Recovering From the Crash and Burn: The Ballad of CaptainA and the Betrayal of the Dice Gods

ignorance_is_bliss____by_start_staticI’ve been on a roll lately. Did well at LVO, won our local league only playing 3 out of 4 games, and have been winning a lot overall. It feels good to win, heck it feels great, but any winning streak will eventually come to an end. For me, it came fast and hard and out of the blue.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go away for the weekend and hang out with 40k friends at Just A Games Con in Corvallis, Oregon. Friday and Saturday were spent celebrating the birth of the young Mr. More Tanks, playing games and eating terrible Thai food, with Sunday dedicated to a small three round tournament hosted by a local convention at the Elk’s Lodge.

Even the day before I was rolling hot with my Censtar list, hitting my deep strikes and causing mayhem as can be seen here in my battle with Mr. More Tanks!


The Event

When I heard it was at the local Elk’s Lodge, I was a bit skeptical as when I think of a place like that I think of my Grandpa who was a Knights of Columbus member (think Catholic Elk’s Lodge) and his tiny hall where they held pancake breakfasts and drank in the bar. Well this place certainly had that vibe, but it was actually quite large and could easily host a very large tournament if it had enough players. Bonus points for serving food and beverages on sight making lunch easy and the French Overlord plied with whiskey.

1116_Elklogo1I had a couple of practice games in with the new ITC missions so it wasn’t wholly unknown to me and had been doing consistently well so I felt confident in my ability to give each game a go and have a shot at each game. Apparently I had offended the dice gods as they left me cold and bitter on the side of the road hitching a ride to loserville.

The Games

Round 1

My first game had be against Baxter from Mugu games. He was running CAD Necrons with allied Necrons and had Immortals in Night Scythes, 2 fat squads of Wraiths, 3 squads of 2 Heavy Destroyers, Zahndrekh, and a couple of squads of Tomb Blades. My first turn I put the hurt on one of the Wraiths whittling it down pretty good, but things wen’t downhill pretty fast. Baxter was just hot with his reanimation protocols and the Centstar totally underperformed. I struggled to get any Maelstrom points and even with his MSU Necrons, just couldn’t take down his small squads. One round my Centurions unloaded into a squad of 2 heavy destroyers and I think only one died. Last turn I went for the gusto to win the primary and get some points and put something like 15 ap2 wounds  and 18 normal wounds on Zahndrek, and Immortal, and a Cryptek in the open and only killed Zahndrekh and an Immortal. 4 ups like a boss son! Down in flames I go. 1 point.

Round 2

My second game had me against Battle Brother Sam whom we have known each other from the Guardian Cup. He was running 4 Flying Tyrants, a Barbed Hierodule, 5 Ripper squads, and a Malanthrope. I’ve played this game before against Geoff’s Tyranids and when I didn’t get Perfect Timing knew I was in for a difficult game. My first turn saw a couple of wounds on the Hierodule (the only thing I could see) and his first turn saw two Dreadknights go down to dakka fire. Ugh. The Censtar got stuck in the corner for a couple of turns and when it finally made it out, misshaped and went off the table into reserves. Sam’s next turn had him take out the rest of my army and resulted in a tabling. 0 Points.

Round 3

Bottom table! My last game was against a new player to the Portland scene with Steve bringing a Space Wolf and Space Marine list. First turn saw Loth perils and lose Invisibility first turn. That was…hilarious.

Things were going pretty good in the beginning but quickly soured as the Centurions just failed their two up saves and got whittled down to nothing. The biggest problem though was his Thunderwolves. I assaulted them with two Dreadknights and in the ensuing rounds of combat did something like fifteen strength 10 wounds but he only failed one 3++ from that unit. They punked the Dreadknights and went on to rampage around as my backfield crumbled and my Star just couldn’t put out enough damage with the one or two Centurions left.

Crash and Burn!

Explosion PhotoOh man that was rough! My opponents were all good guys and I did my best to keep my chin up. It was humbling for sure. I had all kinds of mixed emotions from wanting to chuck my army into the trash bin, burning my dice, quitting 40k and taking up knitting, all kinds of things. So what is a playah to do in dire times like these. Here is what I’m trying to get my mojo back and not take the losses to personally as well as some suggestions I think many players need to adhere to.

