Monday, 14 November 2016

The Nerd Herd expects every man do his duty....

Hi all

"The Nerd Herd expects every man to do his duty..."

With these words of encouragement from Rich aka "Nerd4Life" ringing in our ears, Damon aka "Rulez" and I headed off to Bushido-Autumn Tournament at The Warboar Store, Bromley.  Wearing our Nerd Herd T-Shirts that I had printed up for when the Herd hit the shows, we drove the hour and a bit with our factions packed safely away in their various travel cases, i.e ice cream tub for Rulez' plastic KKZ and my metal ninja that I'd lent him for the tournie safely wrapped in foam. My completely metal warband was worrying as it was a long trip, but i used my anniversary gift for my transport and I took some superglue just in case.

Speaking of Warbands this is mine...

L-R Master Akari, Aiko, The Guardian, Koji's pack and Koji, (front) Earth Kami, (rear) Kenko-the North Tree
So my list was taken from the Temple of Ro-Kan faction and is lead by Master Akari, taken for his speed and agility, he is the defensive master! I took him along to frustrate my opponents heavy hitters and duck away to steal objectives, plus he's a f***ing fighting racoon!!.

an old photo hence the base is different now

Aiko was taken to provide support, her "blessings" are used to buff my other fighters, she was also to be used to distribute "Ki" (spirit energy) during the game ensuring those who need it most can fuel their "Ki feats".

again old photo

The Guardian is a 500lb Gorilla, who has formed an attachment to Aiko and can only be fielded when she is taken.  The Guardian is a bit of a gamble as he looks like he should be a front line fighter but he isn't!, he really needs to be used to back up an already engaged model and then he really shines with his huge damage bonus and ability to toss enemies about like rag dolls.  Although you don't need to take him when you take Aiko, I do because it feels right to have her unusual bodyguard with her. To give him a bit more survivabilty I gave him a couple of enhancements one which gave him some ranged protection and the most important one - Silverback, turning my big gorilla into an even bigger, more fear inducing monster!

i love this guy

Aiko and her Guardian

Keeping with my animal theme, I took Koji and his Pack the newest addition to da Grotto.  Koji would be used to focus and give all his "Ki" to Aiko to distribute, he also can be used to Scout and I would be using him to grab early objectives.  As for his Pack I wanted those cheeky monkeys to frustrate my opponents, sapping activations, getting in the way and using their sixth sense to spot ninjas and other sneaky fiends trying to creep up on my warband.

again the bases have been redone for the triangle and stripes

Next up is the Earth Kami, taken to provide a little bit of armour to my rather vulnerable fighters who tend to shun such heavy rainment. He can pass on some of his rocky properties by touching bases with my monks in the starting phase. He's also not a terrible fighter and can lend a rocky paw if need be.

not a great mini or photo, the Earth Kami none the less is essential 

Lastly is my main fighter Kenko, the North Tree. I love this model, he is just so Shaolin its unbelievable! plus he provides some much needed muscle to a nicely themed but a little vulnerable faction.  He's tough, can boost his melee, speed, and damage and can buff nearby companions with one of his "Ki feats - Inspiration", he was an absolute must have!

Kenko caused so many problems

So that's my Warband...

Rulez took the Kaze Kage Zoku - Shadow Wind Clan, a ninja faction.  I'm gonna let Rulez take over and give you his reasoning behind his choices, but here's a picture of his warband

L-R, Bikhou, Katsumi, Shizuka and Kouhei
and words from Rulez himself, written before the tournament...

Why I choose the following models for KKZ to use in the tournament.

Well with only being able to field 4 models I need to be able to level the playing field numbers-wise against my opponent. So my first choice was easy, Bikou. At only 9 rice with shuriken and the Ki Feat Hail of Steel letting you fly of 3 shurikens at once will hopefully get rid of a few models. Proning models with her Kusari is also useful. Her other Ki Feat distraction is invaluable to use the Ninja's assassin trait.

My second choice was Shizuka. For the ViM scenario's I thought who better to be my ViM. With shadow walk she'll be able to move closer to the enemies side of the table to score VP's and with Mirage being able to take her away from danger, she's a no brainer for me.

My third choice was Katsumi. I needed a heavy hitter and he's quite badass with Brutal(1) and powerful attack. He has before taken out a powerful adversery in one round of melee! Also he's tireless and will hopefully soak up a few activations.

My fourth choice was a little harder. It was between Rin and Kouhei. Rin because she's another tireless model and has MS of 4. Kouhei as she also has the ki feat of Hail of Steel and working alongside bikou shooting out 6 shuriken in rapid sequence could prove fatal to even the most hardy of adversaries. So after play testing both models I went with Kouhei and she also brings a sixth sense model to the table.

