Dave’s weekend at Astronomi-Con Dallas…

Posted: June 24, 2010 in 40k, Uncategorized

This past weekend I attended my first large scale 40k gaming event (well, one my first ANY 40k gaming event) and what an event it was!
It was none other than Astronomi-Con!!!

This was a massive 40k two day event held here Dallas, at a very cool gaming store: The Gamers Realm.
The event was hosted by a cool duo of Canadian guys (hey guys!) who came all the way down from the great white north to hold this shindig of 40k goodness.

The Astro Event!

The Event

There were several cool things about astro, in no particular order:
Standings were based on many factors: play, painting, sportsmanship, creativity, etc.

This event was in many ways a super endurance test for me, and not just due to my work schedule (I was working near L.A. during the week before the tourney, and headed to Chicago the evening of that Sunday AND had a MPIII show Saturday night), but because I (yes, I am insane) committed to make TWO terrain tables for the event.   Also, to top things off, my army was not even painted yet!

When I heard about the event wanting local terrain makers, I thought “wow, thats cool…I wonder if I could make a coherent table..”  Sure, I had before made a few pieces of terrain, and thrown together tables which were just random buildings and hills together….but to make a themed table with a coherent narrative and structure…especially with my schedule…it was insanity!  So naturally, I decided to make TWO!

My Tables

Inspired by some ancient ruins and my recent reading of the Necron codex (yeah, like I need another freakin army), I had my mind set on making my “Alien Pyramid in the Jungle” table.

First game on the Pyramid Table

It was supposed to be an alien jungle pyramid complex, in a jungle clearing. Once I got about half way done with that monster of a project (to be detailed in another post), I started foolishly thinking “Hey…I have a few more weeks…I wonder if I can build my other table idea…”.  So naturally, I drew up plans for a second (and third, actually) table.

I had only stopped working (note, I did not say “finished”) on this table Friday afternoon, and had to deliver it to the event for setup that night!   Overall, I got a LOT of great feedback on the table and was pleased with its overall theme.   I learned a lot on this one; from working with large foam pieces to how to make decent looking yet functional area jungle terrain.

My second table, the “Industrial Refinery” was my other entry into the event, and I have to say it my goals were a bit overly ambitious for my skill and way too complex for my time.  However, overall I achieved the layout I wanted and got it painted up to a basic level; it was a HUGE hit!!!  In fact, I managed to win (23 votes) best terrain for it!

Two BA Armies go at it! (from thewraithgate.com)

This table was a ton of work, and an quite a pain to make…I totally underestimated the work to complete it to the quality I wanted….I had to cut back on a lot of details (aesthetic and otherwise) but overall I was VERY happy how it turned out. I got a lot of help from a few friends with ideas and even TONS of cutting and gluing (thanks mike!!!- how much beer do I owe ya?).

This table concept came about as a mixture of a few thematic elements.  I had recently been thinking about a few things, and they coalesced into an idea…

  • I love the Mustafar scenes from Star Wars Episode III
  • All the lava in World of Warcraft’s Molten Core dungeon
  • Cool industrial images after looking up information off shore oil rigs
  • The concept of a table with “height”.

After experimenting with a bunch of different layouts, I came up with the final product.  While I tried to make it somewhat vehicle friendly (all those extra wide catwalks with no railings…), I wanted to make the table to make players think.

I wanted it to be about tactical choices…and with all the feedback I got, I feel I was successful in that regard.

My Games…

I played six games that weekend, and what games they were!

Game one: Sink the Baneblade!

This was one of games where I had the most fun.  My oponnent was Christopher Allen, a great guy I had met the week before in the astro prelim event.  Well, our main challenge was the massive Baneblade rolling down the table!!!  In what it turned out would later be a trend, I managed to completely miss with everything for quite some time in this game. Chris on the other hand took out the  Baneblade….on the first turn.  Overall, a really fun game against a very fun player!

Game two: The Tyranid Hive Ship!

This game was ….a pain.  Literally!!! Ian and I squared off INSIDE of a Tyranid hive ship.  While the layout was simple, the game was not.  The entire board was dangerous terrain.  Yeah, think about that.  We lost more units to the ship than to each other!!!  Just moving units created tension!!! It was an awesome game and I had a ton of fun.  Ian was a great competitor, and he managed a win after taking out the min organ in the middle (oh, what a quote) as we had to “kill” the alien brain of the ship.   Despite the perils (I lost several models and disabled three vehicles just deploying on turn one!) I had a great time with Ian in this one.

Game Three: Cargo Convoy Round up!

Another game, another great guy!  I played against Jeff in this fun round where we had to steal crates (fragile crates…more on this in a min) from an IG convoy moving down the center of the map.  There were only three crates, each one in an IG transport…the crates had a chance of being destroyed by just a penatrating hit on the unit!!! That meant I could not use my Railguns!!!!   However, it turned out that Jeff and I (well, jeff mainly  😉 ) managed to destroy all three of the objectives so we just had a great time and the game ended in a draw!!!

Later that night, after an awesome comedy show and some VERY well needed sleep….


Game Four: City Melee Battle!

Well, you know how every table and scenario might not be the best for your army?  That is what I got for my first game on day two; a city fight where my troops had a chance to rage and get preferred enemy.  Did I mention I play tau?  Oh boy!   Of course, my bizarre dice luck returned on this day with a vengeance.  So much in fact it was just laughable.   The upside?  I was tabled by a totally cool guy: Billy P.  A great guy with a comedic game (yeah, it really was that bad) and I had fun, and that my friends was what mattered!   (Billy later went on to win Best Army for the event!!! His traitor guard army was totally cool!!!!).

Game Five: Inquisitor Nightmare and the Temple of Doom!

In this game Christopher Y and I just had bizzare luck in a bizzare scenario. The game was very cool, with lots of  really neat looking temples (hmmm…I need to make a few of these), a tough Inquisitor force in the middle and secret random objectives!!!!

We had a draw on this one, as while I think we both played a good game (well, I learned the hard way what happens when your opponent ‘steals the initiative’) the circumstances just did not play out. Chris’s mission was to take out my HQ…who did not get on the map until the end of the game. My mission was to take out the Inquisitor…and I had no available weapons to do so until the end of the game. Regardless it was a fascinating scenario and good game!

Game Six: Frozen Crystal Table
For this last game of the day, I met John and we had it out on a cool game table filled with awesome looking alien crystals. This was a fun game with interesting victory conditions where you had to have scoring units in base contact with the neat looking crystal formations on the table. I have to say, my dice finally turned around and I got a bit of luck back right in turn one. In fact so much so, I honestly felt bad for John when I took out his land raider on TURN ONE! Of course, after he vaporized a few of my guys, I did not feel as bad! 🙂 Overall a game with a lot of tactical choices and John was a great guy to play against as well. This one turned out to be my only clear win of the event.

Overall, I had a blast of a weekend and made a lot of new friends.  I still have to finish my tables and paint my army to much better standard (got a lot of great tips this weekend!), but that my friends is the subject of another post….

More Info…

If you want really great pics and even better commentary, check out these two great blog sites:

For more info on the Astro series, check out their website!

Dave Pak


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