The Welsh Open 2024

The intro…

Hello and welcome to this week’s blog!

I’m going to be honest with you, this is going to be a fairly short blog today for two reasons:

  1. I am physically and mentally worn out,
  2. I am low on time

And both of those reasons are because THE WELSH OPEN HAPPENED THIS PAST WEEKEND!

I’ll get to that in a moment, first I want to try and catch up a little bit on where things with the X-Wing Alliance group are at the moment.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last month or so, you’ll know that AMD have ceased development of X-Wing (and Armada).

A group of community leaders have got together to form the X-Wing Alliance and tasked themselves with future maintenance and development of the game.

With me so far? Ok, good.

Things are moving at a fair pace but the existence of officially sanctioned AMG events which will run using the current AMG points and rules are (in my opinion, at least), a little bit of a spanner in the works.

Anyway, while I’m anticipating some more news soon, this was the last announcement to come out in between my last blog and today.

Things may not be moving as fast as people might want but I trust that these people have the best interests of the community at heart as well as the experience, knowledge and connections to make things really work.

While the 9-10 month calendar of events might be considered a bit annoying in terms of moving things along, it does provide a good amount of time to plan things out and get them right so that we can all move forward together.

Personally, I’m excited for the future!

Along those lines, there is a survey being taken about the current state and future hope of X-Wing which, I’m led to believe, will be shared with (or is being run by some one involved with maybe?) the XWA.

X-Wing Survey

I’ve taken it, along with around 1500 others I’m led to believe so if you haven’t done so far please take a few minutes to open the link and share your thoughts.

Lastly, before moving on, it’s time to talk about XTC again! The event is currently slated to start in September and it’s time to start pulling a team together.

I you are interested in playing whether or not you believe you qualify to play for Wales, you can register your interest in participating by filling in this Google form. I will be pushing this regularly over the next few weeks but I’d appreciate any interest being flagged as early as possible so I can starting looking at team composition.

Speaking of which, this past weekend gave the best opportunity so far to get as many Welsh XTC players int eh same room with five of us in attendance!

Cymru Am Byth!

Ok, so that’s turned out to be a longer into than I expected! With no further ado, let’s get on with it!

Patreon Update…

Ok, let’s almost get on with it!

Being on holiday last week I missed the first blog of the month for quarter 3. Oops!

So, what goodies do I have in store this time eh? Well, let’s get started with some alt arts designed by the spectacular Dan Eicher!

There’s more to share next week (when I have my act a little more together!) but if you’re interested in supporting the blog and/or getting hold of these Exile themed goodies then you can sign up to my Patreon account here

Alright then, NOW let’s get on with it!

The main bit…

So yes, this past weekend was the Welsh Open 2024!

We’ve had this date in the diary for just over a year so while on one hand it’s felt like a LONG time coming, the build up of events from the Sith Taker Open to Worlds to Newport store champs (combined with holidays, anniversaries and work trips) has felt like it’s crept up on us very suddenly!

We applied for and were granted the rank of GT (Grand Tournament) by AMG which, I must admit, I had not expected to get.

So with prizes ordered and a good number of tickets sold, it was time for the event itself!

Now, in a slight spot of poor planning and mixed up dates, I was on holiday in the week leading up to the event. In fact just 12 hours before we were opening the door to players I was still on a plane. After a massive blunder by our airport parking company, I didn’t get to bed until 2:30 in the morning and my alarm was set for just 4 hours later.

Eurrrrgh.

Still, I got up, picked up the Halls (Mark, Josh and Lorna) and we headed in to Firestorm in Cardiff to get set up for the day!

We were joined by Mark Beor, Chris Fear, Nicki Burnett and soon after by Dom Flannigan of the Firecast Focus who had brought the streaming gear that Nicki was going to be running.

We started to get set up and I finally got to put my hands on our amazing trophy…

I cannot understate how hard it was to NOT put this on. I was tempted. But if Ryan Coyle (of Iksentrik) could let it go to come to us, I should resist putting it on (and taking it home…) and keep it fresh for the winner’s head!

We put out mats, numbered tables and got to the biggest job of all – laying out the bounty table!

From the very start of planning running our own larger scale event, one thing that Mark Hall and I felt was really important is that the prize budget should be spent in a balanced way. We want top finishing players to walk away with cool stuff, sure, but only 1 player can win the trophy, what about everyone else?

With this in mind we decided to upgrade the bounty table this year with ‘super bounties’. Anyone who came up to collect a prize would then pick a card from a hand of 10 and if they picked a joker they could collect a super bounty. I didn’t get a picture but we had books, mugs, toys, models, loads of Star Wars related goodies which would reward players who were winning or losing alike.

