2011-07-13

Historicon 2011: Friday, Saturday

Friday: Monsterpocalypse


After BBDBA on Friday night, the only event was the Two Davids giant Hordes of the Things game: Monsterpocalypse Episode 2: Rise of the Terrasaurs - There goes Tokyo!

This was an 8 player HOTT game played on a huge board using rebased Monsterpocalypse figures.  Each player had a 24 point army, and sat next to an ally on one side and an enemy on the other. The goal was to capture objectives on the board.  Capturing an objective increased your army's power, and decreased the power of the defensive forces in the city.  The first army to capture all 4 of their objectives won.

My aerial hero general is nuked
I was signed up for one of the IOUS slots (Insects of Unusual Size) and Rich Gause took the other.  Apparently we left our hive mind at home.  I deployed in a completely stupid way and boxed myself in, spending several turns to even get out of my deployment zone.  Dave Schlanger decided not to flank my general and kill it in the first 2 turns of the game, but it didn't extend my lifetime very much.  Instead, both of the defense forces to our right beat the crap out of Rich's bugs. 

Soon, Jon Bostwick rolled a 6 and brought out his nuke (a god, in HOTT element terms).  This killed off several of Rich's elements, broke his army, and then started wandering towards the center of the map.

Eventually I unboxed myself, got some PIPs, and flew away.  Alex Bostwick, to my left, used a Jedi mind trick to convince me to attack the nuke, and it was a total disaster.  We didn't understand how multiplayer attacks were resolved, and didn't realize we couldn't cooperate to flank and destroy it.  When it came back to Jon's turn, he nuked my aerial hero, which broke my army.  On my turn, immediately after Jon's, I rolled a 1 for PIPs, and the rest of my army evaporated instantly (in HOTT, demoralized elements that you can't hold on the board are removed immediately instead of fleeing).

In The Princess Bride, the ROUSes were killed by fire spouts.  I guess when your unusual size is as large as a skyscraper, a tactical nuke is just about the right scale for a fire spout.  Even though I was out of the game, I hung around to watch.  I left before it finished, but eventually the Terrasaurs captured their fourth objective and won.

Saturday: NICT


The NICT, basically the DBA annual national championship, is open to anyone who has placed first in a NASAMW sanctioned tournament (or second place, for larger tournaments).  My win at the Battle at the Crossroads this year qualified me for the NICT, so I got to sit at the big kids' table this year.  The event was played on 24" boards with dismounting in any bound.

Since the pyramid event I qualified in was so weird, both in terms of tournament scoring rules and special rules in use during play, I decided to use the army I qualified with: Leidang, III/40d.  This is not an awesome army within its period: it's basically bringing blades to a knight fight.  I took 1xKn(gen), 5xBd, 3xAx, 1xSp, 1xPs, 1xBw.

In the first round, I faced Greek Alex's French Ordonnance, on my terrain, and lost 4-1.  He really didn't want to dismount, but he swapped in his blades to dig my auxilia out of the woods.  In the second round, Tony Aguilar beat me 4-1, also with French Ordonnance, this time on his choice of terrain, a pool table. I was playing my blades aggressively like knights, and he was playing his knights timidly like blades, but he still ended up beating me.  I tried to concentrate my forces on one end of his line, but I didn't support myself well enough and ended up outflanked and destroyed piecemeal.

In the final round, I had a somewhat better matchup against Ron Giampapa's Medieval Scandinavians, but I still lost: 5-1 this time.  I don't have any pictures, but this was a straight "line 'em up, knock 'em down" affair with minimal maneuver.  The dice didn't let me exploit any local advantages I managed to create, so my line quickly crumbled.

This wasn't a frustrating event, but it wasn't particularly inspiring, either.  I prefer themed events over opens, because of the variety of armies present.  Even in themes, I'm more likely to choose an army I like instead of choosing my army based on how competitive it will be.  Hopefully I'll eventually get good enough to win despite my army choice.

Saturday: HOTT Open


Tom Thomas ran a Hordes of the Things open tournament with 25mm basing and 4 foot boards.  He had plenty of nice loaner armies, so lots of people dropped in who weren't planning to play.  We had 9 players, which let Tom participate to even out the field.

