I was incredibly privileged to recently (looks at date and how long I’ve procrastinated) travel across the pond to Ireland and the UK. This trip was great fun and now I need an article. So today we’re going to talk about attending tournaments far away from home and how much fun it can be.

First off, if you want a more typical review of UKGE then check out Andrew’s article.

Part 0: The Trip

I got a chance to travel across the pond after making a bet with my father (who then had to hold the fort down on the farm (thanks dad!)) I took the opportunity to plan a trip that would take me throughout Ireland and then coordinated with Andrew (AJST) to go to the UKGE, which makes it relevant to the blog, score!

Part 0.5: Ireland

I won’t go to much into Ireland as there was no Legion to be had. But let’s just say Ireland is an incredible country with amazing music. I happen to be a fiddler and had it with me to have a blast on the isle. If there happen to be any Legion Players in Ireland, hit me up, I’m sure to be back.

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Thanks for coming Mom!

Part 1: UK Day 1

After gallivanting and playing music all around Ireland it was off to the UK to actually do some Legion stuff. But first it was time to just visit people.

AJST was kind enough to drive all the way down to Heathrow to pick me up and then we were off to Cambridgeshire (which is less flat then Manitoba) to stay the night and start crafting a list.

In actual Legion stuff. I hadn’t brought any models with me and was going to borrow from Andy. This led to a bunch of analysis paralysis as I had way too many options. Option A was just to go ExD cus of course. However I struggle to not be slightly hipster. After talking it through with Andy and with some recent experience playing Jessy Gilbert-Bélec (of world’s Top 4 fame) I decided to go with Empire. This was a fun choice as I had only ever played Empire for one season of Invader possibly. So we put together an Empire list that ended up being quite a herohammer mess. Krennic, Kallus, both Inquisitors and a bunch of storms and a unit of IRG. This list ended up not even being submitted till a couple hours before the list deadline but whatever, who cares about deadlines?

Part 2: UK Day 2

Day 2 in the UK is spent doing some wandering around Cambridge. Cockles of That’s No Moon fame gave us a great tour around his stomping grounds. We had a fun afternoon of pointing at all the buildings that were older then Canada, which was most of them.

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Cockles’ Daughter, Andy, Timbo, Cockles
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Andy with Wren
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Of course I saw something bee related. (Our family runs over 1400 hives)

Anyhoo, was a great day of just vibing around Cambridge and catching up with friends. That evening we went to Andy’s dad’s birthday party, just to complete the random things to do bucket list.

Part 3: UK Day 3 (Travel to Birmingham and set up)

Travelling all the way across the country (under two hours in a car) with Andy led to a great opportunity for some whinging about life and Legion. We managed to solve all the world’s problems and then promptly cause more. Setting up in Birmingham wasn’t that laborious as we had 33 players signed up so we set up about eighteen tables.

A quick primer on the event I was at. This was United Kingdom Games Expo. This event is massive, this year boasted a full event attendance of just over 65,000. I will admit I hadn’t really thought about how big it was going to be until we got there.

No bother, we finished setting up, and it was time to retire for the night. We didn’t make for bed very quickly though as we managed to get ourselves into a many hours long game of poker, somehow. Also, check out the accomodation.

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Mr. World Champ himself Olly and I shared a room. (I took top bunk)

Let’s just say that price was the primary driver of the accommodation that was picked for UKGE.

Part 4: Actually time for UKGE

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(After squeezing a bit)

The convention itself was a blast. The format of the Legion tournament was five games of swiss then a cut to top 8. This format worked really well for the 33 players that we had as it meant that all 4-1s were guaranteed to make top cut, and possibly some 3-2s.

My first day was very fun playing three great games.

Game one saw a game against Dave Grant’s apprentice, his daughter Azure. They happened (totally by coincidence (not)) to play the exact same Palp, Vader and Tank list. Definitely gave me a run for my money but I ended up being able to just doggy pile onto Vader and whack him enough times.

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Game two was against the world champion, and my roomate (awkward) Olly. Long story short, I squeaked one out by the skin of my teeth. This game easily could’ve gone either way. A couple key dice rolls that went my way really helped. The Inquisitors did work this game, killing tons of Black Sun, with the storms chewing up the bikes.

Game three was against Jack Prowting. Jack had just come off of a tough game against Dave Grant and was none too pleased (in a sporting way) to get the pair up and face off against me. Jack was running a defensive castle clone/pyke list backed up with Obi and Padmé. What’s a way to make defensive tech not matter? Literally don’t throw a single attack die at it. This was my first ever game winning without ever attacking, which is something you can do on KP with double Force Push. It ended up coming down to the wire and I squeaked it out by denying an Obi force push with an Inquisitor.

