Thursday, 30 July 2015

Amit and Warhammer - A Giant's Tale

A rare and special treat today. Famous primarily (as much as he would like to think it is for other reasons) for being the breaker of that international sensation and internet heartthrob Sewell (there was a bucking bronco involved… It’s a Cardiff thing), Amit is also one of the scene’s Good Guys and is now Chairman of the South London Legion (comparisons with Chairman Mao unfortunately don’t really work, as much as we wish they did).

The South London Legion, for those uninitiated in such things, are the most handsome, and arguably best smelling, gaming club in the UK.

Located in what estate agents would call “up and coming” Croydon in South London they play pretty much everything that can be played, as well as running some very cool events (big events in London, with a bar, was never something I expected to see). They even have some very good painters, if you are into that sort of thing (perverts).


I don’t get down there enough, but would recommend anyone passing by (or even living in) London to check them out. Over the past year they have really got all organised (which is something I am naturally suspicious of) and have their own blog up –


The below rambling remembrances are the story of Amit the Mighty and his time with Warhammer  is taken from there – go check it out!


Let me start by saying I have been a big fan of 8th edition since I started (re-)playing almost 4 years ago, and my initial concern was regarding what would happen to tournaments in the 7 seconds it took me to realise out the box AOS was unsuitable to such a forum. I raged (and by that I mean I became more sarcastic) and slowly drifted through the stages of denial (no, I'm not going to rebase my armies, yes I'll accept new stats for Warlocks however sad that makes me) and decided as an excersise to write down why I was concerned. Below you'll find my introspective ramblings. Beware reader, I start at the beginning, the very beginning.
I played Warhammer as a child, with the usual youthful innocence that leads you to take units of 20 Orc Boys (single sculpt plastic, all facing diagonally forwards), 30 Goblin Spearmen (with helmets that caused scars to the soles of my feet I still have to live with) and a metal Wyvern so heavy I could use it was a weapon if someone were to break into my apartment. These were good times. It was the start of 5th edition, and Slann Mage Priests could kills Orc Lords in combat, and Vampire Lords were strength 7. It was Hero-hammer at its finest. And I was hooked.
By the time 6th edition rolled along, I was a teenager and had managed to amass an Orc and Goblin Army, and a Lizardmen Army. With the onset of a new edition, I chose to buy and paint my first High Elf Army. Metal Swordmasters. Metal Imrik. A mage making the devils horn's at the world. I loved that army. I still have no idea where it ended up. I can only assume it’s in a box in my parent’s attic waiting to be dusted off. Much like Ulthuan now, I suppose.
It was at this point I began to take the game more seriously - heading down to my local Games Workshop and obliterating (other) noobs with Swordmasters with the Banner of Might (+1 to hit). After a year of this, I managed to grow a beard. I don't mean in the gaming sense, that had been there for years, but the literal. I could now get served. Warhammer went out the window, and the Age of Beer began. This edition would last through university and the first few years of employment post university, and a year out travelling the world. Then I took a job at a well-known investment bank.
Tedium. Boredom. A lack of motivation. I'm not sure what it was. I found I had almost nothing to do. I could do my entire week's work in sub 6 hours if I put my mind to it. I'm pretty sure my colleagues could too if they put their minds to it (no one ever did!). I found I had hours to spare. And I had the internet. I spent the first six months learning things. I learned of sharks and badgers, of wasps and of spiders. I learned a new language. I taught myself European history. When trying to learn about Komodo Dragons I stumbled upon a website. Lustria Online. This was not a Komodo Dragon fan site. It was Warhammer. And ten minutes of reading in, I was hooked again.
8th edition had been around a year. I was in my mid-twenties and had enough disposable income to purchase a new army or two. I chose Orcs and Goblins.
Buying the book at my local Games Workshop, I then proceeded to buy pretty much every unit in the book. And paint them in a month. The painting style was poor, the colour choices clashed and frankly I had no idea how to use the army, but I cared not. I was in love with the hobby once again. Now, during my respite from all things Warhammer, I had gotten into online gaming. This included Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, a PVP MMO. I have always been competitive, and my forays into the online world had taken me to a new extreme. No longer content with simply being involved, I was a Power Gaming min-maxer. How is this relevant you ask? Well, with my re-found hobby, I wanted to take it one step further. I wanted competition. I found TWF.
The Warhammer Forum. It advertises itself as 'Doing exactly what is says on the tin'. This is false. It does so much more. It provides access to the independent tournament scene. Which is where I found my home.