This brought me to 40 rice leaving me 2 rice spare. This was easy to spend. I gave a shuriken to Kouhei along with poison weapons.  I also chose the House of the North Star theme, this gives me 2 further special cards which I decided would be Hotai's coin for Katsumi and an event card Smoke Bombs. Instant cover for my Ninja's when needed and also would allow the use of Shizuka's ki feat Shadow Walk when most needed in ViM scenarios. This theme card also gives a soulless model making Bikou's Distraction feat or Shizuka's Mirage an automatic success. Lastly but not least, once per game give out two spirit block tokens to a model of my choice.

I'm really looking forward to my first tournament, hopefully, I can get a couple of good results for the Shadow Wind Clan.

So those were the factions and the reasons why we chose the models that we did!  So how did we do? well the day started at 07:00hrs with Rulez picking me up for a journey should that only take an hour and a half.  The tournament was starting at 10:00 but we had no clue where it was or where the parking was hence the early start.

Nerds on Tour!!

As it happened we made good time and was there by 08:30 which meant we were at a loose end for an hour and a half - luckily for us Games Workshop are launching their return to the light side starting with BLOOD BOWL. One of my all time favourite specialist game from the big bad corp back when they had a soul. The GW store was two doors down from Warboar stores, a little close for comfort so we dropped in on the launch just as the store opened and managed to be the first to unbox the new game which looks absolutely stunning.

Rulez tears into the new boxset with glee!!

gorgeous miniatures
Maybe it's time to return to the fold especially when you see that the humour is back in the old girl...

jut behind the sign is a can of body spray!! 
The manager of the Bromley store clearly has stepped up  to the challenge that has plagued games clubs since the dawn of time - the inexplicable fact that a percentage of gamers seem unable to master basic hygiene, one of the reasons why I have left numerous clubs in the past and had to game with a smaller group of folks, hand chosen who share the same values.... Sorry if that is offensive but most of us have experienced it and i'm glad someone has tackled it (plus I found it hilarious).

Anyway back to the tournament....

We arrived and registered with Mr Stu and made our way upstairs to the event room and let me just stop to digress again by saying just how brilliant a games store Warboar is.  It is just what you would want, clearly designed and staffed by gaming enthusiasts, the store is heaving with miniatures, games and board games of all kinds. Tables downstairs were filled with players of all types, playing scratch games and inviting people to sit down and join them.  D&D was being played next to Magic, next to some independent board game that I just didn't recognise, it was heaven - just a shame its so far away!  There is even a cafe on the premise so you don't even need to leave your seat.

Anyway back to the tournament.....

There were 14 players of all different ages and levels of ability and experience in the game. Everybody and I do mean everybody was friendly and welcoming and genuinely wanted to help and talk about the game.  What I have noticed about the Bushido crowd as well, is the openness and the honesty involved, no hidden army lists with awful surprises and spammy lists of filth.  You were allowed to read the cards of all of the factions, the theme cards, the special items everything!  This meant that the onus was with the player to use his tactics to win! And with the balance that Bushido has within the game, no faction has any real advantage over any other they just play differently - perfect!  Mr Stu has to be commended for the efforts he has put into his tournament, below are some of the boards he built for this and his first tournament, i'm so jealous as they are excellent.

 and he's still wanting to do more!!

I was a little overwhelmed by the experience to take proper notes of my games, of which we all played four and I will let Rulez tell you about his games when he submits his report, but I will show you the pictures I took and give you a broad stroke of what happened.

My first game was against a really nice fellow from Hampshire - Rick.  He was playing a Cult of Yurei warband.  The Cult as you may remember from my post here, are a group of supernatural monster intent on destroying the delicate balance of the Jwar Isles. I have never faced them before, although I have played one game with the starter set, none of which featured in Rick's band, which was beautifully painted and actually won the painting competition.

preparation for my first battle!

The board was filled with four large yurts that worked totally in my favour and Rick's poor deployment aided the Temple cause as he was bottled up in the corner and was funneled into certain areas that I could control with Kenko and the Guardian, while my other characters could complete objectives and although the first scoring turn (turn 2) was a draw so no VP gained by either side I was able to score a much needed VP in the 4th turn.  In fact so bottled up was he that if the game would have made it to a 6th turn (the final scoring turn) I would have scored a 2-0 victory, as it was the game ended in turn 4 as we ran out of time with a 1-0 victory to me! Amazingly I had won my first competitive game, a very happy Gobbo I was! Rick was a lovely opponent and was a joy to play so I went onto my next game not worried what the result was to be as I had won one game (that was my highest aspiration for the day to win a single game!).

