Silly brain woke me up at 4am local time, so getting my revenge by forcing it to write words! This is the half time (of my visit) report of the 5th NAF World Cup currently happening in Alicante on the southern Spanish coast. The WC happens every 4 years and has been growing kind of exponentially since 2007. I helped organise 2015 in Italy, then was on a competitive team in 2019 in Austria, and this time was with a collection of local and not so local coaches looking to enjoy the atmosphere and have an awesome time (and get best Black Orc coach…)
L-R: Kismet from Little Git Painting, Doddsy (last minute stand-in, signed up on Sunday!), me and Dementor, and father-son team from Bromley MiniMorg and EyeballPaul.
I did some pre-tournament roster analysis, which was fun to build the hype, and it was great to see a load of people who appreciate the Tableau stuff. Can be a bit like shouting into the void sometimes, but great conversations with people like Drakenspear were had, who was over from Canada.
There are just under 2300 people taking part, and on Thursday it seemed like every bar had a collection of BB coaches in as we wandered around the town centre in the hours leading up to the opening ceremony on the pier at 8pm. Fantastic to have a central meeting point to meet people like Fumbbl’s Christer, NAF committee members and the like, who I have lots of dealings with online but seldom see in person. One of the big differences this time for me is travelling with Dementor, who since the last WC has built an online presence himself as part of AndyDavo’s streaming team and general roster and rules guru, so nice for him to see people in person too.
On Friday the buses to the venue ran from various points around the area, starting from 715, so a nice early start. Everyone had QR codes, and the line moved pretty quickly to get everyone into the amazing venue, a central playing area surrounded by awesome vendors (Charlie Victor, Hungry Troll, Pedro Ramos etc). The draw for Round 1 had already been done so game started gradually as people converged on their tables (186 tables of 6 coaches of 2 teams!), which meant there was plenty of time for round 1.
All participants got a great goody bag with tokens and pitch, a felt one which can fold nicely and then go out smoothly, which is pretty much going to be my standard tournament pitch from now on.
Our first match up was against a Spanish team. My first drive was absolutely golden, bullying dwarves until they lost the ball and I went in 1-0 up and very cheerful about life. My dice then deserted me, and he scored on my drive. Tried not to get too grumpy, then pulled off a nonsense TTM to pull out a 2-1 win. They all count!
Lunch was a massive paella, supplemented by the food vendors around the hall.
The queue was pretty massive, but the sun was shining, everyone was chatting, and there was lots of time for lunch, so very little grumbling that I saw. I invested in the WC beaker at this stage, which allowed 400ml beers at 2 euro a time. Happy days!
The start of round 2 is always a nervous one for a TO, as it’s the first time of drawing a new round in anger and getting it out on time with no mistakes, and there was a little delay while it got sorted with a few teething problems, but was soon underway. I was against necro, and my dice issues continued a little, but he scored in turn 5 and I was able to score back when his sweeper ghoul failed to dodge out and sweep. The second half was straightforward, so another 2-1 win, this time against a German squad, and our first squad win (and only squad win on day one).
The ranking is swiss within swiss, so I was a surprised (and pleased) to be playing a nurgle team on table 1 of our squad match up round 3 against another Spanish squad (who make up a 3rd of the field!). Nurgle is a great match up for black orcs, and I was out guarding him (he didn’t have any…) so with my seven strength to his five he found life hard going. It was sweltering heat as well, so his rotspawn missed one of his drives. The only worrying part of the game was him coming too close to a two turn TD with no rerolls after I scored in my seven – I thought with Nurgle it was pretty safe, but dice happened! When the penultimate rush failed and his beast felt the heat, I was pretty confident, and ended up with a 3-0 win, including a rare troll touchdown after he caught the ball!
The ball token is great, along with the rest of the swag, and I bought some adhesive magnetic bases for my team, which meant that as the goblins didn’t have any skills it stuck to them. Very pleased with that.
Unfortunately my win was the only one for the squad in that round, so we finished 1-0-2 for the day. Time to submarine!
The day finished pretty late, but the buses were there ready to take the troops back to town, and the squad headed straight to bed after a long few days. I popped to the local Irish bar to watch the second half of New Zealand v France, then settled down myself for what turned out to be 4 hours of sleep.
The organisers have published the overnight standings, which put me around 100th individually, only black orc coach on 3 wins, and the squad just in the top 300. We are playing a Spanish team in the morning, though led by caio, a coach from Uruguay, who again I have chatted to online through NAF work, and it will be great to play him and his chaos dwarves (another good match up for me, especially since minos don’t tend to have claws any more, and his doesn’t).
Time to see if I can grab some more sleep now, or if a mid-day power nap might be called for during the long lunch break (spanish omelette, yum!). If you want to know how the napping turns out, follow me on Twitter for more updates (yes, it’s rubbish and evil now, but it’s where updates are…)