Sorry it took so long. Enjoy!
A perfect storm of situations made it possible for me to attend Lock & Load 2014 this year. I was super excited since it’s been a couple years and was curious about the new location. I flew in a day early on Thursday to attend the Press Gang Invitational, but arrived midway through around 4pm and missed catching any games in time for their raffle. They were giving away some pretty amazing things, but c’est la vie! Next time I will know to fly in a bit earlier.
After picking up my badge and some swag I entered the Iron Arena on the main bottom floor where the invitational was being held. The room was MASSIVE and there was plenty of tables so no one would be left high and dry if they wanted to catch a game.
The Iron Arena Hall was simply MASSIVE…
The other area of the convention was the 4th floor where the PP Store, Hobby Lobby, and Gaming Hall 2 (Tournaments only) were located.
A rare moment of the store being this quiet…
Get your hobby on…
Gaming Hall 2 hosted all the tournaments…
I wanted to keep it light on the tournament end and decided to enter into Spell Draft. After hanging around bit I was able to snatch a spot. The idea behind Spell Draft is that your Warcaster/Warlock and Warbeasts spells/animus are erased and players draft completely new ones.
Here’s the rules that I can remember from off the top of my head…
- 35pts single list format
- Pick a card and then pass it to your left until everyone is left with 8 cards
- A Warcaster/Warlock can take a Animus but it now counts as a Spell
- Warbeasts of the same type that take a Animus all have that same Animus (i.e. A Shredder takes RUSH so now all of your Shredders have RUSH)
- The lowest a spell can cost is 1 since certain Warcasters/Warlocks have way to discount spell costs (i.e. Zerkova, Witch Coven, etc)
- We only played the OUTFLANK/OUTLAST scenario for all 6 rounds (I think Incursion might’ve been more fun since it’s dynamic to a certain extent)
I decided to play Butcher3 and we were then grouped off into 8 person pods and were each given a sealed deck. I picked up some pretty interesting cards and had a ton of fun trying out my new spells. Here’s what I drafted for myself…
- Burning Ash
- Ghost Walk
- Lightning Strike
One thing I noticed about some opponents was being overly cautious playing back too far against me. I would chuckle and remind them I don’t have Energizer or Impending Doom and I have no movement buff spells so they didn’t need to worry about a crazy threat range (besides Mutagenesis). Overall it was a super awesome format and my new favorite variant. I suggested to some PP Staffers that if players were limited to playing a Focus/Fury 7 Warlock/Warcaster or less it might make it even better. I can see this being a VERY POPULAR format in the future. As a bonus they let us keep our cards!
Speaking of tournaments…the first Iron Gauntlet Championship also took place and Privateer Press went all out to stream everything they could. I think this is very important to community to show off what high level play is like as well as help other players to see how models/units are played in a different person’s hand. Below is a link to the final game!
Another new aspect of the location is that they were now able to run 24 hours non-stop during the whole convention. There was open gaming and tournaments all weekend at various times to quench whatever you were thirsting. Some late night tournaments they had ran from 10/11pm-6am such as the Team Tournament and Token Aggression. I ended only playing 2 more games in Iron Arena and spent most of my time socializing and doing various other things including a demo of Warmachine Tactics.
I watched and played several games of Warmachine Tactics and I can confidently say they are on the right path. The game looks solid and they UI was roughly thrown together to make it playable here. After talking with some of the Whitemoon Studios staff, we were basically playing a post-alpha but pre-beta version. The game is not a direct translation by any means but it was still fun to play and I can see the play by e-mail becoming a “thing” with this. The game plays very similar to X-COM: Enemy Unknown which is a personal favorite and the closest I have played to a miniature type game in recent years on a PC.
To give you a idea how some of the tabletop rules your are used to were translated here’s what I gathered from my experiences…
- Models can’t block you in so you can always advance away, but you will still take Freestrikes
- Disruption only causes you to allocate 1 less Focus (i.e. 2 instead of 3 to Warjacks)
- Defense and Armor are based on a 5 star system
- They are no units in the game and everyone is basically a solo, but there is still combined range/melee with same “solo” types i.e. Winterguard or Trenchers
PC’s setup on LAN so you could play against friends or strangers across from you!
Overall I think the move to the new location was a huge success. Walking around various areas you usually saw a lot of smiling faces and everyone chatting about. It was fantastic to catch up with old friends as well as make new ones. I got to meet people from all over and there was quite a international presence as well compared to the last time I went in 2012. I got to meet a ton of new people including some from Germany, Sweden, France, and Australia. If you’ve been on the fence about attending I highly recommend committing to it. It was a truly great experience and it just made me even more amped and excited about our awesome global community of players. After writing all this it’s got me worked up again and I’m already excited for next year LOL!
For all those that missed out on going to Lock & Load 2013, you can now live somewhat vicariously through these videos 🙂
Privateer Press Staff Panel
Iron Gauntlet Finals (Respect to my boy Brandon!)