Reading around the interwebz, I noticed an army that seemed to play how I wanted to . Dark Elves and 12 dice Mindrazor. I found a YouTube channel recorded by a young gent named Tom Richards. If you could get past the huffing, puffing and whining (take that Tom!) his videos were very good. They taught me several things about 8th edition tactics and list building. Note, at this point I did not own a rulebook, belong to a club or had met anyone from the UK scene (other than Sami Michaels – met at my local Games Workshop) decided to build a Dark Elf infantry army, and book myself into a tournament. I chose a Wandsworth Waagh, a one dayer around 40 mins drive away. I had fully built and painted my Dark Elf army, and was ready to play my first competitive game of Warhammer. Against Dwarfs.
I drew the game. I cannot remember how. It finished 10/10. And I was lucky. My redirecting was poor. My target selection was abominable. My opponent and I finished the game inside 1hr 30, and then he offered me some tips. I listened intently and decided to put them to action. I won game 2 20-0. I then won game 3 19-1. My first tournament (16 players). And I won the damn thing. I made friends with my opponents - all really nice guys. And I became a member of OG Games in the process. Next step was a 2 dayer - AGOM, followed the weekend after by South Coast GT.
AGOM went well, I came 8th/64. I realised I could do this. I could make an impact. Roll on SCGT.
Day 1: Win game 1 20-0. Game 2, up against a (now) friend of mine in Michael Pritchard, I lost 11-9 and suffered my first lost in 8th edition. I then lost 12-8 to Adi Mac, The Nicest Man in Warhammer. I was pumped. Still around the top third by the end of day 1, and 3 great games. I proceeded to do something I'm now well-known for. I got smashed.
Day 2 post hangover was interesting. I won game 4, 20-0. then game 5 17-3. Table 4 for game 6. And i won, 20-0. I did not know where I'd finished. As Wayne Kemp read out the podium places, I heard my name mentioned. I was third. And had two trophies. The next half hour was a blur. I had multiple people come and congratulate me. I was invited to a podcast (what the hell was one of those?). I had landed.
Over the next year, I proceeded to make friends and take names. While throughout the rest of 2012 I never managed to hit the heady heights of that day at SCGT, I laid the foundations for a new assault the following year. I got to spend time with the Black Sun. I made friends with Bad Dice. All the while playing Warhammer with my own unique brand of always being hammered and games never taking very long. I got to experience the highs of the Cardiff scene, and meet the 'Northerners' at Warlords. By the end of the year I was pumped. And I like to feel, had made an impact on the scene.
2013. A new year. A new army. Games workshop released the Warriors of Chaos book. And so I built an army. And due to their nature, I could play even drunker. And faster. Games would pass in the blink of an eye. I picked up my second podium (Tides of Chaos) and became 'part of the furniture' around the scene. By now, I'd also moved jobs and had much less free time. A girlfriend didn't help either, but I managed to just about balance my time. All was well, until November 2013 when the new Dark Elf book came out.
Over the following 3 months i theroycrafted and painted. And theroycrafted and painted. I painted 6,000 points in 3 months. And must have written hundreds of lists. Thus for me, began the 'Golden Age of Warhammer'. I went to every tournament I could, picking up multiple podiums and generally ruining hobbies with the Dark Elves. I tried different lists. Cold One busses, Shadestar, MSU, Witchstars, Flying Circus (with Beasts Magic on one now infamous occasion). All seemed to work fine. I even (finally) joined twitter. The gaming meta changed significantly. No more could you simply ball up lots of 1+ save units and ball them forward. Ballistic skill shooting was key, and the movement phase (or as my opponents liked to call it, Amit’s avoidance phase) became key once more. I think my favorite moment of this time in my tournament career was coming 2nd at Stormlords despite being too drunk to roll dice. Dark Elves took skills. I  helped run the first 50+ player 2 dayer in London (London's Calling) and during this period became a member of South London Legion, and later Angel Wargamers. I was asked to ref at multiple events – and for the most part enjoyed it. What shocked me the most was that people listened to my rulings. I couldn’t get my pets to listen to me. But these people did. I was first bemused, then aghast. Finally I settled on smug and remained that way henceforth.  After 12+ tournaments this calendar year, I made the Masters, during the backdrop of the End Times hitting.
