Warhammer Achievements 2011 An interview with Steve Wren

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In our inaugural article for the Wargame Tournaments website, cerebros interviews Steve Wren about his upcoming tournament, "Warhammer Achievements".

Q1: Hi Steve. First off, tell us a bit about your wargaming background.

Well, I originally started wargaming when I was a teenager, playing Heroquest. I tried to paint up the models but was pretty bad at the time! I was busy getting all the expansions for the game when I came across White Dwarf which had some Heroquest scenarios in, so I bought it, and as I read it I became curious about Warhammer. I eventually picked up the 3rd Ed book, but found it extremely confusing so didn't really look at it that much.

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However 4th Ed came out quite soon after with the Goblins and High Elves so I bought that and started playing with a friend of mine. I ended up with quite a large Empire army that was reasonably well painted, but I stopped playing when I was 18 or so, and eventually it all went on ebay to pay for a new bathroom in my flat.

And then a couple of years ago another friend said did I fancy some Bloodbowl? I was like, "Yep!" Hadn't played in years but really enjoyed it and painted up an Orc team and a High Elf team, and then decided to see what was happening with Warhammer. This was about September 2009. I and my good friend Ed both bought a copy of the Battle for Skull Pass and that was it, we were hooked. I started painting High Elves, but pretty quickly switched to Orcs and Goblins and really got the painting bug going. We attended our first tournament in April 2010, the SCGT (South Coast GT), and I was fortunate enough to pick up the Judges' Choice award for the army, although playing wise it was pretty bad as I got smashed in pretty much all the games :)

However, I persevered with the painting and by the end of 2010 I had done seven tournaments and finished with five Best Painted army trophies and one Best Sports award. 8th Edition gave me a bit of a leg up I think, and at the Sheffield Slaughter in 2011 I won my first Best in Race award.

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I've now started my next army, a Daemon force, and it's coming along, although slowly, and I am enjoying looking through the new Orc book to see what I can do to add to my bunch of Boyz. I am thinking an all cavalry force.

Q2: Warhammer Achievements is an event with a twist. Instead of the usual painting and sportsmanship scores, and victory points for battle scores, people will instead gain "achievements". What was your thinking behind that?

I got the idea from the "Bad Dice Bingo" that the Ben's (Curry and Johnson) ran at the SCGT. I was looking for an idea for an event that was very different to the normal events that dominated the calendar and this seemed like a way to have a few fun games where you can achieve points by embracing the whole hobby. I hope that it is a fun day and if I can get 30 people having a cracking good time I'll be happy, although I'm not looking forward to all the data entry!

Q3: You've broken down the achievements into five categories: Generalship, Painting, Sports, Army Selection and Negatives. What sorts of things will people have to do to score points in these categories?

I tried to get a huge variety of achievements in so that the event would appeal to a lot of people. I am not aiming it at the hardcore gamers and winning is not the be all and end all of the event, so even if you lose games you can still get them and if you win all your games you will not be able to get them all. For example, there is an achievement for losing all your games, as well as one for winning all your games. Most of them revolve around unlikely things, such as carrying out a maximum range charge, or by committing early to games (the First Blood achievement). I also took the opportunity to poke fun at a few of the Warhammer celebrities, so the Podhammer boys get a mention, along with Dan from HeelanHammer.

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The painting awards are to encourage people to bring a nice army rather than a usual tournament force, and there are also a range of awards for army selection. If you bring an army with no duplicate entries you get an achievement, having standards and full command is worth another. It's a chance to bring the stuff that you would normally not use in a regular event.

The negatives came about because I didn't want to have to comp the event. I don't think I know enough to do this but I had an idea to dock points if people do some of the things that are frowned upon (in a good natured way). For example, if you are caught reforming into a building you get a negative achievement. I didn't want to outlaw it, rather make the players decide not to do it as it gains them -5 achievement points! To try and make it more interesting though, I am offering a prize to the player who achieves the most negative achievements. I wonder if anyone will deliberately try to get them all...

Q4: As well as the Achievements, you're also using three non-rulebook scenarios for the games at the event. What was your inspiration for these?

I wanted three scenarios that were different and would tell a story where people could fill in the details. The "Man of Intrigue" is the central figure and after that idea (shamelessly nicked from the Point Hammered guys) all I needed was a way to link the three scenarios together. So I basically came up a set of games where you pick him up in game one. In game two you find out why they need him (to find the treasure), and game three has you trying to kill him off. The major objectives give you the main points, but I wanted some smaller side objectives so that you could get points, even if you are getting beaten.

The biggest thing for me was how to make the building rules work better, so I got rid of steadfast and stubborn and then brought in the pub effects so that even really big tough units can come out if they fail.

Q5: Where's the best place to go for more info for the event

As ever the The Warhammer Forum is the best place to go.

Q6: Any other links you want to plug

Nah, although I would recommend listening to Garagehammer. I like it a lot for looking at the hobby in a different way. I certainly disagree with some of the stuff they come out with (and their obsession with Warriors of Chaos is a bit bizarre) but it's all from their own perspective and they love the game.

(Editor's note: you can find Steve's excellent painting blog over at the HeelanHammer forum.

Q7: What is your best wargaming experience and what is your strangest wargaming experience?

Best - probably winning Best Army at Winter Incursion as I thought the army had pretty much run its course as a contender!

Strangest would have to be my 50 Orc Boy horde with General with Stubborn Crown and BSB in it failing a leadership nine re-roll test in four out of six games at the same event!

About the author

cerebros

cerebros has been back into Warhammer since October 2008, since which time he has failed to finish painting any units in his army. It was his tactical genius that David Moyes based Manchester United's 2013-14 season on.