Second Annual WATC – a Wrap up.

Just over a week has passed since the second annual WATC hit the WA 40k community and can we just say that the community didn’t disappoint, they were out to represent! The biggest event WA has seen to date with 72 players – that’s 36 tables of terrain!!!

As you know ObSec is heading towards our second birthday and we have been running events for just under 18 months. For us, that means that every event we run is an opportunity to grow and develop and make changes to best meet our objectives of creating professionally organised and run events. Those of you who are that way inclined will know what I mean when I say that we ensure that process, impact and outcome evaluation is at the core of our event planning and event management. This is a really long winded (I know, so hard to believe from me) intro to me saying; we made some changes and shook things up a bit from last years event.

The biggest change was last year we had teams of 4, this year we had teams of 6. We thought this would impact on the number of players we had attend. We were expecting that it may be harder to get a group of 6 together than it would be to get a team of four together but we decided that the teams of 6 would be a closer representation of the match up process for the Australian Team Championships (ATC) where they have teams of 8. Last year we had 64 players and this year we were hopeful we would have 10 teams of 6. Our hopes were reached and exceeded, we had 12 teams of 6 and another 2 teams on the standby list who we sadly had to turn down because there physically wasn’t enough room in the hall for another 6 tables!


First Wave of players arriving

Most of the ObSec events have some elements of soft scoring, sports points and painting scores. WATC did not. The podium places were strictly down to those teams with the most wins. Some players had great games, some players had terrible games and other players were thrown under the bus. What we asked of players was, regardless of how your games go; (blatantly stolen from Adam Hills) ‘don’t be a d!ck’ and (apart from a little over heating during match ups for the last game between teams vying for a podium finish) we can honestly say the players definitely took this on board.

We had a slightly different match up process this year as well. The intention was that we would stay in line with the international match up process, used at ETC. The international process changed so we changed with it. There was some resistance to this process when we first released the players pack with players saying they thought it was all a bit complicated, however, from the players I spoke to, after everyone got their head around the new match up system they said that it was an easier process than the one we used last year.

A heck of a lot goes into planning and running any event, especially an event of this size! Again we need to say a huge thank you to Danger Rod who gave up his Easter Saturday to come and sit at our table and build/paint/repair terrain with me, while M conveniently disappeared outside to do something very important that had to do with terrain – honest (as much as I joke about him skiving off, M was there building, repairing and painting terrain as well. We have been working on terrain for way too long but terrain day started 10am Good Friday and finished at midnight, all day Easter Saturday, 10am until midnight again on Easter Sunday, and any other time we could steal an hour or so we were terraining – shut up, it’s a word!)

The night before the event we obviously do our final checks to make sure that all the software is loaded, our TO box is packed; all the terrain and tables are by the door ready to go. We finished that at just after midnight on Saturday and at 4.30am on Sunday we were up loading the trailer. We were at the hall for just before 6.30 and a relatively new (to ObSec) player Chris was there already answering the call for help setting up the room I had put out. By the time the doors opened at 6.30 a couple more players had arrived to help with the set up. We had 90 minutes to empty a trailer and car of terrain, boards, TO equipment, get the tables and chairs out of storage and get the room set up. 36 tables in 90 minutes plus TO table, PA, wall, etc etc. It is less than 3 minutes per table! There are too many players to mention who came early to help set up. It is the same players that are there to assist at every event and we are so thankful that you are so giving of your time. We had about 15 people setting up, if M and I had to do this alone it would take us 4 or 5 hours. Instead we had it finished with 15 minutes to spare! I do have to say a special thank you to DR for loaning us terrain and to Outpost 6030 who also loaned us terrain for the event.

After the games had finished we have to do the reverse, get everything pulled down and packed up and put away. Again it is always the same players that are there to help with the pack up. A HUGE thanks to Brad and Connor who not only help with every set up but are always the last people to leave. Brad and Connor are generally running around 3 or 4 minutes before the doors are due to lock, carrying the last bits out to my car while I quickly (ok, not quickly, I don’t have a quick in me at the end of an event) pick up the rubbish that has been left laying around (seriously, what is that about guys? If you have a drink, stick the empty in the bin, if you buy raffle tickets don’t leave the losing tickets on the floor!) and sweeping the floors. We then have a drive home and have to empty the trailer, review the results and get the results posted. We started on Sunday at 4.30am and finished at nearly 10pm. 17.5 hours! This is why it takes me a week or so to recover enough to write the wrap up.