Iron Painter Showdown
I recently did a little something something and I was rewarded with some CoC (The jokes will NEVER stop). I can’t wait to start painting them up! I will be trying out oil washes with these suckas. The whole reason why I got into Warmachine was because of the warjacks. I know this force can run 5-6 Vectors (Warjacks) without any problems thanks to their FI (Focus Induction) ability. YAY! MOAR ROBOTS!!!
I finally got some time to write up my thoughts about this past weekend at Lock and Load 2012. First off, I had so much fun at this convention. Definitely one of the better if not THE best for me personally. This is however my first convention I have attended outside of California so bear that in mind.
FRIDAY – So me and a friend decided to fly in a day early so we wouldn’t have to rush from the airport to the LnL, but seeing how easy it was for people who pre-registered I know now that it’s a non-issue. We basically walked up, showed them our badge and they gave us a lanyard…DONE. Everything was in a main room except for the 2 classrooms and the store which were in their own rooms. We walked around the main room taking in their amazing diorama as you could see in my Lock and Load photo dump and checked out all their scenario/scenic tables, which by the way all looked pretty amazing in person. We both spent a nice amount of time talking to Meg and Matt about painting techniques and what not since my PIC (Partner in Crime) was entering some models into multiple categories. Check in for the hotel was 3pm (15:00) which I thought was really odd so we decided to just walk around and absorb the vibe and check out the store. I saw various things I was going to buy but decided to wait until later when we actually got our room. Bad idea. The Iron Arena quickly started to fill up and soon people from all over the globe were challenging anyone who looked like they were looking for a game. The way Iron Arena works is really cool! So you basically earn skulls/cards for every game you play and depending on which requirements you met the total number was variable. It encouraged people to play different point level games at least once and REALLY encouraged people to play strangers from out of state/country and team games. After getting in a couple games and attending some classes we decided to check out Seattle’s famous Public/Fish Market and treated ourselves to some amazing seafood at the Steelhead Diner. Unfortunately when we got back we totally spaced about the Friday night Privateer Press panel…LOL. Luckily the Lost Hemisphere crew recorded the whole thing. Fail on our part.
SATURDAY – I wasn’t sure if I was going to play in the Hardcore Tournament since I didn’t finish painting the units I wanted to use, but my friend talked me into it. I am very glad I did end up playing and did much better than I thought I would do. The Khador list I was running had ZERO Winterguard or Kayazy and I ended up using 1 unit of Doom Reavers only. I went ‘Jack heavy and threw in the Gun Carriage for good measure. I ended going 2-2 but most likely could have won my 1st game if I actually read my opponents caster card. Fail on my part. Great experience none the less! One of my opponents actually gave me a little trophy which I though was super awesome for defeating him. Another one of my opponents was from the Chain Attack crew and I attempted a 2 turn assassination mission that didn’t end up well thanks to his Gorman. The rest of the day I spent shopping (but Vlad3 was already sold out), attending several classes, and playing some casual Iron Arena games. In the evening I met up with a local friend and had some fantastic fresh oysters and then ate at a place called the Honey Hole which had amazing sandwiches and the best vegetarian chili I have ever tasted. I totally missed out on Iron Painter which my friend qualified for 1 of the 4 finalist spots. Word on the street was some of the challenges included were having to paint standing on 1 leg, using only fingers, and even paint with their eyes closed. I failed again! Anyways, later on in the night I met with some new friends for some drinks and we all chatted nerd stuff and then I played a Iron Arena casual game to end the night off. My opponent was a teenager from Eindhoven in the Netherlands which was cool and ironic since I lived over there for almost 2 years. His face was priceless when I started speaking a little Dutch to him. Echt mooi!
SUNDAY – I ended up doing some Ninja shopping for friends and there was a early line for the limited release of the Trollblood Mountain King. I didn’t end up picking that up but the model in person looks amazing. Truly one of the best looking Colossal/Gargantuan models around period. I wanted to play enough Iron Arena games to get their cool widget and ended up having some tickets left over so I got a measuring tape as well since mine broke. My friend that entered into the painting competition (his first time ever entering in one) did pretty awesome and placed in all 3 categories he entered getting a Bronze in Unit, Silver in Large model, and Gold in single miniature. Congrats Anthony Wang! PP for the closing ceremony handed out all the awards for their different tournaments and did a raffle for some pretty awesome swag. I didn’t win anything but an ally in a earlier team game was telling us how she needed a new bag and then she won a Battefoam Warmachine bag in the raffle drawing so I was happy for her! DESTINY!
All in all it was a pretty amazing experience and I definitely look forward to next year if time and money permits it. They announced they will be taking over 2 floors since this year’s Lock and Load sold out fairly fast. I would like to thank all my opponents in Hardcore as well as the Iron Arena for the battles with all of my opponents ranging from the USA, Canada, Netherlands, & Singapore. We never got our game in Sam! Maybe next year 🙂
The Privateer Press staff and Press Ganger’s all did a wonderful job with everything and I thank them for their efforts. I know how hard it is to handle a event from personal experience…especially with all the different tournaments, classes, etc. going on.
One last thing…what does a Repo man, Music Producer, and a Nintendo consultant have in common? F*CKING WARMAHORDES! It really is AMAZING how many different walks of life this game brings in. Truly. Nuff said!