Monday, August 23, 2010

The Road to Games Day 2010

If you'd rather read about Games Day and not about how we got there, then please skip this part and click here for the second part.

Part 1: The Wild, Wild East
What do three 40k players need to travel more than 750 miles from Chicago, IL all the way to Baltimore, MD?
Some bread, a cooler filled with Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper, an iPod with some good Rock N' Roll, cases filled with miniatures and a red Jeep. CUZ RED UNZ GO FASTA!!!!!!!!!!
It's what we had and all we needed to make this long trip, and by the Emperor on his Golden Toilet, it was WORTH it.

We left from our beloved state (which was actually the worst and most tedious part of our trip - IL has the worst roads in the world) around 8:30 am on Friday the 22nd with some trusty Mapquest directions and the cheery tunes that were playing on the radio. Before that we changed the motor oil to get better gas mileage. My friends Vince and Nolan were switching driver duties every 3 hours or so... which pretty much meant every time we got gas and our trip took is trough the states of Michigan (where I played Detroit Rock City by KISS), Ohio (which apparently is the slowest state when it comes to preparing fast food), Pennsylvania (which charged us $3.90 just for entering the state and just like the name states IS one giant forest) and of course Maryland.
We went a little bit too far North so we lost some momentum on the way to the convention, but that was fixed with a quick stop for directions at a Red Roof Inn. ; ) The whole trip in general was very exciting for me, because it was my first real roadtrip and the first time I got to explore the U.S ever since I moved here from Bulgaria. I have to say, the further east we went, the more gorgeous the scenery became and the more it reminded me of the years spent in my motherland. Pennsylvania was definitely the best, though. A single road with almost no signs and around it the only thing I could see were trees, trees and more trees. It was simply breathtaking. To being our journey from Illinois - a state torn by the industrialization and with more concrete than plants and to end in such a paradise after the barren Midwest... Whoo boy..

When we got to Baltimore it was already really grim.. and dark. It is a gorgeous city that looks very inspiring but doesn't really have the crowd of Chicago. Also, there is nightlife! Yep. People actually do stuff outside when it gets dark. That and just the relaxing atmosphere of the city reminded me of my own hometown which is also located next to a significant body of water (The Black Sea). I don't know. There was something in the air that just felt like home and I'd love to visit Baltimore again and again even if it is not for a nerdy convention. ;P Oh, yeah.
Obviously we weren't able to get any rooms in any of the three hotels that were pretty much glued to the Games Day convention hall so we had to get a room for the night over at the Best Western. I have no idea what a Best Western is doing in the Far East, though... All I know is that they charged us $150 for a two bed room (one bed rooms were the same price) with a TV and a bathroom fan that were not working and a really upsetting "free" breakfast in the morning. I was going to complain like so many people have done to me while I was working in the Hotel business but we were too tired after a day's worth of driving across the U.S. of A.


Pics or it didn't happen? It happened.
Before the opening "ceremony" (meaning - the doors opened and people started running in for no reason like a horde of Boyz), the lobby of the convention hall was bursting at the seams it seemed. Some people were handing out little fliers with a very poorly-rendered Ultramarine in attempt to promote "Ultramarines" which is coming out FALL 2010. From the exclusive new trailers the movie does look a lot better, but I honestly don't think that any of us - the fanatics who drove hundreds of miles to be a part of Games Day - needed the fliers to promote the movie. We're all going to see it anyways.... even though Ultramarines SUCK.

A few people, including some GW employees did try to unleash a mighty WAAAAAAGH while we were waiting, but they failed miserably. It was not very effective. ;P
... however, when the doors opened nothing could stop the horde of gamers from screaming the mighty Ork battle cry as if their lives depended on it..
My Stompaz will never be that cool.
I wasn't really sure if this Games Day was bigger than the one in Chicago 2009. Maybe? This year we just decided to relax a bit and just look around, maybe get some ideas for cool campaigns or what not. The Carnival of Chaos seems like tons of fun but we never really understood how to get tokens for it and we decided not to waste our time doing the various "Speed Demon" things, because we were afraid we'd miss something cool. At the same time we felt like spending a few hours playing some games against each other was also going to be a waste, given that we could always do that in someone's basement.