Next I played Luke, I'm not sure where Luke is from but again a thoroughly pleasant guy and a real pleasure to play against.  Luke bought a Tengu force, a bird like race of beings who live in the mountains of Jwar.  This faction was new to Luke, it was his second ever game with them although you wouldn't know it as he handled them really well and beat my boys to a deserved 0-1 loss to me.  The low point was when my Guardian charged his support model, who he should have creamed only to be killed outright by a well timed counter-charge by his powerful bird samurai. Luke had managed to paint one of the figures and it looked really good so it will be nice to see the warband when they are all finished!  This game could have been a whitewash for me so I was glad when Mr Stu called time on it before Luke could finish the job and it mean I lose more tournament points.

During lunch we had to decide on the "Best Painted Warband" competition, there was a lot of really well painted miniatures but the winner, well deserved was Rick's Cult.

Ashley's Ashigaru force

Rick's Cult of Yurei

Jack's Peasant Temple of Ro-Kan 

Pirates - not sure who's

Ninjas, again not sure who did it but the ninja on the right is in disguise which is one of his traits, the disguise was custom made and it looked brilliant!

After lunch I faced off against Ashley, again from Hampshire and got my nomination for best sportsman of the tournament, a real gentleman. Ashley had bought with him an Ashigaru warband from the Prefecture of Ryu, with only a single Samurai.  This game was absolutely nail biting as it was zonal control and it all kicked off big time in my zone as Ashley pressed really hard. Fortunately for me my big "man" stepped up! my MVP had to be the Guardian as he scared the bejezzus out of the majority of his force as they failed fear test after fear test and refused to charge into melee with him and when he took the fight to them he tossed them about like rag dolls throwing the Samurai into his soldiers time and again. My favourite moment was truly grizzly as he chucked the corpse of one of Ashley's ashigaru into another one, bowling him over.  The game was heading for a 0-0 as neither of us seemed able to break the deadlock until we both remembered the final victory condition which was that a nominated model needed to be closer to the opponents table edge than the other.  Almost at the same time we both made the realisation and darted our VIMs (Very important Models) toward each others edge.  I sacrificed Aiko, who is a dreadful fighter and was going to get slaughtered, but crucially meant that Ashley's VIM couldn't progress any further.  My VIM was Master Akari who is a lot more agile and using a huge amount of "Ki" he darted through the press and dashed for Ashley's table edge and with his last activation got closer winning me the VP, 1-0 to da Gobbo!!

So I had two wins and a loss and was looking at placing! what?!? I just had to do well in the last game, dare I dream??

Well first I had to face Paul's Cult.  I was hoping to face a different faction just to get more exposure to them but Paul's force was different to Rick's so it was still good.  Paul was a terrific opponent and he looked to be cruising to an easy victory when he destroyed the Guardian in one shot and wounded Kenko to within an inch of his life. However the last game was "The Messenger" and it centres around a hidden VIM.  That VIM has to get into your opponents deployment zone which is a six inch square in the opposite corners, so it wasn't about killing your opponents models - although it doesn't help!  With the crippling of my main fighters I had to play a hail mary, now in this particular game you can gain a VP by revealing your VIM in your opponents deployment area before they do and this gets you a single VP, what happens after that though is that your VIM gets targeted because he is now open, not hidden and the remaining 2 VPs are acquired by killing the opponents VIM while keeping yours alive.  My hail mary was to gain that early VP and the try to keep my VIM - Master Akari again, alive.  Using an extraordinary amount of "Ki" I ran Master Akari nearly the length of the board and using his agility sneaked through is blocking fighters to score.  What followed was a cat and mouse game with his scary monsters trying to catch and kill the elusive Yokai. Thankfully he held out against the odds and I scraped a 1-0!!!

Kenko surrounded by monsters, but still fights on bravely

even Koji's tiny monkeys played their part fighting back the darkness and distracting the Cult from Akari
So the day ended with three 1-0 victories for me and a 0-1 loss giving me 21 points.  However I was pipped to third place by a very lucky win in the last game by Matt, a really nice bloke who was gobsmacked that he had placed. So I finished fourth... but how did Rulez do well he finished first!! after two very amazing 3-0 wins, a 2-1 and a 1-1 he scored a terrific 30 points to take top spot in his first ever tournament!  The Nerd Herd wins!!!

third place Matt with Prefecture of Ryu

second place - Jack with his Temple

Damon "Rulez" of the Nerd Herd - first place with his KKZ
Rick who won Best Painted

Ben - Best Sportsman (joint....)
Rick won Best Painted Warband with his beautiful Cult of Yurei and Ben - above, won (joint) "Best Sportsman" pictured with his prize, as there was only one prize Mr Stu rolled a dice to see who would get the prize and it was Ben, who literally helped his opponents during the game so that they could more enjoy the experience.....

so who was he joint with? yep you guessed it, it was me!  As we received the same amount of votes and there was only one prize Mr Stu rolled a dice to see who would get the prize and..... I was beaten to it by a dice roll, story of my gaming life - hahaha. Ah I thought he was a good guy too so who can be cross with that, I must admit I was flattered though that people thought enough of my playing style to vote for me.