I brought a new version of the Elves of the Offwhite Tower, and got to show off my phallic symbol again... this time complete with a sheath.  My army list was: 3xSp (gen), 1xBd, 2xSh, 2xFl, 2xRd, 1xMg.  I learned a lot and enjoyed playing the army, but I am likely to change it up before I play it again.

In the first round, I played against Catherine Thomas, who played a Stark army based on R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series of novels.  Considering how much mindshare these books are getting among persons whose opinion I respect, I'm going to have to pick up a copy of A Game of Thrones before vacation.

Catherine's army was very similar to something you'd see in DBA, except with a Hero.  I surrounded her with my flyers and started pestering her a lot, but she ended up killing my general and winning 8g-2. 

In the next round, I faced Jon Bostwick again, and he had another Boudicca army. This time he had a giant tree for a Behemoth, Boudicca was a hero, and the army was rounded out by a handful of warbands and a couple more chariots (riders).  He ended up killing my general, but I was ahead and won 12-8g.  For some reason, it seems like the majority of my wins this weekend were against Bostwicks...

I faced Tom Thomas in the final round, also with a Song of Fire and Ice army.  This was an interesting battle, but unfortunately we were running out of time and I had to cut it short in order to make it to the Peloponnesian War campaign event. 

My magician ensorcelled his magician, and we were at 6-6. He brought his magician back, and I killed his hero: back to 6-6 again.  He tried to ensorcell my magician, but he failed and ensorcelled himself, so it was 10-6.  He was able to bring his magician back a second time, and then ensorcelled me, bringing it to 10-6 in the other direction.  This back-and-forth could've gone on for some time, but I was out of time.  I hated to concede and leave in the middle of the game, and hated to cheat to lose, so I explained I was short on time and put myself in a vulnerable position for him to take advantage of. It still took a few more turns, but he killed me and won 12-6.  Sorry about that!

I learned a lot from this event, and I'm now more inspired to play HOTT more, build at least one more army, and build a few more interesting elements for my Elf army.  Larry said it was a bad idea to take both a Magician and Fliers in the same army, and I can see why: they both need 2 PIPs to move, they can't group move together, and magicians need even more PIPs to use their spells.  But they're both so useful!

In all of my games, I put a second rank of spear behind my general, bringing him up to +6/+6.  Eventually I realized this is silly: I should have a Hero general.  For the same 4 points, I get a +6/+6 element that moves a lot farther, isn't quick killed by knights, and maneuvers more easily since it's only a single element.  It's less flexible, but that only matters if you intend to use the flexibility.

Flyers are very fun.  I thought I'd need two of them to make them useful, but I'm not sure this is necessary.  One is enough to wreak havoc behind the enemy line, providing flank or rear contacts. I also see much more benefit to taking high PIP elements than before.  I thought it would be a handicap to have fewer elements, but you have more PIPs to run the remaining elements, and they're stronger and more maneuverable.


Saturday: Peloponnesian War Campaign



"It is 431 BC, and things are going to crap."



Peloponnesian Campaign Map
The Two Davids campaigns are the highlight of every convention and a great end to a fun weekend.  This year's event was in ancient Greece, with a bit of Persia thrown in for good measure.  I was signed up for one of the Spartan slots, II/5a: 9xSp, 1xCv, 1xAx, 1xPs.

In the first round, I attacked Corinth, played by Alex Bostwick with II/5i.  His army was the same as mine, except with one more psiloi and one less spear.  This was a fairly straightforward hoplite battle, except for the part where he took my camp with his cavalry.  I was eventually in a position to take it back, but by then I had beaten him, 4-c.  I controlled Corinth, and had a vassal in the first turn.  Yay!  This also meant I had a big target on my head.

The Davids, who run the campaign, are becoming famous for getting the lowest numbered tiles in many rounds.  After Larry thoroughly searched the campaign tile bag, and demonstrated to everyone's satisfaction that there was no funny business going on, Dave Schlanger drew the 1 tile in the first round.  In the second and third rounds, David Kuijt drew the 1.  Shenanigans!

