Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Clash of Kings Australia 2020 - Summary - 2020/02/17

Greetings!

In this post I would like to summarise my experiences during the Clash of Kings Australia 2020. However, while the series of the battle reports focused on the games, there is much more to that event than battles. 

I am still going to discuss my observations about the army I took to the event of course! But I also would like to spend some time talking about other, very important aspects of this unique tournament.

In short, I spent fantastic two days with other Kings of War enthusiasts and came home greatly inspired by the armies people prepared with such a great level of creativity and dedication. Happy to catch up with those I met before and meet new players, hopefully forging new friendships. And in general, full of optimism about Kings of War as a great game of mass fantasy battles! 

A lot of people contributed to this overall fantastic event. The battle reports and in particular this post, is dedicated to all of them as a way of saying "Thank You!" for making it such a wonderful experience. I am sure I am not the only one who would share this point of view!


1. Tournament Organisation

Clash of Kings Australia is traditionally organised during CanCon, the biggest convention for various gamers and hobbyists in Australia. It means that the venue in which Kings of War tournament took place had to be shared with other participants. Despite that, we had enough space in between the tables to play comfortably and without interruptions. Even if there was a steady stream of spectators passing by and watching various games.

The way our area was set up is a result of flawless organisation by Matt and his crew. All tables had mats of great quality, great looking terrain and laminated maps to make sure we had it placed properly. That was also a fantastic example of combined effort of many players, who often brought terrain and matts from their own, private collections just to make sure everyone would have a fantastic experience participating at Clash of Kings Australia. You are all Legends! :)

Matt and his crew made sure everyone has enough water, which is not a trivial thing as the event takes place during quite a hot season here Down Under. Fortunately, the temperatures were a bit lower during the weekend but even then the supply of water was extremely important. Many thanks for that too!

Everything seemed to work very smooth, with plenty of time during lunch break to check other areas of the convention, admire armies participating in the painting contest etc. Personally, I did not have a single situation when we needed to consult rulebook and I believe I was not an exception, quite the contrary. I guess it is testimony to the excellent set of rules, great sportsmanship of the participants and clear rules outlined by the organisers in the rules pack.

It was simply awesome to be able to focus on games and fantastic interactions with fellow Kings of War enthusiasts! 

Matt and Ronnie - the Legends of Clash of Kings (and not only!)


2. Armies

I was greatly impressed and truly inspired by the creativity put into the armies presented during the event. I think the overall quality of the painting and modelling is increasing and as often in such situations, I wish I had more time to go around and admire what people brought to the event.

Fortunately, Matt took a lot of pictures from the action on the tables so here are the links to the FB posts I managed to find with the photos:

Round 1 - Smoke and Mirrors

Round 2 - Raze

Round 3 - Invade

Round 5 - Push

Armies of Clash of Kings Australia 2020

Having seen great looking armies of my opponents and those around me, I have lots of motivation now to get back to painting my own force. It is, by nature, a constant work in progress but I want to achieve a stage where all the units are painted in the same color scheme, with unified multi-bases for all elements of the army. It just looks so much better when you do it! And while I am sure that during this year there will be some tweaks to the army list, I promised myself to pursue that goal regardless. I hope that next year I will have an army that can aspire to look as great as those of the winners of the competition for the best painted armies!



Kingdoms of Men - Patch's Best Painted Army


Nightstalkers - Steve's Best Painted Mantic Army

I am already looking forward to seeing what people are going to get ready for Clash of Kings next year and I know that some of them are already painting new armies for that occasion!

3. Results

I think it is quite important to highlight what was the scoring system used during Clash of Kings Australia. The system is called Blackjack and you can find the details of how it works here:

Blackjack Tournament System

In short, one can earn between 0 and 21 points per battle. The final result depends on how well the players fulfils the scenario objectives and what is the margin of attrition.

The philosophy of the system is that the focus of the battle should be on winning on the scenario conditions. How well the scenario is fulfilled is also reflected by the system. Attrition is still important and one needs to do well on all fronts at the same time in order to score Blackjack - full 21 points available per single battle.

Top 10 of Clash of Kings Australia 2020

It was very interesting to notice that there were ten different armies in top 10. I think it is quite amazing to see such a variety among the best players of the tournament. You can check the full results, including scores for each round and check army lists by following this link:

Clash of Kings Australia 2020 - Results

Personally, I was super happy with my own final score as I placed 16th after winning 4 games, drawing 1 and losing 1. It really exceeded my expectations, especially that in all 5 of my games in 3rd edition and prior to the event I did not win a single battle.

