Vir's Archive

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What to Bring to GenCon?

I've got a dilemma. What Warmachine models do I bring to GenCon?

think, think, think

Of course, part of it will depend on the format we choose for our tourney. We decided to do our mini-tourney on Friday night - but now I got to think about which models I should bring. As much as I want, I cant bring them all. I am NOT going to bring my full Privateer Press bag, but do have a smaller one that will handle, at best, a third of my army.

So, I got to think which Warcasters. Always start with the Warcaster. I'm thinking Sorcha, Vlad, Strak... and one of either Karchev or the Butcher.

From there, I'll have to pick the units and 'jacks that are the most versatile. I like Doomreavers, so I am pretty sure I will bring them. I like my magnetized Khador 'jack frame, so I will probably bring at least one (I have three) as well as all its arm options. Widowmakers will come.

After that? I really want to bring Behemoth and Beast 09 - but they are heavy and irregularly shaped making it hard to fit them. Bringing Behemoth might mean I have to sacrifice other models. So, is Behemoth (and/or Beast) versatile enough to justify the space they take?

Not sure. I'm open to opinions and suggestions.

Moving Armies Part 3: A Look At Battlefoam's Custom Foam

Foam Fer Everyone!

So, lets talk about Battlefoam's custom foam-maker-thingy...

Seems ready for Indy already!

Why Do Such a Thing?

In anticipation for the upcoming move from Gabon to Sri Lanka - which will involve a stop over in Dallas and Indianapolis (for GenCon '11) - I thought I could use some specialized foam to protect the bigger and irregularly-shaped pieces of my Warmachine army. As you may or may not know, I've been very happy with Battlefoam as of late (see the other posts in this series). Battlefoam's bags and foam are top notch and exactly what I am looking for in terms of durability and portability.

A comparison of the standard and custom.

So, it was only natural I utilize their signature custom foam designer. This was precipitated largely because, while the standard Warmachine foam inserts are solid, they arent large enough to comfortably hold odd/large models. Behemoth and mounted Fenris are the too worst offenders. If I am to bring them to Dallas and Indy to play a slew of Warmachine, I thought having a special foam insert for them would be the best idea.


The Basics:

I used a 4'' deep piece of custom foam. The idea was to make sure the really odd moels would fit. Looking at the picture beblow, you can see mounted Fenris (in the fore) and the Behemoth (behind) - they fit pretty nice. Fenris will need to go on his side, but the Behemoth fits wonderfully with a topper covering that last little bit. I chose to put them all upright because I like having only the base touching the foam... its probably illogibal, but I feel better knowing that they arent rolling around on their sides. Plus, all the standard Battlefoam trays have the models lay on their sides, I wanted to see if an insert could be made that is both useful and allows the models to stand upright.

The Template I used

The template designer was easy to use. You play with their program on line, drop some geometry on some simulated foam, and you are good to go. In my case, I was looking mostly for a handful of large slots to hold a couple large figures, so the other stuff I added in was mostly just extra. That said, I could have done a better job utilizing the extra space. The little 1'' circles I thought would be a nice snug fit for tall models like the Thrall Warrior (with his big ass sword) or the Iron Fang standard bearer. Unfortunately, the little circle is too snug, and with a deep foam insert like I bought, it would literally pull the figure from the base if I put him all the way in there. So, those 1'' slots are going to be used for dice or holding magetized arms of 'jacks.

A general rule of thumb if I were to do this again (and I will) is add AT LEAST 1/2'' to the size you think would be appropriate. Another 1/2'' wouldnt be unreasonable either. The foam is cut with precision and the usual high standards are maintained on the custom foam.

If you are worried the custom foam wont be as sturdy or reliable as the standard stuff, as long as you dont go crazy and put too many slots (and degrade the integrity) - you will be fine.

Snug in their beds.

So, the above pic is my tentative layout. Upper left is Beast. Upper right is the Behemoth. The other larger circles are all magnetized plastic Khador jacks with their arms removed. Fenris, obviously, is in the middle. In the medium circle on the bottom right is a Thrall Warrior. Above him is the IFP Standard Bearer. Overall, things fit nicely (excpeting those little holes, which I note above).

