So there I was in bed this morning, well rested (for once) and about to get up and pack my army for 'Ard Boyz, when Arthur, my 4 year old, comes in to say good morning.
"We're going to the Zoo with Mommy!" He said.
"Cool!" I said, giving him a hug.
"Where you go today?" he asked.
"Daddy's going gaming."
"Oh. Mommy says I can't ride the roller coaster at the zoo if you don't go because Mommy has to watch Daniel and baby Benjamin too and they can't ride the roller coaster. But you go gaming so we do it next time."
Gut wrench. My kid's good. It would be his first real roller coaster ride. I also promised him that we could go on it the last time we were down there. Right before a thunderstorm swept in and shut everything down.
So I think about it for a bit and surprise my wife Rachel by saying "Screw it, I'm going with you guys to the Zoo.". "Really?" She says? "Isn't 'Ard Boyz a big deal? You were so excited about it last year."
Yeah, it used to be.
The Times, They Have A Changed
Two years ago I spent something like $500 on IG models getting ready for 'Ard Boyz and took first place. Last year it was something like $200 and I took 3rd. This year, I couldn't even be bothered to come up with a list before last night, let alone spend money or study the missions. Much less go.
Well, through the efforts of myself, Stelek, Kirby, Mike Brandt, and many many others, we now have a competitive tournament environment (at least here in Indy) that's mostly free of soft scores, 'sportsmanship' nonsense, comp scoring, battle points, and whatnot. CaulynDarr, Spag, and ScottyDon't run great events that are relaxed AND competitive.
It's amazing really. 'Ard Boyz used to be the be all and end all of competitive play because it lacked soft scores and comp. Now I and many others just look at it as a sort of pathetic joke. It's free, and there is decent prize support. That's about it. But if you understand how battle point tourneys work, you realize how dependent you are on the luck of the draw. Sure, all the best players will gravitate to the top. But the winner will be the guy who drew the most baby seals to beat on.
Which I've done my fair share of. Last year I lost the first game, beat up a seal (who I've never seen again), and then lost the last game to Farmpunk and still took 3rd place. All because I tabled some poor guy who didn't know that Stormtroopers could alpha-strike in Chimeras. Is he out of the hobby now? I wish I knew.
And of course both times that I've gone to the Semi-Finals they were train wrecks. I got cheated out of a top spot (by the Store's crappy terrain) the first time. While last time... (sigh) Well, I don't think any of us had much fun. Even ScottyDon't, who got a free army out of it.
So I'll stick to the truly competitive events. Like NOVA, Adepticon, and pretty much every tourney we run here locally. Where I (gasp) don't have to worry about being cheated on battle points or watch morons literally putting their army together before the first game. And where I don't have to feel guilty about how I have to play my games in order to win.