Welcome to this week’s blog! By all accounts this is going to be pretty short this week (about time after 3 weeks of double batreps, ammirite?) since I’ve just got back from an amazing 2 (and a bit) days at Element Games in Stockport for the Sith Taker Open 2023! There’s another reason too but I’ll get to that later.
The main bit…
Since I publish on a Tuesday and I only got back on Sunday night, have been away from my family since Friday lunchtime and have to, like, work and stuff, this post will not be an account of my games over the weekend (special apologies to Dan Barringer who REALLY wants to know!).
No, this post is purely and unashamedly a love-in, a whimsical and, at times, sappy letter of appreciation.
Don’t worry though, the games will follow next week if that’s your sort of thing.
So in case you weren’t aware, this past weekend Element Games held the Sith Taker Open 2023. Last year was the first time I’d attended and it was glorious. The biggest event (in the UK, at least! Maybe Europe, perhaps the world?) since pre-covid times and with the lack of UK System Open leaving a huge hole in my X-Wing life, the STO did a very good job of plugging that gap.
So good, in fact, that there was no doubt that I’d be heading back in 2023.
And it did not disappoint. At all.
Faces both new and familiar filled the room on the Friday night with hugs and handshakes all around as people arrived from near and far, excited to play, of course but these big events are about far more than that.
A few games were going on here and there as people tried to settle on strategies and tactics or in some cases even which list to submit!
Saturday was a whirlwind of game after game. Winners were excited about the potential to make cut, others about how many bounties they could claim for some swag of their own.
108 tickets had been sold and in the end 105 people turned up to roll dice and push plastic space ships around. Given the rocky recent history of the game and the increased cost of, well, pretty much everything recently, this is an incredible turn out.
Pairings were drawn, we all shuffled around to our tables and after playing our games went back over to our friends and recounted the amazing/terrible things that had happened. Blanks and natties (JARGON ALERT!!), close calls and bad moves, bad luck and bad judgement. Sharing the stories seems to bring comfort or intensify glory, depending on the result of course.
Come the end of the day it was time for socialising. People going for meals or drinks or to play more games.
Come Sunday, for those who didn’t make the top 16, there was a team event to take part in. Three players per team and in the end 20 teams signed up with others preferring to just socialise or play some Aces High instead.
In the end the main event was won by some scrub called Faan Langelaan (he’s quite good apparently!) but let’s face it, with a weekend of spending time with friends and playing games, we were all winners really, some people just happened to get prizes while doing it.
So yes, despite rumours of it’s demise, X-Wing is alive and well. Perhaps not quite as popular in all corners as it has been, sure, but given the hits that the game has taken in the last 12 months with a MASSIVE swathe of rules changes and the introduction of scenario play, I’d say things are doing ok. Could it be better? Probably, yes, but certainly they could be a lot worse.
What’s clear though is that the very best bit of X-Wing is still there. The people. The people who travel far and wide to roll dice with each other and then go out for food and drink afterwards.
The people who spend money to get somewhere pretty far away to play in a tournament to win… cards and plastic. No money on the line here and yet still we come.
The people who spend money to have their own bits of card and plastic made to simply give away to other people just because it makes them feel good and spreads a bit of joy and love.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to Rich Polley, Sean Milligan, Jonny Hall and all the Sith Takers who made the weekend happen. It’s a huge effort and a lot of work but honestly, what it brings to the community can’t be understated. Weekends like this are what keeps the game going. I know at least one person who was heading out of game and using this as their ‘goodbye to X-Wing’ who walked out with a smile on their face, a regular game organised and a Battle of Yavin pack in their hand.
I love this community.
The worst bit…
Remember I said there’s another reason this blog might not be as big as normal? Well, on the way home with two of my squad mates in the car, there was an incident
Yep, while minding my own business in the inside lane of the M6, a pretty big truck decided he wanted to be where I was, didn’t see me and caught the back end of my car and swung it around into the front of his truck, pushing us 60-70 yards down the motorway.
Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt (although we’re all a bit sore in various places) and we all made it home safe. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about my car.
It was a pretty terrifying experience and while I don’t want to get all near-death experience-y I will say that we should all count our blessings, appreciate our loved ones and do what we need to do to enjoy life because we’ve got no idea how long we’ve got.
It’s been a whirlwind of phone calls to managers, company car people, car hire people, insurance people and the like and I’m also dealing with a bit of a bad back and it’s Toby’s birthday so my blog time has been rather limited. So apologies for the shorter post, normal service should resume next week! Why not pop back then and see how I got on?
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