Gary and I took our balanced Imperial Guard and Eldar lists to the Toy Soldier Doubles event in Stockport this weekend and ended up in first place. Surprised? You bet we were!
We had talked about what lists to take for a few weeks and we finally agreed that we expected to see Grey Knight armies and Imperial Guard armies across the table.
We thought about it a bit more and as I refuse to use Hydras, Vendettas or Chimeras, we decided that I would cram in as many auto-cannons as I could plus a couple of rock hard Leman Russ that would nullify any Razorback Strength 6 Heavy bolters. Gary on the other hand would take a Seer Council on jet-bikes to deal with, or delay, any combat armies as I certainly had no ability to beat them! You can see the lists here. both lists
All the opponents were great and we managed to win every game – a few were very close – but sure enough we fought Guard armies with Vendettas, and Grey Knight armies with Razorbacks and Dreadnoughts! Our gamble had paid off!
The North West Gaming Venue
Finally a few words about the venue. The North West Gaming centre in Stockport is a new venue for me and I had heard mixed reviews. Let me say right now that it was not as bad as I was expecting and it was above average for the wargames venues I have attended over the last thirty years. However, a few points are worth noting. The toilet facilities were unacceptable, small, temporary and lacking any thought to decoration, lighting, tiling etc. Stalls thrown together using fibre board are not acceptable for a venue that might attract families as well as adults. The entry and exit facilities up steep slippery steps with no lighting were not up to health and safety standards and would certainly have made access impossible for any disabled person. On the tables the terrain was barely adequate (I have however seen a lot worse) but the organisation seemed to go well with the draws for each round being quickly and efficiently posted to avoid wasting time.
Having said all that the event was good fun and the organisers did their best to make players feel looked after. There was waitress service at the tables and the admin was as good as I’ve come across. I would attend other events here but one needs to remember that Warhammer World followed by Maelstrom Games are probably the two leading bespoke wargames venues in the country. If you have attended either if these then I suspect that nearly all other venues, whether bespoke or not, will be found lacking.
Finally the rules pack recommended a hotel that was unhelpful when Gary telephoned and did not provide the discount that had been offered. When we looked into the venue there was a Premier Inn right across the road which provided clean rooms, a fantastic steak, and an all you can eat breakfast. Why this hotel is not recommended by the event organisers is beyond me. OK it might be a little more expensive but who wants to sleep in a hovel when for an extra £8 you can get somewhere that is walking distance and comfortable?
Overall I really enjoyed myself. Gary was a pleasure to partner with (!) and all our opponents made the games worthwhile and enjoyable. Even the venue is better than a number of school halls I have played in over the last couple of decades but the bar has been raised for gaming venues and organisers need to pressure venues into upgrading their facilities.