So Cal Open Kaiju Classic

All aboard the Hype Train! Our next stop is the first Kaiju Classic at the So Cal Open. (If you look to your left, you’ll see the smoldering ruins that were once the city of Del Mar, California, before the monsters found it.) The stakes were high in the weekend’s battle royale. The Kaiju Classic unfolded over three days of Monsterpocalypse events. On Friday, we launched the day by setting up our massive Monsterpocalypse pillar. It didn’t matter where you were at the So Cal Open—you could see our massive tower above all else as far as the eye could see.

Beside our kaiju-sized pillar lay a mountain of treasure. Privateer pulled out all the stops for this event and sent us a truckload of prize support three rows deep, in fact! (Also, a big shout-out to my good friend Richard and his wife, Julia Howard, for making customized dice bags with Monsterpocalypse Faction logos on them for the participants.) Players could win prizes simply by playing games; the more games they played, the higher their monster score. Prizes began as small as tokens and pins and escalated into massive boxes. And this score followed players throughout the weekend. Playing in the Crush Hour also earned players points to unlock even more prizes, and players who won events were awarded additional bonus points to their score, letting them to be the first to unlock the biggest prizes while not barring other players from their shot at something big.

I set up a demo table where players could choose from six different monsters to play with, and each monster came outfitted with 10 Faction units to try out. I went with a lot of the most classic monsters to appeal to the widest variety of players: on the Protectors side, players could choose from Terra Khan, Zor-Maxim, or Nova ESR. But if they were feeling more maniacal, they could play Destroyers and choose from Cyber Khan, Cthugrosh, or Gorghadra. Everyone who played a demo walked away with a convention-exclusive Sgt. Titanica as well as a Protectors or Destroyers starter box!

Aric watched a few games played and then decided he wanted to get a demo. I challenged him to find another player and bring them to the booth, and when he brought back Chris to the demo area, they picked their first monsters. They opted for a classic battle, a Cyber Khan vs. Terra Khan showdown. Both players had a great time, and in the end Aric was able to pull out a close win after nearly losing it all. They took home starters, a Megaton Mashup, and convention exclusives. For these two, this was just the beginning of their own adventures during the Monsterpocalypse!

While the skirmishes and demos were going on, I opened up the chance for players to be involved with the Kaiju Classic from home. Our community on Discord is exceptionally active, so I issued the challenges there. The first was an easy one—I posted a picture of the Kaiju Classic on Twitter and Facebook and put out the word: if players could mobilize before the end of the day’s events, they would get their first look at something new!

For those that don’t know, “Fresh Pancakes” is our Discord’s slang for “new content.” As you might imagine, the players rallied the troops with ample time to spare and were rewarded with their first look at the render of one of the Monsterpocalypse monsters I developed called Master of Xolotl. This monster draws inspiration from the South American lore of Quetzalcoatl, and he may be one of the fiercest-looking Protectors to date.

This also unlocked a preview for the players attending the So Cal Open. Because of that fervent support on Discord, players at the show were able to get their first look at the actual 3D-printed models. They were literally hot off the press and shipped to me just in time for players to see them revealed on the table for the first time.

These monsters are massive and the side by side doesn’t do them justice, as they are some of the biggest, meatiest monsters in the game.

To keep the enthusiasm rolling, I issued a new challenge. Once I posted the render of the Master of Xolotl on Facebook, Twitter, and Discord, the next bounty would require a greater challenge: 20 retweets and likes on Twitter, 20 shares and comments on Facebook, and 20 unique player reactions on Discord. You may think, “That’s even easier than the 30 combined from the first round of spoilers.” But as we found out, not all social media platforms are used equally.

This quickly became a rallying point for players as they scrambled against the clock to unlock the next spoiler. Once they had it almost unlocked, I updated the game on them. (Everything is always a little more interesting when you up the stakes.) I first let players vote if they wanted an art spoiler or a rules spoiler; the first choice to get twenty votes would win. This sparked the community into a bargaining debate between rules and art lovers. And then, while I had everyone’s attention, I introduced one more shark into the water: did they want a Protectors or a Destroyers spoiler? The race was on, and the voting was neck-and-neck as players pleaded with their fellow players to vote with them.

The players finished the social challenge just before the end of the event. The rules-versus-art debate was settled by committee: they all wanted a rules spoiler. However, they had not settled which agenda would get their spoiler first. So, the Day 1 group all went out to dinner together and watched the voting live online as it ticked back and forth in a race to the finish. In the end, the winner was the Protectors, who were invigorated by a photo of the new monster card revealed.