What is also interesting is that some players that placed above me, had 3-4 victories and 3-2 defeats. The reason for that is that when they won, they won big and when they lost, they still earned some points. While my victories were usually minimal.

I find it quite encouraging because if I can improve my game and prevent the mistakes I often made in the battles, perhaps I can also improve the results!

4. Observations

My main goal from the point of view of gaming alone, was to experiment with the army. I settled on the relatively simple vision of the army list. I wanted to focus on ideas I may have at the time and use these experiences to learn more about 3rd edition, my own force and see where that experiment is going to lead me.

I was really happy to notice that in all my games I felt quite comfortable with the army I brought, I could focus on formulating the plan against particular foe and even when the battles were tight and bloody, I did not see myself completely overwhelmed. Even when situation was desperate, I enjoyed the moment and the thrill of trying to come up with a solution to save the day. To my great enjoyment, it often worked!

Thus I finished the event with new hope that perhaps I can make MSU style work under 3rd edition as well. Especially that in general I managed to stay within time limits, even in games with 7 turns. And because I made easily identifiable mistakes, by eliminating them in the future, I should be able to improve my game too.

I am fully aware that even though I was lucky to have variety of opponents, it is just a small sample of what people play with. However, this tournament gave me more confidence I should be able to come up with a plan to put up a fight against different foes. Because of that I am quite motivated now to keep practising!

In fact, I will most likely stick to 2000 points version of the army at the moment. I tried to use my units a bit differently this time and it seemed to work. I noticed the army still has speed and manoeuvrability to deliver powerful blows and outmanoeuvre the opponent. In a few battles I did well in the first half but due to mistakes in reforming, I was not able to carry on using the momentum gained in initial charges.

This seems to be very important for my army because as soon as I got stuck, my units started dying at an alarming pace. And because the advantage in number of elements is not as big, that often led to quite dangerous situations.

In general, I am very happy with the selection of the units too. I observed that Drakon Riders are still very useful at attacking flanks of the enemies as thanks to their long charge distance and fly, they can still pick the targets easier than other units. Hence I need to focus on good deployment and anticipating the moves of the enemies, so that Drakon Riders are in the right spot at the right time. Especially when they attack together with other units at the same time.

I was happy to see that Silverbreeze units and the Archmage provide ranged attacks support that still matters. As expected, getting a few points of damage early can help in the incoming melee. While keeping the units alive until the last phase of battle may be a winner when they can force nerve tests on already damaged enemies. What I was not able to do yet, however, was to use Silverbreeze as a support in melee, with their timely flank/rear charges. I would like to work on that element in the future.

Last but not least I wanted to mention Archers. Their shooting abilities are not great at the moment but they often contributed to the effort of the entire army. I actually like them because they can stay behind and secure the objective while annoy the enemy with shooting. They can still force that late game nerve check. They are not easily routed if kept in defensive positions and may occasionally add that 1-2 points of damage that make a difference between waver and rout result.

I will definitely explore other options, especially in the case of games at higher points. I do miss Dwarven Ale/Staying Stone on Drakons as these items often helped them to keep fighting.  I am also thinking about second Archmage, either with Heal or Windblast abilities. I think both will be quite useful. As usual, I will try to limit the potential changes to the models available as it would help me to paint those I already have.

In short, I am going to focus on using the army I have better first and will consider changes along the way. That should help me with the painting projects too!

Drakon Riders - I still like them a lot! 

5. Acknowledgements

This event was great because of many people and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.

First, I would like to thank Matt and his crew for organising such a fantastic event. I am sure all Kings of War players are as grateful as I am for all the efforts you put into organising and running this amazing tournament!

I would like to thank Ronnie for making a long trip to Australia, especially this year that things were so bad and it was simply not certain that one can make it to Canberra. It was great meeting him in person and chatting a bit about Kings of War. I am now a proud owner of the singed copy of the 3rd edition rulebook too!

I would like to thank all my opponents: Trevor, Jonathon, Matthew, Andrew, Brent and Ken for six fantastic games! I am already looking forward to the opportunities to meet you on the fields of battle again!

I would like to thank Alan whom I met for the first time during this event and who found me on the very last day just to say he likes my battle reports! It was awesome! Thanks a lot Alan!

I would like to thank all the participants and people I had a great pleasure to chat with during the event and during Saturday evening. Special thanks to Nick who made sure I did not go thirsty on Saturday night too :)

It was great to catch up with people I know and meet new players! I hope we will all meet again next year!

Jeff (left), Ronnie (middle) and yours truly (right).

I hope you enjoyed the series of the battle reports from the games I played at Clash of Kings Australia 2020!

Thank you very much for reading!

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