Australian 2015 Nationals – Star Wars: Armada & Call of Cthulhu

NationalsHeaderSaturday August 15th and Sunday August 16th saw an enormous weekend of Fantasy Flight games being played at the Bankstown Sports Club (Sydney, NSW).  The Good Games team put together and orchestrated a magnificent event, with a smorgasbord of FFG goodness available.  While focusing on the Android: Netrunner, Call of Cthulhu and Star Wars: Armada National Events, a host of other tournament and learn-to-play events were also in effect with Warhammer: Invasion, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest and X-Wing also getting their own tournaments over the course of the weekend.

A large selection of FFG products were available for sale, ranging from board games to numerous LCG expansions, sleeves and deck boxes.  The team had also organised a silent auction with a number of play mats and other goodies up for grabs. I noticed a Netrunner playmat going for more than $100!  It was all for a great cause too, with $961 being raised for the Westmead Medical Research Foundation.

While I didn’t bunk at the Bankstown Sports Club personally, many people did and I heard nothing but positive comments from players.  It was a great choice for the event as it allowed interstate participants to eat, sleep and play at the one venue.  For my part I found the venue quite comfortable with plenty of lighting, good quality chairs and tables, plenty of food options and very clean amenities.  In short, I would be more than happy to return to this venue for further events.

While my colleagues will be spending a great deal of time with the Android: Netrunner National Event, I’ll be bringing you the wrap-up on Star Wars: Armada and Call of Cthulhu.  So without further ado…

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Not only was this the first Star Wars: Armada ever held in Australia, it was only the second Star Wars: Armada national event held in the world!  The event saw 23 participants shoot it out in over the course of Saturday, just a few shy of a longer, two-day event.  While I wasn’t personally playing in the event, credit has to go to Sean Darby the judge and tournament organiser, who at all times came across as friendly yet professional.  From what I saw the event ran without a hitch and all of the participants really enjoyed themselves.  I was also suitably impressed with the official FFG mats on which a couple of the games where being played; the artwork was really outstanding.

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Star Wars: Armada 2015 Australian Nationals Participants & Judge

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Match in progress on the stunning FFG playmats.

At the end of the day the Top 8 consisted of: Andrew Watts, Alex Searle, Greg Jones, Alasdair McDonald, Shannon Rios, Dylan Denton, Kenny Nguyen and Jason Gemmel.  I managed to catch up with the winner Andrew Watts for a quick chat after the big finale –

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Winner Andrew Watts (Right) and event organiser and judge Sean Darby (Left).

No doubt as we see bigger and better ships enter into the game we’ll see more and more people buying and and getting involved in what is obviously a fantastic Star Wars miniatures game.  Let’s hope that next years national event sees a sharp bump upwards in attendance.

Now let me turn your attention to the madness of H. P. Lovecraft’s mind and the ingenuity Fantasy Flight Games in presenting to you my coverage of the 2015 Call of Cthulhu Australian Nationals.

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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is one of the oldest Living Card Games along with the original Game of Thrones.  Once Game of Thrones is rebooted later this year it will make CoC the oldest (and still running) LCG on the market.  I personally picked up my first Core Set in 2006 and have been slowly building my collection and enjoying this niche title since.  Whether it’s the deep mechanics, Lovecraftian theme or extended card set, this game (sadly) has managed to keep the masses at bay and keep it niche, which is such a pity as it’s truly a fantastic game.  If you get the chance to demo a game at your local gaming store I strongly urge you to do so, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  But enough of the sales pitch!  On to my report on the 2015 Australian Nationals.

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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game 2015 Australian Nationals in play.

The event saw 14 participants, most of whom where from Sydney, however there were a few from Brisbane (myself included) and another from Canberra.  The event was organised by the lovely Eliza Michael who did a fantastic job of running and judging the event while also tending the stall and organising the charity auction, so special ‘Hoorah!’ for her for being so fantastic!

With only 14 participants the event was to take place over four rounds of Swiss-Pair and then finish with a top four cut.  I myself managed to place 5th for the day, being one point short of the cut, although I have to say I’m quite pleased with myself for achieving even those lofty heights on little sleep and a deck sorely in need of work.  I think generous opponents and a great deal of luck were to blame.

Enough about me though, the top four cut was: Glenn Tyler, Kieren Otton, Richard Plunkett and Matthew Conlon.  Of special note, Matthew is only 11 and had only lost one game the entire day with a very strong deck.  Sadly though it wasn’t strong enough to defeat Richard. Meanwhile Glenn’s Syndicate deck, while fast, simply wasn’t as fast as Kieren’s Agency deck.  This brought us to the penultimate battle of Kieren V Richard.

Richard Plunkett – Miskatnoic / Agency (50 Cards)

Characters (26)
2 x Andrew-Chapman
3 x Arctic Ethnologist
3 x Brette Wulffsen
2 x Doctor Bancroft
2 x James “Cookie” Fredericks
2 x Jeremiah Kirby
3 x Matthew Alexander (Restricted)
2 x Professor William Webb
3 x Roald Ellsworth
1 x Urban Trailblazer
1 x Whitton Greene
2 x Lucas Tetlow

Support (7)
1 x Atlantis
1 x Ipiutak
2 x Station Eismitte
3 x Ultima Thule

Event (17)
3 x Daring Buju
2 x Expert Testimony
2 x Raid!
3 x Short Fuse
3 x Shotgun Blast
3 x Small Price to Pay
1 x Working a Hunch

Kieren Otton – Agency (50 Cards)

Characters (34)
3 x Paranormal Specialist
3 x Repo Man
3 x Special Agent Clarkston
3 x The Company
3 x Trial Judge
3 x Undercover Security
3 x Military Advisor
3 x T-Men
3 x Agency Groundskeeper
2 x Marshall Greene
1 x Phoebe Kotas
1 x The Foundation
3 x Master of Myths (Restricted)

Support (7)
3 x Red Tape
2 x San Marco Basilica
2 x Gentleman’s Club

Event (9)
3 x Small Price to Pay
3 x Eldritch Nexus
3 x Shotgun Blast

I entered into the event believing that removal effects would win me the day, and while they did reasonably well I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of trigger cancellation, not only in these decks but many of the decks I saw and faced off against on the day.

What’s fantastic about these two decks though is that they can (for the most part) be easily recreated with using cards found in the Core Set and a couple of Deluxe Expansions.  Although Kieren’s deck does contain cards from Asylum Packs, you could probably substitute them with cards from ‘The Greater Good’ and still have it perform quite well.

Despite Kieren’s deck being incredibly fast and able to rush the field with blinding speed, Richard’s was just that little bit faster, being able to not only flood the field in record time but also remove and stall his opponent at every turn.  The match was decided relatively quickly in Richard’s favour.

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Call of Cthulhu 2015 Australian Nationals winner Richard Plunkett

So in summary a fantastic weekend for players of FFG games at a fantastic venue run by a fantastic team.  If I were to make any criticism at all it would have to be leveled at FFG themselves as I felt that the prize support included in this year’s kits was a little light.  While perhaps understandable for smaller, niche games like Call of Cthulhu, I would have thought that Android: Netrunner would have contained more play mats.  Also, oddly, the kits only included one promotional card for everyone regardless of placings and no second card for those who performed better.  Hopefully this is something that gets addressed going forward.  It was fantastic though, that first place receives a plane ticket to worlds, so perhaps that’s the trade-off.

Stay tuned to the ATGN website as we’ll have a boat load of Android: Netrunner goodness coming your way very soon.

~Toby

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