By: Stephen Benning aka YodaBreaker
Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get to sleep until 11:30p the night before (had to pack, then had to print out the e-mail confirming malform, superflytnt, and me would be part of the "press team" for the conference - right before drifting off to sleep!). Thus, I was going on about 5 hours of sleep after waking up at 4:30a and getting showered and dressed. I ran to work to get my voice recorder for the interviews I hoped to do, so I was out of Nashville by 5:30a. After about an hour and a half of driving, though, my eyes were seeing double, and I couldn't get the two road percepts to integrate no matter what I did, so I pulled over for a 15-minute nap. However, I still planned on being there at about 9:00a, which would give me an hour and a half before the tournament to conduct interviews and talk to the contestants.
What I'd forgotten is that whereas Tennessee is in the Central time zone, Kentucky is in the Eastern time zone - an hour ahead! Because of traffic, I didn't end up getting there until 10:15a, right when the sign-ups were ending! As a consequence, I was an odd man out on the brackets, and I had to wait a while to see if anyone would show up for me to play. I thought that superflytnt and his fam might help solve the situation, but they were unavoidably detained, so I bided my time nervously, hoping I'd get to play. I think I was the 19th contestant, though one of the brackets ended up totally empty, as the two brothers that signed up to play actually didn't (at least, from the official brackets, as far as I could tell)
I turned out to be the "second chance round" for a couple of people, who were kind enough to let me play them for the chance to advance. I played profanicon's boyfriend in the first round, and he seems to be ever much the kind and gentle soul she has described him to be. malform graciously played me in the second round, and I highly recommend his company to anyone fortunate enough to share his friendship. My teams consisted of grabs for S4 Vader, then as many Wickets as possible, then a Logray (if still available), then Starter 4 Greedo, then other 10-point launchers, then maybe Starter 4 Han, then Starter 4 Chewie if there weren't any more 10-point shooters available. My first-round bin didn't have an S4 Vader in it, so I made do with lots of 10-point launchers, along with a Wicket and a Logray, I believe. In the second round, people started taking what they wanted from other bins, so malform and I did, too. I favored Wickets, and I believe he liked Greedos.
I prepared to do the same sort of "grab your favorites" for the final three-way round robin (which we sort of improvised on the fly, in conjunction with the tournament staff, because of the odd brackets), gathering up all the Wickets I could. However, the tourney organizers stated that they still wanted to have random draws from single bins, so the Wickets were dispersed among four remaining bins, as were the figures that others had gathered up. Fortunately, they picked the bin that had three Wickets in it for the final tournament matches, along with an Armored Vader.
In the first round of the championship round robin, I played thecasualoblivion. I believe he won the right to draw first and to take the first turn. I can't recall what team he picked, exactly, but I favored S4 Vader, two Wickets, and a Greedo, I think, with some 10-point launchers rounding out the mix. A strike from Armored Vader sent most of his team off the playing field (as he grouped much of it into a single formation on his first turn), and it didn't help matters any that Vader came up white and hence recovered when he was knocked down. I believe that he had a Starter 4 Han and Logray left at the end. I shot down Han on the second attack of my turn, but he was white, and Logray saved him. However, I think I was just left with too many figures to be dealt with effectively.
In the next championship round robin match, I played Cona Chris. I think I won the right to draft first; consequently, I asked him to take the first turn, since I had the advantage in the draw. Again, I loaded up with S4 Vader and 2 Wickets, with some supplemental launchers taking their place in the rear guard. Vader and Wicket led the charge again, but Cona Chris had his six figures in three groups of two figures. S4 Vader's strike curiously took out only one of the two figures in the middle, but Wicket took out both of his targets in the rightmost group of figures (from my perspective). He consequently knocked Wicket and Armored Vader to the ground, and both were black. He spread his figures out into singletons, which made it much more difficult for me to pick them off (and I believe he was left with Starter 4 Han and Chewie at the end, after I picked off another figure whose identity I can't recall). He picked off a couple of figures of mine in the interim, though I remember having a Wicket left at the end. When that last Wicket took out Starter 4 Han and Chewie, Chewie was white and Han was black; because the attacker got to choose the order of special power activation, I chose to have Chewie activate first (which didn't help him at all, because there were no Specialists in his defeated pile at that moment), then Han.
Thus, I was permitted to play the Attacktix game designer (whose first name was Bill; I can't recall his last name). He had a spiffy silver case with the Attacktix logo emblazoned boldly on the front and a three-dial combo lock to protect its contents from prying eyes. He said that his team was stored there, and that I would get to keep that team if I won. I was thinking that I'd rather have the case, as it looked like it'd be quite a lovely thing to use in transporting my favorite figures, but I was OK with the prospect of winning some new figures
His mighty team consisted of a chrome robot Super Optimus Prime, chrome Landmine, and three Mini-Cons (one chrome), with a chrome vehicle Super Optimus Prime and two Mini-Cons in back-ups (I insisted on playing with back-ups, as a usual tournament game would). He also had a chrome Hot Shot and black-based Omnicon in the case, which had holes for the figures and their projectiles drilled the night before by an intern into some foam core, he said. I asked why he didn't put the vehicle form of Super Optimus Prime in first, and he said that he just liked the robot form best.
He said I could use any team I wanted and could assemble from all of the figures in all of the bins. Well, there were 9 Wickets total across all of the bins, so I just had to use them; I also put an Endor Scout on my team to make it thematically apropos, at least He groaned and commented that he was afraid he was going to face a team of all Ewoks; I offered to replace 4 Wickets with an Armored Vader, but he demurred.
I asked him to go first, and he proceeded to group all of his figures up around the starting line, shifting them to the right corner of the playing field. Even on the starting line, my Wickets' interleaved clubs were able to stop assaults from Super Optimus Prime and a Mini-Con, though Super Optimus Prime's blast made the two targeted Wickets wobble back and forth a good deal. Because he had no strikers on his team, I formed my team into three Backwards Tripods (two figures in front, one in back); the middle formation had the Endor Scout in the rear. I took a potshot at a Mini-Con with the Endor Scout but didn't really budge it.
On the second turn, he kept his team formed up, continuing to move toward the right corner of the playing field. This time, Super Optimus Prime's shot didn't even faze my grouped figures, nor did the Mini-Con's. It was time for a Wicket from the front of the right formation to advance. His mobility surprised the Hasbro rep, but I took aim at the formation headed by Super Optimus Prime and struck. I knocked Super Optimus Prime and a Mini-Con off the table, and Landmine and another Mini-Con were additional casualties of the mighty Ewok's barbaric power! Super Optimus Prime and the two Mini-Cons were black, but Landmine was white, allowing the remaining Mini-Con to dispatch Wicket with ease (who turned up black).
At this point, I got a little too exuberant and thought it was my turn again. I moved my Wicket, and he reminded me that I had to move everyone I wanted to move before attacking. Sheepishly, I returned Wicket to his place in the two-figure right formation, then shot a glancing blow from my Endor Scout to his Mini-Con, which yielded no appreciable results.
He then started backing his Mini-Con up, and I believe he shot down one of the two remaining Wickets in the right formation with his Mini-Con. I moved the Wickets of the middle formation over to the lone remaining Wicket in the right formation, and I moved the entire left formation to cover the Endor Scout. However, because I'd blocked the Endor Scout's line of fire, I declined to attack. Backing his Mini-Con to the farthest point on the right corner of the playing field, he shot a final valiant blast from his Mini-Con into the right formation of Wickets (which unfortunately had no effect) before one of the rightmost Wickets advanced and knocked his last Mini-Con off the playing field.
He handed over the missiles and figures from the case and his team, and malform and I then asked if we could interview him for JoeAttacktix.com. However, he had to dash off, and I didn't see him again for the rest of the day, so I couldn't interview him. Apparently, he left the convention early, because when I asked for him this afternoon at the Hasbro booth (not having realized I'd already played yesterday the game that was scheduled for today at 1:00p), they said he departed early this morning, and no one else representing the Attacktix line was there for me to interview.
Here's a pic of Team Hasbro, arrayed proudly in my office The front row comprises the figures he used, and the back row comprises the figures that were in backups and in the case.
