"Where is everyone?" was the resounding question at Games Day Chicago this past weekend. The Games Day 40K tournament - normally 120 players strong and a complete sellout - had around 36 players. Three of those players were from my gaming group, so my gaming group accounted for 1/12 of the players. What happened? One might speculate it is event "over saturation" here in Chicago. At 3 major tournaments in one year - could that be too many? I don't think so. Our centralized location makes Chicago an ideal place for Games Day and for major tournaments. Could it have been the timing of the 5th Edition release? Was it that no one wanted to go two weeks back in time for one last roll in the hay with 4th Edition? Or was it a new form of gaming snobbery? Has Adepticon gotten so big that its adherents are thumbing their noses at Games Workshop's premier event in the mid west? I'll be really curious to see how the turnout for the Chicago Grand Tournament is in October.
And most importantly, will Dung Trinh from Tennessee be there? One of the biggest disappointments of Games Day Chicago this year was that I didn't face off against Dung Trinh and his Thousand Sons. You see, by some freak occurrence (more like us both being dead average players), we have somehow been paired against each other 3 years in a row. Every year I had my Angels of Absolution and every year he has his Thousand Sons and we battle. Last year our battle was my favorite of the tournament - old rivals laughing like war buddies and just having a fun relaxed game. If you know Dung Trinh from Tennessee you make sure he knows his presence is requested at the Chicago Grand Tournament in October!
Despite the small size of the tournament I had a really good time. All of my opponents were friendly and enjoyable to play against. I got to play on Table #1 for the first time in my life due to earning 20 points on the 1st mission. There may have been a miscalculation so my place may not have been earned and I was rightly defeated by my Tyranid horde opponent in the 2nd game and was driven several tables back where I belonged. For me the highlight of the tournament was my 3rd game which was against Brian Carlson. For the last couple of years I've made it a point to always wander over and spy his models at tournaments. I've seen him walk into tournaments and the Chicago Bunker with beautifully painted Tyranids and Kroot Mercs, and it was awesome to actually talk to the him about his armies and see if his hobby spirit translated onto the gaming table as well. As it turns out he was my favorite player of the day. He was extremely pleasant and we played at a great pace, got all of our turns in, conversed about the hobby, and had a great game. His Sons of Guilliman (Ultramarines) were exceptionally painted, his army list was full color on photo paper with tons of fluff, his dice matched his army, and his army was fun to play against despite the fact it became Assault Cannon Hell once he got within 24". Hats off to Brian for being a model hobbyist, and thanks to all my opponents for a great time.
Now, I must take a moment to beat myself up. Every year I tell Dung Trinh that the Angels will be done "next year" and every year we laugh because we both know its a lie. I've been working on the Angels for 13 years now and they've made an appearance at every tournament event I've attended and they still aren't done. Not only have I done myself and my opponents a disservice by always falling short of the goal, I've allowed my army to fall into disrepair. I fielded more broken models this year than ever. Its not uncommon to have 1 or 2 models break in transport to the event, but last fall (almost a year ago now) my case flipped over and spilled models all over the hardwood floor. I repaired a bunch of them, but not even close to all of them. Since then, more models have broken and I just continue to field them. My beloved Chaplain Vitus has gone to the last 2 tournaments without his bolt pistol arm or jump pack. Several other models were missing bits. The latest casualty was a Rhino having its smoke launchers bust off.
Last night and this morning, I pulled out the one and only Chaplain Vitus and I scraped away old glue, repainted chips in his armor, and re-glued his broken bits restoring him to his former glory. All hail Chaplain Vitus!