DK's Hoplite Echelon concentrates force on my left flank
I was a pretty target, so DK attacked me in round 2.  He had an identical army composition to mine.  I set up the same terrain as in the first round, approximately.  David did something very clever, shown in the accompanying image. I've seen and used echelon formations before, but not in this way. He made very good use of the tactic here to deny one of my flanks while concentrating superior force on the other, for a minimum of PIPs, and while mutually supporting his own spears in the process.  By the time I saw what he was doing, I had already wheeled into a position that would take many PIPs to send my spears against him... but I was rolling 1's for PIPs and he was rolling up my line.  He beat me 5-0, and I became his vassal.

After I saw what he was doing and commented on it, David again said "It doesn't always work this well."  

"So," I responded, "when you say it doesn't always work this well, that means you can do it but no one else can figure it out, right?"

"Yep, pretty much."


That "pretty much" guaranteed I had to try this enough times to figure it out.  Even if it doesn't always work, it's important to learn more tactics so you can not only use them, but protect yourself from them and find ways to beat them.

In the third round, Mark Pozniak attacked me with his Athenians. I tried the echelon tactic, but it didn't work correctly.  I ended up leaving my general's flank open, and after several turns of back-and-forth combats, he eventually beat my general and won 3g-0.  I made some mistakes I should've avoided, but I was more interested in learning this new way than practicing what I already knew.

In the last round, Jon Bostwick attacked me, again with the same army composition I was using... and again, I attempted the echelon tactic.  Again, I left my general's flank open, but I realized it a bit earlier and was able to protect it somewhat.  However, it didn't help me win, and he beat me 4-0.

When I think about hoplite battles, they always seem boring and uninteresting to me.  This is probably because it's a typical army choice for demonstrating DBA to new players, where hoplite battles are typically played out in a very straightforward fashion for the benefit of the new player.  When I actually play with hoplites against an experienced opponent, it's a lot more fun.

I finished this year's campaign in the middle of the pack, which was satisfying, but more importantly I learned new ways to play this army, gained a greater appreciation for it, and best of all I had fun.

Another year of Historicon is over, and no one knows where next year's show will be.  I guess we'll find out eventually, if the convention actually happens in 2012, but depending on where it's held I might not end up attending.




2011-07-12

Historicon 2011: Big Battle Doubles (Friday)

Friday's main event is always Big Battle Doubles.  Since JM wasn't in attendence, The Grey Wardens couldn't make a return appearance.  Luckily, Dave Schlanger set me up with Mark Pozniak.  After we settled on playing Mark's Ancient British, II/53, we chose the team name Woad Kill.  The final army composition was 12xLCh, 6xLH, 15x3Wb, 3x2Ps.  This is not a power army by any means, but it can definitely win through outmaneuvering (and high die rolls).

Somewhat unfortunately, Warband is a finesse troop in DBA.  I say "unfortunately" because historically these guys were more likely to yell "Waagh!" and run straight ahead.  This is only "somewhat" unfortunate because warband are fun to play the wrong way, since they maneuver so well.

Game 1 deployment vs. Doug Austin's Bosporans with Sarmatian ally
The first image demonstrates our final defensive plan: two large pieces of bad going in the center, daring the enemy to approach our central CinC command and camp; two pieces of bad going near the board edges to constrict a flank.  It also shows the command split we used for all three games:
  • 3xLCh, 1xLH, 5x3Wb, 1x2Ps (10 el, BP: 4)
  • 3xLCh, 3xLH, 6x3Wb, 1x2Ps (13 el, BP: 5)
  • 6xLCh, 2xLH, 4x3Wb, 1x2Ps (13 el, BP: 5)
One flank command (low PIP) would hold on and try not to die for as long as possible.  The center command and other flank command would work together to attack the enemy's weakest flank.  In this picture, the enemy deployed ideally for us, by putting most of their army on our preferred defensive flank.

During planning conversations with Mark, I had three primary concerns with this plan and command split.  First, the low PIP command consisted of both warband and mounted, and with 10 elements it might not have enough PIPs to accomplish its missions.  Second, combining two commands which were split by a piece of bad going might lead to command and control issues.  Finally, what would entice the enemy to approach us centrally?  In practice, only some of these ended up being real problems, and we only defended once anyway.

