Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Killswitch's ETC Report Part 1

Apologies for leaving this so late. I have been awfully busy with my return to real life that I have had very little spare time. So as you all know, I attended the European Team Championships (ETC) in Switzerland – Montreux. I was elected as England’s Space Wolves player which I was very pleased about, and couldn’t be any happier than to represent the sons of Russ at one of largest 40k tournaments in the world.

Now before I start my epic long ramblings about how I did etc, I just want to give you all a brief description of the ETC Experience. I will be dedicating this post just for that, and you will all have to wait patiently for the bat reps themselves I’m afraid! I feel it is a large part of the event, and I should at least give it the justice it deserves.


So I wake up at 5am to the loud squawking of my bed side alarm clock. The birds are chirping, the seagulls are bomb diving the neighbours and my army is still loitering around the house being thrown around by my two mischievous kittens. I've had a good 5 hours sleep, 2 cups of coffee and I’m raring to go.

I set off and arrive at Dover, only to be told that the rest of the England team is running late, and they certainly were. I was left standing around for a good hour and 15 minutes before my transport arrived. We missed our first ferry, but were lucky enough to grab another one not too long after we arrived at the docks. Seventeen hours and 4 pit stops later, we arrived at Montreux.

Now I personally love traveling with a group of friends, talking 40k and life, having a few drinks and general musing about. However, I have never been so agitated in my life. Good god is it hard to travel for a total of 19 hours, and to say my legs and rear end was stiff is an understatement. For the price of travel, who can complain, but to say it was an experience certainly hits the nail on the head.

I think it is safe to say that next time, I may consider putting out for a more comfortable experience and take the Plane instead.

What a beautiful city. No word can describe this place except clean. I was shocked to see hardly any litter lying around, clean buildings & streets, hell even clean people. Gorgeous designs were to be viewed within and without the cites, as the architectural structure & layout of the buildings were certainly a sight to behold. The bay was breathtaking. A beautiful lake spanned across the horizon, and opposite us were the sky-high mountains spanning across the width of the view.

Breathtaking views

The lake was clean with no rubbish or green muck which is commonly seen along the coasts of England. The water was fresh and they even had drinking water fountains loitered around the city which was a useful hang over cure for the team as we trekked over to the venue every morning.

The shops were plenty in number, but wow, the prices were steep. I heard Switzerland was expensive, but I never would have thought it would be that bad. For example, we found a McDonalds and decided to just view the prices, and we were quickly thrown back by the £11 Big Mac meals advertised in the shop window.

Average price for a can of coke was £2 and it just goes to show how hard it was to find a cheap shop for supplies. Luckily we had Tim, the Scottish ETC captain on hand and he managed to find a fair few shops which were nice and cheap for students like myself.

The hall which the event was held in was fantastic. There was the World Miniature Expo being held at the same time, so there was plenty to see and do whilst we was there. Being situated near the high street, local shops were within walking distance and the Lake was just outside for those who fancied a dip. Unfortunately this was banned after the first day due to a few streakers scaring the locals!

Food was decent. It was obviously in large supply for the 750+ gamers and refs at attendance, so I wasn’t expecting much. Processed meat in curries and a beef stew the day after. The bread was fantastic however, so good in fact that the English Fantasy team decided to take an entire loaf of it.

Terrain was in large supply, and every board was set out to have 25% covered before the event started. This was great and how all tournaments should be played, however this didn’t help the fact that there was a majority of LOS blocking terrain. Now I am one for LOS blocking terrain as I think it is great and promote tactical play rather than who gets turn 1, however this was just a bit too much. Even the small pieces of terrain were completely blocking Rhinos and Thunder wolves etc which was giving a slight advantage to some armies.

Hundreds of boards & sweaty gamers...yum!

Every board was similar, which reduced the tactical flexibility of being put forward and getting to select a table since all the tables were similar and all the tables had a large supply of BLOS terrain pieces. This in turn reduced the effectiveness of my Wolf army, which relied on its shooting to assist me over the course of the game. Fire lanes were still easy to get, but having to split your force meant that your opponent could capitalize on deploying on one side which usually wouldn’t be such a big deal. This is just a personal viewpoint, and I hope next years (if I attend) has a fair amount of both LOS blocking and standard area terrain.

The boards themselves were all smaller than 6x4 which was annoying. Two of my games required you to place a certain amount of objectives in specific places. This meant that you had to deploy then, for example, 12 inches away from the short board edge, and 18 from the long. The problem I had was that the board was not 6 foot long or 4 foot wide, so we had to play around with positioning to get it in the exact spot for fair of play. This wasn’t a huge deal, but something again which could be improved upon.


Now I won’t go into much detail here as it will spoil my bat reps, but I thought I would give you a quick overview on how the games went at the ETC. Each team would roll a dice and the loser would put forward an army for the other team to play. The winner then puts a player forward an army fro the loser to put an army against, and this happens until 7 armies are paired off against each other. The army which has been put forward, gets its choice of board, as this is to balance the fact that they are most likely getting a harder match up. Both teams pop down a secret player called the “Champion” and are both announced at the end of the pairings. These two armies face off on the last available board.

This adds some tactical decisions which is different to normal Tourney play. At first I was skeptical, as it allows some armies to lose badly and others to win big. But after experiencing it for myself, it was awesome. It adds a completely different level of play and tactical decisions which could effect the outcome of the match. Having to play your best against tough match ups makes the game that much more fun as its down to all of you to pull your weight and do your best for the team.

I really enjoyed this and it’s something which you could never appreciate fully until you have whitnesed it yourself. I could not recommend this more to anyone out there considering joining in on the experience. It is something completely different to normal tournament playa nd you will see some very strange but interesting lists and tactics used. I for one was thrilled at this and it broadened my thoughts on how 40k can be played.

If you currently don’t belong to a country already entered in the ETC I suggest you make a team now and pop over next year, for it is worth the weight in gold. If you are part of a country which has already attended the ETC, I suggest you try out for the team, for you will never regret that decision. I had a fantastic time and enjoyed the social, gaming and visual aspect of the experience and I do hope that some of you would consider joining in on the fun.

Team England in all its glory

I hope to see you there next year if I am lucky enough to represent my country. Stay tuned for my Bat reps, and a detailed talk about the evolution of my Space Wolf list.



  1. Venerable Brother31 August 2011 at 10:11

    Nice one Alex, looking forward to seeing how the games one cares that the streets were clean. Get on with it!! lol ;)

    Whoa,whoa, whoa....the boards weren't 6'x4'? stfu...really?

  2. The boards weren't 6'x4'? Epic fail.

  3. Well i think they were 180cm x 120cm.
    So an inch to half an inch was missing.
    Epic? Nope!

  4. @anonymous...without detail I think you'll have to agree the statement alone was inflammatory.

  5. Appologies I meant it was like half an inch down, it wasnt much but a little on the annoying side as we spent an extra 10 minutes trying to work out where the objetives should be placed etc lol!

    Bat Reps are coming up, be patient I have real life to deal with aswell lol :D

  6. Haha, no worries brother. Yeah, we can wait awhile!!

  7. Speak for yourself lol.

    Looking forward to the b'reps Alex.

  8. Jeez you made it sound like a 5'6"x3'6" board or something ^^.

  9. Here, lad: A Wolf player with Hairdryer and hair-straighteners? You've some explaining to do. :P

  10. What canb I say? I like to be kept groomed lol ;)

  11. Kirby: in Europe with UK as exception inches is not standard metric, we use centimeters/meters. I need cut off board sizes: 182.88x121,92 cm. It is not standard request.