh and throw dice.  Mission accomplished. Same time, next year!