What I Play
- BattleFleet Gothic
- Space Hulk
- Lots and lots and lots of different board games (I run a bi-weekly gaming group at my workplace.)
- Deathwing: of a DA successor chapter of my own devising. Only army I played for years (all of 3rd edition) and took to RTTs, but haven't used since the new DA Codex.
- Eldar: started as Biel-Tann, tried Iyanden in a very odd way just before the new Eldar Codex. Now basically Saim-Hann style. Doing well with them in a campaign.
- IG: a purely CoD army still being modeled
- Tau: modeling also in progress
- Opera of Death: never finished modeling before new Chaos Codex rendered it boring. Anyone want to buy?
- Imperial Navy: only fleet painted and played regularly (including one tourney).
- Chaos: cruiser fleet assembled, primed, but only one painted.
- Eldar: mostly assembled, except Void Stalker, but not even primed yet. Lots of ships, including 4 ea. of FW cruisers.
Jack Draculas: used the Create Your Own House rules to make a gang of goths- Delaque and Escher models.
Where I Play
- Games Plus, my favorite FLGS
- Games Workshop Oak Park, but only on Veteran's Night and only because it's 4 blocks from my apartment
- GW Chicago Battle Bunker on rare occasions, because it's 10 minutes from work
- Various friends' places or my own
My 40K History
Dakka user syr8766 introduced me to 40K in 1998 (a favor I would eventually return by introducing him to Dakka). I'd been collecting the minis for years for use with this (in retrospect) retardedly simplified mini combat system cooked up by the guys at the game store in my hometown. Anyway, after graduating college and living in a small town, I had no gaming scene. So eventually I started hitting RTTs in late 1999, just to be able to play the game- my 3rd-5th games ever of 40K were at my first RTT.
My army was Deathwing, for no other reason than 1) I owned a lot of Terminators because I'd thought they looked cool back when I was buying for said retarded minis system, and 2) they were a low model count army and thus I could get 3 colors of paint on every model in time to go to that first tourney.
I played in midwest RTTs pretty regularly for several years, in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania mostly. Since I had no 40K playing outside RTTs, I didn't even win a battle for about 4 tournaments- I was a noob to the game itself playing mostly people who were at the least noobs only to the tourney scene but experienced with 40K, and also against plenty of RTT vets. Eventually I realized the other reason I lost a lot- 3rd edition Deathwing was one of the less-powerful armies. This was back before ACs were rending- they were just Heavy Bolters with 1 higher S, less range, AND a possibility of jamming. Mostly, the low model count factor was very unforgiving. But it was a great challenge.
Gradually, I started to win games. I also learned how to work the RTT scoring system. Despite being only an average painter, through knowing the scoring criteria I got my army to the point that it always got 14-16 out of 20 on Appearance (for one thing, I know Photoshop, so all my squads have pretty nice banners). Deathwing's general weakness meant it was impossible for me to minmax to the point that my Composition was unreasonable (back when that was part of the score), so that was never a problem. Also, going to a lot of RTTs gave me a good feel for the types of question on the Pub Quizzes, so I started doing well on those, too. Sportsmanship was never a problem for me, and in fact I won Best Sportsman a couple of times.
At Origins 2001, I met The ChapterMaster, who introduced me to Dakka. I got into Dakka pretty heavily. If you posted a Deathwing army list, you were almost guaranteed to have a response from Grand Preceptor (and Araqiel- where are you, man?), and I also gave lots of advice to folks heading to RTTs for the first time. I even joined the OT Zone. I reached 1000 posts at some point.
By 2002, the only thing keeping me from winning an RTT was how the battles went, and I was slowly sharpening that skill. I started to take 3rd place a lot. Like, so many times I lost track. Then I got 2nd once. Purely by accident, I'd developed a pattern that lent itself to scoring highly although I never did it deliberately- I often lost or tied my first game. This meant in my second game I was playing another loser, and I almost always beat them by a significant margin. Then the third game was usually somebody else who'd won 1 and lost 1, and I usually beat them, too, although not by such a margin.
Finally, my goal was achieved- I won an RTT. I'd tied against Orks in the first battle (against then-Dakkaite Green Jello), slaughtered Tau in the second, and then in one of my most challenging match-ups, I managed to defeat a shooty Iron Warriors army (back in late 3rd ed., when there was practically a formula for how to build a competitive shooty IW list).
At that point I was pretty burnt out on 40K. Keeping up with News & Rumors (thanks to Dakka), constantly changing rules in Chapter Approved, new RTT scoring criteria- it was starting to feel like a job. I was also sick of the power-gamer attitude which dominated the RTT scene, and also disheartened by the multiple scenesters I knew who would happily claim the Best Appearance award for an army they'd purchased pro-painted.
So, having gotten that fabled win under my belt, I dropped out of the RTT scene, making only one re-appearance when Dakka's own Araqiel finally, after many invitations to do so, drove over to Cleveland to play in a local RTT with me (and ended up sleeping on my couch when a snowstorm blew in during the tourney, leaving roads a mess). He and I ended up tied for 2nd in the RTT.
In 2004, I moved from a suburb of Cleveland to a suburb of Chicago. I stopped playing 40K for about a year- after being burnt out on the tourney scene I'd only been playing against a couple of friends for most of the past year, anyway. I dropped off of Dakka- I think I missed one or two forum systems and my user account (and, *sniff*, ranking) went away.
Eventually, in early 2005 I got back in, helped by the fact that there was a game store 4 blocks from my new apartment. I joined a local league and discovered that in 4th Edition, Deathwing had gone from weak to pretty damn powerful thanks to the ridiculous new AC, and furious-charging Assault Termies led by a Litanying Chaplain. In fact, they were a little too powerful for my taste- I'd always loved the challenge they presented back in 3rd.
The league wasn't that great, but through AdeptusWindy City, a bunch of other Chicago metro-area gamers came together into the awesome gaming group I'm a part of today. They even persuaded me to go to a tournament with them- an interestingly different one held at a state park (so our group camped the weekend there) with a restricted FOC and a wacky theme to the missions (I won Best General).
I've switched over to Eldar, an army I'd slowly been working on for years. I'm currently doing well with them in a campaign using an experimental homebrew system, the only undefeated player after 5 games.