Author Topic: Gamers' Haven Jonesboro - Demopalooza 2022  (Read 1467 times)


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Gamers' Haven Jonesboro - Demopalooza 2022
« on: 30 September 2022, 08:51:41 »
Nearly a week late to post about this due to a dead hard drive knocking my computer out, but here we are!

On September 24, 2022, local organizer Kearin arranged Demopalooza at Gamers' Haven in Jonesboro, AR, an event where regulars could demo many different tabletop games with a prize raffle and a few other incentives thrown in. I was in charge of running the BattleTech table. As a personal incentive to get new players to join, every participant walked away with two 'Mechs (pictured below, though a bit blurry as there was a bit of a rush; open in new tab to see at full resolution).

From left to right: Clan Ghost Bear (Alpha Galaxy) Executioner, Clan Jade (Delta Galaxy) Falcon Adder, Federated Suns (Davion Guards) Rifleman, Capellan Confederation (Warrior House Imarra) Warhammer, Draconis Combine (Sword of Light) Phoenix Hawk, Lyran Commonwealth (Lyran Guards) Atlas, Free Worlds League (Marik Militia) Orion, Wolf's Dragoons (Custom) Marauder II, Clan Wolf (Beta Galaxy) Timber Wolf, Clan Smoke Jaguar (Beta Galaxy) Nova.

We needed the scenario to fit within about 50 minutes, including introduction, but also show some of the nuances of Classic BattleTech. Given that, I decided that the matchup would be a guest team consisting of a 3/4 Timber Wolf A and Grendel Prime versus my home team of a 4/5 Griffin GRF-1N and Wolverine WVR-6M. The map was Lake Losiije played long-ways, with the guests given the high ground. Perfectly balanced, as all matches should be.

My first match was with the organizer himself, as he was free at the time. Good fella that he is, he played his heart out and managed to eat up the Wolverine in a nice and timely manner. Hegira was denied to the Griffin after the poor regular pilot saw his battle buddy get ripped apart without so much as a single point of internal damage on the enemy and decided to bug out, and the Grendel gave chase. We ran out of time with the Griffin one leap away from his home edge and with scarred armor to show for it. Kearin politely declined to select prize miniatures, offering first choice to others and later citing that if he decides to leap into BattleTech, he'd prefer to paint his it all to his own specs from scratch.

The next match had me facing off against a lovely young couple, who both had a real genuine enthusiasm from the start. The boyfriend opted for the Grendel, allowing the girlfriend to try out the Timby. Having spectated much of the previous round, the two cottoned on real quick, and just seemed to gel with BattleTech on pretty much every level. Anyhow, after a confrontation in the woods (involving a DFA attempt that, of course, failed miserably) between the Wolverine and Timber Wolf, a badly-injured but still standing Wolvie opted for a fighting retreat into some nearby woods. One more volley from the Timber Wolf with supporting fire by her partner left nearly every location on the Wolverine vulnerable to penetration and reduced its jumping capability, and the medium 'Mech had no good options left but to punch out. The response from the Timber Wolf was yet another salvo of fire, and after a couple misses the pilot was thoroughly evaporated by a Medium Pulse Laser. The Griffin was denied hegira, but the match ended before either of the Clanners could get a clean shot off on the sole survivor. The boyfriend, having eyed the Rifleman and its Davion Guards paint job since he'd first arrived at the table, quickly chose it and the Ghost Bear Executioner. The girlfriend liked the colors on the Jade Falcon Adder, and decided to double down on her decision to select it when I described the Jade Falcons' generally smug, superior attitude; her second choice was the Wolf Timber Wolf, having both a fondness for the Timby from the demo and a desire to use the "Emily" pilot card that came with it. Both were very pleasant to play with, so I hope they decide to return in the future.

My third match was against another newcomer to the store as far as I could tell. He seemed to be a somewhat nervous man, but still acquitted himself well in both familiarizing himself with the rules and keeping up with the occasional small talk over the course of the game. His match saw the Wolverine (once again attempting an ill-advised DFA against the Timber Wolf) getting headcapped by a single ER PPC. His Grendel then closed on the retreating Griffin (because of course, hegira was denied) who was forced to dive into the lake to safely retreat. The Clanner medium followed suit, and what ensued was my first use of the underwater range table in quite a long time, as the retreat turned into a somewhat awkward submarine hunt, both sides finding their mobility and firepower restricted. After a couple rounds with slow movement and no breaches, it was decided to call it there. The fellow selected for his prizes the Smoke Jaguar Nova and Wolf's Dragoons Marauder II, cleaning out the last of the Clanner stock and leaving four I.S. 'Mechs left.

My last match was against someone who was not, in fact, playing BattleTech for the first time, but had played his first match with me a few weeks prior and was ready for round 2. It was, however, the first match for his daughter, who would be piloting the Timber Wolf. She can't have been more than nine or ten, and so didn't have the most patience or tactical sense, but she was generally well-behaved, and enjoyed rolling dice and watching things explode as much as everyone else. As for the match, I think you know the drill by now: failed DFA, dead Wolverine, Griffin denied hegira, and so on. At the end of the match, his daughter selected the Lyran Guards Atlas (which both I and her father agreed was a perfect fit for her, for she is a Steiner Scout at heart) and the Marik Orion, with her father claiming the remaining Phoenix Hawk and Warhammer. All goes well, I'll be facing off against the father tomorrow in the cockpit of an aerospace fighter, as he's was a big X-Wing player and the local scene as kind of died.

All things considered, despite some setbacks in setup (I'd been having a time of it at work so unfortunately quite a lot of my preparation became postperation, not helped by the sudden hard drive failure), I think the event went very well. I've reinforced that one of my previous demos will definitely have someone giving the game a serious shot, likely got a couple others to at least give the Beginner Box a shot, and may have even roped in one or two other players potentially. I know at least that everyone had a good time, which is ultimately the best part.

If you're ever interested in stopping by the store, you can find information in this thread. For those of you who got this far, reception to Demopalooza was generally very positive, and the store owner and event organizer were openly discussing doing something like it again in the future, so I'm taking suggestions for future freebie paints. This year, I planned on 10 minis, and so decided to do one from every Great House, first-wave Invading Clan, and a representative for mercenaries. In the future, I'm considering ComStar, other mercenaries, and/or perhaps even some Home Clans or Civil War-era invaders. I generally prefer to do paints that are iconic or representative of the faction in question, so I'd be interested to hear suggestions, as I'm not familiar with every major merc company or Clan.

Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed the read, and if you're ever in the area on a Saturday feel free to swing by!
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