There were a lot of cool things, however. I enjoyed watching the laser tag remotely controlled Baneblade games and the huge cannon thing seemed like a ... blast. People were trying to guess the distance from the tip of the gun to a randomly chosen object for a prize. ; )

Still not sure if like..
The guys from The Bolter and Chainsword had a very cool table with a bunch of Independent Characters that people could pick up and duke it out with. After a few rounds of crazy combat my Wolf Lord got defeated by Nolan's Chaos Sorcerer guy. I think the event was called "Feast of Blades" and I'm currently trying to find out the exact rules for it since it was so much fun. I'd love to start a challenging league in our local GW where people have similar Independent Character and engage in bloody duels to the death.
The Zombie Survival event also seemed like a lot of fun but it was always full.. at least when we felt like playing it.

Jawaball's hand-painted banner!
Finally able to see the The Great Storm Wardens Collaborative Build and Charity (the money went to Doctors Without Borders) at Games Day was a big surprise to me. The models looked great, especially when I knew beforehand from the various bloggers that painted them. I am relatively new to the whole 40k internet thing - both as a blog reader and author, and even though people don't know me at all I felt like a part of the process, because I was following the progress of the Storm Wardens. Good job, guys! What a great way to combine a hobby and a way to do charity work. I will definitely try and do my share next time something like that happens.

Speaking of feeling like a part of the "community", I got pretty excited when I saw Jawaballs kicking ass over at his table. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even remember me (me and my two friends screamed your names in front of the camera, Jawaballs!), but if you frequent Jawaballs' blog then you'll know what I mean. He was nice enough to give my friend a copy of his Blood Angels list after I pointed out to him that Jawaballs was one of the top Blood Angel players in the 40k community. Also, his army looks so much better on the table. No pictures can do justice to his models. Also I was off by ONE digit from winning the Space Wolves army. >.<

Fritz 40K was also there, although I am not sure if I actually SAW him. I know his table was adjacent to Jawaballs' and I think he gave me a raffle ticket. I dunno. I got his business blog card, heh. ; )

Lets talk swag, shall we? It isn't a Games Day without some free stuff and some not free stuff. I still think that if you have paid the $25 ticket you should definitely get some sort of a discout on GW products. I mean, we drove all the way from IL to buy GW stuff, didn't we? I know that selling discounted products is not really a Games Workshop thing, but a man can dream... a man can dream...
This year there was a lot of Ultramarine related swag with the "Ultramarines" coming out this fall and what not.. Here's the newly released trailer from Games Day if you still haven't seen it..

Okay. Okay. I'll admit it. It looks friggin' cool. I mean, how can you not love that deep voice? Or the music playing while Ultramarines get shot to death? Hehehe..

To celebrate the upcoming release, there were these free patches with the Ultramarine logo on it (A skull over a laurel) and on the back is a code for a "FOR THE EMPEROR" Space Marine Ring Tone. There were also small Ultramarines badges and I made sure to grab as many as I could to share among my Illinois Battle Brothers. ; >

Of course I also grabbed the Games Day 2010 Chaos Sorcerer miniature and hopefully I'll be able to trade it for something nice in the future. It does look pretty darn cool if you ask me. However, I think it's wolfshit that there were two Chaos Fantasy themed models 2 years in a roll. Would've liked another Space Wolf or an Ork..  Oh, well. The shirt is also pretty cool and I got it even though I don't really play Warhammer Fantasy that much. I guess I get it, though - 8th Edition is the new thing that GW is trying to push after all. The free Horus Heresy and Imperial Guard propaganda posters were also nice and are currently decorating my room. Check 'em out!

Oh, and my last bit of money went for the two sets of Space Wolves Rhino Doors. I get them instantly without having to pay for shipping? DEAL. The chance to expect them during the purchase and avoid warped/bent/broken or damaged products is also very important.

We also wanted to get a chance to see Dan Abnett and I even brought two book for him to sign, but we got carried on at the Golden Daemon models and after that we were starving. Man, the Golden Daemon entries themselves were worth the trip. I mean, sometimes I look at modern art and have to force myself to even believe it is actually art and not just doodles on a fancy canvas, but once you see some of the better painted miniatures there is no way that you can't call miniature painting a true form of art.

In general, Games Day 2010 was a lot of fun. Was it worth the trip and the money? Totally.  It is always nice to travel and visit some new places especially when at the end of the journey you get to look at the work of fellow hobbyists. Seeing so many cool armies, miniatures and events is a refreshing inspiration and reminded me that I can only strive to be better at building, converting and painting models... and then become even better at crushing face with them. While there were not a whole lot of new rumors and information about upcoming releases the rest was just perfect.

And with that, dear readers, I conclude my Games Day review!

Not a Space Wolf but that will do, Pig. That will do.

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