And then of course there were the participation prizes…

I think we did pretty well here myself!

Anyway, it wasn’t too long before players started to arrive in earnest, get their kit out and start setting up before chatting with old friends and meeting new ones.

A quick player briefing and we were away for round 1!

After 5 rounds of pew pew (and the included lunch!) it was time to hand out some prizes (namely the top in faction players!), confirm the top 16 and then retire for the evening and come back refreshed (!?) for day 2!

We ran with a top 16 for the cut which, while it isn’t the number recommended by AMG for the amount players we had, is what we’d advertised it as AND we had time for 4 games on the Sunday, so why not!

While the cut began we then started our day 2 side event – Cross Faction!

There were some bonkers list combos doing the rounds and I found very quickly that it was VERY difficult to figure out what was happening in a game just by looking if you arrived after turn 2 once the ships are all smushed in together!

While there was all kinds of chaos happening on one side of the room, on the other things were getting more intense as we went from 16 players to 8 to 4.

And without getting too bogged down in discussions over the state of the meta (JARGON ALERT!!) right now, I feel that this pairing in the top was, well, it was something!

The top 4 had two VERY tight and hard fought games with Chris Burnett vs Tom Reed and Sean Oakley vs Dom Flannigan.

After some great play and really tense moments it was going to a Tin vs Tin final!

Tins on top!

Again this was a very tight affair with Chris’ Rebels taking on Sean’s Republic clones in Salvage Mission.

As Chris put it, he made a mistake and Sean capitalised on it leaving Chris to reply on a ‘Hail Mary’ shot with time on the round called. Chris’ ships couldn’t make the shots count and Sean had picked up enough crates to take the victory 20 – 16 and be crowned the Welsh Open Champion!

Congratulations Sean! After 9 rounds of X-Wing ti was a well deserved victory!

IF you want to see the lists and results you can check out the Longshanks link here. If you want to check out any of the streamed games then you’ll find them at the Firecast Focus Twitch page for a little while at least

And what about the day 2 side event? Well, that’s a little more tricky…

Due to a slight administrative miscommunication, the 1st place player on Longshanks actually received a bye in round 3 despite being 2-0 and then went on to win his last game. Being the incredibly gracious preson that he is, Mark Beor decided to pass on the win, handing the title to the other 4-0 player (who actually played and won all 4 games), the one and only Alex ‘JB’ Boulton!

Again,if you want to check out any of those bonkers lists or results then the Longshanks page is here.

The conclusion…

So there we have it, the Welsh Open is done and dusted for another year! IT was an honour to be given official GT status, particularly as a community run event and while it appears that official organised play might well be coming to an end after Worlds 2025, it’s certainly not the last Welsh Open that we’ll be planning to run.

Echoing (ok, fine copy/pasting. It took a lot of work to put together you know!) my closing post in the Facebook event page yesterday:

A HUGE πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ CONGRATULATIONSπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ to Sean Oakley for winning the event and taking home the trophies!

Well done to Alex Boulton for going 4-0 and winning our day 2 cross faction side event with Rey, RAC and Dengar! Bonkers!

Well, that’s it for another year, we’ll be back next year for another one but for now I want to thank everyone for coming along, some from a VERY long way (I’m looking at you Jakub Wysocki! From POLAND?!!) – the event is nothing without you! Literally!!

I also want to shout out Nicki Burnett for amazing work on the stream (which was made possible by Firecast Focus and Dom Flannigan in particular!), Liam Baker for being the bestest judge, Lorna Hall and Mark Beor for managing the bounties and Chris Fear for helping run the side event! A shout out as well for Steve Boulton for all the promotion work put in over the last few weeks and for the setup assistance!

Bunny ears. Every. Single. Time.

A special shout out as well for Rosalie Burnett for being an incredible prize runner (and look band manufacturer!) on both days!

I want to thank Atomic Mass Games and Asmodee UK for the official prize support provided.

Special thanks go out to Ryan Coyle of Iksentrik , Dan Eicher , Cog’O’Two, Robert Crumlish (Onyx Squadron) and Louis Leong for their amazing contributions to prize support. The official goodies were nice but the extra swag is what marks our event apart!

Lastly I want to thank Mark Hall for being ‘the voice’ and running not one but TWO tournaments really smoothly and for all the planning work and prize prep that went in to making this event happen. What a superstar.

I am exhausted but happy having spent time with lots of amazing people and and sending them away with lots of swag.

Long live X-Wing!

The outro…

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! If you’d like to support me in continuing my X-Wing blogging adventure there are a few ways you can do that.

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