Once again there was a HOTT tournament at MOAB, although interest, and therefore numbers, was well down from previous years.
Once again it was a matched-pair tournament, which I have to say is becoming a favourite format of mine, as it allows for the use of interesting army combinations that you wouldn't see in an 'open' event, where your army has to be constructed to face any possible combination of opposing forces.
It was also a leg of the global 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' (GBnU) meta-tournament being organised by Terry Webb from the US. I still don't entirely understand how it works, but I do know that we had to track the first three games we played in terms of another scoring system to that being used in the main tournament. Filling out a piece of paper according to instructions is something I can do, so I was OK. Sorting out how they are used is someone else's problem
Anyway, as posted about on the blog before, I took a pair of Barsoomian (Martian) armies. I did adopt a slightly gamey approach to my choice, deliberately choosing two armies with Airboats on the hope that other players would find them hard to use. The fact that I'm no genius when it comes to their deployment sort of cancelled out any advantage I might be gaining, though.
The armies were:
The Heroic Forces Of Helium
1 x Hero General (John Carter)
5 x Blades (Heliumitic Warriors)
1 x Riders (Heliumitic Warriors on Thoats)
1 x Flyer (Small Flyers)
2 x Airboats (Mighty Warships)
The Insidious Zodangan/Warhoon Alliance
1 x Blade General (The Jeddak of Zodanga)
4 x Blades (Perfidious Zodangan Warriors)
3 x Knights (Green Martian Allies)
1 x Flyer (Small Flyers)
2 x Airboats (Mighty Warships)
Basically only 6AP of the armies were different, plus the choice of which element was the general.
In my first game I face Martin, and we used my pair. To my surprise he chose the Zodangans - I had assumed that John Carter would be the attractive option given the choice, but the Knights obviously proved a greater draw. I defended, and proceeded to screen half of my army from the general using a hill.
The Zodangans and Warhoon attacked together, and my brave warriors lined up ready to resist them.
Cunning use of my Flyer behind the Zodangan lines saw their aerial navy taken down, before their own Flyer was surrounded and eliminated.
The Zodangan general fought bravely on the other side of the field, but the rest of his army had had enough. Victory for Helium!
On another table a couple of Dark Ages or Late Roman armies fought it out. This was the only picture I took of the other games. Sorry. There were Teddy Bears, Daleks and Napoleonics in use at various times. And I'm sure that there will be pictures by others elsewhere.
On to my second game, against new HOTT player Greg. Again he went for the Zodangans (do people really dislike John Carter that much?) and again I defended.
We started with an aerial skirmish in the middle.
This escalated into a full-blown fight.
Meanwhile John Carter got distratced, trying to prevent a flank-march on Helium by the Zodangan's Warhoon allies. In this picture some Green Martian learned that you don't mess with John Carter.
The Zodangan navy, or what was left of it, came over to help. They nearly took out John Carter, but luck was with him and he survived.
Meanwhile Helium's navy had been pinned by the Zodangan warriors, and it took them some time to extricate themselves. When they did so they found the Zodangan general isolated in some bad going, and took advantage of this to bomb him to oblivion, giving me a second victory.
This second game was much close then the first - or a new player Greg handled his army very well, and the battle could have gone either way. Having his general caught in bad going was really the only mistake he made, and I was lucky to get the PIPs and combat roll to exploit it for the win.
My third opponent was Victor, who had an interesting Rohan vs Orcs matched-pair - Rohan was mostly Knights, whilst the Orcs were mostly Hordes. On paper the Knights would seem to have the advantage, but they are heavily outnumbered and their pursuit can leave them terribly exposed.
I opted for Rohan. The Knights were supported by a Hero general and a Magician, whilst a couple of Lurkers waited in the wings.
The fourteen Orc Hordes were supported by a Knight general and a couple of troll Behemoths. These were very dangerous to my Knights indeed.
Victor's Orcs were split into two groups by a couple of small marshes, and I hit both groups before they could clear them and use their numbers to extend their flanks and overlap mine. In the centre the Orcs died in droves, but this exposed the Behemoths. Before I could get Gandalf into action one of them rushed out and clubbed him to death. The centre developed into a bit of a stalemate.
On the flank my Knights attacked, but failed to make much headway. However Victor swung his general into the marsh to support the flanks of his line...
... and was jumped by the Lurkers. He survived the first round of combat, but not the second.
With the Orc general gone Rohan only needed to destroy another Horse to win. And did.
This left me with a good score for the GBnU meta-tournament, but we'll have to see how that actually pans out over the next couple of months as the other legs are played.
My final game saw me playing Steve and his Clan Wars pair - beautifully painted I must say.
One army was a mixed bag of Shooters and Blades, with a Behemoth, Magician and Beast in support. The other was mostly Warband (samurai rats, no less). I decided that simplicity was best and went for the Warband. I lumped my whole army on one flank, aiming to concentrate it on one end of his line before he could bring the other up in support.
The Samurai set up.
At this point the pictures dried up, as I forgot to take any in the heat of the action. Steve took a risk and attacked my Magician with his, ensorcelling him and removing my main defence against his Behemoth general. I lost a pair of Warband early on as well, leaving me very vulnerable to a quick defeat. However I inflicted plenty of casualties on his army with the survivors, and broke through his line to threaten his rather un-Japanese stronghold.
We fought on, and after twice failing to assault his stronghold I lost another Warband to his general. However I was able to kill more of his troops to clinch a very narrow victory indeed - 12 points to 10.
Four wins in four games was enough to give me first place in the tournament. Newcomer Greg, with three wins, took second prize.
Thanks to Victor and the other SBG members for arranging the event once again, and Steve for organising the Australian leg of the GBnU tournament.