Round 1

In the first round, we faced Team Bosporan: Doug Austin and Bill Connely. They played the same army Doug used when JM and I faced him at Cold Wars: Bosporans (II/25) with a Sarmatian ally (II/26).  They also had a 0 aggression, but we won the terrain roll.  Doug set up very similarly to last year: a central low-PIP command consisting of primarily artillery and bow, with his CinC command split on both sides of that command; and the allied block of knights (with 1xLH for variety, this time) on our left flank.  The first picture above shows the final deployment.

We knew we had enough bad going troops to take and hold any piece of bad going, but our goal was not to hide in bad going and delay the game. Instead, we intended to look like a Warband army but act like a Mounted army.  The bad going provided a safe "home base" and staging area for the warbands, but it couldn't be a final destination if we wanted to finish the game on time.

Game 1 in progress: attack the right flank.
As the game progressed, we advanced into the bad going, defended on the left flank, and attacked quickly on the right.  Our cavalry and warband reached their right flank before their knights reached our left, but Doug retreated from our advance and competently maneuvered to avoid our attack.  This would've gone a bit differently on 30" deep boards, with an extra few inches to use in their backfield.  In the center, nothing really happened: they didn't approach, so I held our central mounted in reserve to act where they were needed the most.

The End is Nearly Nigh
In the end game, my left flank warband were able to aid in the defense and even tried to pick off a few CinC elements (or at least suck away some PIPs).  We delayed the inevitable break of our low PIP command for a long time, but eventually it did break.  I allowed the elements to flee enough to get in the way of oncoming knights before trying to hold them, but there were only a few turns left.  With time running out, Doug graciously recognized they would lose eventually, and allowed the game to come to a conclusion on our right flank instead of retreating and delaying until time ran out.  In the end, we killed enough elements to break their CinC, and won 84-16.

Regarding my concerns about this plan: The low PIP command was not too large, and did have enough PIPs, even though it was acting both in the open and in bad going.  The key to success here was the fact that it had a passive mission to "not die."  It would have failed if it were required to attack.  Command and control wasn't a big issue in this game, because the central command was only required to work on one side of the woods.  It didn't really matter whether the enemy approached us centrally or not: instead of advancing aggressively in the center and risking attacks from bad going, they tried to maneuver to our right flank and faced the warband there instead.  I didn't see this flexibility before I saw the plan in action.

Round 2

Vs. Two Davids, after a few turns
In the second game, we faced Two Davids with "some kind of Romans" and Sub-Roman British (King Arthur).  They were also aggression 0, but they won terrain.  We applied basically the same plan we used in the first game to the enemy's choice of terrain since it was similar enough to our own.

Much of this game hinged on a minor but costly mistake shown in this picture: the CinC command sent a column of warband down the road to "help" in the woods, but they ended up out of command.  This sucked PIPs from the CinC while severely hampering the ability of the right flank command to maneuver there and attack effectively.  We were able to maintain this PIP debt for longer than we expected, but eventually the Davids killed off enough elements in the woods to control them completely, and it was all downhill from there.

Another noteworthy part of this game was the Davids' deployment and initial maneuver.  They deployed their line behind the deployment line, and placed their third command in front of their main line near the center.  As seen in the image above, they wheeled the two overlapping lines away from each other, in a beautiful maneuver I can only compare to the blooming of a flower.  It was very instructive to watch and learn from, but as David Kuijt said, "It doesn't always work out that way."  (Hold that thought, and read the Saturday update once I post it...)

I don't know what would've happened if we had anticipated the command and control issues, and decided not to send the central warband toward the right flank.  The real battle here ended up being in the center and the right flank woods, not on the far flanks, so the extra force and PIPs would have been helpful. 

In the end, we hardly killed anything, and lost 94-6.  I enjoyed the game a lot, and seeing the flower bloom taught me enough to make it worth losing.  Command and control was more of an issue, obviously, but the low PIP command still had enough PIPs.  I think the tides could've turned somewhat to our favor in the woods, but the Davids had the overall PIP advantage and we were fairly evenly matched in combat, so they were bound to win if the dice acted as expected (and I'm not one to bet against them).

