Beautiful Steve and I decided to head up on the Friday night, finally arriving at our destination some time after midnight to find that Rich (whose floor we would be sleeping on) and his chums were still out preying upon women; and so we had no choice but to go out and join them. We picked our way through the streets crowded with screeching harridans and boys in designer shirts attempting to assert their alpha-male status by beating the fuck out of each other, and eventually arrived at the horrifying assault on the senses that is Gatecrasher.
A lot of fuss is made in the British press about how cheap booze and drinks promotions actively encourage the binge drinking culture that apparently blights our society; but I don’t think you can rule out the effect of being trapped in a place so abhorrent that sobriety is simply not an option. So I gritted my teeth, got drunk and spent the next few hours filling my hate-hump and attempting to set fire to people with the power of my mind. Eventually everyone was ready to leave (because the place was closing), and by four o’ clock I was on Rich’s sofa, falling asleep in front of children’s cartoons from the eighties and hoping that Gary (a lunatic Scot that was also staying at Rich’s) wouldn’t try and stick anything in me.
The next day actually involved some toy soldiers.
There is a theory that when it comes to Grand Tournaments, it is the heats that are the most competitive since players must finish in the top 45 in order to qualify and get their free ticket for the finals. In the finals themselves, with the exception of the highly competitive few, everyone is just there to have a bit of fun.
This theory would later be proved to be complete bunk, but in any case I’ve always regarded the first day of any tournament as one that I just have to get through, tumbling down the ranks until I start getting drawn against people with armies at least half as rubbish as mine, or some other crippling affliction that prevents them from winning games; like a fear of rolling dice, a tendency to black out for extended periods of time, or an Ogre army. Which is more or less how it panned out.
Game 1: Daemons
This guy had won every single game in his heat bar the last one, which he lost to a mate that was using exactly the same army as him. I killed a handful of angry devil hounds and a couple of wibbly beasts covered in nipples and claws; and he killed my entire army. On the plus side, the game was over in less than an hour; so I went to the bar for a nap.
Game 2: Dark Elves
Much like the Dark Elf army I got rinsed by in the heats, this was a travelling circus of ravenous beasts and transsexuals with machine guns. I wounded a hydra, and killed his sorceress when a load of rocks fell on her as part of the special rules for this particular game; and he killed my entire army. On the plus side, the game was over in less than an hour; so I went to the bar for a nap.
Game 3: High Elves
This was a nice old-fashioned kind of bent army; the kind where you go through your army book, work out what all the best stuff is and then just take lots of that. I killed two guys on horses and smudged his dragon-riding noble’s make up; and he killed my entire army. On the plus side, the game was over in less than an hour; so I went to the bar for a nap.
So I finished the day in second to last place; which was surprising, as it meant that despite me killing less than ten models and having my army wiped out to a goatman three times, there was still someone doing worse than me.
We almost didn't make the start of the first round on day two, largely thanks to an extended evening program of spilling drinks and dancing like pricks at the infamous Rock City that once again saw us not getting in until four...
Game 4: High Elves
Turns out this was the same guy that smashed me to bits in game five of the heats when I forgot, like, the only special rule his army has. I sure as hell wasn't going to repeat the same mistake, and this time around concentrated on charging with lots of chariots that are able to turn his guys into cocktail dresses full of red goo before they would have a chance to stick pointy things in me. As an added bonus, the game was over in less than an hour; so I went to the bar for a nap.
Game 5: Daemons
Normal service was resumed at this point. The thundering lard monster that led his army wielded a Sword of Killing Fucking Everything that went through my beasts like a cat through hot butter. His task was made easier by the fact that my goatmen were particularly ill-behaved, and insisted on charging towards him at every available opportunity. The final insult came (and please forgive me for getting quite specific in my geekiness here) when my Dragon Ogres charged into a unit of ten Pink Horrors, lost the combat and fled off the board. Through a unit of Minotaurs. Who failed their panic test and fled of the board. I killed one gibbering pink tentacled lunatic and a couple of fire-breathing mushrooms; and he killed my entire army. On the plus side, the game was over in less than an hour; so I went to the bar for a nap.
Game 6: Wood Elves
Unusually for a game against Wood Elves, this was one where I felt like I got to play too. I still lost, but I reckon I could have pulled off a draw if I was less of a numpty.
And so that was it for another year. It's difficult to be sure of my final position in the tournament, as all the numbers were cut off from the side of the results sheet we got given; but I was pretty damn near last. I was, however, the most successful Beastmans player at the tournament; helped largely by the fact that there were only two other people stupid enough to take Beastmans teams, and they only managed to win one game between them. I got nominated for Best Army again, and the High Elf guy that beat me in the third round won the award for Biggest Victory in a Single Game (although they didn't say which game, it could've been any of them... ahem...).