Firstly, this is my first time attending in a press role, whilst I have tried to make content before, it has always been primarily through the eyes of a players. I find that my focus for what I want to cover and how I want to present it has changed. Which makes it all new and exciting again!
The second reason has to do with the event itself.
Whilst I have been familiar with Fantasy Flight Games long before X-Wing was released, that was the game that introduced me to their Organized Play support and first tempted me to make the trip to Minneapolis. The explosive success of X-Wing has been a game changer to the industry. The often-quoted top selling miniatures game dismounting Games Workshops flagship Warhammer 40,000 and the success stories in many FLAGs in getting communities out and playing heralded a growth in FFGs stock in the gaming community.
This introduced its own set of logistical problems as their premier Worlds events were notoriously difficult to get tickets to for their marque games. Having to find space for multiple flights of people for the huge turn out for Netrunner and X-Wing and also do service to the smaller but no less passionate fans of their other games led to multiple expansions to there gaming space but something had to give.
This brings us to last year and the announcement to split their organised play track, a brave decision as whilst the Star Wars licence is going strong there will continued to be support from the player base for those events but at the time of the announcement FFG were relatively light on there systems.
The ending of the licence with Games Workshop sweeping the legs out of the growing Warhammer 40,000 Conquest community and the ending of Call of Catuthul game and introduction of the Arkham Horror LCG as a co-operative game left Android: Netrunner and the 2nd edition of A Game of Thrones LCG to carry the weight of a week of gaming in an environment where side events had become the expected norm. The launch of the RuneWars: Miniatures Game caters to the Miniatures Gamer that the lack of X-Wing, Armada and Imperial Assault left and the recently released Legend of the Five Rings LCG introduces another Strong Brand to the FFG arsenal.
With the scene set I am excited to see how this event stands up to the previous events. The Organized Play department at FFG are world leaders in how they structure and run events. It is no coincidence that after the merger with Asmodee that the OP Team became Asmodee employees, sharing that experience across the brand is a huge boon for the company. With that in mind I have no doubt that the events will run smoothly but the atmosphere and turn out of the event is what I look forward to experiencing.
Unfortunately, due to my schedule I missed the main RuneWars segment of the event, its first world championships drew in 13 players, a number that seems underwhelming at first glance. As the primary game that I play from this track it does not surprise me that turnout was low. I have struggled to get more than 4 players out to events in Calgary, in spite of the product selling well. I do plan to do a video on my thoughts for the RuneWars launch and the upcoming Star Wars: Legion release as FFG make their moves in to the Miniatures Battle Game market, but suffice to say that I expect a similar level of growth to X-Wing when that launched with 20+ people at its first World Championships.
Hitting the streets with only two factions and arriving at Worlds with the Elves still in their infancy is no doubt a factor, especially with all three factions being one box set short of feeling complete. The Daqan have the Heavy Crossbows and the Waiqar got the Deathknights but both units arrived too late to be eligible for play. A good thing considering the Elves are still waiting for their Infantry in the next wave.
The faction breakdowns shown are not really a surprise to me as it certainly feels like Warqar have the widest options of play styles available at the moment, which could help to explain their apparent dominance of the field. Despite that dominance the new faction on the block came out on top with the Latari Elves taking both spots on the top table
The widely divergent play styles of both lists go a long way to show how strong the system is and how much potential it has, and both casters for the stream made the viewing experience fun and they worked hard to promote the background and setting.
Huge props to Ben Fox who flew in from Ireland, bought a list he had theory crafted from the games center and took first place!
Now lets hope I get there in time to cover the rest of the events.