And that was that, my first comp in about 20 years, Rulez' first comp ever and a ball was had.  We finally rolled home at 21:30 so it was a long day, but what a day!!

hope you enjoy


  1. Congratulations to you both. Looks like a fun day out and it's always gratifying to play with like-minded people. I too have been sorely tempted by GW of late - their retro marines from the Betrayal at Calth boxed game are lovely.

    1. Thanks Jez, we both had an absolute ball, what a class bunch the Bushido set are. As for GW I'll stick with the specialist stuff for now, but they've always produced excellent models except the "business model" which left a lot to be desired

  2. Sounds like a good day indeed. Of course, the thing about losing the roll-off for "Best Sportsman" is that you have to accept the result gracefully [which I'm sure you did :-) ]!

    1. I did indeed, even before the roll I said that he could have the prize - I claim moral

      Great day all round Hugh but exhausting, who would have thought rolling dice would tire you out so much ;-)

  3. Absolutely great stuff. Brilliant blog post.
    I've noticed that there's shop that runs tournaments close to me, so I'm thinking about looking into this side of the hobby. I'll need practice first, and to settle on a game to try to 'master', but these type of events seem good fun - your blog post helping to further that belief, for me.

    1. This was my first dipping of the toe in the tournament waters for 20 years and it went really well.

      if you're gonna do it, do Bushido Roy as they are a very civilised lot

  4. Nail biting stuff right to the end of your write up.... damn jolly spiffing stuff Andy. and JOLLY WELL DONE.. both of you. You carried me along with you all the way through that write up.

    I was really interested to see the Blood Bowl (I know the guy quite well, who wrote the original... back when the game had depth, soul, and character). For me, GW is really drawing me back into Space Hulk in a big way (more on that at `the cupboard` over the coming months). Maybe GW are finally learning to be human once more, as I am hearing progressively good things about them lately.

    I really loved this post mate. And I`m so glad you `both` had such a lovely day.

    1. Yes Steve, it looks like GW are trying to regain their soul and the manager of the Bromley store was particularly pleasant, he was willing to discuss other games outside of GW which they were expressly forbidden to do, in the days of the dark empire. Space Hulk is a great game, I've always wanted to make 3D tiles for it....maybe one day

  5. We have been rooting for you all the time, and I am so glad it was such a success for you. You look like you had a great time. I have attended and taken part in so many tournaments at this stage and I can`t think of even one I didn’t enjoy thoroughly from start to finish. I`m so glad this was such fun for you - both of you. The photos are marvellous and really help create the atmosphere and a sense of being there. Thank you for taking the time to share it all with us.

    1. We had a great time, I consider it the day a success even though I didn't place because I played 4 new people who had never gamed against before, it was a hoot!

  6. Very enjoyable read. You should be a reporter hehe, you carried me along with the day so nicely by your write up and the enticing photos.

  7. That must have been a very satisfying and fun experience for both you and Damon. Well done to both of you for doing so well. What I particularly liked about your report was the friendly spirit the games were played in. Yes, winning is good but for me, and I'm sure for you as well, having fun is far more important.

    1. It was very fun and very satisfying mate, I was hoping for at least one win on the day and I know Damon was hoping for the same, so to get three wins each was a bonus!

  8. Looks like a fun-filled day! And what a lot of lovely figs!

    1. There was some lovely painting on display Gordon.

  9. Excellent write up and a great read. Thanks!

  10. Very cool. I like that sign!

  11. Terrific posting Andy, and clearly a very time-consuming one. Many thanks for putting this one together and well done on your sportsmanship :-)

    1. It was time consuming Simon, but I wanted to convey just how much fun the whole day was including building the lists

  12. Well done to you both it sounds like an absolute blast and a thoroughly bunch of chaps to boot.

  13. Great write up and looks like you had a fun day, with some beautiful miniatures on display from all competitors.

    Cheers Roger.

    1. thanks Roger, we did and there most definitely was ;-)

  14. Congrtulations on the results and bythe sounds of it a good day being had by all.

    1. thanks Joe, everyone no matter how they were doing in the competition was happy and smiley. perfect!

  15. Great write up as always and I'll get mine and my photo's over to you asap.

  16. Looks great! Splendid tables and minis...and congrats!

  17. You did your duty boys. The dignity of the herd remains in place.

    1. Not sure about dignity, I did take Rulez with me after all ;-)

    2. Dignity, hmmmm says the man who spilt tea down his lovely t-shirt

    3. And doughnut, don't forget I spilt doughnut down it too. Thank goodness I went for the white T. Shirts....

    4. Lol, I forgot about the doughnut

  18. Awesome day. Lovely tables and warbands. Its nice to see they were all nearly painted it makes such a nicer experience for your opponent. Well done to all the participants.

    Blood bowl does look cool I saw a preview of the Dwarf teams on facebook and I am sorely tempted!