Warmachine: Conventions – Why You Should Go

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Conventions are big, expensive ordeals that eat up money and vacation time in exchange for something you can get at your LGS, right?  Wrong!  There are plenty of reasons to go to conventions!

What’s up folks!?  It’s Trevy the Great here again from Way of the Swan, recently returning from the 400+ person madhouse that is Templecon!  I’m just coming down from the high that comes after every visit to a convention and I’d like to talk about what makes cons so super fun and why everyone should go!  A full weekend (or more!) of camaraderie, meeting new people and playing brain-melting amounts of Warmachine and Hordes is super sweet and an experience everyone who loves playing the game should have at some point at least once!  When I started playing Warmachine, I never expected to go to conventions; I was a starving college student living off a part time job as as much money as I could scrounge from my relatives.  I first visited Templecon three years ago and had the time of my life; it was a local convention so the costs weren’t unbearable and I played so much Warmachine and met so many new people that I decided to continue that experience.  Next up was Adepticon; a lot farther away than Templecon (by about 1,000 miles), but I soon learned that carpooling and sharing room space makes the entire ordeal much cheaper.  I went back to Adepticon last year and just bought my ticket for this year’s show.

 

So why should you go to a convention?  It’s a long way from home and much more expensive than playing at your local game store, and I won’t deny that the experience isn’t for everyone, but for people who love the games and communities these shows are based around, it’s awesome.  First of all; just meeting new people is the most exciting part of a con.  You’re guaranteed to walk into a room filled with literally hundreds of people who share the exact same interests as you!  How often do you get to do that!  Those are people with whom you can can keep in touch and meet up with at future shows, which makes every con an even better experience.  And let me tell you; the number of people who are passionate enough to travel thousands of miles to play an awesome game and are unpleasant when they get there is miniscule, especially in the Warmachine and Hordes community.

 

competitive-advantage

For the competitive player

If you’re a competitive player looking for that edge in your game, practice against new play styles and against new lists is the best way to hone that edge; and conventions are the number one best way to get that experience.  Personally, I felt my game improve drastically after my first Templecon, where I played 18 games over the course of 3 days against a variety of people and new lists that I’d never seen before!  Better than that; conventions let you rub elbows with some of the most experienced competitive Warmachine and Hordes players in the meta.  Talking with some tournament big-names can give you valuable insight into powerful strategies in the meta game.  Even more; you get to watch the national metagame in action and see how the most popular lists in the game play!  If you’ve got the goods you can give qualifying for Masters a shot, as just about every major convention has a Masters event; many of which offer a coveted qualification to the Warmachine Weekend Invitational!

 

For the casual player

If all that competitive nonsense isn’t your style, conventions don’t disappoint!  Most major cons offer tons of access to casual play space; usually an Iron Arena (or something similar) is set up, where players get to play casual games of Warmachine for points that can exchanged for cool prizes or models… it’s basically a ChuckECheese but with tiny pewter soldiers and robots instead of trampolines and arcade games.  It’s rare that these areas don’t have awesome scenario tables with cool objectives like train robberies and beach head invasions, complete with epic terrain to really drive the narrative.  And remember; you don’t have to play just Warmachine and Hordes at a convention!  There are always tons of other gamers or retailers with different games to demo and play!  RPGs like the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game often get played in short campaigns on the sidelines of a convention, and these one-shot adventures are always a great laugh!  Even though the competitive scene usually gets all the pomp and circumstance of live streams and intense coverage, a convention is always fun no matter what level of competition you’re interested in!

 

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The calm before the storm at CaptainCon 2014

 

But conventions are expensive!

…Or are they?  The typical price tag for a room for 3 nights and the round trip to the venue is usually daunting.  An expensive hotel room and a two-way flight can cost upwards of $1,000 for the weekend, a lot to lose for a wallet of any size.  But conventions don’t have to be that expensive; sticking to more local events means that you can travel with a group in a car, splitting the gas money and driving time and keeping the drive interesting for one another.  A 12+ hour car ride doesn’t seem like the most fun, but it’s always surprising how enjoyable it is when all that time is spent with friends.  Likewise, sharing the hotel room with 3-4 people can cut your hotel costs to under $200, as long as you’re okay with bringing a sleeping bag or bringing a bed (believe me, you won’t be spending too much time in the room)!  I’ve found that, going with a group of friends cuts down by convention attendance costs significantly; right around the affordable $250-300 mark (just remember to save some so you can eat and buy cool stuff!).  While that’s not the cheapest pricetag for a weekend away, it’s pretty good considering the good times that are to be had!

 

Do you frequent conventions?  If so; do you do it for the competitive aspects of the game or just to hang out and throw dice?  What makes the experience awesome for you?  Remember to check out www.wayoftheswan.com for more fun convention coverage!

  • Marky

    I only get 25 days holiday + (public holidays) per year. It’s hard to justify using too many of these to go to a convention… especially when my wife isn’t interested (At all).

    Now, I have heard that people in the US often work in really bad conditions (10 days holiday a year!), how do you guys manage?

    • Damistar

      We do get paid overtime 🙂
      I only go to the conventions near home, which for me is Adepticon and possbly GenCon.

    • Joshua Russell

      It’s definitely not worth wasting your time going to conventions, when such a huge part of the community cheats…

      • Damistar

        Is there a lot of cheating in convention tournaments? I’ve heard that there’s a lot of hard core WAACers at these events, but I don’t hear much about widespread cheating.