So reflection on the day, what didn’t go well? We had quite a few players attend the event with models or units that were not complete and not painted. By ‘quite a few’ I mean probably 10%. We have a rule in every player’s pack that states that all models must have a 3 colour minimum. We have had a lot of conversation over the last 10 days about this. 10% of players didn’t meet minimum standard. If we don’t address it, 10% will quickly become 50% because ‘at the last event one of  the guys I played a models that were bare plastic and no one said anything so it must be ok’. We don’t want to move to an event type where models don’t need to be painted. M found out the Bill of Rights that he wrote for Outpost about 15ish years ago and he has updated it so that it is reflective of ObSec today. The purpose is to let players know what is expected of them and what they can expect for us.

I thought it should contain 3 points,

1) players and TOs will follow the guiding principle of ‘don’t be a d!ck,

2) players will field the complete, legal army they submitted on their list (complete means painted too),

3) ObSec will run an event to the highest possible, professional standard.

I was out voted (which is a bit of a private joke. M and I once had a debate, I thought a wall in the bathroom should be taken down, he thought it should stay, he went to work, and I knocked it down. He wasn’t there for the re-vote! Apparently while I was at work he wrote the new Bill of Rights, turns out I wasn’t there for the re-vote).

The point in the Bill of Rights around painting has caused concern, it really doesn’t need to. We aren’t saying that your army must be Golden Demon standard. What we are saying is that EVERY model that is on the table MUST look painted to a casual observer. That means that it has the base colours on the model (base colours are different from base coat!) and the base is tidied up. If we can see bare plastic, bare metal, or flat undercoat then it doesn’t appear done. You don’t need to have all the detail on the scrolls painted, the eyes painted in, free hand painting done etc. if you do, awesome, but that is above the minimum painting standard.

So what went well. Ohhhh so much! I’m at 2000+ words and a wall of text now, if I actually cover EVERYTHING that was good about the event I’ll be here all night! The players were fantastic, there was a room full of great people, it was awesome to have a few players attending who have been out of the game for a couple (or more) years, it was great to have so many spectators along, many of whom are retired players who are excited again about 40k and playing (roll on 8th Ed), we had some great team shirts, not so amazing team names, we had 2 female players (always exciting), the atmosphere was brilliant, the roaring, laughing, chat, and literal buzz in the room is addictive and it is certainly what keeps me coming back to the events (that and a slight control issue I may have). It was fantastic to have players from all over Western Australia attending the events. It’s funny, we had a couple of people say that they wont come to events because they are from Joondalup and South Perth is too far, yet we had players come from Northam, Albany, and Bunbury and one player flew in from Melbourne, flew back home Sunday night and went to work Monday morning. Serious commitment from Matt M (who joined his home town Bunbury Team) to do that, I keep thinking ‘and the time difference’ but to be honest the time difference wouldn’t have made any difference, I barely moved on Monday! I take my hat off to you sir!


Modeling their awesome team shirts!

M had ummed and ahhhed about whether or not to play WATC this year. The 2016 WATC is the only one of our events that he had played in so I wanted him to be able to play but he didn’t want to take up a space that someone else would potentially miss out on. I think his highlight is winning his 4 games and coming home with his second First Place medal out of only two ObSec events he has attended.

Before I go on to thank you all for being amazing, I do have to thank Daniel Newton for the photos in this post (armies on parade photos are still in my camera, I’ll get to them soon I promise). I also have to congratulate all players, and of course acknowledge the winners.

In 3rd Place Brotherhood of Steal Yo’ Girl

In 2nd Place Globo Gym Purple Cobras (sadly Jimmy had to leave before this photo so they are 1 player short!)

In 1st Place Cupid Stunts (over the week prior to the event do you know how many times I got this wrong! My kids were threatening to wash my mouth out with soap if I said it again! Talk about Freudian slip!) That’s M 3rd from the right with DangerRod in the black shirt beside him.

Now my thank yous; While M’s highlight was no doubt being on the winning team it is hard to pick my highlight. If I was pushed I’d say it was the atmosphere and the friendship in the room! We can facilitate that and we can create the space and the opportunity for that to happen but it is what you all bring to the events that make it happen. It is you that makes the events inclusive and supportive and a positive atmosphere. This is exactly what we were intending to build when we started ObSec, a community and a family of gamers. Thanks for being amazing! Look forward to seeing you at the next event.

Armies on parade will follow in a couple of days but to hold you over here are a few more of Daniel’s photos of the models there on the day: