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On October 2nd and 3rd, 2010, I attended Da Grand Waaagh for the second year in a row. It's a tournament held aboard the U.S.S. Hornet Museum in Alameda, California. For more information about the Hornet, go to her website and by all means pay her a visit if you're in the Bay Area. She's a great old ship with a lot of history.

I had such a blast the first time around that I had been talking it up to damn near anybody who would listen for the past year. This year I had half a dozen friends attend as well, including a couple of buddies from the Who Loves Orks thread on the Warseer forum. These two guys, George and David, flew in from out of town and had a great time.

 

Day 1


 
Me and the 'gang'
 
From left to right: George, Marcos, David and that's me in the loud hawaiian shirt.
 

That morning I headed out around 6:30 am to gather up my friends and head across the bay to Alameda. The first to be picked up was Marcos, a buddy of mine who made the trip up from UC Santa Cruz. I've know Marcos for years, ever since he was a punk middle school kid. Of all the kids who have come and gone from Gamescape over the years, Marcos is the one who I would always play at the drop of a hat. Good guy.

After loading Marcos' groggy ass into the car (he's a college kid, they don't sleep) we headed downtown to pick up George and David. George had been wanting to see a few sights while he was here, the Golden Gate Bridge being one of them. It's a shame that is was so foggy you couldn't see a thing that morning. It would be the ride home on day 2 before George would even get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, and a foggy one at that. I guess you just gotta come back George :)
 

As we headed into the Hangar Deck of the Hornet, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the terrain situation had improved considerably since last year. The coverage on the tables was excellent, with plenty of LOS blocking pieces, and the terrain itself was outstanding. I've seen pictures of tournaments where armies are fighting over "Planet Bowling Ball", but that certainly wasn't the case here.

Just like last year, our entry fee gave us access to the rest of the ship. during lunch I planned on taking more of a look around than I was able to last year, as well snapping a few more pictures. It also appeared that word had got around about the tournament. The field had nearly doubled in size from last year. The competition for both Battle Points and Painting would be pretty fierce.
 


 
The Hangar Deck

After a few announcements and getting checked in it was time to break out the armies and get our table assignments.
 

 
My Army List
 

Big Boss Dawg's Reddnekk Renegadez

Here's a full list of the Ork Army I fielded at Da Grand Waaagh 2010. It's fairly similar to the army I fielded the previous year, but with a few tweaks. I swapped around some wargear, and a added a few fresh faces while keeping some old favorites.

With the army all unpacked and on it's brand new display board, it was time to throw some dice...

 
Game 1
 


  Kelly's Army
 

Opponent: Kelly Wallace
Army: Space Marines (painted as Iron Hands, but using Vulkan)

  •   Vulkan He'stan
  •   Librarian (in Terminator Armor)
  •   3 Tactical Squads (all in Rhinos with melta weapons and powerfist sergeants)
  •   Assault Terminators in a Landraider Crusader
  •   2 'Rifleman' Dreadnoughts (Twin-linked Autocannons)
  •   2 Attack Bikes (Multimeltas)

 
The mission was a combination of Annihilation and Seize Ground, with 5 objectives on the field. Objectives were worth 2 Kill Points each, in addition to the Kill Points gained for taking out enemy units. We both started with 1 HQ and 2 Troops on the board, with all other units held in reserve. You had to beat your opponent by 3 Kill Points in order to win, otherwise the result would be a draw

 
Kelly was a great opponent, and played a very tactical game. As you can see from the picture on the right (taken in turn 3), the Iron Hands kept their distance from the Orks. Kelly was no dummy, he wanted no part of the choppa-weilding mass of green death that awaited him in the middle of the table.

My reserve rolls hurt me a bit in this mission, and I didn't get some of my heavy hitters (like the Trukk Boyz with the Warboss and my 'Ard Boyz in the Battlewagon) until a bit late in the game. Basically, I had to run into the teeth of his ranged weapons for several turns before I could get to grips with anything.



 
The Iron Hands keep their distance
 

In the end, the mission was a draw. The Battlewagon survived way longer than it had any right to, Deth Rollering a Rhino to bits in the final turn. This move and the objectives I held gave me a slight edge in Kill Points, but not enough to score a victory. Good game, Kelly!
 

 
Lunch
 


  The Flight Deck
 

As far as venues go, you just can't beat the USS Hornet. It's got a ton of room so you're not bumping butts with the guy on the other table. The airflow through the open hangar deck is also great, which is a real plus when you're on your feet all day. I don't care who you are, you will work up a sweat after 3 games. It's nice to not asphyxiate the guy next to you.

After setting up my army to be judged for the painting competition, it was time to grab some food and relax a bit. It was also an opportunity to tour the ship and take a few pictures. I cruised on up to the flight deck to have a look at the view and some of the aircraft they have on display.

The flight deck of the Hornet has several military aircaft on display, including my very favorite, the F-14 Tomcat.

Before it's official retirement in 2006, having been replaced by the F-18 Hornet, the F-14 was the Navy's premiere air superiority fighter for over 30 years. At over 60 feet long and a good 30 tons when fully loaded, she's an absolute beast of a plane. With 2 monstrous engines throwing out nearly 28,000 pounds of thrust each with the afterburner going, this baby could pull Mach 2.3. She was one fast plane.

Sorry for the aeronautics lesson, but I did say she was my favorite plane!
 



 
F-14 Tomcat
 


View of San Francisco from the Aft Flight Deck
 

The view from the flight deck is incredible. The fog had lifted so we got a great look at the San Francisco skyline to the west. It can get a bit cold up on the flight deck since the wind comes in off the bay. It's not a big deal if you live here and you're used to it, but David and George, being from out of town, had a few words for me since I had neglected to tell them to bring a jacket.

Sorry guys. My bad.

If you ever get the chance to visit the USS Hornet, whether you're playing in Da Grand Waaagh or not, definitely take the trip. You won't regret it. She's a great old ship with a lot of history. After the brief tour and eating lunch I went back downstairs to have a look at some of the armies on display.

One of the greatest things about going to a Grand Tournament is that you get to see some fabulously painted armies. Here are a few shots to give you an idea of the kind of talent that was on display.
 

 
So after drooling over the nicely painted armies and now that I had a full stomach, it was game time.
 

 
Game 2
 


  Daniel's Army
 

Opponent: Daniel Brouillet
Army: Tyranids

  •   Tyranid Prime
  •   2 Hive Guard
  •   2 Zoanthropes
  •   1 Brood of Ymgarl Genestealers
  •   6 Broods of Genestealers
  •   3 Trygons

 
So the mission for game 2 was Seize Ground (6 objectives) with an altered Dawn of War deployment. You needed to control two more objectives than your opponent to win the game. Dedicated Transports didn't count toward the limit of 2 Troops and 1 HQ on the table, and any units with the Infiltrate rule could do so!

 So basically I dropped 2 mobs of Boyz in Trukks and the Boss on the table...

... and he Infiltrates 6 broods of Genestealers on me.

Oh Joy.

Then he rolls to steal the initative...

... a six.

Beautiful.
 



 
Deployment
 


The squig mob in a world of hurt!
 

So turn 1 he rolls on with the rest of his army, minus the Trygons, and proceeds to blow the Squig Trukk apart and murders the mob inside with a brood of Genestealers.

Then it's my turn...

... and I roll on the field with everything I've got to make those bugs pay! Between combi-skorchas, grotzookas, sluggas, and the ensuing assault phase, I vaporize 3 broods of genestealers and lay a couple of wounds on the Tyranid Prime. By the end my turn 1, the 'Nids have lost half their scoring units, and my right flank is looking pretty secure.

But then came the Trygons.
 

Daniel dropped those big beasties right into my line in an effort to pull some pressure off his Troops and contest objectives. Lemme tell ya, one Trygon can be a bit of a problem. Two can start to make you sweat. Three is a real pain in the ass! With a toughness of 6, 6 wounds and 7 attacks on the charge, those things can make a real mess!

By mid game, I'm looking to feed enough of my army to the Trygons to keep them busy, while also trying to take out his Troops so he can't control objectives. I managed to drop one Trygon with a nasty charge from a mob of Killa Kanz (I rolled nothing but 5's and 6's, while he couldn't get a decent damage roll to save his life), but the other two of the big beasties would remain until the end of the game.



 
Feeding the Trygons!
 

 
By the end of the game, I was one Genestealer away from wiping out all of his Troops, and my 'Ard Boyz were spread across 2 objectives. I held two objectives and he didn't control any, giving me the win. That's a tough army you've got there, Daniel.

 
Game 3
 


  Jeff's Army
(getting clobbered by Orks)

Opponent: Jeff Walker
Army: Space Wolves

  •   Rune Priest
  •   Wolf Priest
  •   3 Grey Hunter Packs (all kitted out, with Wolf Guard Teminators leading them)
  •   1 Blood Claws Pack (w/ Arjac Rockfist, aka 'Thor')
  •   2 Long Fang Packs (w/ Missile Launchers and Lascannons)

I've known Jeff for a few years now, he and I play at the same store. We've shared painting and modelling tips, talked tactics and rules, etc. But, we've never played against one another until we each drive across the bay, in seperate cars, to a tournament in Alameda. Go figure.

Unfortunately, the only picture I have of our game is the one above, but from the look of it I think you can see how the game went. Jeff was running Space Wolves on foot, and I was running a pretty fast Ork army. Our initial comments to one another went something like this:

"So you're running nothing but Wolves on foot?"

"Yup."

"So... board control is pretty much mine, huh?"

"Yup. I'm just gonna hang here and hope I can't shoot enough of you before you slam into me!"

Well... my Kustom Force Field worked like a champ and on turn 2, I charged his line with the Warboss, 4 Meganobz, 3 Killa Kanz, and over 60 Orks! From there it was a knock-down, drag-out slugfest until the bottom of turn 5 when I dropped the last wound off his Rune Priest and wiped him out. To his credit, those Space Wolves are NASTY in assault. The amount of damage I took was impressive to say the least, but once the Orks get some momentum, there ain't much that can stop 'em.

So at the end of Day 1, my record was 2 wins and 1 draw.

 
Dinner
 


Tommy's Joynt
 

On the drive back to San Francisco, we're all ready for some food, so I decide to drag them to Tommy's Joynt in San Francisco. If you've never been, I highly recommend the place. It's a total dive with a really quirky atmosphere. They've got good food and lots of it. We shot the breeze for an hour or two and had a few beers but not enough to get hammered.

After dropping George and David at their hotel, and taking Marcos home, I drive back to my place and pass out.

 

Next up: Day 2 ->