3-0 after day one felt pretty good.

After this we went for food and managed to squeeze 15 ish people around a table meant for maybe ten. The food was great and the drinks were flowing. We ended up at the casino afterwards where Andy ended up paying for the nights adventures with yet more poker. I managed to be up a whole £3 after playing Blackjack on and off for a couple hours.

Part 5: More UKGE

Some photos for scale are probably in order, here are some pictures of the halls at UKGE, 3 in total.

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Ya, UKGE is massive.

Onwards we go towards game four which was against Lee Macken of Crafty Terrain who host many battle reports. Lee was playing the tried and true Blizzard Force which took the game and proved it is still a solid threat. Lee played it great, circling the bikes for one big hit and preventing me from killing any full units of bikes. Vader came in clutch as he often does and he won KP.

For round five I was up against a lot of Wookiees and Fluttercrafts. See my view at the start of turn one.

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Liam was my opponent and taught me to respect Fluttercraft, my target priority was off for this game and Liam took the game. We played Roll out, Payload and War Weary. Remember this set up.

The Cut

So it was time, after five rounds, for there to be a cut. I was very much on the edge at 3-2. With one intentional draw (I still don’t like them as a concept) there would be only one 3-2 making it. Well…. Luckily I had played quite the gauntlet and therefore had a good SOS and hence made it into the Top 8 as the eighth place player.

So we go onto game 6, and my opponent is …… Liam.

The cut was basically a brand new tournament so repairs could happen and they did. This ended up being a good thing for me as I was able to rectify my mistakes as we played, Roll out, Payload and War Weary. That’s right, two games in a row were the two same lists, people and turn 0s. This was quite the experience. The Empire managed to slay the Wookiees this time and onto the Top 4 we go.

But first…

Part 6: Fun!!!

Plenty of fun was to be had in Birmingham and we took full advantage. Olly, as always, managed to find some good craic and we found ourselves in a private Karaoke room that serves booze and Chinese food. What more can you ask?

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Anyways, good times were had. I managed to catch the sunrise before heading to bed for an hour or two.

Part 7: UKGE Top 4

Feeling the effects of Part 6, I made it to the hall and was paired up with the, (spoilers) future winner of the tournament Geoff ‘Podfrey’ Porritt. Check out his list!

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Geoff’s list was quite the beast to handle. But he ‘stuck to the plan, and the plan was good.’ He took the narrow victory on Recover the Supplies and then went on to beat Olly in the final. During the final I managed to get a quick nap in. I also wandered the hall and saw things. Amongst which were:

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More Bee related things!!! This was definitely the best mead I’ve ever had, (yes they gave out samples).

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Fantasy Flight Games was at UKGE in force with a whole area dedicated to demoing Star Wars Unlimited. For Demoing you got a free special Grogu. I may or may not have demoed this game I play quite a bit a few times… Regardless, FFG definitely approached UKGE in the right way, with knowledgeable people there to teach and talk to you, including designers of the game.

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The top four: Timbo, Olly, Geoff, Lee. Yes, I did play the other three members of the top 4 at UKGE over my seven games of the tournament.

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Andy looking like a zebra, and the Champ, Geoff

Overall UKGE was a blast and I highly recommend going, or any of the events TO’d by Andy!

Part 8: Homeward Bound, Via London

After seeing the emotional goodbyes it was time to depart UKGE and begin the journey home. I was to catch a plane about 20 hours from when I left UKGE, so what more was there to do then just vibe around.

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I spent my evening and night wandering around London and seeing the sights.

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I managed to clock about 20 Km of walking which was a feat considering my level of sleep (nill) and my level of hungover (noticeable). But when in Rome (or London) just get on with it. So I walked the Thames until about 3am when I finally caught a coach to the airport.

Part 9: Why did I write this?

This whole article is quite the departure from usual topics. Why did I write it? Well first off because I have an editor who has been trying to get me to write an article for awhile (sorry Kyle). Second off, because YOLO. But third it’s because if you are able to take the opportunity to travel for Legion, or any other hobby for that matter, do it. Getting to travel is an incredible experience unto itself, but doing it to see and meet people in random places is even better. There are tons of people I only know through this community who have become very good friend, (good enough to let me crash for a couple nights at least) and I hope to keep growing that bond and making more friends along the way. I also implore all people to just go with it. What I mean by that is most of my best stories, and most fun times, come from spur of the moment things when you just let the moment overtake you. It may not be for everyone, but give it a shot.

If you’ve made it this far down the article somehow, thanks for reading. I hope to see you across the table at an event sometime in the future.

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