Of course, I couldn’t give up all the goods on Day 1, so for the time being, I showed them only the front of the card for Master of Xolotl. (Note: the cards in this article are still in playtest ahead of a January release. For example, Health 7 is missing from the front of the Masters card; there is the correct amount of health points, just not the correct numbers!) The end of Day 1 of the Kaiju Classic was fantastic. Players both online and in-person were buzzing with excitement and anticipation about what was yet to come.

And Day 2 did not disappoint with the Crush Hour tournament, which had the biggest bounty on the line: three trophies and a mountain of prizes. The Kaiju Classic trophies are event trophies. They travel with me to each major event I attend, and as players win awards at each event, their names are engraved on a placard with the date of their victory. Further, this enters them into an invitational event to be held at Lock & Load 2022, where we will have a first-place, second-place, and third-place invitational as well as a painting invitational and a Champion invitational. The painting winners will compete in a winner-take-all speed-painting competition. And ultimately, the Champion Trophy is unique in that to get your name on it, you must have the best overall score for the entire weekend at a Kaiju Classic. That means a player needs to play a bunch of skirmishes on Day 1, play in the Crush Hour event on Day 2, enter the painting competition, and then play in our “Who’s the Boss?” competition on Day 3 to wrap up.

As the Crush Hour event began, I launched the next challenge to players on Discord. I shared a picture of the demo booth on both Twitter and Facebook, this time pitting the two social media threads against one other in a head-to-head fight. I challenged players to gather 20 likes, shares, and comments on the Facebook post in order to unlock all of the King of Camazotz cards and 20 likes, retweets, and comments on Twitter to unlock the back of the Master of Xototl card. To add encouraging fuel to the fire, I share the concept art of the renders.

While players battled it out on the Internet for spoilers, the players in the Kaiju Classic Crush Hour were fighting for a spot at the top. The semi-finals were exceptionally spicy as the TTS Champ Mike Ireland, aka Vicarious, playing Conductor/ Preceptor squared off against Jeff “Gearbox” Mitchell playing Hurricanius/ Armodax. This clash of the titans ran parallel to Kat Royer, aka Keddlin, playing Leviathron/ Taharka versus Huck Young, aka Ragnork, playing Gausamal/ Cassander.

After the first and second rounds of Crush Hour had finished, we broke for lunch, and while players were eating, we judged the painting competition. I asked guest judge and professional painter Tyson Koch to assist me in the judging. We had a lot of great entries; because the Champion award required painting participation and because placement gave you points toward that Champion award, everyone participated. A painter who played adequately but painted great wouldn’t be out of the running for the Champion award simply because they weren’t the best player at the tables.

In the end, Kat Royer took home the Best Painter award for her Taharka showing off her non-metallic metallic skill,. (She confessed the model had actually been painted during a different speed-painting competition and was proud to show it off).

Players wasted no time as Round 3 pairings went up. Mike Ireland, playing Masters of the 8th Dimension, advanced to face off against Huck Young. You could tell there was blood in the water, and both players were ready to fight for dominance. Thus, our Finals match came down to the age-old clash of Protectors versus Destroyers.

Huck’s list was surprising, to say the least. He ran a mix of classic units combined with some of the best of the newest releases. He also brought 7 Apartment Buildings with him. It just goes to show, you can play a mostly classic list and do just fine competitively.

Agenda: Protectors

  • Monsters: 2
    • Cassander
    •  Gausamal
  • Units: 20
    • 3 × Basher
    • 1 × Clicker
    • 1 × Command Ape
    • 1 × Draken Berserker
    • 1 × Courser
    • 1 × Fire Kami
    • 3 × G-Tank
    • 1 × Interceptor
    • 1 × Repair Truck
    • 1 × Shadow Gate
    • 2 × Sun Fighter
    • 1 × Psi-Eel
    • 2 × S-Type Shinobi
    • 1 × S-Type Shinobi Elite
  • Buildings: 12
    • 1 × Industrial Complex
    • 1 × Harbinger Comet Shard
    • 1 × Mount Terra
    • 2 × Sun Industries Building
    • 7 × Apartment Building

Mike’s list pushed the Masters of the 8th Dimension monsters and units to the extreme. Preceptor is an amazing pair for any monster but really comes alive when in a list with another Masters of the 8th Dimension monster. His unit list made great use of both monsters’ abilities to turn his units up to 11. Mike also decided to only bring 2 Media Company buildings in his list, making more room for tech buildings. This makes sense when you’re playing a building-focused monster like The Conductor.