I took Wood Elves. Why, I have no idea. Every tournament up to that point I'd placed at was with my Dark Elves. I think I needed a break. The Masters was great, and I loved the social side more than anything. Stopping Chris Tomlin from scoring was without doubt one of the most enjoyable moments I’ve had with other gamers.  After a solid start to 2015, I started attending team tournaments. They. Are. Epic. Team tournaments are the best thing on the scene. If you have never tried one, I feel for you. Over the course of the first 5 months of 2015 I played in 10ish tournaments, and again helped TO London's Burning, and helped Ming run HMV15. My tournament life was perfect. Every single one I went to, I knew people I could chat to. Hell, I play 5 a side football with some of my gamer friends, and was voted in as Chairman for South London Legion. I took a short break, and decided to bide my time until 9th. And then the Age of Sigmar rumors began.
To say I was not pleased was an understatement. It felt like a large part of my life by this point (the tournament scene) would simply vanish. And then, after 3 days, the comp pack writing began. It was as if everyone felt the same thing. The game we play matters. But it's the people we play it with that matter more. Over the last two weeks, I've played Age of Sigmar and seen multiple packs come out that try and translate the game into something we can play on the independent tournament scene. It's like the scene became a living, breathing thing. No one wants it to die, so it's evolving. I'm less apprehensive, and more excited now to see what happens. The game won’t be the same. The people playing the game won’t be the same. I was not around at the onset of 8th where apparently something similar occurred, but it seems like the tournament scene is in such a healthy state now, it'll take something catastrophic to kill it in its entirety.
Am I happy the game I loved has changed? No, I guess I'm not. But I am excited to try a new game, and help to build on the current tournament scene, so that if some fresh-faced mid-twenties young man suddenly re-discovers the hobby there is a tournament scene to enter. I'm a little older now, a little wiser. It's not the game that keeps me interested, that's just the backdrop. It's the people. To quote Mr Jon Warmington ‘I'll do whatever game the tourney scene moves to. It's the people I want to hang around with, and I'll play whatever I need to make it happen'. Jon is an example to us all. Except on the dancefloor at Popworld. Then he’s simply making an example of himself.
I think my initial trepidation has gone. What I would have missed most will still be there. There has been a huge shakeup. We'll need to build our own comps now - effectively decide how we want the game to be played. Forget Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. Bring forth Warhammer: Age of Discovery.
Amit Hindocha

I’d keep an eye on the club as they lead a charge into AoS, as well as carrying on with, I think, pretty much every other game out there (seriously, its mad – think they must all be teachers with all their spare time!). I ‘think’ some of the players even have Warmahordes, but I don’t like to think about that too much…

Follow the club on twitter and keep an eye out on their blog and TWF for upcoming events and pictures of Men In Black At Events (it’s a thing).

Seriously, after the ETC is out the way I am looking forward to getting down there more often.

Follow them on twitter: @sthlondonlegion

 Until next time...


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