At around 5:00pm all of us exhausted gamers were gathered together in the main hall for the results ceremony. There were two sets of prizes, one for the Fantasy players and one for the 40k players. I was surprised to learn that there were actual prizes for the winners; I had thought it was just bragging rights. It didn't matter to me anyway, because I had lost two games and only won one, so I had no chance of coming out on top.
I was utterly shocked, then, when I was announced as winner of best painted army! I had no idea that there were different categories. I had noticed a GW guy wandering around the tables during our games, but had thought nothing of it at the time (now I know that this was Paul Rudge, judging the models).
I went up onto the stage in a state of disbelief and came away with a certificate, a Chaos Marine Forgeworld bust and shiny medal. A copy of the certificate is reproduced below (I can't find a bigger pic I'm afraid).
On the coach journey back, we had the final results read out to us. My final placing was 9th out of 50, with my painting scores compensating for my two losses. I still picked up points for those losses, though, and my one win gave me a stack of points.
Gary finished a respectable 13th, winning two out of his three games - not bad for his first tournament. Poor old Ken finished rock bottom, with 3 losses out of 3 games. Oh well, there's always next year!
Most of the gamers from our store placed in the bottom half of the table and this was the source of much discussion on the coach. I reckon it is because we encountered some seriously competitive armies brought by the players in other stores. It just goes to show how the local culture and environment influences army composition. Fortunately, we have few real power gamers at our local store, so we rarely see really 'cheesy' armies - that's why it was such a shock to see them at the tournament. Although these hard armies would have taken a hit in their composition scores, meaning they were unlikely to win the tournament, they would still probably win the three games they played. All this was a good learning experience for me and I'll bear it in mind for my next tournament.
Looking at my army after the event I wonder what I was thinking? I had very little chance of even winning a game and that wasn't very clever. It's all well and good building a 'fluffy' army, rich in background material and backstory but it's going to get harder and harder to keep playing it if you are getting thrashed in every game you play. I don't see why you can't have a fluffy army that performs well in games. I want to be able to compete as well as have a cool looking army.
So going to the Gauntlet really gave me the bug. I want to come back and do better. Bring on 2004!