Agenda: Destroyers

  • Monsters: 2
    • The Conductor
    • The Preceptor
  • Units: 20
    • 2 × Abrogator
    • 1 × Crawler
    • 2 × Dervish
    • 1 × Destructomite
    • 1 × Facilitator
    • 1 × Hellion
    • 1 × Hunter
    • 2 × Juror
    • 1 × Mollock Berserker
    • 1 × Mollock Brute
    • 1 × Propo Walker
    • 1 × Scorcher
    • 1 × Spitter
    • 1 × Task Master
    • 2 × Toxxo
    • 1 × Tuner
  • Buildings: 12
    • 1 × Bastion Lander
    • 1 × Construction Yard
    • 1 × G.U.A.R.D Defense Base
    • 1 × Imperial State Building
    • 1 × Industrial Complex
    • 2 × Media Company
    • 2 × Myriad Singularity
    • 1 × Outreach Center
    • 1 × Reclamation Facility
    • 1 × UCI Industries

In the end it was a close game, but Mike Ireland, aka Vicarious, was able to pull out the win for the Destroyers. We actually had a greater number of Protectors than we did Destroyers, so this was a bonus achievement for Mike’s army as well.

So, in first place we had Mike Ireland adding his name to the first-place trophy and qualifying for the first-place invitational!

In second place, Huck Young will see his name on the second-place trophy, and he qualified for the second-place invitational!

And in third, we had Jeff Mitchell putting his name on the third-place trophy and qualifying for the third-place invitational!

It was an epic finale to an epic event…but that wasn’t the end for our day’s festivities. As we were winding down at the SCO, players online had finally unlocked the back of the Master of Xototl’s card after a vigorous Twitter showing. The Discord exploded with discussion and excitement as players talked about possible combos and pairings.

On Day 3, it was all hands on deck as we set up our “Who’s the Boss?” event. We had nearly every monster in the catalog laid out on the table with its card and even more players showed up for “Who’s the Boss” than we had for our Crush Hour!

The rules for this event are simple: you build a list with 1 monster, 20 units, and 12 buildings. Each round, players spin the WTB wheel (which can be found at the link below; made with the help of “Centapeide’s,” as he’s known on Discord).

Each player was given their randomly determined monster, and unit generals were provided five Faction units to synergize with their rules. Players can get a copy of the same monster they are already playing and a monster from a different agenda. You may also notice that there are three “?????” slots on the wheel. The first allows the player to spin again and the monster they get starts in hyper and ends in alpha. Players were given five minutes in between rounds to make any adjustments to their lists. And finally, players could receive Master of Xototl or King of Camazotz if they spun a “?????”. If players unlocked it with the WTB wheel, I agreed to spoil their stats. And lo and behold, in our first round, someone spun King of Camazotz and unlocked it for the players on Discord!

Because of our latecomers and odd numbers, we had two undefeated players at the end of the day, resulting in a tie for first place. This led us to a tournament gridlock as the score for this event was also the tiebreaker for the Kaiju Classic Champion award. In concert with the players, we decided Mike Ireland and Jeff “Gearbox” Mitchell would face off in a sudden death showdown one week later on TableTop Simulator. This match would span from east coast to west coast as our players squared off in a live broadcast for the Discord community. (Since we were not sure who would be the winner I had both players take a few victory pictures.) And so, if you’re curious as to who won, why not stop by our Discord channel and ask some of the locals about the battle? It’ll be a great chance to get to know some new players!

Before the event ended, I had one last award to give away. I believe new players should feel as if they also have a shot at a prize that the other sharks can’t take from them. This is why I created the “Clawed Their Way Up” award. This award has several claw marks that make it look like Godzilla climbed his way to the top of the trophy and was content with his place there. Conner, aka Aetate, played his heart out this weekend and earned his prize. And with all the prizes he has now, I have no doubt he won’t be playing with cardboard apartment buildings anymore.

All in all, the weekend was an absolute blast. I look forward to the next one at the Las Vegas Open

We will be set up in the WARMACHINE & HORDES room, and your badge will get you access to the next Kaiju Classic. Come join us for the fun, the rewards, and the community. We hope to see you there!

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