This was only my second ever tournament so my aim was to improve on my first. I finished 9th from 50 players in 2003 despite winning only one game. It was a fluffy good looking army, which won the best painted prize, but was terribly uncompetitive. This year I beefed up my list somewhat and took a harder Imperial Guard army. It wasn't 'cheesy' by any means but it had some bite at least and I felt it could force a good game from most opponents. I had hoped to win two games instead of just one.
I hoped I would be competing for best painted again. My Imperial Guard army had twice the number of models of the Daemonhunters I took last year and had more converted models. The only weakness I could see was that the army was in standard Cadian colours. Would the judges mark me down on originality?
When the results were announced I was very pleased to have finished in 3rd place overall. I was most pleased, though, by my second win for best painted. The judges were torn between two armies and the feedback I got was that my characterful little conversions had just edged it for me. Result!
Here's the certificate which hangs proudly on my wall:
So what else did I get out of the tournament?
I learned that just taking an Imperial Guard army doesn't mean you will automatically be able to outshoot the enemy. I was rudely disabused of this notion in my second game and it's a lesson I won't forget; look at your opponent's army/list first and then work out a plan.
I also learned that movement trays work just great. It made my army very easy to transport from game to game and looked good as a display during the painting judging. Sure it was basic but it was more than most other players had. I'll take any edge I can get.
I was more determined than ever, after this tournament, that I would plan my next tournament well in advance and get all of the painting finished before the day so that I could get some practice games in. It would also mean I could choose the units and models I actually wanted to play rather than settle for what I had painted.
And I wanted my army to be really competitive. If I was going to improve upon this year's result then it would mean winning all three games and that meant taking a hard army. I wouldn't do anything outrageous, creating a copy and paste 'netlist' or butchering the background but I wanted to play with an army that had real potential instead of tying one hand behind my back before the tournament started.
Overall I learned that I enjoyed the tournament experience and I would be back next year!