Another narrative event will take place at Shorehammer 2021, on the 2nd-4th of December! Right around the corner! The convention takes place at the Grand Hotel and Spa, in Ocean City, Maryland USA.
While its narrative 40k battles have been a staple of the convention, Shorehammer has featured narrative AoS in years before, and this year they are back at it!
These will be two BIG, grand massive battles: one consisting only of Behemoths and big models, and another being a massive pitched battle between two factions.
The full table will be more than 20ft long, and players will each have different roles to fulfill and help their team win.
We chatted with the convention organizer and lead NEO for the event, Scott Wainwright, also known as Pimpcron from Bell of Lost Souls and Spikey Bits and his namesake Pimpcron Podcast, about what players can expect from it.
Q: Please summarize the event for us, and what players can expect.
A: Well, this is our sixth year in operation and we are very well known as the friendliest, most laid back convention for wargaming people have ever experienced. We hear that dozens of times per year and that is our solitary goal. We like to tell people that we are not responsible if they make friends, we apologize for the inconvenience to those who want to be lonely. You can come to the con alone and everybody will speak to you. It’s kind of a big party and for most people it has become kind of a yearly reunion with distant friends they have made here.
We have multiple narrative battles that link year to year, plus bar trivia, painting competitions, and multiple tournaments. We also have a large charity raffle and free play all weekend.
Q: What Narrative innovations and special rules will you be deploying in these two BIG battles?
A: There are no Victory Points like in normal games. All objectives are logical and narrative and are measured on realistic metrics of success. Another huge element to this event is that each board (and teams that play on them) have their own objectives and benefits that apply to the other boards such as reinforcements, orbital strikes [for 40k], or artillery support.
Q: Are the two big battles narratively and story-wise connected, or is the big monster bash more of a casual battle, for players to think outside the box and smash things?
A: The Thursday Night 40k Strike Force and Friday Narrative Big battle are connected with each other as well as part of an on-going narrative from year to year. Thursday are essentially the small vanguard forces for both sides trying to figure out what is going on before Friday’s Big battle. The narrative objectives they accomplish on Thursday will directly help their side of the large Friday conflict. The AoS Behemoth Big Battle and 40k Super Heavy Big Battle are separate events, just fun battles of up to 24 people fielding only giant monsters.
Q: What kind of team dynamics and strategic actions will players be able to experience, in the BIG narrative battle? The massive narrative battle will consist of special localized missions that each player must complete for their team, right?
A: For instance, last year at the AoS Narrative was our second year trying to liberate a region (tongue in cheekly named Shoreham) from the clutches of Chaos. One board was a magical forest that featured several Trees of Life. At the start of each Game Turn, each Tree of Life that your side controlled allowed you to bring back destroyed units on any of the boards. This makes the players on this board valuable to their other teammates. If they don’t control any trees, there is a consequence for the rest of their side. If they do control some trees, they are treated with cheers and thank yous.
Q: We can see that the list-building restrictions required for the event, by themselves, already shape a lot of what will emerge gameplay-wise. What was going through your mind when designing them, so our readers can understand how important they are and maybe it out themselves in their events?
A: As for the 40k Narrative, each player can only take Troops and one other Force Organization slot of their choosing. This makes each player decide to be specialized in one skill. Maybe you take all artillery, maybe you take all monsters. This gives each player a battlefield role that their team can rely on and players must work together to accomplish goals.
Far too often, players are used to taking all-comers lists because they play 1 vs 1 games. I wanted to discourage that, so teammates have to rely on each other. My forces might be very fast for objective grabbing, while yours might be very shooting oriented: well, you and I have to discuss our strategy ahead of time so that I run forward and you provide ranged support to my biggest threats.
Q: You have written several times about the logistics of running Narrative Play games and campaigns, and the challenges and conundrums we face when doing it. What do you think of the current state of narrative warhammer gaming overall (not just necessarily Age of Sigmar)? How have player attitudes changed?
A: Each year our narratives are more and more popular, so I don’t think there is a shortage of interest. I do find, however, that army books in both Warhammers have become more and more complex. Especially 9th edition 40k. I find that it slows down gameplay if the players are not 110% in touch with the codex information. I personally think AoS’ streamlined format is easier to run narratives with, and obviously the models look fantastic.
Q: What would you like to say to players out there, to motivate them to come to Shorehammer? (next year, or even in a couple of days if they are fast!) And join your players in supporting more kinds of Narrative Play events locally?
A: Our Narratives are part of an evolving story line that is linked from year to year. Our narratives encourage players to rely on each other by design. There is a real comradery that is formed, not unlike real battlefield brotherhoods.
Tickets are on sale until the 30th of November, and if you can’t make that, we are the first weekend of December each year! You can find on Facebook as Shorehammer and at shorehammer.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Scott!
We will be following the event online, so please post lots of pictures on social media!
It’s very last minute, but if you are in the area, there are still tickets available, grab yours before it’s too late!!!
What do you think about this event?
Do you have any questions for the NEO, and how to put together these big battle events at a convention?
Leave your comments below!