So. The ETC for TNI’s Fantasy brigade.

WIthout the advantage of Shane’s round by round breakdown I can but do my best to paint a picture worthy of the true scene.

August in Switzerland. Apparently it is supposed to be the rainy season. Knowing that the creme de la creme of wargaming geekery was due to descend on Montreux, mother nature obviously saw fit to tease and torture so much white flesh and thought the only way to keep them from invading the playground of millionaires was to make it too hot to venture out from the calm and relatively cool sanctuary of the venue. I suppose it worked. The only real sorties where to the closest beer vendor and that was done as fast as possible so as to minimise the exposure to the hated gaze of the sun. If I forgot to mention it, it was hot. Very hot.

Anyway. Some of us had been there for a few days as a sort of advance recon party and in that time Derm managed to besmirch the good name of TNI by forcing his opponent in one singles game to scream ‘Fuck You’ at him and storm off. Derm doesn’t go into details but he had obviously said something unbelievably rude about Toblerones, Cuckoo Clocks and where to stick neutrality. Barry on the other hand was busy preparing the ground for the ETC by taking a bribe from his Russian opponent. Nice hat but was it worth throwing your game at the ETC Barry? Was it?

Anyway, with the aperitifs out of the way it was time for the rest of the Motley Crew to arrive and by Friday evening the entire gang was in attendance and raring to go. Shame about the freaking Swedish snoring gambit on the Friday night which resulted in myself sleeping in a bathroom cubicle and Barry on the floor in the hallway. Damn you hostel and your timed light switches and residents who feel it is a good idea to stand on your head at four in the morning. Never again shall I grace a hostel with my presence. God help the sixteen year old Phillipino who was greeted on the thursday night by five burly foreigners after midnight all snoring and farting away. Not sure how much sleep he got but it would have been uncomfortable fully clothed.

Saturday morning. Fuzzy of head and tired of eye we advanced en masse to the gaming venue to be offered up as sacrifice to the pesky Russians. WOuld the Kings of Warhammer be able to show them what for? Would we buggery. We amassed a grand total of 33 out of a possible 160 points with myself scoring highest with 8 points against a canny Skaven player. I still can’t figure out how I lost the game but when killing half of his army equates to roughly 300 pts you can see why. What a start. On the table next to me I got to witness Marty blowing up his level 4 wizard in T1 along with most of his Chosen unit of doom. Barry threw his game as he was ordered to do from on high as only a good Soviet plant can do and Derm began to paint his own lovely pattern of losing his anvil. Again and again and again and again. Onwards and upwards?

Wales next and real pressure on us to rectify the awful start. It got better but a complete 80 – 80 draw was not what we where looking for. Cracking opponents to play against and Ross showed that he is King of the Orcs against the Welsh captain and Shane and Barry both got big wins. Shamefully Derm got his anvil kicked to death by a horse. I don’t know what Derm did to his Dwarves before this tournament but it must have been quite traumatic and probably illegal to have led to the luck he had.

The final game of day one came after a beer run and saw us facing off against the biggest load of vagabonds and scumbags you have ever seen, Erm, sorry I mean the Aussies. Cracking bunch of lads that by and large played the game in the right spirit. I was cream crackered and could barely stand up but had a beer in my hand and my first day of ETC over. Notables where Shane managing to get his Kipper killed by like four Wood Elf bowmen and Matt kicking his campaign off with a big win and me almost having a fight with my opponent. Well, not really a fight but certainly a few upset stares and angry swigs of my bottle. I think Derm had managed to lose his anvil in every game and Barry ‘bad roll of the dice’ Lynch had been screwed by his lack of sacrifices to the Great Horned Rat and Squeek was scoring points. He had set himself a target of 35 pts overall for the tournie and had managed to wangle an offer of a beer from Shane if he did so. The chase was on. We lost 98 – 62.

I think we where all a bit miffed with how things had gone by and large and drink was consumed that led to the great skinny dipping crusade where four TNI members went where only one crazy scottish 40k player had gone before. Lake Geneva at 1 o’clock in the morning with a belly full of beer. They survived although Matt had a run in with a sock and Shane’s camera. I leave it there. Lake Geneva was beautiful to swim in I have to admit although it was cold enough during the day so god (and the combined genitalia of four TNI members) only knows how cold it was at night.

Day two and the big push was on. It didnt start too well with Shane finally getting caught by the inspectors on the bus. Apparently all kinds of bribes where offered before a reduced fine was issued. I am not sure if it was just me but Shane certainly walked with a strange gait for the rest of the day. We where up against Hungary and this was the time for boys to become men. The dice rolled and we smited with the most smitiest of smites. Big wins for a few top players saw us to our first win of the tournament and smiles returned to dour faces. The body snatchers came in during the night and spirited away Squeek and replaced him with Ser Squeek of Ballymena whose army of gallant knights crushed all before them for the rest of the day. Suffice it to say that his preset total was blown out of the water (well done again squeek, made up you did so well). I showed my opponent how to play with his own army before giving him a sound thumping. It was all in the dice. After promising them I would never forsake them for the evil green ones they decided to reward me for the rest of the day. 88 – 72 win.

Game five and we where full of bluster and bravado against the czechs. Boom. Is that the ground we see before us? Are we crashing into it? Oh yes, I think we are. I witnessed Barry get annihilated by laser guided Dwarves in an unbelievable display of artillery accuracy whilst pounding an Empire list with my unkillable VC. Derm had decided enough was enough after being Pendanted by DE and hit the bottle whilst everybody else tried to scrape as many points as possible. My opponent tried to gyp me out of points even though he couldn’t figure out how. He may have been doing it all tournament. 100 – 60 loss

It was time for the final game and we got the mighty Serbs. The goblin King McCarroll had nothing but good things to say and I have to admit they where cracking opponents. I had a couple of queries but all in good nature and was offered some sage words of advice by Ser Squeek prior to playing my Bret opponent. We kicked ass in the final round with an impressive 115 – 45 win. Marty made a High Elf White Lion unit hack itself to death whilst Derm got royally smashed on Serbian brandy after registering his first win against somebody who appeared to have even worse luck than him. All I can say is that I am glad it was Derm who swapped shirts with the Russian girl and not another member of the team. Very sexy!!!!! A failed look out sir on his Slann and six wounds later the Northern Irish adonis was finally smiling. Partook of some home made Brandy myself which was nice and did a shirt swap with somebody at least two feet taller than myself. A good showing in the final round lifted us to 21st, above both Aussies and Kiwis as well as the Welsh. It was nice to hang around and cheer the Irish as well and I have to admit I loved every second of the whole thing.

I think we have a decent team and with some more practice (myself, Squeek and Matt had all taken up new armies less than six months ago) we would have done much better. The standard is much higher than in a normal tournament and this experience would be of great importance in the future. A tale of two days for the team with a good nights sleep doing the world of good. Poland next year should be awesome.

*****DISCLAIMER. ALL SLANDER AND INFERENCE IS PURELY OF MY OWN TWISTED MIND AND DOES IN NO WAY REFLECT ACTUAL EVENTS. EXCEPT WHATEVER SHANE DID TO REDUCE HIS FINE. AND BARRY BEING A SOVIET MOLE. AND MAYBE SQUEEK BEING SWITCHED IN THE NIGHT. PERHAPS SOMETHING CRAWLED UP HIS ASS AND TOOK CONTROL AFTER HIS SKINNY DIP. HE WAS IN ON HIS OWN FOR A WHILE*******