In the absence of GW’s premiere events, such as the old Grand Tournaments and Conflict season, Out of the Basement Gaming has taken steps in recent years to fill the void. In just 4 short weeks, the third annual It came from… Out of the Basement tournament will be taking place at the University of Alberta campus, with help from our friends at the Campus Food Bank.
Not only does this Edmonton-based group (which your humble author has been a member of since the dawn of time) strive to recreate the scale of the old Grand Tournaments, but the atmosphere as well. This is the reason for the tournament format, the scoring system, and the little extras that make an event special. After all, what good is it to have 100 gamers taking part in the same event if they aren’t having a great time?
For those who never had the joy of experiencing a GT in person, you definitely missed out. Back in the day these events were a huge deal. Not quite the scale of a Games Day event, but they certainly generated a similar amount of excitement in the community. They were big, they were fun, and they inspired gamers to really push the envelope in terms of presentation, army selection and generalship. These were the days before Best General winners were at risk of being booed during the trophy presentation (which I repeat at every opportunity because it is sad, funny and it happened to a friend of mine!).
Soft scores represent approximately 50% of the Overall Score. This is still a tournament and winning games will always be a huge factor in determining the Best Overall winner, but painting and sportsmanship will always be given significant representation as well.
While there was a small number of rock hard lists making an appearance at Grand Tournament events, most people kept things within reason. As the events drew folks from hundreds of miles away, people were looking for a good time and not just an opportunity to stomp on random strangers for a weekend. Many went so far as to throw all competitiveness out the window in favor of crazy themed projects, such as the Monty Python themed Bretonnians or the “Got wood?” Woof Elf mage on Great Eagle (everyone who played in the 2003 Calgary GT knows exactly what I mean by that… that’s a sight you just can’t un-see).
While the OOTB tournament organizers don’t ever want to ban anything outright, we do try to come up with composition systems that reward creativity and originality over cut and paste army construction. You are welcome to bring your Goatboy-inspired Mech Vet Spam if you want, just be warned that you just won’t get a very high comp score if you do!
There have been some very cool armies in the previous OOTB tournaments, including some unique armies like Conan’s Chaos Dwarfs and Desmond’s fully converted and lavishly painted pre-heresy Dark Angels. Dustin often attracts a lot of attention with his crazy themed lists full of rare/expensive models, such as his Ultramarine Tyranid Hunters and Blood Pact/Sons of Sek (featured below). Dustin is no stranger to resin or greenstuff. I hear he’s working on a Legion of the Damned army using nothing but the gorgeous metal models and Forgeworld pre-heresy upgrade kits. That should be a sight to see when it’s all done!
Beyond the games themselves, Grand Tournaments also gave you a ton of opportunities to meet and bond with fellow gamers. Whether it was after hours gaming or the famous Pub Quiz, there was a ton of fun to be had by all. Keeping true to that spirit, OOTB has been renting out bars on or near campus for after hours shenanigans. I don’t want to encourage the stereotype that we’re all a bunch of alcoholics (Jaded Gamercast already does enough to promote that), but there’s a reason that our club tends to give out engraved/laser etched metal beer steins for trophies in tournaments and campaigns. Simply put, having a pint (or twelve) of Bugman’s XXXXXX after a long day of gaming with friends is just plain awesome. For past champions, we tend to use club funds to fill those steins on Saturday night. Just our way of saying congrats to the winners 😀
One of the coolest parts of the OOTB Tournaments is the cost. While many people expect to pay $80 or more for a tournament entry fee (and we used to happily pay $175 for Grand Tournaments back in the day), OOTB events remain a meagre $50. Pre-registration has been up on the OOTB website for a few weeks now, and there’s a super handy Paypal option so you can register immediately without any hassle. Despite this low price tag, we deliver a nice big venue with plenty of room for up to 100 rabid wargamers, pizza lunch on Saturday, etched metal steins for trophies and a bar to drink at without having to worry about a bunch of cool kids with popped collars making fun of us for debating the merits of multimeltas vs. lascannons over a drink. We’ve also found a way to get some cool swag in years past, from event T-shirts to fancy stencilled dice bags.
Considering OOTB tournaments deliver all of this for a mere 29% the cost of a GT ticket, I think it’s safe to say we’ve done a good job of improving on the old formula.
It’s also important to restate our gratitude to the Campus Food Bank, who helps us out in securing the venue and keeping costs low in exchange for a chance to collect donations. In past years we’ve raised some fairly epic mountains of food and other bathroom related necessities (Blood for the Blood God indeed, Andrew). It’s pretty great to know that folks in need will have food on their plates because of the generosity of gamers, so please come on out and support this great cause.
Once again, to summarize:
- Room for 100 gamers (50 Fantasy and 50 Warhammer 40k)
- 50 tables with quality scenery
- 5 games spread over Saturday and Sunday
- Pizza lunch
- Pub quiz
- Trophies that you can drink out of
- Low price of $50 plus a donation to the Campus Food Bank
As I mentioned, pre-registration is open and filling up fast. Last year we were scrambling to make room for all the 40k players, as the 50 original slots filled up quickly. I expect more Fantasy players this year with 8th edition being so damn good, but it will be interesting to see which side of the event fills up first.
Got an tournament of your own you’d like to have showcased? Drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do to support your event!