  1. Its Just A Dice Game – Your dice do not care about statistics. They are random beings who are as fickle as the wind. They will disappoint you and exhilarate you all the time and cannot be trusted. You just have to know that this will happen.
  2. Maintain A Positive Attitude – I’ve played many a games where my opponent wasn’t rolling well and their attitude was just terrible. This made the experience for both of us just no fun. This is a game between TWO people and I always try to laugh off stuff that goes wrong. I see a lot of batreps where someone is losing and just looks sour and miserable. Where’s the fun in that?
  3. It Really Doesn’t Matter – In the end, this is just a game of toy soldiers that has no real meaning on the real world. Yes, it is fun to win, but when that becomes your everything, then maybe it is time to reassess your priorities.
  4. Keep Playing – Your bad luck streak can only last so long so keep playing and weather it out! Try a new army or different build to just have some fun. I’m still loving my Necrons.
  5. Rethink Your Game Plan – One thing I noticed is that my list struggled a bit in the new ITC missions. Especially with the new bonus missions. My army was good at getting all the bonus missions as well as denying them. I may have to mix things up to figure a new direction as I struggled with many of the new bonus point missions.
  6. Don’t give up! – Relax, let it go, and keep on truckin! If I let one bad tournament get me down then I am in for a tough road as not every tournament can be a winner.

stock-footage-dice-roll-x-snake-eyesSo those are my thoughts and experiences about this past weekend. I still had a good time, but it was certainly a blow to the ego. I just plan on moving forward and looking for ways to have fun with this hobby and game instead of making my wins a part of what keeps me going.


About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

13 Responses to “Recovering From the Crash and Burn: The Ballad of CaptainA and the Betrayal of the Dice Gods”

  1. fluger April 25, 2015 11:11 am #

    This is precisely why my motto is Better Lucky Than Good.

    • CaptainA April 27, 2015 1:59 pm #

      I hope you are not lucky when we play! 🙂

  2. Ghost Valley April 25, 2015 11:24 am #

    A gamer’s relationship to dice is borderline abusive. When we win it is our skill, when we lose it is our dice. I think that the idea of average dice or expected rolls is a difficult thing as well….these odds and averages bear out over a 1000 rolls or so, but a handful of dice care nothing for it. Every time I roll 2 or 3 dice I try to tell myself that there is no expected combination. It is just too small a sample size. We just don’t roll enough dice in a game to truly expect average.

    We also tend to remember when we failed all our saves or rolled all box cars to win the game but often forget about the time when we rolled 10 3s in group of 20 dice on to hit rolls or other oddities…the context inffluences our memory for sure.

    I read an article by Abuse Puppy about being a better competitive player and the one thing that stuck with me was his comment that It is never the dice, even if it is the dice.

    I also remember a Jervis article in White Dwarf where he talked about a game where he was rolling particularly bad and started to get downcast and sullen. After reflecting he realized his attitude robbed his opponent of the joy of winning and made the experience bad for both. For some reason this has stuck with me and I try to remember these things, but am not always successful at it.

    Anyhow, great article. Enjoyed it a lot.

    • CaptainA April 27, 2015 1:59 pm #


  3. Black Blow Fly April 25, 2015 12:54 pm #

    Buy new dicez !!!

  4. Chaplain Sam April 25, 2015 2:49 pm #

    That was brutal when the CentStar scattered off the board. Thanks for being a good sport given the rough luck!

    • CaptainA April 25, 2015 2:59 pm #

      Any time man!

  5. Raw Dogger April 25, 2015 6:34 pm #

    As someone who usually loses to bad luck, I’ve become a really great loser. Another point would be to keep playing the same list, even if you get shelacked in a tournament. You just do you.

  6. jadedknight April 25, 2015 7:10 pm #

    40k is a game with extremely high volatility:

    So I think your conclusions are well founded.

    Oh and I have a mathematical suspicion that Tigurius is not so inferior to Loth overall in Cent star. Yes Loth ensures invisibility, but as you found a lot can go wrong besides getting the right power. Tig’s ability to reroll failed powers is significant. Plus he can get hot and get not just invis but other powers like endurance and perfect timing which substantially increase the odds of a win.

  7. Thomas April 25, 2015 10:50 pm #

    My dudes always forget to activate their power armour. Other saves are ok and average but 3+ saves are more like a 5+ to me.

    • cj April 26, 2015 12:53 am #

      Everytime I make a batch of saves I have to remind the dice what armour I am wearing , in case they forget.

      • Kartr April 27, 2015 5:07 am #

        Every time someone says “anything but” or “space marine saves” I fail the rolls. I think the dice hear that and get lazy cause it should be so easy. Of course if they hear “snap firing” “need sixes to blow it up” or “overwatch” they tend to try really hard and actually seem to get above average sixes in those situations so I guess I can’t complain too much 😛

        • CaptainA April 27, 2015 2:00 pm #

          The dice gods are a fickle mistress fo sho.

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