Since JM wasn't going to Historicon, I rode down with Diceman and slept on the floor of the Stooges' room. We arrived early on Wednesday, and would've had plenty of time for dinner before the first event if they would only have brought us our check.
A Shot in the DarkOn Wednesday night, Larry ran A Shot in the Dark. This limited tournament required armies with at least 4 bows, so I took my Tlingit army with 10 bows and 2 psiloi. I expected that this would be a poor army choice if I wanted to win, and I was mostly right. Most players took the best army they could find with at least 4 bows, instead of maxing out on the shooting. There were a lot of Medieval combined arms armies, as well as Indians.
In the first round I faced Dave, a very new player with War of the Roses English. I ended up winning 2g-0. The next game was against Hank Drapalski with his Medieval French (IV/64b). As expected, he ended up dismounting all of his knights into blades. On the last bound before we ran out of time, it was 3-3 and I shot one last element... and killed it! Oops, no... my general doesn't get +1 unless someone's shooting back... so yeah, it was a 3-3 unfinished game that could've gone either way in the next few bounds. So close, yet so far away. In the last round, I faced Ron Giampapa's Early Egyptians (I/2b) and lost 1-4.
I enjoyed learning about bows in this event. I tend to be a bit of a chaotic player, and often increase geometric complexity and let my troops mutually support each other outside the typical straight line formation. This isn't always what I plan. I often end up with many groups of elements, but I don't mind as long as they're safe and don't require PIPs for maintenance. In this event, I ended up using my bows basically as aggressive skirmishers, moving around in small groups and seeking out local advantages while attempting to prevent poor matchups. Because they shoot, it didn't work horribly, but considering I only won one game it didn't work very well, either. Larry says "never let your bows get overlapped," and that's basically true, but when the field is covered with blades it often doesn't matter anyway.
Overall, I don't think it was a particularly competitive army choice, but it was in line with the theme so I enjoyed being able to field the army again before it's most likely changed by the release of DBA 3.0.
DBA-RRR OpenOn Thursday morning, I played DBA-RRR for the first time in the Open event. I brought Rajput Indians, built from my Hindu Indian DBA army with additional Rajput knights and blades, and a cannon (pictures forthcoming). This is also not a particularly competitive army in the face of firearms, but I enjoyed my limited exposure to DBA-RRR and would like to eventually get an army that takes advantage of more of the RRR-specific element interactions. I'm not very interested in the Renaissance, so I'm unlikely to paint many armies for DBA-RRR.
In the first round, I faced Dan McKellick, another player new to both DBA and DBA-RRR, with Italian Condotta, I/1. I lost 1-5... so he got the beginner's luck and I didn't, apparently. In the next round, I faced Bill Brown's English Civil War Parliamentarian II/22a. I was leading 3-0 when I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, to pull off a narrow loss at 3-4.
In the final round, I faced Brian's Valois French, I/8c. In the first turn he did a "psiloi" rush with only a single skirmisher to attack my lonely cannon. In DBA-RRR, skirmishers shoot at +2/+2 with 200p range, and they're still immune to cannon fire. He didn't kill anything quickly, but this ended up being a tremendous pain in the ass for many turns. I brought over a bow to help shoot at the skirmisher, but he killed it off with his shooting. I was moving 2 blades over to help as well, when he moved behind my cannon to shoot it from the rear. I managed to turn around, and when he shot me on the next turn I fled him off the board. Finally! In the mean time, he had tied up a quarter of my army with only one element. I'm surprised I lived through it as long as I did, but in the end I lost 2-4.
My elephant was basically useless in all of the games, due to its vulnerability to cannon fire, so I'm glad I was able to detach my general. Clearly it's not a good idea to leave your cannons vulnerable, even though they shoot 8" in this game.
In this event I was making some mistakes, but I chalked it up to being the first time I played the game. Unfortunately I didn't stop making mistakes as soon as I had hoped...
Team CupThe Team Cup format requires players to form 4-player teams, and each player selects an army from a different book. Teams are matched up against other teams, and players play against their opponent within the same book. I couldn't build another Pittsburgh team, so I joined Tony Aguilar, Rich Gause, and Ron Giampapa to form the North and South team. Unfortunately I don't remember all of our team results.
There were an odd number of teams, so in the first round we got a bye. This counts as a win, but that's not the point: I'm here to play the game... so Rich and I played a practice game during the free slot. I was in book II with Lysimachid, II/17; Rich was in book I with Vedic Indian, I/23. He won 2-4.
In the first "real" round, I faced Dave again with his Later Carthaginians (II/32, no elephants). He beat me 4-1, after I made some big, dumb mistakes I should have known better than to repeat.
In the next round I faced Larry, also with Later Carthaginians. He took one elephant and one light horse. In the last bound, Larry graciously allowed me to take a move back. I ended up winning 5-4 by killing double ranked warbands, but the combat rolls would've produced the same results if I had used my second-best move instead.
I think our team all lost our first game, and we were 2-2 in the second round, but I could be wrong. Looking at past years' army selections in book II, I expected to face Tamil Indians at least once, but I didn't.
Midnite MadnessIt can't be "midnight" if it starts at 11pm, right? Well, it didn't end until almost 3am, so that's close enough. As usual, this is a single elimination event open to all armies, but the motivations are warped by the fact that it happens so late at night. The winners advance to the next round and the losers get to sleep, so it's never clear which is the better option. The only loser is whoever comes in second place, since they had to stay up until the end but they still didn't win.
I used Mark Pozniak's Ancient British, II/53, to get some practice with them before Big Battle on Friday. In the first round, I beat David Bostwick's New Kingdom Egyptians, I/22, at 4-3. In the second round I faced Ben Hatch, who was a fairly experienced DBA player who hasn't played at conventions before. He beat me 4-2 with his Vikings, and I truly learned the lesson that warbands are bad going troops. Unfortunately I wasn't able to maneuver them into bad going before they had to face blades.
And finally, sleep...