After the tournament, I got to talk with Cona Chris for a bit, and I saw him at the food court later on, too. malform and I stayed at the Attacktix tables for a while, and he handed out the awesome JoeAttacktix business cards he'd printed up. After the action died down there, we cruised once through the dealer's room and took longing ganders at the new TF Attacktix at the Hasbro station. Once superflytnt and his family arrived, they, malform, and I all had lunch together, and then we cruised around the dealer's room. I was amazed at superflytnt's boundless energy as he wheeled his daughter around in her stroller, leaving malform and me to gawk at the merch. He was looking for a World's Smallest Transformers Soundwave, and I was on the lookout for Stargate SG-1 figures for my wife. Fortunately for me, a guy was hawking his lone SG-1 figure: Black Ops Jack O'Neill, which my wife really wanted. After a quick call to my wife, I snagged the Jack doll for $5! I was amazed that one vendor was selling empty boxes for $20, and they seemed to have a surprisingly large amount of GI Joe and Masters of the Universe merch there. Now I know what to do with the old toys of mine that my parents will be bringing me ;)
We three were on the lookout for earlier series SW Attacktix, as there were four dealers that had TF Attacktix on display and for sale (mostly starter sets, Megas, and the IG Showdown pack). However, our first trip through yielded no luck. We went out to our respective cars for some trading action as it started raining, and then superflytnt left with his family. Knowing that malform needed a black-based KAM, I brought him one from home; superflytnt ended up giving him an IG-88 and Tion Medon, which made it rain both Attacktix and raindrops on malform!
malform and I then went back in to play a few games of Attacktix, using the figures that Hasbro kept up. To work on my shooting game, I played malform with teams that had no strikers on them, and I soon saw how badly my shooting game needed work! He trounced me on the second of the three games we played. The third game was one in which we both tried out the Omega Supreme. I just wanted to play with it, and malform wanted to see if he could successfully toss some of his figures into mine. It turned out that Omega Supreme was good for tossing figures into the air, but not so good at a carefully aimed toss of figures into one another. I found out that one Omega Supreme can take out another pretty nicely, though. After we played our games, we helped introduce a young lady who'd been watching us play to the game. She had some dang good aim after a few turns, and she quickly picked up just how advantageous formations were in a shooter's matchup. She didn't quite get the hang of striking; then again, neither did I for the first couple of weeks that I played. I made sure she had a winning experience, and she seemed to be quite interested in the game. I hope she makes her way into our community, with the help of malform's cards!
malform had to leave, so I bid him a fond farewell, then hit the dealer's room again. This time, I spied a clear bin of Attacktix, of about the size that was used to hold figures in the tournament. However, this bin had NIB S1 and S2 SW Attacktix for $2 each! I snagged myself an S1 Emperor, Tarfful, and Grievous Bodyguard, along with two S2 Destroyer Droids - I couldn't believe my luck! The TF Attacktix were selling fairly well, though at sometimes inflated prices.
After I came back for the Sunday 1:00p that ended up having already been played, I was able to talk to profanicon and her boyfriend for a while, along with another guy from the convention who helped out with the tournament. That guy said he hadn't gotten into the Attacktix line because they didn't transform, but after seeing how the game was played, he got much more interested. We talked about the oddities of Target pricing and inventory control - and how we'd each used them to our respective advantage at times, profanicon said that she and her boyfriend hadn't been terribly interested in SW Attacktix - until playing in the tournament! She then said they wanted to get a bunch of the older series, and I recommended Series 2 highly. I hope she and her boyfriend can find what they need through these boards, and I also hope that the laptop we discussed can be rehabilitated!
I took a final trek through the dealer's room with about an hour to go before it closed. I saw that the TF Attacktix were starting to fall in price, and that most of them had been sold off. I got the last TF starter set (sans bonus figure) from a vendor for just $5, and I managed to snag an Omega Supreme and Crumplezone for $10 from BigBadToyStore.com! The loose TF Attacktix from the people I got my SW Attacktix from the day before were overpriced at $3 per rare and $5 per super rare, so I passed on them; they'd sold out the SW Attacktix by then (probably at the $1 per figure they'd said they were going to charge at the start of Sunday).
All in all, it was a really interesting experience. There weren't as many costumes as I was used to seeing at such conventions; then again, it's much harder to make a TF suit than a Jedi robe or a Star Trek uniform. The custom TF figures that were entered in the art competition were astounding, especially the 5' Devastator, complete with rotating dump truck cylinder. I was quite happy to meet a number of new people from the boards, though I wish I'd been able to meet notpicard and safarisuz, too. I was amazed at how much people were selling old TF figures for ($10 for the smallest little figures to>$100 for big'uns like Metroplex that I had in my childhood). I was also surprised at how many pleasant memories from my childhood that seeing all of the old TF toys brought back for me. Though I'd have never thought I'd have ever gone to a TF convention, I'm so glad that I did - thanks, Joe, for letting it happen!
To find out more about the the BotCon and members mentioned above, check out the Attacktix Forum!