        • Sinner!

          Tournaments are designed to delineate the strongest players, why would you label and try to shame someone for trying to win as long as long as they play within the rules?

          If you’re not one for the competitive scene, feel free to participate in the iron arena where there’ll be a much more relaxed atmosphere.

          • Chris. K Cook

            WAACers go beyond being the best and cheat or badger the TO into putting restrictions on stuff they don’t like.

            Its all good and well trying to be the best, its another thing when you do it with Shaky rules lawyer interpretations.

          • Sinner!

            That’s the good thing about Warmachine. There aren’t really shaky rules-lawyer interpretations; 99% of the time the answer is right there in the rules.

            What you’re describing, in my opinion, is a cheater, not a “WAACer”

          • Chris. K Cook

            ‘At All Cost’ includes cheating. If you aren’t willing to do what ever it takes you aren’t a cheating/rule misinterpreting WAAC jerk.

          • Chris. K Cook

            Plus its a hop skip and a jump from shaky interpretations to dodgy measuring to outright cheating. Reasonable folks don’t cheat and the WAAC guys are never reasonable.

        • Joshua Russell

          You don’t hear it because the community hates to admit it. If they admit it then they admit the game is a joke competetivewise.

      • Sinner!

        That’s an absurd and unfounded accusation

        • NikosanPrime

          I hate to say it but I find that about 1/3 of the players I have played against at tournaments are not measuring their movement correctly so they can get extra distance. I call that cheating but when you try to call people on it I find it is hard to get it dealt with.

          • Joshua Russell

            Oh that’s an “honest mistake”… They’ll also give you wrong starts, resolve abilities indirectly, forget to upkeep spells, missmark damage, and a slew of other things that you have to be on the lookout for al the time. But if you call someone out on it, you’re the ahole…

        • Joshua Russell

          Who are you? I was part of the competitive scene for 5+ years a TO for almost 8, I played at GenCon, WMW, Adepticon, DieCon and a ton of other conventions. I Won the invitational in 2010, I’ve played against pretty much al the top players for years. I think I’m s little more qualified to speak in the subject than you…

          I know the fact that the competitive scene being a joke is tough for most players to swallow, most have wasted far too much of their lives and money to it, but the truth hurts. I would bet every dime I have that cheatif happens in every round of every major event for Warmachine. The only way you can be successful in the competitive scene is if you know the rules so well that you can kee yourself from being cheated. Because it’s going to happen.

          • Sinner!

            You’re really mad, aren’t you?

          • Joshua Russell

            And is that it? That’s all you have? You get called out on BSing and you come back with “you mad bro?”?

          • I have a feeling you’ve been out of the scene for a while, Joshua. I haven’t been playing competitively for very long, but I’m willing to bet that the community has changed quite a bit since 2010. There will always be a few mistakes and inconsistencies in play that don’t get caught, but 99% of them in a competitive scene are just silly accidents and not maliciously or intentionally done.

          • Joshua Russell

            I quit playing about a year ago… So… No….

          • Interesting, I’ve been playing very competitively in conventions for about the last two years, yet I’ve never seen or heard of you. We must attend very different shows.

          • Joshua Russell

            Did you go to wmw this last year, diecon? Did you hear about the wtc mess? That stuff happens WAY more often than the community would like to believe…
            Oh, and let’s not forget about win trading…

          • snotgoblin040

            I am glad you have moved on josh. This is something obviously not good for you and I hope you take your passion for negativity with you. The tourney scene has always been awesome AND honest – with videos and film being more prevalent the cheaters are getting their just rewards. May you find something that you enjoy without having to result in blaming others 😉

          • Joshua Russell

            Ha… “there is nothing wrong with the community! Did I mention there is video that proves there are cheaters?” Wow…
            You’re the perfect example of the delusional fanboys who can’t admit that there is rampant cheating, and that the community is garbage. Otherwise you have to admit you’ve been wasting your life…

          • Dan

            Dude calm down, it’s just a game. It doesn’t matter. There’s no reason to become agressive towards people here.

          • Sinner!

            Sorry captain, I was taken aback when you flew into a blind rage

          • Chris. K Cook

            Ye can solve this easily, you chaps drop your pants and I’ll fetch the ruler.

          • crevab

            We look forward to the shocking expose you’re writing for BoLS

  • Gridloc

    My first convention was Captaincon last year. Had a blast, so I decided this year to hit more up. I got to go to Templecon this year and it was great time, the scenario boards, new players to go against, new games to try. It was simply amazing. As soon as i got the chance i signed up for Nova and waiting for this years Captaincon kickstarter to go up!

    • See you at CaptainCon! 😀

    • William Bellamy

      The Kickstarter begins the 31st for Captaincon. My wife and I went last year and we had a good time. We tried Templecon but didn’t get any games of Warmachine in (I’m a noob) but I did play in the X-Wing tournament, where they gave us tables to use with tables that had warmachine terrain on them. Nothing like X-Wing fighters tipping over because they’re on the side of a hill with a Millennium Falcon flying down a gully.

  • Lock & Load is damn near in my back yard. One of these years I’ll actually bother going…

  • EwanPorteous

    What is the average age of people who attend these events? I’m in my 30s and would like to attend one with some mates, but not if we were playing against teens. No offence 🙂