This years GT was being held at Tabletop Nation in Essex, a good two-hundred miles south of anywhere I call home. For me the weekend started at lunchtime the Friday before when I was picked up by team mates Craig 'ukrocky' Johnson and Ant 'Stryder' Hoult for the an early run down the A1 to beat the Friday traffic.
It was at this point Craig decided to drop the bombshell that this was the furthest he'd ever driven, with fewer than a quarter of the weekend's miles under our wheels. Several aborted stops later we extracted ourselves from the car at the promised land, rather glad we'd found it at last. I'll grudgingly admit that Peterborough services is about as good as a motorway services is going to get, and Craig's enthusiasm seemed somewhat sated by the giant burrito he consumed.
Back on the road the only remaining blip on the run to the venue was the Fortune of War something that was once a roundabout but is now a sort of chicane shaped monument in the middle of the A127.
I'm still not sure now if it's name or it's abject southern stupidity formed the overriding omen for the weekend, but an omen it certainly was.
We landed at Tabletop Nation in the early afternoon glad to be done with the drive and looking forward to seeing the venue. We weren't disappointed, TTN his HUGE, a massive warehouse full of gaming tables a well stocked store and a bar.
We were the first Malifaux players on site and lacking the drive to play any MX right away I picked up a copy of Pandemic, a game I've been meaning to grab for a while.
Some Zombie Dice and a couple of games of Pandemic later (it is such a good game), we were nicely chilled out and ready for the weekend.
At this point a family of Malifaux players; Cathy, Andy and son James popped their heads in to say hello, which was nice.
TO for the weekend Dave and his son Timmy arrived shortly afterwards and the eight of us went for dinner together. This is one of the things I like most about the Malifaux community, everyone gets on. It's so easy to relax and chat to these people, even when you're getting funny looks in a gastropub for discussing the merits of giving your skeleton warriors spears and whether Kings of War is a real game or not.*
Much dinner ingested and having helped set up the tables for the event we headed out to find our hotel, this led to an incident;
Apparently Travelodge have a policy of never having the post code they give you for their hotels actually take you to their hotels. This one led us down a dark country track. As we wound our way along past progressively more suspiciously parked cars disquiet began to grow. Just where were we going? In the end we arrived at the crowning glory of this deranged detour, a kebab van lit up like an opportunistic Christmas tree and underlining the track's horrible dead end.
Some reversing and recrimination later we returned to civilization but not necessarily the happy state of trust we had before. Some time later we found the hotel and settled in for the night.
Dawn broke and we emerged from our room.
There had been some trouble checking in and I wanted to make sure we'd been checked in properly by the evidently escaped mental patient that had been manning the desk the proceeding evening. The concerned day receptionist asked me the 'nature of my stay'. It was at this point I realized that the bag I had on the desk in front of her had a camera strapped to it and the two men stood behind me were dressed as cowboy and a horse respectively. I don't think my answer of 'just put leisure' necessarily helped matters but it was eventually confirmed that we had checked in.
Although I'm not sure the Travelodge were too happy about that.
|Craig as McCabbe's Horse and Ant as Francisco|
Malifaux commenced and as it's first edition I won't be going into my games. The day was fun with lunch and an excellent evening meal (by tournament standards) were provided. I learned I should never be put in charge of a quiz and ran the hardcore, which had it's usual frantic energy.
Actual event games over for the day we broke out some boardgames and a relaxing evening of fun drifted into night.
Ant and Craig were overnight leaders so the bickering and sometimes subtle mind games had begin long before we returned to the hotel to find our room was literally vibrating to the sound of Queen's we are the Champions. Which I felt was a nice touch but both premature and unnecessary.
It turned out there was a wedding party using the venue next door. Some time and many mind games later the music stopped and we were able to get some sleep before the final two rounds.
A couple of fun games of Malifaux later the event was over and I'd played my last ever games of first edition. In the end Ant and Craig tied both their final games and let Malifool ringer Joel Henry submarine his way to a well deserved event win.
I managed to win Best Pained Crew for my Hoffman Crew, which I'm thrilled with. With that the weekend was done. Roll on M2e. Well done to Joel and a big thanks to Dave for organizing. Thanks to all the great players I met, especially the Irish guys who made the trip over, they were a great laugh.
We headed back north analyzing a game that no longer exists and with Craig looking for the promised land once more. Raising the suspicion he only really went to the event for the service station burritos.
I'll leave you with some other snaps from the weekend;
*For the record it probably is, but only a casual one.