Monday, September 19, 2011

Bowie Battle Bunker Official Grand Opening

Grand Opening fun!

     Hello dear readers! It has been a nearly inexcusable length of time since I've last posted. Many reasons for this, all of which I won't bore you with. I'm posting now!

     So I heard tell that they were going to finally officially open the Games Workshop Battle Bunker in Bowie, Maryland. It's a very short trip from my house, and when they announced that they were going to have some cool flags for sale, I thought I'd check it out.

     I got there about 30 minutes or so after they opened their doors, but apparently that was about 40 minutes too late to snag a flag. Arrrgh! I have it on good authority that there were VERY few flags (read: about 10) and there were more than that number of people waiting for the store to open. I was determined not to let this be a fruitless trip, so I took a good look around the store.

     There was a Kill Teams tourney going on, and some folks playing WHFB. Lots of people painting and building, and I managed to find someone to get a game in (more on that later). I saw a cabinet near the front showing some entries for a painting competition. I haven't had a chance to actually enter an official painting competition in the three years that I've been painting. I thought this might be a cool opportunity. After reviewing the categories, I was pretty sad...

- Best terrain piece
- Best caster/psyker
- Best Finecast (tm) model (Note: HAHAHAHA!)
- Best monster

     I had just brought my 40K Orks along with the hopes of getting a game in, and I certainly didn't know about these categories ahead of time, so I was really just hoping that I might have something on-hand that would fit into these groups. I asked an employee (the manager I think) if these were all the categories open for today. He confirmed that it was and then asked if there wasn't anything I had with me that would fit. I ran through some of my better painted Ork models that I had on me, and mentioned "Hey there's my Deff Dread... might be a monster? Eh?"

     He agreed and let me enter my Deff Dread as a monster. Made sense to me! So here's the result of the competition:


     I WON! Hah! Oh man! That was pretty awesome. So the monster category turned out to be pretty tight competition. There were some amazing painting and conversion work going on. I felt pretty honored to be picked out from the group. So custom trophy? Eh... It's ok. I'll just plop that in my display case. Here's close up of the trophy:

Look! My first Finecast models!

     So here are a few other fun things I saw while I was there:

It IS the deployment zone!

     There is the big bad Tau ship! The Manta! It's HUGE! Soooo much resin! It's still a work in progress and the GW employee that had been working on it (not pictured here) said that it was hands-down the most complex and time consuming build he has ever done. Well I'm not surprised. I just can't even understand the point in someone's life where buying one of these things "makes sense," but maybe that's the point. It's excessive, but a treat to look at. Fun stuff.

Hulk out!

     I wish I could remember where this guy said he bought all these nice corridors. They're not too flashy, very simple. The walls aren't full size, they'd come up about half the height of your standard marine, but I don't think that matters. The owner of this setup explained that he REALLY intended this to be used with some of those awesome Badab war missions that are intended to simulate ship boarding attacks. I fully approve!

Look! It's the Non-40K game!

     I don't happen to see that many Fantasy games being played out in the wild. I'm not a fan myself, but I do enjoy good models, and I really enjoy good models painted well (see above). I've always said that if I got into WFB, the Lizardmen would be one of the armies I would consider playing. I like their Mayan styling, and those scales, when properly highlighted, look awesome! Sadly my other photos of this army were a little too blurry to post. Regardless, it was a treat to see.

     So I did get a game in, as I mentioned. I played a fully painted Raven Wing army. It was a great game, ended up being a real nail-biter. Surprisingly, the Deff Dread saved the day. He was kicking ass all over that store that day! Orks pulled out a narrow win, and the other player was a good sport. Fun was had by all.

Firestorm Armada

     So I finally got the chance to play a game of Firestorm Armada. The game system is VERY easy to pick up, and I think that an experienced war gamer can pick up the basic mechanics in one or two games. We didn't play with the cards, though I recently picked up a deck, but looking through those cards, I can see these adding a very interesting dimension to the game. One thing I didn't like was measuring the movement. Because the 45 degree measurement is so critical, we found ourselves struggling with paper print-outs of the movement  template that's in the FSA rulebook (also you can download it on the Spartan Games website). Paper just doesn't work, and in general the template is too big to use easily.

     I found the solution to that problem, and I purchased it ages before my first game, but due to the long production time, I only received it about three weeks ago. Here's the solution:

     These are from Litko, and they're perfect for FSA movement measurement. They are small enough to squeeze in between ships crowded on the table, and they're the right size to measure out the range bands pertinent to almost all weapon types in the game. I haven't had the chance to use them in a full game yet, but messing about with them on my little painting table gives me a good vibe. Recommended buy!

     I'm going to wrap things up here. This post is super long, and I know it needed to be to sort of catch up. I'll be looking to get back to work on the painting table soon. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here. Thanks for reading!