Saturday, 9 August 2014

Dakka on Bakka: 40K tournament at Dark Sphere

Last Saturday, I pottered down to Dark Sphere to play a 1,500 point, four game 40K tournament. Army list selection was entirely by the rules, so data slates, formations, Forge World and White Dwarf articles were all legit. Each game was to be completed in an hour and a half.

Thanks to a lift from a fellow player (which was awesomely helpful) I arrived in plenty of time. The table set up was reasonable, with plenty of space to get round every table.

I was also able to borrow a fold out table, as opposed to a tray, to move my army around. This was the most useful thing ever, and I'm starting to have the opinion that a side table is the way to deal with off table models (reserves, casualties, etc).

My list was a company command squad with an Astropath, a Tank Commander with a full squadron who was my warlord, a large infantry platoon and a Veteran Squad with only an autocannon sitting in the Firestorm Redoubt which had a Magos Machine Spirit and a Void Shield on it.

For all the games, we were drawing from the same strategy card deck as the other player. The decks were provided by Dark Sphere, so that was pretty stress free.

The first mission had three 'sand pits' on which three objectives stood. For the purposes of the cards, there was an objective which was 1 and 2, another which was 3 and 4, and another which was 5 and 6. The sand pits were difficult and dangerous terrain.

In this game, I faced a Necron list with a Lord in a command barge, two annihilation barges, and two small warrior squads with Haywire Crypteks coming in from reserve in flyers. They were backed up by a Tau dataslate formation, who handily enough decided to hide one of their Broadside squads in a bunker.

I was both outmanoeuvred and outgunned in this mission, losing handily and only getting a single victory point.

Next up was a Space Marine list, led by Tigurius, with a whole ton of scouts, an Aegis defence line with a quad gun, a Thunderfire Cannon, and two nasty flyers. I did much better in this game, as Tigurius and Scouts do not win a gunfight with an Invisible Leman Russ squadron, and his flyers failed to show up at all in the allotted time.

Next up, a lovely lengthways battle against a Farsight Enclaves list with three Riptides.

This was an absolute drubbing. It was the first time I actually lost the Firestorm Redoubt, and my Warlord, both of whom had survived their previous two games.

Next up, for my final game I got Imperial Knights with White Scar biker allies. The Knights were in some swanky formation, too. Here's a picture of one knight climbing over a wrecked Leman Russ to punch my Warlord to death with his giant chain weapon. This was, unsurprisingly, another loss, but was excellent fun.

All in all, I had excellent fun with the tournament. It was exhausting, but I learnt a lot about how 7th edition plays in a short time period.

In terms of feedback, I've been lazy, so I'm just going to put it on the blog and point the organiser here! I know, I know, I'm a terrible person.

  • The time slots were too short. I only finished one game naturally, and that's because Imperial Knights are really quick to move. I think 3 games of 2 hours each would probably work better.
  • There was a bit of a lack of clarity over how the shared mission cards thing worked. I ended up playing it differently in different games because the people I was playing had understood it differently. Perhaps making a draft mission pack available in advance of the tournament would allow for queries and clarifications?
That little feedback does really show how much of a success the tournament was, though. The table spacing was good, breaks were well publicised and sufficient to get food, and players were generally polite and reasonable, with hardly any rules discussions in the games I was in. I'd definitely recommend people give a tournament at Dark Sphere a try if they get a chance.


  1. Wow! I'm WAAAAAY too slow a player to rush games. If I'm fielding my infantry it can take me half an hour just to move! Shameful, huh?

    Looks like good craic overall though.

    May I ask, how were your Russes "invisible"?

    1. I have actually spent some games practicing moving models quickly. I like tournaments as a "sometimes" thing, but they're really not my main focus. Still, some of the skills you pick up from them can be handy for even the most casual gamer.

      The Leman Russ squadron was turned invisible by one of my psykers (who blew their head off doing so). Namely, in the new Codex, the Astropath becomes a psyker with Telepathy...

  2. I find tournaments to be a great way to learn to play (in a harsh "sink or swim" kind of way), but you have to able to lose and learn from it which isn't always easy or even possible sometimes. :-(

    1. I think all my games were positive experiences. My main two challenges are offensive firepower and mobility. My offensive firepower was better, but still not up to scratch in some games, but my mobility was absolutely terrible!