Well, Spring is upon us and I have been flooded with requests to run another version of 'Berks Spring Assault'.     This is now becoming our annual (2nd to be exact), main event for the Berks-PA Gaming Club, located Reading, PA, the heart of scenic Berks County.

I myself have been playing in a number of tournaments over the past few years, from Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament style events, Blood Bowl tournaments and smaller events at club days and Games Days and the like.    As our local club in Berks was growing, I wanted to bring the competititve 'feel' of the tournament scene to our local club.

The first event I held was Battle For Berks, held in January 2010.   We were limited on space and held it to just 14 participants, each playing 4 rounds of Warhammer 40,000 using 500 point armies on a limited force-organization chart.    We held a fund raiser for the club to help generate funds for prize support.    As such, we had a great turnout, great fun, and with such a small event, we even featured Themed battlefields, where each table had its own special quirk or rules.    Such fun ideas was the Ork Village that featured grot snipers hiding in buildings taking shots at those who ventured too near or inside.

With only 14 slots, I had to tell several folks not to attend.   Even after turning away 6 potential players, we still had 19 people show up, hoping that there would be some openings.     It was a good day of fun and we were even able to offer a Battleforce for 1st place prize.   

With the overwhelming success of this event, we moved onto Berks Spring Assault, and it just grew from there.    We went into an event, still new to the venue and I didn't realize how much hlep I was going to need for an event this size.   We held it in a hotel conferrence room, and found a way to fit in 20 tables, opening the event up to 40 players.    38 showed up on time, with a total of 45 players showing up later in the day.   

Admittedly there were a few technical difficulties.   We again held the fund raiser to support the event, and we undersold it (on purpose) to ensure a good turnout.   Our prize support was impressive and rivaled that of the local GT style events that were going on in the area.    For a fraction of the cost, we pulled it off, 4 games of Warhammer 40K played with 1000 point armies.    Yes, the computer program used for scoring broke down, yes, we ran into delays and problems with pairings, and yes, we ran into issues with lunch and were overcharged.

However, as frustrated as I was with the problems we were having, the staff helping me were incredible.  They helped save the day and make it all work.   And while I saw the problems for what they were, the players only saw it as a slight delay and didn't know all of the details.   In fact, the players used the time to enjoy a break and socialize with other players.   

We also featured a painting competition called the "Golden Grot" for our players and we held a raffle as well offering more prizes and helping generate for funds for our gaming club.     All in all, folks had a good time and many people went home with lots of prizes.

So....now what do we do?     We learned from our (my) mistakes last year and as I have been around the tournament scene locally in PA, several folks and clubs have been asking me if we are hosting Berks Spring Assault again.    When I heard the feedback from people, saying things like, "That was the most fun I ever had at a tournament" and similar comments, I started to get excited.    I knew that we were onto something special.

So, now we have created a committee for our game club.   We discussed options and ways to correct mistakes, how to imporve upon last year, and cut down time delays and the like.   And now we have Berks Spring Assault 2!  in the workings.     

I am looking at May 14, 2011 to hold our event.  We secured a Fire Company's old engine room and social quarters for our venue and have four times the space that we did last year.    We are using an amazing program called Tournament Overlord to run the scoring and rankings and it should eliminate all of the challenges we had last year in that department.    I have been agressively contacting potential sponsors and have had a LOT of success, with around 15 total sponsors now for our event.  Some of these sponsors make wargaming terrain and will be featured by having their own dedicated table featuring their own terrain and advertising and of course prizes for either the main table or the raffle-drawing.   Some of these companies are TerranScapes, Hazeknight.com, and Art of War Terrain, just to mention a few.

Not only will we have our main prize table, but we will have a chinese-auction style raffle.    The main prizes will be for Best Overall, (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Best Sportsman (1st, 2nd, 3rd), and Best Appearance (1st, 2nd, 3rd).  We will also feature a "Players' Choice" award for the best voted in theme, composition, and apperance as by their peers.   We will also feature two youngblood awards for Best overall (14 and under) and best youngblood in appearance (if appropriate).

We will have somewhere around 12-15 items on the main prize table.   When someone wins an award,  based upon the order of seniority, they will get to choose their prize, after all awards are handed out.   Any prizes remaining will be thrown into "pot luck" for the raffle drawing.

To help generate funds for the club, we will feature another 10-15 items available for a Chinese Auction.   We will offer raffle tickets to everyone and those who purchase them can than put as many as they like into each individual basket for each item.    After the main awards are done, we will start pulling raffle tickets and offer more prizes for everyone.

We are also recognizing Army Domination awards by codex.   The Best player of each codex will be recognized for his/her accomplishments by overall scoring and will receive a certificate for Army Domination.   In addition to that, a local store that has expanded to table top games, The Last Level, has offered to give out $5 gift cards to coincide with the Army Domination awards.

And finally, we are hosting the Golden Grot competition once again.    However, since we are running a one-day event, we are limiting this to just one entry per player.  The model can be from anything and any game, and will again be voted on by their peers.   The top 3 winner will receive a Golden Grot Trophy and gift cards to another store, The Adventurer's Guild in Harrisburg, PA.  

This looks to be a rather amazing event, and we have expanded our seating to 60 players.    We are already 1/3 full and have 2 1/2 months to go until the date of the tournament.   Some of my committee members are suggesting we open this event up to 70 players.    We shall see.    All I can say is that we are doing our best to make this the BEST event in Berks county for wargmaing.

For a fraction of the cost of a GT tournament, folks can come out and play 4 games of Warhammer40K, hopefullyl against new players and armies that they have never faced before.   Lunch in included with the price of entry and we will have rather amazing prize support.   We have something special going on here and plan to keep taking it to the next level each and every year we can run every year!