1. Venue [Good]: Aside from my second game/opponent, I had a great time at the event in Boston. The event was run fairly well with everything set up and run on schedule in a very organized fashion. So kudos to Battleground Games outside of Boston!
2. Scenarios [Great]: Without getting into specifics, I found this particular set of scenarios to be one of the most balanced and well thought out that GW has ever done. Well done for once GW!
3. Terrain [Needs improvement]:The terrain at the store could have been more uniform and balanced across the 9 boards (this did not adversely affect any of my games). There were a few boards that per certain scenarios and armies left one side of the table with a significant advantage/disadvantage. I believe that this could be partially solved by GW releasing terrain guidelines (in the least for continuity between tables).
4. Reffing [Serious problem]: This is an issue that I'm sure almost any 'competitive' 40k player is well aware of. In my opinion, 40k will never truly be a competitive event until individual games at larger tournaments are assigned certified referees. This would of course be very difficult to implement, but is the only way to effectively even the playing field and provide consistent and unbiased rulings for every game. I encountered some significant cheating during my second game (and there were some incidents on other tables) which I'll briefly describe later.
5. Scoring [Serious problem]: The way that GW determines winners at these events is quite inappropriate. It tends to emphasize who you play and under what conditions more so than your ability to win. For instance, the individual who lost his first game to me went on to place 2nd in the tournament by pulling a very lucky massacre in his second game (had to do mostly with terrain and first turn rolls) and then having his 3rd opponent forfeit to him for a massacre and full bonus battle points. Now with that said, I can't think of a better bloke to have this happen to than the individual in question (what a great guy). GW really needs to switch to an elimination bracket format, I personally recommend pool play to bracket elimination.
5. Opponents [Great/Terrible/Indifferent]:
1. [Space Wolves Drop Pod] My first opponent was one of the most fun adversaries I have ever had the pleasure of facing. He took his loss very well and fought all the way to the end in a very great match overall. I made a few minor mistakes that prevented me from grabbing the major, but his generalship, list and mannerisms were all top notch.
2. [Eldar Wave Serpent/Jetbike spam] My second opponent was one of the worst I've ever had. I have never encountered cheating to the extent that he presented. I would liken the shenanigans he pulled to be roughly the equivalent to 750+ pts in difference between our armies starting from the 2nd turn on. Which only escalated the deterioration of my offense/defensive capabilities as the game progressed. In pre-game and post game speculation, I feel that I could have pulled a comfortable major victory from that game (had cheating not been so significantly involved). And I only needed a minor victory to place 2nd or a minor loss to place 3rd (either of which was unlikely due to the scenario and cheating involved). A Major V or a Massacre V would have put me in 1st (major incumbent upon additional battle points earned). I did pull over the sole tournament ref for one clarification which was ruled in my favor, but my opponent became SIGNIFICANTLY upset by my request and further adjudication/intervention would have potentially caused a scene/limited our game time. Not to mention that a vast majority of the cheating involved 'witness' based actions. In short, I honestly believe that this game hindered my ability to move on to the finals and am significantly disappointed, but sometimes thats the way our luck rolls. On another note, his list and tactics were very awkward and poor.
3. [Blood Angels mixed force 3 dreads] My final opponent was the probably the least capable tactician, and had a list on par with the eldar player's list (an ok list, but someone mis-matched). At this point (due to the previous game's shenanigans and my now inability to place) I decided to just mess around and pull some cheeky crap. This game was an easy massacre (despite my deliberate shenanigans I still had an established major in my 6th turn, but decided to finish out the match with some full on glory). For instance, charging a dread with attack bikes from 18" away :D ;).
Without a dedicated referee at each table, uniform terrain guidelines, proper tournament brackets and without a pre-established penalty system in place, the winners are as often determined by luck as they are by skill. This is best shown by the space wolf player who placed second and the Eldar player who cheated in 3 games straight (in his third round game, he had the gall to play his final turn with about 1 minute remaining despite objections from his opponent, onlookers and the fact that he went first leaving his opponent to not be able to retaliate). Other shenanigans took place as well. For instance, a player comes in and even hours before the tournament begins, he is talking about how at prelims a player made such a huge deal out of him gluing weapons onto the base of his dread so as not to have to destroy the model. He then proceeds to make a huge deal about a battlecannon left on a battlewagon and wastes (Literally, I shit you not) over an hour and a half arguing with his first opponent and trying to have him disqualified for the 'misrepresented' model. The game ended in a draw effectively screwing the other player out of a reasonable chance at first place. This is the type of bullshit that cannot take place and that dedicated referees and rulings would drastically reduce. A lot of other shady events took place, but overall (aside from the eldar player from hell) the event was in the least fun to play at and that's all I expected it to be (until they resolve the aforementioned issues, that is all it will ever be).
I hope everyone had a great time, and again, how did everyone do? What were your thoughts?