I do plan to do a little cutting of my own. If I remove a little foam between the prongs of the "x" in some of the slots, I can fit other irregularly shaped jacks like Drago and Beast. The other problem children are those damned plastic Detroyers and Juggernauts in the new box set. They are very wide and wont fit in anything short of those big circles or the big square. I have access to Juggeys and Destroyers through the magnetized 'jacks, so my motivation to find room for these guys is pretty low.

Another pic of the foam compared to a normal Warmachine troop tray.

I am happy with the X-circles. That extra room fits some of the weapons that hang akwardly off some of the larger models and 'jacks, and will provide a useful spot to start when I make my own cuts. The X-circles also come filled with their own foam, adding to their utility (and the overall stability of the insert). I can cut those fillers as I see fit as well us use them to provide a more base (for foam stacked on top) when not in use.

Lessons Learned:

- When you plan out the foam with the designer, always add at least 1/4'' for each model that is standing upright.

- Those little 1'' circles are pretty much useless.

- Dont be afraid to cut the foam you just customized to accomodate the really odd models.

- 4'' deep foam is deep enough for everyone but mounted Fenris standing upright and Behemoth.

- Really, just because its driving my nuts, the plastic Destroyer and Juggernaut from the battleforce box set are annoyingly large and wide. If you want to find them a nice home using the custom foam designer, go with the really largle slots. Ugh.


Oh! If you look closely at the pics in this Blog you will get a hint of the topic of "Moving Armies Part 4: Bigger Than a Breadbasket" (any guesses?)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

GenCon '11: Event Reg

Event registration for GenCon '11 has come and gone. Now, the real planning begins.

What to say about registration? It could have gone better - but it wasn't a complete waste. GenCon LLC has instituted a new "wishlist" system which I am still on the fence about. basically, you go through all the various events, rank them, and then when reg begins, you submit your list and hope that you beat out all comers. There were three of us that I know from my group that submitted our wish lists within half a second of event registration opening and we all ended up with more than 1,000 people "in line" before us. Really? 1/2 a second and I'm 1322? My buddy, Brad, was right behind me at 1350 and Eric, my other buddy in Europe was 990-something.

On one hand, this new system makes it a lot less stressful and allows for some planning ahead of time. In this case, my buddies and I worked on getting one of the TerrorWerks live action games thinking it would be great fun to do as a group. Alas, it was not to be. We had two of us working in coordination (across Skype) and still couldn't come up with an opportunity to get us all in the same slot. Within two minutes almost all of the blocks for TerrorWerks were sold out. Dammit.

Worse yet, even one of the seminars was sold out. I've never, ever seen a seminar sold out on the first day... much less the first five minutes. I've been to seminars by the same group and while they are popular - they have never been that popular. The only real change is the new wishlist system, so I blame it for me losing out on a bunch of events.

In the past, when registration opened, you logged on and we all raced to get each event one-at-a-time. maybe because I had better success with that system is the reason I like it better. This new wishlist system left me incapable of prioritizing on the fly. It got even more complicated when I was trying to buy tickets for multiple people - if even one had a conflicting event then you couldn't get tickets for all of them. Suck. So, all those extra events I signed up for because they simply looked interesting made it so the few opportunities I had to nab the TerrorWerks events. Boo!

In the past, if you had a a buddy with a conflicting event, it took a couple seconds (as long as a page reload) to drop that particular event and look for another or drop your buddy from the event. Now? With the new system you had to put it into your wishlist, reload, and wait in line for the computer to tell you that one of your buddies had a conflicting event - and in the mean time someone else grabbed the last good spot.

I dislike this new system for a couple reasons:

1) The guy that gets lucky and has his wishlist in first gets ALL of his games. In the other format, that (fictional) guy and me were competing at the same time, so he got some and I got some. In this case, because I was milliseconds late I got left in the cold.

2) Its nigh impossible to buy tickets for a group due to the mutual block-outs that occur due to scheduling conflicts. The added wait time of the wish-list aggravates an already existing problem.

3) I really dislike picking an event after registration has opened just to have to wait a minute or more for the computer to tell me there is a conflict. Event registration is a competitive environment, and having to sit on my hands sucks.


So, this year it looks like I am foregoing gaming in official events and focusing on the auction, loot room, seminars, and gaming with my buddies. Honestly, thats the way it usually ends up... so its not a total loss.

92 days to go (or so the countdown times on the GenCon page tells me).