I managed to forget to take any photos of the games I played on the first day of the event. I managed to fit in a couple of games, which mostly consisted of me having my teeth kicked in quite thoroughly, but in a friendly and educational way.
In particular, I learned some key lessons about how much protection you need to give your troops when deploying if you're going second, and about balancing the range bands of your weapons so that you are engaging at the optimal range for the weapons you're using.
My proudest moment was using White Noise to block an MSV sniper's vision, then running up Pi-Well with Assisted Fire and taking out the sniper. Any game where you can deploy electromagnetic interference to block a sniper scope, give an AI's targeting systems additional processing power through a deployed wi-fi node and take out a sniper as a result is just plain awesome.
On the second day, I was paired with Domo, who was running an Aleph force, I think Steel Legion. This included Ajax and Phoenix, who are rather nails. Here, Ajax tries to capture a roof being held by an NPC Odalisque, with them both lying down and "engaging in close combat". There's a Captain Hammer joke in there somewhere.
The mission objective each time was to capture the roof of the building in the middle of the board. Here, Pi-Well completes a Sensor scan to discover that some helpful chaps have heavily mined the other side of the building.
We won two games and lost one, leaving us in fourth place. Sometimes I felt I wasn't contributing much, but I did manage to get some useful things done. Here, a co-ordinated order got Zoe, Pi-Well and the Reverend Healer all up onto the roof in one go, before someone lobbed a grenade onto the roof to try and get us off. We survived, and won the game as a result...
The only problem I really encountered was with finishing games - sometimes with the new rules and people working out what best to do, we didn't really get the full three turns to play out. The line between "getting the hang of things" and slow play is impossible to judge, so I'm not sure what a TO can do about it.
We all got a little loot for turning up, and another little bit of loot depending on how we did, either in the "achievements" game or in the win/loss/draw side of things. I didn't get anything special, coming fourth in both, but did manage to get the Vortex Special Ops patch for the Nomads - along with an Antenocitis Workshop Egg Car and a couple of pin badges. We also all got a poster.
All in all, I'd heartily recommend going to one of the Wartrader's Challenge events if you can make it. They're excellent fun, the people are lovely and they're well organised. Definitely worth a visit, even when Exeter is very far away...