Round 3

Alex and Jon Bostwick, not the One True Boudicca!
The Long Island Bostwicks (Jon and Alex) read our team name on Fanaticus, and decided that they weren't going to be outdone by us, so they took Ancient British as well. They totally out-woaded us!  They must be extroverts, or something.

Unfortunately, no one else was familiar with the recent Beastie Boys video (and trailer).  I wanted to bring a super fresh, old school beatdown to the table: "We're the real Boudicca!"  "No, we're the real Boudicca!"  I've listened to and grown up with the Beastie Boys since middle school, so as long as they're still rapping, I know I'm not old yet...

Once again, everyone was aggression 0, and they won the terrain roll and defended.  Since we have the same army, this wasn't a big deal.  Their command structure was different than ours: they put all of their mounted in one huge CinC command, and split their warband into two commands.  They had no psiloi, and took more warband instead.

They deployed their mounted command centrally with one warband command on their flank.  Their mounted had some elements in reserve behind the lines, and there was a road in place allowing them to redeploy as necessary.

As usual, width is better than depth.  We decided to create a longer line and outflank them on each side.  Cavalry is superior to warband, so we didn't want to face their cav with our warband.  By putting two commands next to each other, we had enough mounted to meet their cavalry with one or two elements in reserve, and the third command's mounted elements were still available to provide a superior force on one flank.

Their third command placement showed a bit of father-son rivalry.  Alex wanted all the warband on one flank, while Jon wanted the third command on his side.  I think Jon may have had the better answer, but Alex got his way and commanded both warband commands on our left flank.  Unfortunately, this meant that the reserve chariots were out of command by the time they reached the flank.  This sucked up their PIPs, and once I tamed their warband on the left flank it allowed us to use all three commands against their CinC command.

We were going neck-and-neck until one turn when I broke both of the warband commands: one by killing 1/3 of the elements and the other by killing its general.  After that, it was only a matter of time; but we ended up killing enough CinC elements to end the game before they lost 18 elements. We won 86-14.  No, we're the real Boudicca!

Once again, the low PIP command had plenty of PIPs, since its mission was to advance in a straight line and attack in the open in a single line.  There was some potential for command issues on the left flank, but I kept the general in a useful position and it wasn't a real problem.

Summary

I had a lot of fun in this event, as usual, and I'm glad to have partnered with Mark.  Thank you very much, Mark!  You won so many other events that I hope I didn't hold you back very much in BBDBA.

Besides having fun, I learned a lot.  At the time I couldn't identify many specific lessons, but now that I'm writing it up, they are a bit easier to identify.
  • My approach to planning in past BBDBA events seems mostly on the right track.  I considered most of the same aspects Mark did, but valued their importance differently.  It's not clear how useful considering all possible enemies is, given the limited field you're likely to face unless you reach the finals.
  • 10 elements aren't too many for a low PIP command, even if they're of a variety of element types.  The more important aspect of their success is their mission.
  • It's very important to pay attention to command and control radius.  Yeah, I already knew that in theory, but I need to pay even more attention to it.
  • If you split a command to work on two areas of the board, you can share its PIPs with two other friendly commands.  However, you may also present that command to two separate enemy commands, making it more vulnerable to enemy attack.  If it is your CinC command, it may make the CinC easier to break.
  • On the other hand, using multiple commands against one enemy command is an important aid to your success.  Balancing this with avoiding exposing your command to too many enemy commands may be difficult.
  • The Blooming Flower tactic is an interesting, useful, and dangerous way to deploy your commands flexibly in two overlapping lines.
BBDBA seems to warp time in an odd way.  For me, time seems to be controlled by the overall flow and pace of a battle, and not wall clock time.  As a result, when I'm finished with a big battle game it feels like it was just as long as a single DBA game, and I wonder where half the day went.

Thanks to my partner and my opponents for a wonderful day of BBDBA!

Historicon 2011: Wednesday, Thursday

After Cold Wars, I said I didn't take enough notes to write detailed descriptions of what went on, but apparently I was wrong.  This time around I expect to post even less information, so I apologize ahead of time for not remembering details such as what happened in any of the games, or my opponents' last names.

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 Dark

On 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 Open

On 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 Cup

The 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 Madness

It 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...