Worlds 2024 – Part 1 – The Afterglow

The intro…

Hello and welcome to this week’s blog! I’m going to be totally honest with you right now, this is going to be a gushy and emotional one and I’ve no idea how it’s going to go or how long it’ll be. Prepare for anything I guess!

First off, the admin-y/notification-y stuff.

We are having a tournament in Firestorm Games in Newport! It’s on Saturday the 20th of April and, in a change from how we usually work, you can sign up by letting myself or Mark Hall know and sending £10 for the ticket via Paypal. The short version of why is that there is a new store manager who would much prefer if ticket sales came via the till in the local store rather than the central Firestorm website. Which is fair enough I guess.

Check out details on the Facebook event here, comment there or DM myself or Mark and we’ll add your name. You might thank we’d be all X-Winged out by now but we’re still excited to run it!

Secondly, since I’ll be talking large-scale X-Wing, I can’t really leave out a plug for the Welsh Open can I?!?

On the 6th & 7th of July we will be hosting the second Welsh Open at Firestorm Games in Cardiff. The tickets are £30 which includes two days of play, lunch on Saturday AND table time on the Friday to get warmed up!

Tickets are on sale here and you can see details on the Facebook event page here.

Alright, that’s about it for now. On to the next!

Patreon Update…

WHAT?!?! ALREADY!??! Well, yes, and kind of no. I’m not posting out a blog next week and that would normally be when I start talking about the Q2 stuff since the cut off date is the 30th of April.

What do I have this time? Well, my getting home at almost 2am this morning from my flight home from Chicago has meant I don’t have a photo right but what I do have is the original…

If you’d like to get hold of this beautiful alt art (very kindly and impressively designed by Dan Eicher!) as well as some other bits of swag OR if you’d just like to support the blog generally (and, y’know, STILL get the swag) then you can sign up to be a Patron here.

For those who already support me I hugely appreciate it. You are simply amazing people!

Ok, let’s get on with the main event for today shall we?

The main bit…

I’m going to be honest with you here. I’m actually not quite sure how or where to begin. I’ve written the blue of this on the plane on the way home (mostly thanks to Dale Cromwell for talking me into it!) and I’m tired and a little delirious.

Let’s start with some facts.

I went to Worlds.

It was EPIC.

X-Wing is great.

The X-Wing community is incredible.

Yes, seems like a decent start. Let me break those down a bit more.

For those who might have might have missed a blog (or twenty?!), I had been planning to attend the X-Wing World Championship at Adepticon since about last summer. I really REALLY miss the UK System Open events even though I only went to two of them and the last one was just about 4 years ago now. X-Wing as a game might have been quite different back then but the vibe and community was what really drew me back after the first one.

The buzzing atmosphere, the reunion of distant friends. It was a celebration of the game and the community that was unrivalled.

Quite incredibly (since I’m not all that good of a player!) I managed to bag myself an invite to avoid needs to go through the Last Chance Qualifier. It’s a good job really since this year only SEVEN people went through, unlike last year where the number was closer to 40-ish I think.

Before I knew it (although probably not early enough!) I was booked onto a flight, had a hotel room sorted and was making lots of plans! Bonkers!

If you had told me when I first picked up the game just over 6 years ago that X-Wing had a world championship event and I’d earn myself an invite to go to it I’m pretty sure I’d have laughed in your face. Like, a lot.

But here I was. In a huge room with around other 400 X-Wing players. Absolutely incredible.

And it was just glorious. I played 15 games of X-Wing across 4 days against some really lovely people (not you Saunders!) and just had the most amazing time regardless of the result.

You may notice that I’ve not once mentioned anything about the games themselves. If you’ve been drawing the conclusion that this means they must have been terrible and I’m avoiding it, you’re only partly right. My results may not have been what I’d have liked but if you’ve been reading my posts for any amount of time then you’ll already know that I don’t avoid talking about terrible results and poor choices the lead me there. The simple fact is that I’m writing most of this on the plane home, somewhat exhausted, rather cramped for space and with zero time to piece together something more detailed.

I could definitely have done things differently in some (maybe even most?) of my games and while I’ve got an idea of what that is in some, the process of writing out a blog is what helps me to identify those things and (hopefully) improve them. Even if it’s very slowly!

Guess whether this went well or poorly…

My biggest regret? No, actually my only regret – not taking more pictures with people. Particularly the people from far away who I may only get to meet in person this one time. I don’t have a particularly visual memory and so photos really help me to recall and re-imagine (and re-appreciate) those moments.

The absolute best part of the trip wasn’t the actual games themselves, it was the people I got to spend time with. Whether that was playing a game, chatting in the gaming hall in between rounds or going out for food, being able to spend time like this was really precious and I loved every minute of it.

I decided that I wanted to step out of my usual patterns and comfort zones and meet new people. I’m not very good at it so if we chatted and I was awkward, I apologise but I’m so glad that I did. Talking to people about the game, reliving those live or die dice rolls, finding out where people are from and understanding just how much the game means to people was truly awesome and I love that the game gives me a connection with people.

The conclusion…

Look, if the post so far hasn’t screamed at you that I had a fantastic time then I have done a really poor job at writing it.

I have had an absolute blast. I’m exhausted but in the good kind of way and if you offered me the chance to do it all again this week I’d ask how soon we’re leaving!

I want to thank everyone who I interacted with during these 6 days from the bottom of my heart. Those who I played against (even if you beat me. Even you Saunders!), those who came up to say hello, those who gave me swag, those who I hugged and chatted with and those who I went out to dinner with. You all contributed towards me having an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. For you it might be ‘just Worlds’ but for me it was more.

I also want to thank the TO and judge team who worked VERY hard and VERY long to make the experience as smooth and stress free for us as possible. You are all absolute legends and most definitely do not get anywhere near the level of gratitude and recognition that you deserve.

I need to give a HUGE thank you to Daniel Lim, Louis Leong and everyone who contributed in some way towards the Isoplane Initiative. Without the extra funding I’d have really struggled to make it.

Lastly, I need to thank my amazing wife (even though she’ll never read this!). When people talk about ‘wife points’ and ‘being allowed to go’, while it might sometimes be the case, it’s normally a balance of give and take and giving grace to each other to do things that bring joy. It helps that our kids are older now but I never felt I couldn’t go or that she begrudged my spending money and taking time off work to do something just for me. She’s freaking awesome and I love her!

In closing, I guess I should say that if you’ve given any thought about going to Worlds and dismissed it, you shouldn’t. I really and honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. Spending time with friends, making new friends and uniting together under a shared nerdy interest has more power than any of us understand.

Oh, and congratulations to Illy, X-Wing World Champion 2024!

A handing over of the mantle!

So thank you Worlds players (and judge team!). You are all incredible people.

Y’know what? I really love this game.

I’ll be back in a few weeks with some actual games of X-Wing to talk about! Until then enjoy your Easter and scroll through the post-Worlds pictures and swag posts and take it all in!

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.

You can follow my social media accounts for updates

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If you would like to directly support the blog then please consider becoming a Patron! I would be forever grateful!

A MASSIVE thank you to my wonderful Patrons for their ongoing support for the blog and enabling me to give away shiny things!

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